Jul 24, 2010 ... Science fiction for me was the dark dystopian future of 1984 stretching to the absurdity of HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. ...Google Alert.... credit Kim Knox http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/2010/07/parallel-universe-one-thing-stays-same.html .
Following this diversity series has stimulated me to think about some of the less diverse aspects of SFR: how writers cope with communication between species and races. It seems to me, it's either some version of the babel fish (usually an implanted chip rather than a parasite) or it's brain power and hard work in the language lab (or hypnopedia in the only one of my books where I give a nod to the problem).
Is there anything else? Could there be? Possibly "Texting" gives us a clue. From time to time, I think about all the troubles we have with our computers and the internet (worms, Trojans, viruses, hackers, malware) and apply it to what might happen to people with a robotic "babel fish" implanted in their heads.
With that in mind, I allowed a "villain" (more of an opportunistic mischief maker who happened to be a world leader) to mess with undiplomatic holographic messages in Knight's Fork.
However, before posting what would have been a very short post on that point, I thought that I ought to check that the "babel fish!" reference that popped up in my mind was accurate and properly attributed. One does try to be responsible.
Imagine my delight when my "Babel Fish" research led to this! (Below. From Wikipedia. Apparently, free to share.) I love lists for worldbuilding. Credits and attribution at the bottom of the post.
This is a list of races, fauna, and flora (as well as creatures without category) featured in various incarnations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
AldebaransThe popular anti-teleport song claims that "Aldebaran's great, OK", but the Aldebarans are better known for their liqueurs (sold at Miliways), and fine wines (as Trillian prepared for Zaphod after deactivating all the Heart of Gold kitchen synthomatics).
AltairiansAdvanced species known for their love of the movie Fight Club and their intense hatred of rabbits. It will take less than thirty of their dollars a day for hitchhikers to see the universe; so long as said hitchhikers avoid buying fruit drinks at Ursa Minor Beta nightclubs, which cost sixty Altairian dollars.
Amoeboid ZingatulariansThe Amoeboid Zingatularians appear as a stellar replacement in the long-running comedic play No Sex Please, We're British at the end of fit the third of the radio series.
BartledaniansInhabitants of the planet Bartledan. The people of Bartledan are similar to humans, but do not breathe. Due to their view on the Universe - that the Universe is what the Universe is, take it or leave it - they have no desires, dreams or hopes, to the point that the protagonist of a Bartledanian novel abruptly dies of thirst in the penultimate chapter of the book due to a briefly-mentioned plumbing problem earlier on. Bartledanian literature is renowned, and its books are notable for being exactly one hundred thousand words long. Netball is a popular sport among the people of Bartledan despite the fact that no one cares about winning.
BelcerebonsThe Belcerebons of Kakrafoon Kappa had an unhappy time. Once a serene and quiet civilization, a Galactic Tribunal sentenced them to telepathy because the rest of the galaxy found peaceful contemplation contemptuous. Ford Prefect compared them to Humans because the only way Belcerebons could stop transmitting their every thought was to mask their brain activity (or its readability) by talking endlessly about utter trivia. The other approach to dampening telepathic communication was to host concerts of the plutonium rock band Disaster Area. Thankfully, during the concert, an improbability field flipped over the Rudlit Desert, transforming it into a paradise, and cured the Belcerebons of telepathy. A Disaster Area spokesman said that this was "a good gig".
BetelgeusiansA race similar to humans in many ways.
Blagulon KappansBlagulon Kappans are methane-breathing life forms from Blagulon Kappa, which only appear in the books as the sophisticated police that attack Zaphod Beeblebrox. They die because Marvin the Paranoid Android causes their ship to commit suicide by sharing his overly pessimistic view of the Universe with it. This in turn renders their space suits, which are remote controlled by the ship, unusable. This proves fatal because they cannot breathe in the thin oxygen atmosphere of Magrathea. However, in the TV series the police are simply humanoids and able to breathe the air.
DentrassisDentrassis are the best cooks and the best drink mixers in the universe. The Vogons can now afford them by being professionally bad tempered. Described by the character Ford Prefect as "The best cooks and the best drinks mixers, and they don't give a wet slap about anything else." In most versions of the story, they help galactic hitchhikers board Vogon Constructor Ships "partly because they like the company, but mostly because it annoys the Vogons."
