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review 2016-11-11 00:00
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2) - Douglas Adams,Martin Freeman Martin Freeman is certainly one of the wonders of the world! I absolutely loved listening to this on my daily work commute, and I didn't even notice traffic! The story itself is deceptively light and ridiculous, but he just made it so much better! Not only did he have a distinguishable "voice" for each character, he also held true to that voice for the entire duration of the book! His vocal abilities are amazing...

I also love the story, though. It touches on serious subjects, while making fun of how serious we always take ourselves when in the bigger picture, we are but a tiny molecule in a droplet of water in a never ending ocean. It definitely serves to help put things in perspective for me... although I don't have the ability right now to articulate how!
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review 2016-09-13 10:33
Parking Cars - what else does one do in a car park
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams

Well, this is annoying. Having just arrived back from Europe, and having travelled half way around a world you could say that I now have the holiday hangover – Jet Lag. Basically I have had about 10 hours sleep in total over the past four days, namely because I go to sleep and suddenly an hour later I am wide awake, laying in bed, wondering whether I should get up and do something, or simply lie there and attempt to get some more sleep, which generally doesn't occur until around 5:00 am (which means that I am not up until around 10:00, when I am able to sleep in that late). Also, having had my first full day of work (in an office) for seven weeks, you could say that I am a bit zonked. However I have just finished the second instalment of Adam's rather bizarre, and quite absurd, space adventure, and if I don't start writing the review now I probably never well (not that I can easily write at the moment, even on a laptop – maybe I should get up and go for a walk before hand, or even better go down to the pub and get a beer – yes, maybe I'll do just that).

 

 

Okay, I'm now down at the pub with a beer in front of me, but I will do my best to resist the temptation to talk about how Belgium has turned me into a beer and coffee snob, particularly due to the fact that in Belgium you get beer that has been brewed in Monasteries for hundreds of years, where as in Australia you simply get beer that is pretty substandard (though nowhere near as bad as English beer – which as I have said previously is little more than coloured water). Anyway, enough of that because I really want to get this review completed before I move onto my next book.

 

 

So, the book starts of where the previous one ends, and sort of follows the television series (though the television series ends at the end of this book). However I didn't feel that this part of the series was anywhere near as good as the first book (or even the series). I would sort of suggest that it was tying up a few loose ends, but in fact the first book didn't have any lose ends that needed tying up (but then again any lose ends that exist in absurdist literature generally are not ment to be tied up – otherwise it would cease to be absurd). Further, it seems that the story has been padded out a bit and as such it feels a little forced, especially since the original really didn't need a plot – they land up at the Restaurant that exists at the end of time, namely because they are looking for some place to have a meal and people go there for a humongous light show. Our heroes then steal a stunt ship belonging to a galactic rockstar, but it turns out that this ship is going to be flown into a star. Fortunately they find a teleport and escape, but Zaphod and Trillian disappear to who knows where, while Arthur and Ford land up back on Earth (or at least on a ship heading in that general direction).

 

 

While that is the basic plot of the second half of the television series, this book gives a bit more of a meaning behind plot – the Vogons realise that since Arthur and Trillian managed to escape Earth their job of destroying the Earth was left half finished so they decide to go after them to finish it off (and you will see more of that in future books). Also, Zaphod decides to go and find out who the actual ruler of the universe is, namely because even though he is president of the galaxy he really has no power (though he ends up getting board and heads of to have some dinner instead). In a way it felt a little forced and sort of detracted a lot from the original premise, which was understandably quite absurd. Even though Zaphod does eventually find the ruler of the universe, as it turns out the guy is pretty absent minded, and in a way one wonders whether he actually rules anything, and why it is that he is supposed to be the ruler of the universe.

 

 

Maybe it has something to with this idea that there really isn't any order, or sense, in the universe, and if there is any deity, the lack of sense, or purpose, suggests that the ruler really has no idea what is going on, or maybe has been around for so long that he (or she) has simply become senile. In a way it does seem to be like this, but I really don't want to get into anything too theological to attempt to disprove Adam's theory because in a way it is your typical Deist view of existence – sure there is a God who created the world, but he is either long gone, or simply set it in motion and let it go about on its own devices. I guess that is why the theory of Thermodynamics works – creation moves from order to disorder in the same way that a mechanical device slowly, but surely, winds down to a halt. However the way that the world seems to go about suggests that maybe he have been forgotten about it. However, it is quite interesting that whenever somebody comes along and suggests that maybe if people learnt to get along a bit better they either end up shot, forced to drink poison, or hung on a cross.

