- 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.
The difference between us and a computer is that, the computer is blindingly stupid, but it is capable of being stupid many, many million times a second.
“Yes it is,” said the Professor. “Wait—” he motioned to Richard, who was about to go out again and investigate— “let it be. It won’t be long.”
Richard stared in disbelief. “You say there’s a horse in your bathroom, and all you can do is stand there naming Beatles songs?”
“It’s at times like this, when I’m stuck in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelegeuse about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was little.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen!”
[The Guide] 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.
Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippy, good timer, (crook? quite possibly), manic self-publicist, terribly bad at personal relationships, often thought to be completely out to lunch.
Somewhere not too far from here, toward the middle of the island, there may have been heaven on earth, but hell had certainly set up business on its porch.
“I want to hear your speech,” said the mattress.
“This is what I said. I said, ‘I would like to say that it is a very great pleasure, honor and privilege for me to open this bridge, but I can’t because my lying circuits are all out of commission. I hate and despise you all. I now declare this hapless cyberstructure open to the unthinkable abuse of all who wantonly cross her.’ And I plugged myself into the opening circuits.”
Marvin paused, remembering the moment.
Arthur lay in startled stillness on the acceleration couch. He wasn’t certain whether he had just got space-sickness or religion.
Any sophisticated knowledgable person, who had knocked about, seen a few things, would probably have remarked on how much the craft looked like a filing cabinet–a large and recently burgled filing cabinet lying on its back with its drawers in the air and flying.
The islanders, whose experience was of a different kind, were instead struck by how little it looked like a lobster.
He had read somewhere that the Eskimos had over two hundred words for snow, without which their conversation would probably have got very monotonous. So they would distinguish between thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that came in flurries, snow that came in drifts, snow that came in on the bottom of your neighbour’s boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remember from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you were going out fishing, and snow that despite all your efforts to train them, the huskies have pissed on.
She was a rapidly rising anchor. She had what it took: great hair, a profound understanding of strategic lip gloss, the intelligence to understand the world and a tiny secret interior deadness which meant she didn’t care.
The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.
I had to go back and transcribe all of my speech notes from my Newton, which is what I usually use for giving speeches from, because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to read it in this light, so I had to transcribe the notes onto paper. Unfortunately, my Newton is better at reading my handwriting than I am. So, there may be a pause while I try and decipher what I’ve written.
The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all his customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who by peddling second-hand, second-rate technology, led them all into it in the first place.
“Gravity,” said Dirk with a slightly dismissive shrug, “yes, there was that as well, I suppose. Though that, of course, was merely a discovery. It was there to be discovered.”
He took a penny out of his pocket and tossed it casually on to the pebbles that ran alongside the paved pathway. “You see?” he said, “They even keep it on at weekends. Someone was bound to notice sooner or later.”
“Life,” said Marvin dolefully, “loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it.”
Arthur glanced around him once more, and then down at himself, at the sweaty disheveled clothes he had been lying in the mud in on Thursday morning. “I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle,” he muttered to himself.
Talking to yourself is a sign of impending mental collapse.