Dont Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy | Chapter 5 of 5

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same genre as Pilgrim's Progress.

  "That's not to compare the two, just to point out that there is

a genre with a long history, which is that of the innocent abroad

in a fantastical world.

  "A graduate student sent me a long paper on one book that

we know for sure that John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim's Progress)

actually read. It's called The Plain Man's Path to Heaven, written

by an English Puritan writer called Arthur Dent. He assumed

that I was ware of this and was having some extraordinary

academic joke.

  "Once you've decided to find parallels you can find them all

the time: you can add up numbers, you can compare images...

you can pick up any two books and if you wished to prove they

were parallel, you could do it. You could pick up the Bible and

the telephone directory, and you could prove that each has a

direct relationship to the other."

  - Douglas Adams.






  Dear Mr Adams,

  You're weird. Or at least your writing is weird. That's okay

by me. I'm a little weird myself. If you are really one of those

terribly dull people who just write weird please keep it a secret, I

hate being disillusioned. . .




Dirk Gently and Time for Tea








parody SF, but to use the trappings of SF to look at other things. I

think I'd like to do a detective novel. Not as a parody, but to use

those conventions to do something else. Then again, people could

say, `Why don't you do something else directly?' and I don't know

the answer to that, except that I'd feel very nervous about it. I

always have to dogleg around something to get somewhere.

  "I'd like to do a mystery story or a detective story - not

influenced by any one author - as soon as you do that you

become a parodist, and I'm not a parodist - parody is one of the

easier forms of writing, and it's one that is too easy to slip into

when you aren't trying hard enough. I'm not saying I've not

slipped into it, but when I did, it was usually one of my less

successful moments."

  - Douglas Adams, January 1984.


  "I feel written out in Hitchhiker's and I don't feel I have

anything more to say in that particular medium. There are other

things I want to do. I've been thinking of writing in the

horror/mystery/occult area. Really the whole thing is to find a

whole new set of characters and a new environment - it isn't just

that it's new, but that it's an environment and a set of characters

that I, now at age 33, thought up, rather than what I came up with

when I was 25. There's an awful lot of things I want to do, and

the major thing, the core, is going to have to be writing books."

  - Douglas Adams, October 1985.


  "It's called Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency."

  - Douglas Adams, December 1985.



One morning in November 1985, Douglas Adams and his agent,

Ed Victor, sat in a hotel room in which a number of phone lines

had been set up, and waited for the phones to ring. By the end of

the working day one lucky publisher had come away with the

rights to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, and its sequel,

and Douglas was over two million dollars richer than he had been

that morning. The first book was to be delivered in a year's time

and would be published in April 1987.

  And after that?

  "Well, the moment you always feel like writing a book is

when you've just finished one, so now I've actually got a two-book

deal, what I'd like to do is write this book, then immediately write

the second book, and see if I can get them both done in a year. At

the moment, the second book will be a Dirk Gently book as well

- assuming the first one works."

  From the original outline of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective

Agency, it was obviously a detective novel, an occult-ghost story,

a dissertation on quantum physics, and a great deal of fun. As has

already been commented on, certain characters and situations

from Shada and City of Death recur.

  "One of my objectives with this book is, although it is going

to be a comedy, it is not, as Hitchhiker's was, going to be

primarily a comedy, because with Hitchhiker's everything would

have to bow and bend to the jokes, and often you would have to

abandon bits of plot or turn them on their heads, or do real

violence to a plot in order to get the joke to be funny.

  "What I want to do with this, and am in the process of

getting, is a tightly organised plot with a lot of ideas packed in it,

and then write by that plot and allow it to be funny when it

wants to be, but not force it to be funny, which was the problem

with Hitchhiker's. Once that's straight, then all sorts of things

become naturally funny, but there's never any sense of... well,

it's like when you used to have to write essays at school you

would always want to put in jokes, but the moment you've got to

write a sketch you can't think of anything funny to save your life.

So I'm setting this up in a different way this time.

  "It will be apparent when you read it that being funny is an

imponant pan of it, but it's just not the prime mover any more."

  In the UK, the bidding saw the book go to Heinemann, with

Pan as the paperback house, something that Douglas saw as

solving a problem he had faced hitheno.

  "The problem was that I've always gone into paperback first,

and even with So Long, and Thanks... which went into

hardback first, it was still from a paperback house.

  "But there's a different way that paperback houses are geared

to doing things than hardbacks, because at a paperback house the

schedule is so much tighter, because they are going to sell so

many more copies of the book. And because everything a

paperback house does is almost always after the hardback

publication of the book, there's no need to build flexibility into

the system.

  "Hardback publishers on the other hand are completely

geared to the fact that writers are always late and always difficult.

In the past, every time I hit a problem (which was pretty

frequently) there was no time to stop and get it right. It began to

seem absurd to me that here I was, an author of incredibly

popular books, so what I wrote was imponant not only to me but

to a very large public, and I didn't have a chance to get it right,

and this seemed absolutely crazy. The more successful you

become the less chance there is of getting the stuff you are writing

to work properly.

  "Now I want to make it clear that I'm not being rude about

Pan, who did a wonderful job in promoting and marketing and

selling an enormous number of copies, but it is just not in the

nature of a paperback house to deal with the problems of actual

authorship. That's not what they are geared up to do. So now that

I have a hardback publisher I think this is going to malie a huge

difference to the way things go from now on."



"My lifestyle? It's very boring. I do spend a lot of money on

things that I don't need, like fast cars, which is pretty silly,

considering I only use them to pooter about town. I've been

through this thing with cars before, as I'd always promised myself

that when I had some money I wouldn't do something silly like

buying a flashy car. So, as soon as Hitchhiker's went to number

one in the bestseller lists, I went out and bought a Porsche 911. I

hated it. Driving it around in London was like taking a Ming vase

to a football match. Going for a drive was like setting out to

invade Poland. I got rid of it after going into a skid coming out of

Hyde Park and crashing into a wall by the Hard Rock Caf...

there was a huge queue of people outside, all of whom cheered

loudly, so I got rid of it and got a Golf GTI. When I was in LA, I

had a Saab Turbo, and when I came back to the UK with an LA

state of mind I bought a BMW, which was nice, but I didn't need a

car that cost $24,000. Spendthrift is part of my lifestyle.

  "I spend a lot of my money in restaurants. Like Jane and I

going off last year to France. We decided to have fun (which was

about the only thing we failed to do). Everywhere we went the

hotels were shut, so we decided to go down to Burgundy, where

at least the meals would be good.

  "We arrived there late at night, and I had one of the best

omelettes I've ever tasted. Unfortunately, it had some strange

mushrooms in it, and I was in bed for two days with food

poisoning. We were booked into all these wonderful restaurants

and I never got to any of them. Then we drove back. As soon as

my stomach was strong enough to hold anything down, we

couldn't find anything decent to eat. Then it rained all the time

and we missed the ferry and had to drive to Calais, and I was

seasick all the way back home. That's the jetset lifestyle for you.

Somehow it cost me a lot of money."



Adams spent most of 1986 editing The Utterly Utterly Merry

Comic Relief Christmas Book, spending less time than he had

hoped assisting in the writing of the Bureaucracy computer game

("it involves you in a bewildering series of adventures from your

own home to the depths of the African jungle, but the object of

the game is simply to get your bank to acknowledge a change-of-

address card..."), and planning Dirk Gently.

  "Dirk Gently has nothing at all to do with Hitchhiker's. It's a

kind of ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-

epic, mainly concerned with mud, music and quantum mechanics.

  "The strange thing is that while I was working on

Hitchhiker's I would always find myself telling people I wasn't a

science fiction writer, simply a humour writer who happened to

be using some science fiction ideas to tell jokes with. But Dirk

Gently is changing my mind. I think maybe I am a science fiction

writer. It's very strange..."




Extract from an interview with Douglas Adams conducted by the

author in November 1983.

  "I've read the first 30 pages of a tremendous amount of

science fiction. One thing I've found is that, no matter how good

the ideas are, a lot of it is terribly badly written. Years ago, I read

Asimov's Foundation trilogy. The ideas are captivating, but the

writing! I wouldn't employ him to write junk mail! I loved the

film of 2001, saw it six times and read the book twice. And then I

read a book called The Lost Worlds of 2001 in which Clarke

chronicles the disagreements between himself and Kubrick - he

goes through all the ideas left by the wayside, `Look at this idea

he left out, and this idea!' and at the end of the book one has an

intense admiration for Kubrick. I read 2010 when it came out,

and it was like all the stuff that Kubrick had been sensible enough

to leave out of 2001.

  What's good? Vonnegut, he's great, but he's not an SF writer.

People criticise him for saying it, but it's true. He started with

one or two ideas he wanted to convey and happened to find some

conventions of SF that suited his purpose.

  I thought `The Sirens of Titan' was close in many ways to

`Hitchhiker's'. The Chrono-synclastic infundibulum, for example,

if l've got that right.

  That's right, yes. It's funny, people make this comparison,

and I'm always incredibly flattered, because I don't think it's a

fair comparison. It's unfair to Vonnegut, apart from anything

else, because when you are talking about his best books (I'm not

talking about his later books, where I can't understand how he

gets the enthusiasm to get in front of the typewriter and actually

write that stuff. It's like going through the motions of his own

stylistic tricks), those first three were deeply serious books. My

books aren't serious at that level - they are on some level - but

there's a very clear disparity between them. Read a Vonnegut

book next to one of mine and it's clear they're utterly different.

People are tempted to compare them for three reasons. Firstly,

they are both funny in some way, and secondly, they've got

spaceships and robots in them. [No third was mentioned.] It's the

labelling. A much, much stronger influence in my writing is P.G.

Wodehouse; he didn't write about robots and spaceships, though,

so people don't spot it. They are looking for labels.

  There are Wodehousian turns ofphrase in your writing. Like

the line about "Aunt calling to Aunt like Dinosaurs across a


  Yes, I actually pinched that line somewhere in the third

book. I'm not sure where.

  The mattresses?

  Yes, it's at the end of the mattresses scene, in the swamp. But

I have to point that out to people since no one noticed.

  As regards good SF books, well A Canticle for Leibowitz

[Walter Miller Jr] is a wonderful book. There's also someone I

came across because of Hitchhiker's - people kept saying, `If you

write this stuff you must know the work of Robert Sheckley?'

  l assumed you must have read Sheckley's `Dimension of

Nliracles '.

  People kept saying that, so I finally sat down and read it, and

it was quite creepy. The guy who constructed Earth... it was

completely fortuitous. Those are coincidences, and after all there

are only a small number of ideas. I felt what I did was more akin

to Sheckley than Vonnegut.



