The question doesn't exist, nor does the answerThe answer truly is 42. However, this answer is useless without the question, because the 'answer to live, the universe, and everything' is meant to reiterate that it's much more important to go around asking questions then giving answers. However, if you must now the answer to the question 'what is the question?' then it is 'What is Paradise?' This is the number that you will get if you add up all of the dots on a pair of dice. Pair of dice, pair o' dice, paradise.
The question doesn't exist, nor does the answerApparently, if we find the question and the answer, the universe will be replaced by something infinitely more confusing. However, this has already happened at least once (we think), and has probably happened multiple times before that, too. If you do that enough times, eventually the result will be something that makes no sense to anyone including its creator, or something with no meaning. No meaning, no question, no answer. 42 is a number pulled out of Deep Thought's and Douglas Adam's collective ass.
The faulty probability axis the Earth is on is due to the mice.Most planets are natural, and that's why they either exist or don't exist in different parallel universes. But the Earth was built by the mice. Therefore in some parallel universes, Deep Thought wasn't built, or couldn't find the Answer, or didn't tell the mice how to build Earth, or the mice just decided not to, or any other combination of events relating to that whole storyline from the first book. That's why it exists on the whole 'random probability fluctuation' fault line.
The computing power of EarthNow, we know that it took the Earth 10 billion years to (almost) determine the Ultimate Question. And it is self-apparent that the Ultimate Question would be 42 characters (where "characters" are lower-case letters, space, period, and commas). From this, it is easy to determine there are about 8.3x10^61 possible combinations. Further, using the fact that when the Answer was orignally revealed that computers were 100 less powerful, it is easy to calculate that at the rate these computers were going, 2,000 combinations a second, that the Earth was approximately 4.2x10^42 times as powerful as the computer used to write the Hitchiker's Trilogy. Now did I just blow your mind or what?
Earth has already worked out the Ultimate Question, and one human expressed it - Bob DylanHow many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man? 42. Bada-bing, bada-boom.
We get told the Ultimate Question in the first book.OK, Marvin has a brain the size of a planet. He tells us this. To prove how much cleverer than human he is, he asks Arthur Dent to think of a number. When Arthur does, Marvin tells him that he is wrong. That is it. The ultimate question is "Think of a number."
The Universe's Ruler's Cat in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe IS God....Well, at least in that
The real question is not "What do you get when you multiply six by nine?"Arthur is, presumably, a descendant of the Golgafrinchans. But they weren't created as part of the Earth. Therefore, there is no way that they can have the answer stored in their minds. The ape-men, however, managed to produce "42", which means that they are part of the computer. Therefore, the question is stored the apes' minds, but not in Arthur's or the Golgafrinchans'. The fact that the question gives a different answer than what is calculated is not an error on the computer's fault — it's a result of the humans not originally being part of the computer.
The Ultimate Question is something on the order of, "How many times has this question been discovered/asked?"Which of course means that discovery or asking of the Question will cause the Answer to increment. Cue the Universe reconfiguring itself around the new Answer.
The question was discovered in So Long and Thanks For All The Fish but was not revealed by Douglas Adams.The Earth was destroyed 5 minutes before the Question was supposed to be computed. When the Earth was brought back into existence, that means that the Earth was able to complete the Question in time, since the Earth was destroyed the second time several months after the first time. The reason Adams didn't reveal the Question was that A. revealing it would destroy the universe, and B. Adams was too busy writing love scenes between Arthur and Fenchurch.
The unwritten sequels would have seen the gang rescued by Lig Lury, Jr.Lury, you will remember, was the Guide editor and disciple of the Lunching Friars who had disappeared while on a protracted luncheon break. It's (finitely) probable that he hooked up with Slartibartfast's restaurant ship Bistromath and spent the next hundred years touring the best eateries of the galaxy. Perhaps Adams established Arthur's sandwich-making skills and Ford's restaurant critic gig to provide a reason for a famished Lury to swoop in and save them before the earth blew up.
