THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY -- SCREENPLAY
[Narrator] The story so far. In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and been widely regarded as a bad move. Many races believe that it was created by some sort of god, though the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI firmly believe that the entire Universe was, in fact, sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.
CAVE PAINTINGS DISCOVERED IN THE TRAVAR REGION OF VILTVODLE VI
[Narrator] The Jatravartids, who live in perpetual fear of the time they call The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief, are small blue creatures with more than 50 arms each, who are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel. However, the Great Green Arkleseizure theory was not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI, and so one day, a race of hyperintelligent pan-dimensional beings built themselves a gigantic super-computer called Deep Thought to calculate, once and for all, the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
DRAWINGS FOUND IN ATOMIC FALL OUT SHELTER ON JIKTHROOM BETA
[Narrator] For seven and a half million years, Deep Thought computed and eventually announced that the answer was, in fact, 42, and so another even bigger computer had to be built to find out what the actual question was. And this computer, which was called the Earth, was so large that it was frequently mistaken for a planet, particularly by the strange, ape-like beings who roamed its surface totally unaware that they were simply part of a gigantic computer program. This is very odd, because without that obvious piece of knowledge, nothing that happened on Earth could possibly make the slightest bit of sense. However, at the critical moment of read-out, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace by-pass, and the only native Earth people who survived the demolition are now being shot at behind a computer bank on the lost planet of Magrathea, along with their strange companions from Betelgeuse, who are currently singing a Betelgeuse death anthem on the very sensible grounds that they are about to die. This is what the computer bank is about to do. And the time at which it is going to do it is 4.2 seconds from now.
[Waiter] Good evening, madam, gentlemen. Do you have a reservation?
[Waiter] Yes, sir.
[Ford] Do you need a reservation for the afterlife?
[Waiter] The afterlife?
[Arthur] Is this the afterlife?
[Ford] Yeah. I mean, yeah! I mean, yeah ... There's no way we could have survived that blast in there.
[Trillian] None at all.
[Zaphod] I certainly didn't survive. I was a total goner! Whatm! Bam! And that was it!
[Ford] Yeah, we didn't stand a chance. We were blown to bits -- arms and legs everywhere!
[Zaphod] Yeah! Kerpow! Splat!
[Waiter] Would you care to order drinks?
[Zaphod] Instantaneously zonked into component molecules! Hey, Ford, did you get that thing of your whole life flashing before you?
[Ford] Yeah! Did you get that, too? Oh! Your whole life!
[Zaphod] Yeah! At least, I assume it was mine. I spent a lot of time out of my skulls. So ...
[Ford] So what?
[Zaphod] Here we are, lying dead ...
[Zaphod] Standing dead in this desolate ...
[Zaphod] Standing dead in this desolate ...
[Trillian] Five-star restaurant.
[Zaphod] Well, yeah.
[Ford] Odd, isn't it?
[Trillian] Nice decor, though.
[Arthur] You know, it's not so much an afterlife, more sort of apres vie.
[Zaphod] Hey, you dead guys! We're missing some ultra important thing here -- something somebody said and we missed it!
[Arthur] I said it was more apres vie.
[Zaphod] Don't you wish you hadn't? ... Ford?
[Ford] I said it was odd.
[Zaphod] Shrewd but dull. Trillian?
[Trillian] Er ... um ... pass.
[Waiter] Would you care to discuss the matter over drinks?
[Zaphod] Drinks! That was it! You see what you miss if you don't stay alert?
[Waiter] If the lady and gentlemen would like to order drinks before dinner ...
[Zaphod] Yeah, great!
[Waiter] ... and the Universe will explode later for your pleasure.
[Ford] Wow! What sort of drinks do you serve in this place?
[Waiter] I think sir has misunderstood me.
[Ford] I hope not!
[Waiter] It is not unusual for customers to be disoriented by the time journey.
[Trillian] Time journey?
[Arthur] What time journey?
[Ford] You mean ... this isn't the afterlife?
[Waiter] Afterlife? No, sir.
[Arthur] Then we're not ... dead?
[Waiter] Aha! Sir is most evidently alive, otherwise I would not attempt to serve, sir!
[Ford] Ha, ha. Then where the photon are we?
[Zaphod] Hey, I've sussed it! This must be ... Milliways!
[Waiter] Yes, this is Milliways.
[Waiter] The Restaurant at the End of the Universe!
[Arthur] End of what?
[Waiter] The Universe.
[Arthur] When did that end?
[Waiter] In just a few minutes, sir. Now, if you will order drinks, I will show you to your table in the main part of the restaurant.
[Arthur] I suppose there's no chance of a cup of tea?
[Narrator] The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering. A vast time bubble has been projected into the far future to the precise moment of the end of the Universe.
THIS IS OF COURSE IMPOSSIBLE
[Narrator] You can arrive without prior reservation, because you can book retrospectively in advance, as it were, when you return to your own time.
THIS IS OF COURSE IMPOSSIBLE
[Narrator] You can visit it as many times as you like and be sure of never meeting yourself, because of the embarrassment this usually causes.
REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING FORMULAE
AND AVOID YOURSELF.
THIS IS OF COURSE IMPOSSIBLE
[Narrator] You just deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time, the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for ...
THIS IS OF COURSE IMPOSSIBLE
[Narrator] ... which is why the advertising executives of the star system of Bastablon came up with this slogan:
BASTABLON ADVERTISING AGENCY
IF YOU'VE DONE SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS THIS MORNING WHY NOT ROUND IT OFF WITH BREAKFAST AT MILLIWAYS, THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE
[Waiter] This way, please.
[Zaphod] Wowee! Zappo!
[Arthur] Incredible! The people, the things!
[Ford] The things are also people.
[Arthur] The people? The also people?
[Trillian] The lights!
[Arthur] The food!
[Trillian] The clothes! The clothes?!
[Ford] Yeah, the clothes! The End of the Universe is very popular. People dress up for it. Gives it a sense of occasion.
[Zaphod] Hey, everybody's here. You know -- everybody who was anybody! Hi, guys! How did you do?
[Ford] Hey, Zaphod! There's an old mate of mine. Look, see! It's Hotblack Desiato! See the big guy in the platinum suit?
[Zaphod] Oh, yeah. Wow! Did he ever make it megabig. Bigger than the biggest thing ever -- other than me.
