The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- For the 2005 film of the same name, see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (film)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 - 11 May 2001) Started as a comedy radio play on the BBC and expanded into a TV series, a series of novels, and a feature film. The story follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, the last human who hitched a ride off Earth moments before it was destroyed to make way for an interstellar bypass.
- 1 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (novel)
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Chapter 1
- 1.3 Chapter 2
- 1.4 Chapter 3
- 1.5 Chapter 4
- 1.6 Chapter 5
- 1.7 Chapter 6
- 1.8 Chapter 7
- 1.9 Chapter 8
- 1.10 Chapter 9
- 1.11 Chapter 11
- 1.12 Chapter 12
- 1.13 Chapter 13
- 1.14 Chapter 15
- 1.15 Chapter 17
- 1.16 Chapter 18
- 1.17 Chapter 20
- 1.18 Chapter 22
- 1.19 Chapter 23
- 1.20 Chapter 24
- 1.21 Chapter 25
- 1.22 Chapter 27
- 1.23 Chapter 30
- 1.24 Chapter 34
- 1.25 Chapter 35
- 2 The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- 3 Life, the Universe and Everything
- 4 So Long And Thanks for All the Fish
- 5 Mostly Harmless
- 6 Radio series
- 7 Miscellaneous
- 8 Characters
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (novel)
- This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
- And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change [...].
- "What do you mean, why's it got to be built?" he said. "It's a bypass. You've got to build bypasses." –Mr Prosser
- Mr Prosser: "But the plans were on display..."
Arthur: "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."
Mr Prosser: "That's the display department."
Arthur: "With a torch."
Mr Prosser: "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."
Arthur: "So had the stairs."
Mr Prosser: "But look, you found the notice didn't you?"
Arthur: "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."
- "Some factual information for you. Have you any idea how much damage that bulldozer would suffer if I just let it roll straight over you?"
"How much?" said Arthur.
"None at all," said Mr Prosser.
- He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
- "The mere thought," growled Mr Prosser, "hadn't even begun to speculate," he continued, settling himself back, "about the merest possibility of crossing my mind."
- [The Guide] says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
- "Six pints of bitter," said Ford Prefect to the barman of the Horse and Groom. "And quickly please, the world's about to end."
- "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
"Very deep," said Arthur, "you should send that in to the Reader's Digest. They've got a page for people like you."
- [The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy] looked insanely complicated, and this was one of the reasons why the snug plastic cover it fitted into had the words DON'T PANIC printed on it in large friendly letters.
- The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.
- A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
- More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc, etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
- The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
- Many had seen it as clinching proof that the whole of known creation had finally gone bananas.
- "That is really amazing," he said. "That really is truly amazing. That is so amazingly amazing I think I'd like to steal it." –Zaphod
- "How do you feel?" he asked him.
"Like a military academy," said Arthur, "bits of me keep on passing out."
- Ford stood up. "We're safe," he said.
"Oh good," said Arthur.
"We're in a small galley cabin," said Ford, "in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet."
"Ah," said Arthur, "this is obviously some strange usage of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of."
- One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working. After a while he abandoned this one as well as being obstructively cynical.
- Ford: "It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
Arthur: "What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
Ford: "You ask a glass of water."
- Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
- The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
- "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
- "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
- "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
- "Well for God's sake I hope you managed to rectify that a bit."
"Oh yes, well I managed to transmit a new entry off to the editor. He had to trim it a bit, but it's still an improvement."
"And what does it say now?" asked Arthur.
"Mostly harmless," admitted Ford with a slightly embarrassed cough.
"Mostly harmless!" shouted Arthur.
- "I don't want to die now!" he yelled. "I've still got a headache! I don't want to go to heaven with a headache, I'd be all cross and wouldn't enjoy it!" –Arthur
- "You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
"Why, what did she tell you?"
"I don't know, I didn't listen."
- "Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."
- "Ford," he said, "you're turning into a penguin. Stop it." –Arthur
- "Please do not be alarmed," it said, "by anything you see or hear around you. You are bound to feel some initial ill effects as you have been rescued from certain death at an improbability level of two to the power two hundred and seventy-six thousand to one against – possibly much higher. We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure of what is normal anyway."
