The best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster The effect of drinking a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.
And there are Other drinks
Altragarvus VI is the fifth planet in its system. It is wholly
unremarkable but for the fact that it is the home of the
Vreon Bird. Before entering the
atmosphere, be aware of the many
The Babel fish is small, yellow, leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own 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 centers 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.
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable 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 argument goes like this:
`I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
`But,' says 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 thought of that,' and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.
`Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next pedestrian crossing.
Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book, "Well, That about Wraps It Up for God."
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.
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 while on the planet is surgically removed from you body weight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory there it is vitally important to get a receipt.
The Bistromathic drive is a wonderful new method of crossing vast interstellar distances without all that dangerous mucking about with Improbability factors.
Bistromathics itself is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behavior of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that space was not an absolute but depended on the observer's movement in space, and that time was not an absolute, but depended on the observer's movement in time, so it is realized now that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer's movement in restaurants.
The first nonabsolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three calls to the restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turn up, or to the number of people who subsequently join them after the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has turned up.
The second nonabsolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexclusion, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusions now play a vital part in many branches of math, including statistics and accountancy and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else's Problem field.
The third and most mysterious piece of nonabsoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the check, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table and what they are each prepared to pay for. (The number of people who have actually brought any money is only a subphenomenon in this field.)
The baffling discrepancies that used to occur at this point remained uninvestigated for centuries simply because no one took them seriously. They were at the time put down to such things as politeness, rudeness, meanness, flashiness, tiredness, emotionality or the lateness of the hour, and completely forgotten about on the following morning. They were never tested under laboratory conditions, of course, because they never occurred in laboratories - not in reputable laboratories at least.
And so it was only with the advent of pocket computers that the startling truth became finally apparent, and it was this:
Numbers written on restaurant checks within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the Universe.
This single statement took the scientific world by storm. It completely revolutionized it. So many mathematical conferences got held in such good restaurants that many of the finest minds of a generation died of obesity and heart failure and the science of math was put back by years.
Slowly, however, the implications of the idea began to be understood. To begin with it had been too stark, too crazy, too much like what the man in the street would have said "Oh, yes, I could have told you that." Then some phrases like "Interactive Subjectivity Frameworks" were invented, and everybody was able to relax and get on with it.
The small groups of monks who had taken up hanging around the major research institutes singing strange chants to the effect that the Universe was only a figment of its own imagination were eventually given a street theater grant and went away.
Despite the theories of some subversives who state that college is a place
to further one's education, it is well known that college is a place to
have fun, to have parties, and to have sex. This can be done, of course,
in different combinations. Usually, college is used by beings in late
adolescents called "students" and beings in late middle age called
"faculty". In general, it is the so-called faculty who make such subversive
theories as mentioned above and the so-called students who are
having all the fun, Parties
Disaster Area, a plutonium rock band from the Gagrakacka 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, while the musicians themselves play their instruments by remote control from within a heavily insulated spaceship which stays in orbit around the planet - or more frequently around a completely different planet.
Their songs are on the whole very simple and mostly follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being under a silvery moon which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.
Many worlds have now banned their act altogether, sometimes for artistic reasons, but most commonly because the band's public address system contravenes local strategic arms limitations treaties.
This has not, however, stopped their earnings from pushing back the boundaries of pure hypermathematics, and their chief research accountant has recently been appointed Professor of Neomathematics at the University of Maximegalon, in recognition of both his General and his 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.
The Draconis stellar group has many interesting resorts and spas. The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is not known to exist anywhere in the Draconis stellar group.
NOTE: The post of Draconian contributing journalist is open to anyone willing to test the new Bugblatter Beast Repellent formula.
Please wait. Entries are being updated over the Sub-Etha Net.
This entry has been revised.
Enteropia is a planet beriddled with meteor storms. But don't worry if a meteorite hits you - the Ardrites will replace you at no extra cost.
There is a lot of fun to be had in the Universe, if you can only find it without being charged an arm and a leg for it. For instance, on the planet Enitolliug, one can only have fun twice in his life without the aid of prosthetics.