[Trillian] Who is he?
[Zaphod] Hotblack Desiato? You never heard of Disaster Area?
[Ford] The biggest, loudest ...
[Zaphod] Richest ...
[Ford] Rock band in the history of ...
[Zaphod] History itself!
[Zaphod] We're at the End of the Universe, and you haven't even lived yet! Hey, did you miss out! Hey, waiter, bring me volume three of the wine list.
[Ford] Hey, Hotblack! How you doing? Great to see you, big boy! How's the noise? You are looking great! Really very, very fat and unwell. Amazing! Remember the old days? Wow! We used to hang out! The Bistro Illegal, remember? The Evildrome Boozarama? Slim's Throat Emporium? Great days, eh? When we were hungry, we'd pose as health inspectors, and confiscate meals and drinks, and get food poisoning! And you were up all night trying to write songs, and we all hated them! You didn't care, but we did because we hated them so much. You said you didn't want to be a star, because you despised the star system, and we said we didn't think you had the option. And what do you do now? You BUY star systems! Here is a guy who buys star systems! What's that number you do? That really huge one? How does it go? Er ... da ... da ... da ... something. And in this stage act, it ends with the ship crashing right into the sun, and you actually DO it! I mean, ship ... sun ... bang! I mean, forget lasers. You guys are into solar flares and real sunburn, and terrible songs! Yeah! Let's have a drink! Yeah! Hotblack?
[Bodyguard] Kid. Beat it!
[Ford] Who are you?
[Bodyguard] I'm the guy that's telling you to beat it, before it gets beaten for you.
[Ford] Now, listen, I am one of Hotblack's oldest friends and I ...
[Bodyguard] And I am Mr. Desiato's bodyguard, and I'm responsible for his body, and I am not responsible for yours, so take it away before it gets damaged!
[Ford] Now, wait a minute ...
[Bodyguard] No minutes. No waiting. Mr. Desiato speaks to no one.
[Ford] Well, perhaps you'd better let him speak for himself.
[Bodyguard] He speaks to no one.
[Ford] Oh, why? What's the matter with him?
[Narrator] The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy notes that:
DISASTER AREA NOISE LEVELS: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS. DISASTER AREA, A PLUTONIUM ROCK BAND FROM THE GAGRALACKA MIND ZONES ARE GENERALLY HELD TO BE NOT ONLY THE LOUDEST ROCK BAND IN THE GALAXY, BUT IN FACT THE LOUDEST NOISE OF ANY KIND AT ALL.
REGULAR CONCERT GOERS JUDGE THAT THE BEST SOUND BALANCE IS USUALLY TO BE HEARD FROM WITHIN LARGE CONCRETE BUNKERS SOME THIRTY SEVEN MILES FROM THE STAGE. WHILST THE MUSICIANS THEMSELVES PLAY THEIR INSTRUMENTS
BY REMOTE CONTROL FROM A HEAVILY INSULATED SPACESHIP WHICH STAYS IN ORBIT ROUND THE PLANET, OR MORE FREQUENTLY ROUND A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLANET. THEIR SONGS ARE, ON THE WHOLE, VERY SIMPLE AND MOSTLY FOLLOW THE FAMILIAR THEME OF BOY BEING MEETS GIRL BEING BENEATH A SILVERY MOON
WHICH THEN EXPLODES FOR NO ADEQUATELY EXPLORED REASON. MANY WORLDS HAVE NOW BANNED THEIR ACT ALTOGETHER, SOMETIMES FOR ARTISTIC REASONS
DISASTER AREA BANNED. "DEAFENING RUBBISH" -- BETELGEUSE HERALD; "PROBABLY THE WORST THING IN HISTORY" -- JAGLAN ECHO; "I ONLY QUITE LIKED IT" -- BEEBLEBROX REPORTER
BUT MOST COMMONLY BECAUSE THE BAND'S PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM CONTRAVENES MANY LOCAL STRATEGIC ARMS LIMITATIONS TREATIES. THIS HAS NOT, HOWEVER, STOPPED THEIR EARNINGS PUSHING BACK THE BOUNDARIES OF PURE HYPERMATHEMATICS
AND THEIR CHIEF RESEARCH ACCOUNTANT HAS RECENTLY BEEN APPOINTED PROFESSOR OF NEO MATHEMATICS AT MAXIMEGALON FOR BOTH HIS GENERAL AND SPECIAL THEORIES OF DISASTER AREA TAX RETURNS, IN WHICH HE PROVES
THAT THE WHOLE FABRIC OF THE SPACE TIME CONTINUUM IS NOT MERELY CURVED, IT IS IN FACT TOTALLY BENT.
[Zaphod] Oh, hi, there, Ford. Did you talk to your big-noise friend?
[Ford] Hot ... Hotblack? Yeah, I sort of spoke to him, yeah.
[Zaphod] Well, what did he say?
[Ford] Er ... not a lot. He's, um ...
[Ford] Spending a year dead for tax reasons.
[Zaphod] Oh, yeah? Neat!
[Max] Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS) Ladies and gentlemen, the Universe as we know it has been in existence for 170,000 million billion years, and will be ending in a little over ten minutes' time. So, welcome one and all to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe! I am your host this evening, Max Quordlepleen, and I have come straight from the very, very other End of Time, where I've been hosting a show at the Big Bang Burger Bar, where we had a very exciting evening, ladies and gentlemen, and I will be with you right through this tremendous historic occasion -- the end of history itself.
So now, ladies and gentlemen, take your places at the table. The candles are lit, the band is playing, and as the force-shielded dome above us slides apart revealing a dark and sullen sky hung with the ancient light of livid, swollen stars, I can see we are in for a fabulous evening's apocalypse! Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be back again in a moment.
[Waiter] Would you all like to see the menu, or would you care to meet the dish of the day?
[Trillian] What is it?
[Waiter] It's an Amiglion Major cow. I'll bring him over.
[Zaphod] OK, we'll meet the meat. That's cool!
[Dish of the Day] Beugh ... A-hem ... (RUSTIC ACCENT) Good evening, madam and gentlemen, I am the main dish of the day. May I interest you in parts of my body?
[Trillian & Ford] Huh?
[Ford] Oh, well.
[Dish of the Day] Something off my shoulder, perhaps? Braised in a white wine sauce?
