Excerpts from The Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

Here are some of of the best quotes from the greatest (in my opinion) science fiction humor book (a series of 5 books).

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbitting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea..."

"Eight years ago, at lunchtime, this planet had been demolished, utterly destroyed, by the huge yellow Vogon ships which had hung in the lunchtime sky as if the law of gravity was no more than a local regulation, and breaking it no more than just a parking offense."

"The thing that used to worry him most was the fact that people always used to ask him what he was looking so worried about."

"This must be a Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer.  'I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

"How do you feel?'  he asked him.
'Like a military academy,' said Arthur, 'bits of me keep passing out."

"Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important.  Suddenly he realized what it was.
'Is there any tea on this spaceship?'  he asked."

"Arthur slapped his arms about himself to try and get his circulation a little more enthusiastic about its job."

Mostly Harmless
"Anything that happens, happens.
Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though."

"One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right?"

"Time is an illusion.  Lunchtime doubly so." 

"If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up.  After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one.  If they don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working."

"You'd better prepare yourself for the jump into hyperspace.  It's unpleasantly like being drunk.'
'What's so unpleasant about being drunk?'
'You ask a glass of water."

"Something extraordinary happened to Ford's face.  At least five entirely separate and distinct expressions of shock and amazement piled up on it in a jumbled mess." 

"Only by counting could humans demonstrate their independence of computers."

After an initial flurry of opening hellos, he and Russel--the wonderful girl's brother's name was Russell, a name which to Arthur's mind always suggested burly men with blond mustaches and blow-dried hair who would at the slightest provocation start wearing velvet tuxedos and frilly shirt fronts and would then have to be forcibly restrained from commentating on billiards matches--had quickly discovered they didn't like each other at all.

It was a stupid dog, but it should at least have been able to recognize Arthur instead of standing there, hackles raised, as if Arthur were the most fearful apparition ever to intrude upon its feeble-witted life.
This prompted Arthur to go and peer at the window again, this time with an eye not for the asphyxiating emu but for himself.
Seeing himself for the first time suddenly in a familiar context, he had to admit that the dog had a point.

Arthur reached for the bedside light, not expecting it to come on. To his surprise, it did. This appealed to Arthur's sense of logic. Since the Electricity Board had cut him off without fail every time he paid his bill, it seemed only reasonable that they would leave him connected when he hadn't. Sending them money obviously only drew attention to himself.

The room was much as he had left it, festeringly untidy, though the effect was muted a little by a thick layer of dust. Half-read books and magazines nestled among piles of half-used towels. Half-pairs of socks reclined in half-drunk cups of coffee. What once had been a half-eaten sandwich had now half-turned into something that Arthur didn't entirely want to know about. Bung a fork of lightning through this lot, he thought to himself, and you'd start the evolution of life off all over again.

His rosebushes were carefully tended, pruned back for the winter, strapped to canes and labeled, and Arthur wondered what he was doing above them. He wondered what was holding him there, and when he discovered that nothing was holding him there he crashed awkwardly to the ground. 

He almost danced to the fridge, found the three least hairy things in it, put them on a plate and watched them intently for two minutes. Since they made no attempt to move within that time, he called them breakfast and ate them. Between them they killed a virulent space disease he'd picked up without knowing it in the Flargathon Gas Swamps a few days earlier, which otherwise would have killed off half the population of the Western Hemisphere, blinded the other half, and driven everyone else psychotic and sterile, so the Earth was lucky there.

He looked swayingly around at his audience, and could not help but be aware of an air of skepticism about their jumbled faces.
He felt very affronted by this.
"How else," he demanded, "could I afford to have my face dropped?"
Friendly arms began to help him home. "Listen," he protested, as the cold February breeze brushed his face, "looking lived-in is all the rage in California at the moment. You've got to look as if you've seen the Galaxy. Life, I mean. You've got to look as if you've seen life. That's what I got. A face drop. Give me eight years, I said. I hope being thirty doesn't come back into fashion or I've wasted a lot of money."

For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation.

"I know," she said. "I shall have to remember," she added, "that you are the sort of person who cannot hold on to a simple piece of paper for two minutes without winning a raffle with it."

"When I eat a biscuit," said Arthur, "it stays eaten."

The air seemed to stand still around them, waiting. Arthur wished that the air would go away and mind its own business.

He had long ago realized that the only way of being in Ford's company successfully was to keep a large stock of very placid faces and wear them at all times.