 

 

One group I do need to mention are the Gulgafrinchans – they are a rather amusing, and quite interesting, race of people. The deal with them is that there were three classes of people – the ruling class, the working class, and the middle class. The thing with the ruling class is that they were the rulers (and controlled the means of production), so they considered themselves particularly important. The working class actually had useful skills that the ruling class could use to produce stuff, while the middle class simply leached off the capital of the ruling class and the hard work of the working class. The middle class consisted of people such as advertising executives, sales managers, film directors, and telephone sanitisers – people that if they were removed from society then society would pretty much continue to function, but at a more efficient rate.

 

In a way I am inclined to agree – there is actually a whole class of people that simply exist to make things more complicated, and more expensive. Lawyers (and politicians) create reams and reams of laws to make life so complex that one cannot navigate the environment without spending lots of money to actually understand what these mystical words actually mean. As for advertisers, market analysts, and sales managers – they simply exist to make things more expensive. For instance they take what is effectively a t-shirt and with a wave of their hands transform it into a lifestyle – a brand if you will – which means that one can jack up the price to no end. In a way the middle class really only exists to take money from the working class, give it to the ruling class, and take a significant cut for themselves. The fact that they come across as a bunch of bumbling idiots who haven't managed to get anything done because everything has been referred to a discussion group is no accident. In  away, as some suggest, totalitarian dictatorships are so much more effective because they do away with all these pesky politicians who exist only for the election cycle, and simply get things done. The problem is that it is actually very rare for there to be a totalitarian dictator that wants to make the country great as opposed to simply using his position as a chick magnet (otherwise Africa would be one of the most powerful continents on the planet).

 

 

I can't finish off this review without making mention of Marvin the Paranoid Android. No matter how disappointing the book ended up being for me, he still ends up stealing the show. Even though he is an incredibly intelligent robot (who has existed, by the end of the book, for millions of years) it is impossible to actually get anything out of him – namely because he acts like your typical self absorbed depressive – 'here I am, a brain the size of a planet and you want me to …'. Mind you, he really has his moments, especially when he is talking to a robot tank, and simply by being himself, ends up getting the tank to literally destroy itself (by shooting away the floor underneath it). In the end, it is the classic line that he gives when he is at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (which is have quoted in the title, so I won't repeat it here) which is probably my favourite line of the entire series. Oh, and prophet that rocks up at the restaurant just before the universe ends, and doesn't get a chance to finish his apology for being late.

 

Maybe, just maybe, I'm being a little harsh on this book.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1753755670
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review 2016-08-19 21:08
Review: "The Laws of Magic (Ruzniel, #1)" by Daniel Nanavati
The Laws of Magic - Jennika Bastian,Daniel Nanavati

Winte  "Zaqui is coming." I think this statement perfectly describes the main idea, the "root" of all the events that build the storyline of this novel, the event towards all the events and characters converge to. The atmosphere in this novel from the first until the last page is tense; you can feel the fear of the characters and the imminent approach of the danger, death...of the Zanqui, which means the End of the planets, life and the Universe. With only three days remained until all disappears, until life seize to exist the characters are making great preparations and gather their forces for the ultimate battle between the Good and the Evil, a battle which has been awaited since time immemorial. The Good forces, Sangyma and other powerful magicians, united their powers to defeat, when the time comes, the evil army, led by the most evil mischievous malevolent powerful omnipotent villain of all the almighty Crilo...Chrio...Crilodach. (As you can see I have a problem with getting Its name right, well actually I had a hard time figuring out how to read and remember the majority of the names from this novel, because most of the names of the characters and places are really tangled, but hey that's not really a minus for the book itself but it's just a little detail that bothered me… so just keep in mind not to ask me which is the name of the character I like or hate, because I will most likely pronounced it wrong or won't remember...

 

What are my feelings after reading Ruzniel? One word: confused. I neither love nor hate it. There are some parts I liked and others that, sadly, I didn’t enjoy so much. So here are the minuses and pluses of this novel, from my point of view:

 

What I didn’t like:

 

1.Too much information:

 

The beginning was really confusing, there is a HUGE amount of information pouring like a waterfall over the reader and drowning him. Pages and pages full of details about the universe's history, its future, many different planets, civilizations, philosophies, specific characters, like Sangyma and magic and its laws, so I had the impression that I was reading a history textbook, but don't get me wrong, I didn't say that what I found out wasn't interesting, there were some good ideas and the author created a very complex and magical world, but the way it was presented, all at once was too much for me to accumulate the amount of information was overwhelming and there was just too much there at the one time. Generally, I liked the plot and it kept me entertained, but at times I think scenes dragged out for far too long and I just found myself quickly losing interest and zoning out, sometimes I couldn't focus on the story… so it lost me several times. And sadly, there were times I got bored and just wanted to finish the book already…

 

2.The characters’ construction:

 

I usually like a story more when it has characters with whom I can empathize, to grow fond of, to identify with. I expected to “meet” complex characters but instead I came across flat characters which seemed to have just one personality trait: good or evil, nothing in between. All the characters were either perfectly good or perfectly bad, all were extremely powerful and wise, all were so perfect, so unrealistic, so because of that it was impossible to become attached to them, and I mean: ”come on!” nobody is perfectly good or perfectly evil, I hated it.

