quotations for galactic hitchhikers


Well, who doesn’t have some favorite Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quotations (and if you don’t, go away and get some immediately).

Here are a few of mine.

“Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while 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 from point B are so keen to get there, and what’s so great about point B that so many people from 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.”

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

“Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

“‘Ford!’ he said, ‘there’s an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script of Hamlet they’ve worked out.'”

“When you’re cruising down the road in the fast lane and you lazily sail past a few hard-driving cars and are feeling pretty pleased with yourself and then accidentally change down from fourth and first instead of third thus making your engine leap out of your hood in a rather ugly mess, it tends to throw you off your stride in much the same way that this remark threw Ford Prefect off his.”

“‘It is most gratifying,’ it said, ‘that your enthusiasm for our planet continues unabated, and so we would like to assure you that the guided missiles currently converging on your ship are part of a special service we extend to all of our most enthusiastic clients, and the fully armed nuclear warheads are of course merely a courtesy detail.  We look forward to your custom in future lives…Thank you.'”

“It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they appear.”

“‘So there you have it,’ said Slartibartfast, making a feeble and perfunctory attempt to clear away some of the appalling mess of his study.  He picked up a piece of paper from the top of a pile, but then couldn’t think of anywhere else to put it, so he put it back on top of the original pile which promptly fell over.”

“R is a velocity measure, defined as a reasonable speed of travel that is consistent with health, mental well-being and not being more than, say, five minutes late.  It is therefore clearly an almost infinitely variable figure according to circumstances, since the first two factors vary not only with speed taken as an absolute, but also with awareness of the third factor.  Unless handled with tranquility this equation can result in considerable stress, ulcers, and even death.  R17 is not a fixed velocity, but it is clearly far too fast.”

and we’ll end with Marvin:

“‘That ship hated me,’ [Marvin] said dejectedly, indicating the policecraft.

‘That ship?’ said Ford in sudden excitement.  ‘What happened to it?  Do you know?’

‘It hated me because I talked to it.’

‘You talked to it?’ exclaimed Ford.  ‘What do you mean you talked to it?’

‘Simple.  I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself in to its external computer feed.  I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it,’ said Marvin.

‘And what happened?’ pressed Ford.

‘It committed suicide,’ said Marvin, and stalked off back to the Heart of Gold.”

What are your favorite quotations from Douglas Adams’s works (be they radio show, book, computer game, or towel)?


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