The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #2)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #2)

by Douglas Adams

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“Douglas Adams is a terrific satirist.”—The Washington Post Book World

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons? Time for a cup of tea! Join the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his uncommon comrades in arms in their desperate search for a place to eat, as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability.

Among Arthur’s motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who’s gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food speaks for itself (literally).

“What’s such fun is how amusing the galaxy looks through Adams’s sardonically silly eyes.”—Detroit Free Press

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307497567
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/24/2008
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 146,237
File size: 2 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 story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
Many races believe that it was created by some sort of god, though the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI believe that the entire Universe was in fact sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.
The Jatravartids, who live in perpetual fear of the time they call the Coming of the Great White Handkerchief, are small blue creatures with more than fifty arms each, who are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel.
However, the Great Green Arkleseizure Theory is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI and so, the Universe being the puzzling place it is, other explanations are constantly being sought.
For instance, a race of hyperintelligent pandimensional beings once built themselves a gigantic supercomputer called Deep Thought to calculate once and for all the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
For seven and a half million years, Deep Thought computed and calculated, and in the end announced that the answer was in fact Forty-two—and so another, even bigger, computer had to be built to find out what the actual question was.
And this computer, which was called the Earth, was so large that it was frequently mistaken for a planet—especially by the strange apelike beings who roamed its surface, totally unaware that they were simply part of a gigantic computer program.
And this is very odd, because without that fairly simple and obvious piece of knowledge, nothing that ever happened on the Earth could possibly make the slightest bit of sense.
Sadly, however, just before the critical moment of read-out, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished by the Vogons to make way—so they claimed—for a new hyperspace bypass, and so all hope of discovering a meaning for life was lost for ever.
Or so it would seem.
Two of these strange, apelike creatures survived.
Arthur Dent escaped at the very last moment because an old friend of his, Ford Prefect, suddenly turned out to be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and not from Guildford as he had hitherto claimed; and, more to the point, he knew how to hitch rides on flying saucers.
Tricia McMillan—or Trillian—had skipped the planet six months earlier with Zaphod Beeblebrox, the then President of the Galaxy.
Two survivors.
They are all that remains of the greatest experiment ever conducted—to find the Ultimate Question and the Ultimate Answer of Life, the Universe and Everything.
And, less than half a million miles from where their starship is drifting lazily through the inky blackness of space, a Vogon ship is moving slowly toward them.
Chapter 2
Like all Vogon ships it looked as if it had been not so much designed as congealed. The unpleasant yellow lumps and edifices which protruded from it at unsightly angles would have disfigured the looks of most ships, but in this case that was sadly impossible. Uglier things have been spotted in the skies, but not by reliable witnesses.
In fact to see anything much uglier than a Vogon ship you would have to go inside it and look at a Vogon. If you are wise, however, this is precisely what you will avoid doing because the average Vogon will not think twice before doing something so pointlessly hideous to you that you will wish you had never been born—or (if you are a clearer minded thinker) that the Vogon had never been born.
In fact, the average Vogon probably wouldn’t even think once. They are simple-minded, thick-willed, slug-brained creatures, and thinking is not really something they are cut out for. Anatomical analysis of the Vogon reveals that its brain was originally a badly deformed, misplaced and dyspeptic liver. The fairest thing you can say about them, then, is that they know what they like, and what they like generally involves hurting people and, wherever possible, getting very angry.
