And Another Thing

Foreword

If you own a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy then one of the last things you would be likely to type into its v-board would be the very same title of that particular Sub-Etha volume as, presumably, since you have a copy, then you already know all about the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor. However, presumption has been the runner-up in every major Causes of Intergalactic Conflict poll for the past few millennia, first place invariably going to Land-Grabbing Bastards with Big Weapons and third usually being a toss-up between Coveting Another Sentient Being’s Significant Other and Misinterpretation of Simple Hand Gestures. One man’s ‘Wow! This pasta is fantastico!’ is another’s ‘Your momma plays it fast and loose with sailors.’

Let us say, for example, that you are on an eight-hour layover in Port Brasta without enough credit for a Gargle Blaster on your implant, and if upon realizing that you know almost nothing about this supposedly wonderful book you hold in your hands, you decide out of sheer brain-fogging boredom to type the words ‘the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy’ into the search bar on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, what results will this flippant tappery yield?

Firstly, an animated icon appears in a flash of pixels and informs you that there are three results, which is confusing as there are obviously five listed below, numbered in the usual order.

Guide Note: That is if your understanding of the usual numerical order is from small to large and not from derivative to inspired, as with Folfangan Slugs who judge a number’s worth based on the artistic integrity of its shape. Folfangan supermarket receipts are beauteous ribbons, but their economy collapses at least once a week.

Each of these five results is a lengthy article, accompanied by many hours of video and audio files and some dramatic reconstructions featuring quite well-known actors.

This is not the story of those articles.

But if you scroll down past article five, ignoring the offers to remortgage your kidneys and lengthen your pormwrangler, you will come to a line in tiny font that reads ‘If you liked this, then you might also like to read…’ Have your icon rub itself along this link and you will be led to a text only appendix with absolutely no audio and not so much as a frame of video shot by a student director who made the whole thing in his bedroom and paid his drama soc. mates with sandwiches.

This is the story of that appendix.

Introduction

So far as we know… The Imperial Galactic Government decided, over a bucket of jewelled crabs one day, that a hyperspace expressway was needed in the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy. This decision was rushed through channels ostensibly to pre-empt traffic congestion in the distant future, but actually to provide employment for a few ministers’ cousins who were forever mooching around Government Plaza. Unfortunately the Earth was in the path of this planned expressway, so the remorseless Vogons were dispatched in a constructor fleet to remove the offending planet with gentle use of thermonuclear weapons.

Two survivors managed to hitch a ride on a Vogon ship: Arthur Dent, a young English employee of a regional radio station whose plans for the morning did not include having his home planet blasted to dust beneath his slippers. Had the human race held a referendum, it would have been quite likely that Arthur Dent would have been voted least suitable to carry the hopes of humankind into space. Arthur’s university yearbook actually referred to