I remember reading a nice SF book about 8-9 years ago but I can't remember its title or the author.

It was similar to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with a man, possibly a girl too, leaving the Earth after the planet was close to destruction / apocalypse. They travel from planet to planet in search of God or someone able to answer his fundamental questions about life. At one point, the hero drinks a sort of immortality potion that allows him to live for over 1000 years.

He manages to find God's planet in the end, which is a very bureaucratic place, and he asks why are things the way they are, with injustice, evil and so on, and he receives an answer similar to "Why not?"

Does this sound familiar to any of you?

[edit]It seems I'm not the only one searching for this book. I remember the humor in the book and the other details mentioned also sound familiar to me. Unfortunately, no answer was found on that site either

  • If you ever find out, I want to know. It sounds very similar to HHGttG (Sorry for the inconvenience)
    – Rob
    Aug 21, 2012 at 15:10
  • Sure, I usually answer my questions in cases such as this one. What's funny is that I started reading HHGttG yesterday and that made me remember this mysterious novel. I will probably find it, the book was translated in my native language and that doesn't happen for very obscure novels
    – BBog
    Aug 21, 2012 at 15:18
  • BBog: It depends. Lots of Soviet-era sci-fi books have more and better translations in Eastern European languages, than in English.
    – vsz
    Aug 21, 2012 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


Ah, I did some looking around. I think this is Venus on the Half-Shell, by Philip José Farmer, writing as Vonnegut's "Kilgore Trout".

  • YEP! That's the one, Venus on the Half-Shell!! What's stupid is that I had a feeling that the author was Philip Jose Farmer but after reading Riverworld and Dayworld I thought I'm probably wrong, there's no way he could write such a book
    – BBog
    Aug 22, 2012 at 7:00

The first thing that came to my mind was Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice. It has the humor, the man and woman (Alex and Margrethe), the religious aspects, multiple apocalypses and alternate realities, and (from your linked reference) was published in 1984.

I didn't see it mentioned on the linked page yet, so hopefully that's it.

  • 2
    Definitely not Job; Alex and Magrethe never leave the planet, nor is there any kind of Potion that he drinks to live a long time. Nor is there a quest for the meaning of life; Alex just keeps responding to what happens, and his only real intent, for much of the story, is to get home. (Even he admits he has no reason, just a homing instinct.) (Later, his goal become getting Margrethe back.) And he would have LOVED a 'Why Not' answer instead of the responses he got. It's an excellent book, tho :)
    – K-H-W
    Aug 21, 2012 at 16:46
  • Yes, it was Venus on the Half-Shell but Heinlen's book just got a spot on my to-read list :D I appreciate your answer, +1 for the recommendation
    – BBog
    Aug 22, 2012 at 7:05

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