Pity they couldn't have waited another two years
March 2, 2018 9:13 AM   Subscribe

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is coming back. I mean really, if anything merited a 42nd anniversary ...

40 years ago, while a student, I used to dash home from the pub once a week to record this on my Akai 4000DS reel-to-reel tape recorder.

(I thought about adding this to the Terry Pratchett post a couple below but thought that have been too much of a derail.)
posted by epo (69 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was expecting this to be a Netflix TV series helmed by Max Landis and I was about to throw my computer into a river, but a "further adventures" style radio series starring the original cast sounds pretty acceptable to me.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:20 AM on March 2 [13 favorites]


If Dirk Maggs is at the helm, and they've got the original voice actors returning, excellent. They did a fantastic job on the followups to the original radio series that tracked with books 3-5. Only downside is that "sixth" Eoin Coifer book was terrible. Hope they don't draw too much from that and are instead using mostly unpublished/unrecorded Adams material.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:31 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Mostly harmless?
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on March 2 [7 favorites]


I'd love to see a remake of the TV show. Maybe even going on and merging it with the books / radio shows for the later bits.

Zaphod deserves a proper modern sfx incarnation. (and for that to have his heads side by side!)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:35 AM on March 2 [6 favorites]


The end of that article is really touching.
posted by prune at 9:43 AM on March 2


a Netflix TV series helmed by Max Landis and I was about to throw my computer into a river

I was sort of apprehensive about it being another feature film, the last one being both slightly ahead of its time WRT casting (Martin Freeman taking his first shot at playing a hapless cinematic everyman, Mos Def didn't get enough credit as Ford, and we were cheated, CHEATED out of a second Sam Rockwell performance for Zaphod's other head.) but also deeply infuriating as an adapted work of comedy, with meticulously reproduced science-fiction setups cruelly separated from their punchlines.

I'll give this a listen, sure.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:44 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


A favourite of mine. The new Dirk Gently isn't all that bad. It's not DNA quality, but I enjoyed the first season. Whatever happened to the one starring Stephen Mangan though? It only lasted three episodes. To me, Dirk is a bit of a grubby slob with bits of pizza stuck to him, which fits Mangan well as an actor. The fellow they cast for the American series is too twee and proper. Feel free not to watch it, but if you do the fanfare page is over here.

As for the official sequel to 'Mostly Harmless', it's crap. Don't read it. Instead read The Salmon of Doubt, which contains the unfinished novel it was based upon, among other unfinished works. I prefer to say nothing when I don't enjoy a book, but in this case I think I serve you best to warn you to avoid it in favour of the source material.
posted by adept256 at 9:45 AM on March 2 [11 favorites]


You know sometimes when I miss my dad I daydream about going back in time and telling him my smartphone is the HHGTTG. We read the book together when I was a kid and he's not around anymore. I'd show him all the cool features (somehow wikipedia works) and he'd totally accept it, I just need the 'don't panic' sticker.
posted by adept256 at 9:50 AM on March 2 [13 favorites]


Sorry my mind was elsewhere... daydreaming again. The fanfare page for Dirk Gently is over here.
posted by adept256 at 9:53 AM on March 2


I hated Dirk Maggs' radio adaptations of the third, fourth and fifth books. Poor writing, excessively literal adaptation, characters narrating their every action even in cases where it would have been trivial to write around it (why does Arthur laboriously read Agrajag's neon sign out loud? Just have someone do an intimidating synthesised voiceover!), poor voice acting for the Guide, extremely unfunny original material.

The first two books and the first two radio series are massively inconsistent with one another, both in the sequence of events and how they eventually finish up. The last episode of the second series contains a tremendous revelation not present in the books, and ends with a huge cliffhanger not seen in the books. An adaptation which was true to the spirit of Hitchhiker's would embrace that discontinuity and head off at some wild tangent, maybe spiralling back later. Instead, do you know how Maggs resolved that cliffhanger? It was all a dream. The entire second radio series was a dream.
posted by qntm at 10:06 AM on March 2 [7 favorites]


I'd love to see a remake of the TV show.