The Dentrassi were also a demo coding group for the Atari ST home computer.
DolphinsDolphins are the second most intelligent creatures on Earth, just above humans. They tried in vain to warn humans of the impending destruction of the planet. However, their behavior was misinterpreted as playful attempts to whistle for fish and jump through hoops. Their story is told in the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
FlayboozFlaybooz are small, gerbil-like creatures. Though flaybooz have no ears, they are extremely sensitive to vibration and can actually explode in extreme circumstances. Thor, the Asgardian and sometime rock god, held the record for spontaneous flaybooz detonation when he debuted his new tune “You Wanna Get Hammered?” from a chariot in orbit around Squornshellous Delta. The record had previously been held by intergalactic rock stars Disaster Area, who dropped a speaker bomb into a volcano crater where the flaybooz were enjoying a static electricity festival.
Contrary to an almost universal norm, it is the male flaybooz who nurtures the young. A full-grown flaybooz can fit up to fifty young in his pouch, but generally there is only room for a couple, as males like to carry around a small tool kit in case of emergencies, maybe a few beers, and a copy of Furballs Quarterly. From the novel And Another Thing....
G'Gugvuntts and Vl'hurgsTwo species which existed in the distant past, a very great distance from the Milky Way galaxy. The G'Gugvuntt were enemies of the Vl'hurgs, and these strange and warlike beings are on the brink of an interstellar war, because of an insult uttered by the G'Gunvuntt leader to the mother of the Vl'hurg leader. They were meeting for the last time, and a dreadful silence filled the air as the Vl'hurg leader was challenging the G'Gunvuntt leader to retract the insult. At the precise moment, the phrase "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle" (muttered by Arthur Dent to himself, which for some strange reason was carried by a freak wormhole in space back in time to the farthest regions of the universe where the G'Gunvuntts and the Vl'hurgs lived) filled the air, which in the Vl'hurg tongue was the most dreadful insult imaginable. It left them no choice but to declare war on the G'Gunvuntts, which went on for a few thousand years and decimated their entire galaxy.
After millennia of battle the surviving G'Gugvuntt and Vl'hurg realised what had actually happened, and joined forces to attack the Milky Way in retaliation. They crossed vast reaches of space in a journey lasting thousands of years before reaching their target where they attacked the first planet they encountered, Earth. Due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy states that this sort of thing happens all the time.
In the film, the phrase is stated as: "I wouldn't want to go anywhere without my wonderful towel." In the computer game The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, any remark that the text parser does not understand has a chance of triggering a story arc involving the player's poorly chosen words travelling to the negotiation table and becoming the aforementioned insult.
GolgafrinchansThe Golgafrinchans are a race from the planet Golgafrincham that appears in fit the sixth of the radio series, episode 6 of the TV series and the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In their ancient history, they tricked the most useless third (the middlemen) of their population to get on a spaceship and leave the planet, by spreading rumours of the horrific fates their planet was doomed to soon undergo, such as being eaten by a mutant star goat, or collapsing into the sun. The plan was to get them to crash on a "harmless" planet, thus losing any capacity for space travel; they would then be out of everyone's hair.
Soon after they managed to get rid of these people - including all the telephone sanitizers - the entire remaining population was wiped out by a plague contracted from a dirty telephone.
The survivors who left on the spaceship eventually did crash onto Earth, as planned. They managed to possibly wipe out the primitive, but wise, population of original inhabitants, thus corrupting Deep Thought's 10-million-year plan to discover the Ultimate Question to the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. They are presumed to be the ancestors of modern humans.
Ancient Golgafrinchan culture included a sect known as 'the great circling poets of Arium', who would abuse travellers, circle them and throw rocks at them. Afterwards, they would recite an epic poem which usually involved the rescue of a beautiful monster from a ravening Princess by five sage Princes on four horses.
See also: Listings for specific Golgafrinchan characters
GrebulonsThe Grebulons are a race that appears in the novel Mostly Harmless. They are observing the Earth, but do not know why.