As with everything else Douglas has done, Dirk Gently was late.

By the time it was finished, there was no time to get it properly

typeset and to get proof copies out - something that spurred

Douglas to become a desktop publisher. The book was typeset on

his Macintosh computer (indeed, the proof copies were printed on

his laser printer) and came out on time in Spring 1987 - to mixed

reviews. Some people found it more satisfying than a Hitchhiker's

book. Others missed the non-stop cavalcade of jokes.



Saving the World at No Extra Charge





DIRK GENTLY IS A DETECTIVE and a rather improbable one at that.

He's smug, he's fat, he's bespectacled, he's a smartass, he sends

out ludicrous bills with positively ridiculous expenses claims and,

worst of all, he's probably right. He's the kind of person you

only ever want to know under the direst of circumstances.



Svald Cjelli. Popularly known as Dirk, though, again, "popular"

was hardly right. Notorious, certainly; sought after, endlessly

speculated about, those too were true. But popular? Only in the

sense that a serious accident on the motorway might be popular

- everyone slows down to have a good look, but no one will get

too close to the flames. Infamous was more like it. Svald Cjelli,

infamously known as Dirk. - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective




  Douglas Adams knows nothing about detectives, or at least

not very much.

  Indeed, so woeful is his level of knowledge that Dirk

Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was criticised for the sloppy

way in which the author disentangled the problems he posed for

the sleuth. (`Adams also violates cardinal rules of mystery writing

by supplying readers with information insufficient to solve the

crime and by introducing deux ex machina to bail out the the plot

logjams', according to the Chicago Tribune.) If Dirk Gently was

genuinely a detective the criticism might have been valid. But

then Gently is really a con-man who has a disproportionate

interest in the "interconnectedness of all things" and the

workings of quantum mechanics. That's what really fascinates

Gently, and working as a private eye simply enables him to

engage that passion and charge his clients for the privilege.



"Of course I will explain to you again why the trip to the

Bahamas was so vitally necessary," said Dirk Gently soothingly.

"Nothing could give me greater pleasure. I believe, as you know,

Mrs Sauskind, in the fundamental interconnectedness of all

things. Furthermore I have plotted and triangulated the vectors of

the interconectedness of all things and traced them to a beach in

the Bahamas which it is therefore necessary for me to visit from

time to time in the course of my investigations. I wish it were not

the case, since, sadly, I am allergic to both the sun and rum

punches, but then we all have our cross to bear, don't we, Mrs

Sauskind?" - Dirk Gently, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective




As a whodunit, Dirk Gently doesn't really hang together, since

there is only one murder and, if you were paying attention, it's

fairly obvious who did it. Even if you weren't paying attention,

you get told before too long. So, if Dirk Gently doesn't work as

either a detective story or an archetypal whodunit, how does it

engage any interest?

  Well, like all Douglas Adams books, it is funny. It's an

amusing and engaging romp through the spurious borders of the

detective yarn. Within these parameters, Douglas constructs a

hugely improbable tale which requires the introduction of a

detective to unravel.

  There's also Adams's fascination with science fiction

computers, ecology, quantum mechanics and even a touch of

fractal mathematics. The story in which Dirk Gently finds

himself is almost incidental. What's important is all the peripheral

stuff which may, or may not, advance the plot.

  Both reviewers and detective novel fans were annoyed by the

introduction of a bit of science fiction to get out of some of tricky

plot twists. This is understandable, or at least it would be

understandable if Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was, in

fact, a detective novel. But it isn't. It's a Douglas Adams novel

where the rules aren't quite the same.

  Even so, Adams does take liberties, and using the time-travel

trick is perhaps an easy way out.

  But there is plenty to enjoy. For a start, there's Dirk himself,

a thoroughly wretched character with few redeeming features.

  And then there's the Electric Monk, perhaps Adams's finest

creation since Marvin the Paranoid Android. The Electric Monk

was created to believe things, which would save their creators the

trouble of believing them themselves. This is such a mind-

meldingly brilliant ploy it's a wonder no one ever thought of it

before. But then no one ever thought of writing a `fully realised

Ghost-Horror-Detective-Whodunit-Time Travel-Romantic-

Musical-Comedy Epic!' before either.

  The Electric Monk's only flaw is that it has developed a fault

and insists on believing the most ludicrous things, even if only for

twenty-four hours. But when an Electric Monk believes something

it will believe it up to the hilt, and nothing will shake its

fundamental certainty until such time as it finds something more

interesting to believe in.



This Monk had first gone wrong when it was simply given too

much to believe in one day. It was, by mistake, cross-connected

to a video recorder that was watching eleven TV channels

simultaneously, and this caused it to blow a bank of illogic

circuits. The video recorder only had to watch them, of course. It

didn't have to believe them all as well. This is why instruction

manuals are so important.

  So after a hectic week of believing that war was peace, that

good was bad, that the moon was made of blue cheese, and that

God needed a lot of money sent to a certain box number, the

Monk started to believe that thirty-five percent of all tables were

hermaphrodites, and then broke down. - Dirk Gently's Holistic

Detective Agency.



Dust had not even begun to think about settling on Dirk Gently's

Holistic Detective Agency when Douglas produced a follow-up,

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

  Here Dirk continues to explore the interconnectedness of all

things. This time, the things that are interconnected include a new

fridge, a Coca-Cola drinks dispensing machine (an echo, perhaps,

of some previous episode), a self-immolating airline check-in

desk, and the Gods of Asgard, one of whom, Thor, is currently

an unhappy patient of the NHS. Now, normally that might be

enough to spoil anyone's day, but what really upsets Dirk is that

his client is dead - so who's going to pay the bill? Dirk is never

one to let anything so trivial as saving the world interfere with the

important stuff, like getting paid promptly and by someone


  The plot frailties of the first book were largely remedied in

the sequel and Dirk Gently looks set to become at least as long-

running as Hitchhiker's. As many novelists have discovered, the

public loves a good detective. What's more, they're damn difficult

to kill off. Just ask Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul was dedicated to Jane

Belson, a barrister and Douglas's long-term companion. The

book was published in October 1988, but it still took them

another three years to get married. This took place on November

25 1991 at Islington Town Hall in North London. The only

reason it probably hadn't happened earlier was that Douglas was

well, not exactly noticeable by his presence.

  Throughout the entire Dirk Gently episode Douglas was in

constant contact with a zoologist called Mark Carwardine. They

were organising, or attempting to organise, a series of expeditions

to track down some of the world's rarest animals. But, what with

one thing and another, books coming out and needing to

undertake world tours to promote them, that sort of thing, this

would be another episode that would be three years in the







Douglas and Other Animals









  IN 1985 MARK CARWARDINE, the zoologist, and Douglas

Adams, the extremely ignorant non-zoologist, went to

Madagascar in search of the aye-aye, a creature no one had

actually seen for years, at the behest of The Observer colour

supplement and the World Wildlife Fund. Setting off for an island

in pursuit of the near-extinct lemur, they caught a twenty second

glimpse of the creature on the island of Neco Mangabo on the

first night, photographed it and returned feeling remarkably

pleased with themselves.

  In fact, they were so remarkably pleased, they decided to do

it all again, only this time with some different species of

endangered animal and in places other than Madagascar

  But, as Mark Carwardine was to discover, getting himself,

Douglas Adams and a bunch of threatened animals together in

the same place at the same time was to prove a logistical

nightmare. And since logistics are not Douglas's strong point, this

was all left to Mark.



"It was several years before we both had the time, as we were

both involved in other projects, to set off and undertake Last

Change to See. But when we actually sat down to do it, it was

amazing. We actually worked out that if we had three weeks to

search for each endangered species and went for all the main ones

in the world, it would take us 300 years. And that's just the

animals. If we had decided to include threatened plants as well, it

would have taken another 1000 years.

  "So we decided we'd be selective. We just sat down and I

said: `Well, how about going to the Congo?' And Douglas would

say: `Well, I'd rather go to the Seychelles.' And so we'd hit on a

happy medium and go to Mauritius. It was a bit like that. We

picked a whole variety so we'd get different kinds of animal. We

had the Komodo dragon, which is a reptile; we had the Rodrigues

fruitbat, which is a mammal; we went to look for the Yangtze

River dolphin in China; the Kakapo, which is a bird, a kind of

parrot, in New Zealand; the Juan Fernandez fur seal in Chile; the

Manatee in the Amazon, in Brazil; and the northern white rhino

in Zaire." - Mark Carwardine.



Once they had decided where they were going to go, and in

search of which animals, all they had to do was arrange a time.

This was not to prove an easy task. But, by May 1988, after a year

of anxious juggling and rearranging, the pair were ready to probe

the darker recesses of man's inhumanity to everything else he

shares the planet with.

  With a self-imposed time limit of just three weeks for each

trip, they set off in search of dolphins and dragons. And, on and

off, they weren't to re-emerge until mid-1989.

  Meanwhile, as is the way in all these things, other forces were

at work. Heinemann had been persuaded to stump up a

staggeringly huge advance to enable the intrepid explorers to go

off exploring intrepidly. They also thought it would make a fairly

nifty TV series.

  This idea was quickly dismissed after a conversation with the

Chinese authorities. As Mark Carwardine explains:

  "The first expedition we tried to set up was the Yangtze

River dolphin. We started making investigations, enquiring with

the right people in China about permits for filming and all that

kind of thing, and we got a reply back saying: `Sure, we can

arrange for you to come and film, it'll take at least nine months to

organise the permit and it'll cost you $200,000.' So we put a stop

to that straight away and then started thinking about radio."

  And so, armed with only a BBC radio sound engineer, the

pair set off for the far corners of the planet. Sometimes they were

successful, sometimes not. Either way, the BBC managed to get

themselves six wildlife programmes for next to nothing as the

zoologist began to realise the benefits of recording for radio and

the non-zoologist began to get wet.



"We were trying to land on an island off the coast of Mauritius

called Round Island which, they reckon, has more endangered

species per square metre than anywhere else in the world. It's a

tiny little island, very hard to land on because of the swell and

there's no good landing points. We all had our gear wrapped up,

but the soundman just had a microphone sticking out and was

recording when Douglas fell out of the boat and was being

smashed against the rock. There was blood everywhere and it was

all quite dramatic. We got the whole thing on tape, but if we'd

had a TV crew there we'd have had to dry Douglas off, mop up

all the blood and then get him to do it again, and it just wouldn't

have been the same.