Golgafrincham is a planet with an ancient and mysterious history,
rich in legend, red, and occasionally green with the blood of those
who sought in times gone by to conquer her; a land of parched and
barren landscapes, of sweet and sultry air heady with the scent of
the perfumed springs that trickle over its hot and dusty rocks and
nourish the dusty rocks and nourish the dark and musky lichens
beneath; a land of fevered imaginings, particularly among those who
taste the lichens; a land also of cool and shaded thoughts among
those who have learned to forswear the lichens and find a tree to
sit beneath; a land also of steel and blood and heroism; a land of
the body and of the spirit. This was its history. And in all this
ancient and mysterious history, the most mysterious figures of all
were without a doubt those of the
Great Circling Poets of Arium
[H[2J#3 [5;1mDON'T PANIC![0m
#4 [5;1mDON'T PANIC![0m
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Ursa Minor Beta
The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.
For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question "How can we eat?" the second by the question "Why do we eat?" and the third by the question "Where shall we have lunch?"
Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
The planet of Kakrafoon was once a desert planet, until major global changes in the entire environment were wrought by a Disaster Area (qv) concert.
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 among the furthest reaches of Galactic space. In those days 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 for all the richest and most successful merchants life inevitably became rather dull and niggly, and they began to imagine that this was therefore the fault of the worlds they'd settled on. None of them was entirely satisfactory: either the climate wasn't quite right in the later part of the afternoon, or the day was half an hour too long, or the sea was exactly the wrong shade of pink.
And thus were created the conditions for a staggering new form of specialist industry: custom-made luxury planet building. The home of this industry was Magrathea, where hyperspatial engineers sucked matter through white holes in space to form it into dream planets - gold planets, platinum planets, soft rubber planets with lots of earthquakes - all lovingly made to meet the exacting standards that the Galaxy's richest men had naturally come to expect.
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 hungry worlds, disturbed only by the pen scratchings of scholars as they labored into the night over smug little treatises 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.
It seems that every type of race known to the galaxy has a form of music. And, just as differences exist among the races, so do their forms of music differ. For example, the V'lagian musical favorite consists of rubbing small green frog-like animals against trees with rough barks, thus producing an almost nerve-shattering scream (The V'lagians find this sound very pleasing. In fact, so much so that their world is now all but extinct of the small green frog-like creatures, and they have to import them.)
There are different methods of having sex, depending on your biological classification. For example, if you're a Hooloovoo trying to mate with an Arenputt, you'll have offspring which is neither a superintelligent shade of the color blue, nor a semi-intelligent shade of the color red, but an idiotic shade of the color purple.
Sex is hereditary: If your parents didn't have it, chances are that you won't either.
An unhoopy ape-descendant who obviously lost his towel, did not know where it was, nor did he wish to find it. His basic thought was that all ape-descendant behavior was directly related to sex; it is clear he did not realize that his white mice were using him as part of their experiment on the thought patterns of lower life forms. As it is, few ape-descendants believed him, anyway.
A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with. Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
Traal is the home of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
A predecessor to the Deep Thought computer. Manufactured on the planet Earth by a relatively unknown company called Digital Equipment Corporation.
Billions of years ago when the Vogons had first crawled out of the sluggish primeval seas of Vogsphere, and had lain panting and heaving on the planet's virgin shores...when the first rays of the bright young Vogsol sun had shone across them that morning, it was as if the forces of evolution had simply given up on them there and then, had turned aside in disgust and written them off as an ugly and unfortunate mistake. 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. "Evolution?" they said to themselves, "Who needs it?" and what nature refused to do for them they simply did without until such time as they were able to rectify the gross anatomical inconveniences with surgery.
Meanwhile, the natural forces on the planet Vogsphere had been working overtime to make up for their earlier blunder. They brought forth scintillating jeweled scuttling crabs, which the Vogons ate, smashing their shells with iron mallets; tall aspiring trees of breathtaking slenderness and color which the Vogons cut down and burned the crabmeat with; elegant gazellelike creatures with silken coats and dewy eyes which the Vogons would catch and sit on. 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 cluster, 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 graces, but in most respects the modern Vogon is little different from his primitive forebears. Every year they import twenty-seven thousand scintillating jeweled scuttling crabs from their native planet and while away a happy drunken night smashing them to bits with iron mallets.
The only race ever to derive any pleasure from mating with Vogons are other Vogons. For any other race, the experience can be rated up there with going through a supernova unprotected, trying to get the Galactic Civil Service to accept a change of address, or listening to Vogon poetry.
There followed a long period of painstaking research during which he visited all the major centers of ballpoint loss throughout the Galaxy and eventually came up with a quaint little theory which quite caught the public imagination at the time. Somewhere in the cosmos, he said, along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids, and superintelligent shades of the color blue, there was also a planet given over entirely to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid life-style, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented life-style, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life.