[Arthur] Your shoulder?!
[Dish of the Day] Well, naturally mine, sir. Nobody else's is mine to offer! The rump is very good, sir. I have been exercising and eating plenty of grain, so there's a lot of good meat there.
[Dish of the Day] Or a casserole of me, perhaps?
[Trillian] You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it?
[Ford] Me? I don't mean anything.
[Arthur] It's the most revolting thing I've ever heard!
[Zaphod] What's the problem?
[Arthur] I don't want to eat an animal that's inviting me to!
[Zaphod] It's better than eating an animal that doesn't want to be eaten.
[Arthur] That's not the point. Well, maybe it is the point. I don't want to talk about it. I'll have a green salad.
[Dish of the Day] May I urge you, sir, to consider my liver? It must be very rich and tender by now. I have been force-feeding myself for months.
[Arthur] Green salad, please.
[Dish of the Day] A green salad!
[Arthur] Is there any reason why I shouldn't have a green salad?
[Dish of the Day] I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point, sir, which is why it was decided to cut through the whole tangled problem by breeding an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am!
[Arthur] A glass of water ...?
[Zaphod] Listen, we want to eat! We don't want to make a meal of the issues. Four rare steaks, please.
[Dish of the Day] Very wise choice, sir. I'll just nip off and shoot meself.
[Arthur] Oh, God!
[Dish of the Day] Don't worry, sir. I'll be very humane.
[Zaphod] What's eating you, Earthman?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ladies and gentlemen!
[Max] Good. And now, as the photon storms gather in swirling clouds around us, preparing to tear apart the last of the red hot suns, I hope you will all enjoy with me what I know you will find a tremendously exciting and terminal experience. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing penultimate about this one. This one, ladies and gentlemen, is the proverbial IT! After this, there is void, emptiness, oblivion, absolute nothing. Except of course for the sweet trolley, and our fine selection of Aldebran liqueurs! And for once, ladies and gentlemen, there is no need to worry about having a hangover in the morning, for there will be no more mornings!
[Max] And now, at the risk of putting a damper on this wonderful atmosphere of doom and futility, I'd like to welcome a few parties. Now, do we have a party from the Zansellquasure Flamarion Bridge Club, from beyond the Vortvoid of Qvame?
[Max] Last bids now, and no cheating! This is a very solemn moment! And a party of minor deities from the halls of Asgaard?
[Max] And a party of young Conservatives from Sirius B?
[Max] This is all your fault, of course! And lastly, a party of devout believers from the Church of the Second Coming of the Great Prophet Zarquon.
[Max] Still waiting for the second coming. Well, fellas, let's hope he hurries. He's got eight minutes left! But seriously, though, no offence meant. I know one shouldn't make fun of deeply held beliefs, so I think a great big hand for the Great Prophet Zarquon ...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
[Max] ... wherever he's got to! It's marvellous to see so many of you here tonight. No, isn't it, though? Because I know so many of you come time and time again to watch this final end of everything, and then return home to your own eras and raise families, strive for new and better societies, and fight terrible wars for what you know is right. It gives one real hope for the whole future of lifekind ... except, of course, we know it hasn't got one!
[Waiter] Excuse me, sir.
[Zaphod] Who, me?
[Waiter] Mr. Zaphod Beeblebrox?
[Waiter] There is a phone call for you, sir.
[Zaphod] Hey, what?
[Zaphod] Who knows where I am?
[Trillian] Maybe the Galactic Police have traced you here.
[Zaphod] So they can arrest me over the phone? Could be. I'm a pretty dangerous dude when cornered.
[Ford] Yeah, you go to pieces so fast, people get hit by the shrapnel!
[Zaphod] Hey, what is this? Judgment Day?
[Arthur] Is it that as well? Terrific!
[Zaphod] Who's the cat on the phone? Pass the wine, Ford.
[Waiter] I am not personally acquainted with the metal gentleman, sir ...
[Waiter] ... but am informed he has been awaiting your return for a considerable number of millennia. You left here somewhat precipitately.
[Zaphod] Left here? We've only just arrived!
[Waiter] Indeed, sir, but before you arrived here, you left.
[Zaphod] You're saying that before we arrived here, we left here?
[Waiter] That is what I said, sir.
[Zaphod] Put your analyst on danger money, baby!
[Ford] Wait. Where exactly is here?
[Waiter] The planet Magrathea, sir.
[Ford] But we just left there. We're at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, I thought!
[Waiter] Precisely, sir. The one was constructed on the ruins of the other.
[Arthur] Ah, I see! So you mean we've traveled in time but not in space?
[Zaphod] You semi-evolved simian! Go climb a tree!
[Arthur] Go bang your heads together, four eyes!
[Waiter] No, no. Your monkey has got it right. You jumped forward many millions of years in time whilst retaining the same position in space. Your friend has been awaiting you in the meantime.
[Trillian] Marvin! It must be Marvin!
[Ford] The paranoid android!
[Zaphod] Space cookies! Hand me the rap rod plate, captain!
[Waiter] I beg your pardon, sir?
[Zaphod] The phone, waiter! You guys are so unhip, it's a wonder your bums don't fall off.
[Waiter] The phone, sir.
[Zaphod] Hi, Marvin. How are you doing?
[Marvin] I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
[Zaphod] Yeah? We're having a great time -- wine, food, and the Universe going foom! Where are you, Marvin?
[Marvin] You don't have to pretend to be interested in me, you know. I know perfectly well I'm only a menial robot.
[Zaphod] Yeah, but where are you?
[Marvin] "Reverse primary thrust, Marvin," that's what they say to me. "Open airlock number three, Marvin. "Marvin, can you pick up that piece of paper?" Here I am, brain the size of a planet, picking up a piece of paper!
[Zaphod] Yeah. Marvin ...
[Marvin] But I'm quite used to being humiliated. I can even go and stick my head in a bucket of water if you like. I mean, if that's what you really want. Would you like me to stick my head in a bucket of water? I've got one ready.
[Zaphod] Marvin, um ...
[Trillian] What's he saying, Zaphod?
[Zaphod] Nothing. He just phoned to wash his head at us. Marvin, will you please tell us where you are!
[Marvin] I'm in the car park.
[Zaphod] What are you doing in the car park?
[Marvin] Parking cars. What else does one do in a car park?