Arthur Dent had been in some hell holes in his life, but he had never before seen a spaceport that had a sign saying "Even traveling despondently is better than arriving here."

Arthur felt at a bit of a loss. There was a whole galaxy of stuff out there for him, and he wondered if it was churlish of him to complain to himself that it lacked just two things: the world he was born on and the woman he loved.

"Well there's probably a lot you don't know about me," said Arthur. "Come to mention it, there's probably a lot I don't know about me either."

"O Sandwich Maker from Bob!" he pronounced. He paused, furrowed his brow and sighed as he closed his eyes in pious contemplation. "Life," he said, "will be a great deal less weird without you!"

"Is there stuff going on here that I don't know about?" said Arthur to Ford.
"Isn't there usually?" said Ford.

"Arthur's first sensations of hope and trepidation had instantly been overwhelmed by astonishment, and all sorts of thoughts were battling for the use of his vocal cords at the moment."

"He stood up straight and looked the world squarely in the fields and hills. To add weight to his words he stuck the rabbit bone in his beard. He spread his arms out wide.
'I will go mad!' he announced."

"Arthur felt happy. He was terribly pleased that the day was for once working out so much according to plan. Only twenty minutes ago he had decided he would go mad, and now here he was already chasing a Chesterfield sofa across the fields of prehistoric Earth."

"Fine,' said Arthur, and his consciousness stepped out again for a quick breather. His body flopped back on the grass."

"His face froze for a second of two and then began to do that terribly slow crashing trick that Arctic ice floes do spectacularly well in the spring."

"Arthur had adopted his normal crisis role, which was to stand with his mouth hanging open and let it all wash over him."

"Arthur lay in startled stillness on the acceleration couch. He wasn't certain whether he had just got space-sickness or religion."

"Arthur nodded wisely to himself. After a while he realized that this wasn't getting him anywhere and decided that he would say 'What?' after all."

"He lay, panting heavily in the wet air, and tried feeling bits of himself to see where he might be hurt. Wherever he touched himself, he encountered a pain. After a short while he worked out that this was because it was his hand that was hurting."

"Ah,' effervesced the little man, 'and did you have a wonderful time?'
Arthur started to choke violently on his drink.
'What a wonderfully exciting cough, 'said the little man, quite startled by it, 'do you mind if I join you?'
And with that he launched into the most extraordinary and spectacular fit of coughing that caught Arthur so much by surprise that he started to choke violently, discovered that he was already doing it and got thoroughly confused. Together they performed a lung-busting duet that went on for fully two minutes before Arthur managed to cough and splutter to a halt."

"Well, so am I alive, aren't I?' retaliated Arthur, haggard with adventure and anger. His eyebrows were leaping up and down as if they wanted to punch each other."

"His fingers fumbled to release the safety catch and engage the extreme danger catch as Ford had shown him. He was shaking so much that if he'd fired at anybody at that moment he probably would have burned his signature on them."

"Arthur yawed wildly as his skin tried to jump one way and his skeleton the other, while his brain tried to work out which of his ears it most wanted to crawl out of."

"Bet you weren't expecting to see me again,' said the monster, which Arthur couldn't help thinking was a strange remark for it to make, seeing that he had never met the creature before. He could tell that he hadn't met the creature before from the simple fact that he was able to sleep at nights."

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."

How to Leave the Planet:
1. Phone NASA. Their phone number is (713) 483-3111. Explain that it's very important that you get away as soon as possible.
2. If they do not cooperate, phone any friend you may have in the White House-(202) 456-1414-to have a word in on your behalf with the guys at NASA.
3. If you don't have any friends in the White House, phone the Kremlin (ask the overseas operator for 0107-095-295-9051.) They don't have any friends there either (at least, none to speak of,) but they do seem to have a little influence, so you may as well try.
4. If that also fails, phone the Pope for guidance. His telephone number is 011-39-6-6982, and I gather his switchboard is infallible.
5. 5. If all of these attempts fail, flag down a passing flying saucer and explain that it's vitally important you get away before your phone bill arrives.

-- The Book

Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than
dolphins because he had achieved so much... the wheel, New York,
wars, and so on, whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck
about in the water having a good time. But conversely the
dolphins believed themselves to be more intelligent than man for
precisely the same reasons.

-- The Book

"`Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.'
`Very deep,' said Arthur, `you should send that in to the "Reader's Digest". They've got a page for people like you.'"

-- Ford convincing Arthur to drink three pints in ten minutes at lunchtime.

