Places in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
This is a list of places featured in Douglas Adams's science fiction series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The series is set in a fictionalised version of the Milky Way galaxy and thus, while most locations are pure invention, many are based on "real world" settings such as Alpha Centauri, Barnard's Star and various versions of the Earth.
- 1 The Galaxy
- 2 Star systems
- 2.1 Aldebaran
- 2.2 Algol
- 2.3 Alpha Centauri
- 2.4 Altair
- 2.5 Antares
- 2.6 Arcturus
- 2.7 Barnard's Star
- 2.8 Betelgeuse
- 2.9 Folfanga
- 2.10 Frogstar
- 2.11 Hastromil
- 2.12 Megabrantis Cluster
- 2.13 Orion Beta
- 2.14 Pleiades system
- 2.15 Sirius Tau system
- 2.16 Sqornshellous
- 2.17 The Sun
- 2.17.1 Earth
- 2.17.2 Rupert
- 2.18 Ursa Minor
- 2.19 Ysllodins
- 2.20 Zarss
- 3 Planets
- 3.1 Allosimanius Syneca
- 3.2 Argabuthon
- 3.3 Arkintoofle Minor
- 3.4 Asbleg
- 3.5 Bartledan
- 3.6 Bartrax
- 3.7 Bethselamin
- 3.8 Blagulon Kappa
- 3.9 Brantisvogan
- 3.10 Brequinda
- 3.11 Brontitall
- 3.12 Broop Kidron 13
- 3.13 Ciceronicus 12
- 3.14 Damogran
- 3.15 Dangrabad Beta
- 3.16 Earth
- 3.17 Eroticon VI
- 3.18 Esflovian
- 3.19 Fallia
- 3.20 Gagrakacka
- 3.21 Golgafrincham
- 3.22 Han Wavel
- 3.23 Happi-Werld III
- 3.24 Hawalius
- 3.25 Huntringfurl
- 3.26 Jaglan Beta
- 3.27 Jajazikstak
- 3.28 Kiasbanil
- 3.29 Kakrafoon
- 3.30 Kria
- 3.31 Krikkit
- 3.32 Lamuella
- 3.33 Magrathea
- 3.34 Nano
- 3.35 NowWhat
- 3.36 Oglaroon
- 3.37 Poghril
- 3.38 Santraginus V
- 3.39 Saquo-Pilia Hensha
- 3.40 Stegbartle Major
- 3.41 Striterax
- 3.42 Stug
- 3.43 Traal
- 3.44 Viltvodle VI
- 3.45 Vod
- 3.46 Vogsphere
- 3.47 Voondon
- 3.48 Xaxis
- 3.49 Zirzla
- 4 Other locations
- 4.1 Artifactovol
- 4.2 Axel Nebula
- 4.3 The Big Bang Burger Bar
- 4.4 The Bistro Illegal
- 4.5 Carfrax
- 4.6 Chalesm
- 4.7 Cruxwan
- 4.8 Cwulzenda
- 4.9 The Domain of the King
- 4.10 Dordellis
- 4.11 The Evildrome Boozarama
- 4.12 Flargathon Gas Swamps
- 4.13 Flanux
- 4.14 Foth of Avalars
- 4.15 Frastra
- 4.16 Frazfraga
- 4.17 Han Dold City
- 4.18 Hollop
- 4.19 Horsehead Nebula
- 4.20 Hunian Hills
- 4.21 Magramal
- 4.22 Maximegalon
- 4.23 Milliways
- 4.24 The Party
- 4.25 Qualactin Zones
- 4.26 Qvarne
- 4.27 River Moth
- 4.28 Slim's Throat Emporium
- 4.29 Stavromula Beta
- 4.30 Zentalquabula
- 5 Beyond the Galaxy
- 6 References
- 7 External links
"The Galaxy" is our home galaxy, the Milky Way, though it is referred to exclusively as "the Galaxy" in the series. Apart from a very brief moment during the first radio series, when the main characters were transported outside the galactic plane into a battle with Haggunenons, and a moment when one of Arthur's careless remarks is sent inadvertently through a wormhole into "a distant galaxy", the Galaxy provides the setting for the entire series. It is home to thousands of sentient races, some of whom have achieved interstellar capability, creating a vast network of trade, military and political links. To the technologically advanced inhabitants of the Galaxy, a small, insignificant world such as Earth is considered invariably primitive and backward. The Galaxy appears, at least nominally, to be a single state, with a unified government "run" by an appointed President. Its immensely powerful and monumentally callous civil service is run out of the Megabrantis Cluster, mainly by the Vogons.
A "former Galactic Empire" is mentioned in several adaptations of the series. By the time set in the Hitchhiker's series, the government of the Galaxy is referred to as the "Imperial Galactic Government", though it is further explained that the term 'Imperial' is now something of an anachronism. In the television adaptation of the series, the name Imperatala Galacticon is used in one graphic as an alternate name for the previous Galactic Empire.
In the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Fit the Third of the radio series, the empire is described as being known five million years ago for its richness, wildness and lack of taxes. People were described as daring "to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before". However, the craving for luxury custom-made planets among the Galaxy's mercantile elite led to the planet Magrathea gaining control of most of its wealth, which led to a financial Dark Age.
In the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Fit the Twelfth of the radio series, it is established that by the present day setting of the various series, the real imperial rule has been long since abolished. It is explained that when the last Galactic Emperor was just about to die, he was put in a stasis field, keeping his body perpetually in his dying coma. Over time, all the emperor's heirs died and governance of the state shifted from a monarchy to a democracy.
In the books and radio series, the President of the Galaxy is figurehead who is "elected by that assembly". In the movie, however, the President of the Galaxy is a two-horse popular vote between Zaphod Beeblebrox and Humma Kavula.
Thus the president's purpose is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. Almost nobody realizes that the President and the Government have virtually no power at all. Of these, only six people know whence ultimate political power is wielded. "Most of the others secretly believe that the ultimate decision-making process is handled by a computer. They couldn't be more wrong."
The current President of the Galaxy when the series begins is Zaphod Beeblebrox. Zaphod, along with Yooden Vranx, Zaphod's Great-Grandad, Roosta and Zarniwoop, found out how little power the president wields, and set out on a complex journey to find the real ruler of both the Imperial Galactic Government and in fact the entire Universe. Their mission, which ends in the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, culminates in the discovery that power is actually wielded more or less entirely by a man in a shack. He expresses no interest in actually ruling the Universe, instead choosing to enjoy the company of his pet cat (known as "the Lord") and being fascinated with simple things such as a pencil and paper. This behaviour, so reasoned the old imperial government, allowed him to not be distracted by desire or eagerness and made him a perfect ruler. Zarniwoop is somewhat frustrated upon discovering the truth.
North West Ripple
Relative to life on NowWhat, living on an affluent world in the North West ripple of the Galaxy is said to be easier by a factor of about seventeen million.
Outer Eastern Rim
The Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy where the Guide has supplanted the Encyclopedia Galactica among its more relaxed civilisations, and where in the novel Mostly Harmless Arthur Dent heads for "wisdom and truth were to be found" and goes to Hawalius.
Western Spiral Arm
Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha is a galactic sector containing Earth, Barnard's Star, and probably other nearby systems. The "Plural" designation may indicate probability problems; after Fenchurch disappeared during a hyperspace jump, it was pointed out to Arthur Dent that the small print advised against hyperspace travel for those born in Plural sectors. This is apparently common knowledge throughout the rest of the galaxy.
It also gives its name to the Official Hitchhiker's Appreciation Society.
Galactic Sector QQ7 Active J Gamma
Galactic Sector QQ7 Active J Gamma contains the Sun Zarss, the planet Preliumtarn of the famed Sevorbeupstry and Quentulus Quazgar Mountains. It appears in the novels Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish.
Max Quordlepleen claims that the only thing left after the end of the Universe will be the sweets trolley and a fine selection of Aldebaran liqueurs. It is described as "great, OK," in a song protesting against teleportation, and has fine wines that are on the Heart of Gold.
Algol is the home of the Algolian Suntiger, the tooth of which is one of the ingredients of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Before being placed into the Total Perspective Vortex, Zaphod Beeblebrox wished for Algolian Claret, an alcoholic drink presumably created by the gray humanoid species inhabiting the planet. Despite Zaphod's apparent affinity for this drink, Algolian cuisine is equally noted for its unpleasantness. The Algolian Zylbatburger is one such case; as related by Ford Prefect, "They're a kind of meatburger made from the most unpleasant parts of a creature well-known for its total lack of any pleasant parts." It is briefly mentioned as pretty neat in a song protesting against teleportation.