[Zaphod] OK, stay there. I'll be down in a minute.
[Marvin] That makes two of us.
[Zaphod] Come on, guys, let's go! Marvin's down in the car park.
[Arthur] What's he doing there?
[Zaphod] Parking cars, what else, dum-dum? Come on, let's go!
[Max] Now, an interesting effect to watch for is in the upper left-hand quadrant of the sky where you can see the star system of Hastromil boiling away into the ultraviolet. Anyone here from Hastromil? Well, it's too late to worry about whether you left the gas on at home now!
[Trillian] There he is! Marvin!
[Zaphod] Hey, Marvin, kid, are we pleased to see you!
[Marvin] No, you're not! No one ever is.
[Zaphod] Suit yourself.
[Trillian] No, Marvin, really we are!
[Trillian] Hanging around waiting for us all this time!
[Marvin] The first ten million years were the worst. And the second ten million, they were the worst, too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that, I went into a bit of a decline.
[Trillian] Poor old Marvin!
[Marvin] It's the people you meet in this job who really get you down. The best conversation I had was over 34 million years ago.
[Trillian] Oh, dear.
[Marvin] And that was with a coffee machine.
[Ford] Hey, Zaph, look at this baby. The tangerine star buggy with black sun busters.
[Zaphod] Hey, get this number. Multicluster Quark drive with perspulax running boards! This has got to be a Lazlar Lyricon custom job.
[Ford] I was passed by one of these mothers out by the Axel Nebula. I was going flat out and this thing just strolled past me! It was incredible!
[Zaphod] Too much!
[Ford] Ten seconds later it smashed straight into the third moon of Jaglan Beta. Great-looking ship, though. Looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow.
[Zaphod] Yeah, that really is bad for the eyes!
[Ford] It's so black! You can hardly see it. Light just falls into it.
[Zaphod] Hey, feel this surface!
[Ford] Yeah ... Hey, you can't!
[Zaphod] It's just totally frictionless! This must be one mother of a mover. Well, what do you reckon, Ford?
[Ford] You reckon we should just stroll off with it? Do you think we should?
[Ford] Neither do I.
[Zaphod] Let's do it.
[Zaphod] We'd better hurry. In a few seconds, the Universe will end, and all those creeps will come for their bourgemobiles.
[Ford] Hey, Zaph. How do you get into it?
[Zaphod] Just don't spoil a beautiful idea, Ford.
[Ford] Maybe the robot can figure it out!
[Zaphod] Hey, Marvin! We've got a job for you.
[Marvin] I won't enjoy it.
[Zaphod] Yes, you will. There's a whole new life stretching out in front of you!
[Marvin] Oh, not another one!
[Zaphod] Shut up and listen! There'll be excitement and adventure and really wild things!
[Marvin] Sounds awful.
[Zaphod] But, Marvin ...
[Marvin] I suppose you want me to help you to get into this spaceship ...
[Zaphod] Marvin, will you just listen!
[Marvin] ... and open the door for you.
[Zaphod] What? Er ... Yeah.
[Marvin] Well, I wish you'd just tell me, rather than try to engage my enthusiasm, because I haven't got one. Abracadiocularservosystems.
[Ford] How did you do that, Marvin?
[Marvin] Oh, didn't I tell you I've got a brain the size of a planet?
[Zaphod] Oh, yeah.
[Ford] Hey, Zaph, come and have a look at this.
[Zaphod] Hey! Weird!
[Ford] It's so black. Everything in it is just totally black!
[Arthur] Well, this is very pretty, I must say!
[Trillian] Yeah, I like a change of scene!
[Zaphod] Hey! This is one act wonderful ship, eh, Ford!
[Ford] Yeah. Pity it doesn't seem to work, isn't it? Ah, well.
[Zaphod] Hey, where are you going?
[Ford] To find another ship. One with a single red button suits me.
[Zaphod] Hey, listen, Ford. This is the most stylish heap I have ever been in! We are gonna make it work, OK?
[Ford] YOU make it work!
[Zaphod] I can make any ship work! You hear that, ship?
AUTO PILOT ACTIVATED
[Zaphod] Hey! I did it! OK, guys, we're on our way!
[Zaphod] Who cares where? We just go!
[Max] Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for! The skies begin to tremble! Nature collapses into the screaming void! In 15 seconds' time, the Universe itself will be at an end! See where the light of infinity bursts in upon us!
[Max] What's this? What's happening? Who's this? I don't believe it! Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand, please, for the Great Prophet Zarquon!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
[Zarquon] Er, hello, everybody. I'm sorry I'm a bit late. Had a terrible time. All sorts of things cropping up at the last moment. How are we for time?
[Narrator] One of the major selling points of that wholly remarkable book, THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, apart from its relative cheapness, and the fact it has the words "Don't Panic" in large friendly letters on the cover, is its compendious and occasionally accurate glossary.
A SNIP AT 26 UMB KRON FROM ALL SLIGHTLY SUSPECT BOOKSHOPS & MOST OF THE GRUBBIER TYPES OF SPACEPORT
[chart pg. 673]
[Narrator] ... its simplistic style is partly explained by the fact that its editor, having to meet a publishing deadline, copied the information off the back of a packet of breakfast cereal ...
... MUST BE A FINITE NUMBER OF INHABITED WORLDS. ANY FINITE NUMBER DIVIDED BY INFINITY IS AS NEAR TO NOTHING AS MAKES NO ODDS, SO IF EVERY PLANET IN THE UNIVERSE HAS A POPULATION OF ZERO, THEN THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE UNIVERSE MUST ALSO BE ZERO, AND ANY PEOPLE YOU MAY MEET FROM TIME TO TIME ARE MERELY THE PRODUCTS OF A DERANGED IMAGINATION.
5. MONETARY UNITS: NONE. IN FACT THERE ARE THREE FREELY CONVERTIBLE CURRENCIES IN THE GALAXY. BUT THE ALTAIRIAN DOLLAR HAS RECENTLY COLLAPSED. THE FLAINIAN POBBLE BEAD IS ONLY EXCHANGEABLE FOR OTHER FLAINIAN POBBLE BEADS, AND THE TRIGANIC PU DOESN’T REALLY COUNT AS MONEY. IT’S EXCHANGE RATE OF ...
[Narrator] ... hastily embroidering it with a few footnotes in order to avoid prosecution under the incomprehensibly tortuous Galactic copyright laws.
