I know the out-of-universe answer: It's a joke. I am, however, looking for an in-universe answer.

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, we have the planet of Magrathea, which used to make planets for those who could afford them. However, the inhabitants of Magrathea live underground, not on the surface, as 'They probably just didn't like it very much.'

Why didn't they just make a new planet for themselves that they liked?

  • 3
    I think it's because they assemble the planets inside their own planet (it's hollow and bigger inside then outside), so the Magratheans just live close to work so they don't need a long commute. I'm not sure though, so I'll have to check the book before I can post an answer.
    – b_jonas
    Feb 17, 2016 at 9:56
  • @b_jonas Don't they assemble the planets in another dimension?
    – Mithical
    Feb 17, 2016 at 10:02
  • That's why the planet is bigger in the inside. The entrance of that pocket plane is mapped to the inside of their planet.
    – b_jonas
    Feb 17, 2016 at 10:11
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    Another out-of-universe answer is that Douglas Adams wasn't a "world builder." His universe exists only as he found out entertaining, and it is often unapologetically absurd. I suspect that he would have responded to your question by saying "my, that's an excellent point," patting you on the head, and moving on to the next one.
    – Misha R
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:59
  • 2
    How would they agree on what kind of planet they liked? Seems like it would be difficult to get planet builders to agree on what type of planet that they should like.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 17, 2016 at 18:18

3 Answers 3


The Magratheans have been asleep for a very very long time. During that time, their world, once famed throughout the galaxy (""The fires of dawn...!" breathed Zaphod. "The twin suns of Soulianis and Rahm...!") has largely been scoured into a lifeless waste by the elements.

More of the planet was unfolding beneath them as the Heart of Gold streaked along its orbital path. The suns now stood high in the black sky, the pyrotechnics of dawn were over, and the surface of the planet appeared bleak and forbidding in the common light of day-grey, dusty and only dimly contoured. It looked dead and cold as a crypt. From time to time promising features would appear on the distant horizon-ravines, maybe mountains, maybe even cities-but as they approached the lines would soften and blur into anonymity and nothing would transpire. The planet's surface was blurred by time, by the slow movement of the thin stagnant air that had crept across it for century upon century.

Clearly, it was very very old.

It's noteworthy that when Zaphod et al. arrive, only a very small proportion of the Magrathean population have come out of hibernation in order to do a quick custom-build from an earlier set of plans. Once the main bulk of the Magrathean population wake up and see what's happened to the surface of their world, they'd presumably set about bringing Magrathea back to its former glories.


Why would they need a new planet, they've been sleeping since the Economic Collapse of the Empire, caused by their successful business model sucking out of the liquidity.


Why would they bother making a new planet for themselves? They don't care what their planet looks like.

HGTTG, ch. 16:

“You know, I don’t like the look of that planet at all,” said Trillian, shivering.

“Ah, take no notice,” said Zaphod; “with half the wealth of the former Galactic Empire stored on it somewhere it can afford to look frumpy.”

  • 3
    How does that quote imply anything about how the Magratheans felt? It's two non-Magratheans talking about how the planet looks. Feb 17, 2016 at 19:09

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