  "Initially we were thinking about radio as a second choice

but in retrospect it worked much better than television. And they

always say about radio you get better pictures. There was an

occasion when we were just checking into the lodge on the island

of Komodo in Indonesia. We had three chickens with us for food

and a Komodo dragon came and grabbed the chickens and ran

off. And the sounds of all this, the squawking of the chicken and

the three of us chasing after the dragon and the shouting of the

guards and scrabbling in the dust, comes across so well on radio.

Maybe we'd have got some of it on telly if we'd have had the

cameras ready by chance. But I think it's more impressive when

you sit back, eyes closed, and just listen to it and build up your

own picture. So I think in retrospect radio worked better than

television could have." - Mark Carwardine.



With Douglas dried off and mopped down, they returned to

civilization and the south of France, where Douglas had been

exiled for a year by his accountant for tax reasons. There the

explorers were to write of their adventures.

  Instead, as the zoologist confesses, they became strenuously

involved in:

  "Lots of sitting in French cafs discussing it. We just spent

hours and hours and hours talking it through, listening to the

tapes - they were really useful sorting information. We kept

notes about facts and figures and what happened and quotes from

people and that kind of thing. But just listening to some of the

sounds on the tapes brought back memories of our impressions

and a feeling for places rather than the pure facts and figures. We

spent hours listening to those, discussing it all, talking it through.

Then we sat down and Douglas did most of the writing, with me

feeding ideas and information and checking facts while he was

sitting at the word processor with me looking over his shoulder.

  "That was basically how it was done. We did it in different

ways, it was done in bits, basically, and then put together with a

mad period of twenty-four-hour days at the end."

  In fact, the south of France proved a less than productive

environment for the pair - too many distractions, too may cafs

to sit in. After four months they had produced a total of one


  But, one way or another, the book eventually got written.

  Heinemann published Last Chance to See, a bizarre

combination of travelogue and conservation, in October 1990 to

good reviews. The Times considered it `descriptive writing of a

high order... this is an extremely intelligent book.' The Pan

paperback followed thirteen months later.

  Last Chance to See was also made available on CD-ROM by

The Voyager Company, providing hundreds of colour stills,

interviews and audio essays by Mark Carwardine, and extracts

from the radio series to accompany the text. Lazier readers could

simply listen to Douglas reading the book. Voyager have also

published The Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (at

least it was complete until Mostly Harmless put in an appearance)

as an Expanded Book for use on a Macintosh computer. In fact

Hitchhiker's continues appearing in different formats. BBC

Enterprises have released an audio tape or CD boxset, which was

followed by The Long Dark Tea- Time of the Soul, this time just

on tape.

  The BBC broadcast the Last Chance to See programmes

weekly on Radio 4 between 4 October and 8 November 1989,

with repeats later the same week.

  Curiously enough, four of the programmes were rebroadcast

the following year, though what happened to the Kakapo and the

fruitbat tapes can only be guessed. Also lost, it seems, was a ten-

minute programme called Natural Selection: In Search of the Aye-

Aye, broadcast on 1 November 1985, recalling that first


  But the question remains, after all this, did they do any

good? Mark Carwardine thinks so:

  "When we went to New Zealand to look for the Kakapo-

which is this ground-living parrot which can't fly, but it's

forgotten that it can't fly, it jumps out of trees and just lands on

the ground with a thud. It's down to roughly the last forty to

forty-five birds, that's all that's surviving and people had sort of

half given up in New Zealand. There were a few dedicated

scientists, but the powers-that-be weren't really putting enough

resources into it and the scientists were having a hard time getting

what they needed to save the bird from extinction. When we

went there, for some reason, our visit got a lot of interest and

there was a lot of publicity. And one thing led to another over the

weeks we were there and the bird was suddenly put as top

priority and more resources were made available to help it. So

that was good.

  "In other parts of the world where the book's been published

it's really hard to say. My general view is that if you can aim a

book like Last Chance to See at people who wouldn't normally

buy a wildlife book and get a radio series out to people who

wouldn't normally listen to one, then you're reaching a

completely different audience, and if you can capture just one per

cent of them then it's doing some good. The more people you can

make aware of the problems the wildlife's facing and what's being

done about it and what needs to be done, the better. From that

point of view I think it probably has done some good."

  The captured chicken on Komodo might have had other

ideas. As to any future Adams-Carwardine collaborations, the

zoologist has this idea:

  "One possibility is doing war-zone wildlife. Going to countries

that have had wars, or suffered from wars, and looking at the effect

it's hd on conservation and the environment and the wildlife."

  Given Douglas Adams's inability to successfully negotiate a

landfall on Round Island without blood being spilt, heading into

a war-zone doesn't immediately strike one as being a particularly

smart move. Perhaps with this in mind Douglas's next move was

instead, to leave the planet altogether and seek out something

mostly harmless.




Anything That Happens, Happens







IT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS: After The Hitchhiker's Guide to

the Galaxy trilogy is completed it, well, isn't, not really. There are

too many loose ends left dangling out there in hyper-space that

need tying together. So Douglas Adams is locked into a room and

told not to come out until he has completed the fourth and

absolutely final book in the trilogy. All those dangling plot

threads have to be clipped and tied off, there has to be no going

back, ever, at all, not even slightly.

  But then...

  Then there was Mostly Harmless. After So Long, and Thanks

for All the Fish, wherein God's last message to his creation was

finally revealed and Marvin could at last relieve the pain in all the

diodes down his left side by finally dying, things were supposed

to have been wrapped up neatly and conclusively. But, as Adams

himself writes in the preamble to Mostly Harmless:

  `Anything that happens, happens.

  `Anything that, in happening, causes something else to

happen, causes something else to happen.

  `Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again,

happens again.

  `It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though.'

  Which means that what exactly's going on in Mostly

Harmless is anybody's guess.

  After Douglas's travels undertaken for Last Chance to See

his outlook on the world and its mercurial workings were altered

irrevocably. This is hardly surprising given the staggering vista

those expeditions had opened to the author. Adams took this new

perspective and naturally began writing it into his books.

  And there were also those tantalisingly unanswered

questions lingering from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish,

such as:

  - What was to become of Arthur Dent and his new-found

love, Fenchurch?

  - What had become of Ford Prefect, Zaphod Bebblebrox

and Trillian, the other occupants of the Heart of Gold?

  - What was to become of that most successful book ever to

come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor,

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

  - And, perhaps most importantly, could Marvin really be


  There is a positive answer to at least one of these questions.

But, in order that some sense of mystery remain to those who

have not read Mostly Harmless, it won't be revealed which

question this answer relates to until the end of this book.

  1992 was bookended by Hitchhiker's activity. At the

beginning of the year the BBC finally issued the TV series on

video, having previously been prevented by the uncertain

contractual situation between Douglas and the movie moguls in

Hollywood, to whom he had sold the film rights. That is another

saga that has yet to be resolved. To recoup these rights is costing

Douglas something in the region of $200,000, with a bunch of

other catch-22 clauses thrown in for good - or bad - measure.

But, once the dust has settled, there may yet be more Hitchhiker's

stories reaching the TV screens.

  The original series was released on video in a two-volume set,

eleven years after its initial transmission. The second volume even

contained `previously unseen material', a few minutes that were

cut to make the programmes fit their time-slot. The BBC also

managed to re-master the mono soundtrack into stereo. And on

radio the BBC re-broadcast the second Hitchhiker's series.

  At the end of the year came Mostly Harmless, fifth in the

`increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide to the

Galaxy trilogy'. While many fans may have been disturbed by So

Long, and Thanks for All the Fish's lack of science fiction - it

was, after all, a love story, kind of - Mostly Harmless has a

whole truck-load of SF. And there's the occasional passage you

just know could not have been written by Douglas prior to his

ecological jaunt around the world.



It was a sight that Arthur never quite got used to, or tired of. He

and Ford had tracked their way swiftly along the side of the small

river that flowed down along the bed of the valley, and when at

last they reached the margin of the plains they pulled themselves

up into the branches of a large tree to get a better view of one of

the stranger and more wonderful visions that the Galaxy has to


  The great thunderous herd of thousand upon thousand of

Perfectly Normal Beasts was sweeping in magnificent array

across the Anhondo Plain. In the early pale light of the morning,

as the great animals charged through the fine steam of the sweat

of their bodies mingled with the muddy mist churned up by their

pounding hooves, their appearance seemed a little unreal and

ghostly anyway, but what was heart-stopping about them was

where they came from and where they went to, which appeared

to be, simply, nowhere. - Mostly Harmless.



There's also some bizarre physics and temporal paradoxes that

may, or may not, have come about since the Earth, or what we

popularly believe to be the Earth, was destroyed by the Vogons

way back when.



The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has, in what we

laughingly call the past, had a great deal to say on the subject of

parallel universes. Very little of this is, however, at all

comprehensible to anyone below the level of Advanced God, and

since it is now well-established that all known gods came into

existence a good three millionths of a second after the Universe

began rather than, as they usually claimed, the previous week,

they already have a great deal of explaining to do as it is, and are

therefore not available for comment on matters of deep physics at

this time. - Mostly Harmless.



Mostly Harmless delves into that decidedly murky pool of

parallel universes, so you're never entirely sure whether the

Arthur Dent featured here is in fact the same Arthur Dent as

popped up elsewhere. After all, there's an astro-physicist called

Trillian in the stars and also a thrusting young TV reporter called

Tricia McMillan, and they may be related, in some way or other.

And the TV reporter, who once met an extra-terrestrial called

Zaphod at a party in Islington but didn't go with him, is

apparently a TV reporter on Earth. At least an Earth, although

which one is anybody's guess. This Earth hasn't been destroyed

or if it has it is showing a remarkable reluctance to disappear


  Meanwhile, aside from tackling such weighty

SF/cosmological/scientific questions as parallel universes, there's

a little astrology, plus some aliens called Grebulons. The

Grebulons are currently stationed on the recently discovered

tenth planet in the Solar System named, after nothing much in

particular, Rupert. The Grebulons, who set out to wreak havoc or

something, met with a slight accident counesy of a meteor storm

on the way and have since entirely forgotten what it was that they

were supposed to do when they got wherever it was they were

meant to be going. So they watch TV instead.

  In the meantime, Arthur, having singularly failed to find the

Earth, or at least an Earth that remotely resembles the one we still

presume the Vogons to have blown up, settles on a pleasant little

planet after his ship crashlands and he is the only survivor. There

he becomes the Sandwich Maker and is reasonably happy.