One thing they don’t like is leaving a job unfinished—particularly this Vogon, and particularly—for various reasons—this job.
This Vogon was Captain Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council, and he it was who had had the job of demolishing the so-called “planet” Earth.
He heaved his monumentally vile body round in his ill-fitting, slimy seat and stared at the monitor screen on which the starship Heart of Gold was being systematically scanned.
It mattered little to him that the Heart of Gold, with its Infinite Improbability Drive, was the most beautiful and revolutionary ship ever built. Aesthetics and technology were closed books to him and, had he had his way, burned and buried books as well.
It mattered even less to him that Zaphod Beeblebrox was aboard. Zaphod Beeblebrox was now the ex-President of the Galaxy, and though every police force in the Galaxy was currently pursuing both him and this ship he had stolen, the Vogon was not interested.
He had other fish to fry.
It has been said that Vogons are not above a little bribery and corruption in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds, and this was certainly true in his case. When he heard the words integrity or moral rectitude he reached for his dictionary, and when he heard the chink of ready money in large quantities he reached for the rule book and threw it away.
In seeking so implacably the destruction of the Earth and all that therein lay he was moving somewhat above and beyond the call of his professional duty. There was even some doubt as to whether the said bypass was actually going to be built, but the matter had been glossed over.
He grunted a repellent grunt of satisfaction.
“Computer,” he croaked, “get me my brain care specialist on the line.”
Within a few seconds the face of Gag Halfrunt appeared on the screen, smiling the smile of a man who knew he was ten light-years away from the Vogon face he was looking at. Mixed up somewhere in the smile was a glint of irony too. Though the Vogon persistently referred to him as “my private brain care specialist” there was not a lot of brain to take care of, and it was in fact Halfrunt who was employing the Vogon. He was paying him an awful lot of money to do some very dirty work. As one of the Galaxy’s most prominent and successful psychiatrists, he and a consortium of his colleagues were quite prepared to spend an awful lot of money when it seemed that the entire future of psychiatry might be at stake.
“Well,” he said, “hello my Captain of Vogons Prostetnic, and how are we feeling today?”
The Vogon Captain told him that in the last few hours he had wiped out nearly half his crew in a disciplinary exercise.
Halfrunt’s smile did not flicker for an instant.
“Well,” he said, “I think this is perfectly normal behavior for a Vogon, you know? The natural and healthy channeling of the aggressive instincts into acts of senseless violence.”
“That,” rumbled the Vogon, “is what you always say.”
“Well again,” said Halfrunt, “I think that this is perfectly normal behavior for a psychiatrist. Good. We are clearly both very well adjusted in our mental attitudes today. Now tell me, what news of the mission?”
“We have located the ship.”
“Wonderful,” said Halfrunt, “wonderful! And the occupants?”
“The Earthman is there.”
“Excellent! And …?”
“A female from the same planet. They are the last.”
“Good, good,” beamed Halfrunt. “Who else?”
“The man Prefect.”
“And Zaphod Beeblebrox.”
For an instant Halfrunt’s smile flickered.
“Ah, yes,” he said, “I had been expecting this. It is most regrettable.”
“A personal friend?” inquired the Vogon, who had heard the expression somewhere once and decided to try it out.
“Ah, no,” said Halfrunt, “in my profession you know, we do not make personal friends.”
“Ah,” grunted the Vogon, “professional detachment.”
“No,” said Halfrunt cheerfully, “we just don’t have the knack.”
He paused. His mouth continued to smile, but his eyes frowned slightly.
“But Beeblebrox, you know,” he said, “he is one of my most profitable clients. He has personality problems beyond the dreams of analysts.”
He toyed with this thought a little before reluctantly dismissing it.
“Still,” he said, “you are ready for your task?”
“Good. Destroy the ship immediately.”
“What about Beeblebrox?”
“Well,” said Halfrunt brightly, “Zaphod’s just this guy, you know?”
He vanished from the screen.
The Vogon Captain pressed a communicator button which connected him with the remains of his crew.
“Attack,” he said.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Douglas Adams is a terrific satirist.”—Washington Post Book World