That could be a good idea. I know Douglas didn't like how the BBC TV series turned out. He told me that he found out too late that people only ever worked with that director once.

To be fair though, there was so much stuff in the radio series that was put in for a one-off laugh but which made it hard to make the TV show. For example on the radio show the lines about Zaphod's extra head and arm cost nothing, but then on TV it meant getting expensive but somehow still terrible extra body parts made, which kept falling off during filming and eventually distracted the viewer throughout every Zaphod scene.
posted by w0mbat at 10:08 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


He told me ...

Details, please.
posted by adept256 at 10:11 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


I've never really understood why every screen adaptation of Hitchhiker's has insisted on keeping Zaphod's two heads. The only reason he has two heads is for a one-off gag which only works in radio. The two heads are not central to Zaphod's character or personality. Same deal with his three arms. Just drop it, replace it with something which works better on screen, or just drop it and move on entirely.
posted by qntm at 10:12 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Mos Def didn't get enough credit as Ford

I'm quoting this because it doesn't get said enough. He's an excellent actor and he was wonderful as Ford. I love the 2005 movie.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:15 AM on March 2 [22 favorites]




The Dirk Maggs series make me appreciate the genius of Christopher Tolkein and Brian Herbert.
posted by whuppy at 10:51 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


The entire second radio series was a dream.

Presumably because Adams himself was not a big fan of the giant statue and the shoe event horizon and Lintilla and all that, so Maggs was being faithful in his way. Here's the thing: they were both very, very, very, wrong. Those last few episodes are my favorite part of Hitchhikers and as far as I know are the only incarnation to include this joke:

FORD: Zaphod, I just want you to know, that whatever happens from here on...I respect you.

ZAPHOD: Thanks, man.

FORD: Just not very much, is all.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:57 AM on March 2 [19 favorites]


I think the Dirk Maggs-produced radio series are better than the original two. Adams was awesome, but series one was finding its way, and a lot of series two was a very rough first draft they had to go with because he was a procrastinator. Phases three through five weren't as rushed, had better-edited material to work with that retained (as it were) the DNA of the story, and had the original cast (sans Peter Jones as the voice of the Guide who unfortunately passed away) who had dialed in their characters. I think they're pretty much perfect, while the first two series are... spirited, but patchy.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:01 AM on March 2


The fellow they cast for the American series is too twee and proper.

My only guess is that they went for the hipster-preppy look because that's pretty much how Max Landis presents IRL.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:03 AM on March 2


He told me ...

Details, please.


I first met Douglas when I was a teenager because he'd made friends with my Dad, both being Islington-based comedy writers. Because Douglas and I had so many shared interests (synthesizers, photography, programming, comedy and later, the Mac) I eventually found that I ran into Douglas wherever I went and we became friends too. In various jobs I sold him MIDI cables, got commissioned to interview and photograph him for different magazines, and in a bizarre coincidence I ended up programming the Mac CD-ROM version of "Last Chance to See" which Voyager published.

Douglas somehow knew everyone and gave the most amazing parties, first in his Islington Green flat (the flat where the sofa gets stuck on the staircase in Dirk Gently) and later when he moved around the corner to a house on Duncan Terrace. He was a lovely man, and just as funny in person.
posted by w0mbat at 11:16 AM on March 2 [65 favorites]


That's a lovely article, thanks w0mbat.
posted by paduasoy at 11:25 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


I daydream about going back in time

Just make sure you don't have an accident with your time machine and a contraceptive.

