The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
“Technology is the word we use to describe things we don’t understand.”
---- Douglas Adams
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" was originally a 1978 BBC radio series, written by Douglas Adams, which first premiered in the US on PBS in 1980. The subsequent TV show (available on DVD) recreates the insight and beauty of the radio broadcast with visuals that were precognizant and beyond “state of the art.” The book of the same name was actually a transcript of the original audio. The book pales by comparison to the original radio episodes because of the genius of the audio effects. (The 2005 movie version was an abomination.)
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Quotes
The history of
warfare is similarly subdivided, although here the phases are Retribution,
Anticipation, and Diplomacy. Thus:
Anticipation: I'm going to kill you because I killed your brother.
Diplomacy: I'm going to kill
my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it.
Anyone who is
capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed
to do the job.
Numbers written on
restaurant bills within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same
mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other
parts of the 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.
"You know, 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!"
Human beings, who
are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of
others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
If you've done six
impossible things before breakfast, why not round it off with dinner at
Milliway's, the restaurant at the end of the universe?
The startling truth
finally became apparent, and it was this: Numbers written on restaurant
checks within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical
laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of
the Universe. This single statement took the scientific world by storm. So
many mathematical conferences got held in such good restaurants that many of
the finest minds of a generation died of obesity and heart failure, and the
science of mathematics was put back by years.
faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news,
which obeys its own set of laws.
Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash from point B to point A very fast. People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what's so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there and what's so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there.
They often wish that
people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be.
simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behavior of numbers.
Just as Einstein observed that space was not an absolute, but depended on the
observer's movement in space, and that time was not an absolute, but depended
on the observer's movement in time, so it is now realized that numbers are
not absolute, but depend on the observer's movement in restaurants.
It looked like
something resembling white marble, which was probably what it was: something
resembling white marble.
subject of death was in the air, but more as something to be avoided than
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 movements of
small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the
small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
Far out in the
uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of
the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance
of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little
blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive
that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea ...
nonabsolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved.
This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the
restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who
actually turn up, or to the number of people who subsequently join them after
the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see
who else has turned up.
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.
What I like about
deadlines is the lovely whooshing sound they make as they rush past.
Space is big. You
just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean,
you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store, but that's
just peanuts to space.