“What’s such fun is how amusing the galaxy looks through Adams’s sardonically silly eyes.”—Detroit Free Press

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 243 reviews.
Benz1966 More than 1 year ago
I have absolutely nothing profound to say about this book. I don't even know why I liked it as much as I did (perhaps even more than Hitchhiker's Guide). I will tell you that I snorted, giggled, chortled, laughed and cried my way through it. Thank goodness these are short books though - seriously. The weird factor in them gets a tad overwhelming at times and I have to put the book down and go do something else before my mind explodes. And I swear I will never look at a steak the same way again. I think, by far, my favorite character is Marvin. There is a scene in this novel where he faces off against a more powerful robot and it had me laughing so hard (in Starbucks of all places!) that I had tears rolling down my cheeks. For some reason the image, the voices - everything came to life in my imagination during that one scene and it was almost too much to handle. And yes, I do have a strange sense of humor. Really fun book and I'm looking forward to the next.. but first I think I'll take a little break. Too much Adams and I'm afraid I'll spend the next week speaking to my table to see if I get a reaction from it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NathanTheGreythan More than 1 year ago
When i first read Hitchhikers Guide, i only read it because i wanted to see how the book compared to the excellent movie, i am not typically into most fantasy/science fiction books or movies, but Hitchikers Guide was captivating. Douglas Adams writes in such an entertaining way that anyone could find his books entertaining. The 2nd books starts right where the 1st left off, Arthur, Ford, Trllian, and Zaphod Beeblebrox, the president of the universe who had stolen the very ship that they were in and was surrounded by Vogons. Throughout their journey they are shrunken, tortured(well kind of, Zapod walked into a Total Perspecive Vertex, a device that shows you how infinatly small you are compared to the universe), nearly driven into a star, and much more. I really enjoy the way douglas adams writes and am very eager to read the rest of these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't think anything could top The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but this came pretty darn close. If you liked the first book, you like this too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of The Guide but this one take the cake!
Zirkle 19 days ago
Restaurant at the End of the Universe is not as much of a classic as the first story, but still good. As always, Adams' descriptions are hilarious. The way this story works into the master plan of the story is interesting. This story might be a little hard to follow, especially if you walk away from it for a bit.
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A worthy sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide, book continues adventure of protagonists who (un)fortunately end up at the beginning through hilarious roller-coaster ride in space, time and talking elevator.
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are back, having narrowly escaped the planet Magrathea and a fate worse than death. Of course, in another twist of fate, they find themselves aboard a stolen Improbability Drive ship with Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian McMillian, and Marvin the Paranoid Android. Hilarious and thought-provoking.
the_hag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read the first one, you know I had to keep going¿.it¿s been several months since I read Hitchhiker¿s Guide to the Galaxy and I have to say, I didn¿t enjoy this one as much¿but I think that¿s because it ended so abruptly (or at least it felt that way to me). I¿ll certainly keep going¿this one was every bit as amusing and fun as the last. I think this is one of the few books I would LOVE to hear as an audio book¿I think the Adam¿s writing lends itself to that medium very well. I would recommend this without hesitation¿but you have to read them in order I think to really understand the story, these are not stand alone volumes.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another romp through the universe following the adventures (or misadventures) of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Tricia McMillan (Trillian), and Marvin the Paranoid Android. This book is fast-paced, imaginative, and humorous. I¿d definitely recommend, although you will need to read the first book in this series beforehand.
MissTeacher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The wonderful second installment of the Hitchhiker series, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" succeeded in burrowing into my subconscious better that any other book in the history of the written universe. Though I swore up and down I had never read this book before, once I began, I had a serious and unshakeable prolonged feeling of deja vu. The images are fantastic, and the humor, as always is persistant and odd. Wonderfully odd.
shmuffin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't find it as good as the first one but it was still amusing and kept me interested throughout. I love Adam's humor and the complex ideas that he conceives.
lsknightsr1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Out of all the Douglas Adams books I've read, I would say this is probably my favorite. If you've never read a book by this author, I would recommend you bring your towel and get ready for a bumpy, yet completely hilarious ride. The story is very far-fetched (obviously as it's a sci-fi novel) and filled with sarcasm and dry wit. You'll meet Marvin the robot, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and many other zany characters. I would say if you like British comedies, you'll absolutely adore this book.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not quite as good as Hitchhiker's, or am I just used to the humor by now? I don't know. I still enjoyed this but can't say I loved it as much as the first book.
