Google doodle honors Douglas Adams

I have to confess that I’ve never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I really want to, but I’m terribly pressed for time and the only copy in the University of Chicago Library is the last volume—and it’s far away in the law library, of all places. But I’ve watched Douglas Adams’s wonderful talks on YouTube, and have read his engrossing book written with Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See, a hilarious and touching paean to vanishing species (highly recommended).

Today’s Google Doodle, which is animated (see it here), honors Adams, taken far too young by a heart attack (he would have been 61 today had he lived, but he died in 2001).

Picture 3
We all know Adams’s famous refutation of the anthropic principle involving a puddle that fits nicely in its hole. He was of course a “militant” atheist. This morning the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent around some information as part of its “Freethought of the Day”.

Adams called himself a “committed Christian” as a teenager, who began to rethink his beliefs at age 18 after listening to the nonsense of a street preacher. He credited books by his friend, Richard Dawkins, including The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker, for helping to cement his views on religion. In one of his speeches, Dawkins quotes Adams, who said: “Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn’t seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. (“Emperor Has No Clothes” Award acceptance speech, reprinted in Freethought Today, October 2001.) In The Salmon of Doubt, a compilation of Adams’ writings published posthumously in 2002, Adams wrote of religion: “But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.”

And Adams’s “thought:

“If you describe yourself as ‘Atheist,’ some people will say, ‘Don’t you mean “Agnostic’?” ‘ I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god—in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. It’s easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously. It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism—both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.”

—Douglas Adams, interview, American Atheist (Winter 1998-99)

h/t: Dennis, Diane G.

75 Comments

  1. Philip.Elliott
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Well you are in for a treat when you do get around to H2G2! And may I suggest you track down the original radio broadcasts? They really are a wonderful presentation, hilarious and well acted.

    • Philip.Elliott
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Sub!

    • Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      +1
      And especially good in stereo. (I first heard it in AM mono, that’s how long ago it was.)

      Sadly the film missed the point, turning it into a romance, which it never was, from a galactic quest for a good cup of tea.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:33 am | Permalink

        The film was still good in its own way. The fourth book of the ‘trilogy’ certainly had a romance in it, with Fenchurch, and it was a very well-written romance IMO. (Not that I’m an aficionado of romance).

        Every incarnation of Hitchhiker’s Guide was different. I don’t think it’s possible to identify the definitive version, though obviously people will have their own preferences.

    • Marella
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes that’s a very good idea, then Jerry can listen to them while driving or something.

  2. Fragmeister
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I wish I had even one billionth the talent that Douglas Adams possessed. He came across as too modest to be a genius but that’s what I think he was. Douglas was Robin to Richard Dawkins’s Batman.

  3. pktom64
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I didn’t read the book either (yet) but saw the movie which was great, tho I suspect it doesn’t entirely do justice to the book… it’s usually like that.
    Still, available on amazon.

    And of course, his great talk at UCSB:
    Douglas Adams: Parrots, the Universe and Everything
    http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=5779

    • R J Langley
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      The movie, to anyone who’s read the books or heard the radio plays, is utterly diabolical, although I didn’t think it was too bad on my first viewing of it. Seriously, if you liked the movie, you ought to adore the books and radio play.

      • pktom64
        Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        In fact, I can only do it in this order: movie first, book second. Otherwise I can’t stand the movie. It always worked that way for me (and not just me I believe).
        After I’ve watched the movie, then read the book, I can go back to the movie again without problem but if I read the book then it’s too late, the movie’s gonna be horrible for me…

        Also: diabolical doesn’t sound bad at all to me 😉

      • MorsGotha
        Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget the 1981 TV Series. You can find it on youtube.

  4. ljrTR
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Of course, you MUST read “The Hitchiker’s Guide” – & let your followers know what you think of it. Nice post, as usual

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s pretty short and a very easy read. You could probably finish it in a few days of bathroom reading even.

      I read it as a teenager and it was, at the time, the funniest thing I’d ever read or heard.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Reading The Hitchhikers Guide is certainly less onerous than reading sophistimucated theology.

    • Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      If you could read the Bible, you can CERTAINLY read H2G2. Much more sensible plot, more interesting characters, vastly more enlightened worldview.