Apart from being the closest star system to Earth's, (4.1 light-years northwest of earth) Alpha Centauri is home to both a local planning department office of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council and a race of small furry creatures (who, during the times of the Galactic Empire, "were real small furry creatures"). Its main spaceport, Port Brasta, has a massive duty-free shopping mall, the motto of which is, "be like the twenty-second elephant with heated value in space -- bark!" This slogan contains an ingenious pun in Centaurian that the natives find hilarious.
Alpha Proxima is the smallest (and closest to Earth) member of the Alpha Centauri system. The first novel points out that it is four light years from Earth's solar system to Alpha Proxima, whilst Damogran is five hundred thousand light years away.
The Altairian dollar is one of three freely convertible currencies in the galaxy, though by the time of the novels it had apparently recently collapsed. According to the Hitchhiker's Guide TV series, one Altairian "long way" is equal to 37 Earth miles.
Arcturus is home to the great Arcturan megafreighters, automated cargo carriers that transport vast quantities of goods between star systems. So large that they eclipse a planet's sun when in orbit, they are supposedly impregnable, though Zaphod Beeblebrox somehow managed it as a child. Former galactic president Yooden Vranx was captain of the megafreighter infiltrated by Zaphod and Ford. Arcturus is also home to a staggering array of oversized and often deadly megafauna, from the Arcturan Megaleech to the Arcturan Megavoidwhale, the Arcturan megagnat to the Arcturan megaelephant and megapuppy, as well as the megacamel, well known by the turn of phrase "one's soul moves at the speed of an Arcturan megacamel", presumably the reason for distilling Arcturan Mega-gin.
Barnard's Star, a red dwarf star six light years from Earth, is an interstellar transit stop used by the Vogon constructor fleet after demolishing Earth, where the crews' planet leave is cancelled after Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz has an unhappy love affair.
The Red supergiant star Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetle-juice") is the home system of Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox. A song protesting against teleportation claims that "Betelgeuse's pretty girls will knock you off your feet", and that, "they'll do anything you like, real fast and then real slow."
Betelgeuse Seven was the birthplace of Ford Prefect's father, who was the only survivor of the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of galactic sidereal year 03758, which wiped out the old Praxibetel communities on the planet. The whole episode is shrouded in deep mystery: in fact no one ever knew what a Hrung was nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven in particular.
New Betel is mentioned as a location somewhere in the Betelgeuse system. Café Lou is a dive bar in Gretchen Town, New Betel. There are rentable rooms on the floors above the bar, where Ford Prefect spent many nights talking and drinking with Hotblack Desiato, who was often writing songs for his ajuitar in the neighbouring room.
Folfanga is a star system, the fourth planet of which is inhabited by a species of small slug, of the genus A-Rth-Urp-Hil-Ipdenu. Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged travelled to this planet to insult one such slug, intending to call it a "brainless prat."
In the original radio series, the Frogstar system does not exist and the Total Perspective Vortex is said to be located on "The Frogstar". It is described in little detail, save that it is "very unpopular", and has been struck by several bombs. A travel brochure recommended the Frogstar for "sun, sand and suffering". The books later expanded the Frogstar into a full system with three known habitable planets.
Frogstar World A is the first planet of the Frogstar system and the home of the Frogstar fighters which take Zaphod Beeblebrox to Frogstar World B. Frogstar World A is described as an altogether more congenial place than Frogstar World B.
Frogstar World B is said to be "the most totally evil place in the galaxy". It is somewhat like the books' equivalent of Brontitall in the radio show; although there are differences between the two, they share some attributes. Although there is no statue of Arthur on Frogstar B, the bird people came about the same way; there is no archeologist called Lintilla in the part of the books that concerns itself with Frogstar B; however, the spaceport with the massively delayed spaceship is there. Frogstar B was thrown into poverty through an event termed the Shoe Event Horizon. Many years ago, Frogstar World B was "a thriving, happy planet - people, cities, shops, a normal world." However, there were slightly too many shoe shops on the high streets of the planet, and the number of shoe shops was steadily increasing. The more shoe shops there were, the more the shops had to make. The more they had to make, the worse and more unwearable the shoes became. And the worse and more unwearable the shoes became, the more the people had to buy, and the more money the shops made until it became economically impossible to build anything other than shoe shops. The result was collapse, ruin, and famine. Most of the population died out, but a select few with the right kind of genetic instability mutated into a bird-like species and cursed the ground, refusing to set foot on it ever again. Frogstar B is the home of the Total Perspective Vortex, a machine that effectively annihilates one's soul by showing one in an instant the whole infinity of creation and oneself in relation to it, and in the continuity of the books, Frogstar World B is the future site of Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In the radio series this role is instead given to Magrathea.
Frogstar World C is the home planet of Gargravarr, the guardian of the Total Perspective Vortex. It is said to be a beautiful place with wonderful fishing opportunities. Its native intelligent life apparently exists in two separate forms, minds and bodies, which cohabit in a similar fashion to married couples. The bodies have not been described physically in the series, save for the fact that they are said to be on their "last elbows" rather than "last legs".
An inhabited solar system which boils away into the ultraviolet shortly before the rest of the Universe ends, thus providing Milliways' patrons with a first foretaste of the apocalypse to come at the end of their meals. Max Quordlepleen wryly notes to Hastromil-native patrons that by this point it's "too late to worry if [they] left the gas on now".
The political hub of the Galaxy, which all the Vogons migrated to from Vogsphere, where they "formed the immensely powerful backbone of the Galactic Civil Service." The philosophers who had previously managed the galaxy were relegated to licking stamps. In the the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the aforementioned Vogon migration has not happened.
Orion Beta is a star system noted for its madranite mining belts. At a hyperspace port serving the mining belts Ford Prefect learned to play a drinking game described as a form of psychic arm wrestling.
Ford Prefect hacks into the British phone system from the Pleiades system (Epsilon and Zeta) in the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. Pleiades Zeta is known in its local language as Zondostina.
Sesefras Magna is in orbit around Zondostina, in the Pleiades. The space near the planet is home to the space station Port Sesefron, a docking place for Xaxisian battleships and other spacecraft visiting the star system. Ford Prefect takes an Escape-O-Buggy from the sales ship he left in orbit around Epun to Port Sesefron in the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Epun is a small cold blue moon of Sesefras Magna that Ford Prefect left a sales ship (with the speaking clock constantly playing on the sound system) orbiting during the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Sirius Tau system
The Sirius Tau Star system is home to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, in the first novel, in which the anti-teleportationists' poem recommends that you "see Tau before you're dead". A party of Young Conservatives from Sirius B visit Milliways in the second novel. They are all, appropriately, dogs.
Eadrax, a planet in the Sirius Tau system, is home to the main administrative hub of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division, which now covers the major landmasses of three medium-sized planets. Eadrax is home to the Complaints Division spaceport, and originally home to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division motto, "SHARE AND ENJOY", which stood in 3-mile-high letters above the main office block, before it fell through said office block and into the ground. Only the top halves of the letters are now visible, and appear to read, in the local language, "Go Stick Your Head in a Pig".
Sqornshellous (also spelt Squornshellous) is a six-star system, possessing a number of planets all sustaining curiously soft-furnishing based species.
Sqornshellous Beta is two planets in from Sqornshellous Zeta, and is inhabited by square cushions who enjoy being rubbed up against, especially with people's shoulders. Unlike Sqornshellous Zeta, it has desert terrain rather than swamps (mentioned in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.)
Sqornshellous Delta is famed for Thor's record for spontaneous flaybooz detonation whilst in orbit (see the novel And Another Thing...).
Dimly illuminated and very very swamp-intensive, Sqornshellous Zeta is the source of almost all the Galaxy's mattresses. Said mattresses (all of whom are called Zem) spend most of their time flolloping, globbering, volluing, vooning, and willomying, all of which are very specific activities that are only ever performed by sentient mattresses—in fact, it is only sentient mattresses that *can* perform them. These activities (or more specifically, the *naming* of these activities) make the planet a favourite destination of etymologists (see also Sqornshellous Swamptalk and The Ultra-Complete Maximegalon Dictionary) The Zems themselves remain a foot tall, until they are caught and very thoroughly killed, then freeze-dried, cleaned, and made into mattress-size corpses (which are promptly used as mattresses). It is a process which, strangely enough, they don't seem to mind at all. Very few mattresses have ever come back to life again (from the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the novel Life, the Universe and Everything)
Marvin the Paranoid Android was invited to Sqornshellous Zeta to give a speech marking the opening of a giant new bridge intended to revive the economy of the Sqornshellous System, said bridge also costing the total sum of the economy of the entire planet to construct. After delivering a characteristically pessimistic speech, Marvin was plugged into the bridge's opening circuits and the whole cyberstructure instantly folded itself up and collapsed from sheer misery, possibly after being directly exposed to Marvin's chronically depressed view of the Universe. Marvin was left stranded in the swamp with only the mattresses to talk to, until warrior robots from Krikkit stole his leg, and then the rest of him.
