Questions tagged [the-hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy]

For questions about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a series of BBC radio plays and books by Douglas Adams. It is a science fiction comedy, beginning with the destruction of Earth to make a hyperspace bypass and a quest for the question to the ultimate answer (which is 42).

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180
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2answers
40k views

Why did Douglas Adams pick 42 as the ultimate answer?

Star Trek often refers to 47 and Star Trek made a sport out of finding real or imagined references to 47. Why did Douglas Adams pick 42 as the ultimate answer in the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy?
102
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1answer
11k views

Why does Zaphod Beeblebrox call Ford Prefect “Ford” when they meet on the Heart of Gold?

Ford Prefect took that name because he thought it sounded like a normal name on Earth. I couldn't find any mention anywhere that he used this name before his 15-year-long visit to Earth and he didn't ...
90
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4answers
17k views

What is this green alien supposed to be on the American covers of the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”?

I have the 2017 Del Rey Books mass market edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Here is the front cover: It features a circular green alien with two arms sticking its tongue out. Looking ...
80
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1answer
10k views

Why was Hitchhiker's Guide censored?

Douglas Adams' American publishers forced him to change some of the text in Life, the Universe and Everything: "Asshole" became "kneebiter", "shit" became "swut", and most bizarre and hilarious of ...
67
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3answers
23k views

Why is 'Belgium' the rudest word in Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

The Hitchhiker's Guide wiki states that 'Belgium' is the rudest word in the galaxy. Why?
65
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3answers
20k views

Why does Arthur Dent need to bring a towel with him in the film version of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”?

Ford Prefect instructs Arthur Dent to bring a towel with him before they leave Earth. Why?
46
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2answers
8k views

Why is Towel Day on May 25th?

Every fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy probably knows of Towel Day. But why is it on May 25th and not on another day? Does anyone know?
43
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5answers
9k views

Why did Ford Prefect save Arthur Dent?

In the film of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur saves Ford from being run over, and later Ford saves Arthur from the Earth being demolished. But in the original radio series and books, we ...
43
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1answer
6k views

In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, how much did six pints cost?

Ford orders six pints of beer (muscle relaxant) and pays with a five pound note. When he is told to keep the change, the barman is genuinely thankful for such a large tip. How much did a pint of ...
39
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4answers
9k views

Why were aliens allowed to visit Earth?

I understand that the Earth was a computer for deriving the Ultimate Question, (for which the answer was 42), and that calculation would take 10 million years. What doesn't make sense to me is, once ...
38
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3answers
5k views

Why was Marvin called “the paranoid android”?

Marvin, from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is clearly depressed, but there are not any indications that I recall (from the books, at least ) that he is paranoid. Yet both in-universe and out-of-...
37
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1answer
4k views

Is “spewed up a payment” a misprint?

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, when Arthur and Ford are picked up by the Heart of Gold, they experience the effects of the Infinite Improbability drive, causing their surrounding to shift ...
30
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1answer
11k views

How many books are there in “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” series?

I have seen an edition of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy that was a compilation of four books, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe ...
30
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4answers
25k views

How did Douglas Adams choose the Ultimate Question?

What do you get if you multiply six by nine? "Six by nine. Forty two." "That's it. That's all there is." "I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe" ... Well as ...
30
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3answers
13k views

Is there a link between the Vogon's “Resistance is Useless” and the Borg's “Resistance is Futile”?

In the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we read: FORD: Alright, just stop panicking! ARTHUR: Who said anything about panicking?!? This is still just a culture shock. FORD: Arthur! You’re ...
29
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1answer
4k views

What is a Hrung?

Before Ford Prefect was born, his father lived on Betelgeuse Seven - until the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster. He was the only survivor on the planet. After that, he moved to Betelgeuse Five, where ...
29
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1answer
4k views

Do we know Ford Prefect's old name?

I was reading this question about Ford's name, and was reminded that it is not his original name. Do we know what his name was before it was "Ford Prefect"?
29
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1answer
4k views

Whose arm gets bruised in the missile scene of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

The very end of Chapter 16 of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says: The deadly missile attack shortly to be launched [...] will result merely in [...] the bruising of somebody's upper arm[....
25
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4answers
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Is there any explanation for why a planet would need to be destroyed to create a hyperspatial express route?

In the opening bit of pretty much every version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Earth is destroyed to make room for a hyper-spatial express route. Is there any basis for why this would need ...
25
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3answers
5k views

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, how deep do the influences of Pink Floyd run?

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, we find our heroes in a stolen spaceship, on a course to crash into a local star as a special effect for the band Disaster Area. This is of course a ...
24
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7answers
4k views

Is Arthur Dent a “hero”?

I was having a discussion with a co-worker about HGTTG and he referred to Arthur Dent as the "hero" of the story. I disagreed, however several wikis refer to him as the hero. He is the lens by which ...
23
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5answers
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What story has a man forget a very significant question?

I recall reading about a man who has solved some very significant question--The meaning of life, perhaps. But nobody ever gets to hear this profound discovery because he becomes distracted and the ...
22
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4answers
16k views

Why was Arthur Dent surprised by Slartibartfast's name?

In the books, TV show, and radio show, Arthur Dent expresses surprise when hearing Slartibartfast say his name. Was there a reason for this? I don't remember Arthur expressing any surprise when ...
22
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4answers
3k views

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, does the answer the Earth was built for refer to the girl?

I'm listening to the radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and earlier it was mentioned that a girl on Earth discovered something that will make everything alright, and before she ...
21
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1answer
1k views

Did the Doctor inspire Slartibartfast?

