Way ahead of its time, The Hitchhiker's guide to Galaxy is about Arthur Dent, the only survivor after Earth's destruction. Story delves into his misadventures as he gets hitched into a spaceship ...(more)
Howl howl gargle howl gargle howl howl howl gargle howl gargle howl howl gargle gargle howl gargle gargle gargle howl slurrp uuuurgh should have a good time. Message repeats. This is your captain speaking, so stop whatever you're doing and pay attention. First of all I see from our instruments that we have a couple of hitchhikers aboard.
Hello, wherever you are. I just want to make it totally clear that you are not at all welcome. I worked hard to get where I am today, and I didn't become captain of a Vogon constructor ship simply so I could turn it into a taxi service for a load of degenerate freeloaders. I have sent out a search party, and as soon as they find you I will put you off the ship. If you're very lucky I might read you some of my poetry first.
"Secondly, we are about to jump into hyperspace for the journey to Barnard's Star. On arrival we will stay in dock for a seventy-two-hour refit, and no one's to leave the ship during that time. I repeat, all planet leave is canceled. I've just had an unhappy love affair, so I don't see why anybody else should have a good time. Message ends." The noise stopped.
Arthur discovered to his embarrassment that he was lying curled up in a small ball on the floor with his arms wrapped round his head. He smiled weakly.
"Charming man," he said.
"I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry one ..." "You wouldn't need to," said Ford.
"They've got as much sex appeal as a road accident. No, don't move," he added as Arthur began to uncurl himself, "you'd better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
"What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
"You ask a glass of water."
Arthur thought about this. "Ford," he said.
"Yeah?" "What's this fish doing in my ear?"
"It's translating for you. It's a Babel fish. Look it up in the book if you like." He tossed over The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and then curled himself up into a fetal ball to prepare himself for the jump. At that moment the bottom fell out of Arthur's mind. His eyes turned inside out. His feet began to leak out of the top of his head. The room folded flat around him, spun around, shifted out of existence and left him sliding into his own navel. They were passing through hyperspace.
"The Babel fish," said The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly, "is small, yellow and leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain which has supplied them. 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 speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish. "Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a fina and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God.
"The argument goes something like this: 'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.' "'But,' says Man, 'the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
"'Oh dear,' says God, 'I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"'Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next pedestrian crossing. "Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book, 'Well That about Wraps It Up for God'. "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 let out a low groan. He was horrified to discover that the kick through hyperspace hadn't killed him. He was now six light years from the place that the Earth would have been if it still existed, The Earth.