People really do come to sing songs to The Lordand the ruler of the universe is right not to believe in anything.
tvtropes.org is actually the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!...and Wikipedia is the Encyclopaedia Galactica. See here for more details.
The person that figured out both the question and the answer would have reality bending powers.Thus, destroying the Universe and recreating into something even weirder depended on their emotions, wasn't really automatic. And such person would need to be emotionally unstable to figure it out at first, making it practically automatic in first place (I know it's confusing, but understandable after a certain point of view). So, I guess that's how Haruhi got her powers and rebuilt the Universe through boredom (the Universe always being on risk of becoming even more weirder than the rebuild isn't mentioned in the books, but it's part of the New Order's weirdness); the fact that she doesn't know that she have powers is one more proof, how was she supposed to know that she knew the question and the answer, and those would give her such powers?
Marvin's Brain is/was the EarthMarvin continually claims that his brain is the size of a planet; this is because it is the Earth computer, or is connected to it. He is infinitely depressed in part due to the fact that he knows that the Question discovered by the Earth is the wrong one, and so he is being kept alive for a completely pointless purpose; in "So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish", in which the Earth Mk. II has been installed, the dying Marivn recalls that every part of him has been replaced except the achy diodes down his left side.
Deep Thought was just messing with the scientists.It spent 7 million years writing the first true random number generator, and half a million years thinking of what else it could do. It didn't really think they would actually build Earth. (Although, considering that it would have been the universe's first true random number generator, 42 could really be the answer, by accident. and the question is the program.)
God's last message to his creation is different for every sapient being who reads itArthur's reaction seems to indicate that the had discovered the question, but "Apologize for the inconvenience" doesn't match the answer. It seems that the message is a message to every individual being rather then civilization as a whole.
The sixth radio phase...would've been called the Sexaholic Phase. Unfortunately, countries with strong Moral Guardians would've seen it changed to merely the Hexagonal Phase.
And Another Thing... was written by Douglas Adams possessing Eoin Colfer from beyond the GravePerhaps you may be thinking "But why didn't it come out earlier then?" Obviously,in addition to finding a good person to posses, possession is very difficult to do.Adams,after figuring out how long it would take for him to do this,had Colfer announce that he would be writing book at a point that would be considered an average amount of time for writing a book of such length.
The Heart of Gold from And Another Thing... is not the same one from the previous booksAt some point before (I want to say Life, The Universe, and Everything), it's mentioned that Zaphod Beeblebrox sold the Heart of Gold, and that's why the most improbable ship in the universe doesn't make an appearance in the last couple of books. However, the ship returns in the sixth book, albeit under a different description: instead of being shaped like an enormous white running shoe, it's shaped like a teardrop with slender protuberances running in a circular pattern around its perimeter (basically like an elongated Sputnik). This, coupled with the fact that Eddie the Shipboard Computer is MIA, implies that this is a different Heart of Gold, probably built by whomever Zaphod sold the original to. This also explains why Improbability Drives seem to have become commonplace as opposed to utterly revolutionary.
The Hitchhiker's Guide Galaxy was dreamed into existence by Alex Trebek.And that, my friends, is why we know The Answer but not The Question. Bada-bing!
Buff Orpington is an Alternate Universe Mr. ProsserHe's fleetingly mentioned (in a Guide Note, I think) to be the descendant of some sort of Viking hero. Since Nano is inhabited by many Alternate Universe versions of just a very small and specific group of people, Hillman's cult, it could be that Buff Orpington is the equivalent of Mr. Prosser from the same Earth that spawned Fenchurch and Tricia. Arthur committing suicide. Or at least trying to. It would explain his sudden and inexplicable (given his history and personality) Traveling Jones. He knew what would happen when he started traveling: the Plural Zone effect would hit him and he'd end up... somewhere.
Judiciary Pag, of the Krikkit Wars, is related to Zaphod BeeblebroxJudiciary Pag, privately known as 'Zipo Bibrok 5x10^8', is a distant descendant and/or ancestor of Zaphod Beeblebrox, a logical extension of the Beeblebrox line past his great-grandfather Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth.
Fenchurch never disappeared.Arthur did.