Reasonably happy, that is, for a man who has managed to lose

not only his planet but also, since then, the love of his life,

Fenchurch, in an accident involving Improbability Drive,

however improbable that may seem. But Arthur manages to

remain stoical throughout since he knows he can't die until he

meets the hapless Agrajag on the anarchically named Stavromula

Beta, as he discovered during the unfolding plot of Life, the

Universe, and Everything. And yes, if nothing else, this is a story

that does manage to resolve itself.

  Elsewhere, Ford is having huge problems with the new

owners of The Hitchhiker's GHide to the Galaxy, InfiniDim

Enterprises. They are not only no fun to be with at panies, but

are also, horror upon horror, in the process of replacing the

Guide with the Guide Mark II, which comes in a box on which is

printed, in large, unfriendly letters, the word PANIC. Ford,

unable to go to a party, is understandably not at all happy. And

the more he learns of InfiniDim Enterprises, the less happy he is.

He engages the services of a mechanical friend called Colin and

attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery - that is, why there

are no panies or even drink at the Hitchhiker's offices anymore

- by leaping out of the building a lot and eventually going off in

search of Anhur.

  While all that is happening, Anhur discovers, to his shock,

that he has become a father. His daughter has the unlikely name

of Random, and is generally surly and bad-tempered and has a

mother called Trillian. And, if you're wondering, no they didn't,

it was all down to DNA sampling and stuff like that. Anyway,

Random is definitely not the sort of person you want to lend a

watch to and Arthur is a little taken aback when his peaceful

existence as Sandwich Maker is interrupted. by the arrival of

Trillian, who dumps their daughter on him and disappears into

the stratosphere once again. Arthur loses happiness and gains

responsibility. He isn't happy.

  All this goes on between the covers of Mostly Harmless,

which contains only mentions of Zaphod Bebblebrox and not a

single appearance.

  Meanwhile, Douglas Adams's time becomes more and more

crowded and before long he may well wish to escape to a parallel

universe himself. His every waking hour for the foreseeable

future is swallowed up by a world tour to promote the book in

all the far flung corners of the planet. He is about to be enveloped

by the media circuit in this country, and appearances on radio

and TV chat shows are promised, or even threatened. Douglas

Adams, once again, is about to become a multi-media personality.

  In 1993, Hitchhiker's fan Kevin Davies is releasing his The

Making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy video, which

has been approved by Douglas. And over in New York, DC

Comics are publishing the official Hitchhiker's Guide to the

Galaxy comic book adaptation. The comic will run over three

issues and is scripted by John Carnell and drawn by Steve

Leilohah. It will be published by Pan in the UK. But as to any

more books, well, there definitely, categorically, absolutely and

unequivocally won't be any more Hitchhiker's books. Although

only Zarquon knows for sure.

  Mostly Harmless is the last book Douglas will publish

through Heinemann. He is following his editor Sue Freestone to

Jonathan Cape. He would have done so already were it not for

Heinemann, not unnaturally, being none too willing to let one of

their leading authors go without a struggle. Douglas and his

agent, Ed Victor, became entangled in a wrangle which has now

been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. But it managed to delay

the publication of Mostly Harmless since, while it was going on,

Douglas couldn't put pen to paper, or more accurately, finger to

word processor.

  Oh yes, and if you are still wondering, and haven't bought

Mostly Harmless yet - and shame on you if you haven't - yes

Marvin really is dead and doesn't appear in the book at all. Of

such exclusions are great tragedies made.

 *********** Dirk: Appendix 1: Hitchhiker's - the Original Synopsis: 4 TIFFs. The text itself: *********



Douglas Adams.


The show is a science fiction comedy adventure in time and space, which weaves in and out of fantasy, jokes, satire, parallel universe and time warps, in the wake of two men who are researching the New Revised Edition of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an electronic 'boook' designed to help the footlose wanderer find his way round the marvels of the Universe for les than thirty Altarian dollars a day.


One of the men is an extraterrestrial who has spent some years living incognito on the Earth. When he first arrrived the minimal research he had done suggested to his that the name Ford Perfect would be nicely incoonspicous. The other is an Earthma, Arthur Dent (Dirk: originally Aleric was here, but it has been crossed out. From now on, all the references to Arthur Dent was meant to Aleric at first) who was a friend of Ford's for years without feeling that he wasn't a perfectly ordinary human being.


The first episode tells of how Ford reveals the truth about himself to an incredulous Arthur, and how they both escape from a doomed Earth to begin their wanderings.


The story starts as Arthur is lying on the ground in the path of a buldoser which is about to demolish his house to make away (Dirk: sic!) for a new by-pass. Having fought the plane at every level, this is his last ditch effort. He is arguing with a man from the council who is pointing out to him in a Godfatherly way that the bulldozer driver is is (Dirk: sic!) a rather careless gentleman who isn't too fussy about what he drives over. In the middle of this confrontation Ford arrives in a rather anxious state and asks Arthur is (Dirk: sic!) he is busy at al, and if there's somewhere they can go and chat. Arthur, astonished, refuses to move. Ford is very insistenty and eventually Arthur calls the man from the council and asks him if they could declare a truce for half an hour. The councilman very charmingly agrees and says that if he likes to slip away for half an hour he'll make sure they don't try and knock his house till he gets back, word of honour. Ford and Arthur repair to a nearby pub, where Ford asks Arthur how he woud react if he told him that he wasn't from Guilford at all but from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse.


As soon as they're out of the way the councilman oorders the demolition ceremony to start. A local lady dignitary makes a very movin speech about how wonderful life will suddenly become as soon as the bypass is built, and swings a bottle of champagne against the bolldozer, which moves in for the kill.


The sound of the crashingf building reaches Arthur who is in the middle of not believing a woord that Frd is telling him, and he chardes back to his ex-house shouting about what a naughty world we live in.


At the moment the sky is suddenly torn apart by the scream of jets, an a fleet of flying saucers streak towards the Earth. As everyone fless in panic an unearthly voice rings through the air announcing that due to redevelopment of this sector of the galaxy they are building a new hyperspace bypass and the Earth will unfortunately have to be demolished. In answer to appaled cries of protest the voice says thta the plane have been on public display in the planning office in Alpha Centauri for ten years, so it's far too late to start making a fuss now. He orders the demolition to start. A low rumble slowly builds into an earshattering explosion, folowed by silence.



Arthur wakes, not knowing where he is. Ford tells him they've managed to get a lift aboard one of the ships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet. Not to worry about the Earth, he says, there are an infinite multiplicity of parallel universes in which the Earth is still alive and well. He explains how they got on the ship by producing a copy oof an electronic book called the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Under the entry marked 'Vogoon Constructors' it gives detailed instructioons as to get best way of hitching a ride from oone of their ships - you have to play on Vogon psychology, which it describes. Ford explains thta it's his job to research a new edition of the book, which is now a lttle out of date. Would Arthur like to accompany his in the task? Arthur only wants to get back to Earth, or at least, it's (Dirk: sic!) nearest equivalent. However, he is fascinated to browse through this strange book. He is suddenly appalled when he discovers Earth's entry. Thoough the book is over a miion pafge long, the inhabitants oof the Earth only warrant a one word entry - 'Harmless'. Ford, rather embarrassed, explains that the reason he had been on Earth was to gather a bit more material. He'd had a bit of an argument with the editor oover it, but finlally he'd been allowed to expand the entry to 'Mostly HAmrless'. Theyare (Dirk: sic!) very short of space.


Arthur is stung to the quick.  He agrees to go with Ford.





Some suggestions for future development.


Each episode should be more or less self contained, but lead on quite naturally to thenext one, perhaps with a 'cliff henger'.


A narrative structure can be achievend by having short extracts read from the Guide itself, since much of its information woould naturally be presented in the form of anecdote.


Foord ands Alric frequently have to subsidise their travels by taking ofdd jobs along the way; as well as strange new worlds they can visit parallel alternatives of Earth which are more or less the same, but not quite... they find that many of the eccentric alien races they encounter epitomise some human folly such as greed, pretentiouenses etc., rather in the manner of Gulliver's Tarvels.


IN one episode they was hired by a fabolously wealthy but rather nervous man to act as 'internal body guards'. For this they are reduced to microscopic size in order to escort meals through his digestive system.


In another the encounter a race of dentists, exiled from their home planet for having pronounced that everything you can possibly eat or breathe, up to and including toothpaste, is bad for your teeth. They have been told not to return till they have evolved an entirely new way of life that is both hygienic and fun.


In another episode they finfd themselves on an 'alternative' Earth which is receiving its first visitatioon from alien beings who announce that they have come to pay court at the home of the most intelligent life form of the Galaxy. After a lot of self satisfied parading by the humans it turns out that it was the olphins the aliens actually had in mind.


The 'Guide' structure should allow for the almost unlimited development of freewheeling ideas whilst at the same time retaining a fairly simple and cherent shape and purpose.




Appendix II

The Variant Texts of Hitchhiker's:

What Happens Where and Why



The First Radio Series

   1) Arthur Dent wakes up to find his house is about to be

knocked down. Ford Prefect takes him to the pub. Just before the

Earth is destroyed, they hitchhike their way onto one of the

spaceships of the Vogon Destructor Fleet. The Vogon Captain

throws them out of the airlock, having read them some poetry.

   2) They are rescued by the starship Heart of Gold, piloted by

Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian, inhabited by Marvin the paranoid

android, Eddie the ship's computer and a number of Doors.

   3) Arriving in orbit around the legendary planet of

Magrathea, they are fired on by an automatic defence system,

resulting in the bruising of someone's upper arm and the creation

and demise of a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale. Exploring

Magrathea reveals Slanibanfast, a planetary designer who is very

keen on fjords, and is about to design the Eanh Mark Il.

   4) Anhur discovers that white mice really ran the Eanh as

an experiment in behavioural psychology set up by the computer

Deep Thought to find the Question to the Great Answer of Life,

the Universe, and Everything (the Answer being 42). Shooty and

Bang Bang, two enlightened and liberal cops, interrupt a meeting

with the Mice, who want Trillian and Arthur to find the

Question for them. The cops blow up a computer bank behind

which our heroes are hiding.

  5) The fearless four find themselves in the Restaurant at the

End of the Universe... actually a far-future Magrathea. Marvin

has been parking cars there. Abandoning Arthur's Pears

Gallumbit they steal a small black spaceship, which turns out to

belong to an Admiral of the Fleet and drops them in the vanguard

of a major intergalactic war.

