After a while he played with the pencil and the paper again and was delighted when he discovered how to make a mark with the one on the other. Various noises continued outside, but he didn't know whether they were real or not. He then talked to his table for a week to see how it would react.
You turn the computer into the storyteller and the player into the audience, like in the old days when the storyteller would actually respond to the audience, rather than just having the audience respond to the storyteller. I had an enormous amount of fun, actually, working on that.
What god would be hanging around Terminal Two of Heathrow Airport trying to catch the 15:37 flight to Oslo?
Every country is like a particular type of person. America is like a belligerent, adolescent boy, Canada is like an intelligent, 35 year old woman. Australia is like Jack Nicholson.
The reason why so many sects hang around airports looking for converts: they know that people there are at their most vulnerable and perplexed, and ready to accept any kind of guidance.
Stotting is jumping upward with all four legs simultaneously. My advice: do not die until you've seen a large black poodle stotting in the snow.
If there's any real truth, it's that the entire multidimensional infinity of the Universe is almost certainly being run by a bunch of maniacs.
Arthur felt happy. He was terribly pleased that the day was for once working out so much according to plan. Only twenty minutes ago he had decided he would go mad, and now here he was already chasing a Chesterfield sofa across the fields of prehistoric Earth.
The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.
The great thing about being the only species that makes a distiction between right and wrong is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along.
The moment at which two people, approaching from opposite ends of a long passageway, recognize each other and immediately pretend they haven t. This is to avoid the ghastly embarrassment of having to continue recognizing each other the whole length of the corridor.
Can't stand all these poisonous creatures, all these snakes and insects and fish and things. Wretched things, biting everybody. And then people expect me to tell them what to do about it. I'll tell them what to do. Don't get bitten in the first place. (quoting Dr. Struan Sutherland).
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.
I love to keep poking and prodding at it. I've thought about it so much over the years that that fascination is bound to spill over into my writing.
Fifteen years was a long time to be stranded anywhere, particularly somewhere as mind-boggingly dull as Earth.
The world is a thing of utter inordinate complexity and richness and strangeness that is absolutely awesome.
Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
The Saab seethed off into the night. Arthur watched it go, as stunned as a man might be who, having believed himself to be totally blind for five years, suddenly discovers that he had merely been wearing too large a hat.
The difference between us and a computer is that, the computer is blindingly stupid, but it is capable of being stupid many, many million times a second.
The teacher usually learns more than the pupils. Isn't that true? It would be hard to learn much less than my pupils, came a low growl from somewhere on the table, without undergoing a pre-frontal lobotomy.
Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippie, good-timer (crook? quite possibly), manic self-publicist, terrible bad at personal relationships, often thought to be completely out to lunch.
Books are sharks... because sharks have been around for a very long time. There were sharks before there were dinosaurs, and the reason sharks are still in the ocean is that nothing is better at being a shark than a shark.
The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the 'Star Spangled Banner', but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish.
Ok, he said, I don't like to disturb you at what I know must be a difficult and distressing time for you, but I need to know first of all if you actually realize that this is a difficult and distressing time for you.
And the renewed shock had nearly made him spill his drink. He drained it quickly before anything serious happened to it. He then had another quick one to follow the first one down and check that it was all right.
He dreamed at one point in his slumbers of New York. In his dream he was walking late at night along the East Side, beside the river which had become so extravagantly polluted that new lifeforms were now emerging from it spontaneously, demanding welfare and voting rights.
Same as you, Arthur. I hitched a ride. After all, with a degree in maths and another in astrophysics it was either that or back to the dole queue on Monday. Sorry I missed the Wednesday lunch date, but I was in a black hole all morning.
Zaphod marched quickly down the passageway, nervous as hell, but trying to hide it by striding purposefully.
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.
A fragrant breeze wandered up from the quiet sea, trailed along the beach, and drifted back to the sea again, wondering where to go next. On a mad impulse it went up to the beach again. It drifted back to sea.
In the center lay the exploded carcass of a lonely sperm whale that hadn't lived long enough to be disappointed with its lot.
Having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject the second time around.
Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
On the delivery plate of the Nutri-Matic Drink Synthesizer was a small tray, on which say three bone china cups and saucers, a bone china jug of milk, a silver teapot full of the best tea Arthur had ever tasted and a small printed note saying Wait.
Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was.
Is there any tea on this spaceship? he asked.
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.
Why can't people just learn to live together in peace and harmony? said Arthur.
Ford gave a loud, very hollow laugh.
Forty-two! he said with a malicious grin. No, doesn't work. Never mind.
He stood up straight and looked the world squarely in the fields and hills. To add weight to his words he stuck the rabbit bone in his hair. He spread his arm out wide. I will go mad! he annouced.
But while nature has considerable resilience, there is a limit to how far that resilience can be stretched. No one knows how close to the limit we are getting. The darker it gets, the faster we're driving.
Structural linguistics is a bitterly divided and unhappy profession, and a large number of its practitioners spend many nights drowning their sorrows in Ouisghian Zodahs.
First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII -- and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure.
We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.
We are stuck with technology when all we really want is just stuff that works. How do you recognize something that is still technology? A good clue is if it comes with a manual.
We find our images of what we call evil in things outside ourselves, in creatures that know nothing of such matters, so that we can feel revolted by them, and, by contrast, good about ourselves.
Rather than arriving five hours late and flustered, it would be better all around if he were to arrive five hours and a few extra minutes late, but triumphantly in command.