- "Five to one against and falling..." she said, "four to one against and falling...three to one...two...one...probability factor of one to one...we have normality, I repeat we have normality." She turned her microphone off – then turned it back on, with a slight smile and continued: "Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem." –Trillian
- "Yeah, well that's a very sweet thought Trillian," complained Zaphod, "but do you really think it's wise under the circumstances? I mean, here we are on the run and everything, we must have the police of half the Galaxy after us by now, and we stop to pick up hitch hikers. OK, so ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, yeah?"
- "No, no Marvin," lilted Trillian, "that's just fine, really...just part of life." [...]
"Life," said Marvin, "don't talk to me about life."
- "Come on," he droned, "I've been ordered to take you down to the bridge. Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't." –Marvin
- "Sorry, did I say something wrong?" said Marvin, dragging himself on regardless. "Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I don't know why I bother to say it, oh God I'm so depressed. Here's another one of those self-satisfied doors. Life! Don't talk to me about life."
- "[...] we'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent life forms everywhere ... and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys."
- "If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now." –Zaphod
- One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid. He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was so – but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence the act. He preferred people to be puzzled rather than contemptuous. This above all appeared to Trillian to be genuinely stupid[...]
- When you're cruising down the road in the fast lane and you lazily sail past a few hard driving cars and are feeling pretty pleased with yourself and then accidentally change down from fourth to first instead of third thus making your engine leap out of your bonnet in a rather ugly mess, it tends to throw you off your stride in much the same way that this remark threw Ford Prefect off his.
- He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
- Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again.
- "Life," said Marvin dolefully, "loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it."
- He had an odd feeling of being like a man in the act of adultery who is surprised when the woman's husband wanders into the room, changes his trousers, passes a few idle remarks about the weather and leaves again.
- For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons.
- Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for tidbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means shortly before the Vogons arrived.
- The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the 'Star Spangled Banner', but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish.
- Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity - distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless.
- "Look," said Arthur, "would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?"
- "That's right," shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
- "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
- "The Answer to the Great Question, of Life, the Universe and Everything"
- "Perhaps I'm old and tired," he continued, "but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied." —Slartibartfast
- "[...] I'd far rather be happy than right any day." —Slartibartfast
- "What's up?"
"I don't know," said Marvin, "I've never been there."
- "Simple. I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself in to its external computer feed. I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it," said Marvin.
"And what happened?" pressed Ford.
"It committed suicide," said Marvin [...].
- It said: 'The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.
"For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question How can we eat? the second by the question Why do we eat? and the third by the question Where shall we have lunch?"
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
- The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
- "Share and Enjoy" is the company motto of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years.
- The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read "Go stick your head in a pig", and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
- Quite how Zaphod Beeblebrox arrived at the idea of holding a seance at this point is something he was never quite clear on.
Obviously the subject of death was in the air, but more as something to be avoided than harped upon.
Possibly the horror that Zaphod experienced at the prospect of being reunited with his deceased relatives led on to the thought that they might just feel the same way about him and, what's more, be able to do something about helping to postpone this reunion.
- "Concentrate," hissed Zaphod, "on his name."
"What is it?" asked Arthur.
"Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth."
"Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth. Concentrate!"
"Yeah. Listen, I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox, my father was Zaphod Beeblebrox the Second, my grandfather Zaphod Beeblebrox the Third..."
"There was an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine. Now concentrate!"
- The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.
- "Look," said Zaphod, "I'm up to here with cool, OK? I am so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis."
- "Listen, three eyes," he said, "don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal." —Zaphod
- "Beeblebrox, over here!" he shouted.
"No," called Zaphod, "Beeblebrox over here! Who are you?"
"A friend!" shouted back the man. He ran towards Zaphod.
"Oh yeah?" said Zaphod. "Anyone's friend in particular, or just generally well disposed to people?"
- "What a depressingly stupid machine," said Marvin and trudged away.