And as theories go this was all very fine and pleasant until Veet Voojagig suddenly claimed to have FOUND this planet, and to have worked there for a while driving a limousine for a family of cheap green retractibles, whereupon he was taken away, locked up, wrote a book and was finally sent into tax exile, which is the fate usually reserved for those who are determined to make fools of themselves in public.
When one day an expedition was sent to the spatial coordinates that Voojagig had claimed for this planet they discovered only a small asteroid inhabited by a solitary old man who claimed that nothing was true, though he was later discovered to be lying.
There did, however, remain the question of both the mysterious sixty
thousand Altairian dollars paid yearly into his Brantisvogan bank
account, and of course Zaphod Beeblebrox's highly profitable
secondhand ballpoint business.
Tips for aliens in New York:
Land anywhere. Central Park, anywhere. No one will care or indeed even notice.
Get a job as a cabdriver immediately. A cabdriver's job is to drive people anywhere they want to go in big yellow machines called taxis. Don't worry if you don't know how the machine works and you can't speak the language, don't understand the geography or indeed the basic physics of the area, and have large green antennae growing out of your head. Believe me, this is the best way of staying inconspicuous.
If your body is REALLY weird, try showing it to people in the streets for money.
Amphibious life forms from any of the worlds in the Swulling, Noxios, or Nausalia systems will particularly enjoy the East River, which is said to be richer in those lovely life-giving nutrients than the finest and most virulent laboratory slime yet achieved.
There are many interesting laws on the planet Earth. One strange law in particular is called a "speed limit".
On the planet Earth, mostly in the areas where the inhabitants wear digital watches, there are machines called "automobiles". These are large plastic-metal-and-glass machines designed to move people about with a great deal of pollution. Although these slow-moving machines have an average top speed of one hundred twenty miles per hour, the "speed limit" forces people to drive at even slower speeds - in one country the top speed is a mere fifty-five miles per hour. This law is of course, ignored by the general populace.
At one time, the local constabulatory force was able to hide behind signboards, trees, etc., with a radar to catch lawbreakers, but this ability was taken away because the general populace did not want to give up their right to break the law.
A feature of the civilization of the Ardrites, of the planet Enteropia, plays a significant role in their cultural life. See SCRUPTURE.
The act of scrupturing, the state of being scruptured, the product of (see) scruption.
An activity or condition of the Ardrites, of the planet Enteropia. See SCRUPTS.
There can be some very good hunting on Enteropia, especially for Squamps. (As long as you're careful!)
The squamp as a game animal places great demands on the personal accomplishments no less than on the gear of the hunter. Inasmuch as this beast has, in the course of evolution, adapted itself to meteoroid rains by developing an absolutely impervious integument of armor, squamp are hunted from the inside only.
To hunt a squamp one must have:
A) In the preliminary phase - base spread, mushroom sauce, chives, salt, and pepper. B) In the phase proper - a whisk broom, a time bomb.
I. Preparation in the field.
One hunts a squamp with bait. The hunter, having besmeared himself beforehand with the base spread, crouches down in a furrow of the torg, after which his companions sprinkle finely chopped chives over him and season to taste.
II. In this position one awaits the squamp. When the animal approaches, one should remain calm and with both hands take firm hold of the time bomb gripped between one's knees. A hungry squamp will usually swallow at once. If however the squamp does balk, one may encourage it with a gentle slap across the tongue. When a miss seems likely, some advise additional salting, this however is a most hazardous move, for the squamp may sneeze. Very few hunters have survived the sneeze of a squamp.
III. A squamp that takes the bait will lick its lips and walk away. Upon being swallowed, the hunter immediately proceeds to the active phase, i.e., with the whisk broom he brushes from himself the chives and spices, so that the spread may freely work its purgative effect, whereupon he sets the time bomb and withdraws as quickly as possible in the direction opposite to that from which he came.
IV. Upon leaving the squamp, one should take care to land on one's hands and feet and not hurt oneself.
WARNING: The use of sharp spices is forbidden. Also forbidden is the planting of time bombs already set and sprinkled with chives. Such an act is considered poaching and will be prosecuted to the limit of the law.
The hunting of Octopockles during the whackers is forbidden by law.
There are also many recreational impossibilities in the Universe. Since it would take a great deal of time to list them all here, we will list only some of the more dangerous and thrilling with which you can impress just about any intelligent life-form.
There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Pick a nice day and try it.
All it requires is the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.
That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground.
Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.
Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about the how much it's going to hurt if you fail to miss it.