beckykolacki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second Hitchhiker's book. It's a continuation of what happened directly at the end of the first one, and in many ways it flows seamlessly, as if it is one story. This one is in many ways very similar - it's got the same sort of humor, the same sort of events happening in the novel, and the same treatment of the characters.Much of the book follows Zaphod's adventures, but later we check in on our other favorite characters, such as Arthur, Trillian, and Ford. Interestingly, we return to earth, but it is a prehistoric earth that Ford and Arthur find themselves on. Overall the events in this novel are just as intriguing, interesting, and entertaining as those in the first, and this is a very fitting sequel.
Nanoscale2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a good book if you like British comedy. After reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy it basically is a must read. But it is fairly predictable after the previous book. Entertaining but
jonstamp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe was the last of The Hitchhiker's Guide series that I truly enjoyed and found humorous. Even in this book, I found that the writing felt a little more strained than the first and that the unrestrained absurdity of the first novel had been reigned in. This said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. If you loved The Hitchhiker's Guide you will also like this one and will probably want to read all five books of the series. However, if you only moderately liked the Hitchhiker's Guide, I would recommend reading this one and only continuing the series if you still find yourself curious about the fates of the characters. Unfortunately, I found that the writing became decreasingly funny and increasingly forced throughout the series as though Adams' wild creativity becomes slowly diluted page to page.I do not wish to deter people from reading the series as I read all of the books and enjoyed them. However, I just wanted to relate my disappointment from book to book. Typically in a series of novels you find yourself more and more engaged with the characters and their fates as the series continues, but I found myself growing more detached. If the Hitchhiker's Guide books were longer novels I probably wouldn't have continued reading them after this novel.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe a long (very, very long!) time ago, but I never got around to reading the sequels. I'm so glad that I did! I remember now why I used to love science fiction so much. This is a fantastic book. I'm not sure if it actually means anything (!) but it is a hoot to read and wallow in. A wonderful ride.
EdGoldberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After loving Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I was mega-disappointed in this book. It took me a long time to get through and I found it plodding. Although I still like the characaters Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect and the ending gambit about Scrabble and the meaning of life is funny, and it bodes well for the third book in the series (which I haven't decided to read yet) overall, it was an OK book at best.
MoonshineMax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is necessary to read [The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy] before this to understand many of the joke's within, however, this is another marvelous romp through the galaxy, full of convenient plot loopholes and darkly satirical outlooks on life. Indeed, it almost equals the first, but not quite - however, also not so much as to take half a point away from it.Highly recommended.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read the four tales that make up the Hitchhiker 'trilogy', I thought this one was the best - more gags per inch, a bit more focused, and the excellent concept of the restaurant of the book's title - with a very bizarre 'menu'.
Magadri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found it harder to get into this book than THGttG, but once I finally got involved, it was funny. It's typical Adams humor, and at times you find yourself numb to it, but still there are quite a few laugh out loud moments in this book. Adams is witty as hell and I'm looking forward to Book 3. Especially since they think 6x9=42.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second of the series, again a breakfast read-aloud. It's a great start to the day if you've got the kids not only laughing but discussing complex stuff. Camden's using a page from this for his read-aloud assignment in school. He's practiced enough so he doesn't burst into laughter in the middle of it, though he can't quite keep from grinning.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
wonderful -- must be taken as part of he trilogy
ariebonn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I took my time to start the second book in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series but I enjoy these books so much that I want to space them out so that I know I have the next one to look forward to! Makes sense?I found that in this book things start to make a bit more sense and you discover that there was actually a reason why Zaphod Beeblebrox stole the Heart of Gold, although you don't find that out from him. The Frogstar Fighters are out to get him and this leads to a series of adventures for Zaphod, Ford, Arthur and Trillian. Oh yeah and Marvin too, who is as depressing as ever but is still there to save the day.The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is just as amusing and fun as the first one in the series, some of the comparisons that Adams makes are just hilarious. The description of the Vogons in the beginning is too funny and really had me laughing out loud, I had to go back to it a few times just to read it over again. What I like most about these books however is that I never know what is going to happen next, you just don't know what to expect!The ending left me curious as to what happened to some of the characters and now I can't wait to get to the next book!