- "If I ever meet myself," said Zaphod, "I'll hit myself so hard I won't know what's hit me."
- "Hey," he said, "is that really a piece of fairy cake?"
He ripped the small piece of confectionery from the sensors with which it was surrounded.
"If I told you how much I needed this," he said ravenously, "I wouldn't have time to eat it." —Zaphod
- "I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body?"
- "Shee, you guys are so unhip it's a wonder your bums don't fall off." —Zaphod
- "The first ten million years were the worst," said Marvin, "and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline."
- "Er..." he said, "hello. Er, look, I'm sorry I'm a bit late. I've had the most ghastly time, all sorts of things cropping up at the last moment."
He seemed nervous of the expectant awed hush. He cleared his throat.
"Er, how are we for time?" he said, "have I just got a min—"
And so the Universe ended.
- It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
- The ship was rocking and swaying sickeningly as Ford and Zaphod tried to wrest control from the autopilot. The engines howled and whined like tired children in a supermarket.
- "Making it up?" said Marvin, swivelling his head in a parody of astonishment, "Why should I want to make anything up? Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it."
- The trouble with most forms of transport, he thought, is basically one of them not being worth all the bother. On Earth – when there had been an Earth, before it was demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass – the problem had been with cars. The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm's way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another – particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar, full of smoke and short of fish.
- The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. "Make it evil," he'd been told. "Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with."
- The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
- "How can I tell," said the man, "that the past isn't a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?" —The Ruler of the Universe
- "[...] one's never alone with a rubber duck." —Captain of the Golgafrinchans
- "Well, you’re obviously being totally naive of course", said the girl, "When you’ve been in marketing as long as I have, you'll know that before any new product can be developed it has to be properly researched. We’ve got to find out what people want from fire, how they relate to it, what sort of image it has for them."
The crowd were tense. They were expecting something wonderful from Ford.
"Stick it up your nose," he said.
"Which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know," insisted the girl, "Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?"
- "And the wheel," said the Captain, "What about this wheel thingy? It sounds a terribly interesting project."
"Ah," said the marketing girl, "Well, we're having a little difficulty there."
"Difficulty?" exclaimed Ford. "Difficulty? What do you mean, difficulty? It's the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!"
The marketing girl soured him with a look.
"Alright, Mr Wiseguy," she said, "you're so clever, you tell us what colour it should be."
Life, the Universe and Everything
- The regular early morning yell of horror was the sound of Arthur Dent waking up and suddenly remembering where he was.
- "Africa was very interesting," said Ford, "I behaved very oddly there." [...] "I took up being cruel to animals," he said airily. "But only," he added, "as a hobby."
"Oh yes," said Arthur, warily.
"Yes," Ford assured him. "I won't disturb you with the details because they would—"
"Disturb you. But you may be interested to know that I am singlehandedly responsible for the evolved shape of the animal you came to know in later centuries as a giraffe."
- He gazed keenly into the distance and looked as if he would quite like the wind to blow his hair back dramatically at that point, but the wind was busy fooling around with some leaves a little way off.
- "I have detected," he said, "disturbances in the wash." [...]
"The wash?" said Arthur.
"The space-time wash," said Ford. [...]
Arthur nodded, and then cleared his throat. "Are we talking about," he asked cautiously, "some sort of Vogon laundromat, or what are we talking about?"
"Eddies," said Ford, "in the space-time continuum."
"Ah," nodded Arthur, "is he? Is he?" He pushed his hands into the pocket of his dressing gown and looked knowledgeably into the distance.
"What?" said Ford.
"Er, who," said Arthur, "is Eddy, then, exactly, then?"
- "There!" said Ford, shooting out his arm. "There, behind that sofa!"
Arthur looked. Much to his surprise, there was a velvet paisley-covered Chesterfield sofa in the field in front of them. He boggled intelligently at it. Shrewd questions sprang into his mind.
"Why," he said, "is there a sofa in that field?"
"I told you!" shouted Ford, leaping to his feet. "Eddies in the space-time continuum!"
