- 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
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.
“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.
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 would like you to shut up about your towel,” said Ford.
“It isn’t my towel,” insisted Arthur, “that is the point I am trying to …”
“And the time at which I would like you to shut up about it,” continued Ford in a low growl, “is now.”
Ford and Arthur decided just to relax and be harrowed.
“Santa Zarquana Voostra!” exclaimed both of Zaphod’s heads in chorus.
“So safe that you have to build a zarking fortress ship to take the by-products to the nearest black hole and tip them in! Only it doesn’t get there because the pilot takes a detour–is this right?–to pick up some lobster…? OK, so the guy is cool, but…I mean own up, this is barking time, this is major lunch, this is stool approaching critical mass, this is….this is…total vocabulary failure!”
He sat on a step, took from his satchel a bottle of that Ol’ Janx Spirit and a towel. He opened the bottle and wiped the top of it with the towel, which had the opposite effect to the one intended, in that the Ol’ Janx Spirit instantly killed off millions of the germs which had been slowly building up quite a complex and enlightened civilization on the smellier patches of the towel.
Besides, she told herself, taking a deep breath, if life had taught her anything it was this: Never go back for your bag.
It wasn’t merely that their left hand didn’t always know what their right hand was doing, so to speak; quite often their right hand had a pretty hazy notion as well.