"`You know,' said Arthur, `it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die from asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.'
`Why, what did she tell you?'
`I don't know, I didn't listen.'"

-- Arthur coping with certain death as best as he could.

"`Incidentally,' he said, `what does teleport mean?'
Another moment passed.
Slowly, the others turned to face him.
`Probably the wrong moment to ask,' said Arthur, `It's just I remember you use the word a short while ago and I only bring it up because...'
`Where,' said Ford quietly, `does it say teleport?'
`Well, just over here in fact,' said Arthur, pointing at a dark control box in the rear of the cabin, `Just under the word "emergency", above the word "system" and beside the sign saying "out of order".'"

-- Arthur finding an escape route from a certain death situation.

"`How do you feel?' he asked him.
`Like a military academy,' said Arthur, `bits of me keep passing out.'" ....
`We're safe,' he said.
`Oh good,' said Arthur.
`We're in a small galley cabin,' said Ford, `in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.'
`Ah,' said Arthur, `this is obviously some strange usage of the word "safe" that I wasn't previously aware of.'

-- Arthur after his first ever teleport ride.

"`If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.'"
-- Zaphod.

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

-- The Book just racapping what happened in the previous book in the series.

"The fronting for the eighty-yard long marble-topped bar had been made by stitching together nearly twenty thousand Antarean Mosaic Lizard skins, despite the fact that the twenty thousand lizards concerned had needed them to keep their insides in."

-- The Book decribing Milliways' politically incorrect decor.

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."

-- One of the laws of computers and programming revealed.

"`A curse,' said Slartibartfast, `which will engulf the Galaxy in fire and destruction, and possibly bring the Universe to a premature doom. I mean it,' he added.
`Sounds like a bad time,' said Ford, `with luck I'll be drunk enough not to notice.'"

-- Ford ensuring everyone knew where his priorities lay.

"`My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes.'"

-- Ford's last ditch attempt to get out of helping Slartibartfast.

"`That young girl is one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting.'"

-- Marvin's first ever compliment about anybody.

"Mark turned and asked a pasenger behind us if these planes ever crashed. Oh yes, he was told, but not to worry - there hadn't been a serious crash now in months."

-- Mark being reassured of Bali airline safety.

"Dennis Hutch had stepped up into the top seat when its founder had died of a lethal overdose of brick wall, taken while under the influence of a Ferrari and a bottle of tequila."

-- A brief resume of the career of a record company magnate.

Highlights from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy!


The people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

"It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

"I'd trust him to the end of the end of the Earth." "And how far is that?" "About 12 minutes away."

"Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is."

Humans have a habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious as in "It's a nice day" or "You are very tall" or "Oh dear, you seem to have fallen down a thirty foot well, are you all right?"

"The best way to irritate a Vogon is to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal."

"You'll need to have a fish in your ear."

"Well, if we're lucky its just the Vogons come to throw us out into space." "And if we're unlucky?" "The captain might be serious in his threat to read us some of his poetry first."

During a poetry reading of "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning", by Poet Master Grunthos the Flatuent, four audience members died of internal hemorrhaging and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing his own legs off. As he was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled "My Favorite Bathtime Gurgles", his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilization, leaped straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.

The prisoners sat in Poetry Appreciation Chairs-strapped in.

"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."

"Space is big. Really big. You won't believe how vastly hugely mind-boggingly 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 fabulously beautiful planet of Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion 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 your body weight when you leave so every time you go to the lavatory there it is vitally important to get a receipt."

"But that's not the point! The point is that I'm a perfectly safe penguin and my colleague here is rapidly running out of limbs!"

"There's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out!"

The marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as "Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun to Be With".

"All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you and their satisfaction to close again with the satisfaction with the knowledge of a job well-done"."Thank you for making a simple door very happy."

"Please call me Eddie if it will help you relax," said the computer.

The deadly missile attack resulted in the untimely creation and sudden demise of a bowl of petunias and an innocent sperm whale..A shortened record of the thoughts of the sperm whale from creation to death is as follows. "Ah.! What is happening? Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Wow! This is really exciting.so much to look forward to! And wow! What is this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? It needs a name.ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?" This was followed y a sudden wet thud. The only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was "Oh no not again". Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.

Somewhere in the cosmos there was a planet entirely given over to ball-point life-forms.

There was an old man who claimed repeatedly that nothing was true, although he was later discovered to be lying.