"And this is his sofa, is it?" asked Arthur, struggling to his feet and, he hoped, though not very optimistically, to his senses.
- "My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre," Ford muttered to himself, "and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
- There is a moment in every dawn when light floats, there is the possibility of magic. Creation holds its breath.
The moment passed as it regularly did on Squornshellous Zeta, without incident.
- Very few things actually get manufactured these days, because in an infinitely large Universe such as, for instance, the one in which we live, most things one could possibly imagine, and a lot of things one would rather not, grow somewhere.
- "My capacity for happiness," he added, "you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first." —Marvin
- "You may not instantly see why I bring the subject up, but that is because my mind works so phenomenally fast, and I am at a rough estimate thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number."
"Er, five," said the mattress.
"Wrong," said Marvin. "You see?"
The mattress was much impressed by this and realized that it was in the presence of a not unremarkable mind.
- "I would like to say that it is a very great pleasure, honour and privilege for me to open this bridge, but I can't because my lying circuits are all out of commission." —Marvin
- [...] the renewed shock had nearly made him spill his drink. He drained it quickly before anything serious happened to it. He then had another quick one to follow the first one down and check that it was all right.
"Freedom," he said aloud.
Trillian came on to the bridge at that point and said several enthusiastic things on the subject of freedom.
"I can't cope with it," Zaphod said darkly, and sent a third drink down to see why the second hadn't yet reported on the condition of the first. He looked uncertainly at both of her and preferred the one on the right.
He poured a drink down his other throat with the plan that it would head the previous one off at the pass, join forces with it, and together they would get the second to pull itself together. Then all three would go off in search of the first, give it a good talking to and maybe a bit of a sing as well.
He felt uncertain as to whether the fourth drink had understood all that, so he sent down a fifth to explain the plan more fully and a sixth for moral support.
- There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. [...] Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
- He sat up sharply and started to pull clothes on. He decided that there must be someone in the Universe feeling more wretched, miserable and forsaken than himself, and he determined to set out and find him.
Halfway to the bridge it occurred to him that it might be Marvin, and he returned to bed.
- They obstinately persisted in their absence.
- It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
- "That young girl," Marvin added unexpectedly, "is one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting."
- He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
So Long And Thanks for All the Fish
- Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost forever.
This is her story.
Exactly the same as the prologue in the first book, except that this is her story.
- He pounded his steering wheel, kicked the floor, thumped his casette player until it suddenly started playing Barry Manilow, thumped it until it stopped again, and swore and swore and swore and swore and swore. -c. 9, Rob McKenna's actions while testing his windshield wipers.
- The problem is, or rather one of the problems, for there are many, a sizable number of which are continually clogging up the civil, commercial, and criminal courts in all areas of the Galaxy, and especially, where possible, the more corrupt ones, this. The previous sentence makes sense. That is not the problem. This is: Change. Read it through again and you'll get it.
- Ford: "Life," he said, "is like a grapefruit."
Creature: "Er, how so?"
Ford: "Well, it's sort of orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It's got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast."
- "This Arthur Dent," comes the cry from the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and has even now been found inscribed on a deep space probe thought to originate from an alien galaxy at a distance too hideous to contemplate, "what is he, man or mouse? Is he interested in nothing more than tea and the wider issues of life? Has he no spirit? Has he no passion? Does he not, to put it in a nutshell, fuck?"
Those who wish to know should read on. Others may wish to skip on to the last chapter which is a good bit and has Marvin in it. - c. 25
- The sign said:
Hold stick near centre of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.
'It seemed to me,' said Wonko the Sane, 'that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.' - c. 31; Wonko the Sane telling Arthur and Fenchurch about the Asylum
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [...] says of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation products that 'it is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all.'
'In other words - and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation's Galaxy-wide success is founded - their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.' - c. 35
- "Ha! What do you know of always? You say 'always' to me, who, because of the silly little errands your organic life forms keep on sending me through time on, am now thirty-seven times older than the Universe itself? Pick your words with a little more care," he said, "and tact." - c. 40
- "We apologise for the inconvenience", God's Final Message to His Creation, written in letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, Sevorbeupstry, on planet Preliumtarn, Galactic Sector QQ7 Active J Gamma. - c. 40 (the message is spelled out letter by letter over several paragraphs)
- "I think [...] I feel good about it." - c. 40; the last words of Marvin, about God's Final Message to His Creation.