STAR BIX – THE SERIOUS CEREAL
[Narrator] It is interesting to note that a later and wilier editor sent the book backwards in time through a temporal warp, and then successfully sued the breakfast cereal company for infringement of the same laws. Here's a sample in both headings and footnotes.
THE UNIVERSE (SOME INFORMATION TO HELP YOU LIVE IN IT)
n/infinity = 0.000000000000000
TEN ALTAIRIAN DOLLARS: I PROMISE TO PAY THE BEARER THE SUM OF TEN DOLLARS
I PROMISE TO PAY THE BEARER NOTHING AT ALL AND WIL SHORTLY BE GOING ON A LONG HOLIDAY TO SOMEWHERE NICE.
3. MONETARY UNITS:
4. SEX: NONE
WELL, IN FACT THERE IS AN AWFUL LOT OF THIS, LARGELY BECAUSE OF THE TOTAL LACK OF MONEY, TRADE, BANKS, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT KEEP ALL THE NON-EXISTENT PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE OCCUPIED.
4. SEX: NONE
4. SEX: NONE
SCHEMATIC CROSS SECTION TO SHOW MULTI-CAPACITY WITH PARAMETERS OF PASSION RATINGS
The Universe (Some Information to
Help You Live In It)
HOWEVER, IT’S NOT WORTH EMBARKING ON A LONG DISCUSSION OF IT NOW, BECAUSE IT REALLY IS TERRIBLY COMPLICATED.
4. SEX: NONE
CHAPTER 143 SUB.SECT.000
[Arthur] Basically, what you're telling me is that the ship is out of control!
[Zaphod] The weird colour scheme freaks me. Every time I try to operate one of these weird black controls, a small black light lights up in black to let you know you've done it. Is it some kind of Galactic hyper hearse?
[Trillian] Maybe the designer had eyes that respond to different wavelengths.
[Arthur] Or had no imagination!
[Marvin] Perhaps he was feeling very depressed.
[Arthur] It's beginning to make me feel spacesick!
[Ford] Timesick! We're going backwards through time.
[Arthur] Now I AM going to be ill!
[Zaphod] We could do with some colour here.
[Trillian] Oh, that's better! Have you managed to make sense of the controls?
[Ford] No. We just stopped fiddling with them.
SECOND STAGE AUTO PILOT ACTIVATED
[Bodyguard] OK, Hotblack, the black ship's ready to crash into the sun of Kakrafoon. Time to get there ourselves.
[Narrator] The history of every major Galactic civilisation passes through three distinct and recognisable phases:
[Narrator] For instance, the first phase is characterised by the question:
HOW CAN WE EAT?
[Narrator] The second by the question:
WHY DO WE EAT?
[Narrator] The third by the question:
WHERE SHALL WE HAVE LUNCH?
[Narrator] Though it will take a large civilisation thousands of years to pass through the how, why and where phases, small social groupings under stressful conditions can pass through these phases with extreme rapidity thus ...
[Arthur] How are we doing?
[All] Shut up!
[Marvin] Excitement and adventure and really wild things.
[Narrator] Excitement and adventure and really wild things have been dogging Arthur Dent for some days. He's had his planet demolished to make way for a hyperspace by-pass, and has been confronted with the disconcerting knowledge that the Earth was not what it appeared, but was in fact a gigantic super-computer designed to calculate the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. The answer to which is now known to be:
[Narrator] He and his companions have been blasted far forward in time to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, from which they're returning in a ship which could not in all honesty be said to belong to them. Can they now relax for a while and take stock? No. The ship does in fact belong to Disaster Area, a plutonium rock band whose stage act traditionally ends with a black stunt ship on autopilot crashing into the heart of a nearby sun. Of this, however, Arthur Dent and his companions are totally unaware. They decide to relax for a while and take stock.
[Zaphod] Listen, Earthman, you've
got a job to do. The Question to the Ultimate Answer, right?
There's a lot of loot in that head thing of yours.
[Arthur] Yes, I know that. I'm just saying it could be anything. Why ask me?
[Zaphod] 'Cause you were the last one! You were there at the Big Firework!
[Arthur] I wish you'd stop saying that.
[Marvin] I know.
[Ford] Shut up, this is organism talk.
[Marvin] It's printed in the Earthman's brainwave patterns, but I don't suppose you'll be very interested in that.
[Arthur] You can read my mind?
[Marvin] It amazes me how you manage to live in anything that small.
[Zaphod] Ignore him, he's only making it up.
[Marvin] Making it up? Why should I want to do that? Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it.
[Trillian] Marvin, if you knew all along, why didn't you tell us?
[Marvin] You didn't ask.
[Ford] We're asking now. What's the question?
[Marvin] The Ultimate Question?
[Marvin] Of Life, the Universe and Everything?
[Marvin] To which the answer is 42?
[All] Yeah, come on!
[Marvin] You're not really interested.
[Zaphod] Tell us, you motorised maniac!
THIRD STAGE AUTO PILOT ACTIVATED
[Ford] This ship knows where it's going better than we do.
[Marvin] I could tell you weren't really interested.
[Arthur] Who does this ship belong to?
[Arthur] Who does it really belong to?!
[Zaphod] Really me! Property is theft, right? Therefore theft is property, therefore this ship is mine.
[Ford] Tell the ship that.
[Zaphod] Ship! This is your new owner speaking!
(LOUD INTERCOM) OK, channel 9 on power. Testing Channel 15.
[Intercom] Channel 15, A-OK. Now in pre-sundive position. Put it in under control of central stage coordination. Ship locked into stage computer A-OK. Stand by for sundive.
[Zaphod] Turn it off!
[Arthur] What does sundive mean?
[Marvin] The ship is going to dive into the sun. Sun. Dive. It's very simple to understand. What do you expect if you steal Disaster Area's stunt ship?
[Zaphod] Marvin, what makes you think it's Disaster Area's stunt ship?
[Marvin] Simple .... I parked it for them.
[Zaphod] Then why ...? Why didn't you tell us?!
[Marvin] You said you wanted excitement and adventure and really wild things.
[Trillian] This is awful!
[Marvin] That's what I said.