During the centuries-long spaceflight the Grebulons were all in suspended animation with their memories saved to the ship's computer (which was struck by an asteroid influenced by Guide Mark II). With the loss of the backup, after the robots carrying it also fell out of the hole made by the asteroid, the Grebulons awoke with no idea where they were going or who they were. What little instructions they could extract from the wrecked computer told them to "land" somewhere and "monitor" something, so they landed on Rupert and monitored the televisionEarth. transmissions from
Trillian later reveals that the Grebulons are a missing reconnaissance fleet from the war that she was meant to cover (which never happened because the Grebulons never arrived with their respective army).
HaggunenonsThe Haggunenons of Vicissitus Three were encountered in the fit the sixth of the radio series when Ford and Zaphod attempted to steal an Admiral's flagship from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. According to the Guide, the Haggunenons "have the most impatient chromosomes in the Galaxy. Whereas most species are content to evolve slowly and carefully over thousands of generations, discarding a prehensile toe here, [...] hazarding another nostril there, the Haggunenons would have done for Charles Darwin what a squadron of Arcturan Stunt Apples would have done for Sir Isaac Newton. Their genetic structure is based on the quadruple sterated octohelix...." Their tendency to evolve almost instantaneously has the downside of discarding one deficiency for another. For example, when they reach for sugar for their coffee, they may evolve "into something with much longer arms, but which is probably perfectly incapable of drinking the coffee." They resent stable species, and wage war on them in their horribly beweaponed chameleoid black battle cruisers.
The Haggunenon Admiral turned out to have been sleeping on his flagship in the form of a chair while Ford, Arthur, Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin returned it to its proper time and place at the vanguard of an invasion fleet. It then evolved into a copy of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, from which Ford and Arthur were able to escape, but which ate Marvin, Trillian and Zaphod. Those three later made their escape when the admiral evolved into an escape capsule.
This monster also appears in the "Dungeons and Dragons Epic Level Handbook" as the Hagunemnon. Like their Hitch-hiker's counterparts, they too are unstable shapeshifters with a deep loathing for non-shapeshifting lifeforms.
See also: Haggunenon Underfleet Commander
HingefreelA race with only a very small mention, at the start of Chapter 1 of the novel Mostly Harmless. Hailing from Arkintoofle Minor, they built spaceships powered by bad news, which is the only thing that travels faster than light. Their ships were very fast, but didn't work particularly well, and were extremely unwelcome wherever they arrived.
HooloovooA Hooloovoo is a hyperintelligent shade of the colour blue.
Little is known of them, except that one participated in the construction of the starship Heart of Gold. At the launching ceremony one was temporarily refracted into a free-standing prism. This is probably analogous to the ceremonial multicoloured lab coats worn by the rest of the team.
Hrarf-HrarfHrarf-Hrarf are a race of beings whose lifespans flow backwards in linear time. Their lives begin at death, and end "in a really quite extraordinarily pleasant birth." They are also described as the "only race known actually to enjoy hangovers, because they know it guarantees that a tremendously good evening will ensue."
The race is mentioned only in the radio series The Secondary Phase, written specially for that series by Douglas Adams in the mid-1990s.
HumansHumans are bipedal creatures from Earth, and the third most intelligent species on that planet. (Surpassed only by mice and dolphins.) Originally thought to have evolved from proto-apes, humans may in fact be descendants of Golgafrinchan telephone sanitizers, account executives, and marketing analysts who were tricked out of leaving their home planet to arrive on the planet ca. two million BC. These Golgafrinchans apparently displaced the indigenous cavemen as the organic components in the computer designed by Deep Thought.
Interestingly, although the term "humanoid" is applied to many races throughout the galaxy, "humanity" refers specifically to the qualities of humans.
JatravartidsJatravartids are small blue creatures of the planet Viltvodle VI with more than fifty arms each. They are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented aerosol deodorantwheel. before the
Many races believe that the Universe was created by some sort of god or in the Big Bang. The Jatravartid people, however, believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief". The theory of the Great Green Arkleseizure is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI.
(A similar concept was used in the short story "God's Nose" by Damon Knight.)
