From the book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”
And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nail to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café 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 terrible, stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost for ever.
“Mr Dent,” he said.
“Hello? Yes?” said Arthur.
“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, and stormed nervously off wondering why his brain was filled with a thousand hairy horsemen all shouting at him.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
It says that the effect of drinking a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
“… you’d better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”
“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“You ask a glass of water.”
Arthur thought about this.
“Ford,” he said.
“What’s this fish doing in my ear?”
“It’s translating for you. It’s a Babel fish. Look it up in the book if you like.”
“Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincident 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 nonexistence 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.
“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.”
“Oh.” Ford carried on humming.
“Anyway,” said Trillian, turning back to the controls, “I didn’t pick them up.”
“What do you mean? Who picked them up then?”
“The ship did.”
“The ship did. All by itself.”
“While we were in Improbability Drive.”
“But that’s incredible.”
“No, Zaphod. Just very very improbable.”
“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 of those self-satisfied doors. Life! Don’t talk to me about life.”
“No one even mentioned it,” muttered Arthur irritably.
Zaphod leaped out of his seat.
“Then what’s happened to the missiles?” he said.
A new and astounding image appeared in the mirrors.
“They would appear,” said Ford doubtfully, “to have turned into a bowl of petunias and a very surprised-looking whale…”
Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again.
Trillian burst in through the door from her cabin.
“My white mice have escaped!” she said.
An expression of deep worry and concern failed to cross either of Zaphod’s faces.
“Nuts to your white mice,” he said.
Trillian glared an upset glare at him, and disappeared again.
It is possible that her remark would have commanded greater attention had it been generally realized that human beings were only the third most intelligent life form present on the planet Earth, instead of (as was generally thought by most independent observers) the second.
“Life,” said Marvin dolefully, “loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it.”
He woke the robot up because even a manically depressed robot is better to talk to than nobody.
“Night’s falling,” he said. “Look, robot, the stars are coming out.”
The robot obediently looked at them, then looked back.
“I know,” he said. “Wretched, isn’t it?”
“But that sunset! I’ve never seen anything anything like it in my wildest dreams …the two suns! It was like mountains of fire boiling into space.”
“I’ve seen it,” said Marvin. “It’s rubbish.”
“We only ever had the one sun at home,” preserved Arthur. “I come from a planet called Earth, you know.”
“I know,” said Marvin, “you keep going on about it. It sounds awful.”
“Ah no, it was a beautiful place.”
“Did it have oceans?”
“Oh yes,” said Arthur with a sigh, “great wide rolling blue oceans…”
“Can’t bear oceans,” said Marvin.
“Tell me,” inquired Arthur, “do you get on well with other robots?”
“Hate them,” said Marvin.
The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the “Star-Spangled Banner,” but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish.
“The Earth…” whispered Arthur.
“Well, the Earth Mark Two in fact,” said Slartibartfast cheerfully. “We are making a copy from our original blueprints.”
“…I was most upset to hear of its destruction.”
“You were upset!”
“Yes. Five minutes later and it wouldn’t have mattered so much. It was a quite shocking cock-up.”
“Huh?” said Arthur.
“The mice were furious.”
“The mice were furious?”
“Oh yes,” said the old man mildly.
“Yes, well, so I expect were the dogs and cats and duckbilled platypuses, but…”
“Ah, but they hadn’t paid for it, you see, had they?”
“O Deep Thought computer,” he said. “The task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you tell us…” he paused, “the Answer!”
“The Answer?” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to what?”
“Life!” urged Fook.
“The Universe!” said Lunkwill.
“Everything!” they said in chorus.
Deep Thought paused for a moment’s reflection.
“Tricky,” he said finally.
“But can you do it?”
Again, a significant pause.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought, “I can do it.”
“There is an answer?” said Fook with breathless excitement.
“A simple answer?” added Lunkwill.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought. “Life, the Universe, and Everything. There is an answer. But,” he added, “I’ll have to think about it.”
“…the program will take me a little while to run.”
Fook glanced impatiently at his watch.
“How long?” he said.
“Seven and a half million years,” said Deep Thought.
Lunkwill and Fook blinked at each other.
“Seven and a half million years!” they cried in chorus.
“Yes,” declaimed Deep Thought, “I said I’d have to think about it, didn’t I?”
He gestured Arthur toward a chair which looked as if it had been made out of the rib cage of a stegosaurus.
“It was made out of the rib cage of a stegosaurus,” explained the old man as he pottered about…
“Good morning,” said Deep Thought at last.
“Er… good morning, O Deep Thought,” said Loonquawl nervously, “do you have… er, that is…”
“An answer for you?” interrupted Deep Thought majestically. “Yes. I have.”
The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.
“There really is one?” breathed Phouchg.
“There really is one,” confirmed Deep Thought.
“To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?”
“Though I don’t think,” added Deep Thought, “that you’re going to like it.”
“All right,” said Deep Thought. The Answer to the Great Question…”
“Of Life, the Universe and Everything…” said Deep Thought.
“Is…” said Deep Thought, and paused.
“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
“Do you want med to kick you?” said Ford.
“Would it give you a lot of pleasure?” said Zaphod, blearily.
“Nor me. So what’s the point? Stop bugging me.” Zaphod curled himself up.
For thousands more years, the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across – which happened to be the Earth – where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.
“That ship hated me,” he said dejectedly, indicating the policecraft.
“That ship?” said Ford in sudden excitement. “What happened to it? Do you know?”
“It hated me because I talked to it.”
“You talked to it?” exclaimed Ford. “What do you mean you talked to it?”
“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, and stalked off back to the Heart of Gold.
From the book “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 there, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another which states that this has already happened.
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
“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!”