  6) In which it is revealed that Arthur Dent's only brother

was nibbled to death by an okapi. The chair in the ship they are in

is actually one of the Haggunenons of Vicissitus Three, a shape-

shifting race who evolve several times over lunch. Arthur and

Ford escape in a hyperspace capsule, while the others are eaten by

the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (aka the Haggunenon

Admiral). Arthur and Ford, having materialised inside the hold of

the Golgafrincham B - Ark, crash land on Earth two million

years before the Vogons destroy it. An experiment with Scrabble

shows that the Question is, or might be, `What do you get if you

multiply six by nine?'


Christmas Special Episode

  7) Zaphod Beeblebrox is picked up by a freighter taking

copies of Playbeing to Ursa Minor Beta (the Haggunenon having

evolved into an escape capsule). Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect get

drunk on Old Earth and start seeing a spaceship. Zaphod tries to

see Zarniwoop, editor of the Guide. He meets Roosta as the

building is attacked by Frogstar fighters: while Marvin saves the

day, the building is kidnapped and taken to the Frogstar. . .

The Second Radio Series

  8) Zaphod discovers that he is going to be fed to the Total

Perspective Vortex. Zaphod, despite two hangovers, rescues Ford

and Arthur, having discovered their fossilised towel. Zaphod (still

on board the Frogstar-snatched building) goes to a robot disco,

lands on the Frogstar, is fed to the Total Perspective Vortex, and

eats some fairy cake.

  9) On board the Heart of Gold, Zaphod, Ford and Arthur

find themselves under attack from the Vogon Fleet, under orders

from Gag Halfrunt, Zaphod's psychiatrist. Arthur flings away a

cup of Nutrimatic drink, and the computer's circuits occupy

themselves with the problem of why Arthur likes tea. A seance

summons Zaphod's great-grandfather, who tells him to find the

person really running the universe, and rescues them.

  10) Finding themselves in a cave on the planet Brontitall,

they soon find themselves falling through the air thirteen miles

above the ground. Arthur is rescued by a bird, and discovers that

he has fallen from the cup in the Statue of Arthur Dent Flinging

the Nutrimatic Cup. Taken to the bird colony which lives in his

ear, he is told by a Wise Old Bird the significance of the statue.

Belgium is discovered to be a very rude word indeed. Ford and

Zaphod land on a passing bird. Arthur discovers the planet to be

the property of the Dolmansaxlil Corporation, and is attacked by

limping footwarriors, then rescued by a Lintilla, a bright and sexy

girl archaeologist.

  11) Ford and Zaphod reach the ground relatively safely.

Arthur discovers that the Lintilla he met is one of three identical

Lintillas, or rather one of 578,000,000,000 Lintillas, due to

problems with a cloning machine. Hig Hurtenflurst of the

Dolmansaxlil Corporation threatens Arthur and the Lintillas with

revocation, then shows them what happened to Brontitall; a Shoe

Shop Intensifier Ray caused the planet's inhabitants to build shoe

shops and sell shoes. Marvin, who was not rescued by a bird, falls

to the ground creating a hole, but gets out and rescues Arthur and

a Lintilla. Meanwhile, Zaphod and Ford find a derelict space port

and a curious ship. . .

  12) Poodoo shows up with a priest and three Allitnils, while

Arthur and the Lintillas are under attack. The Allitnils and two

Lintillas fall in love, are married, kiss and explode. Zaphod and

Ford discover a spaceship full of people going nowhere, and also

Zarniwoop. Arthur kills the third Allitnil (an anticlone) and sets

off with Marvin and a Lintilla. Zarniwoop explains some of the

plot to Zaphod (Ford is getting drunk and isn't listening). They

all go and visit the Man in the Shack, who runs the universe. He

reveals that Zaphod was in collusion with the consortium of

psychiatrists who ordered the Earth destroyed in order to prevent

the Question from coming out. In a huff, Arthur takes the Heart

of Gold, and leaves with a Lintilla and Marvin, abandoning

Zaphod, Ford and Zarniwoop on the Man in the Shack's planet....



The TV Series/Records

  Essentially the plot of the first six episodes; only instead of

all the Haggunenon stuff, they have escaped in a stunt ship

belonging to the rock group Disaster Area (whose lead Ajuitarist

Hotblack Desiato is no longer talking to his old friend Ford

Prefect, because he is dead), which is going to be fired into the

sun. They escape through a wonky transporter unit, operated by

Marvin, sending Zaphod and Trillian heaven knows where and

Ford and Arthur to the B - Ark. It was also established that the

Mice were quite keen on slice-and-dicing Arthur's brain to

extract the Answer from it.




The Books

i) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  In terms of plot, this resembles the first four radio episodes.

At the end, however, Marvin depresses Shooty and Bang Bang's

ship to death, blowing up each of the cop's life support units, and

they leave Magrathea.


ii) The Restaurant at the End ofthe Universe

  This starts off with Arthur trying to get a cup of tea from the

Heart of Gold, tying up all its circuits as the Vogons attack (a bit

like Episode Nine of the radio series). Zaphod's great-grandfather

transpons Zaphod and Marvin to Ursa Minor Beta where events

similar to Episode Seven of the radio series occur. Once more

Zaphod is taken to Frogstar B, and fed into the Total Perspective

Vortex. Once more he eats the cake. Then he discovers

Zarniwoop and the spaceship (as in Episode Twelve). Then they

visit the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, steal Hotblack

Desiato's ship (as in records/TV) and wind up in a predicament.

  From there, Ford and Arthur go to prehistoric Earth, while

Trillian and Zaphod go to the Man in the Shack, this time

abandoning Zarniwoop there. (Shoes and the Shoe Event Horizon,

which merited rather more than an episode of the second radio

series, get a paragraph in this book.)


iii) Life, the Universe, and Everything

  Ford and Arthur are rescued from two million years ago by a

sofa which dumps them at Lord's Cricket Ground a few days

before the Earth was/is/will be destroyed. Trillian and Zaphod,

on the Heart of Gold, sort of split up. Marvin has spent a long

time in a swamp. There's a plot about the robots of Krikkit, but

I'm not giving anything away. There's also a statue of Arthur

Dent, but for a different reason from the radio series.

  Variations between the British and American editions include

a certain amount of translation (lolly becomes popsicle), the

respelling of a sound effect (`wop!' becomes `whop!' throughout)

and an extra 400 words are added to chapter 21, adapted from

radio Episode Ten, concerning `Belgium' as term of profanity.

(The British edition just goes right ahead and uses the word

`fuck', thus avoiding the problem entirely.)


iv) So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  The Dolphins restore the Earth. Anhur Dent falls in love and

discovers God's final message to His Creation.


v) Mostly Harmless

  Athur Dent loses both his planet and the woman he loves,

and unexpectedly gains a daughter. And a new version of The

Guide, which behaves in an altogether more mysterious and

sinister manner, puts in an appearance.


vi) The Hitchhiker's Trilogy

  American collection of the first three books (American

editions). Contains `Introduction - a Guide to the Guide'

Douglas's essay on Hitchhiker's origins, and the first few

paragraphs of `How to Leave the Planet'.


vii) The Compleat Hitchhiker

  1,his was what Pan called the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the

Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts when they were publishing it.

Seeing they never published it, or even came close, because the

book went instead to Heinemann, Douglas's new hardback

publishers, this is positively the rarest Hitchhiker's book

available. If you have a copy, hold onto it, and auction it before

returning to whichever parallel universe you bought it in.


viii) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four


  The same as the Hitchhiker's Trilogy, only in English

editions, and with an extra three lines of introduction and So

Long, and Thanks for All the Fish added.


The Expanded Books

The Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  A collection of the first four books, for use on a Macintosh



Appendix III

Who's Who in the Galaxy:

Some Comments by Douglas Adams










Arthur wasn't based on Simon Jones. Simon is convinced I've

said this at some point, whereas what I've said was very similar

which was that I wrote the part with him in mind. Which is a

very different thing to say about an actor. I wrote the part for

him, and I wrote the part with his voice in mind and with an idea

of what he was strong on playing and so on. But there's only the

slightest echo of Simon himself in it. He isn't based on Simon, but

he is based on what I thought Simon's strengths as an actor were,

which is a very different thing. Nor, by the same token, is it

autobiographical; having said that, Arthur Dent is not so remote

from myself that it's impossible to use things which have

happened to me in writing about him.



The name is a very obvious joke.



She isn't based on any particular person, but on a number of

different thoughts or observations of people or incidents. It was a

bit of a parody of the Oscar Wilde thing in The Importance of

Being Earnest - being found in a bag at the left luggage office at

Victoria. When in fact it's Paddington Station, where the ticket

queues are always insane and you can't understand why it

happens like that every single day, why it isn't sorted out.

Paddington was the station I had in mind, but I couldn't call her

that, because there's already a bear named Paddington after the

station, so I just went through the various names of the London

termini, and Fenchurch seemed a nice name. I just selected the

one that seemed the most fun as a name. I don't think it's even a

station I've ever been to. That was where that came from, it was

just an idea I'd had floating around for a character, whereas I was

also looking for a character who was going to be the girl who'd

been in the caf in Rickmansworth. I put the two things together.

Then the whole thing of Anhur falling in love with her was sort

of going very much into adolescent memories really.



I remember the idea I had when I created Ford, which was that he

is a reaction against Dr Who, because Dr Who is always rushing

about saving people and planets and generally doing good works,

so to speak; and I thought the keynote of the character of Ford

Prefect was that given the choice between getting involved and

saving the world from some disaster on the one hand, and on the

other hand going to a party, he'd go to the party every time,

assuming that the world, if it were worth anything, would take care

of itself. So that was the departure point for Ford. He wasn't based

on any particular character but come to think of it, aspects of

Ford's later behaviour became more and more based on memories

of Geoffrey McGivern's more extreme behaviour in pubs.



I had this appalling overblown rockstar character, and I couldn't

come up with a name for him. Then I saw an estate agent's board

up outside a house. Well, I nearly crashed my car with delight! I

couldn't get the name out of my mind. Eventually I phoned them

up and said, `Can I use your name? I can't come up with anything

nearly as good !' They said fine. It hasn't done them any harm,

except it's terribly unfair, as people keep phoning them up and

saying, `Come on, it's a bit cheeky, nicking a name from

Hitchhiker's to call your estate agents by, isn't it?' And they were

a bit upset, when I moved back to England, that I didn't buy my

house from them.



I suppose he came from a discussion I had with someone about

this not entirely original observation that everyone's experience of

the world, on which we build this enormous edifice of what we

consider the world is, of what we think the universe is, and our

place in it, and how matter behaves, and everything, is actually a

construct which we put on little electrical signals that we get.

