ULTIMATE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY PDF
Some unhelpful remarks from the author. The history of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is now so complicated that every time I tell it I contradict myself, and. Many are familiar with Douglas Adams's classic Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, but few know that these books started out as a multi-part series. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams August 20, 1 Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm.
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The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Five Novels in One Outrageous Volume pdf, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Five Novels in One. Download The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Pdf Click button below to download or read this book. Description The intergalactic adventures. ultimate hitchhikers guide to galaxy ebook pdf at our library. get the ultimate ultimate hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy the ultimate hitchhiker's.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Facing annihilation at the hands of warmongers is a curious time to crave tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his comrades as they hurtle across the galaxy in a desperate search for a place to eat. Life, the Universe and Everything The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky— so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is.
Now only five individuals can avert Armageddon: mild-mannered Arthur Dent and his stalwart crew. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish Back on Earth, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription conspires to thrust him back to reality. So to speak. Mostly Harmless Just when Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life, all hell breaks loose.
Can he save the Earth from total obliteration? It said: The huge ships turned slowly in the sky with easy power. On the underside of each a hatchway opened, an empty black space. By this time somebody somewhere must have manned a radio transmitter, located a wavelength and broadcasted a message back to the Vogon ships, to plead on behalf of the planet.
Nobody ever heard what they said, they only heard the reply. The PA slammed back into life again. The voice was annoyed. There was a terrible ghastly silence. There was a terrible ghastly noise. The Vogon Constructor fleet coasted away into the inky starry void. Chapter 4 Far away on the opposite spiral arm of the Galaxy, five hundred thousand light years from the star Sol, Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Imperial Galactic Government, sped across the seas of Damogran, his ion drive delta boat winking and flashing in the Damogran sun.
Damogran the hot; Damogran the remote; Damogran the almost totally unheard of. Damogran, secret home of the Heart of Gold. The boat sped on across the water. It would be some time before it reached its destination because Damogran is such an inconveniently ar- ranged planet. It consists of nothing but middling to large desert islands separated by very pretty but annoyingly wide stretches of ocean.
The boat sped on. Because of this topological awkwardness Damogran has always remained a deserted planet. This is why the Imperial Galactic Government chose Damogran for the Heart of Gold project, because it was so deserted and the Heart of Gold was so secret.
The boat zipped and skipped across the sea, the sea that lay between the main islands of the only archipelago of any useful size on the whole planet. Zaphod Beeblebrox was on his way from the tiny spaceport on Easter Island the name was an entirely meaningless coincidence - in Galacticspeke, easter means small flat and light brown to the Heart of Gold island, which by another meaningless coincidence was called France.
One of the side effects of work on the Heart of Gold was a whole string of pretty meaningless coincidences. But it was not in any way a coincidence that today, the day of culmination of the project, the great day of unveiling, the day that the Heart of Gold was finally to be introduced to a marvelling Galaxy, was also a great day of culmination for Zaphod Beeblebrox.
It was for the sake of this day that he had first decided to run for the Presidency, a decision which had sent waves of astonishment throughout the Imperial Galaxy - Zaphod Beeblebrox? Not the Zaphod Beeblebrox?
Not the President?
Many had seen it as a clinching proof that the whole of known creation had finally gone bananas. Zaphod grinned and gave the boat an extra kick of speed.
Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippy, good timer, crook? No one had gone bananas, not in that way at least. Only six people in the entire Galaxy understood the principle on which the Galaxy was governed, and they knew that once Zaphod Beeblebrox had announced his intention to run as President it was more or less a fait accompli: What they completely failed to understand was why Zaphod was doing it. He banked sharply, shooting a wild wall of water at the sun.
Today was the day; today was the day when they would realize what Zaphod had been up to. Today was also his two hundredth birthday, but that was just another meaningless coincidence.
As he skipped his boat across the seas of Damogran he smiled quietly to himself about what a wonderful exciting day it was going to be.
