Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #3)

Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #3)

by Douglas Adams

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“Wild satire . . . The feckless protagonist, Arthur Dent, is reminiscent of Vonnegut heroes.”—Chicago Tribune

The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads—so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.

They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-president of the galaxy; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox. How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert “universal” Armageddon and save life as we know it—and don’t know it!

“Adams is one of those rare treasures: an author who, one senses, has as much fun writing as one has reading.”—Arizona Daily Star

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307496508
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/24/2008
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 161,289
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Douglas Adams was born in 1952 and educated at Cambridge. He was the author of five books in the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless. His other works include Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency; The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul; The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff (with John Lloyd); and Last Chance to See (with Mark Carwardine). His last book was the bestselling collection, The Salmon of Doubt, published posthumously in May 2002.

You can find more about Douglas Adam's life and works at

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The regular early morning yell of horror was the sound of Arthur Dent waking up and suddenly remembering where he was.
It wasn’t just that the cave was cold, it wasn’t just that it was damp and smelly. It was that the cave was in the middle of Islington and there wasn’t a bus due for two million years.
Time is the worst place, so to speak, to get lost in, as Arthur Dent could testify, having been lost in both time and space a good deal. At least being lost in space kept you busy.
He was stranded on prehistoric Earth as the result of a complex sequence of events that had involved his being alternately blown up and insulted in more bizarre regions of the Galaxy than he had ever dreamed existed, and though life had now turned very, very, very quiet, he was still feeling jumpy.
He hadn’t been blown up now for five years.
He had hardly seen anyone since he and Ford Prefect had parted company four years previously, and he hadn’t been insulted in all that time either.
Except just once.
It had happened on a spring evening about two years ago.
He was returning to his cave just a little after dusk when he became aware of lights flashing eerily through the clouds. He turned and stared, with hope suddenly clambering through his heart. Rescue. Escape. The castaway’s impossible dream—a ship.
And as he watched, as he stared in wonder and excitement, a long silver ship descended through the warm evening air, quietly, without fuss, its long legs unlocking in a smooth ballet of technology.
It alighted gently on the ground, and what little hum it had generated died away, as if lulled by the evening calm.
A ramp extended itself.
Light streamed out.
A tall figure appeared silhouetted in the hatchway. It walked down the ramp and stood in front of Arthur.
“You’re a jerk, Dent,” it said simply.
It was alien, very alien. It had a peculiar alien tallness, a peculiar alien flattened head, peculiar slitty little alien eyes, extravagantly draped golden robes with a peculiarly alien collar design, and pale gray green alien skin that had that lustrous sheen about it that most gray green races can acquire only with plenty of exercise and very expensive soap.
Arthur boggled at it.
It gazed levelly at him.
Arthur’s first sensations of hope and trepidation had instantly been overwhelmed by astonishment, and all sorts of thoughts were battling for the use of his vocal cords at this moment.
“Whh …?” he said.
“Bu … hu … uh …” he added.
“Ru … ra … wah … who?” he managed finally to say and lapsed into a frantic kind of silence. He was feeling the effects of not having said anything to anybody for as long as he could remember.
The alien creature frowned briefly and consulted what appeared to be some species of clipboard that it was holding in its thin and spindly alien hand.
“Arthur Dent?” it said.
Arthur nodded helplessly.
“Arthur Philip Dent?” pursued the alien in a kind of efficient yap.
“Er … er … yes … er … er,” confirmed Arthur.
“You’re a jerk,” repeated the alien, “a complete kneebiter.”
“Er …”
The creature nodded to itself, made a peculiar alien check on its clipboard and turned briskly back toward its ship.
“Er …” said Arthur desperately, “er …”
“Don’t give me that,” snapped the alien. It marched up the ramp, through the hatchway and disappeared into its ship. The ship sealed itself. It started to make a low throbbing hum.
“Er, hey!” shouted Arthur, and started to run helplessly toward it.
“Wait a minute!” he called. “What is this? What? Wait a minute!”
The ship rose, as if shedding its weight like a cloak falling to the ground, and hovered briefly. It swept strangely up into the evening sky. It passed up through the clouds, illuminating them briefly, and then was gone, leaving Arthur alone in an immensity of land dancing a helplessly tiny little dance.
“What?” he screamed. “What? What? Hey, what? Come back here and say that!”
He jumped and danced until his legs trembled, and shouted till his lungs rasped. There was no answer from anyone. There was no one to hear him or speak to him.
The alien ship was already thundering toward the upper reaches of the atmosphere, on its way out into the appalling void that separates the very few things there are in the Universe from one another.
Its occupant, the alien with the expensive complexion, leaned back in its single seat. His name was Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged. He was a man with a purpose. Not a very good purpose, as he would have been the first to admit, but it was at least a purpose, and it did at least keep him on the move.
Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged was—indeed, is—one of the Universe’s very small number of immortal beings.
Most of those who are born immortal instinctively know how to cope with it, but Wowbagger was not one of them. Indeed, he had come to hate them, the load of serene bastards. He had had his immortality inadvertently thrust upon him by an unfortunate accident with an irrational particle accelerator, a liquid lunch and a pair of rubber bands. The precise details of the accident are not important because no one has ever managed to duplicate the exact circumstances under which it happened, and many people have ended up looking very silly, or dead, or both, trying.
Wowbagger closed his eyes in a grim and weary expression, put some light jazz on the ship’s stereo, and reflected that he could have made it if it hadn’t been for Sunday afternoons, he really could have done.
To begin with it was fun; he had a ball, living dangerously, taking risks, cleaning up on high-yield long-term investments, and just generally outliving the hell out of everybody.
In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn’t cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know you’ve taken all the baths you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.
So things began to pall for him. The merry smiles he used to wear at other people’s funerals began to fade. He began to despise the Universe in general, and everybody in it in particular.
This was the point at which he conceived his purpose, the thing that would drive him on, and which, as far as he could see, would drive him on forever. It was this.
He would insult the Universe.
That is, he would insult everybody in it. Individually, personally, one by one, and (this was the thing he really decided to grit his teeth over) in alphabetical order.
When people protested to him, as they sometimes had done, that the plan was not merely misguided but actually impossible because of the number of people being born and dying all the time, he would merely fix them with a steely look and say, “A man can dream, can’t he?”
And so he had started out. He equipped a spaceship that was built to last with a computer capable of handling all the data processing involved in keeping track of the entire population of the known Universe and working out the horrifically complicated routes involved.
His ship fled through the inner orbits of the Sol star system, preparing to slingshot around the sun and fling itself out into interstellar space.
“Computer,” he said.
“Here,” yipped the computer.
“Where next?”
“Computing that.”
Wowbagger gazed for a moment at the fantastic jewelry of the night, the billions of tiny diamond worlds that dusted the infinite darkness with light. Every one, every single one was on his itinerary. Most of them he would be going to millions of times over.
He imagined for a moment his itinerary connecting all the dots in the sky like a child’s numbered dots puzzle. He hoped that from some vantage point in the Universe it might be seen to spell a very, very rude word.