When you think of what we know about the universe, and the

data we have to go on, it's a pretty huge gap. Even the information

we have is not only just what we happen to have been told but the

interpretation that we have put on the little electrical signals which

tell us that somebody's told us this.

  We really have nothing to go on at all. So that character was

someone who took that observation to the ultimate extreme,

which is that he would take absolutely nothing on trust at all. He

wouldn't accept anything as being proved or assumed, and

therefore responds absolutely intuitively, if you like,

thoughtlessly, to whatever happens. He makes everything up as

he goes along. Because he makes no assumptions about anything

he really is the best qualified person to rule, to exercise power,

because he's completely disinterested. On the other hand, that

level of disinterest makes him completely unable to produce any

rational or useful decisions whatsoever. As I say in the passage

that introduces him, who can possibly rule if no one who wants

to do it can be allowed to?



Marvin came from Andrew Marshall. He's another comedy

writer, and he is exactly like that. When I set out to write the

character, I wanted to write a robot who was Andrew Marshall,

and in the first draft I actually called the robot Marshall. It only

got changed on the way to the studio because Geoffrey Perkins

thought that the word Marshall suggested other things. Andrew

was the sort of guy you are afraid to introduce to people in pubs

because you know he's going to be rude to them. His wife

recognised him first time. He's cheered up a lot recently.

  But I said that on the radio once - that Marvin was

Marshall, and my mother heard it. Next time I spoke to her she

said, `Marvin isn't Andrew Marshall - he's Eeyore!' I said

`What?' She said, `Marvin is just like Eeyore, go and look.' So I

did, and blow me! But literature is full of depressives. Marvin is

simply the latest and most metal.

  The other place that a lot of Marvin comes from is from me. I

get awfully gloomy, and a lot of that comes out in Marvin. But I

haven't been that depressed in a year or so: I haven't had one of

these terrible depressions.

  Curiously enough, I never had a very clear idea of what

Marvin looked like, and I still don't have one. I don't think the

TV one quite got it. I described him differently for the film script

- he's not silver any more, he's the colour of a black Saab Turbo.

He isn't so square, either, he needs a kind of stooping quality: on

the one hand, he's been designed to be dynamic and streamlined

and beautiful. But he holds himself the wrong way, so the design

has gone completely to naught because he looks pathetic. Utterly

pathetic. The patheticness comes from his attitude to himself

rather than any inherent design. As far as his design is concerned

he looks very sleek. A hi-tech robot.

  People ask me what my favourite character is, to which the

answer has usually been, after a long umm and a pause, `probably

Marvin'. It's not something I strongly feel.



Marvin was interviewed in the Sunday Times colour supplement

in July 1981:

  Q: Would you like to be a human being?

  A: If I was a human being I'd be very depressed, but then I'm

  very depressed already, so it hardly matters. Sometimes I

  think it might be quite pleasant to be a chair.

  Q: How does it feel to have a brain the size of a planet?

  A: Ghastly, but only someone with a brain the size of a

  planet could hope to understand exactly how appalling it

  really is.

  Q: Why are you so miserable?

  A: I've been in precisely the same mood ever since I was

  switched on. It's just the way my circuits are connected.

  Very badly.

  Q: Can you repair yourself?

  A: Why should I want to do that? I'd just as soon rust.

  Q: Do you like reading?

  A: I read everything there was to read on the day I was

  switched on. It was all so dull I don't see any point in reading

  it again.

  Q: Music?

  A: Hate it.

  Q: Hobbies?

  A: Hating music.

  Q: What do you like the least?

  A: The entire multi-dimensional infinity of all creation. I

  don't like that at all.




See Yooden Vranx.



The guy who played Roosta wasn't very certain what kind of

person Roosta was meant to be, because I wasn't either. It

happens from time to time when you're writing serially, when

you introduce a character at the end of a show and you're going

to bring him back at the start of the next show and get him

working properly, that you can leave a character dangling like

that. You realise that you don't need the character or it's not the

right character or whatever, but in the meantime you've already

got the actor there, so have to have him do something.



Slartibartfast was actually a favourite character of mine in the first

book, though I think I slightly misused that character in the third

book. One thing I don't think I explained in the script book was

that I was also teasing the typist, Geoffrey's secretary, because the

character had actually been on stage for quite a long time before

you know what his name is. I was teasing the typist because she'd

be typing out this long and extraordinary name which would be

quite an effon to type and right at the beginning he says, `My

name is not imponant, and I'm not going to tell you what it is'. I

was just being mean to Geoffrey's secretary.



Her name was a son of feeble little twist actually. When she is

introduced to the audience you think, `Trillian - she must be an

alien'. Then later you realise it was just a nickname for her real

name, Tricia Macmillan, and that she was actually from Earth. It's

a feeble surprise, isn't it?

  I thought it would be useful to have somebody else from

Earth so that Arthur could have somebody that he could have

some kind of normal conversation with, otherwise he is going to

be totally lost, and the reader/viewer/listener/whoever will be

utterly lost as well. There has to be someone who will understand

when Arthur mentions something which is Earth-specific,

therefore there must be someone else who survived Earth. But in

fact that wasn't really necessary, because obviously Ford fulfills

that function, so I'm afraid the main problem with Trillian is that

the pan wasn't really required. It was superfluous.

  She makes less noise than the others do, but she comes very

much to the fore at the end of the third book. She is far more acute,

perceptive, aware and able than most of the rest of them put

together. That was something I finally spotted about her, and I was

pleased about that. Everyone always asked me, why is Trillian such

a cipher of a character. It's because I never really knew anything

about her. And I always find women very mysterious anyway -I

never know what they want. And I always get very nervous about

writing one as I think I'll do something ternbly wrong. You read

other male accounts of women and you think, `He's got them

wrong!' and I feel very nervous about going into that area.



The name was just a sort of code name - they sound like the

typical baddies from Dr Who or Star Trek or wherever, don't they?



The whole notion of this character actually came from this thing

about toothpicks. I came across this packet of toothpicks which

had instructions for use inside. I just imagined somebody who

might feel that this was the final thing which just tipped them

over the edge in terms of what they thought of the world, and

how they thought you could live in a world which had such a

thing in it. So from that came the idea of the universe turned

inside out, if you like - he built this house to enclose the

universe, which he called the asylum, and he really thought that

was what the universe should be put into, an asylum, and that he

would live outside the asylum and look after it. That was where it

came from, really, toothpicks.



He was a bloke I was at school with. He used to write appalling

stuff about dead swans in stagnant pools. Dreadful garbage. (The

name of this character was changed to Paula Nancy Millstone

Jennings after complaints by Paul Neil Milne Johnson, an ex-

schoolfriend of Douglas Adams.)




CAPTAIN: Thy micturations are to me

  As plurdled gabbleblotchits in a lurgid bee

  Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles

  Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrune

  And livid glupules fran and slipulate

  Like jowling meated liverslime

  - A variant and unused version of the poem,

  from an early draft TV script.





Yooden Vranx was a character who was introduced in order to

pave the way to some bit of plot which then didn't get properly

pursued because something funny happened and I thought, `Well,

I'll go with that instead'.

  In a way, it's more interesting to keep a character on the

sidelines and never bring him out on stage. Like Oolon Colluphid

who only appears as an author, and you just keep adding books...

I think some of these characters become so popular because

there's this hint of who the pFrson might be the whole time. The

audience have to use their imaginations. If I were to sit down and

explore them in the same depth it would probably be

disappointing. You select the characters you are interested in and

deal with them fully, but it's the little characters on the fringes,

that the audience can make of what they will, that really involve

the audience.



Zaphod was originally based on somebody I knew at Cambridge

called Johnny Simpson, who I think is now a bloodstock agent.

He had that nervous sort of hyperenergetic way of trying to

appear relaxed. That in a way is where it came from, he was

always trying to be so cool and relaxed, but he could never sit

still. Having said that, none of my characters are really based on

actual people. They start with an idea, then they take on a life of

their own, or they fizzle out.

  The two heads, three arms was a one-off radio gag. If I'd

known the problems it was going to cause. . . I've had lots of

rationales for where the extra head and arms came from, and they

all contradict each other. In one version I suggested that he had

always had two heads, in the other I suggest he had it fitted. And

I suggested somewhere he had the extra arm fitted to help with

his skiboxing. Then there was the question of how e managed to

pass himself off on Earth. Arthur says in early versions, rather

inexplicably, that he only had one head and two arms and called

himself Phil, but I never really explained that. In the computer

game I actually dealt with that, and Zaphod is there at the party,

but it's actually a fancy dress party and he claims to have a parrot

on his shoulder. He has a cage for it, with a drape over it, and his

second head is sitting under the drape saying `Pretty Polly!'

  There's a scene in which Trillian can't understand why

Zaphod seems on the one hand quite bright and on the other

appallingly dumb. That was a bit of self-portraiture. I sometimes

strike myself as being quite a clever guy, and sometimes cannot

imagine how I can be so slow-witted and stupid, so dull and

brainless. I can't understand why I should be able to write

something which everybody thinks is terribly clever, and at the

same time be personally so dumb. I think I'm schizophrenic.



Appendix IV


The Definitive 'How to Leave the Planet'










member of the Human Race. This chapter is for you. Before you

read it :

1) Find a stout chair.

2) Sit on it.

  This chapter has been spontaneously generated by the


It will appear in this book when the computer judges that the

Earth has passed the P.O.S.T.O.S.E.H. (P.o.s.t.o.s.e.h: Possibility of Sorting Things Out Sensibly Event Horizon)

  If you have this chapter you may assume that the crucial

point has now been passed, and that you are one of those chosen

to be the future of the Human Race.

The following instructions are for you:

Leave the planet as quickly as possible.

Do not procrastinate.

Do not panic.

Do not take the Whole Earth Catalog.



1) Phone NASA (tel. 0101 713 483 0123). Explain that it's very

important that you get away as quickly as possible.

2) If they do not cooperate, then try to get someone at the White

House (tel. 0101202 456 1414) to bring some pressure to bear on


3) If you don't get any joy out of them, phone the Kremlin (tel:

0107095 295 9051) and ask them to bring a little pressure to bear

on the White House on your behalf.

4) If that too fails, phone the Pope for guidance (tel. O10 396


5) If all these attempts fail, flag down a passing flying saucer and

explain that it's vitally important that you get away before your

phone bill arrives.