He relaxed and spread his two arms lazily across the seat back. The island of France was about twenty miles long, five miles across the middle, sandy and crescent shaped. In fact it seemed to exist not so much as an island in its own right as simply a means of defining the sweep and curve of a huge bay. This impression was heightened by the fact that the inner coastline of the crescent consisted almost entirely of steep cliffs. From the top of the cliff the land sloped slowly down five miles to the opposite shore.
On top of the cliffs stood a reception committee. It consisted in large part of the engineers and researchers who had built the Heart of Gold - mostly humanoid, but here and there were a few reptiloid atomineers, two or three green slyph-like maximegalacticans, an octopoid physucturalist or two and a Hooloovoo a Hooloovoo is a super-intelligent shade of the color blue.
All except the Hooloovoo were resplendent in their multi- colored ceremonial lab coats; the Hooloovoo had been temporarily refracted into a free standing prism for the occasion. There was a mood of immense excitement thrilling through all of them. Together and between them they had gone to and beyond the furthest limits of physical laws, restructured the fundamental fabric of matter, strained, twisted and broken the laws of possibility and impossibility, but still the greatest excitement of all seemed to be to meet a man with an orange sash round his neck.
An orange sash was what the President of the Galaxy traditionally wore. Only six people in the Galaxy knew that the job of the Galactic President was not to wield power but to attract attention away from it. Zaphod Beeblebrox was amazingly good at his job. The crowd gasped, dazzled by sun and seemanship, as the Presidential speedboat zipped round the headland into the bay.
It flashed and shone as it came skating over the sea in wide skidding turns. Zaphod loved effect: He twisted the wheel sharply, the boat slewed round in a wild scything skid beneath the cliff face and dropped to rest lightly on the rocking waves.
Within seconds he ran out onto the deck and waved and grinned at over three billion people. He grinned again. The robot camera homed in for a close up on the more popular of his two heads and he waved again. He was roughly humanoid in appearance except for the extra head and third arm. His fair tousled hair stuck out in random directions, his blue eyes glinted with something completely unidentifiable, and his chins were almost always unshaven. A twenty-foot-high transparent globe floated next to his boat, rolling and bobbing, glistening in the brilliant sun.
Inside it floated a wide semi-circular sofa upholstered in glorious red leather: Again, all done for effect as much as anything.
Zaphod stepped through the wall of the globe and relaxed on the sofa. He spread his two arms lazily along the back and with the third brushed some dust off his knee.
His heads looked about, smiling; he put his feet up. At any moment, he thought, he might scream. Water boiled up beneath the bubble, it seethed and spouted. The bubble surged into the air, bobbing and rolling on the water spout.
Up, up it climbed, throwing stilts of light at the cliff. Up it surged on the jet, the water falling from beneath it, crashing back into the sea hundreds of feet below.
Zaphod smiled, picturing himself. A thoroughly ridiculous form of transport, but a thoroughly beautiful one. To tremendous applause Zaphod Beeblebrox stepped out of the bubble, his orange sash blazing in the light. The President of the Galaxy had arrived. He waited for the applause to die down, then raised his hands in greeting.
A government spider sidled up to him and attempted to press a copy of his prepared speech into his hands. Pages three to seven of the original version were at the moment floating soggily on the Damogran sea some five miles out from the bay. Pages one and two had been salvaged by a Damogran Frond Crested Eagle and had already become incorporated into an extraordinary new form of nest which the eagle had invented.
It was constructed largely of papier m ch and it was virtually impossible for a newly hatched baby eagle to break out of it.
The Damogran Frond Crested Eagle had heard of the notion of survival of the species but wanted no truck with it. Zaphod Beeblebrox would not be needing his set speech and he gently deflected the one being offered him by the spider. Everyone beamed at him, or, at least, nearly everyone. He singled out Trillian from the crowd. Trillian was a gird that Zaphod had picked up recently whilst visiting a planet, just for fun, incognito.
She was slim, darkish, humanoid, with long waves of black hair, a full mouth, an odd little nob of a nose and ridiculously brown eyes. With her red head scarf knotted in that particular way and her long flowing silky brown dress she looked vaguely Arabic. Not that anyone there had ever heard of an Arab of course. The Arabs had very recently ceased to exist, and even when they had existed they were five hundred thousand light years from Damogran.
She just went around with him rather a lot and told him what she thought of him. She flashed him a quick tight smile and looked away.
Then she looked back for a moment and smiled more warmly - but by this time he was looking at something else. He grinned at them particularly because he knew that in a few moments he would be giving them one hell of a quote. The next thing he said though was not a lot of use to them. One of the officials of the party had irritably decided that the President was clearly not in a mood to read the deliciously turned speech that had been written for him, and had flipped the switch on the remote control device in his pocket.
Away in front of them a huge white dome that bulged against the sky cracked down in the middle, split, and slowly folded itself down into the ground. Everyone gasped although they had known perfectly well it was going to do that because they had built it that way.
Beneath it lay uncovered a huge starship, one hundred and fifty metres long, shaped like a sleek running shoe, perfectly white and mindboggingly beautiful.
At the heart of it, unseen, lay a small gold box which carried within it the most brain-wretching device ever conceived, a device which made this starship unique in the history of the galaxy, a device after which the ship had been named - The Heart of Gold. He said it again because he knew it would annoy the press.
He winked at Trillian who raised her eyebrows and widened her eyes at him. She knew what he was about to say and thought him a terrible showoff. The crowd laughed appreciatively, the newsmen gleefully punched buttons on their Sub-Etha News-Matics and the President grinned. Finally he could bear it no more. He lifted his heads up to the sky, let out a wild whoop in major thirds, threw the bomb to the ground and ran forward through the sea of suddenly frozen smiles.
Chapter 5 Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz was not a pleasant sight, even for other Vogons. His highly domed nose rose high above a small piggy forehead. His dark green rubbery skin was thick enough for him to play the game of Vogon Civil Service politics, and play it well, and waterproof enough for him to survive indefinitely at sea depths of up to a thousand feet with no ill effects.
Not that he ever went swimming of course. His busy schedule would not allow it. They never evolved again; they should never have survived. The fact that they did is some kind of tribute to the thick- willed slug- brained stubbornness of these creatures. Meanwhile, the natural forces on the planet Vogsphere had been working overtime to make up for their earlier blunder.
They were no use as transport because their backs would snap instantly, but the Vogons sat on them anyway. Thus the planet Vogsphere whiled away the unhappy millennia until the Vogons suddenly discovered the principles of interstellar travel.
Within a few short Vog years every last Vogon had migrated to the Megabrantis clus- ter, the political hub of the Galaxy and now formed the immensely powerful backbone of the Galactic Civil Service.
They have attempted to acquire learning, they have attempted to acquire style and social grace, but in most respects the modern Vogon is little different from his primitive forebears.
Every year they import twenty-seven thousand scintillating jewelled scut- tling crabs from their native planet and while away a happy drunken night smashing them to bits with iron mallets. Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz was a fairly typical Vogon in that he was thoroughly vile. Also, he did not like hitch hikers. The owner of the match was not a Vogon, but he knew all about them and was right to be nervous.
His name was Ford Prefect 1. He looked about the cabin but could see very little; strange monstrous shadows loomed and leaped with the tiny flickering flame, but all was quiet. He breathed a silent thank you to the Dentrassis.
The Dentrassis are an unruly tribe of gourmands, a wild but pleasant bunch whom the Vogons had recently taken to employing as catering staff on their long haul fleets, on the strict understanding that they keep themselves very much to themselves. This suited the Dentrassis fine, because they loved Vogon money, which is one of the hardest currencies in space, but loathed the Vogons themselves.
The only sort of Vogon a Dentrassi liked to see was an annoyed Vogon. The whole episode is shrouded in deep mystery: He heard a slight groan. By the light of the match he saw a heavy shape moving slightly on the floor. Quickly he shook the match out, reached in his pocket, found what he was looking for and took it out.
He crouched on the floor. The shape moved again. Ford Prefect said: The beer you had should have cushioned your system a bit. He opened his eyes. At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour. Monstrous shadows leaped and loomed again.
Arthur struggled to his feet and hugged himself apprehensively. Hideous alien shapes seemed to throng about him, the air was thick with musty smells which sidled into his lungs without identifying themselves, and a low irritating hum kept his brain from focus- ing. I can take you as far as the Basingstoke roundabout? Even Ford was surprised. He always felt vaguely irritable after demolishing populated planets.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
He wished that someone would come and tell him that it was all wrong so that he could shout at them and feel better. He flopped as heavily as he could on to his control seat in the hope that it would break and give him something to be genuinely angry about, but it only gave a complaining sort of creak. The guard vanished immediately, feeling rather relieved. The report was an official release which said that a wonderful new form of spaceship drive was at this moment being unveiled at a government research base on Damogran which would henceforth make all hyperspatial express routes unnecessary.
A meal would be most welcome. A huge furry creature bounded through the door with his lunch tray. It was grinning like a maniac. Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz was delighted. He knew that when a Dentrassi looked that pleased with itself there was something going on somewhere on the ship that he could get very angry indeed about.
Ford and Arthur stared about them. He sat down on one of the mattresses and rummaged about in his satchel. Arthur prodded the mattress nervously and then sat on it himself: Very few have ever come to life again. Ford handed the book to Arthur. It tells you everything you need to know about anything. He snatched it from Arthur who was still holding it as if it was a two-week-dead lark and pulled it out of its cover. Ford pressed a large red button at the bottom of the screen and words began to undulate across it.
At the same time, the book began to speak the entry as well in a still quiet measured voice. This is what the book said. Here is what to do if you want to get a lift from a Vogon: They are one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy — not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. How did we get a lift then? Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do.
Rather childish really. It just boiled away into space. Ford was holding up a small glass jar which quite clearly had a small yellow fish wriggling around in it. Arthur blinked at him. He wished there was something simple and recognizable he could grasp hold of. He would have felt safe if alongside the Dentrassi underwear, the piles of Squornshellous mattresses and the man from Betelgeuse holding up a small yellow fish and offering to put it in his ear he had been able to see just a small packet of corn flakes.
Suddenly a violent noise leapt at them from no source that he could identify. He gasped in terror at what sounded like a man trying to gargle whilst fighting off a pack of wolves. Just put that fish in your ear.
Gasping with horror he scrabbled at his ear for a second or so, but then slowly turned goggle-eyed with wonder. Or of looking at a lot of coloured 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. He was still listening to the howling gargles, he knew that, only now it had taken on the semblance of perfectly straightforward English.
This is what he heard Message repeats. First of all I see from our instruments that we have a couple of hitchhikers aboard. Hello wherever you are. I just want to make it totally clear that you are not at all welcome. I have sent out a search party, and as soon that they find you I will put you off the ship.
I repeat, all planet leave is cancelled. Message ends. Arthur discovered to his embarrassment that he was lying curled up in a small ball on the floor with his arms wrapped round his head. He smiled weakly. Look it up in the book if you like. His eyes turned inside out. His feet began to leak out of the top of his head. The room folded flat about him, spun around, shifted out of existence and left him sliding into his own navel.
They were passing through hyperspace. It feeds on brainwave energy not from its carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them.
The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish. It could not have evolved by chance.
He was now six light years from the place that the Earth would have been if it still existed. The Earth.
Visions of it swam sickeningly through his nauseated mind. There was no way his imagination could feel the impact of the whole Earth having gone, it was too big. He prodded his feelings by thinking that his parents and his sister had gone.
No reaction. He thought of all the people he had been close to. Then he thought of a complete stranger he had been standing behind in the queue at the supermarket before and felt a sudden stab - the supermarket was gone, everything in it was gone. England only existed in his mind - his mind, stuck here in this dank smelly steel-lined spaceship. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him. England no longer existed. America, he thought, has gone.
He decided to start smaller again. New York has gone. The dollar, he thought, had sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every Bogart movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock.
McDonalds, he thought. He passed out. When he came round a second later he found he was sobbing for his mother. He jerked himself violently to his feet. He always found the actual travelling-through-space part of space travel rather trying. Arthur grabbed hold of it and tried to stop his hands shaking. He pressed the entry for the relevant page. The screen flashed and swirled and resolved into a page of print.
Arthur stared at it. Ford looked over his shoulder. One word! Shut up! There was a sharp ringing rap on the door. Chapter 7 Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azagoths of Kria.
The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England in the destruction of the planet Earth.
Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz smiled very slowly. This was done not so much for effect as because he was trying to remember the sequence of muscle movements. He had had a terribly therapeutic yell at his prisoners and was now feeling quite relaxed and ready for a little callousness. The prisoners sat in Poetry Appreciation Chairs —strapped in. Vogons suf- fered no illusions as to the regard their works were generally held in.
Their early attempts at composition had been part of bludgeoning insistence that they be accepted as a properly evolved and cultured race, but now the only thing that kept them going was sheer bloodymindedness. Arthur Dent sat and quivered. The Vogon began to read - a fetid little passage of his own devising. He could dimly see beside him Arthur lolling and rolling in his seat. He clenched his teeth. He went limp. Arthur lolled. Either die in the vacuum of space, or He did the smile again.
He rolled his dusty tongue round his parched mouth and moaned. Arthur said brightly: Here was an approach that had quite simply not occurred to him. The Vogon raised a surprised eyebrow that effectively obscured his nose and was therefore no bad thing. Were they really going to be able to bareface their way out of this? Ford leaped in with the coup de gr ce: Out of the corner of his mouth: The Vogon perused them.
For a moment his embittered racial soul had been touched, but he thought no - too little too late. His voice took on the quality of a cat snagging brushed nylon. He paused. Take the prisoners to number three airlock and throw them out! A huge young Vogon guard stepped forward and yanked them out of their straps with his huge blubbery arms. The captain watched with detached amusement and then turned away.
Arthur stared round him wildly. A steel door closed and the captain was on his own again. He hummed quietly and mused to himself, lightly fingering his notebook of verses. The long steel-lined corridor echoed to the feeble struggles of the two hu- manoids clamped firmly under rubbery Vogon armpits.
Let go of me you brute! A thought struck him. The Vogon stopped dead and a look of immense stupidity seeped slowly over his face. Stomp- ing around, shouting, pushing people out of spaceships His mouth slacked. Arthur twisted his head to look at Ford. The Vogon stared down at him as sluggish thoughts moiled around in the murky depths.
What is it? The girls? The leather? The machismo? Or do you just find that coming to terms with the mindless tedium of it all presents an interesting challenge? I dunno. I think I just sort of My aunt said that spaceship guard was a good career for a young Vogon - you know, the uniform, the low- slung stun ray holster, the mindless tedium He did this with a small feeble gesture, because he was too asphyxicated to speak.
Deep rumblings of bemusement came from the guard. Now you put it like that I suppose He was obviously quite touched. The guard operated a control and the hatchway swung smoothly open. Arthur lay panting for breath. Ford scrambled round and flung his shoulder uselessly against the reclosing hatchway.
They were in a brightly polished cylindrical chamber about six feet in di- ameter and ten feet long. He just lay panting. I thought you said you were going to think of something. Arthur looked up expec- tantly. Not much point now is there?
If you take a lungful of air with you you can last for up to thirty seconds of course He stuck his hands behind his back, raised his eyebrows and started to hum an old Betelgeusian battle hymn. Wait a minute! He slumped against the wall again and carried on the tune from where he left off. Any second now all that will be left is Mostly Harmless.
And yesterday the planet seemed to be going so well. A slight hiss built into a deafening roar of rushing air as the outer hatchway opened on to an empty blackness studded with tiny impossibly bright points of light. Ford and Arthur popped into outer space like corks from a toy gun.
It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many years and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers. The introduction begins like this: Really big.
After a while the style settles down a bit and it begins to tell you things you really need to know, like the fact that the fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your bodyweight when you leave: Some invite you to consider for a moment a peanut in reading and a small walnut in Johannesburg, and other such dizzying concepts.
The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination. Even light, which travels so fast that it takes most races thousands of years to realize that it travels at all, takes time to journey between the stars. For light to reach the other side of the Galaxy, for it to reach Damogran for instance, takes rather longer: However it goes on to say that what with space being the mind boggling size it is the chances of getting picked up by another ship within those thirty seconds are two to the power of two hundred and sixty-seven thousand seven hundred and nine to one against.
By a totally staggering coincidence that is also the telephone number of an Islington flat where Arthur once went to a very good party and met a very nice girl whom he totally failed to get off with - she went off with a gatecrasher. Though the planet Earth, the Islington flat and the telephone have all now been demolished, it is comforting to reflect that they are all in some small way commemorated by the fact that twenty-nine seconds later Ford and Arthur were rescued.
Chapter 9 A computer chatted to itself in alarm as it noticed an airlock open and close itself for no apparent reason. This was because Reason was in fact out to lunch. A hole had just appeared in the Galaxy. It was exactly a nothingth of a second long, a nothingth of an inch wide, and quite a lot of million light years from end to end.
As it closed up lots of paper hats and party balloons fell out of it and drifted off through the universe. A team of seven three- foot-high market analysts fell out of it and died, partly of asphyxication, partly of surprise. Two hundred and thirty-nine thousand lightly fried eggs fell out of it too, materializing in a large woobly heap on the famine- struck land of Poghril in the Pansel system. The whole Poghril tribe had died out from famine except for one last man who died of cholesterol poisoning some weeks later.
The nothingth of a second for which the hole existed reverberated back- wards and forwards through time in a most improbable fashion.
Somewhere in the deeply remote past it seriously traumatized a small random group of atoms drifting through the empty sterility of space and made them cling to- gether in the most extraordinarily unlikely patterns. These patterns quickly learnt to copy themselves this was part of what was so extraordinary of the patterns and went on to cause massive trouble on every planet they drifted on to.
That was how life began in the Universe. Five wild Event Maelstroms swirled in vicious storms of unreason and spewed up a pavement. On the pavement lay Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent gulping like half-spent fish.
Various pretend ones flitted silently by, like mountain goats. Primal light exploded, splatter- ing space-time as with gobbets of junket. Time blossomed, matter shrank away. The highest prime number coalesced quietly in a corner and hid itself away for ever. The Universe jumped, froze, quivered and splayed out in several unexpected directions.
Arthur and Ford opened their eyes and looked about in considerable sur- prise. Perhaps you only thought I said it. Just someone. Ford skidded down a beam of light and span round trying to find a source for the voice but could see nothing he could seriously believe in. It sounded like a measurement of probability. What do you mean?
You know, like two to one, three to one, five to four against. It said two to the power of one hundred thousand to one against. Great ugly bulges. Stop it.
A giant petit four lolloped off into the distance. We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Two to the power of twenty thousand to one against and falling. Ford and Arthur were in a small luminous pink cubicle. Ford was wildly excited.
This is incredible! I heard rumors about it before! They were all officially denied, but they must have done it! Arthur, this is Tiny furry little hands were squeezing themselves through the cracks, their fingers were inkstained; tiny voices chattered insanely. Arthur looked up. This, briefly, is the story of its discovery.
Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up the lab after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning this way: If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generator out of thin air.
Chapter 11 The Improbability-proof control cabin of the Heart of Gold looked like a perfectly conventional spaceship except that it was perfectly clean because it was so new. The cabin was mostly white, oblong, and about the size of a smallish restaurant. The truth of the matter is that it would have been a great deal simpler and more practical to build the cabin as an ordinary three-dimensional oblong rom, but then the designers would have got miserable. As it was the cabin looked excitingly purposeful, with large video screens ranged over the control and guidance system panels on the concave wall, and long banks of computers set into the convex wall.
In one corner a robot sat humped, its gleaming brushed steel head hanging loosely between its gleaming brushed steel knees. In fact they fitted perfectly well, but something in its bearing suggested that they might have fitted better. Zaphod Beeblebrox paced nervously up and down the cabin, brushing his hands over pieces of gleaming equipment and giggling with excitement.
Trillian sat hunched over a clump of instruments reading off figures. Her voice was carried round the Tannoy system of the whole ship. Please relax. You will be sent for soon. I mean, here we are on the run and everything, we must have the police of half the Galaxy after us by now, and we stop to pick up hitch hikers. OK, so ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, yeah? Trillian quietly moved his hand before he tapped anything important.
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. Not as such, but Not die as such? Who picked them up then?
All by itself. Just very very improbable. Hey Marvin! It pulled itself up to its feet as if it was about five pounds heavier that it actually was, and made what an outside observer would have thought was a heroic effort to cross the room. It stopped in front of Trillian and seemed to stare through her left shoulder.
Its voice was low and hopeless. Zaphod leaped out of his seat. Ford and Arthur found themselves in the embarkation area of the ship. It was rather smart. Look, I was right. Sensational new breakthrough in Improbability Physics. Be the envy of other major governments. Wow, this is big league stuff. The panel lit up with the words Please do not press this button again. He shook himself. They span round and saw an abject steel man standing hunched in the doorway.
Absolutely ghastly. The irony circuits cut into his voice modulator as he mimicked the style of the sales brochure. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done. Marvin regarded it with cold loathing whilst his logic circuits chattered with disgust and tinkered with the concept of directing physical violence against it Further circuits cut in saying, Why bother? Nothing is worth getting involved in. For a quick encore they measured the level of hydrogen emissions in the surrounding cubic parsec of space and then shut down again in boredom.
Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? I can tell by the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates. The others followed quickly and the door slit back into place with pleased little clicks and whirrs. So they tried it out with me. At least five entirely separate and distinct expressions of shock and amazement piled up on it in a jumbled mess.
He stared at the robot and tried to entangle some dartoid muscles. Chapter 12 A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wavebands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive - you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope.
It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme. Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again. More gunk music, but this time it was a background to a news announcement. The news was always heavily edited to fit the rhythms of the music.
And of course, the big news story tonight is the sensational theft of the new Improbability Drive prototype ship by none other than Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox. We asked his private brain care specialist Gag Halfrunt Another voice broke in, presumably Halfrunt.
He said: Zaphod turned and glared at Trillian - she had thrown the pencil. Worth interrupting a news bulletin about me for? We know that. This is important. ZZ 9 Plural Z Alpha?
He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was so - but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence the act. He proffered people to be puz- zled rather than contemptuous. This above all appeared to Trillian to be genuinely stupid, but she could no longer be bothered to argue about it. She sighed and punched up a star map on the visiscreen so she could make it simple for him, whatever his reasons for wanting it to be that way. We should have zapped straight into the middle of the Horsehead Nebula.
How did we come to be there? We pass through every point in the Universe, you know that. Out of the whole of the Universe to choose from? I want to work this out. The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Shipboard Computer which controlled and permeated every particle of the ship switched into communication mode.
The ticker tape said, Hi there! The computer continued, brash and cheery as if it was selling detergent. If you ever want Zaphod and Trillian pored over the figures that the Improbability flight path scanner flashed silently up in front of them.
They showed tow-to-the power- of-Infinity- minus-one an irrational number that only has a conventional meaning in Improbability physics. She scrabbled at the buttons on the Improbability flight path screen.
Numbers flashed up on the screen. The computer had paused politely, but now it continued. Can we pick them up on any monitor cameras? Marvin eyed it suspiciously. This is the entrance to the bridge. I was told to take you to the bridge. Suddenly it slid open. Arthur looked at Ford and was astonished to see him laughing. Arthur followed him in nervously and was astonished to see a man lolling back in a chair with his feet on a control console picking the teeth in his right-hand head with his left hand.
The right-hand head seemed to be thoroughly preoccupied with this task, but the left-hand one was grinning a broad, relaxed, nonchalant grin. His jaw flapped about at a loose end for a while.
