In this brief story read in the 1980s to 1990s, the narrator is an alien explorer who is describing the Earth and its inhabitants. Regarding the Sun, the alien says, "It's too bright to look at, so they don't." That sentence has stayed with me while the memory of the rest of the story decayed; the rest is gone, forgotten, except that I thought it was a clever approach and enjoyed the story. It was published in an English-language anthology. I am hoping that someone who read the story will recognize this sentence.


1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure this is actually from a book: Douglas Adams's third Hitch-Hiker's book, Life, The Universe and Everything.

Slartibartfast is explaining exactly why the Krikkiters are so traumatised by a spaceship crashing on their planet:

"No," said Slartibartfast, with a slight quickening of his step, "the people of Krikkit have never thought to themselves 'We are alone in the Universe'. They are surrounded by a huge Dust Cloud, you see, their single sun with its single world, and they are right out on the utmost eastern edge of the Galaxy. Because of the Dust Cloud there has never been anything to see in the sky. At night it is totally blank. During the day there is the sun, but you can't look directly at that so they don't. They are hardly aware of the sky. It's as if they had a blind spot which extended 180 degrees from horizon to horizon.

"You see, the reason why they have never thought 'We are alone in the Universe' is that until tonight they don't know about the Universe. Until tonight."

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    Thank you very much; that looks like a match. I can't imagine how I lost the connection between the quote -- "so they don't" -- and the rest of the novel, which I read and reread, and remember a great deal about. The novel, Life, the Universe and Everything, was published in 1982 and I read it when it was new in hardback, so my "internal time stamp" matches. Case closed! May 30, 2019 at 12:45

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