[MC] Hi, there, Galactic rock fans! Fine weather for the concert this afternoon. I'm standing here on stage in the desert, and with my hyper-binoctic glasses I can just make out the huge audience on the horizon all around. Behind me, huge speaker stacks rise like a cliff face, high above the sun is shining and doesn't know what's going to hit it. The environmentalist lobby do know and claim the concert will cause earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes and other things they always go on about. But I've just heard that Disaster Area met with the environmentalists and had them shot! So now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead today.
[Zaphod] Know what I'm thinking?
[Ford] I think so.
[Zaphod] Tell me what you think I'm thinking.
[Ford] It's time to get off this ship.
[Zaphod] I think you're right.
[Ford] I think you're right.
[Zaphod 2] Quiet, we're thinking.
[Arthur] So this is it? We're going to die.
[Ford] I wish you'd stop saying that.
[Narrator] One of the things Ford Prefect found hard to understand about human beings was their habit of continually stating and re-stating the very, very obvious, as in:
IT'S A NICE DAY
YOU'RE VERY TALL
SO THIS IS IT, WE'RE GOING TO DIE!
[Narrator] First, Ford formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour.
FORD PREFECT'S THEORY RELATING TO A STRANGE HUMAN BEHAVIOURAL PATTERN.
[Narrator] If human beings don't exercise their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.
[Narrator] After a while, he abandoned this theory in favour of a new one. If they don't exercise their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
[Narrator] In fact, this second theory is more literally true of the Belcerebon People of Kakrafoon Kappa.
BELCEREBONS (KAKRAFOON KAPPA)
[Narrator] The Belcerebons used to cause great resentment amongst neighbouring races by being one of the most enlightened, accomplished and, above all, quiet civilisations in the Galaxy. As a punishment for this behaviour, which was held to be offensively self-righteous and provocative, a Galactic tribunal inflicted on them that most cruel of all social diseases: telepathy.
BFI CEREBONS (KAKRAFOON KAPPA)
THEY THINK THEY ARE?
[Narrator] Now, in order to prevent themselves broadcasting every slightest thought to anyone within a five-mile radius, they have to talk loudly and continuously about the weather, their little aches and pains, the match this afternoon and what a noisy place Kakrafoon has suddenly become. Another method of temporarily blotting out their mind is to play host to a Disaster Area concert.
(LOUD ROCK MUSIC)
[Trillian] This is it! We're starting to dive! We're heading straight into the sun!
(ROCK MUSIC CRESCENDO)
[Zaphod] How many escape capsules are there?
[Zaphod] You counted them?
[Ford] Twice! Did you raise the crew on the radio?
[Zaphod] I said there were people on board.
[Ford] And they said?
[Zaphod] "Hi, there!"
[Ford] You told them who you were?
[Zaphod] Yeah. They said it was a great honour.
[Arthur] What does "teleport" mean?
[Zaphod] What did you say?
(FORD SCREAMS AND FALLS)
[Arthur] Probably the wrong moment.
[Zaphod] Where's the teleport?
[Arthur] Under this sign that says "Out of order." There.
[Zaphod] Hell's donkey!
[Ford] It seems OK. Just the automatic where-we're-going system is cocked up.
[Zaphod] Who cares? Let's just go!
[Ford] Someone has to operate it manually. Whoever it was would ... would ...
[Trillian] Wouldn't ...
[Ford] ... Escape.
[Zaphod] Hey, Marvin, kid! How you doing?
[Marvin] Very badly, I suspect.
[Zaphod] How would you like to ...
[Marvin] ... lay down my life selflessly for you? Make the ultimate sacrifice?
[Marvin] Consign my brain, which is the size of a planet, to death in a blazing sun, so that you can all pursue your futile little lives?
[Zaphod] Yeah. Nothing personal.
[Marvin] All right.
[Zaphod] Come on, guys!
[Marvin] Better all get into the teleport.
[Zaphod] Marvin, you stupid tin can, shift it! We really appreciate this.
[Marvin] I suppose some people might expect better treatment after having waited 576,000 million years in a car park. But not me. I may just be a menial robot, but I'm far too intelligent to expect anyone to think of me for a moment. In fact, I'm so intelligent, I've probably got time to go through the five-mill ...
(ROCK MUSIC CRESCENDO)
[Arthur] Ford? Ford? Ford?
[Ford] Arthur! Arthur!
[Arthur] Trillian? Where've they got to?
[Ford] There's no reason why we should all end up in the same place. Ah, well.
[Ford] They could be anywhere. So could we, for that matter.
[Ford] What's that? Feet! Let's move! That's the way they're coming from.
[Arthur] No, that's the way!
[Both] You're right!
[Ford] This way!
(FOOTSTEPS GETTING LOUDER)
[Arthur] A funeral parlour?
[Arthur] What's so great about dead people?
[Ford] I dunno. What is so great?
[Ford] Look, a plaque.
[Ford] And a serial number.
[Arthur] A dead telephone sanitiser?
[Ford] Best kind.
[Arthur] What's he doing here?
[Ford] Not a lot!
[Arthur] This one's a hairdresser.
[Ford] This one's an advertising account executive.
[Arthur] A second-hand car salesman, third class. Are you sure these are coffins? They're terribly cold.
[Number One] All right! Put your hands up and turn around slowly.
[Arthur] Why isn't anyone ever pleased to see us?
[Number One] You're my prisoners.
[Ford] All right.
[Number One] Move! Move!
[Number One] Move! Left, right, left, right! Keep in line! Left, right, left, right! Left, right, one, two, three!
[Number Three] Captain?
[Captain] Yes, Number Three?
[Number Three] I've had a sort of report-thingy from Number One.
[Captain] Oh, dear ...
[Number Three] Something about finding prisoners.
[Captain] Perhaps it'll keep him happy for a bit. He's always wanted some.
[Number One] Captain, Sir!
[Captain] Hello, Number One. Having a nice day?
[Number One] I've brought the prisoners from Freezer Base 7, sir.
[Captain] Hello! Excuse me not getting up, just having a quick bath. Well, gin and tonics all round, then! Look in the fridge, Number Three!
[Number Three] Certainly, sir!
[Number One] Don't you want to interrogate the prisoners, sir?
[Captain] Why on Golgafrincham should I do that?
[Number One] To get information out of them, sir, find out why they came here.
[Captain] No, no. I expect they just dropped in for a quick gin and tonic, don't you?