Doing a lot of performing arts stuff, I've also ended up at a lot of post-show/post-rehearsal bar gatherings. Every time we figure out the chipping-in, I think of Slartibartfast's Bistromaths and wonder how many spaceships we could be powering.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:27 AM on March 2


Adams himself was not a big fan of the giant statue and the shoe event horizon and Lintilla and all that

Fair enough, but I have to note that that segment includes one of my favorite exchanges of the series:

ARTHUR: This probably seems a terrible thing to say, but you know what I sometimes think would be useful in these situations?

LINTILLA: What?

ARTHUR: A gun of some sort.

LINTILLA: Will this help?

ARTHUR: What is it?

LINTILLA: It’s a gun of some sort.

ARTHUR: Oh, that’ll help! Can you make it fire?

LINTILLA: Umm…

[LINTILLA’s gun fires]

LINTILLA: Yes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:29 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't say the American Dirk Gently is much like the books, but it was a very good show and I was sorry it only got 2 seasons (though they brought it to a reasonably satisfying stopping point.)
posted by tavella at 11:35 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


in a bizarre coincidence I ended up programming the Mac CD-ROM version of "Last Chance to See" which Voyager published.

A very underated work. Much thanks for the coding, w0mbat.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:48 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Awesome. I generally don't do fiction. Just my own thing. Some fiction grabs me. In this case, yes. This is one of the few in my life that matter. I hope they don't fuck it up.
posted by symbioid at 12:00 PM on March 2


Even though I think Freeman is irritating and Bey doesn't act anymore afaik, they were perfect as Arthur and Ford and I'd be into a sequel starring them. The problem was that they kept trying to stick a standard sci-fi plot on a road trip movie.

I listened to my Hitchhiker's cassettes so much as a child that I'm unable to think critically about any of those recordings.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:04 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Strange Interlude: "we were cheated, CHEATED out of a second Sam Rockwell performance for Zaphod's other head"

Didn't the second head mostly sleep and eat, though?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:23 PM on March 2


I didn't think "And Another Thing..." was all that bad, to be honest. Some good ideas, but the execution left something to be desired.

I'll check out the new radio series. Why not? Hopefully it'll be a BBC Podcast.

(And put me in the "actually liked the movie" camp. No, it wasn't perfect, but it was pretty dang good, and you gotta admit, they nailed the look of the Vogons.)
posted by SansPoint at 12:26 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


I just hope they manage to find a Peter Jonesy-voice for the Book.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:32 PM on March 2


The only reason he has two heads is for a one-off gag which only works in radio.

The books have a lot of little gags related to the heads (and I guess one big plot point thing but it could be done other ways).

I mean, I agree it's not central to the character, but there were a lot of little jokes related to the heads (much more so than the third arm, for example, which as far as I can remember is basically completely superfluous).
posted by thefoxgod at 12:35 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


This sounds great (or at least potentially good, and the worst case is it just gets sorted to the bottom of the HHGTTG pile -- nice thing about this work is it has so many incarnations you can pick your favorites and ignore the rest if you wish).

More importantly --- as someone who has read the books dozens and dozens of times, listened to the first two radio series repeatedly, watched BBC TV show many times and even the movie a few times, not to mention struggled through the game when I was a child --- I did not know there was a whole new radio series 15 years ago??? Off to find that...
posted by thefoxgod at 12:45 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Strange Interlude: Martin Freeman taking his first shot at playing a hapless cinematic everyman

The movie is a meandering, low-flame trash fire, but Martin Freeman's face and body language when Slartibartfast brings him to the place where worlds are made makes me choke up every time in empathy. Arthur, our every-Earthman, watching the creation of planets, is having so many thoughts and emotions at once, all overpowered by true awe (in its classical meaning). Freeman, working with nothing but green-screen and his acting skills... I've thought for years that that scene should be first on his show reel (not that he needs one anymore).

Ian McKellen said of Martin that he (Ian) had never seen an actor who could communicate multiple, conflicting feelings without any dialog until he'd worked with Martin. When I saw that interview, I immediately went to that scene from the HHG movie.
posted by tzikeh at 12:56 PM on March 2 [13 favorites]


(much more so than the third arm, for example, which as far as I can remember is basically completely superfluous)

TRILLIAN: Zaphod, take your hand off me. And that one. (Pause) Yes, and that one too.

ZAPHOD: I grew that one just for you, Trillian.

(okay, mostly basically completely superfluous beyond that gag, fair enough.)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:11 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Well, it *did* improve his ski-boxing.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:16 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


Count me as one of the eternally disappointed for not getting to see Arthur Dent "embark on a terrible and protracted vendetta against Zaphod Beeblebrox[.]"
posted by whuppy at 1:30 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Now that the technology exists to do the second head and third arm properly, I think they'd add a real dose of swagger to Zaphod's screen presence.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:31 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


Remaking the TV series would be an ideal project for the BBC right now.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:55 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


While we're at it, how about a remake of Starship Titanic? I recall this thread from a few years back about what it takes to get it running on a modern pc and it seems like quite a challenge.

It was released close to the end of Adam's life, and perhaps foreshadowed what could have been a new direction in his career as a game designer. Just a taste, alas.

That post has a youtube play-through and lots of juicy links courtesy of Rhaomi. It's a deep well of a post and worth a revisit. Thanks Rhaomi, if you're reading.

It's actually 20 years old this year, so if some enterprising boffins get stuck in they could have a 20th anniversary edition out for christmas. Or, y'know take your time, it was an ambitious game as far as I recall and a lot of the technological kinks are solved problems now and could do with a full overhaul, maybe like how Myst got re-released with all the graphics rendered in real-time.
posted by adept256 at 2:03 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


"Fittingly, there is now a translation site called babelfish.com."

Oh how soon they forget.
posted by JHarris at 3:01 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


To do Hitchhiker's correctly, you need asides. It's not enough just to follow the characters and have them do interesting things, you have to have all this borderline relevant, hilarious side material. The Great Green Arkleseizure. Voot Vootajig. The fate of the great megamountain Magramal. The creation of the Infinite Improbability Drive. "I left my leg in Jaglan Beta." The Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster. Zaphod's personal brain care specialist Gag Halfrunt. And so on, and so on. The Frogstar. The creation of the Total Perspective Vortex.

I think the best ending to the series would be for it to return to what Peter Jones said in that initial bit. "To best tell the story of the book, it's best to tell of some of the minds behind it. An earthman, Arthur Dent, was one of them, but as our story begins he no more comprehends his future than a tealeaf understand the history of the East India Company."

Arthur has to become a researcher for the guide, like Ford, or maybe someone higher up in its making. Which means he basically has to get over some of his massive, inexhaustible culture shock, or maybe even utilize it a bit. I'd like to hear that kind of ending.
posted by JHarris at 3:19 PM on March 2 [11 favorites]


Primary Phase
Second Phase
Tertiary Phase
Quandary Phase
Quintessential Phase
...Sexual Phase?
posted by BiggerJ at 3:39 PM on March 2


I tried to listen to a Dirk Maggs adaptation once - Good Omens - and found it difficult to tell what was going on, despite the fact that I'd read the book many, many times. Also, a lot of work seemed to have been put into faithfully recreating jokes rather than producing something that was funny. I was deeply annoyed. I'm sure I'd bring my prejudice to anything he produces, so won't bother.

We're now at least ten years past the perfect recast for Arthur and Ford, which would (surely) have been David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I wonder whether Mitchell might not have caught the spirit of Arthur Dent best of all, even despite the fact that Arthur quite literally is Simon Jones.

The original series was an earth-shattering event for me. I actually only caught it on the first broadcast from the second episode (although it was repeated very soon after, if I remember correctly), and taped it from the third on, replaying and memorising each episode as they came up. No one else seemed to be interested at the time. I was in a cult of one. Adams' sense of humour rewired my speech patterns, and after I discovered Vivian Stanshall later in the year, I became very, very annoying indeed.