I've seen that Douglas Adams was a screenwriter for Doctor Who. In HHGG, Slartibartfast initially wouldn't tell his real name. Similarly, the Doctor won't tell his real name. Slartibartfast picks ...
20
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4answers
11k views

What are the worst forms of poetry in the universe?

In the context of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if Vogon poetry is “the third worst poetry in the universe”, then what is the second worst and worst?
20
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3answers
802 views

Is the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (the real guide) in English?

In chapter 5 of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, Ford Prefect shows Arthur the Guide: Ford handed the book to Arthur. "What is it?" asked Arthur. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It'...
20
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1answer
4k views

Do Dirk Gently and The Hitchhiker's Guide exist in the same universe?

There are several common elements between the Dirk Gently and Hitchhiker's Guide universes which I noticed while re-listening to them in succession, but there are also differences: Thor and Asgard ...
19
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1answer
2k views

How many people are the three billion watching Zaphod Beeblebrox?

I'm reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in English for the first time, and came across the passage when Zaphod Beeblebrox is going to steal the Heart of Gold. It strikes me that it says ...
19
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1answer
4k views

Where do the dolphins fly off to in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?

Where do the dolphins fly off to during the song "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" at the beginning of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? They must go somewhere, because they factor into the ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Does the Babel fish translate written text?

Per my other questions, I had assumed until the end of "Thanks for All the Fish" that Arthur could read things from alien planets including the Hitchhiker's Guide because the Babel fish translated ...
18
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2answers
4k views

Where is Fenchurch?

In "Mostly Harmless", Arthur Dent notes that the universe is only missing two things, the world he was born on, and the woman he loves. Where in the universe is Fenchurch?
18
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1answer
4k views

How many appearances does Agrajag make in the Hitchhikers' Guide series?

Agrajag is a creature that gets repeatedly reincarnated only to be killed in various ways, usually by accident, by Arthur Dent. We meet Agrajag several times before we learn who he is. Wikipedia's ...
17
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5answers
55k views

Why is '42' the meaning of life?

According to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Is it ever explained, in canon1, why the answer to the meaning of ...
17
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1answer
876 views

How long did Marvin the robot live?

In The Hitchhicker's Guide trilogy, Marvin ends up living for a very long time. How long does he live before he finally dies?
17
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1answer
3k views

What does “Sund, explns.” mean in one of the Hitchhiker's guide books?

In the second book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, contractors were told not to install a teleporter into a ship that's going to be sent into the sun. They did it anyway and put it in ...
17
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2answers
2k views

What the zark is this all about?

Who, or what, is "Zark" in the Hitchhiker's Guide series? When did it, he, or she originate, and what does the word "zark" refer to? The first time I remember {it / him / her} being mentioned is on ...
17
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2answers
839 views

Why didn't Ford Prefect detect Zaphod Beeblebrox's visit to Earth?

When the Vogons arrive at Earth, we know that Ford's Sub-Etha Sens-O-Matic was going off for the first time in 15 years. From Book 1 Chapter 3: He knew exactly what was happening and had known ...
17
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2answers
789 views

In the radio series, how did Zaphod get into the artificial universe?

In the book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, it's very clearly explained how Zaphod gets into the simulated universe; he's in it from the moment he enters Zarniwop's office, and a big deal ...
15
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4answers
1k views

What happened between Twelfth and Thirteenth?

I'm listening to the Hitchhiker's Guide radio series, and there seems to be an obvious disconnect between these two parts: Fit the Twelfth: At the end, Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod ...
15
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1answer
3k views

What does 'And Another Thing…' add to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

And Another Thing... is the 6th story of the trilogy, but to my recollection the HHGG is wrapped up fairly well in the last episode of the Radio series (though confusingly). What major elements does ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Intentional Structure in HHGG?

I'm rereading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in one volume. It is 815 pages long. There is a point, where Arthur has defeated Agrajag and learns how to fly at which his character changes. He is ...
14
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3answers
2k views

What is the range of effect for the Infinite Improbability Drive?

Inspired by this exchange in chat: Jack B Nimble @ScienceFiction&Fantasy Brought you to by someone who doesn't understand probability. phantom42 @ScienceFiction&Fantasy Zaphod just ...
14
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4answers
25k views

At What Age is the Average Child Ready for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? [closed]

My son is ten years old and I'm considering giving him THHGTTG to read. I have read the book in my late teens and was hooked but I have a difficult time putting myself in a 10 year old boys shoes ...
13
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2answers
5k views

Why is the “trilogy” made of five books?

I just completed the first book in the Hitchhiker's Guide series and started the second. Something I've seen written about the series is that it is a "trilogy of five", which taken literally is an ...
12
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5answers
3k views

Eccentrica Gallumbits and Earth

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when Arthur searches The Guide for the article on Earth, the following exchange takes place: The screen flashed and swirled and resolved in to a page of ...
12
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3answers
1k views

What are the “six green ships” that visit the man who really runs the Galaxy?

In Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Zarniwoop commandeers the Heart of Gold, and brings it (along with Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian) to visit the man who really runs the Galaxy. He's a hermit ...
12
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1answer
387 views

Which head does Zaphod normally talk with?

In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, there are only a few cases where it is specified which head Zaphod Beeblebrox talks out of (these are typically when one head is drunk or eating, as far ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Where does real political power lie in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

In the beginning of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, when the narrator is first introducing Zaphod Beeblebrox, he mentions that "Very very few people realize that the President and the Government ...
11
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3answers
5k views

How does the content differ between radio and book versions of The Hitchhikers Guide?

Is there a difference in content between the two versions of The Hitch hiker's Guide to the Galaxy? I've only ever listened to the radio show, and I was wondering if a) there was anything to reading ...