My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre and that I am therefore excused from saving universes.
--Life, The Universe and Everything
The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
--Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
The history of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is now so complicated that every time I tell it I contradict myself, and whenever I do get it right I'm misquoted. So the publication of this omnibus edition seemed like a good opportunity to set the record straight--or at least firmly crooked.
You barbarians! I'll sue the council for every penny it's got! I'l have you hung, drawn, and quartered! And whipped! And boiled...until...until...until you've had enough. And then I will do it again! And when I've finished I will take all the little bits, and I will JUMP on them! And I will carry on jumping on them until I get blisters, or I can think of anything even more unpleasant to do...
One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continuously stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right?
--The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Arthur: If I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it?Ford: We're safe.Arthur: Oh good.Ford: We're in a small galley cabin in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.Arthur: Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of.
Charming man. I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry one...
He was experiencing the aural equivalent of looking at a picture of two black silhouetted faces and suddenly seeing it as a picture of a white candlestick. Or of looking at a lot of colored dots on a piece of paper which suddenly resolve themselves into the figure six and mean that your optician is going to charge you a lot of money for a new pair of glasses.
Now it is such a bizarrely impossible coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God. The arguement goes something like this:
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," say 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 arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't though of that" and promply vanishes in a puff of logic.
Arthur: You know, it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.Ford: Why, what did she tell you?Arthur: I don't know, I didn't listen.
"Please relax," said the voice pleasantly, like a stewardess in an airliner with only one wing and two engines, one of which is on fire, "you are perfectly safe."
THE UNIVERSE:4. Population
It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
--The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
"Don't you want to interrogate the prisoners, sir?" he squaled.
The Captain peered at him in bemusement.
"Why on Golgafrincham should I want to do that?" he asked.
"To get information out of them, sir! To find out why they came here!"
"Oh no, no, no," said the Captain. "I expect they just dropped in for a quick jynnan tonnyx, don't you?"
"But they're my prisoners! I must interrogate them!"
The Captain looked at them doubtfully.
"Oh all right," he said, "if you must. Ask them what they want to drink."
A hard cold gleam came into Number Two's eyes. He advanced slowly on Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent.
"All right, you scum," he growled, "you vermin..." He jabbed Ford with the Kill-O-Zap gun.
"Steady on, Number Two," admonished the Captain gently.
"What do you want to drink?!!" Number Two screamed.
"Well the jynnan tonnyx sounds very nice to me," said Ford. "What about you, Arthur?"
"What? Oh, er, yes," he said.
"With ice or without?!" bellowed Number Two.
Oh, with, please," said Ford.
"Yes, please," said Ford, "and do you have any of those little biscuits? You know, the cheesey ones?"
"I'm asking the questions!!!!" howled Number Two, his body shaking with apoplectic fury.
Number Two's eyes narrowed and became what are known in the Shouting and Killing People trade as cold slits, the idea presumable being to give your opponent the impression that you have lost your glasses or are having difficulty keeping awake. Why this is frightening is an, as yet, unresolved problem.
Fruit and berries on strange planets either make you live or make you die. Therefore the point at which to start toying with them is when you're going to die if you don't. That way you stay ahead. The secret to healthy hitchhiking is to eat junk food.
He picked up the letter Q and hurled it into a distant privet bush where it hit a young rabbit. The rabbit hurtled off in terror and didn't stop till it was set upon and eaten by a fox which choked on one of its bones and died on the bank of a stream which subsequently washed it away.
During the following weeks Ford Prefect swallowed his pride and struck up a relationship with a girl who had been a personnel officer on Golgafrincham, and he was terribly upset when she suddenly passed away as a result of drinking water from a pool that had been polluted by the body of a dead fox. The only moral it is possible to draw from this story is that one should never throw the letter Q into a privet bush.
--The Restaurant at the End of the Universe