Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ford Prefect, of the planet Betelgeuse, and Earthman Arthur Dent began their whimsical odyssey in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In Adams' latest book, Ford relies on serendipity and his own quick wits to protect a powerful new edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide from the loathsome, sluglike Vogons. Ford's pal, Arthur, misses his planet and his old flame, Tricia McMillan. The rootless traveler from Earth finds his metier, however, on Lamuella, a world whose people subsist on Perfectly Normal Beast. Adams sets a rapid pace that becomes even more hectic when Arthur is unexpectedly joined by Tricia; her peevish teenage daughter; Ford Prefect; and the travel guide to the stars. The book once looked like a hand-held computer; now it takes the shape of a mechanical talking bird. Using new techniques, this floating device can whisk users through space and time. Thus the scene shifts back to Earth, where the past, present and future braid together. Adams may depend too much on the cliffhanger form. But his ingenious wit still captivates, and his characters frolic through the galaxy with infectious joy. (Oct.)
Subtitled: "The Fifth Book in the Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhiker's Trilogy," the latest installment in the intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect is up to Adams' usual high standards of ironic inventiveness. The action whips back and forth between parallel universes, one in which the Earth still exists, and one in which the Vogons have dispassionately obliterated it. On Earth, Tricia, a TV anchorwoman (an astrophysicist until she met an attractive, two-headed alien at a party), is working on a story about the implications of the discovery of a tenth planet, called Rupert, for astrology. Meanwhile, Ford has returned to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" headquarters to learn that the once hip little publishing company has been taken over by the monolithic and secretive InfiniDim Enterprises. While he reconnoiters forbidden corporate territory accompanied by a giddy, rewired security robot, Arthur is mooning around the universe, selling his sperm and DNA, trying to find a planet he can call find home. He is shocked to find out that he has a daughter, named Random, who he is expected to take care of while her reporter mother goes off to cover a war. Eventually, the space-time continuum warps in such a way as to bring everyone together for a cataclysmic finale. Good, metaphysical fun from one of its primary practitioners.
From the Publisher
“Hitchhiker fans rejoice! . . . [Here’s] more of the same zany nonsensical mayhem.”—New York Times Book Review
“It is Mr. Adams’s genius to hurl readers into a plot that seems to go everywhere and nowhere, then suddenly drop the pieces into place, click, click, click, like tumblers in a lock. . . . Delightful.”—Baltimore Sun