[Number One] But, sir ... they're my prisoners. Can't I interrogate them a little bit?
[Captain] Oh, very well. Ask them what they want to drink.
[Number One] Thank you, sir. All right. You scum! You vermin!
[Captain] Steady on, Number One!
[Number One] What do you want to drink?
[Ford] Gin and tonic sounds very nice to me. Arthur?
[Number One] With ice or without?
[Ford] With, please.
[Number One] Lemon?
[Ford] Yeah. Do you have any of those little biscuits, the cheesy ones?
[Number One] I'm asking the questions.
[Captain] Number One, push off, will you? I'm trying to take a relaxing bath.
[Number One] May I respectfully remind you that you've been in that bath for over three years?
[Captain] Well, one needs to relax a lot in a job like mine.
[Ford] Can I just ...? Could I just ask you what your job is?
[Number Three] Your drinks.
[Ford] Thanks. I couldn't help noticing the bodies.
[Ford] Dead telephone sanitisers and account executives.
[Captain] They're not dead, no! They're just frozen. They'll be revived.
[Arthur] You've a hold full of frozen hairdressers?
[Captain] Millions of them. Hairdressers, retired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers.
[Number Three] Security guards, public relations executives.
[Captain] Management consultants. We're going to colonise another planet.
[Captain] Exciting, isn't it?
[Arthur] With that lot?!
[Captain] Don't misunderstand me. We're just one of the ships of the Ark Fleet. We're the B Ark. Excuse me, could you run a little more hot water for me?
[Ford] Yes, sure.
[Arthur] What's a B Ark?
[Captain] Well, our planet was doomed.
[Captain] Yes, so everybody said, "Let's pack the whole population into giant spaceships and settle on another planet."
[Arthur] A less doomed one?
[Captain] Precisely. So it was decided to build three gigantic ships. Three gigantic Arks in space. The idea was that into the first ship would go all the brilliant leaders, scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers. Into the third ship would go all the people who do the actual work, who make things and do things. Then into the B ship -- that's us -- would go everyone else, the middlemen. Of course, we were sent off first.
[Arthur] What was wrong with your planet?
[Captain] It was doomed. Apparently it was going to blow up or crash into the sun or something.
[Number One] That's not what I was told. My commander swore that the entire planet was about to be eaten by a mutant star goat.
[Number One] Yes. He said how lucky I was to be going off in the first ship.
[Arthur] But they made sure they sent all you lot off first, anyway.
[Captain] Oh, yes! And everyone said -- very nice I thought -- how important for morale to feel that they were arriving on another planet where you could get a good haircut and where the phones were clean.
[Ford] Yes. I can see that'd be very important.
[Arthur] Can you?
[Ford] Sh! And the rest of the ships followed on after you?
[Captain] Funny you should mention that, 'cause curiously enough we haven't heard a peep out of them since we left five years ago, yet they must be behind us somewhere.
[Ford] Yes ... Unless they're all eaten by the goat?
[Captain] (CHORTLES) The goat! Funny ... Now that I come to tell the story to someone else ... Don't you find it a bit odd, Number Three?
[Number Three] Well ...
[Captain] It is a bit odd, isn't it? It's odd.
[Ford] Yes, well ... I can see you've a lot to talk about. So thanks for the drink. Could you drop us off at the nearest convenient planet?
[Captain] That's a little difficult, you see. Our trajectory thingy was pre-set before we left Golgafrincham. I think it was partly due to the fact I'm not really very good at figures.
[Ford] You mean we're stuck here on this ship? When are you going to arrive at this planet?
[Captain] We're nearly there. Nearly there. I should be out of this bath, in fact ... Oh, why stop just when I'm enjoying it?
[Arthur] We are about to land, then?
[Captain] Not exactly land, no. As far as I remember, we were programmed to crash on it.
[Ford & Arthur] Crash?!
[Captain] Some reason for it, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.
[Ford] You're all a load of useless bloody loonies!
[Captain] Yes, that was it! That was the reason!
[Narrator] The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say about Golgafrincham: It is a planet with an ancient and mysterious history in which the most mysterious figures are those of the great circling poets of Arium.
FROM THE TAPESTRY OF ARIUM
IT WAS OF COURSE A DESCENDANT OF THESE
THE OTHER TWO THIRDS STAYED AT HOME AND LIVED
[Narrator] Meanwhile, the remaining useless third crash-landed into the prehistoric dawn of a small blue-green planet at the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy.
[Ford] It's odd, isn't it?
[Narrator] With them are Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect. They, too, have been traveling widely in distant lands. Something is bothering them.
[Ford] It's very, very odd. There is one way to find out, of course.
[Arthur] What, you mean by going to ...?
A YEAR AND A BIT LATER
[Ford] I said it was odd.
[Arthur] Yes, I remember you saying. I can hardly believe it.
[Ford] I find it very easy to believe things.
[Arthur] I wonder how the Golgafrinchans are doing?
[Ford] Do you?
[Captain] All right! I'd like to call this meeting to some sort of order, if possible.
[Hairdresser] Fancy a light trim, sir?
[Captain] Not now, I'm in the bath!
[Hairdresser] Anyone else like one?
[Manager] Please, we're trying to have a meeting. If you'd all care to look at the agenda.
[Ford] Hello! Hello!
[Captain] Who's that?
[Ford] Remember me? I ... I made a discovery I'd like to tell you about.
[Manager] Is it on the agenda?
[Manager] Sorry, but speaking as a management consultant, I must insist on the importance of the committee structure.
[Ford] On a prehistoric planet?
[Manager] Address the chair!
[Ford] There isn't a chair, only a rock.
[Manager] Call it a chair.
[Ford] Why not call it a rock?
[Marketing Girl] Will you two shut up?! I want to table a motion.
[Hairdresser] Boulder a motion, you mean!
[Ford] Thank you, I made that point.
[Manager] Order, order!
[Ford] If I could just say ...
[Manager] Order, order!
[Captain] I would like to call to order the 573rd meeting of the colonisation committee of the planet of Fintlewoodlewix.
[Ford] This is futile! 573 meetings and you haven't even discovered fire yet!
[Manager] If you care to look at the agenda, we are having a report from the Hairdressers' Fire Development Sub-committee.
[Hairdresser] That's me.
[Ford] That's you?
[Ford] What have you done?
