- 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
The great thing about being the only species that makes a distinction between right and wrong is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along.
“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.
You see? said the official, examining the ultra-titanium outer seals of the aorist rod hold. “Perfectly secure, perfectly safe.”
He said the same thing as they passed holds containing chemical weapons so powerful that a teaspoonful could fatally infect an entire planet.
He said the same thing as they passed holds containg zeta-active compounds so powerful that a teaspoonful could fatally infect an entire planet.
He said the same thing as they passed holds containing theta-active compounds so powerful that a teaspoonful could irradiate a whole planet.
“I’m glad I’m not a planet,” muttered Zaphod.
He wondered where Ford Prefect was. By an extraordinary coincidence, the following day there were two reports in the paper, one concerning the most astonishing incidents with a flying saucer, and the other about a series of unseemly riots in pubs. Ford Prefect turned up the day after that looking hung over and complaining that Arthur never answered the phone.
He always entered via the ventilation system rather than the main lobby because the main lobby was patrolled by robots whose job it was to quiz incoming employees about their expense accounts.
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the phrase, “as pretty as an airport.” Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort.
There is no problem so complicated that you can’t find a very simple answer to it if you look at it right … Or put it another way, “The future of computer power is pure simplicity.”
And then because of the success of that damn book, suddenly I have to do another book, and another book and another book. I’m not somebody who’s set out to be a novelist per se. It just happened to be the clearest success I’ve had. I didn’t want to be trapped into just sitting in a room typing. It’s not the life I have envisaged for myself–sitting in a room typing for year after year. I kind of wanted to do something that would be…I’d get to work with a lot people, have a lot of fun, have a lot of meetings, have lots of brainstorming, lots of clever people around. I’ve also a chance to get a lot of toys. So that’s what this was. It was a kind of mid-life crisis project.
There’s a scene in which Trillian can’t understand why Zaphod seems on the one hand quite bright and on the other appallingly dumb. That was a bit of self-portraiture. I sometimes strike myself as being quite a clever guy, and sometimes cannot imagine how I can be so slow-witted and stupid, so dull and brainless. I can’t understand why I should be able to write something which everybody thinks is terribly clever, and at the same time be personally so dumb. I think I’m schizophrenic.
Nothing. Not a single droplet formed. That would satisfy a doctor, that’s what they always did on television – if no mist formed on the mirror, there was no breath. Perhaps, he thought anxiously to himself, perhaps it was something to do with having heated wing mirrors. Didn’t this car have heated wing mirrors? Hadn’t the salesman gone on and on about heated this, electric that, and servo-assisted the other? Maybe they were digital wing mirrors. That was it. Digital, heated, servo-assisted, computer controlled, breath-resistant wing mirrors…
“Look,” said Arthur, “would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”
Arthur stared into his beer.
“Did I do anything wrong today,” he said, “or has the world always been like this and I’ve been too wrapped up in myself to notice?”
“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God “for proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing”.
“But,” says Man, “the Babel Fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own argument you don’t. QED.”
“Oh, dear”, says God, “I hadn’t thought of that”, and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
There is something profoundly disturbing about watching an eye that is watching you, particularly when the eye that is watching you is almost the same size as your eye, and the thing that it is watching you out of is a lizard.
“I’d love to stay and help you save the Galaxy,” insisted Zaphod, rising himself up on to his shoulders, “but I have the mother and father of a pair of headaches, and I feel a lot of little headaches coming on.”
Ford was practicing being sullen and getting quite good at it.
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.
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.