- There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Epilogue
- Anything that happens, happens.
- Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
- Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
- It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though.
- One of the problems has to do with the speed of light and the difficulties involved in trying to exceed it. You can't. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. -c. 1
- The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79. - c. 2
- It wasn't merely that their left hand didn't always know what their right hand was doing, so to speak; quite often their right hand had a pretty hazy notion as well. - c. 14
- "Why do you need to think? Can't we just sit and go budumbudumbudum with our lips for a bit?" - Mostly Harmless, c. 18
- A tremendous feeling of peace came over him. He knew that at last, for once and forever, it was now all, finally, over.- c. 25
- The thing he realized about the windows was this: because they had been converted into openable windows after they had first been designed to be impregnable, they were, in fact, much less secure than if they had been designed as openable windows in the first place. - c. ?
- A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof was to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. - c. ?
- Old Thrashbarg was surprised at how many spaceship crashes he now had to weave into his stories to keep everyone from rushing off to watch Random's wrist. - c. ?
- We live in strange times.
We also live in strange places: each in a universe of our own. The people with whom we populate our universes are the shadows of whole other universes intersecting with our own. Being able to glance out into this bewildering complexity of infinite recursion and say thing like, "Oh, hi, Ed! Nice tan. How's Carol?" involves a great deal of filtering skill for which all conscious entities have eventually to develop a capacity in order to protect themselves from the comtemplation of the chaos through which they see the and world tumble. So give your kid a break, okay? - c. ?; Extract from Practical Parenting in a Fractally Demented Universe
- The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair. - c. ?
- The universe is a lot more complicated than you might think even if you start from a position of thinking that its pretty damn complicated to begin with. - Mostly Harmless, The Guide, Mark II, c. ?
- "PANIC" - words written on the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Mrk II in small alarming letters
- "Ford, there is an infinite number of monkeys outside, who wants to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they have worked out." - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Shows- Fit the Second
- The Book: "It is said that his birth was marked by earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, firestorms, the explosion of three neighbouring stars, and, shortly afterwards, by the issuing of over six and three quarter million writs for damages from all of the major landowners in his Galactic sector. However, the only person by whom this is said is Beeblebrox himself, and there are several possible theories to explain this." — Radio: Fit The Ninth
- "I seem to be having this tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle. As soon as I reach some kind of definite policy about what is my kind of music and my kind of restaurant and my kind of overdraft, people start blowing up my kind of planet and throwing me out of their kind of spaceships!" - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Shows, Fit the Fourth
- The history of every major galactic civilization has passed through three distinct and recognisable phases: those of survival, inquiry, and sophistication. Otherwise known as the ‘How’, ‘Why’, and ‘Where’ phases. For instance, the first phase is characterised by the question: “How can we eat?” The second by the question: “Why do we eat?” And the third by the question: “Where should we have lunch?” The history of warfare is similarly subdivided though here the phases are retribution, anticipation, and diplomacy. Thus, retribution: “I’m going to kill you because you killed my brother.” Anticipation: “I’m going to kill you because I killed your brother.” And diplomacy: “I’m going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it.” Meanwhile, the Earthman Arthur Dent, to whom all this can be of only academic interest, as his only brother was long ago nibbled to death by an okapi, is about to be plunged into a real intergalactic war. (Fit the Sixth.)