There are some people you like immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick.
The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
The truth of the matter is, that most English people don't know how to make tea anymore either, and most people drink cheap instant coffee instead, which is a pity, and gives Americans the impression that the English are just generally clueless about hot stimulants.
The seat received him in a loose and distant kind of way, like an aunt who disapproves of the last fifteen years of your life and will therefore furnish you with a basic sherry, but refuses to catch your eye.
The Guide says there is an art to flying, said Ford, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.
All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.
The last thing he wanted after a hellish night like this one was some blasted day coming along and barging about the place.
Now the world has gone to bed, Darkness won't engulf my head, I can see by infrared, How I hate the night. Now I lay me down to sleep, Try to count electric sheep, Sweet dream wishes you can keep, How I hate the night. -Marvin.
Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence.
Mark Carwardine's role, essentially, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about. My role, and one for which I was entirely qualified, was to be an extremely ignorant non-zoologist to whom everything that happened would come as a complete surprise.
Fiordland, a vast tract of mountainous terrain that occupies the south-west corner of South Island, New Zealand, is one of the most astounding pieces of land anywhere on God's earth, and one's first impulse, standing on a cliff top surveying it all, is simply to burst into spontaneous applause.
Unfortunately this Electric Monk had developed a fault, and had started to believe all kinds of things, more or less at random. It was even beginning to believe things they'd have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City.
2,000 years ago one man got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be if everyone was nice to each other for a change.
This planet has -- or rather had -- a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time.
Humans think they are smarter than dolphins because we build cars and buildings and start wars etc., and all that dolphins do is swim in the water, eat fish and play around. Dolphins believe that they are smarter for exactly the same reasons.
Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human. Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn't developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don't expect to see.
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.
There's always a moment when you start to fall out of love, whether it's with a person or an idea or a cause, even if it's one you only narrate to yourself years after the event: a tiny thing, a wrong word, a false note, which means that things can never be quite the same again.
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.
Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.
Ah, well, I'm not sure I believe that.
We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway.
Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
People wanted me to do a CD-ROM of 'Hitchhiker's,' and I thought, 'No, no.' I didn't want to just sort of reverse-engineer yet another thing from a book I'd already written. I think that the digital media are interesting enough in their own right to be worth originating something in.
Wandering around the web is like living in a world in which every doorway is actually one of those science fiction devices which deposit you in a completely different part of the world when you walk through them. In fact, it isn't like it, it is it.
If somebody thinks they're a hedgehog, presumably you just give 'em a mirror and a few pictures of hedgehogs and tell them to sort it out for themselves.
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
I was the only kid who anybody I knew has ever seen actually walk into a lamppost with his eyes wide open. Everybody assumed that there must be something going on inside, because there sure as hell wasn't anything going on the outside!
Years and years ago, I did a game based on 'Hitchhiker's Guide' with a company called Infocom, which was a great company. They were doing witty, intelligent, literate games based on text.
I think that the digital media are interesting enough in their own right to be worth originating something in.
I wanted to be a writer-performer like the Pythons. In fact, I wanted to be John Cleese, and it took me some time to realise that the job was, in fact, taken.
I don't think anybody would argue now that the Internet isn't becoming a major factor in our lives. However, it's very new to us. Newsreaders still feel it is worth a special and rather worrying mention if, for instance, a crime was planned by people 'over the Internet.'
When you write your first book aged 25 or so, you have 25 years of experience, albeit much of it juvenile experience. The second book comes after an extra year sitting in bookshops. Pretty soon, you begin to run on empty.
I used to be a great fan of doing crosswords. When you're fiddling around with anagrams, you get wonderful jumbles of syllables that become interesting.
Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do.
I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.
The usual method of finding a little dongly thing that actually matches a gizmo I want to use is to go and buy another one, at a price that can physically drive the air from your body.
As a child, I was an active Christian. I used to love the school choir and remember the carol service as always such an emotional thing.
I find the difference, for me, between having no money and having quite a bit is that the bills get bigger. And that's it. The lifestyle doesn't change.
It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought of that' is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too.
I've been trying to... Having been an English literary graduate, I've been trying to avoid the idea of doing art ever since. I think the idea of art kills creativity.
I briefly did therapy, but after a while, I realised it is just like a farmer complaining about the weather. You can't fix the weather -- you just have to get on with it.
Hundreds of people who've never written before send in 'Dr. Who' scripts. They may have good ideas, but what they fail to realise is that writing for TV is incredibly complicated. They have no idea how difficult it is and what the financial commitment is.
He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
What the computer in virtual reality enables us to do is to recalibrate ourselves so that we can start seeing those pieces of information that are invisible to us but have become important for us to understand.
There is a piece of me that likes to fondly imagine my maverick and rebellious nature. But, more accurately, I like to have a nice and cosy institution that I can rub up against a little bit.
Of course you can't 'trust' what people tell you on the web anymore than you can 'trust' what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.
The difficulty with this conversation is that it's very different from most of the ones I've had of late. Which, as I explained, have mostly been with trees.
There's nothing worse than sitting down to write a novel and saying, 'Well, okay, I'm going to do something of high artistic worth.'
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store, but that's just peanuts to space.
I taught myself to play the guitar by listening to Paul Simon records, working it out note by note. He is an incredibly intelligent musician. He's not someone who has a natural outpouring of melody like McCartney or Dylan, who are just terribly prolific with musical ideas.