Earth is "an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy". The sapient life forms on Earth are, in descending order of intelligence, mice, dolphins and humans, the lattermost of whom may or may not be descended from a race of Golgafrinchan telephone sanitisers, hairdressers, management consultants, and documentary film producers." These Golgafrinchans arrived in a space ark which crashed into the planet circa 2 mya, promptly christening their new home "Fintlewoodlewix" (though obviously the name didn't stick).
Earth is widely regarded with derision and scorn by most sentient beings in the galaxy. That most other races have shunned Earth is in part due to its primitive technological state and also for its invention of the game of cricket, an unfortunate product of racial memory that appears to make light of the horrendously genocidal Krikkit Wars, which right-thinking galactic citizens find immensely distasteful. Before the arrival of Ford Prefect and the Vogons, Earth's main form of extraterrestrial contact was with "teasers": bored rich kids who cruise the galaxy looking for planets yet to make interstellar contact, find some isolated spot, land in front of some credulous soul they know no one will ever believe, strut up and down in front of them with "silly antennas on their head" and make "beep-beep" noises at them. Ford regards this practice as "rather childish, really".
Although often mistaken for a planet, Earth is in reality the greatest supercomputer of all time, designed by the second greatest supercomputer of all time, Deep Thought, to calculate the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe and Everything (to which the answer is 42). It was built by the then-thriving custom planet industry of Magrathea to run a ten-million-year program in which organic life would play a major role. Slartibartfast, a Magrathean designer, was involved in the project and signed his name among the fjords of Norway (an area that won him an award).
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy originally described Earth as "harmless" (the entry is short because of the limited amount of space the Guide possessed, what with the sheer size and content of the galaxy itself). After lengthy research over fifteen years (intended only to be a week), Ford Prefect expanded the entry immensely, though his editor trimmed the new description to "mostly harmless". The original entry authored by Ford was later reinstated in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Five minutes before the program was to finish running, Earth was destroyed by the Vogons, allegedly to make way for a hyperspace bypass but in fact to prevent the Ultimate Question being discovered, as it was seen as a threat to the psychiatric industry. It was subsequently replaced by an exact duplicate by the dolphin "Save The Humans" movement, as shown in So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish (the dolphins having escaped by unspecified means shortly before the demolition). The dolphins themselves, however, elected not to return. Some time later, the Earth was once again destroyed by the Second Guide, acting through the amnesiac Grebulons.
Boston is the home of Mrs. Enid Kapelsen, who sees Arthur and Fenchurch flying as she takes an airplane trip.
Cottington is, or rather was, an obscure and unsung little country hamlet in the West Country of England which was, for the last three years prior to the demolition of Earth, Arthur Dent's home. If the Vogons had not shown up, Cottington was scheduled to be transformed into a service station for the very "splendid and worthwhile" New Beddingford bypass, with the village being transformed into the Cottington Service Station, despite the unpopularity of this project with the locals.
The village has a small hotel with a saloon bar named the Horse and Groom.
A town in Surrey which is the home, at least metaphorically, of "Martin Smith". When Arthur Dent, upon meeting Zaphod Beeblebrox, unexpectedly tells Ford Prefect that they had met previously, Ford insists that Zaphod is "not bloody Martin Smith from Croydon." It turns out, however, that Zaphod has previously visited the Earth and indeed met Arthur (very briefly) at a party.
On Earth, Glastonbury was a short-lived location for the Guide's financial records office - "ten years' worth of financial records were transferred to a magic hill just outside the city mere hours before the Vogons arrived", in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
Guildford, a town in southeastern England, is where Ford Prefect usually claimed to be from, as opposed to Betelgeuse, which is where he was actually from.
At a party at a flat (phone number 276 7091) in Islington (a section of London), about six months before the destruction of the Earth, Arthur totally failed to hit it off with Tricia McMillan (Trillian), who instead went off with "Phil", a space alien who turned out to be Zaphod Beeblebrox.
Islington also was the location of the cave in which Arthur lived during Earth's prehistoric period, as described in the third novel. Two million years later, exactly the same spot was the location of Fenchurch's home as described in the fourth novel.
Ford Prefect claims to be calling from Letchworth to a BT phone operator during Fit the Twentieth of the radio series while trying to connect to the speaking clock from a Sirius Cybernetics sales scout ship in a slow parking orbit a little-known moon of Sesefras Magna in the Pleiades.
The Hitchhiker's Guide advises any alien visitor to New York to get a job as a cab driver, as it does not require a human appearance, knowledge of the English language or indeed the local laws of physics. It won't matter where you land your ship, as no one will notice. The East River is particularly recommended for many amphibious lifeforms from the Swulling, Noxios or Nausalia systems, as its pollution is richer in nutrients than any known synthetic alternative.
A particular love of its creator, the Magrathean Slartibartfast, who eulogises its "lovely crinkly edges". For a time in the distant past, fjords were fashionable and he won an award for their design. During their trek away from the site of Golgafrinchan ark crash, Ford and Arthur see Slartibartfast's likeness and signature carved into an ice wall in one of the fjords, making them realize that they are on prehistoric Earth.
Rickmansworth is a place in England where, according to the prologue to the first novel, a young woman sitting on her own in a small cafe (later identified as Fenchurch in the fourth book) realized how the Earth could be made a good and happy place. Unfortunately, this epiphany came to her just before the Earth was demolished by the Vogons.
A distorted version of Southend is one of the visions that confront Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect when the Improbability Drive of the Heart of Gold transports them to the ship from outer space having been thrown out from the Vogon ship. This version of Southend created by the Improbability Drive is in all respects very similar to the normal one, except that the buildings wash up onto the sea and not the other way around. In Fit the Second of the radio series, Arthur also confesses to a recurring childhood nightmare in which he died and was sent to Southend in lieu of Heaven or Hell.
Stepney is the final resting place, the Guide says, of the chef who dies forgotten and alone among his cats in a back stair, whose memorial is those plastic pins in the shape of a chef's hat found in pub sausages. In So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish.
In the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish Arthur and Fenchurch have a drink in a pub in Taunton (Somerset, England), and where Arthur wins a raffle and later spends time rooting through the bins in search of the raffle ticket on which Fenchurch wrote her phone number.
In 2005, a large body fitting Rupert's description was discovered beyond Pluto (which was considered a planet then, as opposed to a dwarf planet now). In a poll of the public conducted by New Scientist magazine to search out potential names for the object, "Rupert" ranked #5, and "Persephone" was the top choice. The object was named Eris and designated a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union on 13 September 2006.
Ursa Minor is home to some of the great galactic publishing and media corporations.
Ursa Minor Alpha
A silver trophy awarded at the Annual Ursa Minor Alpha Recreational Illusions Institute Awards Ceremony was later stolen and used as part of the key needed to unlock the Slo-Time envelope that surrounded the planet Krikkit.
Ursa Minor Beta
The rich and sunny planet Ursa Minor Beta has the quite peculiar property that most of its surface consists of subtropic coastline. Even more peculiar, on this world it's always Saturday afternoon, just right before the beach bars close. Light City, the only city on Ursa Minor Beta, which can only be reached by plane, is the very place where the editorial offices of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reside. A further anomaly in Light City is that the Lalamatine district, just behind the beach, is the only place on the planet not to enjoy a perpetual Saturday afternoon. Instead it is always early evening, with cooling breezes - this is where the nightclubs are located.
The novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe states that "Ursa Minor Beta is, some say, one of the most appalling places in the known Universe." "Although it is excruciatingly rich, horrifyingly sunny and more full of wonderfully exciting people than a pomegranate is of pips, it can hardly be insignificant that when a recent edition of Playbeing Magazine headlined an article with the words, 'When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta you are tired of life', the suicide rate there quadrupled overnight."
Megadodo Publications are the original publishers of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The company's headquarters were located on Ursa Minor Beta, in a pair of 30-story office buildings connected partway up their height by a walkway, so that the entire structure resembled a giant letter H. The relocation of the offices to a resort planet caused the company to lose much of its credibility among its customer base. One of the buildings was uprooted by a squadron of Frogstar fighters and brought to the Frogstar, in an attempt to capture and discipline rogue Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox. The Megadodo lobby is always filled with grubby-looking hitchhikers wanting to complain about the Guide's many inaccuracies.