[Hairdresser] Well ... they gave me a couple of sticks.
[Ford] Yes. And? Curling tongs? You're going to die out, you know that?
[Marketing Girl] You are obviously being totally naive! When you've been in marketing as long as I have, you know that before any new product can be developed it has to be properly researched. We've got to find out what people want from fire, how they relate to its image ...
[Ford] Stick it up your nose!
[Marketing Girl] Precisely what we need to know. Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?
[Captain] And the wheel! What about this wheel thing? They say it's a fascinating project.
[Marketing Girl] We're having a little difficulty there.
[Ford] Difficulty? It's the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!
[Marketing Girl] All right, Mr. Wiseguy! You're so clever, you tell us what colour it should be!
[Ford] O Mighty Zarquon! Has no one done anything yet?
[Number Two] Yes! I have declared war on the next continent.
[Ford] Declared war? There's no one living there.
[Number Two] Yes. But there will be one day. So we've left an open-ended ultimatum.
[Number Two] And blown up a few military installations.
[Captain] Military installations, Number Two?
[Number Two] Yes, sir. Well, potential military installations. All right, trees. And we interrogated a gazelle.
[Marketing Girl] And one of our surviving film producers rescued a camera from the wreckage. He wants to make a documentary about you, Captain.
[Captain] That's awfully nice.
[Marketing Girl] Yes, he's got a really strong angle on it. The burden of responsibility, the loneliness of command ...
[Captain] I would overstress that angle. After all, one's never alone with a rubber duck.
[Manager] If we could move on to the subject of fiscal policy?
[Ford] Fiscal policy? How can you have money if none of you produces anything? It doesn't grow on trees.
[Manager] But since we decided to adopt the leaf as legal tender, we have all of course become immensely rich. But we have run into a small inflation problem owing to high leaf availability. That means the current rate is something like three major deciduous forests buy one ship's peanut. In order to obviate this problem and revalue the leaf, we've decided on an extensive campaign of defoliation and burn down all the forests. I think that's a sensible move, don't you?
[Everyone] Fiscally shrewd! Fiscally shrewd!
[Ford] You're mad, you know that, don't you?
[Marketing Girl] Is it appropriate to inquire what you've been doing all this time? You and that other interloper, missing for months?
[Ford] We've been traveling. We've ... We've been trying to find out something about this world.
[Marketing Girl] That does not sound very productive to me. No.
[Ford] Well, have I got news for you! It doesn't matter a pair of fetid dingos' kidneys what you do. Burn down the forests. It won't make a scrap of difference. You see, I've seen the future. Two million years you've got, and that's it! At the end of that time, your race will be dead. Gone. And good riddance. Remember that. Two million years.
[Manager] Strange chap. What about those documentary things?
[Captain] Just time for another bath! Sponge, somebody!
[Arthur] No, no, no! Honestly! "Y" scores five, and it's on a triple word score. I explained the rules. No, no, please! Put down the jawbone. All right, we'll start again. Please try and concentrate this time.
[Ford] Hi, Arthur, what are you doing?
[Arthur] I'm trying to teach them Scrabble. It's uphill work. The only word they know is "Ugh," and they can't spell it.
[Ford] What's the point in that?
[Arthur] To make them evolve. Imagine a world descended from those cretins over there!
[Ford] We don't have to, we've seen it.
[Arthur] But honestly!
[Ford] We've seen it. There's no escape.
[Arthur] Did you tell them what we discovered?
[Arthur] Norway. Slartibartfast's signature on the glacier.
[Ford] What'll that mean to them?
[Arthur] It means this is the Earth! My home. Where I was born.
[Arthur] Will be.
[Ford] In two million years' time. Tell them that and see what they say. They'll chase you up a tree! Face it, those zeebs over there are your ancestors. Your Scrabble board won't save your race. The human race is currently standing around a bath making documentaries!
[Arthur] Surely we can do something?
[Ford] It's all been done, we've seen it. You know the history of the Earth and its demolition by the Vogons. You can't change anything.
[Arthur] And all because the Golgafrinchans arrived here on their B Ark!
[Ford] Ah, well.
[Ford] He's pointing at the Scrabble board.
[Arthur] Probably spelt "library" with one R.
[Ford] No, he hasn't. No, look!
[Arthur] The experiment! 42! Deep Thought's answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and whatever!
[Ford] Everything! 42!
[Arthur] Of course! The experiment to find the question to that answer. It's going on all around us, here. The Earth. The ground. The trees. The water. The rocks. The cavemen.
[Ford] Terrific! We've cocked it up. The Golgafrinchans, us, just by arriving here. The caveman is part of the program, and they're dying out because of us. Therefore, no question.
[Arthur] What about my brain?
[Arthur] Marvin said the question was printed in my brainwave patterns.
[Ford] Wrong question. It's still cocked-up.
[Arthur] It might give us a clue.
[Ford] If it's in your brain, how are we going to get at it?
[Arthur] How about ... if it's in my brain, and I can't reach it, suppose we introduce some random element shaped by the brainwave patterns?
[Ford] Such as?
[Arthur] Pulling out letters from the Scrabble bag.
[Arthur] Right! Right. First four letters.
[Ford] W ... H ... A ... T. What. Great. It's working. D ... O ... Y ... Doy. Doyo!
[Ford] U ... G. Doyoug? Ah! E ... T ... Do you get. What do you get ... If ... Y ... O ... U ... M ... U ... Multi ... P ... Multiply! Six ... by ... Six ... by ... nine. Is that it?
[Arthur] That's it.
[Ford] Six by nine? 42 ...?
[Arthur] I always said there was something fundamentally wrong with the Universe. All for that!
[Arthur] It's very sad, you know. Just at the moment it's a very beautiful planet.
[Ford] It is. It is indeed. The rich primal greens. The river snaking off into the distance. The burning forests.
[Arthur] And then in two million years, BANG! it gets destroyed by the Vogons. What a life for a young planet to look forward to! What a waste!
[Ford] Well, better than some. I read of one planet up in the 7th Dimension got used as a ball in inter-Galactic bar billiards, got potted straight into a black hole, killed 10 billion people.
[Arthur] Madness, total madness!
[Ford] Only scored thirty points, too.
[Arthur] Where did you read that?
[Ford] Hm? A book.
[Arthur] What book?
[Ford] The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
[Arthur] That thing!