For the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams created a new character called Humma Kavula, a missionary whose apparent mission is to spread the religion of the Jatravartids. The Jatravartids are only seen on screen during two brief (and poorly lit) shots, though their discarded aerosol cans are found all over their planet's surface. "Caveman"-style illustrations of the Jatravartids feature in one episode of the Hitchhiker's GuideTV series.
KrikkitersThis race of quiet, polite, charming and rather whimsical humanoids caused the most devastating war in the history of the Galaxy (with over two "grillion" casualties). Their homeworld, Krikkit, is surrounded by a black cloud, so they had no knowledge of the universe outside their world. When a spaceship crashed on the surface of Krikkit, the inhabitants quickly stripped it of its secrets and used them to create their own "flimsy piece of near-junk" craft, Krikkit One. Upon reaching the outer edge of the dust cloud and seeing the galaxy for the first time, the people of Krikkit marvelled at its beauty before casually deciding to destroy it, famously remarking "It'll have to go." The Earth game of cricket is a racial memory of the events of the Krikkit Wars. The story of these events is told in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
LamuellansLamuellans are a humanoid race from the planet Lamuella. It is on this planet that a passenger starship crashes, and Arthur Dent is the only survivor. There he becomes the planet's Sandwich Maker. The Lamuellans are led, more or less, by Old Thrashbarg, the tribe's priest to Almighty Bob. Other residents of the village include Kirp, a fisher, Grarp the Baker, Strinder the Tool Maker, and Drimple the Sandwich Maker's apprentice. The planet is also home to Perfectly Normal Beasts and Pikka Birds. The complete story is found in the novel Mostly Harmless.
MagratheansThey are sentient beings that live on planet Magrathea. In the past during the time of the Galactic Empire, they created and sold planets to rich customers. They are very mysterious and seem to show up whenever something important happens, which is seen the most in the third book:Life, the Universe, and Everything. In the first book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy it is revealed that they have been asleep waiting for the galaxies' economy to improve, but were awakened prematurely to rebuild the Earth after its destruction by Vogons. They are the race who built the Earth, at the request of the Mice. However, in the film, the Mice and the Magratheans are the same species.
MiceMice are the physical protrusions into our dimension of a race of hyperintelligent pan-dimensional beings who commissioned construction of the Earth to find the Question to the Ultimate Answer of Life, the Universe, and Everything. As such, they are the most intelligent life form on that planet.
In their home dimension, a popular sport is Brockian Ultra-Cricket, a horribly violent game which involves hitting people for no readily apparent reason and then running away, before apologising from some distance - often through a megaphone. However, it is completely unrelated except in name to the earth sport of cricket.
OglarooniansNatives to the small forest world of Oglaroon, Oglaroonians have taken what is a fairly universal trait among sentient species (to cope with the sheer infinite vastness of the universe by simply ignoring it) to its ultimate extreme. Despite the entire planet being habitable, Oglaroonians have managed to confine their global population to one small nut tree, in which they compose poetry, create art, and somehow fight wars. The consensus among those in power that any trees one might observe from the outer branches are merely hallucinations brought on by eating too many oglanuts, and anyone who thinks differently is hurled out of the tree, presumably to his death.
PoghrilsAn exceptionally pessimistic race from the star system of Pansel. Due to the Heart of Gold's Infinite Improbability Drive causing a wave of improbability when passing through the system, two-hundred and thirty-nine thousand lightly fried eggs landed on the surface of their home planet, unfortunately too late to save the vast majority, who had already succumbed to famine, though one did manage to survive for two further weeks, before dying of cholesterol poisoning.
ShaltanacsThe Shaltanacs are a race from the planet Broop Kidron Thirteen, who had their own version of the Earth phrase, "The other man's grass is always greener." Although, given their planet's horticultural peculiarities, theirs was, "The other Shaltanac's joopleberry shrub is always a more mauve-y shade of pinky russet," and so, the expression fell into disuse, and the Shaltanacs found they had little choice but to become exceptionally happy and content with their lot, which surprised everyone else in the galaxy, who had not realised that the best way not to be unhappy is not to have a word for it.