Where everyone else in the Galaxy is heading. Stay in the swim,

hang out in bars, keep your ear to the sub-etha. Send all

information home on postcards for the benefit of the next wave

of Earth emigrants. Current information says that everyone else

in the Galaxy is heading for a small planet in Galactic Sector

JPG71248. It is clearly the most wonderfully trendy zillion tons

of hunky rock in the known sky.



Difficult and unbelievably dangerous.

  Space is notorious for-having all sorts of terribly frightening

things happening in it, most of which are best dealt with by

running away very fast.

  You should therefore take with you:

1) A pair of strong running shoes. The most useful type are of

outrageous design and mind-mangling colours; experience has

shown that if, while strolling through the ancient swampworld of

Slurmgurst you come unexpectedly across an appalling alien

monster with Lasero-Zap eyes, Swivel-Shear teeth, several dozen

tungsten-carbide Vast-Pain claws forged in the sun furnaces of

Zangrijad, and a terrible temper, it is in your immediate best

interests that the monster should be for a moment

a) startled, and

b) looking downwards.

2) A towel. Whilst the monster is temporarily confused by your

footwear you should wrap the towel round its head and strike it

with a blunt instrument.

3) A blunt instrument (see above).

4) A green Eezi-Mind Anti-Guilt jacket or sweat shirt, for

wearing after incidents such as the above. Guilt is now known to

be an electromagnetic wave-form which is reflected and diffused

by the material from which these shirts are made. Wearing them

protects you from worrying about all sorts of things, including

yout unpaid phone bill.

5) A pair of Joo Janta 200 Super Chromatic Peril-Sensitive

Sunglasses. These will help you to develop a relaxed attitude to

danger. At the first hint of trouble they turn totally black, thus

preventing you from seeing anything which might alarm you.

6) All the lyrics to any songs you like to sing whilst travelling. It

is very easy to make enemies by continually singing a song you

don't know all the words to, particularly on long space journeys.

7) A bottle of something. There are very few people in the Galaxy

who won't be more pleased to see you if you are carrying a bottle

of something.



In case of physical injury, press the buttons relating to A) part

affected and B) nature of injury simultaneously


[ ] leg   [ ] broken

[ ] arm   [ ] bruised

[ ] head  [ ] wrenched off

[ ] chest [ ] mauled by Algolian suntiger

[ ] other [ ] insulted


  This page will instantly exude appropriate waves of

sympathy and understanding.



In case of doubt, confusion or alarm, please touch this panel.



*  HI THERE !  *




At times of stress it is often reassuring to make physical contact

with friendly objects. This panel is your friend.


  NB: On the assumption that nothing terrible is going to

happen to the world, and everything's suddenly going to be

alright really, all the advise in this chapter may be safely ignored.



Douglas Adams originally wrote `How to Leave the Planet'

under the title of The Abandon Earth Kit, which appeared as a

fourteen-sided figure - a quatuordecahedron - of a silvery blue

colour, which was "issued partly in the interests of assuring some

reasonably relaxed and pleasant future for the human race, partly

to introduce the world to Athleisure" (the footwear company

who distributed the Kit as a marketing ploy) "and partly because

it's a rather nice shape."

  He then rewrote bits of it, changing the concept of the planet

Athleisure to Ursa Minor Beta, for The Restaurant at tbe End of

the Universe. He then rewrote the whole of it, leaving out some

bits, for the liner notes of the American editions of the

Hitchhiker's albums. He then took the first section and rewrote

that not very much for the American (three book) Hitchhiker's

Trilogy Introduction, and not at all for the English (four book)

Hitchhiker's Trilogy Introduction.

  The version above is a pretty definitive compilation of all the




 Appendix V

Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen:

An Excerpt from the film Treatment

by Douglas Adams




CRICKET AT LORD'S - the last day of the final Test. England

need just a few more runs to beat Australia.

  The Tardis lands - in the Members' Enclosure; very bad

form. The members are only slightly mollified when the Doctor

emerges (with Sarah Jane Smith) wearing a hastily donned tie and

waving a very old membership card.

  Three runs still needed. The batsman hits a six and the crowd

goes wild.

  In the middle of the pitch, the Ashes are presented to the

England captain. The Doctor causes a sensation by strolling over

and asking if he could possibly take them as they are rather

important for the future of the Galaxy. Confusion reigns, along

with bewilderment, indignation, and all the other things the

English are so good at.

  Then, whilst the Doctor is discussing the matter quite

pleasantly with one or two red-faced blustering gentlemen,

something far more extraordinary happens:-

  A small Cricket Pavilion materialises on the centre of the

pitch. Its doors open and eleven automata, all apparently wearing

cricket whites, caps, pads and carrying cricket bats file out onto

the pitch.

  Bewilderment turns to horror as these automata, moving as a

tightly drilled and emotionless team, club those in their

immediate vicinity with their bats, seize the urn containing the

Ashes and file back towards their Pavilion.

  Before they depart two of them use their bats as beam

projectors to fire a few warning shots of stunray into the crowd.

Another tosses what appears to be a red ball into the air, and with

a devastating hook smacks it straight into a Tea Tent which

promptly explodes.

  The doors of the Pavilion close behind them and it vanishes


  After a few seconds of stunned shock the Doctor struggles

back to his feet.

  "My God," he breathes, "so they've come back. . ."

  "But it's preposterous. . . absurd!" people exclaim.

  "It is neither," pronounces the Doctor. "It is the single most

frightening thing I have seen in my entire existence. Oh, I've heard

of the Krikkitmen, I used to be frightened with stories of them

when I was a child. But till now I've never seen them. They were

supposed to have been destroyed over two million years ago."

  "But why," people demand, "were they dressed as a cricket

team? It's ridiculous!"

  The Doctor brusquely explains that the English game of

cricket derives from one of those curious freaks of racial memory

which can keep images alive in the mind eons after their true

significance has been lost in the mists of time. Of all the races in the

Galaxy only the English could possibly revive the memory of the

most horrific star wars that ever sundered the Universe and

transform it into what is generally regarded as an incomprehensibly

dull and pointless game. It is for that reason that the Earth has

always been regarded slightly askance by the rest of the Galaxy-

it has inadvertently been guilty of the most grotesquely bad taste.

  The Doctor smiles again for a moment and says that he did

enjoy the match, and could he possibly take the ball as a souvenir?

  The Doctor and Sarah leave in the Tardis. During the next

couple of scenes we learn some of the background history of the

Krikkitmen from the Doctor's explanation to Sarah and his

arguments with the Time Lords. If it can be done partly using

flashback and archive recordings from Gallifrey then so much

the better.



The Planet of Krikkit lies in an isolated position on the very

outskirts of the Galaxy.

  Its isolation is increased by the fact that it is obscured from

the rest of the Galaxy by a large opaque Dust Cloud.

  For millions of years it developed a sophisticated scientific

culture in all fields except that of astronomy of which it,

understandably, had virtually no knowledge.

  In all their history it never once occurred to the people of

Krikkit that they were not totally alone. Therefore the day that

the wreckage of a spacecraft floated through the Dust Cloud and.

into their vicinity was one of such extreme shock as to totally

traumatise the whole race.

  It was as if a biological trigger had been tripped. From out of

nowhere, the most primitive form of racial consciousness had hit

them like a hammer blow. Overnight they were transformed

from intelligent, sophisticated, charming, normal people into

intelligent, sophisticated, charming manic xenophobes.

  Quietly, implacably, the people of Krikkit aligned themselves

to their new purpose - the simple and absolute annihilation of

all alien life forms.

  For a thousand years they worked with almost miraculous

speed. They researched, perfected and built the technology to

wage vast interstellar war.

  They mastered the technique of instantaneous travel in space.

  And they built the Krikkitmen.

  The Krikkitmen were anthropomorphic automata. They wore

white uniforms, peaked skull helmets which housed scything laser

beams, carried bat-shaped weapons which combined the functions

of devastating ray guns and hand-to-hand clubs. The lower half of

their legs were in ribbed rocket engines which enabled them to fly.

  By an ingenious piece of systems economy they were enabled

to launch grenades with phenomenal accuracy and power simply

by striking them with their bats.

  These grenades, which were small, red and spherical, and

varied between minor incendiaries and nuclear devices were

detonated by impact - once their fuses had been primed by

being struck by a bat. Finally, all preparations were complete, and

with no warning at all the forces of Krikkit launched a massive

blitz attack on all the major centres f the Galaxy simultaneously.

  The Galaxy reeled.


  At this time, the Galaxy was enjoying a period of great harmony

  and prosperity. This was often represented by the symbol of the

  Wicket Gate - three long vertical rods supporting two short

horizontal ones. The left upright of STEEL, represented strength

and power: the right upright, of PERSPEX, represented science

and reason; the centre upright, WOOD, represented nature and

spirituality. Between them they supported the GOLD bail of

prosperity and the SILVER bail of peace.

  The star wars between Krikkit and the combined forces of

the rest of the Galaxy lasted for a thousand years and wreaked

havoc throughout the known Universe.

  After a thousand years of warfare, the Galactic forces, after

some heavy initial defeats, eventually defeat the people of Krikkit.

Then they have to face. . .




The unswerving militant xenophobia of the Krikkitas rules out

any possibility of reaching any modus vivendi, any peaceful co-

existence. They continue to believe their sacred purpose is the

obliteration of all other life forms.

  However, they are quite clearly not inherently evil but

simply the victims of a freakish accident of history. It is therefore

impossible to consider simply destroying them all. What can be





The planet of Krikkit is to be encased for perpetuity in an

envelope of Slow Time, inside which life will continue almost

infinitely slowly. All light is deflected round the envelope so that

it remains entirely invisible and impenetrable to the rest of the

Universe. Escape from the envelope is impossible until it is

unlocked from the outside.

  The action of Entropy dictates that eventually the whole

Universe will run itself down, and at some point in the

unimaginably distant future first life and then matter will simply

cease to exist. At that time the planet of Krikkit and its sun will

emerge from the Slow Time envelope and continue a solitary

existence in the twilight of the Universe.

  The Lock which holds the envelope in place is on an asteroid

which slowly orbits the envelope.

  The key was the symbol of the unity of the Galaxy - a

Wicket of Steel, Wood, Perspex, Gold, and Silver.

  Shortly after the envelope had been locked, a group of

escaped Krikkitmen had attempted to steal the Key in the process

of which it was blasted apart and fell into the Space Time Vortex.

The passage of each separate component was monitored by the

Time Lords.

  The ship containing the escaped Krikkitmen had been blasted

out of the sky.

  All the other millions of Krikkitmen were destroyed.