The president of Megadodo Publications is Zarniwoop, who is always too cool to see visitors. Megadodo was criticized by its customers for setting up an artificial universe in order to allow its editors and contributors to collect book information without leaving their offices. Notably secretive (or destructive) about their financial and historical records, the entire company was later (in the novel Mostly Harmless) bought out by Infinidim Enterprises, which stopped selling the Guide to hitchhikers entirely and eliminated all of what Megadodo had once stood for, much to the disapproval of employee Ford Prefect. The takeover was, in fact, part of a new plan by the Vogons to destroy Earth in all possible parallel dimensions - a plan that eventually succeeded.
The Lalamatine district of Ursa Minor Beta has shops, bolonut trees and pavement cafes and enjoys a cool perpetual early Saturday evening, from the second novel.
Ysllodins is the star system which, centuries ago, was the centre of the galactic insurance business. Its star went supernova almost immediately after the destruction of the Starship Titanic. It is an anagram of "Lloyds ins", a reference to the ancient insurance market Lloyds of London.
A star in Galactic Sector QQ7 Active J Gamma, beyond what used to be known as the Limitless Lightfields of Flanux, until the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine were discovered lying beyond them. It is orbited by the planet Preliumtarn, on which is the land of Sevorbeupstry, in which is the Great Red Plain of Rars, bounded on the South side by the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains. According to the dying words of Prak, written here in 30-foot-high (9.1 m) letters of fire is God's Final Message to His Creation. In the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur and Fenchurch journey here, and do indeed see the Message, and also discover Marvin the Paranoid Android there, who by that point is thirty-seven times older than the Universe itself.
Allosimanius Syneca is a planet noted for ice, snow, mind-hurtling beauty and stunning cold. The view from the top of the Ice Crystal Pyramids of Sastantua is widely known for its ability to release the observer's mind to hitherto unexperienced horizons of beauty.
Argabuthon is a technologically advanced planet whose perspex Sceptre of Justice turned out to be part of the key to the Wikkit Gate. It is also the home of Prak, a man placed into solitary confinement after an overdose of truth drug caused him to tell the Truth in its absolute and final form, causing anyone to hear it to go insane. The planet's Arglebard Forest provided the wood to build the Argabuthon Chamber of Law.
Motivated by the fact that the only thing in the Universe that travels faster than light is bad news, the Hingefreel people native to Arkintoofle Minor constructed a starship driven by bad news. Unfortunately, the ship's drives didn't work terribly well, and, even if they had, their fuel source rendered them incredibly unwelcome when they finally arrived at their destination, thus defeating the whole point of the exercise.
Asbleg is mentioned in the Dolmansaxlil Galactic Shoe Corporation film "Adventures in Aggressive Marketing" as a place that company has declared marketing on (in Fit the Eleventh of the radio series).
An Earthlike planet on which Arthur Dent lived for a short time, Bartledan is inhabited by Bartledanians, a race that appears human but only physically. The major difference, aside from not needing to breathe, is a near-total state of apathy, expressing no emotion whatsoever. They are so uncaring that if a source of drinking water is not available, they will simply accept it and forgo the drink altogether, even if it results in their eventual death from extreme thirst. Otherwise, Bartledanians generally occupy their time by playing netball (with no particular intent to actually win) and writing literature that, rather than following conventional narrative structures, simply stop at 100,000 words.
Bartrax (along with Brontital, Huntringfurl, Kiasbanil and Asbleg) is cited in the Dolmansaxlil Galactic Shoe Corporation film "Adventures in Aggressive Marketing" as a place that company has declared marketing on (in Fit the Eleventh of the radio series).
Bethselamin is a fabulously beautiful planet which attracts billions of tourists each year. Unsurprisingly, cumulative erosion is a serious concern of the local authorities. Their solution is to calculate the net imbalance between the amount of matter eaten and the amount subsequently excreted by each visitor, and remove the weight difference through amputative surgery. Thus it is vitally important to get a receipt after every trip to the lavatory while on the planet.
Brantisvogan is a planet where Zaphod Beeblebox holds a bank account (in the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), and where getting the Civil Service to acknowledge a change-of-address card is listed by the guide as "Recreational Impossibilities" (in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything).
The Brantisvogan Megalycee (Unidate 911VCK168) (in Fit the Eleventh of the radio series) teaches the Middle School Life The Universe and Everything syllabus, where the Computeach imparts details of the sad tale of the Shoe Event Horizon.
Lintilla was cloned for a Brantisvogan escort agency (Fit the Eleventh of the radio series).
Brequinda on the Foth of Avalars was famed in myth, legend and incredibly dull tri-d mini-series as home of the magnificent and magical Fuolornis Fire Dragon. As the Hitchhiker's Guide hardly ever updates, it now mystifies tourists who go to visit the City State of Brequinda.
Brontitall is a planet with a warm, rich atmosphere and no mountains. It is populated by highly evolved bird people who live in the right ear of a 15-mile high marble statue of Arthur Dent, built as a reminder of the moment when Arthur (due to a freak occurrence) appeared in the sky over the city arguing with a Nutrimatic Drink Dispenser, inspiring the people of the planet to get rid of all robots.
Nearby, a derelict spaceport contains a number of crumbling old spaceships, but one of which is still on power, "delayed" for over 900 years due to the non-arrival of its complement of lemon-soaked paper napkins.
Originally the bird people were ground dwellers, but gradually the planet was taken over by the shoe shops of the Dolmansaxlil Shoe Corporation, apparently thanks to the shoe shop intensifier ray deployed by the corporation in order to keep the populace buying more and more poorly made and ill-fitting shoes. The guide later reveals that the shoe shop intensifier ray "is, in actuality, a phony, designed to make Dolmansaxlil executives feel they are doing something excitingly aggressive, when in fact all they need to do is wait". Rather than falling to the predation of the corporation, the planet had instead succumbed to the natural state of decay known as the Shoe Event Horizon.
Shoe Event Horizon
The foundation of the Shoe Event Horizon theory is that when depressed, people tend to look down, and when they look down, they see their shoes. To cheer themselves up, they might buy themselves a new pair. Thus, in a generally depressed society, demand for shoes will rise.
In the critical condition, demand for shoes rises faster than the capacity to make good quality footwear. As shoe quality decreases, the demand increases further because shoes wear out faster and need to be replaced more often; as the demand for shoes increases, cheap mass production causes shoe quality to drop even more. What results is a spiral of increasing shoe demand and decreasing shoe quality. Eventually, this destabilizes the economy to the point where it is "no longer economically viable to build anything other than shoe shops", and planetary society collapses.
Adams had gone to London's Oxford Street where, quoting him, "You can't throw a brick without breaking a shoe shop window". Despite every shop stocking thousands of shoes, none had a pair which was the right size, price, or colour, or which was comfortable, durable or stylish without being outrageous.
Brontitall is only mentioned in Fit the Eleventh of the radio series. However, in the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Frogstar B has some (but not all) of the attributes of Brontitall.
Broop Kidron 13
Home to the Shaltanacs, the happiest race in the galaxy, due to not having a word or phrase for unhappy.
Ciceronicus 12 is the planet on which the Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler, the Magic and Indefatigable, is located.
A small, remote, uninteresting planet whose surface comprises a number of small, uninteresting islands surrounded by ocean. Two of these islands are coincidentally named "Easter Island" and "France". The starship Heart Of Gold was built on this planet and promptly stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox at its launching.
The background shot used in the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy contains a view of Church Rock, near Stackpole in Pembrokeshire in west Wales, UK. This location is later used (in unaltered form) during the flyby sequence of Slartibartfast and Arthur in the planet-builder's factory.
Dangrabad Beta is noted for its sand blizzards. The Googolplex Star Thinker was said to have been able to calculate the trajectory of every single dust particle throughout a five-week Dangrabad Beta sand blizzard.
Mostly harmless. For more information, see: The Sun
Place of residence of Eccentrica Gallumbits, a triple-breasted whore who is mentioned several times throughout the series. Her erogenous zones are thought to extend to a distance of four miles around her actual body. Ford Prefect disagrees, believing it to be five.
Mentioned in a Guide entry on the first Hitchhikers LP sleeve, Esflovian is a "planet populated by the descendants of an ancient personal-growth-orientated hippy peace commune... It is rumoured to have destroyed itself in recent nuclear encounter therapy".
