Douglas Adams · 167 pages
Rating: (117.3K votes)
“God's Final Message to His Creation:
'We apologize for the inconvenience.”
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford. "It is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"
"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"
"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."
Ford shrugged again.
"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."
"But that's terrible," said Arthur.
"Listen, bud," said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”
“Life... is like a grapefruit. Well, it's sort of orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It's got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast.”
“And as he drove on, the rainclouds dragged down the sky after him, for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him, and to water him.”
“There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind.”
“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.”
“Having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject the second time around.”
“If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.”
“This man is the bee's knees, Arthur, he is the wasp's nipples. He is, I would go so far as to say, the entire set of erogenous zones of every major flying insect of the Western world.”
“But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting.”
“Grown men, he told himself, in flat contradiction of centuries of accumulated evidence about the way grown men behave, do not behave like this.”
“The problem is, or rather one of the problems, for there are many, a sizeable proportion of which are continually clogging up the civil, commercial, and criminal courts in all areas of the Galaxy, and especially, where possible, the more corrupt ones, this.
The previous sentence makes sense. That is not the problem.
Read it through again and you'll get it.”
“He learned to communicate with birds and discovered their conversation was fantastically boring. It was all to do with windspeed, wingspans, power-to-weight ratios and a fair bit about berries.”
“It seemed to me,' said Wonko the Sane, 'that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”
“The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying 'And another thing...' twenty minutes after admitting he'd lost the argument.”
“Ford Prefect suppressed a little giggle of evil satisfaction, realized that he had no reason to suppress it, and laughed out loud, a wicked laugh.”
“No. No games. He wanted her and didn't care who knew it. He definitely and absolutely wanted her, longed for her, wanted to do more things than there were names for with her.”
“He felt a spasm of excitement because he knew instinctively who it was, or at least knew who it was he wanted it to be, and once you know what it is you want to be true, instinct is a very useful device for enabling you to know that it is.”
“It was one of those pictures that children are supposed to like but don't. Full of endearing little animals doing endearing things, you know?”
He didn't like to think of himself as the sort of person who giggled or sniggered, but he had to admit that he had been giggling and sniggering almost continuously for well over half an hour now.”
“For a moment he felt good about this. A moment or two later he felt bad about feeling good about it. Then he felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it and satisfied, drove on into the night.”
“Goosnargh," said Ford Prefect, which was a special Betelgeusian word he used when he knew he should say something but didn't know what it should be.”
“He actually caught himself saying things like "Yippee," as he pranced ridiculously round the house.”
“From another direction he felt the sensation of being a sheep startled by a flying saucer, but it was virtually indistinguishable from the feeling of being a sheep startled by anything else it ever encountered, for they were creatures who learned very little on their journey through life, and would be startled to see the sun rising in the morning, and astonished by all the green stuff in the fields.”
“The air was stifling, but he liked it because it was stifling city air, full of excitingly unpleasant smells, dangerous music, and the distant sound of warring police tribes.”
“Fenchurch had red mullet and said it was delicious.
Arthur had a swordfish steak and said it made him angry. He grabbed a passing waitress by the arm and berated her.
“Why’s this fish so bloody good?” he demanded, angrily.”
“Yes. They are the words that finally turned me into the hermit I have now become. It was quite sudden. I saw them, and I knew what I had to do."
The sign read:
"Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion."
"It seemed to me," said Wonko the Sane, "that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”
“It's guff. It doesn't advance the action. It makes for nice fat books such as the American market thrives on, but it doesn't actually get you anywhere.”
“In Santa Barbara they stopped at a fish restaurant in what seemed to be a converted warehouse.
Fenchurch had red mullet and said it was delicious.
Arthur had a swordfish steak and said it made him angry. He grabbed a passing waitress by the arm and berated her.
"Why's this fish so bloody good?" he demanded, angrily.
"Please excuse my friend," said Fenchurch to the startled waitress. "I think he's having a nice day at last.”
“Even the evil-looking bird perched on a rod in the bar had stopped screeching out the names and addresses of local contract killers, which was a service it provided for free.”
“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”
“The badger had paused on the edge of the shadows that filled the back of the cave. Its powerful shoulders were hunched and its claws scraped on rock. Its head swung to and fro, the white stripe glimmering, as if it were deciding which of them to attack first. Then it spoke. “Midnight has come.” Brambleclaw’s mouth fell open, and for a moment he felt as if the ground had given way beneath him again. That a badger could speak, could say words he understood, words that actually meant something . . . He stared in disbelief, his heart pounding. “I am Midnight.” The badger’s voice was deep and rasping, like the sound of the pebbles turning under the waves. “With you I must speak.”
“There is a madman who lives on the road to Mkushi. Every full moon he comes out onto the tarmac and digs a deep trench across the road. Dad would like to find the madman and bring him back to the farm. 'Think what a strong bugger he is, eh?' 'Yes, but you could only get him to work when there was a full moon.' 'Which is twice as hard as any other Zambian.”
“Poor innocent baby, about to get fleeced. "Tut-tut, gorgeous. You know when you play poker with a man behind closed doors, there is only one acceptable currency.”
“Einen Rumo zu spielen, bedeutete einerseits, das Schicksal herauszufordern und alles - wirklich alles - zu riskieren. Andererseits versprach es die Möglichkeit eines haushohen Sieges. So kam Rumo zu seinem Namen. (Rumo & Die Wunder im Dunkeln, S. 39)”
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