  The Doctor and Sarah go to Gallifrey to try and find some


  The Doctor is furious with the bureaucratic incompetence of

the Time Lords. The last component of the Wicket to emerge

from the Space Time vortex was the wooden centre stump which

materialised in Melbourne, Australia in 1882 and was burnt the

following year and presented as a trophy to the English cricket


  Only now, a hundred years later, have the Time Lords

woken up to the fact that every part of the Wicket is now back in

circulation and should be collected up and kept safely.

  The Time Lords at first refuse to believe the Doctor's story

that the Krikkitmen have stolen the Ashes of the wooden stump.

They say that every single Krikkitman was accounted for, and

they are all safe.

  "Safe!" exclaims the Doctor, "I thought they were all destroyed

two million years ago!"

  "Ah well, not exactly destroyed, as such..." begins one of the

Time Lords, and a rather curious story emerges.

  The Krikkitmen, it seems, were in fact sentient androids

rather than mere robots. The difference is crucial, particularly in

war time. A robot, however complex, is basically a programmable

fighting machine, even if an almost infinitely large number of

response patterns give it the appearance of intelligent thought.

  On the other hand, a sentient android is taught rather than

programmed, it has a capacity for actual initiative and creative

thought, and a corresponding slight reduction in efficiency and

obedience - they are in fact artificial men and as such protected

under the Galactic equivalent of the Geneva Convention. It was

therefore not possible to exterminate the Krikkitmen, and they

were instead placed in a specially constructed Suspended

Animation vault buried in Deep Time, an area of the Space Time

Vortex under the absolutely exclusive control of the Time Lords.

And no Krikkitman has ever left it.

  Suddenly, news arrives that the Perspex stump has disappeared

from its hiding place. The Time Lords are forced to admit that the

Doctor's story may be true and tell him the locations of the other

components of the Wicket.

  The Doctor and Sarah hurriedly visit the planets where the

other components are stored.

  First, the Steel Stump. They are too late. It is gone.

  Second, the Gold Bail. It is gone.

  Third, the Silver Bail. . . it is still there! If they can retrieve it

the Key is useless and the Universe is safe.

  It is worshipped as a sacred relic on the planet of Bethselamin.

The Bethselamini are predictably a little upset when the Doctor

and Sarah materialise in the chamber of worship and remove the

Sacred Silver Bail. The Doctor cannot stay to argue the point but

gives them all a little bow just as he is about to leave the chamber,

thus fortuitously ducking his head at the precise moment that a

Krikkit bat swings at him from the open door.

  They have arrived.

  A pitched battle ensues in which the Bethselamini are rather

forced to conjoin on the Doctor's side.

  During the Battle, the Doctor finds his way into the

Krikkitmen's Pavilion, where he has to fight for his life. Just as a

death blow is apparently about to be struck, the Doctor, half

dazed, falls against a lever, and the Krikkitman slumps forward,


  The Doctor has inadvertently switched them all off.

  The battle is over. The Doctor is incredulous. If it is possible

simply to turn them off then they can't possibly be sentient

androids, they must be robots - so what were the Time Lords

talking about? Why weren't the Krikkitmen destroyed?

  The Bethselamini are recovering. Sarah seems to be slightly

dazed, staring into the face of a paralysed Krikkitman. She soon

recovers. We gather (though the Doctor doesn't notice) that she

may have been hypnotised.

  The Doctor dismantles one Krikkitman to examine its

interior. He discovers that it is cunningly disguised as an android,

but that in all crucial respects the circuitry is robotic, a fact that

anyone making a thorough examination would quickly notice.

Unless, of course, he didn't want to look very hard. . .

  The Doctor and Sarah return to the Tardis. The next step is

clear. If the Krikkitmen are merely robots after all, then they

must all be destroyed at once. So - off to the Deep Time Vault.

  Sarah points out that they shouldn't leave the Pavilion and

paralysed Krikkitmen on Bethselamin, but take them back to

Gallifrey for safe keeping and/or destruction.

  The Doctor complains that he can't do both things at once.

Sarah's bright idea: if the Doctor will preset all the controls in the

Pavilion and guarantee that all the Krikkitmen are now absolutely

harmless, then she will take them back to Gallifrey and wait for

him there.

  Nothing basically wrong with that, says the Doctor, and

agrees. What he doesn't see is that while his back is turned for a

few moments Sarah quickly and quietly switches a few of the

Tardis's controls, whilst a foreign intelligence flickers briefly

  though her eyes.

  As they leave the Tardis, Sarah surreptitiously hangs her hat

over a panel of lights.

  The Doctor sets the controls of the Pavilion, and rather

reluctantly leaves her to it.

  As soon as she is alone, Sarah completely resets the Pavilion

controls, and it dematerialises.

  The Doctor watches the Pavilion leave and then returns to

the Tardis. Whilst he is setting the controls, he notices that one or

two of them are in the wrong position. With a momentary frown,

he resets them and dematerialises the Tardis.

  It is clear that the journey into Deep Time is immediately

complicated, and actually requiresthe active assistance of the

Time Lords on Gallifrey.

  Eventually the Tardis materialises in a large chamber full of

life support sarcophagi. The chamber is clearly just one of a very

large number.

  He leaves the Tardis. He passes Sarah's hat, but fails to notice

that underneath it a bright warning light is flashing. After he has

gone a hand picks up the hat. Under it a lighted panel reads,


  The hand is Sarah's. Keeping carefully out of sight, she

follows the Doctor out of the Tardis.

  The Doctor has passed through into the next chamber. Sarah

goes to a large control panel set in the wall of the chamber, and

carefully, quietly, moves a switch.

  Krikkitmen are coming out of the Tardis.

  The Doctor has opened a sarcophagus and is examining the

internal workings of the Krikkitman within it.

  Not far behind him another sarcophagus begins to open. . .

  The Doctor is intent on his work. This Krikkitman is also

quite definitely a robot.

  A voice says; "Hello Doctor". He stans and looks up. There

in front of him is Sarah Jane. Around them are several dozen

functioning Krikkitmen. All the sarcophagi are opening.

  A bat swings and connects with the back of the Doctor's

head. He falls.

  He comes to, lying in the Tardis, surrounded by Sarah and

the Krikkitmen.

  "You should be on Gallifrey," he says to her, "how did you

get here? The Pavilion isn't a Tardis machine, it can't possibly

travel into Deep Time."

  Then he catches sight of the flashing panel which Sarah's hat

had previously obscured and the penny drops. He struggles to his

feet and presses a button. A wall drops away and there behind it

stands the Pavilion. Inside the Tardis.

  "So that's why the switches were off. You lowered the

Tardis's defence field, and then reset the Pavilion's controls so

that instead of going to Gallifrey you materialised a few seconds

later inside the Tardis. In fact 1 gave you all a free ride into Deep

Time," says the Doctor.

  A Krikkitman announces that the entire Krikkit army has

now been revived - all five million of them, the Vault has been

shifted out of Deep Time into normal space, and they must now

go to release their masters on Krikkit.

  He orders the Doctor to transport the Tardis to the asteroid

which holds the Lock.

  "And if I refuse?" asks the Doctor.

  "I will kill myself," says the hypnotised Sarah Jane, holding a

knife to her own throat.

  The Doctor complies.

  As soon as the Tardis materialises on the asteroid, Sarah

slumps over. She is of no funher use to the Krikkitmen. When

she comes to, she can remember nothing since the battle in


  The Krikkitmen have reconstituted the Ashes into the original

stump shape, and reconstructed the Wicket Key.

  They bear it before them out onto the surface of the asteroid.

  The Doctor explains to Sarah that there, in front of them yet

totally invisible, is the star and single planet of Krikkit. It has

remained invisible and isolated for two million years, during

which time it has on!y known the passage of five years. In

another direction, they can see the great Dust Cloud that

obscures the rest of the Galaxy.

  A very large altar-like structure rises out of the surface of the

asteroid. A Krikkitman climbs up to and pulls a lever. A perspex

block rises up out of the altar. It has deep grooves carved in it,

evidently designed to hold the upright Wicket. The Wicket is

insened. Lights glow. Power hums. In a scene that would make

Kubrick weep like a baby, the star slowly re-appears before them,

with its planet tiny, but visible, in the distance.

  All the Krikkitmen turn to face the awe-inspiring sight and

together chant, "Krikkit! Krikkit! Krikkit!"

  In that moment of distraction, the Doctor grabs Sarah and

makes a dash for the Tardis. They escape leaving that small group

of Krikkitmen stranded on the asteroid. The Doctor explains that

there's no point in trying to fight the robots now that they've all

been released. Their only chance now is to go to the centre of it

all. . . Krikkit. The Doctor is palpably scared stiff: Krikkit is

about the most dangerous place that anyone other than a Krikkita

could possibly go to. And they've got to go and make them

change their minds. . .

  They land on the planet. . .

  Picking their way carefully through the back streets of a city,

they suddenly inadvertently walk into a main square and come

face to face with a large number of people.

  There is stunned shock on all the faces. . .

  After a few seconds on both sides, a howling cry stans up in

the crowd - of pure animal fear and hatred. The Doctor and

Sarah run for their lives with the crowd in hot pursuit.

  They duck down a side street - and suddenly find thernselves

ambushed from in front. They are knocked senseless. . .







  I owe a debt of thanks to all who helped with this book

- not only those who gave interviews, who helped with

the research, who made suggestions, but also to the

people who made it easier for the book to be written by

lending computers, making coffee, or just being nice at

the right time.

  Thanks especially are due to:

  Alan Bell, Simon Brett, Kevin Davies, Jacqui

Graham, Paddy Kingsland, John Lloyd, Geoffrey

Perkins, and Cliff Pinnock for interviews above and

beyond the call of duty.

  Hitchhiker librarian and unpaid archivist Terry

Platt, and ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (c/o 37 Keen's Road,

Croydon, Surrey CRO 1 AH), the fan club.

Wendy Grahani, lan Pemble, John Peel, Richard

  Holliss (who once started writing it), John Brosnan

(who once started editing it), Roz Kaveney, Bernie Jaye

and Nick Landau, Igor Goldkind, Peter Hogan and all at

Titan, Ken Burr and Julian Marks at Rapid Computers,

and Eugene Beer at Beer-Davies.

  Two women with the same name: Mary Gaiman,

my wife, who transcribed interviews fairly cheaply and

put up with me for nothing; and my late grandmother,

Mary Gaiman.

  Finally, the man without whom this book would

have been highly improbable: Douglas Adams, who

never made any jokes about how late I was with the


Neil.1987. Late.


user comment image
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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