The planet Fallia is best known for its marshes which, according to the instructions on how to make a proper Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, are quite dangerous. You should allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through the drink "in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia." It can therefore be assumed that these gases are highly intoxicating, possibly even hallucinogenic.
The band Disaster Area were from the Gagrakacka Mind Zones. It is later referred to as a place with all that stuff going on out there in Mostly Harmless. It is also one of the 85 percent of inhabited worlds in the galaxy that has, for reasons unknown, independently developed a drink named with a phonetic variant of "gin and tonics." The Gagrakakan version, however, tzjin-anthony-ks, can kill cows at a hundred paces.
Golgafrincham is a red semi-desert planet that is home of the Great Circling Poets of Arium and a species of particularly inspiring lichen. Its people decided it was time to rid themselves of an entire useless third of their population, and so the descendants of the Circling Poets concocted a story that their planet would shortly be destroyed in a great catastrophe. (It was apparently under threat from a "mutant star goat"). The useless third of the population (consisting of hairdressers, tired TV producers*, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, management consultants, telephone sanitisers and the like) were packed into the B-Ark, one of three purported giant Ark spaceships, and told that everyone else would follow shortly in the other two. The other two thirds of the population, of course, did not follow and "led full, rich and happy lives until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone".
The B-Ark was programmed to crash-land on a suitably remote planet on one of the outer spiral arms of the galaxy, which happened to be Earth, and the Golgafrinchan rejects gradually mingled with and usurped the native cavemen**, becoming the ancestors of humanity and thereby altering and distorting the course of the great experiment to find the question for the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, or so Ford Prefect presumes. A lot of them didn't make it through the winter three years prior to Arthur Dent's reunion with Ford Prefect, and the few who remained in the spring said they needed a holiday and set out on a raft. History says they must have survived.
People from Golgafrincham are called Golgafrinchans. In some versions of the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the planet is also referred to as "Golgafrinchan", but this usage is less common and is thought to be an error of typography.
* Tired was a misread of "Tri-D", but was left as is because D.A. thought there should be some tired TV producers too.
** Arthur and the Golgafrinchans reflexively call the primitive Earth primates "cavemen", despite Ford pointing out that they didn't actually live in caves as such, to which one Golgafrinchan wittily replies "Perhaps they're having their caves redecorated".
The city of Vassilian on the planet of Golgafrincham is where the five princes journey of the traditional long poems started from, in the second novel.
An exotic holiday planet, Han Wavel is one of the wonders of the Galaxy, a world of fabulous ultra-luxury hotels and casinos, all of which have been formed by the natural erosion of wind and rain. However geophysicists, probability statisticians, meteoranalysts or bizzarrologists who are keen to research this curious effect cannot afford to stay there to find how this "infinity to one against" situation came about. It appears in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
Home of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Teleport Systems factory. As per usual with the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, their teleport systems seldom work properly, and the results are, as can be imagined, rather alarming. For this reason the planet has seen an almost continuous mob of protestors outside the factory, chanting songs of defiance, one featuring the memorable lyrics: "I teleported home last night with Ron and Sid and Meg/Ron stole Meggy's heart away and I got Sidney's leg."
Hawalius, was home to oracles, seers, soothsayers and take-away pizza shops, but was being Plutoed by time-travelling journalists, taking away the planet's trade. Arthur Dent travelled there and met the smelly Old Woman in the Cave (with a solar-powered photocopier) and the Old Man on the Poles in the novel Mostly Harmless.
Huntringfurl is cited in the Dolmansaxlil Galactic Shoe Corporation film "Adventures in Aggressive Marketing" as a place that company has declared marketing on (in Fit the Eleventh of the radio series).
Jaglan Beta is, evidently, the second planet in a star system near the Axle Nebula. The entry on the usefulness of towels in the Hitchhiker's Guide notes that Jaglan Beta's moons are quite cold, and that a towel is useful for wrapping up with while on them.
In the parking lot at Milliways, Ford Prefect briefly recounts a tale about being passed by a Lazlar Lyricon custom spaceship that subsequently crashed into the third moon of Jaglan Beta, observing that the ship looked like a fish and moved like a fish, but steered like a cow.
A popular showtune in the Hitchhiker's universe is "I Left My Leg in Jaglan Beta."
Jajazikstak is homeworld to the warlike Strangulous Stilettans in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
Kiasbanil also is cited in the Dolmansaxlil Galactic Shoe Corporation film "Adventures in Aggressive Marketing" as a place that company has declared marketing on (in Fit the Eleventh of the radio series).
Kakrafoon is an arid world which has a reddish surface similar to that of Mars. Unlike Mars, Kakrafoon has a sentient species known as the Belcerebons, who are a very accomplished and above all quiet race. Because this quietness was deemed antisocial by the rest of the galaxy, the Belcerebons were sentenced by Galactic Tribunal to be telepathic. The only way for them to avoid mentally broadcasting every thought that crossed their minds was to make incessant chattering small talk about mundane subjects like the weather. Another method, it turns out, was to play host to a Disaster Area rock concert.
In fact, one such concert, following Hotblack Desiato's visit to Milliways, was so apocalyptically loud that not only did it permanently disperse the Belcerebons' telepathy, but the whole landscape of Kakrafoon's Rudlit Desert was turned upside down like a big pancake, then hit by the solar flares from the star nearest it when Hotblack's stuntship hit it. These flares caused the desert land to turn into a great, beautiful fertile landscape. Hotblack's agent would later call it "a good gig", although the event may or may not have had anything to do with the large Improbability Field passing through the area at the time.
Homeworld of the Azgoths, Kria is therefore home to the second worst poetry in the Universe according to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Azgoth poetry was once exceeded in awfulness by a human poet from Essex, England (on Earth), though the Vogons' demolition of that planet leaves the Azgoths in the top spot. Their poetry master, Grunthos the Flatulent, is best known for his work "Ode to a Small Lump of Putty I Found in my Armpit One Midsummer Morning", which caused four listeners to die of internal hemorrhaging and forced a fifth to gnaw his own legs off to survive. However, Grunthos was reportedly "disappointed" by this reception, so apparently the Azgoths' poetry isn't as deliberately awful as Vogon poetry seems to be. An attempt to embark on another of his works, "Zen And The Art Of Going To The Lavatory", was thwarted when his major intestine leapt up through his neck and throttled his brain in an attempt to preserve civilization.
The planet Krikkit is (at the beginning of the novel Life, the Universe and Everything) located in a dust cloud composed chiefly of the disintegrated remains of the enormous spaceborne computer Hactar. Hactar was originally created by the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax to design the Ultimate Weapon. Hactar produced a very, very small bomb that, when activated, would connect every star to every other star, cause them to all go supernova simultaneously and, thus, destroy the universe. The bomb proved dysfunctional because Hactar had designed it with a tiny flaw, reasoning that no consequence could be worse than that of setting the bomb off. The Silastic Armorfiends disagreed and destroyed Hactar.
Due to the dust cloud, the sky above Krikkit was completely black, and thus the people of Krikkit led insular lives and never realised the existence of the Universe. With the population thus prepared, Hactar, disintegrated but still functional, built and crashed a model spaceship onto Krikkit in order to introduce its inhabitants to the concept of the Universe. Secretly guided by Hactar, the Krikkiters built their first spaceship, Krikkit One, penetrated the dust cloud, and surveyed the Universe before them. Unbeknownst to the Krikkiters, Hactar had been subliminally conditioning their minds to the point where they could not accept a Universe into their world view with the intention of putting them into a similar mindset to that of the Silastic Armorfiends. Sooner or later, they would require an Ultimate Weapon, and this would allow Hactar to finally complete his purpose, something he had felt considerably guilty about not doing before. Upon first witnessing the glory and splendor of the Universe, they casually, whimsically, decided to destroy it, remarking, "It'll have to go." Aided again by the mind of Hactar, the Krikkiters built an incredible battlefleet and waged a massive war against the entire Universe. The Galaxy, then in an era of relative peace, was unprepared, and spent the next 2,000 years fighting the Krikkiters in war that resulted in about two "grillion" casualties.
When Krikkit was eventually defeated, Judiciary Pag sentenced Krikkit and its sun to be sealed in a Slo-Time envelope within which time would pass almost infinitely slowly until the end of the Universe, thus serving the dual purpose of protecting the Universe from Krikkit, and allowing the Krikkiters to enjoy a solitary existence in the twilight of Creation. Light would be deflected around the envelope, making it invisible and impenetrable. The Wikkit Gate, the key that would unlock the envelope, was disintegrated into time, and could therefore not be used to free the planet from the envelope ahead of time.