Sooner or later, some Real Life numerologist is going to start doing some deep investigation of the number 42So as to perform a Defictionalization of the concept that the number 42 is the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. It's entirely likely—but not necessary— that it will involve base 13 in some way. Either way, such a numerologist would be unsupported by the Word of God (Douglas Adams anyway, who knows about the actual Gods?); but anyone who let that fact get in the way wouldn't be much of a numerologist or much of a true fan. Death of the Author, after all.
Neither Arthur nor Fenchurch disappeared.Alt-Arthur suddenly got the mind of Arthur-prime while they happened to be flying through the same point in space-time but different points on the axis of probability. See the preceding case of Doctor Rjinswan.
The ultimate question has something to do with Lady Gaga.Gaga. G-A-G-A. 4242.
Arthur Dent is a reincarnation of King Arthur.Arthur was said to awake from his slumber on Avalon to save Britain at its' time of greatest need, which as it turns out was when it was about to be destroyed by the Krikkiters along with the rest of Earth.
The Earth was programmed in CThere are a few order of presidence issues you need to be aware of in C otherwise weird stuff can happen. Consider the following code:
The island from LOST is where the Earth is finalizing the Ultimate Question Of Life The Universe and EverythingOver its running time, the Earth has worked back from the Ultimate Answer of 42, to get the five Ultimate Intermediate Steps of 23, 16, 15, 8 and 4. Just a few more calculations are required to get the Ultimate Question right. It has been said that if both the Question and the Answer are known it will cause the Universe to disappear and be replaced by something much stranger - the proximity of the Answer to a preliminary version of the Question is causing that to happen on a smaller scale, leading to all the tropical polar bears, smoke monsters and Epileptic Trees.
The Heart of Gold is powered by Quantum SuicideThe Heart of Gold really just waits for quantum fluctuations to randomly deliver you to your destination. If you don't reach it in, oh say 5 minutes, it explodes and takes the entire universe with it. But, assuming the many worlds interpretation is true, there will always be at least one version of the universe where you made it to the destination and the Heart of Gold didn't kill you. Since that's the only universe you're alive in, it's the only universe you know about and from your point of view nothing ever goes wrong. Has the added benefit of explaining the other weird effects the drive has, since maybe the drive is only checking for your destination and not other changes to the universe. And it lines up neatly with the way the drive is described working in the books. Finite improbability machines work the same way, but the reliability of the doomsday machine has to be at least equal to the probability of the event you want to happen, otherwise the bomb would just fail to explode rather than giving you the desired effect. Therefore, the Heart of Gold is really just an incredibly reliable doomsday machine.
1978/1979/1981/1984/2005 is the year of the Rapture, the Vogons are God, Ford and Zaphod are angels and Arthur and Trillian were the only ones to be redeemed.Discuss. Besides the fact that yes, I left a few dates out of the header and "redeemed" probably isn't the word. I'm Jewish.
The universe was destroyed and replaced with something even more inexplicable at the start of So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.In the previous universe, which Arthur clearly remembers being in, the Earth was destroyed. Yet at the start of the fourth book, the Earth has returned, and even more inexplicably, Ford's detailed article on Earth for the Guide has no longer been condensed to the words "Mostly harmless." This Snap Back can only be the result of the Question and Answer being known at the same time. Since the prologues of the first and fourth books heavily point to Fenchurch having discovered the Question, the difference between the old Universe and the new one could only mean that she was somehow informed of the Answer as well.
The computer Earth is based around fractals.It would explain how Deep Thought can design something more intelligent than itself. It would also explain why fractals tend to show up in nature, and why humans find them innately attractive. Lotus-Eater Machine may or may not be part of the dream, but everything else is. The ending is Arthur realizing he's dead.
42 is the most terse, concise, compressed, and most importantly offensive vulgarity that Deep Thought could determine.Because answering "Belgium!" to life, the universe, and everything would not have given life, the universe, and everything the response it deserved. Sub-guess: holding up four fingers on one hand and two fingers on the other is the most offensive guesture a being can make from a species with five digits per each of two hands (or four digits and the mousy equivalent of a dewclaw), as represented by the neologism "forty-two".
