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Famous Quotes From "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

written by: Colin Hicks • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 2/4/2013

Douglas Adams was a magnificent author, and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" quotes within this article prove that not only was the novel funny, but thought provoking as well.

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    From Radio to Novel

    "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" is a hilarious sci-fi novel created by Douglas Adams. The novel was originally a radio play but grew into a novel as the radio play itself became popular. Later, it would be banned in some places for questioning the existence of God, and the use of such offensive language as “whore."

    However it is without doubt that Adams, who passed away on May 11, 2001 due to a heart attack, created a legacy that continues to influence popular culture today. As a memorial of sorts to this great man, and the legendary work that he left us, some of his funniest and most thought-provoking quotes from "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" novel are listed here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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    The Funny

    There is not much to elaborate on here. The funny quotes are just that--funny. Douglas Adams had a way with words; he could make you laugh while at the same time move along the plot of his stories. He really was not only a witty comedian but also a masterful author. Just see for yourself:

    1) "A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." – Inside "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"

    2) "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." – The Narrator

    3) DON'T PANIC. – Words inscribed in large, friendly letters on front cover of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

    4) "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." – Ford Prefect

    5) "Mostly harmless" – "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" take on the planet Earth.

    6) "One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide that fact that he actually didn't understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid." - The Narrator

    Answer to Life 

    7) "That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!" – Vroomfondel, a philosopher.

    8) "Simple. I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself in to its external computer feed. I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it," said Marvin.

    "And what happened?" pressed Ford.

    "It committed suicide," said Marvin [...].

    9) "Oh no, not again." – The Bowl of Petunias upon discovering that it was falling toward the ground from 300 miles up.

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    The Thought Provoking

    Not only could Mr. Adams make us laugh, or craft a well-thought-out and slick story, but he could also be insightful and make us think about the world and how we live, as we read about the wacky adventures his characters get up to. Here are a few of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" quotes that highlight this ability of Adams', with a few short sentences of commentary.

    1) "This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy" – The Narrator

    This quote says so much by saying so little. Are most of the people living on the world unhappy? Sometimes it sure seems so. This line makes you question the life you lead, to a certain extent, and the culture and society you are apart of.

    2) "He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it." – Mr. Prosser.

    Adams isn't afraid to bring a little philosophical solipsism to his novel. This single line, a thought from a seemingly minor character, asks us whether or not we are the dreamers, enjoying this tiny snippet of Mr. Prosser's life. We then go on to wonder if there are any dreamers out there, enjoying some small snippet of our own life in a clever satirical comedy novel.

    3) "Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-boggingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."

    This quote encompasses the feeling you get when you look up into the sky on a clear night. Space is big, really big. Sometimes we need a little perspective, and here Adams gives it to us, as he reminds us that in the vastness of space, we're a tiny speck.

    4) "Life," says Marvin dolefully, "loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it."

    Sometimes life can hit you hard, and Marvin the Robot knows all about that. A great source of comedic relief, Marvin also produces some thoughtful dialogue. Do we really like life, with all its toil and pain? Does Marvin?

    5) "For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons."

    This little snippet of dialogue the Narrator gives us really can throw you for a loop. Are we really the most intelligent species on this planet, or have we deluded ourselves into believing it? Apparently, dolphins like to think they are more intelligent than the human species in Adams' universe.

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    Are You Convinced?

    Douglas Adams was an excellent author and comedian who is sorely missed. The man was a legend in his own right, and the works he created have proven to be successful for many years after their publication. I hope that these quotes have reminded you how much you enjoyed "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and have encouraged you to read it again — or read it for the first time, if you have yet to do so. I promise you, you will not regret it.

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