However, a Krikkit warship carrying deadly white robots of the kind used in the war escaped before the envelope was sealed, and, within a brief ten billion years, managed to reassemble the Wikkit Gate. The Gate was composed of the Steel Pillar of Strength and Power (Marvin the Paranoid Android's artificial leg), the Golden Bail of Prosperity (The Heart of Gold, the small golden box that makes the Infinite Improbability Drive function), the Perspex Pillar of Science and Reason (The Argabuthon Scepter of Justice; "Plastic Pillar" in the American version), the Silver Bail of Peace (The Rory Award For The Most Gratuitous Use Of The Word "Fuck" In A Serious Screenplay—The Rory Award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word "Belgium" in a Serious Screenplay in the American version), and the Wooden Pillar of Nature and Spirituality (The reconstituted ashes of the stump signifying the death of English cricket: see The Ashes).
The robots unsealed the envelope, but Arthur, Slartibartfast, Trillian, and Ford Prefect, with the unintentional help of Marvin, were able to disperse Hactar's particles, freeing the Krikkiters from his continued influence, and thus saving the Universe. Arthur then went to live on Krikkit for three years, before leaving for an unexplained reason.
Krikkit also managed to leave other marks besides the destruction of numerous worlds: due to racial memories, the Earth sport of cricket and the pan-dimensional sport of Brockian Ultra-Cricket were based on the Krikkit Wars. Slartibartfast enjoys the game of cricket, but he notes that most sensible citizens of the galaxy find the sport to be in rather bad taste.
The Krikketers are described as humanoid aliens who are charming and polite, despite their cosmocidal tendencies. They are capable of composing incredibly moving and poetic music. Some of the younger Krikketers are interested in developing sporting links with the rest of the Universe rather than destroying it.
(Most of the Krikkit material from the novel was adapted by Adams from an episode treatment, "Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen", which he had written for the television series Doctor Who. It would have featured the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith.)
The "Krikkit Song" was composed and performed by Philip Pope for Fit the Fifteenth of the radio series, featured on An Informational Visit and Arthur Diverted, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 5 October 2004.
The song's lyrics provided clues to Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect that the people of Krikkit could never see any neighbouring planets or stars, and the odd effects that may have on them. The song also features in the radio series The Quintessential Phase when Ford Prefect pays The King to play the song at the Domain of the King and incidentally starts to cry.
Lamuella is the idyllic planet on which Arthur Dent lives and works as The Sandwich Maker at the start of the novel Mostly Harmless. The planet is mostly made up of villages, though there is only one significant settlement on the planet. It intersects a plural zone, allowing for teleportation to the Domain of the King. The primary species of the planet are humanoids, Perfectly Normal Beasts - named thus by Old Thrashbarg, and Pikka Birds. The residents of Lamuella worship a deity by the name of Almighty Bob. Among the many things Arthur likes about Lamuella are the number of suns and moons (one of each), the number of hours in a day (25, giving him an extra hour in bed and a few minutes every day adjusting his watch, a task he greatly enjoys) and the number of days in a year (about 300, so the year doesn't drag on). The planet is mostly unknown, so few space travelers ever taste the superbly made sandwiches that would be the planet's claim to fame.
Magrathea is an ancient planet located in orbit around the twin suns Soulianis and Rahm in the heart of the Horsehead Nebula. Magrathea is a planet whose economy was based on the manufacturing of other planets for the wealthiest people in the universe. It was the people of Magrathea (known as "Magratheans") who created the Earth.
Magrathea is considered the home of the industry of "Custom-made luxury planet building." It was a market aimed at the richest of the rich, during the days of the former Galactic Empire. The Magratheans would design and create entire planets for wealthy clients. They were so successful that Magrathea became the richest planet of all time. However, this resulted in the rest of the galaxy being plunged into abject poverty and the economy collapsing. The planet then faded from memory with most people believing it to be just a myth.
Amongst the clients who asked for planets to be created were a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who asked the Magratheans to create the Earth which, in addition to being a planet, was a super-computer designed to calculate the ultimate question to the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. Amongst the people who worked on it was Slartibartfast, a coastal designer who won an award for his work on Norway's fjords.
The surface of the planet appears to be dead, described as "blighted", with the Magratheans kept in cryogenic sleep within the planet, not to be awakened until the economy was again strong enough to afford luxury planets. The book says that, "Bits of it were dullish grey, bits of it dullish brown, the rest of it rather less interesting to look at. It was like a dried-out marsh, now barren of all vegetation and covered with a layer of dust about an inch thick. It was very cold." They were later awakened for the reconstruction of the Earth (the Earth, Mk. II).
When the television version of the series was made, a clay pit in St Austell, Cornwall was used to film the exterior shots of Magrathea. Creator of the series Douglas Adams however, claimed that he wanted to film in Iceland or Morocco, but these locations were too expensive.
In the radio series and TV series (but not the novels or the film), Magrathea is the location of Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
In the computer game The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the game is completed once the player sets foot on Magrathea.
NowWhat is a planet in the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash formerly known as the Hitchhiker's Guide universe. NowWhat can be found in place of planet Earth at an unlikely position along the probability axis, in an alternative universe.
According to the novel Mostly Harmless, "the planet of NowWhat had been named after the opening words of the first settlers to arrive there after struggling across light-years of space to reach the furthest unexplored outreaches of the Galaxy. The main town was called OhWell."
The only export of NowWhat is the NowWhattian boghog skin, which no one in their right minds would want to buy because it's thin and very leaky, and the export trade only manages to survive because of the significant number of people in the Galaxy who are not in their right minds. In fact, one of the lingering questions on NowWhat is how the boghogs manage to stay warm in their skins. It says "if anyone had wanted to learn the language of the boghogs, they would have discovered that they don't and are just as cold and miserable as everyone else". It also mentions that no one wanted to, because the boghogs communicate by biting each other very hard on the thigh.
Travellers that arrive on NowWhat are greeted by a picture of the president smiling a ghastly smile; the picture was taken after he shot himself, and the missing corner of his face had been drawn in crayon. Everyone there pursues one ambition: to leave.
Arthur Dent arrives on NowWhat in search of Earth. After turning the map upside down and adjusting for different sea levels, he discovers that the shapes of the continents of NowWhat resemble those of the planet Earth. For lack of any other similarity Arthur Dent concludes that it is the right planet but the wrong universe and leaves again.
The large forest planet Oglaroon is home to the Oglaroonians, an "intelligent" species who maintain an entire civilisation, including some extremely small wars, in one small nut tree, believing it to be the entire universe, and other trees to be merely Oglanut-induced illusions. From the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
Located in the Pansel system, Poghril was once inhabited by a primitive tribe of humanoids, who were wiped out by famine, with the exception of one man. A few weeks after the Infinite Improbability Drive caused a space-time rip to dump two hundred and thirty-nine thousand lightly fried eggs on the planet, this man died of cholesterol poisoning.
Santraginus V is a planet known widely for its marble-sanded beaches. Seawater from the oceans adjoining those beaches, which contain deliriously serene (or extremely oblivious) fish that apparently don't care where they're going, forms a key ingredient for the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. The drummer of rock band Disaster Area once stayed here while the rest of the band moved onto the next tour location (the planet Kakrafoon), and found a small pebble that he declared would be his friend.
Saquo-Pilia Hensha is the planet to which the headquarters of the Guide are moved after InfiniDim Enterprises bought it out. One of Saquo-Pilia Hensha's most renowned holidays is Assumption of St. Antwelm. Because King Antwelm assumed everybody wanted to be happy, enjoy themselves, and have the best possible time together, on his death he willed his entire personal fortune to financing an annual festival for this purpose. Events of this holiday include a feast, dancing, and fatuous games such as Hunt the Wocket.
Striterax is the homeworld of the insanely aggressive Silastic Armorfiends in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything. A world ravaged by the insatiable combativeness of its sentient inhabitants, who abandoned the surface long ago and migrated into underground bunkers. Said Armorfiends have since blown themselves up, presumably taking the planet with them.
Stug is the home planet of Strenuous Garfighters, from the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
Traal is a planet whose jungle swamps are home to the infamous Ravenous Bugblatter Beast, and because of its inclusion in the Guide, an infamous court case about the literal interpretation of the entry came about because it said "Beasts often make a very good meal for visiting tourists" rather than "beasts often make a very good meal of visiting tourists". Luckily, protection from the Beast can be attained by wrapping a towel around one's eyes, thanks to the fact that it is "so mind-boggling stupid it believes that if you can't see it, it can't see you". The planet has only one surviving oral hygenist.