Table of Contents

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Life, the Universe And Everything 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 155 reviews.
Ani_Minnick More than 1 year ago
In his comedy plus science fiction book, Life, the Universe, and Everything, Douglas Adams gives the next installment in the Hitchhiker's Guide story. Most of the book alternates between different story lines as the group has been split up in time and space, which is quite successful in keeping the reader’s attention. Adams uses humor in such a way that it not only adds to the enjoyment of the read, but actually advances the plot in some points, which is captivating to read. I tried to highlight all the best quotes in the book, and was left with a very long list. Don't let the label "science fiction" deter you; I recommend this book to anyone with or without an interest or background in science. Adams proves a very clever and truly exceptional writer. You won't be able to put this book down.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third installment in the Hitchhiker¿s Guide trilogy (but not the last book in the series!). We meet with the usual characters ¿ Arthur, Ford, Trillian, Zaphod, and Marvin ¿ although Zaphod and Marvin have less ¿screen time¿ in this book than in the previous two. There is also the usual adventure and snarky dialogue/narration involved throughout, which makes this a quick and humorous read. My one minor complaint is that it took a bit of time before the plot really got going, although the setup information proved necessary later and was amusing to read along the way anyway.
manatree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Old favorite from high school. Had to pick up this used hard cover copy to supplement tattered paperback.
Nanoscale2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The title says it all. The third book in the series of Douglas Adams. I have to say the idea for the series and the characters are some of the most original work I have ever read. I just wonder how drunk he was when this whole thing started ;-)
beckykolacki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though I had really enjoyed the first two books in the Hitchhiker's "trilogy," for some reason or another the appeal seemed to dissipate with this one a little bit. Throughout the series I found that Adams really had a tendency to have events happen without really explaining exactly what was going on, but you usually found out directly after. However, there were lots of things that happened in the beginning of this one that really made little sense, and they weren't explained until many chapters later, which is frustrating as a reader.On the bright side, the same sort of humor is still there. The negative is that you (or at least, I) spent so much time trying to figure out what is happening that I kind of glossed over many of the jokes.On the plus side, the idea for the plot of this one is quite good, and once I finally got a hang of what was going on I really enjoyed it, but it took a bit more time to get into it. We find out that there is an intriguing alien race trying to destroy the world by recovering a number of items, and of course it's up to Arthur Dent and friends to stop them. These aliens, the people of Krikkit, are quite interesting as well. It is their fear that causes them to lash out so harshly against whatever is different from them. We, as humans, sometimes experience something very similar, and as scary as it is, some relations can be drawn here.
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These books are incredibly hard to review because how do explain the craziness that goes on. You just have to read or in my case listen and enjoy the ride!I love this series and am enjoying them thoroughly!I listened to this on audio so here is a review of the audio portion of this book:The narrator in this one is Martin Freeman who played Arthur Dent in the movie version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I'm getting used to him but the first one was narrated by Stephen Fry and I did like his narration better.On to, So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There were some good jokes in here, but definitely a step down in quality from 'Restaurant at the end of the Universe.' Mostly, this story seems to centre around a satirical take on the game of cricket. As everyone knows, cricket is almost impossible to understand as it is, without being further blurred and manipulated as an instrument of fun. Largely impenetrable as far as I was concerned.
redderik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part 3 of the best 5 part trilogy ever!!!
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No idea what this book is about,if anything; perhaps it reallyis about everything. Lots of fun,nevertheless.