      Of course H2G2 the book is only the first of five in the trilogy. I felt he was getting a bit tired by Mostly Harmless, but he’s still going strong in Restaurant.

  5. gr8hands
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    The best version is Douglas Adams reading it himself! The pronounciation of the outlandish names is awesome! You really get a different feel for the characters when you hear the author read it.

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Here, here. Adams conveys the essential human warmth of his stories. And there’s stuff, including the disposition on how grammar had to be changed to incorporate time travel, that just have to be heard.

    • Somite
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s a shame that I can not find a place to legitimately purchase this version.

      • Ken Pidcock
        Posted March 12, 2013 at 4:17 am | Permalink

        I’d bought it from Audible, but I don’t see it there now. Wonder what that’s about.

  6. eric
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Second that Last Chance to See was excellent. I think the year I discovered it I must’ve bought about 10 copies to give out as birthday/xmas/whatever presents. Everyone got one.

    If you do read it, keep in mind that the story goes that he wrote parts of it day-by-day for the radio show. Evidently there were times where he was literally finishing up a page and then running it down to the actors to read. Knowking that makes the craziness a bit more understandable…and also highlights just how much of an amazing storyteller he was.

  7. brad
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Yes, by all means find the version Douglas Adams reads! I have it, found it online somewhere. Or just get a cheap copy of the paperback(s)–there have to be a million used book stores right around you there! But do read it. My best experience was reading it to a precocious 9 yr old on a long hike in Colorado. We’d set up camp and go to reading by the flashlight late at night, the only sounds around us being our laughter and the wail of the coyotes. I’ve always thought the fact that these are such little books, capable of being bought at almost any used bookstore for a pittance, works to suggest that there is something indeed light and fluffy about them. They are profound additions to our view of the universe, and illustrations of the necessity of our laughter in harmony with it.

  8. Marta
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    “So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish” is the best book title ever written.

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I dunno, “Waiting for Godalming” has a lot going for it.
      Then there’s “Raiders of the Lost Carpark”.
      Not forgetting “Armaggedon: The Musical”.
      (I’m a bit of a Robert Rankin fan).

      Seriously Jerry, get the series, you will enjoy reading these much more than you did reading the bible (don’t bother with the Eoin Colfer follow up, he tries but he’s no Douglas Adams).

      • Marta
        Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        For awhile, during the heyday of the ridiculousness of Bush’s presidency (both times!), I hiked with a couple of pals and we’d get up to ranting about the latest atrocity of his administration, and one of us would usually conclude the discussion by saying “well, thanks for all the fish”. It was the perfect acceptance/resistance summation. Oddly, at the time we were using it, I didn’t know that it was the title of one of Adams’ books, and when I discovered that (and subsequently read the book), it was . . . I don’t know, but marvelous comes close.

    • eric
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I like Chris Moore. “The Stupidest Angel: a tale of Christmas Horror” and “Island of the Sequined Love Nun” are pretty good titles.

      • Marta
        Posted March 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        “Island of the Sequined Love Nun” is quite delicious.

        • Somite
          Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          LOL

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted March 12, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

          Sounds like something by Kilgore Trout.

  9. John R. Vokey
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Actually, Douglas Noel Adams was born March 11, 1952, which means that he would be 61 today, not 62.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Depends on what time today.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted March 12, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

        And relative velocity.

        There is no problem with changing the course of history—the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

        D.N.A., ‘Restaurant’

  10. Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Get the CDs of the radio programs! First came the radio shows, then came the TV shows and finally the books. The CDs are great for listening in the car.

    • Alektorophile
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      I read the books years ago, and more recently as entertainment for a long car trip alone I downloaded the audio book version of the first one, read by Stephen Fry. Not bad at all. I haven’t yet heard the original radio shows, maybe I’ll get them for my next trip.

    • Pete Cockerell
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      No, I’m pretty sure the books came out well before the TV series. My dog-eared Pan paperback of the first book is (c) 1979. That seems right, as I was in the lower Sixth at the time. The TV series was broadcast in 1981. I remember being quite disappointed with how Zaphod was portrayed in the TV show compared to how I’d imagined him from the book (especially his second head!)