Silastic Armourfiends of StriteraxThe Silastic Armourfiends were an insanely aggressive race who lived on the planet Striterax approximately twenty billion years ago "when the universe was young". They were extremely keen on fighting – one of the best ways to deal with a Silastic Armourfiend was to lock him in a room by himself, since he would beat himself up sooner or later. They wrecked the surface of their planet in constant wars, and the whole population lived within bunkers deep below the surface.
In an attempt to deal with the problems their violent nature created, the Silastic Armourfiends passed a law that anybody who had to carry a weapon as part of their normal work (including policemen, security guards and primary school teachers) must spend a minimum of 45 minutes each day punching a sack of potatoes. It was hoped that this would allow them to work off their surplus aggression. This plan worked only until someone had the idea to simply shoot the potatoes, and the Silastic Armourfiends were excited about their "first war for weeks."
During one of their more unpleasant wars, the Silastic Armourfiends asked the great computer Hactar to design the ultimate weapon for them. The computer complied, creating a hand-held bomb which would connect the core of every major sun via hyperspace, destroying the entire universe. The Silastic Armorfiends attempted to use the bomb to blow up a munitions dump, but fortunately Hactar had built a dud weapon since it could not conceive of any occasion when the use of the real thing would be justified. The Silastic Armourfiends disagreed, and pulverised Hactar.
Eventually, after smashing the hell out of the Strenuous Garfighters of Stug and the Strangulous Stilletans of Jajazikstack, the Silastic Armourfiends found an entirely new way of blowing themselves up, which was of great relief to the Garfighters, the Stilletans, and the potatoes.
"The best way to pick a fight with a Silastic Armorfiend was just to be born. They didn't like it, they got resentful"
Strangulous Stilettans of JajazikstakAn enemy of the Silastic Armourfiends of Striterax.
Strenuous Garfighters of StugAn enemy of the Silastic Armourfiends of Striterax.
Algolian SuntigerThe tooth of an Algolian Suntiger is part of the mix for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. It "spreads the fires of the Algolian suns deep into the heart of the drink."
Ameglian Major CowsSee Dish of the Day (cow).
Arcturian MegadonkeyAn animal featured in the proverb "to talk all four legs off an Arcturian Megadonkey", and also served grated at a dinner on the planet Magrathea.
Arcturian MegagnatA creature from Kakrafoon. It is mentioned during a description of the many uses of towels whereby you can "huddle beneath it for protection against the Arcturian Megagnats under the stars of Kakrafoon."
Babel fishThe Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and is a universal translator which simultaneously translates from one spoken language to another. It takes the brainwaves of the other body and what they are thinking then transmits the thoughts to the speech centers of the hosts brain, the speech heard by the ear decodes the brainwave matrix. When inserted into the ear, its nutrition processes convert sound waves into brain waves, neatly crossing the language divide between any species you should happen to meet whilst traveling in space.
Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation. Arthur Dent, a surviving Earthling, commented only 'Eurgh!' when first inserting the fish into his ear canal. It did, however, enable him to understand Vogon Poetry - not necessarily a good thing.
The book points out that the Babel fish could not possibly have developed naturally, and therefore proves the existence of God as its creator. However, certain people say this proves the nonexistence of god as proof denies faith, and without faith, god is nothing. "'my, that was easy', says man, and goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
BoghogThe Boghog is the only native animal of planet NowWhat, "all other having long ago died of despair".
Boghogs are tiny, vicious creatures with unaccountably thin and leaky skins. Boghog meat is almost completely inedible and is the primary source of food for the settlers on NowWhat.
The language of the boghogs consists of biting each other very hard on the thigh and thus was never learned by anybody else.
Damogran Frond Crested EagleA Damogran Frond Crested Eagle inhabites Damogran, a desert planet where Zaphod Beeblebrox steals the Heart of Gold. A Damogran Frond Crested Eagle incorporated the first two pages of Zaphod Beeblebrox's speech into its nest, which it built out of paper mâché, and "was virtually impossible for a newly hatched baby eagle to break out of." Since apparently the Eagle had, for some reason, heard of survival of the species and become opposed to it.
Equinusian packbeastAt the beginning of the radio series The Quandary Phase, the voice of The Book describes any attempts to appeal to the better nature of the Vogons as "flogging a dead Equinusian packbeast." Director Dirk Maggs answered that this expression can be read as either referring to a horse (Latin name Equus caballus), or a separate horse-like alien species, or both.