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Third book in the Hitchhiker "trilogy."The inhabitants of planet Krikkit find out that they are not alone in the universe and so they plan to destroy everyone who is not them. Our heroes (Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Slartibartfast, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Trillian) must try to save the universe from the white killer robots of Krikkit. A few of my favorite parts: Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who is on a quest to personally insult every individual in the Universe - in alphabetical order; Arthur's flying lessons, where he tries to throw himself at the ground - and miss; Agrajag, who keeps getting reincarnated, only to be accidentally killed, repeatedly, by Arthur.
MoonshineMax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A lacadaisical lark through the universe with the usual suspects, Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin. However, while I continued to enjoy the entertaining and amusing commentary on the situations, the plot was poor and contrived, and the action, while being credibly off-beat, had a continued lacking that the average sci-fi fan will know, of believability. This was not the case with the previous two in the Trilogy of Four, as their 'plot' structure was much less involved with a single event. While good, the focus on a single plot to drive at dragged down what could have been another classic. Average with occasional flashes of brilliance
FolkeB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Douglas Adams' Life, the Universe, and Everything, Arthur Dent and his new friends are once again followed through their journey in the Universe. Arthur Dent was not aware of the rest of the universe until he met Ford Prefect a short while back. The first two series of The Hitchhiker¿s Guide to the Galaxy are just the beginning of Arthur and his new companions¿ travels through the universe. This time in the third series, the occupants of planet Krikkit want to be alone in the universe and destroy everything else in it, so they don¿t have to deal with the idea of the enormous universe surrounding them. Arthur and his companions have to try to stop the robots from the planet Krikkit from destroying the entire universe. Adams does a wonderful job creating a fascinating universe and keeps things interesting with his ridiculous, yet intriguing ideas. The book is very creative and keeps the reader paying attention with its outrageous workings of the universe. This book brings a new side to science fiction which makes it more interesting and enjoyable. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes interesting, adventurous and wildly creative stories. It does involve some wacky space ideas, so it would be good to be open to the ideas of the universe. I would give this book a four and half stars out of five.
pauliharman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting but not as good as earlier hitch-hikers books
Ti99er on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The continuing saga of the Hitchhikers trilogy. Here is another laugh riot volume of space travel lunacy from the master of sci-fi humor, Douglas Adams. What more can be said of his work that hasn't already been said. If you haven't read the series, it is time you did.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Morning read-aloud with the boys. Possibly my least favorite of the series--all that stuff about Krikkit might have resonated more if I knew more about the game of cricket. Still a 5-star read anyway.
rincewind1986 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another installment of the adventures of Arthur, ford and co. As usual full of laughs, thrills, spills and everything else from the bizarre immagination of the genius douglas adams. One highlight was the return of Marvin the paranoid android, and so much more.
jorgearanda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The third book of the Hitchhiker series leaves behind the satirical vignettes format of the previous two books in favor of a bland makeshift plot about saving the galaxy. Featuring cricket and some annoying, unsatisfying prose.
emhromp2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another very funny book in the hitchhikers series. Difficult to understand at times, and impossible to imagine at all times. This book should be read sentence by sentence, to make sure you don't skip any jokes.
saiariddle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Adams = comic genius. He is well missed. This book is hysterical. Had me in many laughing fits. Especially the part involving the mattress.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Utterly hilarious and action packed to boot. While I felt it was only a pinch worse than the second one, it is still a great book. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its all cool and froody in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
42 :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a 5-book trilogy, so I find that SLaTFaTF and Mostly Harmless are optional. If you get saddened by books easily, stop here, where Marvin's alive and they only travel through space and time, not probability. It ever so slightly amazed me that this was going to be a Doctor Who novel, as Douglas Adams had written 3 of the episodes. You'll find quite a few H2G2 refences in Doctor Who, even the new series, and many Doctor Who refrences in this book. I love both, so this book was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago