The Short Version: Eddies in the space-time continuum throw Arthur and Ford back to the present, right into the middle of a cricket match at Lord’s. Turns out cricket is actually really offensive because some people from a planet called Krikkit once tried to kill everyone else (seriously) and their crazed robots are back. Slightly less hilarity and slightly more plot ensue.
The Review: Simon Brett, in the intro, mentions this book having the closest thing to a plot that can be found in the series-at-large… and while that’s true and while I know I was looking for that (see my Hitchhiker’s review), I find that the plot actually hampers this book. While there’s still plenty of entertainment to be had here, there’s something that the plot brings that automatically saps the characters. See, with a real plot, what the hell do the characters outside of the plot bring to the table? Nothing. Trillian’s got a bit part in this book and yet it’s a crucial one and as a result it all felt rather forced.
The cricket stuff is hilarious as was the guy-who-Arthur-keeps-killing (loved the way the petunia bowl comes back) bit… but Slartibartfast’s reappearance as a legit character in this book was (to me) unnecessary. Zaphod was sort of pointless for most of the book as well – having sort of ‘finished’ his story, he didn’t have much to do and, as a result, felt like a bit of a drag.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5. I mean, the book is still quite funny – the opening section with the prehistoric Arthur and Ford and Ford’s whole “I tried going crazy” was absolutely hilarious. It’s just that, well, you can only take so much before it feels forced. The thing about flying, for example, always felt forced to me. Yes it was entertainment but not of the caliber that the previous two books provided. Taking an intercessory pause before books 4 & 5 of the trilogy might not be a bad idea…