Fuolornis Fire DragonA majestic creature that, despite having "breath like a rocket booster and teeth like a park fence" was revered in the land of Brequinda for the mystifyingly sexy way in which it flew about the fragrant night skies, along with their tendency to bite anybody who didn't revere them. So sexy were the dragons that they would induce mass exodus to private quarters when crossing the full moon. Although generally peaceful, they nonetheless managed to bite and burn other people quite a bit; behaviour which led eventually to their extinction and use in making hamburgers. The most current edition of the Guide has yet to mention this crucial fact, much to the disappointment of hitchhikers. Also according to the Guide, most of Brequinda now seems to contain restaurants selling the dragon meat burgers, possibly indicating that some find the meat tasty. Dragons are shown as part of the defense system of the godly planet of Asgard in the novel And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer, but it is never said whether or not these are the same or different dragons.
Greater Drubbered WintwockAccording to the novel Mostly Harmless, these are no longer found on the planet Stegbartle Major in the Constellation Fraz.
MattressMattresses are friendly, dim-witted, docile creatures capable of speech. They are all called Zem and live in the swamps of Squornshellous Zeta. Many of them are slaughtered, dried out, and shipped around the Galaxy to be slept on by grateful customers, though they do not appear to mind this. Many of the movements they make, such as gupping and willomying, are so unique that etymologists have driven themselves half-insane tracking down new words for them.
Perfectly Normal BeastThe Perfectly Normal Beasts are a species that migrate across the Anhondo Plain on Lamuella twice a year (one direction in the spring then back again in the autumn). The migration takes about 8 to 9 days during which time they form a solid mass. They appear from thin air at one end of the plain then disappear again at the other. They are called Perfectly Normal Beasts because naming them normalizes the event of their migration and keeps people from worrying about its cause. It is likely that the Domain of the King was built to take advantage of this odd, mile-wide gap in the bi-yearly migration, situated as it is on a rather nice stretch of land that would otherwise be badly trampled every now and then (or, the space-time warp was specifically manipulated by the Domain's original builder as a matter of convenience).
The local Lamuellans capture the beasts and kill them for their meat. The method uses similar techniques to a matador but also requires use of the Pikka Birds to get their attention. The best of the meat is eaten straight away while the rest is salted and stored for consumption until the next migration. It was consumed on its own until the arrival of the Sandwich Maker and is now always placed between two slices of bread.
Pikka BirdThe Pikka Birds are birds native to Lamuella. They are known for being surprised by ordinary everyday objects and events such as the sun rising but completely ignoring unusual events such as spaceships landing. They are accustomed to staring blankly at a few anonymous atoms in the middle of the air. They are also used to attract Perfectly Normal Beasts. According to Arthur Dent's description of them in the radio series The Quintessential Phase and the novel Mostly Harmless, their eggs make rather a good omelette. On his first encounter with a Pikka Bird, Ford Prefect is disturbed by its physical similarity to the bird-shape taken by the sentient Guide Mark II.
(Pica pica is the Latin name for the magpie).
Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of TraalThe Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is a creature that hails from the planet of Traal, and will eat anything. The beasts are impossible to kill. To deal with a beast, one should wrap a towel around one's own head. This creature is so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes that if someone cannot see it, then it cannot see the person. Despite this, the Guide did state, erroneously, that "ravenous Bugblatter beasts often make a very good meal for (rather than of) visiting tourists" in its article on the planet Traal. This led to deaths of those who took it literally. The guide's editors avoided lawsuit by summoning a poet to testify under oath that beauty was truth, truth beauty, and therefore prove that their claim, the nicer one, must be true. This led to life itself being held in contempt of court for being neither beautiful nor true, and subsequently being removed from all those present at the trial.
In the computer game The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Bugblatter Beast asks its victims their names before killing them, and carves the names on a memorial outside its cave. The game also describes the Beast as having Lasero-Zap eyes, Swivel-Shear Teeth, and several dozen tungsten carbide Vast Pain claws forged in the sun furnaces of Zangrijad, all implying that it is a cyborg.
