- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- The Salmon of Doubt
Driving a Porsche in London is like bringing a Ming vase to a football game.
You are disoriented. Blackness swims toward you like a school of eels who have just seen something that eels like a lot.
When you’re a student or whatever, and you can’t afford a car, or a plane fare, or even a train fare, all you can do is hope that someone will stop and pick you up.
At the moment we can’t afford to go to other planets. We don’t have the ships to take us there. There may be other people out there (I don’t have any opinions about Life Out There, I just don’t know) but it’s nice to think that one could, even here and now, be whisked away just by hitchhiking.
It was a battered yellow Citroën 2CV which had had one careful owner but also three suicidally reckless ones.
You would probably not say that he was sleeping the sleep of the just, unless you meant the just asleep, but it was certainly the sleep of someone who was not fooling about when he climbed into bed at night and turned off the light.
Dirk gave a gracious bow of his head to the man’s retreating back, and then hurried on, opening the newspaper at the horoscope page as he did so.
“Virtually everything you decide today will be wrong,” it said bluntly.
One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work–supposing you’re trying to find out how a cat works–you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you’ve got in your hands is a non-working cat. The cat wasn’t a sort of clunky mechanism that was susceptible to our available tools of analysis.
Tall. Tall and absurdly thin. And good natured. A bit like a preying mantis that doesn’t prey – A non-preying mantis if you like. A sort of genial mantis that’s given up preying and taken up tennis instead.
If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.
And no sneaky knocking down Mr. Dent’s house whilst he’s away, alright?
The suns blazed into the pitch of space and a low ghostly music floated through the bridge: Marvin was humming ironically because he hated humans so much.
I suddenly felt, well, terribly old as I watched a mudskipper hopping along with what now seemed to me like a wonderful sense of hopeless, boundless naive optimism. It had such a terribly, terribly, terribly long way to go. I hoped that if its descendant was sitting here on this beach in 350 million years’ time with a camera around its neck, it would feel that the journey had been worth it.
“I could hardly help it, could I?” he bellowed, “when the same thing kept happening, over and over and over again! Every life I ever lived, I got killed by Arthur Dent. Any world, any body, any time, I’m just getting settled down, along comes Arthur Dent – pow, he kills me.”
After nearly four years of total isolation he was so pleased and relieved to see Ford that he could almost cry. Ford was, on the other hand, an almost immediately annoying person.
“The Guide says there is an art to flying,” said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” He smiled weakly. He pointed at the knees of his trousers and held his arms up to show the elbows. They were all torn and worn through.
Ford looked stunned.
“Where have you been?” he demanded.
“Making some coffee,” said Arthur, still wearing his very placid face. He had long ago realized that the only way of being in Ford’s company successfully was to keep a large stock of very placid faces and wear them at all times.
One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidently becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can’t cope with.
It wasn’t his job to worry about that, though. It was his job to do his job, which was to do his job. If that led to a certain narrowness of vision and circularity of thought then it wasn’t his job to worry about such things.
‘Stotting’ is jumping upward with all four legs simultaneously. My advice: do not die until you’ve seen a large black poodle stotting in the snow.
People ask me what my favorite character is, to which the answer has usually been, after a long umm and a pause, ‘probably Marvin.’ It’s not something I strongly feel.
Well, no, not married as such, but yes, there is a specific girl that I’m not married to.
Is that robot yours? he said.
“No,” came a thin metallic voice from the crater, “I’m mine.”
“If you’d call it a robot,” muttered Arthur. “It’s more a sort of electronic sulking machine.”
[Arthur Dent] was about thirty as well, dark haired and never quite at ease with himself. The thing that used to worry him most was the fact that people always used to ask him what he was looking so worried about. He worked in local radio which he always used to tell his friends was a lot more interesting than they probably thought. It was, too – most of his friends worked in advertising.
Whatever Zaphod’s qualities of mind might include – dash, bravado, conceit – he was mechanically inept and could easily blow the ship up with an extravagant gesture. Trillian had come to suspect that the main reason why he had had such a wild and successful life that he never really understood the significance of anything he did.
My role, and one for which I was entirely qualified, was to be an extremely ignorant non-zoologist to whom everything that happened would come as a complete surprise.