The Mice really aren't that smart.If the Mice were so smart, why they didn't know the Vogons were coming? The Dolphins knew.
The end of the series would have revealed the Ultimate Question....because then Adams would have stopped writting Hitchhiker's Guide books and started on a new series. That is, the universe would have been destroyed and replaced by something different. Even if this wasn't planned in advance, it would have probably been the ending.
The Hitchiker Universe is actually the DC UniverseDeep Thought knew that if he gave the true Answer, his creators would search for the Question, find it, and destroy the universe. So he lied and told them 42. The actual Answer is 52, and the Question is "How many Earth's are there?". This also explains Fenchurch's disappearance- when the shuttle returned Earth's sector, it crossed into an alternate Earth where she couldn't exist and Earth itself was completely different. The Vogons had to destroy 52 Earths before their assignment from Gag Halfrunt was completed, which is why it was taking them so long.
Fenchurch Put the Ultimate Question and Answer Together on the Flight HomeShe realized and then forgot the Ultimate Question during the Vogon attack, and then learned it again from God's final message to his creation near the end of So Long and Thanks For All the Fish. At that point the universe was safe because she didn't actually know the answer; Arthur had mentioned it to her, asking "does 42 mean anything to you," but she'd thought he was making a joke at the time. Then, when she and Arthur were riding home on the interstellar cruise ship, she remembered what he said earlier, connected 42 and the question together... and the universe was instantly erased and replaced by something even more inexplicable, which is where Mostly Harmless comes in.
The Guide Mk. II is Malphas, a President of Hell from the medieval and post-medieval Demonology.Cobbled together from The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (1904) and Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (1583), using the layout from WMG/BlackButler: He builds houses, high towers and strongholds, -The new/current/eventually-former H2G2 Headquarters.
throws down the buildings of the enemies, - Again, the new/current/eventually-former H2G2 Headquarters, as well as Earth. can destroy the enemies' desires or thoughts (and/or make them known to the conjurer) and all what they have done, - His ability to predict the desires of others because they just told it in their future, as well as the beginning of And Another Thing... (with the simulations and their deactivation). gives good familiars, - It's a raven-esque thing that uses Sufficiently Advanced Technology and acts exactly as friendly as is required for the situation for Random (its official master) and the Vogons (its ultimate masters). and can bring quickly artificers together from all places of the world. - Again, the beginning of And Another Thing..., as well as the last half of Mostly Harmless. Malphas accepts willingly and kindly any sacrifice offered to him, but then he will deceive the conjurer. - Just look at how it works for Random. He is depicted as a crow that after a while or on request will put on human shape, - If I recall correctly, this is a potential option for its interface display, as are six crows, or an infinite lattice of perfectly-tesselated crows, or the shape of a color, or... or... or... and speaks with a hoarse voice. - Its default voice. He governs 40 Legions. - The Vogons that do its bidding/tell it what to do.
Hitchhiker's Guide takes place in the same universe as Doctor WhoIt makes total sense if you think about it. The universe is a huge place, and who's to say that Time Lords and time travel doesn't exist?
The Golgafrinchans didn't replace the original inhabitants of Earth, and may even have been extinct by the start of Life, the Universe and EverythingArthur thinks they must have survived, but given that most didn't make it through the winter and the last time Arthur saw the few survivors, they were sailing off on a raft (almost certainly completely unprepared for a sea journey), it seems quite likely that he's mistaken.
The humans were never supposed to work out the question in the first place - the dolphins were.And maybe they succeeded.
The Guide Mk. 2 created the universe AND itself.Think about it: the Vogons may have thought that they comissioned the building of the guide, but it could have very well used reverse temporal engineering to make them do that. In this way, it is not really working for anyone, but for itself. Furthermore, in order to be needed and to be designed, the guide would have had to construct a universe in which the Vogons needed the Earths destroyed. It would have been easy to simply create this universe to suit its needs.