According to the radio scripts, the Beast's eyes can turn red, green, then a sort of mauvy pink.
In the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Guide has an entry on what to do if you face certain, unavoidable death at the claws of a Bugblatter Beast: the same method for "What to do if you find yourself trapped beneath a large boulder with no means of escape" from fit the eighth of the radio series. The entry is this: "Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer."
In the movie, the Vogons apparently have a Bugblatter Beast trapped inside a metal box, about the size of a shipping container. The Beast is never seen (apart from a large green eye), but the box is continually shaking back and forth. The Vogons use it to execute people who are convicted of crimes such as kidnapping the President, and as such Tricia McMillan was nearly fed to it.
Scintillating Jeweled Scuttling CrabsScintillating Jeweled Scuttling Crabs live on the planet Vogsphere, the Vogons' homeworld. Vogons eat the crabs, "smashing their shells open with iron mallets." They cook the crabmeat with the native trees. Although the Vogons migrated to the Megabrantis Cluster, the political hub of the Galaxy, every year the Vogons import twenty-seven thousand scintillating jeweled scuttling crabs from Vogsphere and "while away a drunken night smashing them to bits with iron mallets."
Vegan RhinoLittle is known about Vegan Rhinos. They are mentioned once in The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy when, while having dinner on Magrathea, Zaphod asks Arthur to "try some Vegan Rhino's cutlet. It's delicious if you happen to like that sort of thing"
Vogon SlapsticksVogon Slapsticks are odd creatures from the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. They originated, most likely, on the planet Vogsphere. In shape they look like rust-brown poles stuck into the ground with a rectangle on top, sometimes having a hand print inside it. Ford Prefect pulled one out of the ground, causing it to squeal in a high pitched frequency. It escaped Ford's towel and then slithered into the ground. They smack anyone who thinks or has an idea, then disappear back into the ground. Their name originates from slapstick comedy, which involves exaggerated physical violence.
Fallian albino marsh wormThe Fallian albino marsh worm spends its life absorbing hallucinogenic gas from the marshes of Fallia. After it dies, it turns into a stiff-ish, cigarette-like object. Hitchhikers call these joysticks.
- One puff and you feel blissfully happy. Love everybody, forgive your enemies, all that stuff.
- Two puffs make you curious about just about everything, including the horrible death that is probably coming your way for you to have lit this baby in the first place. This is going to be great, you tell yourself. I am about to experience an energy shift to a new plane of existence. What will it be like? Will I make new friends? Do they have beer?
- After the third puff, your brain explodes and you feel a little peckish. From the novel And Another Thing...
FluffWhile not, strictly speaking, flora by itself, four bits of fluff collected in the computer game The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy can be made to grow into a fruit-bearing tree. The fruit gives its eater a glimpse of future foresight (necessary for winning said game).
Joopleberry ShrubA mauvey pink russet plant from planet Broop Kidron Thirteen. It is the basis for the no longer used Shaltanac phrase, "the other Shaltanac's joopleberry shrub is always a more mauvey shade of pinky russet."
Ratchet Screwdriver FruitA bizarre crop with an unusual life-cycle. Once picked, the fruit must be kept in a dark, dusty drawer for several years, after which time the outer skin crumbles to dust leaving an unidentifiable metal object with screw-holes and various ridges and flanges. This object will inevitably get thrown away when discovered. There is general uncertainty as to the benefits of this behaviour to the ratchet screwdriver species as a whole.
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In my various adventures with ebook pirates, I've discovered that some pirates --who make declarations designed to bamboozle EBay staffers-- are under the impression that popular novels are available free, for all, under GNU licensing.
Only the author of a work ought to be able to "copyleft" (the opposite of copyright) her work, so if you see someone claiming that they have the right to "resell" a colleagues' work under a GNU license, you ought to report the instance.
Did the Staples (TM) saying "That Was Easy" come from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ?
'my, that was easy', says man, and goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
There's a rule of thumb that I was told (repeatedly) when I started entering RWA chapter contests and that is "no more than 6 adverbs per page". It might have been 6 adverbs/adjectives.
The adverbs and adjectives absolutely make this list. Are there any that you'd edit out?