- 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.
Anyone who confuses the story of a spaceship careening through space with the sinking of a ship in 1912 is probably very, very dumb. Not that I mind selling the game to very, very dumb people. Their money is as good as anyone else’s.
Well, it’s such a nice change not to be asked what I meant by 42, what my favourite character is or whether I’ve read any Terry Pratchett. (snore…)
In Islington you can hardly hurl a brick without hitting three antique shops, an estate agent and a bookshop.
“My God,” complained Arthur, “you’re talking about a positive mental attitude and you haven’t even had your planet demolished today.”
As soon as Mr. Prosser realized that he was substantially the loser after all, it was as if a weight lifted itself off his shoulders: this was more like the world as he knew it.
“Ford!” he said, “there’s an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they’ve worked out!”
They like their meat bad and smelly. We don’t like our meat like that and tend to be leery of things that do. I was definitely leery of these lizards.
“My planet was blown up one morning,” said Arthur, who had found himself quite unexpectedly telling the little man his life story or, at least, edited highlights of it, “that’s why I’m dressed like this, in my dressing gown. My planet was blown up with all my clothes in it, you see. I didn’t realize I’d be coming to a party.”
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
Zaphod screamed a diminished fifth himself, dropped his light and sat heavily on the floor, or rather on a body which had been lying there undisturbed for six months and which reacted to being sat on by exploding with great violence. Zaphod wondered what to do about all this, and after a brief but hectic internal debate decided that passing out would be the very thing.
“How reliable is he?” asked Fenchurch in a sinking voice.
“How reliable?” said Arthur. He gave a hollow laugh. “How shallow is the ocean?” he said. “How cold is the sun?”
Now logic is a wonderful thing but it has, as the processes of evolution discovered, certain drawbacks. Anything that thinks logically can be fooled by something else which thinks at least as logically as it does.
“My name is Kate Schechter. Two ‘c’s, two ‘h’s, two ‘e’s, and also a ‘t’, an ‘r’, and an ‘s’. Provided they’re all there the bank won’t be fussy about the order they come in.”
I am fascinated by religion. (That’s a completely different thing from believing in it!) It has had such an incalculably huge effect on human affairs. What is it? What does it represent? Why have we invented it? How does it keep going? What will become of it? I love to keep poking and prodding at it. I’ve thought about it so much over the years that that fascination is bound to spill over into my writing.
As it is I went to lie in a field, along with my Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Europe, and when the stars came out it occurred to me that if only someone would write a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well, then I for one would be off like a shot. Having had this thought I promptly fell asleep and forgot about it for six years.
What human beings are able to do–we arrive in new territories and we colonize this entire world. We can live in the tundra, we can live in the Gobi Desert, we can even contrive to live in New York, for heaven’s sake, because what we do is when we arrive somewhere, and let’s say, again, we arrive somewhere much colder, instead of having to wait generations or–while our natural selection favors genes that have got a thicker coat, we see an animal that has already got a thicker coat, we say, we’ll have it off him!
Mason gave him another grim look from a vast repertoire he had developed which ranged from very, very blackly grim indeed at the bottom of the scale, all the way up to tiredly resigned and only faintly grim, which he reserved for his children’s birthdays.
“Myself I’d trust him to the end of the Earth,” said Ford.
“Oh yes,” said Arthur, “and how far’s that?”
“About twelve minutes away,” said Ford, “come on, I need a drink.”
Bypasses are devices which allow some people to drive from point A to point B very fast whilst 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 of point B are so keen to get there, and what’s so great about point B that so many people of 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.