The restaurant at the end of the universe

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Engl .: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe ) is the second book from the five-part series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ( The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ) by Douglas Adams , the 1980 was released. The title refers to the fictional restaurant Milliways from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy .

In this restaurant “end” is understood in two senses. On the one hand, it is spatially located on the outermost edge, but above all, you can be guided over the temporal end of the universe (and back) in an “every evening” reality show . Here, as in other parts of his work, Douglas Adams plays quite freely with the traditional understanding of space and time, ironically targeting the curiosity of today's people.

The plot was originally written as a radio play by Adams and is also part of a BBC film adaptation of the same name .


The book takes up the storyline from the first part of the hitchhiker. Arthur, Marvin, Ford, Trillian and Zaphod are attacked by the Vogons as soon as they leave Magrathea . The attempt to escape with their revolutionary drive system, the infinite improbability drive, fails because Arthur paralyzed the ship's computer by asking for a cup of tea.

Shortly before they were destroyed, Zaphod had the idea of holding a seance to ask the ghost of his dead great-grandfather for help. This actually appears, but is quite angry about the disturbance and also quite dissatisfied with Zaphod in general, which is why he stops the time and thus prevents the destruction of the ship, but immediately teleports Marvin and Zaphod to Ursa Minor Beta , while Arthur, Ford and Trillian, idly and helplessly stuck in the heart of gold in a time bubble.

On Ursa Minor Beta, Zaphod and Marvin find the Anhalter's publishing house and go in search of Zarniwoop, the current editor-in-chief. When they reach his office on the 15th floor, the entire building is kidnapped by a unit of the dreaded Frogstar warriors and after Frogstar B accommodated. While Zaphod and Marvin wait in Zarniwoop's office, they are joined by a stranger who calls himself Roosta and knows where his towel is. Roosta explains to them that they absolutely have to leave the building through the window after landing, which they do when they arrive on Frog Star B.

After a daring climb, they meet Gargravarr at the foot of the building, who explains to Zaphod that his sentence for stealing the Hearts of Gold is now being carried out. The punishment is that Zaphod is put into the total vortex of vision. The total transparency vortex is a cruel machine that destroys every mind by showing the condemned his own greatness in relation to the universe. But the truth, how unimportant and small a person is, the understanding cannot bear.

Zaphod, however, happily walks out of the vortex again, from which he only learned that he is the most important person in the universe, which he already knew. A short time later they meet Zarniwoop in an old spaceship hangar, who has been waiting for them there all the time. This explains to Zaphod that you are in an artificial universe created especially for Zaphod. In this universe, Zaphod is the most important existing living being, which is why the vortex of vision is completely harmless to him.

Zarniwoop only went to all the trouble to gain control of the Hearts of Gold through Zaphod. He carries this ignorant, shrunk to the size of a trouser pocket, with him the whole time. After Zarniwoop returns the ship to its true size, Zaphod, Trillian, Arthur and Ford flee by specifying the closest restaurant to the infinite improbability drive.

The improbability drive interprets the instruction closest in purely spatial terms and brings the hearts of gold to Milliways, the restaurant at the end of the universe, which will have been built on the rubble of Frog Star B at the edge of time. As it turns out, Marvin was outside the ship during the time jump , so he has to wait billions of years in the restaurant's underground garage. Ford meets his old buddy Hotblack Desiato, who is now a member of Desaster Area, the most famous and loudest rock band in the universe. However, he has been playing dead for a year for tax reasons and does not talk to Ford.

After dinner, Ford and Zaphod steal the show spaceship from Desaster Area, which turns out to be remote-controlled. In order not to be plunged into the sun with the ship, they use the teleporter to escape. However, since this was never intended for use, it has no way of entering a destination. Arthur and Ford land on “Arche B” - a seed ship - on the planet Golgafrincham, which shortly afterwards crash-lands on prehistoric earth. After Arthur and Ford realize where they are, they realize that humanity was descended not from the Neanderthals but from the crew and passengers of Ark B, which made the Big Question program flawed from the start. Zaphod and Trillian land on the Heart of Gold, which is now controlled by Zarniwoop. Together with him they go in search of the one who really rules the universe.

Original plot

Adams changed many elements of the radio drama slightly while writing the novel. So was z. B. from the "little furry creatures from the Crab Nebula" in the novel "little furry creatures from Alpha Centauri". The most significant change, however, is the completely different plot between the departure from Milliway's and the teleport to the Archeship from Golgafrincham. This action is described below.

The black spaceship that Zaphod and Ford break into is not the show spaceship from Desaster Area, but the flagship of the Haggunenons from Vississitus III on the way back to a space battle. Since the Haggunenons are shapeshifters , the protagonists on board have to deal with, among other things, a talking leopard, a shoebox and an armchair that is the admiral. The Haggunennons are an extremely aggressive race that other beings despise because they can put themselves in their shoes. As a result, Arthur, Ford, Trillian, Zaphod and Marvin are in danger of being discovered as intruders and are looking for a way to hide from the crew, as they cannot pretend they are the admiral forever. On their way through the spaceship, they finally come across the admiral, who has transformed into a copy of the voracious babbling beetle von Traal, whereupon they panicly plunge into the escape pods, which they teleport off the spaceship.

The attack of the Vogons after leaving Magrathea and the following actions on Ursa Minor Beta and Frog Star B (Chapters 1–13), on the other hand, do not appear in the radio play or the television series. There, after heavy fire by the police, the computer system on Magrathea explodes, which throws the travelers through time directly into the Milliways, which in this version was built on the ruins of Magrathea. Since, according to Marvin, the heart of gold had long been reworked into silverware by this time, they had to steal another means of transport for the way back, which happened to be the Haguenon flagship or the show ship of Desaster Area.


Adams got the idea for the restaurant at the end of the universe while listening to Grand Hotel , a song by Procol Harum , in which there is a large orchestra in the middle for apparently no reason.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Alternative plot of chapters 20 and 21 in the radio play ( memento of the original from December 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Adams, Douglas: Salmon in Doubt , 2003. P. 60f.