“Perhaps I’m old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what’s actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, “Hang the sense of it,” and keep yourself busy. I’d much rather be happy than right any day.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy, before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a video game, and in 2005 a feature film. His career boasts writing appearances in Dr. Who? And Monty Python alike.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur Dent, following the demolition of the Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth’s destruction by Ford Prefect, a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Following his rescue, Dent explores the galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, a human woman who had been taken from Earth by the two-headed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and the depressed Marvin, the Paranoid Android.
In their travels, Arthur comes to learn that the Earth was a giant supercomputer, created by another supercomputer, Deep Thought. Deep Thought had been built by its creators to answer the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, which, after eons of calculations, was given simply as “42”. Deep Thought was then instructed to design the Earth supercomputer to determine what the Question is. The Earth was destroyed by the Vogons before Earth’s calculations were completed, and Arthur becomes the target of the followers of the Deep Thought creators, believing his mind must hold the Question. With his friends’ help, Arthur escapes and they decide to have lunch at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, before embarking on further adventures. The Hitchhikers series was originally a radio play and a simple trilogy. It turned into a trilogy with 5 parts.
I talked to some people who are fans of the work that Adams wrote and asked why they like it and if they had favorite characters. This is what they said about it:
“For me, his biggest appeal is his creative narrative style. The humor is dry and biting as good British satire is, but also feels very down-to-earth and approachable. Which is impressive for a series that occurs mostly off of the earth. “
“My favorite character is Marvin the Paranoid Android. He’s one of the most distinctive A.I. characters in the whole genre. A creative idea executed well.”
“It’s hard to pick one because they all flow together. And it’s in the same universe as Dirk Gently, which is little-known fact and dope. Probably Ford Prefect, he’s quite an esoteric, eclectically resourceful chap I can relate to personally. A mighty righteous frood he is.”
– Riley Bowman
“Honestly.. the cow, in the restaurant at the end of the universe.. because the cow accepts its fate, and embraces pleasing the consumer to its own end.. one of the most subtle allegories to humanity that I have ever seen. The humor and both negative and positive views of everything… Dirk Gently is insane… Ford Prefect is like a used car salesman and T.J. wrapped in one person… Arthur Dent is an unfortunate soul, driven by circumstances and just goes with the flow..”
-Adam Semon (Carrott)
“Teenage nerddom? I played an old, old text-based version of The Hitchhikers Guide game for computers by Infocomm at a friend’s house when I was like 11 or 12 and that introduced me to him. I found I liked his style of absurdist humor and read the rest.” On his favorite character:
“I always loved Marvin, he was the greatest. 37 times older than the universe itself.”
– Michael Board
To celebrate this great addition to Geek Culture I present to you a selection of cocktails.
The Babel Fish
- In a rocks glass with ice
- 1 oz Lemoncello
- 1 oz Reposado Tequila
- Fill with Energy Drink
The Babel fish is a small, bright yellow fish, which can be placed in someone’s ear for them to be able to hear any language translated into their first language. Ford Prefect puts one in Arthur Dent’s ear at the beginning of the story so that he can hear the Vogon speech.
- In a tall glass with ice
- 1 oz Cherry Vodka
- 1 oz Midori
- ½ oz Blue curacao
- Fill cranberry juice
The only entry about Earth in the Guide used to be “Harmless”, but Ford Prefect managed to change it a little before getting stuck on Earth. “Mostly Harmless” provoked a very upset reaction from Arthur when heard. Those two words are not what Ford submitted as a result of his research. It was merely all that was left after his editors were done with it.
So long, and thanks for all the fish
- Shot Glass
- ½ Captain Morgan
- ½ Blood Orange Vodka
After mice, the second most intelligent species on Earth were the dolphins. The dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger…The last ever dolphins message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backward somersault through a hoop whilst whistling “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but in fact, the message was this: “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.”
- In a wine glass
- Fill with Merlot
- Forget the question
Everyone was looking for hidden meanings and puzzles and significance in what I had written (like ‘is it significant that 6×9 = 42 in base 13?’ As if.) So I thought that just for a change I would construct a puzzle and see how many people solved it. Of course, nobody paid it any attention. I think that’s terribly significant.
- In a shaker with ice
- 2 oz Bloom Rose Gin
- ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
- Squeeze of lemon
- Shake and strain into a martini glass
In the series, Don’t Panic is a phrase on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The novel explains that this was partly because the device “looked insanely complicated” to operate, and partly to keep intergalactic travelers from panicking. “It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words ‘DON’T PANIC’ in large, friendly letters on the cover.”