Viltvodle VI is the home world of the small, blue, fifty-armed Jatravartids, who live in perpetual fear of what they refer to as "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief." This is their cosmology's version of the end of the Universe, and can be explained by the fact that they believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.
The Jatravartids are also unique because they were the first people in Universe who invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel. In the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, they seem to not have invented the wheel at all, as a square-wheeled bicycle can be seen in the foreground.
Other Galactic religions have sent missionaries to Viltvodle VI to attempt to convert the Jatravartids to whichever religion the specific missionary in question happens to be a follower of. The most notable of these missionaries is Humma Kavula (although in the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he seems to be preaching the Jatravartids' religion).
In the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the guide describes a bit of it. This passage is also included in the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
In the beginning, the universe was created.
This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Many races believe it was created by some sort of god, but the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI firmly believed that the entire universe was, in fact, sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.
The Jatravartids, who lived in perpetual fear of the time they called "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief" were small, blue creatures with more than fifty arms each. They were therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel.
A primeval planet (at least it was 10 billion years ago) with three suns, and at one time famed for its beaches, whose skies "glittered with some of the greatest tanning power ever known." Judiciary Pag stayed here after passing judgement on the people of Krikkit.
This is the homeworld of the Vogons. In the books it is said to be long-abandoned, although in the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy it still seems to be an active administrative center. According to the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, anyone standing on Vogsphere must be careful not to think, because the planet is infested with shovel-like creatures which leap up out of the ground and smack you in the face if you do so. These creatures, parasites which prey on free thought and punish original ideas, were conceived by Adams and apparently represent the physical embodiment of bureaucracy. It may be that the existence of such creatures on the Vogons' homeworld is the reason for their pathological hatred of independent thought, as survival on Vogsphere would entail avoiding such thinking. It is also home to scintillating jewel-encrusted crabs, which the Vogons smash with hammers, and beautiful silky-coated gazelle-like creatures, on which the Vogons sit, invariably fatally.
Voondon is the home planet of the Holy Lunching Friars who were a great influence on the Guide's fourth editor, Lig Lury Jr. From the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
Home of the Xaxisian Giant Robot ship from the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Xaxis is at war when Ford Prefect suggests that Bournemouth may be nicer. It is a democracy where the humanoid majority are ruled by a lizard elite. Although the humanoids hate the lizards, they won't vote against them, in case the wrong lizard gets in.
Xaxis is fighting an automated war against Zirzla during the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Artifactovol is the name given to the great shipbuilding asteroid complexes which produced the majestic, luxurious cruise-liner Starship Titanic. The ship was one of the first large experiments in Improbability Physics, with the intent being to make it Infinitely Improbable that anything would ever go wrong with any part of the ship. The shipbuilders were unaware that, due to the nature of Improbability calculations, that which is Infinitely Improbable is actually very likely to happen almost immediately upon the improper activation of an Infinite Improbability Drive. Before it could transmit its first radio message — an SOS — the ship underwent the most Infinitely Improbable occurrence: a most gratuitous Total existence failure.
In the novel Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic by Terry Jones, the Starship Titanic was launched from the planet Blerontin rather than Artifactovol, and was built on the neighbouring planet of Yassacca, suggesting that there are two alternative versions of the Starship Titanic.
Near the Axel Nebula Ford Prefect was passed by limoship customized by Lazlar Lyricon.
The Big Bang Burger Bar
The Big Bang Burger Bar is mentioned by Max Quordlepleen as another place where he performs. It is the opposite of Milliways in that it is situated at the beginning of the universe, namely the Big Bang. It is known as The Big Bang Burger Chef in the radio series and some UK editions of the book.
The Bistro Illegal
A no doubt seedy nightclub fondly recalled by Ford Prefect during his one-way conversation with his former drinking buddy, the currently-deceased rock star Hotblack Desiato. According to the Guide's onscreen playback at the beginning of the television series, the bar staff at the Bistro Illegal mix a very good Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.
The Carfrax Gamma Caves became a war front line between the Strangulous Stilettans of Jajazikstak, the Strenuous Garfighters of Stug and the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax.
Where the Cathedral of Chalesm once would have stood is now an ion refinery. Due to various delays, the constructors of the refinery continually moved the demolition of the Cathedral and commencement of the refinery's construction back through time to progressively earlier dates to remain on schedule. Eventually the refinery was being built so far back in history that it predated the Cathedral itself, meaning that the Cathedral never actually existed at all. As a result, picture postcards of it are highly valuable (and according to the radio series, blank). The loss of the Cathedral was the pivotal event in the creation of the Campaign for Real Time.
The Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax fought the Strenuous Garfighters of Stug in the Radiation Swamps of Cwulzenda.
The Domain of the King
The Domain of the King is a bar and grill restaurant located in a desert on an unspecified planet. This planet is apparently the true home of the Perfectly Normal Beasts that migrate across the Anhondo Plain of Lamuella twice yearly; for reasons and by means unexplained, the portion of the Beasts' migratory path on this planet which would intersect with The Domain of the King is diverted to Lamuella. Elvis Presley, who appears to have not been abducted by aliens but gone to them himself, spends time there, hence the name.
The Dordellis wars saw space pirate activity wiped out, but not before Arcturan megafreighters had the most fantastic defence shields known to science fitted.
The Evildrome Boozarama
Noted in the television series' animated graphics for its excellent Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, The Evildrome Boozarama was one of the clubs that Ford Prefect and Hotblack Desiato would frequent before Hotblack became a rock star and Ford wound up stranded on Earth in the course of his job as a field researcher for that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Flargathon Gas Swamps
During his time as an itinerant hitchhiker, Arthur contracted a virulent space disease in the Flargathon Gas Swamps a few days before his return to Earth. The disease was fortunately killed when he ate the three least-hairy things in his fridge. Had this not occurred, the disease would have killed off half the population of the Western Hemisphere, blinded the other half and left everyone else psychotic and sterile. (in the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Chapter eight)
Just beyond what were known as the limitless light fields of Flanux, before the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine were found lying just beyond them, lie the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine. From the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Foth of Avalars
The planet Brequinda is located in the Foth of Avalars in the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
In the fire storms of Frastra, they say, life begins at 40,000 degrees.
The Fire Mountains of Frazfraga were a regular battleground between the Silastic Armorfiends and the Strenuous Garfighters of Stug in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
Han Dold City
A far from harmless city on an unspecified planet, where warring police tribes lay ambushes for one another, bass players get machine-gunned for playing the wrong riff too many times, and call girls with degrees in sociology tell wealthy record company executives that it's actually okay for them to be rich. The Old Pink Dog Bar is a far from harmless bar in Han Dold City where Ford Prefect discovers that Earth was not as demolished as he previously believed at the beginning of the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. It was also here that Ford almost lost his breathing privileges after attempting to pay an extensive bar tab with an American Express card, before as a last resort he offered a write-up in the Hitchhiker's Guide.
Home to the Lord High Sanvalvwag, in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything.
In the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur Dent hitches to Earth from the Horsehead Nebula at the start of the book. In the beginning of the series, Zaphod is perplexed that the Heart of Gold took them to Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, when their trajectory should have taken them through the Horsehead Nebula, the location of Magrathea.
Ford Prefect learned mind control techniques in the Hunian Hills from ex-Pralite monks at their Mind-Surfing resort in the second novel.
The great megamountain Magramal was the focus of a wager made by Effrafax of Wug, who claimed that, given a year, he could make it invisible. By the end of the time limit, Effrafax found himself unable to do this, and instead simply removed it with the aid of an interstellar trucking company. Effrafax lost the wager, however, partially because the megamountain could be demonstrated to be not present rather than simply invisible, partially due to the overnight appearance of a suspicious extra moon.
It is noted in the novel Life, the Universe and Everything that had Effrafax simply painted the mountain pink and erected a Somebody Else's Problem field, he would have won his bet. Because no one would expect to see the Magramal thus colored, the effect of the Somebody Else's Problem field would have rendered it invisible.
The University of Maximegalon (often simply called Maximegalon) is a very august institution of higher learning that has produced many marvellous discoveries in a myriad of fields scientific and otherwise. Its faculty is composed of many of the finest minds in the Galaxy, and includes the rock band Disaster Area's chief accountant (he is the Professor of Neomathematics). The university also published the Ultra-Complete Maximegalon Dictionary of Every Language Ever. Only one copy of the Dictionary was ever printed, and requires a fleet of trucks to haul it around. Due to the Dictionary's immense size, the University is trying to sell it and regain some valuable parking lots.