  11. Diane G.
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    sub

  12. Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I got to hear the radio version (and also the LOTR radio play) when the CBC had a strike in 1981, so they were filling air time with whatever they could find, including getting stuff from the BBC. Followed by the TV series, the books, and finally the movie (which I felt did justice to the book).

    Years later, my kids discovered HHGTG, and we got to listen to it all over again on a road trip to the Maritimes and back.

  13. Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I’ve never read Hitchhiker’s Guide either…damn…I’m reading that next.

  14. Stephen P
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Many years ago I had a good colleague who I’ll call John (because that was his name). He asked me if I knew anything about this Hitchhikers Guide that he was hearing so much about. So I lent him my copy.

    A couple of weeks later he came into work looking rather the worse for wear.

    “What’s up John? Had a bad night?”

    “Well, you remember that book you lent me? Ten o’clock last night I thought I’d read a few pages …

    And I finished it at three o’clock.”

  15. Roux Brownwell
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    My favorite Douglas Adams bit was his evocation of the experience of hearing the music of Bach for the first time, which appeared in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. This was a re-write of an old Dr. Who screenplay; the musical subplot was added when he wrote the novel. But the Hitchhiker’s Guide was fun to read also.

  16. davidslackermc
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The order it should be done.
    Radio 1st
    Book 2nd
    TV 3rd
    Then
    Radio
    Book
    TV
    Wait 10 years
    Watch the film, but only if its free.
    And then to remind yourself how good it is
    Radio
    Book
    TV

  17. steve oberski
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    If you want to get a sense of Douglas Adams, may I suggest “The Salmon of Doubt”, published posthumously, a collection of letter, talks, articles and an unfinished novel with bonus forward by Stephen Fry and epilogue by Richard Dawkins.

    It has the cookies story and the extemporaneous speech where he first used the puddle analogy.

    • Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Ah, the cookies story. So… British. (I guess it should be the biscuits story, then.)

      /@

  18. Mobius
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    BTW…you can find the Hitchhiker’s Guide BBC radio series online as MP3 files. While they are somewhat different than the books, one still recognizes Adams’ wonderful wit and unique use of the English language. They also have the advantage that you can listen to them while doing other tasks such as commuting to and from work.

    Well worth listening to, IMHO.

  19. Posted March 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Ahhh, your life is not complete unless you delve into HGTTG. One of the few books that has had me crying laughing out loud. I reread the entire series about once a year. The world is worse off without Douglas Adams in it. When I saw the Google Doodle last night, it had me in tears. He is #1 in my list of “..if you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would that be?”

  20. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ll concur with what a number of people have said, with a little elaboration :
    (1) Radio series – on CD, MP3, whatever. The colour and sets are far better than on the TV series.
    (2) Books. The sound quality is considerably better than the radio series ; there isn’t a lot in the books that wasn’t on the radio (more in the later volumes of the trilogy).
    (3) If you have a thing about Sandra Dickinson, then you might want to watch the TV series. Frame-by-frame. Get it on video tape, so you can cut out and burn the scenes with something which plays Marvin but emphatically isn’t Marvin. Oh, same goes for Zaphod and the Star Trek quality additional appendages. Sandra Dickinson’s cleavage is the best thing which the film doesn’t have ; but she’s still not Trillian and you can’t envisage her going round Hyde Park Corner on a moped without also envisaging a rather gory crash. Well, I can’t. Dumb blonde (which stereotype she played well, it must be said).
    (4) Work out your best approximation to a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster – do it in one evening, and experiment copiously. (The gold brick is not strictly necessary ; lead will do for novices.)
    (5) You are now in a state where you might be able to watch the film without putting a brick through the screen. If in the slightest doubt, “check Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster for quality” before watching. If you wake up with a headache and a foul taste in your mouth that’ll be the results of the film and not the PGGBs or the Chimney Monkeys. Now throw the film away. It really is best watched while unconscious and in a borderline state of alcohol poisoning.

    I’m not sure. Did I express the steaming contempt in which the movie is held quite thoroughly enough?
    How much (little?) re-wiring would a Vogon Poetry Appreciation Couch (with intestine restraints) need to support the film? Now, there’s a challenge.

    • Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Did (4) at uni. Haven’t a clue what the best approximation was. It was that good.

      /@

  21. Marella
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    OMG YOU HAVEN’T READ HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY! At first I was appalled that you had missed it, then soooo jealous that you still had it all to come. You lucky bastard.

    When I realised that my new boyfriend had all three books in the trilogy,(there were still only three at that stage) I knew all would be well. We’re still married 32 years later. 🙂

    • Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      A girl after my own heart 🙂 I can’t get my husband to read it…even though he should love it. Oh well…we game together so that counts for something, right? lol

  22. Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been a fan since the first radio broadcasts when I was a teenager. The are huge chunks I can still remember verbatim*. “Space is big, Really big. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemists’, but that’s just peanuts compared to space!”

    /@

    *Hopefully!

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      My memory of the Guide is about the same vintage (Australia had fast access to the best of the Beeb in those days), but not nearly as good a writer as the original, so when I quote Adams [or Darwin] I always Google first. I assume the entire text of the books has been quoted online somewhere, and I’ve never failed to find the exact bit required on the first try.

      Or I could reach over and pull a book off the shelf, but once again all my books are packed in boxes. Sigh.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 13, 2013 at 1:09 am | Permalink

        One way the Intertoobs are better than the dead tree edition – you can’t Google a book. 😉

        (Though I agree it’s much more satisfying to hold a book in your hand).

  23. Another Matt
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    And then when you’ve read it, you can watch 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  24. jgondek
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    A year or two back, there was a WEIT recommended summer reading contest, in which Dr. Coyne selected my short description of Last Chance to See as the winner (thanks again for the signed copy!). It warms me to know that that book has brought you as much pleasure, laughter, and sadness as it has done for me.

    Douglas Adams was a tremendous writer and his works introduced me to many things which I now love (e.g. Procol Harum, Doctor Who). And it was the combination of him and Dawkins, whom I was reading at the same time, that cemented my atheism.

    A few years ago I saw Dawkins give a talk in NYC. And at end, after slogging through a dozen questions of people quizing him on the minutia of study X or why hasnt’t he read study Y, Prof. Dawkins was looking wearied. The last questioner stood up and asked “What was it like to know Douglas Adams?” and you could see the life return to Prof. Dawkins as he recalled his very tall friend and how much he missed him.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:08 am | Permalink

      How did it introduce you to Procol Harum? I know DNA was a friend of Dave Gilmour and once played with Pink Floyd, and in So Long and Thanks For All The Fish he praises Mark Knopfler’s talent with a Fender Stratocaster (thus scoring two for two in my musical pantheon). I always thought Disaster Area was modelled on Pink Floyd but I could well be wrong. But I missed the Procol Harum reference.

      • jgondek
        Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Read the Salmon of Doubt. Douglas tells the story of inviting Gary Brooker, pianist for Procol Harum, over for dinner. And while Adams was a huge fan of the group, he had actually never met Brooker before, and was shocked he accepted the dinner invite. They remained friends till his death. Adams also describes the song/album Grand Hotel as the inspiration for the restaurant at the end of the universe featured in the H2G2 series.

  25. Dave Hooke
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Anyone interested in theology must read The Hitchhiker’s Guide series. Not only is there the argument for God’s non-existence based on the staggering utility of the Babel Fish (a fish you place in your ear that translates any speech into your native language), but it also contains God’s Final Message to Man.

    • Dave Hooke
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      And I say read because only the first two books of five are covered by the radio series, and there is some additional material in the second book.

      Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is also a wonderful read by Adams.

  26. Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    A TV follow-up to Last Chance to See was aired 20 years later, with Stephen Fry standing in for Douglas Adams. Quite interesting to see how things had changed in the 2 intervening decades.

  27. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I listened to Adams’s audio tonight for the first time in years. You forget the wit. On hyperspeed travel: “It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.” “What’s unpleasant about being drunk?” “Ask a glass of water.”

    One thing should be acknowledged to anyone who has never read Hitchhiker’s Guide. Reflecting the time in which it was written, Adams has the habit of referring to women as girls. I think he can be forgiven, but you should be prepared to be annoyed by that.

    • Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      LOL – When I started giving cow’s milk to my toddler I would tell him in a high British voice – “It’s MILK! Squirted from a cow!” then crack up from exhaustion and delusions of grandeur (it probably wasn’t that funny).

  28. Sarah
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all the people who have suggested hearing the radio version. It is the original and the book and movie and whatever else are mere spin-offs. I have it in six tape cassettes, and they are (or were, since my car doesn’t play cassettes any more) ideal for a long drive.

  29. Mark Joseph
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this; don’t miss Richard Dawkins’ eulogy for Douglas Adams. It’s section 4.2 in “A Devil’s Chaplain” and is probably available somewhere on the interwebs.

    • Another Matt
      Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      4.2 eh? Clever.

  30. Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s lovely to see all this love for H2G2.

    I’ll quickly add my 1/50 of a dollar:

    Yes. Read it.

    Movie sucked.

    Listen to radio programmes or read the scripts. Full of different (and awesome) material.

  31. bonzodog
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    And as for his explanation of that wonderful, but to the outsider baffling, game of cricket …..

  32. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Well, with my ‘nym I just have to comment don’t I?

    From its title I took ‘Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ to be some trendy popularisation of astronomy so didn’t bother with it for some years. When I finally read it it whacked me right between the eyes. It’s full of so many outlandish concepts, from the Infinite Improbability Drive which I’m so glad to see referenced in the Google doodle (the cup of tea), to the mega rock band Disaster Area whose lead singer was spending a year dead for tax reasons, to the famous Golgafrincham B Ark carrying a whole population of telephone sanitisers, security guards, management consultants which crashed on Earth and from whom we are all descended (this explains a *lot* about human society)…

    Jerry, you’ve got to find time to read it!

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      ‘What are Spoilers?’ for $500, Jerry.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 13, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

        Umm, oops, sorry, guilty. Though in my defence, HHGG is so full of ingenious concepts, exquisitely worked out, that no mere outline mention of them can really spoil them.

    • emydoidea
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      *Possible spoilers*

      That’s not a cup of tea. It’s a cup of something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. Also in the doodle: a self-satisfied door, Eddie with ticker tape, Electronic Thumb, the Guide, a towel, and Ford’s satchel. Clicking the Guide brings up entries on Babel Fish, Earth, how to fly, Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, Infinite Improbability Drive, Jatravartid beliefs, intelligent life, towels, Vogon bureaucracy, and the Answer. Clicking the door causes it to open with pleasure and close again with the knowledge of a job well done (listen), and reveals Marvin.

      Not sure what the orange device with the dial is, nor the papers under the not tea.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 13, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

        It’s a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson brain of course.

        “The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood – and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molicules in the hostess’s undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

        Many respectable physicists said that they weren’t going to stand for this – partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn’t get invited to those sort of parties.”

        http://www.earthstar.co.uk/drive.htm

  33. TJR
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Agree with many others above that the original 12 radio broadcasts are the “real” and best Hitchhiker’s, although the books and TV series also have their appeal.

    Indeed my favourite Hitchhiker’s moments are mostly bits that are only on the radio, such as the Haggunenon, Brontitall and the Lintillas, and Marvin’s autobiography.

    No other series has so many great moments, great ideas and great lines, not even Fawlty Towers or Blackadder.

  34. Dominic
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with him – convinced there is no god & no reason for there to BE a god.

  35. Chris
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I started with the books as a pre-teen or teen (it was a while ago). Preferred it to the radio series, and the TV series was a bit DIY but I can recommend it for the extraordinary animations of articles from the book, if nothing else. The prosthetics, though, were a bit hmm.

    HHGTTG should be required reading for children – if I ever have any then they’ll get introduced to it as soon as they are able to understand it!

  36. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I’m convinced there is no god – that about sums it up. My daughter was raised by a theist wife (less so now) and an atheist father, but she put it perfectly recently: ‘How come I’m the only one who grew up?’

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Heh, heh, great line!

  37. Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    His books should be required reading in all schools, both to promote intelligence and a sense of humour. 🙂


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