It is notoriously difficult to prize your attention away from these three things during the split second you have at your disposal. Hence most people's failure, and their eventual disillusionment with this exhilarating and spectacular sport.
If, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted at the crucial moment by, say, a gorgeous pair of legs (tentacles, pseudopodia, according to phylum and/or personal inclination) or a bomb going off in your vicinity, or by suddenly spotting an extremely rare species of beetle crawling along a nearby twig, then in your astonishment you will miss the ground completely and remain bobbing just a few inches above it in what might seem to be a slightly foolish manner.
This is a moment for superb and delicate concentration.
Bob and float, float and bob.
Ignore all considerations of your own weight and simply let yourself waft higher.
Do not listen to what anybody says at this point because they are unlikely to say anything helpful. They are most likely to say something along the lines of "Good God, you can't possibly be flying!" It is vitally important not to believe them or they will suddenly be right.
Waft higher and higher.
Try a few swoops, gentle at first, then drift above the treetops breathing regularly.
DO NOT WAVE AT ANYBODY.
When you have done this a few times you will find the moment of distraction rapidly becomes easier and easier to achieve.
You will then learn all sorts of things about how to control your flight, your speed, your maneuverability, and the trick usually lies in not thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but just allowing it to happen as if it were going to anyway.
You will also learn how to land properly, which is something you will almost certainly screw up, and screw up badly, on your first attempt.
There are private flying clubs you can join which help you achieve the all-important moment of distraction. They hire people with surprising bodies or opinions to leap out from behind bushes and exhibit and/or explain them at the critical moments. Few genuine hitchhikers will be able to afford to join these clubs, but some may be able to get temporary employment at them.
The Circling Poets of Arium used to live in remote mountain passes where they would lie in wait for small bands of unwary travelers, circle around them, and throw rocks at them.
And when the travelers cried out, saying why didn't they go away and get on with writing some poems instead of pestering people with all this rock-throwing business, they would suddenly stop, and then break into one of the seven hundred and ninety-four great Song Cycles of Vassillian. These songs were all of extraordinary beauty, and even more extraordinary length, and all fell into exactly the same pattern.
The first part of each song would tell how there once went forth from the City of Vassillian a party of five sage princes with four horses. The princes, who are of course brave, noble and wise, travel widely in distant lands, fight giant ogres, pursue exotic philosophies, take tea with weird gods and rescue beautiful monsters from ravening princesses before finally announcing that they have achieved enlightenment and that their wanderings are therefore accomplished.
The second, and much longer, part of each song would tell of all their bickerings about which one of them is going to have to walk back.
All this lay in the planet's remote past. It was, however, a descendant of one of these eccentric poets who invented the spurious tales of impending doom which enabled the people of Golgafrincham to rid themselves of an entire useless third of their population. The other two-thirds stayed firmly at home and lived full, rich and happy lives until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, (VAX/VMS Version,) allows for the finding of information that you don't really know where to look for. For instance, if you want to look up the Vreon Bird, but you don't know what planet it lives on (Altragarvus VI) you would type:
* Vreon Bird
If you type a request for a topic and it doesn't appear, you might have to go down a couple of levels, like this:
* * * Towels
This would bring up the entry DRACONIS, sub-entry ALPHA DRACONIS, sub-sub entry MINERAL BATHS, and finally sub-sub-sub entry TOWELS.
If you want to become a contributing writer for the Guide, you must inform the Chief Editor at Megadodo Publications on Ursa Minor Beta in the Hitchhiker's Building. Or mail him a message at the account CCSUNIV001.
See (HELP) CONTRIBUTIONS.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
VAX/VMS Version 1
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy uses the following published sources:
Adams, Douglas The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Life, the Universe, and Everything So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Lem, Stanislaw The Star Diaries
Original Material Contributed by:
Jeffrey Lee Chris Cebelenski Jim Livermore Wendy Hennequin
Kate Phinney Joe Claffey
Editor : Jeffrey Lee
Proofreaders : Jeffrey Lee, John Knaff, David Wright, David Rubenstein
No field researcher of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is allowed to accept any kind of services, discounts, or preferential treatment of ANY kind in return for editorial favors unless:
a. they have made a bona fide attempt to pay for a service in the normal way,
b. their lives would otherwise be in danger; or
c. they really want to.
Invoking the third rule involves giving the editor a cut.
There will be, as soon as we can find a design, ID cards for Field Researchers. (Suggestions welcome until further notice.)