- Will everything tie up neatly or will it be just like life: quite interesting in parts, but no substitute for the real thing? (Fit the Eleventh)
- The other Shaltanac's joopleberry shrub is always a more mauvy shade of pinky-russet. - The Shaltanac equivalent of "the other man's grass is always greener", Fit the Seventh
- Life, as many people have spotted, is, of course, terribly unfair. For instance, the first time the Heart of Gold ever crossed the galaxy the massive improbability field it generated caused two-hundred-and-thirty-nine thousand lightly-fried eggs to materialise in a large, wobbly heap on the famine-struck land of Poghril in the Pansel system. The whole Poghril tribe had just died out from famine, except for one man who died of cholesterol-poisoning some weeks later. The Poghrils, always a pessimistic race, had a little riddle, the asking of which used to give them the only tiny twinges of pleasure they ever experienced. One Poghril would ask another Poghril, “Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?” To which the second Poghril would reply “I don’t know, why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?” To which the first Poghril would reply, “I don’t know either - wretched isn’t it?” (Fit the Ninth)
- What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move with no hope of rescue:
Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far.
Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far (which, given your current circumstances, seems more likely):
Consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer. (Fit the Eighth)
- "If I had two heads like you, Zaphod, I could have hours of fun banging them against a wall." - The Hitchhiker's Guide the Galaxy Radio Series.
- Zaphod: "Can it Trillian, I'm trying to die with dignity."
Marvin: "I'm just trying to die." - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , Fit The Sixth
- Marvin: "And then of course I've got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side."
Arthur: "Is that so?"
Marvin: "Oh yes. I mean I've asked for them to be replaced, but no one ever listens."
Arthur: "I can imagine" - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Fit The Second
- "I ache, therefore I am." - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Fit the Eleventh
- "Do you want me to sit in a corner and rust or just fall apart where I'm standing?" - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Fit The Second
- "Was I amongst friends when the Haggunenon admiral evolved into a life pod and everybody aboard his flagship escaped leaving me aboard as it steered itself into the nearest star?
Was I amongst friends when I was left to walk in circles on a swamp planet?
Left to park cars outside a restaurant for millenia?
Left for the Krikkit robots to use for batting practice?
Friend? I don't think I ever came across one of those, sorry, can't help you there." - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Fit The Twenty-Second
- Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner. - (From the TV Series, 1st Episode)
- "OK, so you think that time flows that way, do you? Interesting." - The Hitchhiker's Guide Mk. 2
- "It goes like this. Let's see now: 'Protect me from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen.' That's it. It's what you pray silently inside yourself anyway, so you may as well have it out in the open."
Arthur: "Hmmm, Well, thank you - "
Old Man: "There's another prayer that goes with it that's very important, so you'd better jot this down, too."
Old Man: "It goes, 'Lord, lord, lord...' It's best to put that bit in, just in case. You can never be too sure. 'Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. Amen...' And that's it. Most of the trouble people get into in life comes from missing out that last part.'" - Old Man Oracle's prayer given to Arthur Dent
- The oracle hit himself on the thumb and began speaking in tongues. - The oracle as he is hammering a nail
- Old woman Oracle: "Can you help me pull out the photocopier?"
OWO: "The photocopier. It's solar-powered, but I have to keep it in the cave so the birds don't shit on it." - c. ?
- ...and he would then enter the long dark teatime of the soul. - (about Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged)
- Deep Thought: "The answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is..."
Philosophers (slightly higher):"Yes?..."
Deep Thought: "IS..."
Philosophers (really high):"Yes?..."
Deep Thought: 42.
Philosopher 1:"We are gonna get lynched y'know that?"
- "Where God Went Wrong", "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes", "Who is this God Person Anyway?", and "Well That About Wraps It Up for God" . - The four books on God by 'Oolon Colluphid'
- "Who said anything about panicking?" snapped Arthur. "This is still just the culture shock. You wait till I've settled down into the situation and found my bearings. Then I'll start panicking!"
- "I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed."
- [about a Magrathean sunset that Arthur finds magnificent] "I've seen it. It's rubbish."
- "I've got this pain in all the diodes down my left side".
- [I've been] "In a deep dark hole. I climbed out because I started to like it too much"
- "Funny, how just when you think life can't possibly get any worse it suddenly does."
- What do you think I am, completely without any moral whatsits, what are they called, those moral things?
- Young Zaphod Plays it Safe
- It just told me what I already knew, that I'm a great and amazing guy, didn't I tell you baby, I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox.
- About being in the total perspective vortex