View Full Version : Douglas Adams fans, need help remembering a fact from HHGTTG books

03-28-2003, 12:13 AM
Ok, having an argument with a friend right now, don't have the books on hand to settle it, so turning to those in the know.
Who was it that was put into the machine that showed you your place in the universe? (In otherwords, supposed to show you how insignificant you really were).
Was it Arthur, or Zaphod?

03-28-2003, 12:16 AM
It would be the type of thing that Arthur would have been subjected to. But I don't know for sure.

03-28-2003, 12:27 AM
It was Zaphod who was put inside the Total Perspective Vortex.
He survived because it happened inside a synthetic universe created for him. He was not insignificant inside this little universe.

03-28-2003, 12:29 AM
Zaphod. He wasn't killed because it was a fake universe with him as the most important object in it, which the vortex told him.

03-28-2003, 12:30 AM
Scablet's universe is chock full of simuposts!

03-28-2003, 02:02 AM
IIRC, it extrapolated the universe from a small piece of "fairy cake". Then when you went into it, it showed your relation to the scope of the universe.

Is that the answer you were looking for?

Of course, this is as opposed to the precursor to the Infinite Improbability Drive, which required some tea. Really hot tea, for effectiveness.


Fern Forest
03-28-2003, 05:56 AM
I wonder if Arthur could have survived the real Total Perspective Vortex. After all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth apparantly contains a significant bit about him.

Although I imagine he would be very displeased with what he saw.

Sock Munkey
03-28-2003, 06:00 AM
According to the book, nobody can withstand the real Total Perspective Vortex.

03-28-2003, 06:19 AM
For an explanation of the TPV, see chapter 11 of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and bits of chapters 8-10. Why Zaphod survived is mentioned near the end of chapter 12.

I get the impression that in the radio show, the fact that Zaphod survived was kind of a joke, and that the explanation for it was contrived after the fact. In the book, where you get all the chapters published together, you sort of lose this sense of DNA making it all up as he goes along.

03-28-2003, 06:21 AM
Which of the books is this all from? I've only so far read the first one.

03-28-2003, 06:47 AM
Anyone who likes this should listen to the original radio series (think it's floating around on MP3 somewhere). The Total Perspective Vortex sequence is really cool. And the story's slightly different from the books.

Fern Forest
03-28-2003, 06:48 AM
Nobody can withstand the TPV because it shows you your place in reference to the universe. But when it came to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth it's revealed that Arthur actually plays a not insignificant part in the Universe. A part so odd and hilarious that it kills Prak. A part that could be large enough to not blow his mind when he sees it. Although like I said it would probably make him very, very angry.

Although that is just a crazy theory of mine based on the books only. I haven't seen the BBC TV series in more then 20 years and don't know if I've ever heard the radio show.

03-28-2003, 09:18 AM
So what the heck is fairy cake anyways?

Rayne Man
03-28-2003, 10:37 AM
Originally posted by SmackFu
So what the heck is fairy cake anyways?

It is what you would call in the USA a cup-cake.

to make:- 4oz. butter
4oz. sugar
2 eggs
4oz. flour
Vanila or lemon essence

Mix all together , pour into small , well greased and floured tins or paper cups and bake at 400 f until golden brown.

03-28-2003, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by peepthis
Which of the books is this all from? I've only so far read the first one.
It's from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Remember at the end of HHGTTG? They've escaped from the mice, and Zaphod says, "Let's go the the restaurant at the end of the Universe." So they do, but not until the next book.

You're in for a treat.

Fern Forest
03-28-2003, 04:17 PM
Ooh, I keep forgetting to ask something I wanted to know. In "Young Zaphod Plays it safe" 3 identifical aliens escape to earth. Are they supposed to be anyone in particular? Everytime I read the short story I get the distinct sensation that I'm missing something important.

03-28-2003, 04:17 PM
thanks. Looks like I owe dinner. (I couldve sworn it was Arthur... oh well).

03-28-2003, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by kaylasdad99
It's from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Remember at the end of HHGTTG? They've escaped from the mice, and Zaphod says, "Let's go the the restaurant at the end of the Universe." So they do, but not until the next book. Its been a while but I believe all Zaphod tells Eddie the computer is to take them to the nearest restaurant. He doesn't specify the restaurant and they do inded end up at the nearest restaurant.

03-29-2003, 01:45 AM
it's nearest, because the RATEOTU is actually built on the shattered remnants of Magrethea... so they haven't actually changed positions * as much as they have waited a bit of time for the place to open.

* Barring of course movement of the planet in space, relative to the rest of the Universe, which in fact is very similar to a topographical map of Paddington station. However, the Universe as a whole lacks Curry, a very distinct difference that should be corrected after the next remodeling.

03-29-2003, 02:04 AM
Okay, it's actually kind of confusing. In the radio show, they're sent there when a computer on Magrathea explodes, sending them forward in time. Milliways, the restaurant, is built on relict Magrathea.

However, in the books, specifically RATEOTU, Milliways is built on relict Frogstar D. Jeff Olsen is correct in how they get there. It's the same idea as in the show, that they move through time and not space. However, at the very end of HHGTTG Zaphod mentions Milliways (although he doesn't call it that), but he's unable to work out the calculations in order to get them there before they're attacked at the beginning of RATEOTU, and they don't make it there for another thirteen chapters. The radio show has no such foreshadowing.

03-29-2003, 02:56 AM
Doh! Shows what I get for posting a response to a book question when I haven't read the book in around 8 years or so.

Dang it.

03-29-2003, 10:42 AM
Well, in the version of "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" that was included in the big book of all the HHGTTG stuff, they're just aliens, and I was left with some confusion. But in the version included with "The Salmon of Doubt" (a posthumous collection of essays, H2G2.com prompts, unpublished works, etc.), the punchline is that "the missing escape capsule contained a 'Reagan' and that the planet in ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha must be made 'perfectly safe.'" I don't know how to account for the variation.

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