The university includes the Maximegalon Institute of Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious (MISPWOSO), site of the famous Herring Sandwich experiments, where a robot was tricked into an infinite loop whereby it attempted eternally to eat a herring sandwich by picking it up, dropping it, picking it up again, et cetera. From this, the institute both correctly concluded that any intelligence with a function of logic can be deceived by an intelligence with a function of logic of equal or greater power, and incorrectly concluded that the driving force behind all change and evolution in life is herring sandwiches, a theory which was later recanted.
Among the other attractions present on or near the campus is the Museum of Diseased Imaginings, where the bathtub in which the Golgafrinchan B-Ark captain spends his time does not reside, despite apparently being well qualified.
|“||"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "The Universe as we know it has now been in existence for over one hundred and seventy thousand million billion years and will be ending in a little over half an hour. So, welcome one and all to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe!"||”|
Milliways, also known as The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, can only be visited practically by time travel, as it exists at the end of time and matter. Marvin the Paranoid Android is one character who manages to reach Milliways without the use of time travel, merely by being very patient. One of the restaurant's major attractions is that diners can watch the entire universe end in a Gnab Gib from the windows of the restaurant as they eat. The terminal moment is followed by dessert. Reservations are easily obtained, since they can be booked once the patron returns to his or her original time after their meal, and the restaurant's bill can be paid by depositing a penny in any bank account of the present time: by the end of the universe, the compound interest on that penny over the course of time after 170 quintillion years (short scale) will be enough to pay the extremely high bill. Near-instant transportation to the restaurant can be achieved in certain rarefied circumstances, such as being next to an exploding hyperspatial field generator on the planet where Milliways will eventually be built several billion years after the explosion occurs.
Among the items on the menu are various cuts of meat from the very obliging Amiglion Major Cow and the somewhat less obliging vegetables in a green salad. While water and Aldebaran liqueurs are in stock, tea is not.
Because of the special number of impossibilities surrounding all aspects of Milliways, their advertising firm penned the following slogan: "If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways—the Restaurant at the End of the Universe!" Believing "six impossible things before breakfast" is a quote from the White Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass.
In the book form of the series, the visit to Milliways takes place in the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In the different versions of the story, Milliways is built on the ruins of either Magrathea or of Frogstar World B.
In Fit the Twenty-Sixth of the radio series, when many of the main characters meet at Milliways, Thor the thunder god asks that champagne be sent to Trillian, and in the process reveals that Arthur Dent and company are seated at Table 42, almost without a doubt an allusion to The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
At the end of the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy there is a gag about "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" not being at the temporal end, but at the "other end" in terms of location. In the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a similar venue is referenced that does exist at the beginning of the universe called "The Big Bang Burger Bar".
A cocktail party – of a rather more airborne, long-lasting and aggressive nature than usual – hovering above an unnamed planet and with drunken revellers from all corners of the universe. These included up to the fourth-generation descendants of the original invited guests, visiting beings including Thor the Thunder God, Trillian and the playwright who had won a Rory award (in fact the Silver Bail), and – when they arrived on their mission to save all of creation from the Krikkit Robots – Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Slartibartfast. The unnamed world is described as having been ravaged by the party (cheese and wine raids, etc.) and so reduced to abject poverty; eventually, after the Krikkit Robots have been, it is strongly suggested that the party crashed into it.
Providing Hypermint extract for mixers of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, Qualactin Zones are known for being "subtle, sweet and mystic", in the first novel.
The River Moth is a slow and heavy torrent, which can be sailed down on a mini-raft using a towel as a sail.
Slim's Throat Emporium
One of the drinking establishments where very well-mixed Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are served to customers. Ford Prefect and Hotblack Desiato were patrons at least once before the success of Disaster Area.
In the novel Life, the Universe and Everything, Agrajag tells Arthur Dent that he was killed again in an assassin's failed attempt to kill Arthur at Stavromula Beta. However, Agrajag discovered that Arthur had not yet been there. Despite the time paradox that would be created, Agrajag decided to kill Arthur anyway. When Agrajag's assassination attempt failed, Arthur decided that "logically, he could not die until he had been to Stavromula Beta" (Mostly Harmless, US edition, p. 106). By the end of Mostly Harmless, many of the major characters found themselves in a club in London called Beta, so named for being the second club that Stavro Mueller owned (Mueller's first club was Alpha in New York City). An attempt is made on Arthur's life, but he ducked, and the bullet hit a human incarnation of Agrajag. Arthur realized that Agrajag meant this club, not a planet, and that he could now be killed. Then the Vogons, with the help of their new Guide and the Grebulons, finally destroy all parallel versions of Earth.
Zentalquabula is noted for its ancient alabastrum quarries. Large slabs of lustrous stone cut from these quarries were used to pave a terraced plaza between the towers of The Hitchhiker's Guide offices.
Beyond the Galaxy
Thor, the thundergod is from Halls of Asgard. A party of minor deities from Asgard were cheered by Max Quordlepleen at Milliways. In the novel And Another Thing..., Asgard is portrayed as the protected home of many Norse Gods and immortal beings. (See Asgard for mythological references.)
Ford says he has heard of a planet in the seventh dimension that got used as a ball in a game of intergalactic bar billiards in the second novel. Tragically, the act of potting this planet into a black hole and killing ten billion people scored only thirty points. The Guide describes the inhabitants of the higher dimensions as "a pretty nasty heathen lot", that should be wiped out if only we could "work out a way of firing missiles at right angles to reality." A favoured pastime in the higher dimensions is Brockian Ultra-Cricket, a team sport that involves people beating each other with sporting equipment, then apologising from a safe distance. Like real cricket, the rules of the game are massively convoluted, leading to a perpetual state of war between the players over their interpretation. Brockian Ultra Cricket was named after an old friend of Douglas Adams, Jonny Brock.
Seventh Galaxy of Light and Ingenuity
In the first novel, the giant computer the Googolplex Star Thinker is from the Seventh Galaxy of Light and Ingenuity.
According to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Universe has an infinite area (as far as anyone can make out), no imports whatsoever (because the Universe has no outside from which to import anything), exports (ditto), art (because "the function of art is to hold a mirror up to nature, and there simply isn't a mirror big enough"), or population (because its population, by definition, must be finite, and the number of planets is infinite, as there is infinite space to put them in; not all planets are inhabited, and any finite number divided by infinity is zero, or as near to it as makes no odds), or sex (well, there is an awful lot of this, largely because of the total lack of anything else that might keep the non-existent people of the universe occupied).
Whole Sort of General Mish Mash
The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash (WSOGMM) is mentioned in Mostly Harmless. The Guide describes the WSOGMM as a way of understanding the sum of parallel universes in creation (in this context, creation is best described to a casual observer as spacetime). The theory of WSOGMM states that parallel universes are not parallel as such but rather each universe is simply a quantum physical perception of the same construct, which is the WSOGMM.
The last version of the Guide gives a description of the Mish Mash to Arthur Dent's daughter Random. The guide explains that individuals in her universe move freely in the first three dimensions, which they know as space, travel in a straight line in a fourth (Time) and are rooted to one place in a fifth, which is described as the first fundamental of probability.
The fifth dimension (and, it is implied, every other dimension up to the twenty-second) is actually an axis of probability that makes up the Mish Mash. Any multiverse in creation is actually a location in the fifth dimension. To an observer, a certain universe functions alone, but it's proven that if something is introduced simultaneously into every dimension (such as the bird version of The Guide was as a marketing ploy), an action on that object can affect the entire Mish Mash. In the final chapter of the novel Mostly Harmless, when Earth is destroyed by the Vogons and the bird dies with it, the Earth is destroyed in all other universes—finally removed from the WSOGMM.
- From episode 5 of the TV series.
- Your top 10 names for the tenth planet New Scientist, 8 August 2005
- IAU names dwarf planet Eris
- Adams, Douglas (1985). The Original Radio Scripts. London: Pan. p. 127. ISBN 0330292889.
- Gaiman, Neil (2009). Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. London: Titan Books. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-84856-496-1.
- Fit the Fifteenth of the radio series
- Adams, Douglas (2005-04-01). The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Fil Tie-In Edition. Basingstoke: Pan Macmillan. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-330-43798-4.
- Fit the Third of the radio series
- Adams, 166-167
- Fit the Fourth of the radio series
- Adams, 142
- Webb, Nick (2003-10-06). Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams. Chatham, Kent: Headline. p. 211. ISBN 0-7553-1155-8.
- From the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- "Gnab Gib" is Big Bang spelled backward, which is what a Big Crunch is--a time reversed Big Bang.
- "BBC Online - Douglas Adams - Service of Celebration - Jonny Brock". Retrieved 2009-06-01.