 

What I liked:

 

1.The cover is really nice, I admit that it is what attracted me at first to find out more about this book and there are also some beautiful illustrations of the characters, scattered through the book, which aid in visual understanding.

 

2.The world building:

 

It’s visible that the author put a lot of work in creating the world, there are lots of detailed descriptions of the characters, places, phenomena, and everything is so vivid.

 

3.Unique writing style:

 

I think the authors writing style is really unique, it seems different, in a good way. I don’t know why but sometimes I had the impression that I was listening to an old wiseman telling a long forgotten tale. The narrator makes this book to have a mysterious aura.

 

The book has a sequel, so the ending of this volume is a cliffhanger. I’m still curious which will be the outcome of the great battle between Good and Evil and how will be depicted the End of the Universe and what characters will survive until the end, so if I have the chance I would totally like to read the second book.

 

Overall, it is a good book, but it depends on who reads it, if one enjoys it or not. It has a great plot, philosophical ideas scattered here and there, a lot of magic, a great number of unique characters, a complex and fantastic world building. So if you have the patience to get through the first 50 pages, which are full with tones of information which can make you a little bored and if you are interested in magic and fantasy books, then I think that you can give it a chance.

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review 2016-06-10 00:00
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams I didn't like it very much. Some parts are boring and meaningless (yes even for a meaningless story like this one), but still you can get a spark of joy in some places.
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review 2016-02-17 07:08
A strong (but not strong enough?) follow-up to Adams' masterpiece.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with a breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?
 
 
I think in the past, I've enjoyed The Restaurant at the End of the Universe more than this time, but I'm not sure why. Which is not to say that I didn't have a blast, I just usually have more fun. From the intricate -- and death-defying -- difficulty of making a good cup of tea; to the extreme lengths some people will go to for a dining experience; to perspective that a little cake can give; to considering what color a wheel should be or whether fire should be nasally-inserted -- this book covers all the bases. While still episodic in nature, it seems less so than its predecessor -- and far less so than its successor. It's a stronger novel, not quite as funny, but still better than most "funny" or "light" SF than you'll find.
 
[Gargravarr] had rather liked Zaphod Beeblebrox in a strange sort of way. He was clearly a man of many qualities, even if they were mostly bad ones.
Most of this book showcased the ex-President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox the First (how is great-grandfather was Zaphod the Fourth lies in one of the best lies Adams ever penned). Now Zaphod's not my favorite character -- actually, I typically dislike him as a character.  As a joke-generator, a font of one-liners?  He's great. Probably most of the quotable lines in this book are his (even Arthur's best line is immediately denigrated by him "Yeah, and don't you wish you hadn't?").
 
We see the reason for his stealing of The Heart of Gold in the last book, we're taken on a wild and twisty ride for him to complete his quest and then . . . it just stops. I'm sure it's supposed to be in an absurd way or something, but it seems pointless (probably the point).
 
And then we're off to Milliways. Ahhh, Milliways -- this is an absolutely perfect part of the book. There's nothing about it I don't like here -- Max Quordlepleen's banter (the oddly bittersweet introduction of him), Hotblack Desiato (and his tax plan), the Dish of the Day . . . I'm going to shut up before I just copy and paste the whole thing.
 
The rest of the book focuses on Arthur (and Ford, but, a little less), who I like, but don't laugh at nearly as much. 
"Poor Arthur, you're not really cut out for this life are you?" [Trillian asked]
"You call this life?"
Something I've been thinking about this read-through is this: why Arthur? He's one of Ford's oldest friends on Earth -- but we know he has multiple friends, he could've picked any of them -- why Arthur? Surely, Ford would've had at least an inkling that Arthur would turn into the whiny Monkey-man that Zaphod can't stand. It's easy to see why Tricia McMillan would go off with Zapod as Phil over this wet blanket, well, towel. Trillian here has the same thought -- and if we're given a good explanation for that, I don't remember it.  Any of you have a guess (or a quotation) to justify Ford's improbable choice?
 
Now, I may have sounded less that totally satisfied with this book -- which is oddly true.  I do think the Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B story is pretty "blah" and goes on far too long (into the next book).  But it gives us gems like this:
It is a curious fact, and one to which no one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N-N-T'Nix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian "chinanto/mnigs" which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan "tzjin-anthony-ks" which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.
making it hard to complain too much.
 
There are a lot of laughs to be had here -- I didn't even mention Marvin's contributions, which were just gold. And any time with Adams is worth it. A must-read follow-up to the classic, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
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