Glad you could drop in. Ford carried on. Now he felt he was back on home ground he suddenly began to resent having lumbered himself with this ignorant primitive who knew as much about the affairs of the Galaxy as an Ilford-based gnat knew about life in Peking.
Arthur would not be deterred. On Earth He looked backwards and forwards between Arthur and Zaphod. The whole place has gone up in smoke anyway Hell, she was something though.
After all with a degree in Maths and another in astrophysics what else was there to do? It was either that or the dole queue again on Monday. Chapter 14 The Heart of Gold fled on silently through the night of space, now on con- ventional photon drive.
Its crew of four were ill at ease knowing that they had been brought together not of their own volition or by simple coinci- dence, but by some curious principle of physics - as if relationships between people were susceptible to the same laws that governed the relationships between atoms and molecules. She sat on a couch and stared at a small cage which contained her last and only links with Earth - two white mice that she had insisted Zaphod let her bring.
It seemed remote and unreal and she could find no thoughts to think about it.
She watched the mice scurrying round the cage and running furiously in their little plastic treadwheels till they occupied her whole attention. She wished she knew what it was she was trying not to think about. Most of the time he was able to put this thought aside and not worry about it, but it had been re-awakened by the sudden inexplicable arrival of Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent.
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He was too excited about being back on the road again. Fifteen years of virtual imprisonment were over, just as he was finally beginning to give up hope. The fact that he had become President of the Galaxy was frankly astonishing, as was the manner of his leaving the post. Was there a reason behind it? There would be no point in asking Zaphod, he never appeared to have a reason for anything he did at all: He attacked everything in life with a mixture of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
Arthur slept: It slid open. In the corner of his cabin was a small computer screen and keyboard. As he entered he was surprised to see two figures hunched excitedly over the instruments. It was a series of figures flashing over a screen.
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Pinpoints of light played across the consoles and reflected in four pairs of eyes that stared up at the external monitor screens. There was absolutely nothing on them.
Ford frowned. One whole vast dark cloud. He was clearly very excited about something, almost childishly so. No planets? A red star the size of a small plate crept across it followed quickly by another one - a binary system.
Then a vast crescent sliced into the corner of the picture - a red glare shading away into the deep black, the night side of the planet. Magrathea Far back in the mists of ancient time, in the great and glorious days of the former Galactic Empire, life was wild, rich and largely tax free. Mighty starships plied their way between exotic suns, seeking adventure and reward amongst the furthest reaches of Galactic space.
In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.
And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before - and thus was the Empire forged. Many men of course became extremely rich, but this was perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one was really poor - at least no one worth speaking of.
And thus were created the conditions for a staggering new form of spe- cialist industry: But so successful was this venture that Magrathea itself soon became the richest planet of all time and the rest of the Galaxy was reduced to abject poverty. And so the system broke down, the Empire collapsed, and a long sullen silence settled over a billion worlds, disturbed only by the pen scratchings of scholars as they laboured into the night over smug little treaties on the value of a planned political economy.
Magrathea itself disappeared and its memory soon passed into the obscurity of legend. In these enlightened days of course, no one believes a word of it.
Chapter 16 Arthur awoke to the sound of argument and went to the bridge. Ford was waving his arms about. She motioned him to come on in but keep quiet. What can I They watched for a moment in silence, but Zaphod was fidgety with excite- ment. The planet rolled on. He was trying to restore a sense of occasion to what he felt should have been a great moment.
It crept up by slight degrees and spread sideways in a thin crescent blade, and within seconds two suns were visible, furnaces of light, searing the black edge of the horizon with white fire. Fierce shafts of colour streaked through the thin atmosphere beneath them. The suns blazed into the pitch of space and a low ghostly music floated through the bridge:Also, he did not like hitch hikers.
The ship nears the planet, where they are greeted by a disembodied voice, which they find out is a five-million-year-old recording. He wished that someone would come and tell him that it was all wrong so that he could shout at them and feel better.
Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz smiled very slowly. Ford beckoned to Prosser who sadly, awkwardly, sat down in the mud. Walk on through the wind Submit Search. Glad you could drop in. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme.
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