The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

23 Feb
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” is the second book in the series of trilogy of five books from Douglas Adams following the super-hit “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“. The plot continues from where it left off in the first book. The four members of The Heart of Gold, Zaphod (the eccentric President of the galaxy), Ford (the hitchhiker who edits the book H2G2), Arthur and Trillian (the two lone survivors of Earth) along with Marvin – the manically depressed robot – are on the run after being on the verge of death at the hands of Magrathean cops. I would not like to spoil the ending of the first book to reveal why they were in peril in the first place… πŸ˜›
    The four scamper with the spaceship, putting light years between them and the Horsehead Nebula being closely followed by a Vogon hit-squadron to eliminate the last of the earthmen in order to fulfill the wishes of Gag Halfrunt, one of the Galaxy’s most prominent and successful psychiatrists. Craving for a cup of tea, Arthur orders the Nutri-Matic Drink Synthesizer which inturn requests the Sirius cybernetics computer onboard, to make him a cup of tea. The computer goes into hang mode trying to understand the best mechanism in making the best tea. And call it coincidence or dumb luck, that was the very moment when the Vogons started the barrage of a dozen 30-Megahurt Definit-Kil Photrazon Cannon. And at this rate their defense shields would survive for just about 4minutes and they cannot run the improbability drive as the computer is busy with making Tea. πŸ˜› Zaphod summons his great grandfather who is incidentally called Zaphod Beeblebrox IV (yes… you read it right!! Zaphod IV is the great-grandad of Zaphod – big story of a time travel and a contraceptive gone wrong… :P) is ashamed of Zaphod as he has totally forgotten his single most important deed – “to find the person ruling the universe!” and refuses to help. Finally, Zaphod IV stops time and with a bolt of lightning through the old man’s finger, the Heart of Gold leapt an unknown distance through the dimensions of time and space. When things clear out, Zaphod and Marvin are missing from the space ship, while Arthur is delighted to taste the best tea ever made by the Nutri-Matic Drink Synthesizer. πŸ˜€
    Zaphod and Marvin appear at the H2G2 office and reach the 15th floor, to meet Zarniwoop and not even Zaphod knows why he wants to meet him in the first place. Meanwhile the Frogstar Fighters attack the office and lift the entire building out of the ground and carry it to Frogstar World B where Zaphod will be punished for the crime of stealing the ship by putting him under the Total Perspective Vortex – the single most complex device which brings to the picture of how insignificant one is when compared to the universe. But the device has no effect on Zaphod and he is amazed to find a working spaceship in the barren land out of which Zarniwoop emerges to say that the current world is a virtual world created by him, for the single purpose of meeting Zaphod and in-turn to help Zaphod to fulfill his quest/deed. Zarniwoop reveals that the weird metal object in Zaphod’s pocket is in-fact the Heart of Gold. Zaphod jumps into the ship and he out of hunger requests the spaceship to take them to the closest possible restaurant and the improbability drive kicks in to take them to “Milliways – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” – which literally means that a restaurant built to watch the end of the universe taking them into a time travel (millions of years into the future) instead of space travel. It’s also good to note that the restaurant at the start of the universe is called the Big Bang Burger Bar. πŸ˜› In the parking lot, they find Marvin, who was left out by Zaphod, to save his own life at the H2G2’s office and with the robots help, steal a black ship belonging to Hotblack Desiato (famous singer) which in-fact is designed to ride the solar flares and to their luck, find that the auto pilot cannot be over ridden. They survive again (come on!!! how many near-death experiences for the same set of people?? :P) by using a not-fully-functional teleporter which shifts Arthur and Ford to the Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B, heading to a crash on a desolate looking planet meanwhile the where-abouts of Zaphod and Trillian are completely unknown to them. Zarniwoop, Zaphod and Trillian arrive at a strange planet to meet the ruler of the universe, while on the other planet Arthur and Ford discover certain truth, which changes their belief and understanding about their life.
There are some famous and superb quotes/dialogues in this book:
  • In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
  • The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.” – talking about the H2G2 lawsuit.
  • To summarize: it is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
  • I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body?” – the dairy animal at the Milliways restaurant requesting for order… πŸ˜€
  • How can I tell that the past isn’t a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?” – When the ruler of the universe is asked about how long he has been ruling the universe.
  • I’m so great even I get tongue-tied talking to myself.
  • Trillian: “Have another drink, Enjoy yourself.”. Arthur: ”Which? the two are mutually exclusive.”
  • The End of the Universe is very popular, people like to dress up for it, Gives it a sense of occasion.
Loved reading this book as much as I loved reading the H2G2. But the end of the book is sort of dull when compared to the first one. For this reason i give an 8/10. A good read!! πŸ™‚

One Response to “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”

  1. p2.rab February 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    classic…although, I must say, the trilogy loses steam hereafter. Aside from the occasional witty sparks and still wittier characters ('aim at the ground and miss', 'Wonko the Sane'..), the already chaotic write-up becomes a tedium.

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