If you hold a lungful of air you can survive the vacuum of space for
about thirty seconds. However, what with space being the mind-boggling
size it is, the chances of getting picked up by another ship within
those thirty seconds are 2 to the power of 276,709 to 1 against.
The Belcerebon people of Kakrafoon used to cause great resentment and insecurity among neighboring races by being one of the most enlightened, accomplished and, above all, quiet civilizations in the Galaxy.
As a punishment for this behavior, which was held to be offensively self-righteous and provocative, a Galactic Tribunal inflicted on them that most cruel of all social diseases, telepathy. Consequently, in order to prevent themselves broadcasting every slightest thought that crosses their minds to everyone within a five-mile radius, they now have to talk very 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 minds is to play host to a Disaster Area concert.
It was just this sort of thing that, in a strange fit of justice, not only removed their telepathic ability once and for all, but changed the once-desert world of Kakrafoon into a garden paradise.
The first myth of music is that it exists.
See DISASTER AREA.
The formula for the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is as follows:
Take the juice from one bottle of the Ol' Janx Spirit. Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V - Oh, that Santraginean seawater! Oh, those Santraginean fish! Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzine is lost). Allow four liters of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it, in memory of all those happy hikers who have died of pleasure in the marshes of Fallia. Over the back of a silver spoon float a mixture of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odors of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic. Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink. Sprinkle Zamphuor. Add an olive. Drink...but...very carefully...
It is a curious fact, and one to which no one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N-N-T'N-ix, or jinnond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian "chinanto/mnigs" which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrackan "tzjin-anthony-ks" which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and names BEFORE the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.
What can be made of this fact? It exists in total isolation. As far as any theory of structural linguistics is concerned it is right off the graph, and yet it persists. Old structural linguists get very angry when young structural linguists go on about it and stay up late at night convinced that they are very close to something of profound importance, and end up becoming old structural linguists before their time, getting very angry with the young ones. Structural linguistics is a bitterly divided and unhappy discipline, and a large number of its practitioners spend too many nights drowning their problems in Ouisghian Zodahs.
A long, narrow horn type instrument, playable only by the Aseins (its mouthpiece is six inches across). Produces instant insomnia in anyone near enough to hear it. Very mellow, haunting, whisper.. Oh, I just don't want to talk about it!
Small, bow driven instrument (native Earth).
Rated as one of the top ten most irritating instruments (see snooglehoort)..
This instrument has been banned on all civilized worlds.
Instrument produces its sound by rubbing horse hair across cat gut... very distasteful...
Unfortunately, where there's smoke, there's cancer, as they say. Along with the good one must take the bad. There are many sexually-oriented diseases and parasites in the Universe. Here are just a few of them, and what (if anything) you can do about them.
It is assumed that one knows how to employ one's own equipment with one's own species. However, if one is a complete novice, the method for most bipedal forms is PART (A) INTO SLOT (B).
The Vreon bird of Altragarvus VI is abysmally lazy; it has evolved a method of keeping aloft with the least possible effort: its feathers are filled with a lighter-than-air gas.
When a Vreon bird loses a feather, it floats to the upper atmosphere.
The upper atmosphere of Altragarvus VI is filled with billions of old Vreon feathers.
Virginity can be cured.
The dreaded Zodiac disease (also called the Crabs) can, fortunately, be cured, if you don't mind sitting in a sex clinic and feeling like a complete idiot or a pervert, or worse.
Jungle Crotch Rot, a horrible disease imported from Alpha Orion III, cannot be cured. If one has it, one might consider going to the Sirius Cybernetics Plasti-bod department for a replacement body, but this is only for the extremely desperate.
It is difficult for a biped to have sex with a Hooloovoo, as a Hooloovoo is but a superintelligent shade of the color blue. However, it can be done with a little effort. The only one to devise pleasure from this, however, is the Hooloovoo, which sometimes sneaks onto bipeds and attaches itself to the male. This may be the origin of the phrase "blue balls", but the author refuses to speculate on that possibility.
The Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI believe that the Universe was in fact sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.
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 fifty 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 is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI.
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and improbable.
There is another which states that this has already happened.
The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal often makes a good meal for visiting tourists. However, the typical Ravenous Bugblatter Beast is ugly, nasty, foul-smelling, bad-tempered, and extremely hungry. In short: AVOID!!!
Advice for dealing with a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal:
The favorite food of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is Vogon Grandmothers (which see).
The Universe - some information to help you live in it.
Infinite : Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real "wow, that's big," time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we're trying to get across here.
Imports - none.