The place Arthur finds himself in at the end of And Another Thing...is where Fenchurch ended up, and she's waiting for him in the cabin. Because godsdammit, Arthur deserves a happy ending.
Constant Mown is on the Vogon ship at the end of And Another Thing and saves ArthurConstant Mown's plotline feels a little unfinished, doesn't it? It seems like it's leading up to him having to directly rebel against his dad and strike out on his own and do some of those things he's been wanting to do (like hug an Australian lady or whatever), yet he's still working from within the system by the end of the book. Something has to happen to give him the chance to quit Vogon society altogether. So maybe he saves Arthur even though there's no Rules Lawyering way for him to do so. So his dad realizes his son turned out nice and declares I Have No Son. Vogon regulations state that in such cases, the offending Vogon should be thrown out an airlock, but luckily they don't state that the ship must be in flight and his dad still cares about him somewhere deep down in his cold, black circulatory organ, so Constant Mown is just chucked safely out onto the planet where Arthur is. For lack of anything better to do, he starts hanging out with Arthur. Arthur goes back home, with his Vogon savior in tow (assuming the parallel-universe thing going on at the end doesn't interfere in any way), and Random is so grateful to Constant Mown for saving her dad that she asks him out. (After all, she's apparently got no problem with strange Interspecies Romances, based on that thing in the Lotus-Eater Machine with the gerbil creature.) And Arthur finally gets the chance to forbid his daughter to marry a Vogon. But maybe then Arthur realizes he's still in a parallel universe, the only difference being this is one with Fenchurch in it, and she shows up and distracts him entirely from Constant Mown pointing out to Random that Arthur didn't say they can't shack up. Ew.
The Great Prophet Zarquon knows the Ultimate QuestionThink about it. Dolphins are smarter than humans, so they're obviously the ones that were supposed to figure out the Question. But these singing fishlike creatures left when the Vogons turned up. The Great Prophet Zarquon disappeared mysteriously. Zaphod knows a legend connecting Zarquon with singing fish. Zarquon must have gone to the same place, outside space and time somewhere, and learnt the Ultimate Question from the dolphins. And of course, the universe is supposed to end when anyone in it knows both the Question and the Answer. The universe did end 42 pandimensional seconds after Zarquon returned and asked "How are we doing for time?"
Vogons are related to Screwtape and co.They're both extreme Obstructive Bureaucrat types who seem to go out of their way to make the world(s) around them as dull as possible.
Some of the jokes could well refer to Douglas Adams' Real Life personal experiences...Namely, Arthur Dent's experience of the nutrimatic machine producing something "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea" could either refer to the typical Englishman's inability to find anyone who can make a proper British 'cuppa' abroad, or (based on this troper's own experience) the actual 'tea' produced by some hot-drinks vending machines. Similarly, why is 'Belgium' he most obscene word in the universe, I wonder? Seeing as the basic idea for the tale was loosely inspired by Adams' Real Life hitch-hiking trips, it would be unsurprising if this hadn't sneaked in as a bad memory of the country from one of those trips... same with the tea, maybe.
Deep Thought was just screwing with its creators (and the philosophers) all along.It already realised that both question and answer were impossible to fathom and had already accounted for the possibility of the task it had been given. So in order to fool its creators, it just sat about for seven and a half million years just to come up with a nonsense answer to a question it rightly pointed out hadn't even been specified, allowing the philosophers to be "on the gravy train for life". Earth (in the story) is also redundant, really- it's just another excuse to do the same thing.
Renton and Eureka asked the ultimate question in their universe.As a result of their finding and asking the ultimate question, their universe was replaced with something of greater magnitude of bizarreness.
The missile-turned-sperm whale was the very first incarnation of Agrajag.The infinite improbability drive not only did something fantastically improbable by turning two nukes into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias, it also did something extraordinarily improbable by creating a being which would not only die due to the actions of Arthur Dent, but be continuously reincarnated only to die by Arthur's hand with each incarnation. The bowl of petunias was a later incarnation, and was annoyed that not only had Arthur doomed him yet again, it was in the same instance as his very first death.