I really liked the second series too, probably more than anyone actually involved did. The final scenes with Stephen Moore as The Ruler of the Universe were really quite extraordinary. And it has Ken Campbell in it, so that's good.

I bought the first book on the day it came out, and I remember the jolt of seeing it there in real life - again, no one except me seemed to realise it existed, but apparently it sold very well, so there must have been a lot of us solitary cultists in bookshops all over the country, failing to notice each other.
posted by Grangousier at 4:28 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Oh, and I quite enjoyed the film, mostly in the areas where it departed from the original. That seems to be the way to do it. The recently-cancelled Dirk Gently was much more enjoyable than the more faithful BBC adaptation.
posted by Grangousier at 4:30 PM on March 2


That seems to be the way to do it.

One of the best things about HHGTTG is that from the beginning they've done it this way, so each adaptation adds or removes things as necessary. In terms of the major formats, they all start out with more or less the same intro (getting Arthur off Earth) and then start to diverge, the movie most of all.

Since it was done this way even by Adams, I think it leaves the universe open to additional adaptations / extensions nicely, as nothing is really canon outside itself, and its easy to ignore adaptations you don't like (although there are currently none I'd go so far as to exclude entirely for myself).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:28 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Jim Broadbent is great but I’m disappointed they’re not bringing back Stephen Moore as Marvin. Sure, he’s eighty years old and retired, but come on.

I read the paperbacks first, and many times thereafter, but I listened to the Moore-read audiobooks so many times that I internalized his pacing and inflection. I liked them so much I even forgave them for being abridged.
posted by Songdog at 5:42 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


which would (surely) have been David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

I've found it's entirely possible to think of Peep Show as an alternate universe Hitchhikers in which the Vogons never show up, Ford is stranded, lives with Arthur but never feels the need to mention his origins.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:24 PM on March 2 [11 favorites]


God that's so depressing.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:23 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Sure, he’s eighty years old and retired

and has this terrible pain in all the diodes down his left side
posted by flabdablet at 3:05 AM on March 3 [10 favorites]


I saw the title of this post and worried that it meant they were going to make another television series, because television suuuuuuuuucks, but I saw "radio" and felt better. Plus, the posthumous 3rd, 4th, and 5th series were pretty faithful to the look (radio has the best pictures of any medium) and the feel of the original two without the kind of sickeningly twee fanservice that renders almost every sci-fi revisit ever into a mawkish, dreary combination of cash-in, fanwank, and sorrowful reminder that you can't go home again.

I'm iffy on the new material angle, because you can't write new Wodehouse and you can't write new Adams, but this seems to have a decent collection of sincere talent at work, so I'll give them a chance.

I'm touchy about all these things because, nearly forty years ago, something I heard on the radio changed everything.
posted by sonascope at 5:17 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Is this something I'd have to own a radio to understand? Because...
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:36 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I tried to listen to a Dirk Maggs adaptation once - Good Omens - and found it difficult to tell what was going on, despite the fact that I'd read the book many, many times.

His best project, in my opinion, is Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, a recreation of a lost Marx Brothers radio series. It let him be creative, while already having a very clear set of radio scripts to work off of.

(No, Harpo isn't in it, smartass.)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:26 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


also Super Hans is clearly Zaphod Beeblebrox.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:18 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


No love for Dirk Magg's Independence Day UK?
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:56 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Radio Series One and Two are canon. The first two books are loose adaptations allowing broad asides and hinting at an expanded universe. Everything from Life, the Universe, and Everything (1982) forward is fan-fiction. I mean, throwing yourself at the ground and missing? That's when I checked out.
posted by whuppy at 7:30 AM on March 5


There's mention that Dirk Maggs did an alternate ending of the Quintessential Phase involving Arthur and Lintilla. It's said to be on the CD release, but I've found neither hide nor hair. Has anyone heard it? Could somebody summarize it? Thanks!
posted by whuppy at 9:44 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I mean, throwing yourself at the ground and missing? That's when I checked out.

