The second book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide Series, we get more crazy hijinks. Primarily, Zaphod is set on a mission not of his own making to find the ruler of the universe, and Arthur and Ford get zapped two million years back in time. But not before they get to have a meal at Milliways, where you can witness firsthand the end of everything as we know it.
I mentioned in my review of the first book that I found this one more enjoyable, because I was so heavily spoiled for the first. It does go to show that avoiding spoilers can change your experience entirely. I got more of that sense that Adams can and will do anything in a story. He’ll introduce his readers to the ruler of the universe, show them the end of said universe, then the beginning of another. He’s not afraid to go upside-down and backwards with his writing, and that’s equal parts delightful and frustrating.
I say frustrating because there is no cohesive plot for this story. The closest I can come is to say that the nature of the universe and why we’re here is a theme. But as amusing as Milliways was, it took over the story from what probably mattered more: Zaphod’s adventure in finding the ruler of the universe. There’s humor in that, that Zaphod himself cares so little about something 1) so intriguing and 2) that would explain a lot about himself. Yet as a reader, there are times I sigh and wonder, “okay, what are we doing here? What about that other thing that was supposedly so important?”
I guess that’s when I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb, because these books really are best when taken in stride and not seriously whatsoever. Because when the plot shot randomly off and sent Arthur and Ford back in time, I shrugged and smiled and rode the wave. It’s a bold move to change the plot so often that it basically doesn’t have one, and I have to shut my brain off to enjoy that, but that’s what these books are best for. To be entertaining and make you giggle, and it did that.