It is impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things from.
Exports - none.
Population - none.
It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. 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.
Monetary units - none.
In fact there are three freely convertible currencies in the Galaxy, but none of them count. The Altairian Dollar has recently collapsed, the Flanian Pobble bead is only exchangeable for other Flanian Pobble Beads, and the Triganic Pu has its own very special problems. Its exchange rate of eight Ningis to one Pu is simple enough, but since a Ningi is a rubber coin six thousand eight hundred miles along each side, no one has ever collected enough to own one Pu. Ningis are not negotiable currency, because the Galactibanks refuse to deal in fiddling small change. From this basic premise it is very simple to prove that the Galactibanks are also the product of a deranged imagination.
Art - none.
The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn't a mirror big enough - see AREA.
Sex - none.
Well, in fact there is an awful lot of this, largely because of the total lack of money, trade, banks, art or anything else that might keep all the nonexistent people of the Universe occupied.
However, it is not worth embarking on a long discussion of it now because it really is terribly complicated. For further information see GUIDE Chapters seven, nine, ten, eleven, fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-one to eighty-four inclusive, and in fact most of the rest of the Guide.
The VAX (in its various incarnations) was rather primitive in scope, consisting of a Central Processing Unit (CPU), connected to various Input/Output devices, known as terminals. All storage was achieved on a device called a 'disk', which was magnetic spots stored on a plastic or metal disk (hence the name)
The VAX was able to communicate with others of its kind via a connection called DECnet (no relation to the Guide's Sub-Etha-Net), which had its physical counterpart called the Ether-Net...
Communication was usually limited to around 4 million pieces of information per second.
The VAX was eventually removed from the market in disgrace when Chris Cebelenski (See entries on CCSUniverse) in his pre-universal days discovered a loose wire inside one of his colleges that caused the machine to shoot its disks over 400 feet (a record still held today.)
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. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.
The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is to stick your finger down his throat, and the best way to irritate him is to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
On no account allow a Vogon to read poetry at you.
The fingers of Vogons are indescribably ugly, and indescribably mid-to-dark green. A Vogon wouldn't lift one to save his grandmother (qv) from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
The typical Vogon grandmother is ugly, nasty, foul-smelling, bad-tempered, and extremely hungry. In short: AVOID!!!
Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem, "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in my Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled "My Favorite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own major intestine, in an attempt to save life and civilization, leaped straight up through his neck and throttled his brain. 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.
The feathers of a Vreon bird are iridescent, and the shaft is as hard as iron. The plume itself is soft. The shaft is filled with a lighter-than- air gas, rendering the feather extremely buoyant.
The best feather pillows in the universe are made from the feathers of Vreon birds. It is difficult, however, to keep them on the bed.
Dormitories ("dorms") are a place on college grounds where the above
mentioned activities, fun, sex, and parties, are allowed to happen
on a twenty-four-hour-a-day basis. The subversives contend, however,
that dormitories are places in which the students sleep, but it is well
known that it is difficult, if not impossible, to sleep while someone
else is having fun.
A useless building on college campuses. Usually these buildings are
filled with useless books, as no college library has ever been known
to house the HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE.
A substance consumed on college campuses to enhance the fun, party,
or sex one is involved with at the moment.
A gathering intended to provide the participants with fun of one sort
or another. A party will usually result in damage to furniture, the
building in which it is held, several people's livers, and/or someone's
virginity. However, there is seldom permanent damage unless the
sponsor of the party (usually called the host) serves Pan-Galactic
Gargle Blasters or has the lack of foresight to invite Zaphod Beeble-
The fabulous Alpha Mineral Bath Resort is a great place for silicon-based creatures to relax.
Beta Draconis II, a rather hot place, for people who like a hot time, mixes rather good Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters for a "mere" seven Altairian dollars a glass, is so unbelievably expensive that no hitchhiker, unless he is extremely rich, can afford to stay there.
The fourth planet of Sigma Draconis, although inhabited by a relatively advanced culture, has only one interesting feature. Bacteria use light gases to float high above the ground. This has two side effects: not much sunlight gets to the ground, and lightning storms are extremely interesting, as the little critters explode when the lightning touches them.
If you're not a silicon-based creature, do not attempt to bathe in the many hot springs on Alpha Draconis III.
If you ARE a silicon-based creature, and you do happen to bathe in the hot springs on Alpha Draconis III, be sure to bring your own towel.
Never, under ANY circumstance, let lightning hit you on Sigma Draconis IV.