That doesn't strike me as any more absurd than the Infinite Improbability Drive or the whole Total Perspective Vortex thing.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:06 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


It's more the flavor of the absurdity, I suppose.

Concepts like the Infinite Improbability Drive, the Total Perspective Vortex, the fleet of battlecruisers swallowed by a small dog, the Question to the Ultimate Answer, the Babelfish, etc. take the piss out of sci-fi tropes. Throwing yourself at the ground and missing, OTOH, strikes me more as the sort of whimsy that belongs in a children's book.

De gustibus non est disputandum and all that.
posted by whuppy at 11:40 AM on March 5


No love for Dirk Magg's Independence Day UK

I'd recommend giving this a listen if you've got a spare hour. It's very "Radio Play" at times, but in contrast to Will Smith punching an alien in the face whilst smoking a cigar this version has Nicky Campbell and Patrick Moore punching an alien next Rutland Water.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:58 AM on March 5


Throwing yourself at the ground and missing, OTOH, strikes me more as the sort of whimsy that belongs in a children's book.

Perhaps, but have you ever tried it?
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:04 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


No, but I busted my nose at King's Cross. Platform 9 3/4 my ass.
posted by whuppy at 10:52 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy returns—with the original cast -- Forty years to the day of its first broadcast, there’s a new BBC radio series. (Jonathan M. Gitlin for Ars Technica)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy deserves a special place in the geek pantheon. It's the story of hapless BBC radio editor Arthur Dent, his best friend Ford Prefect, and the adventures that result when Prefect saves Dent when the Earth is unexpectedly destroyed to make way for a galactic bypass. Written by the late, great Douglas Adams, HHGTTG first appeared as a radio series in the UK back in 1978. On Thursday—exactly 40 years to the day from that first broadcast—it made its return home with the start of Hexagonal Phase, a radio dramatization of the sixth and final book of an increasingly misnamed trilogy.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:41 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Dang it, there's no podcast feed? Boo!
posted by SansPoint at 9:05 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Found the Lintilla alternate ending: Arthur's taking a shower in the master bathroom of the Heart of Gold, Lintilla offers to scrub his back, with the assistance of a few of her sisters, a la a bawdy 70s comedy.
posted by whuppy at 2:25 PM on March 9


Adams is at once utterly imitable, and at a deeper level inimitable. Many writers went astray in the attempt.

Also, I don't much remember the fifth book of the series, but it seemed at the time to be a terminal fuck you to the project.
posted by wotsac at 6:50 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Perhaps, but have you ever tried it?

6 humans are doing it right now to great success.

Technically I guesswe are all throwing ourselves at the sun and missing constantly as well.
posted by Artw at 7:33 PM on March 9


It's rare that I comment favorably on MetaFilter Administrative Activity, but the incredible Eyebrows McGee has just left the best ever deletion explanation in today's Double Post:
There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and deletion orders have been on display at your local planning department in this thread for 7 of your Earth days, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now.

And throwing yourself at the ground is one of the few actions that is HARDER to do unsuccessfully.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:17 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


"I don't know, apathetic bloody website, I've no sympathy at all."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:03 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


"There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, and try it.

The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard. Clearly, it is the second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.

One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't."


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is, among other dimensional realities, sometimes a guide to inner space. Far from being silly, this chapter is one of the better descriptions of a spiritual experience (or, if the word spiritual bugs you, sudden, unexpected freedom in the midst of suffering) I have come across.

I'm also a fan of the constant play of encounters with infinity (or seeming infinity) and paradox, such as the moment of entry into the planetary construction floor on the lost world of Magrathea. "I should warn you that the chamber we are about to pass into does not literally exist within our planet. It is a little too ... large."
posted by namasaya at 10:15 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


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