Man had always assumed he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much-the wheel, New York, wars, etc. while all the dolphins had ever done was muck around in the water having a good time Conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent for precisely the same reasons. The dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had tried to alert mankind of the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for tidbits, so they eventually gave up and left Earth by their own means before the Vogons arrived. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the "Star-Spangled Banner", but in fact the message was "So long and thanks for all the fish".

The only species on Earth more intelligent than dolphins spent a lot of their time in behavioral research laboratories running round inside wheels and conducting frighteningly elegant and subtle experiments on man.

"When we tried to revive our cleaning staff we discovered they'd been dead for nearly thirty thousand years."

"The last planet was knee-deep in fish."

"If I ever meet myself, I'll hit myself so hard, I won't know what's hit me."

"Nothing at all, not an electric sausage."

"Here, suck this," said Roosta, offering Zaphod his towel.

The Jatravartid people of Viltvodle IV believe that the entire 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 Hankercheif, 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.

*The average Vogon would not think twice before doing something so pointlessly hideous to you that you will wish you had never been born (or if you are a clearer thinker that the Vogon had never been born).

*The protruding upper halves of the letters (that once read "Share and Enjoy", the motto of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division) now appear in the local language to read "Go stick your head in a pig" and are only lit up on special occasions.

"I think the only reason I waste my breath on you is that being dead, I don't have any other use for it."

*When a recent edition of Playbeing magazine headlined an article, "When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta , you are tired of life," the suicide rate there quadrupled overnight.

*"I am here, my body wanted to come but it's a bit busy at the moment. Things to do, people to see. You know how it is with bodies..The truth is that we are currently undergoing a period of legal trial separation. I suspect it will end in divorce. I think we were probably not very well-suited, we never seemed to be happy doing the same things. We always had the greatest arguments over sex and fishing. Eventually we tried to combine the two, but that only led to disaster as you can probably imagine. And now my body refuses to let me in. It won't even see me. It says I only inhibit it. I pointed out that in fact I was meant to inhabit it, and it said that that was exactly the sort of smart alec remark that got right up a body's left nostril, and so we left it. It will probably get custody of my forename."

Zaphod Beeblebrox slapped both his foreheads with two of his arms and one of his thighs with the other.

*"Listen, little green person, my stomach could take you home and cuddle you all night for the mere idea."

"Hey, wait a minute, you dead guys,"

*There is no problem involved in becoming your own mother or father that a broad-minded and well adjusted family couldn't cope with.

He was built the one way builds a leather sofa; shiny, lumpy, and with lots of solid stuffing.

"He's spending a year dead for tax reasons."

******"Would you like to meet the Dish of the Day?"."Good evening, I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body? Something off the shoulder perhaps? Braised in a white wine sauce? Or the rump is very good; I've been exercising it and eating plenty of grain, so there's a lot of good meet there. May I urge you to consider my liver? It must be very rich and tender by now; I've been force-feeding myself for months."."Four rare steaks please and hurry; we haven't eaten in 576, 000, 000 years."."A wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good, I'll just nip off and shoot myself. Don't worry, sir, I will be very humane."******

*A party of smartly dressed young dogs stopped throwing rolls at each other and started throwing rolls at the stage.

"Go bang your heads together, four-eyes."

"No, no, your monkey has it right, sir"

"I can even go and stick my head in a bucket of water if you like.I've got one ready. Wait a minute.I hope that gave satisfaction."
"But what about the End of the Universe? We'll miss the big moment!" "I've seen it. It's rubbish. Nothing but a gnab gib (opposite of a big bang)."

*"The best conversation I had was over forty million years ago and that was with a coffee machine."

*There is an infinite 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 of the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. Therefore, any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
"Property is theft, right? Therefore theft is property. Therefore this ship is mine."

*"If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, their brains start working."

A song."I teleported home one night with Ron and Sid and Meg. Ron stole Meggy's heart away and I got Sidney's leg."

*To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

"Pussy think, eat fish or not eat fish. I think it is better if I do not get involved."

"The secret of healthy hitchhiking is to eat junk food."

"And we interrogated a gazelle!"

*"One's never alone with a rubber duck."

"I'm trying to teach the cavemen to play scrabble."

One should never throw the letter Q into a privet bush, but unfortunately, there are times when it is unavoidable.

She went to sleep every night profoundly grateful for the fact that whatever she had to face in the morning it wouldn't be a hundred almost identical photographs of moodily lit tubes of toothpaste.