Life, the Universe and Everything

is an excellent book by Douglas Adams (isbn 978-0-330-49120-4). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages.

He would insult the universe. That is, he would insult everybody in it. Inidividually, personally, one by one, and (this was the thing that he really decided to grit his teeth over) in alphabetical order.
'Eddies,' said Ford, 'in the space-time continuum.'
'Ah, nodded Arthur, 'is he? Is he?'
It was a charming and delightful day at Lord's as Ford and Arthur tumbled haphazardly out of a space-time anomaly and the immaculate turf rather hard.
'A what?' he said.
'An SEP.'
'An S...?'
'...EP.'
'And what's that?'
'Somebody Else's Problem,' said Ford.
The second non-absolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one those most bizarre of concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive.
'Tell me it was a coincidence, Dent' it said. 'I dare you to tell me it was a coincidence!' 'It was a coincidence,' said Arthur quickly.
It was the Cathedral of Hate.
It was the product of a min that was not merely twisted, but actually sprained.
It was huge. It was horrific.
It had a Statue in it.
We will come to the State in a moment.
'I got yanked involuntarily back into the physical word,' pursued Agrajag, 'as a bunch of petunias. In, I might add, a bowl.'
Strictly speaking, all editors since Lig Lury Jr have therefore been designated Acting Editors, and Lig's desk is still preserved the way he left it, with the addition of a small sign which says 'Lig Lury Jr, Editor, Missing, presumed Fed'.
The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation and still no one shows any signs of leaving.


The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

is an excellent book by Douglas Adams (isbn 978-0-330-49121-1). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This had made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
The motto stands - or rather stood - in three-mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadraz. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the offices of many talented young complaints executives - now deceased.
Quite how Zaphod Bebblebrox arrived at the idea of holding a seance at this point is something he was never quite clear on.
'Listen, three eyes,' he said', 'don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.'
Marvin was forced to say something which came very hard to him. 'I don't know,' he said.
'I go up,' said the elevator, 'or down.'
'Good,' said Zaphod. 'We're going up.'
'Or down,' the elevator reminded him.
And the worse they were to wear, the more people had to buy to keep themselves shod, and the more the shops poliferated, until the whole economy of the place passed what I believe is termed the Shoe Event Horizon, and it became no longer economically possible to build anything other than shoe shops.
'Transtellar Cruise Lines would like to apologize to passengers for the continuing delay to this flight. We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey. Meanwhile we thank you for your patience.'
In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on-eat) sumptuous meals whilst watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.
'You've never heard of Disaster Area?'
'It says "Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet, Ship B, Hold Seven, Telephone Sanitizer Second Class" - and a serial number.'
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
Their track suits were now all dirty and even torn, but they all had immaculately styled hair.


The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

is an excellent book by Douglas Adams (isbn 978-0-330-49119-8). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages.

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards.
People of Earth, your attention please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council...
The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language.
The prisoners sat in the Poetry Appreciation chars - strapped in.
'Space', it says, 'is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly 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. Listen...' and so on.
The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood.
Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? Cos I don't.
For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch sensitive - you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme.
'Oh God,' said Zaphod. He hadn't worked with this computer for long but had already learned to loathe it.
'Computer!' shouted Zaphod. 'Rotate angle of vision through one-eighty degrees and don't talk about it!'
Many men of course became extremely rich, but this was perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one was really poor - at least no one worth speaking of.
'Hi there! This is Eddie your shipboard computer, and I'm feeling just great, guys, and I know I'm just going to get a bundle of kicks out of any program you care to run through me.'
'You just let the machines get on with the adding up,' warned Majikthise, 'and we'll take care of the eternal verities, thank you very much. You want to check your legal position you do, mate. Under the law the Quest for the Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers.'
'I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is.'
R is a velocity measure, defined as a reasonable speed of travel that is consistent with health, mental wellbeing and not being more than say five minutes late.