Question re Marvin the Paranoid Android

In The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series Marvin the robot in the course of his incessant and hilarious complaining occasionally mentions he has “a brain the size of a planet” and is still forced to do menial tasks.

I’ve always assumed he was speaking figuratively…after all he is a roughly human sized robot, so his brain couldn’t literally be the size of a planet…he just meant it to mean he was very smart compared to the people around him.

I know though that there are other versions of Hitchiker out there than the books…the radio play especially apparently had a lot of stuff that didn’t make it into the books. So is this remark by Marvin ever explained anywhere? For example, did his brain exist somewhere in hyperspace and literally WAS the size of a planet? Or was it explained somewhere in the books and I missed it?

Sometime back in the '80s, according to the trivia track on the HHGGTG DVD, someone did draw a diagram of Marvin’s brain, and actually showed it to be planet-sized and stored in a tract of hyperspace located within Marvin. Pity the diagram doesn’t seem to be on the web, though.

If anyone can actually find said diagram, you have my eternal gratitude.

For some reason I figured that his brain was planet sized, then the squished it and shoved it into his head. Doesn’t make a whole lot of practical sense but it worked for me.

Sure, using the same technology that Slartibartfast’s people used to build Earth inside their own planet.

BTW, Marvin didn’t show much signs of paranoia, he was manically depressed.

When did Marvin ever behave manically? I’d say he’s just plain depressed. But he was paranoid, believing everyone hated being around him and took him for granted.

Not only is his brain literally the size of a planet, that planet is in fact the Earth.

The Proof.
(caution: spurious logic therein)

I never even saw him as paranoid, just depressed. Being Paranoid, to me, means that you believe somebody is out to get you, as opposed to not feeling particualry appreciated and just plain bummed.

And in the Hitchhiker’s Universe, paranoia seems quite justified. But let’s face the facts about the name: “depressed” doesn’t rhyme with android and that’s probably all there was to it.

Methinks you think manic means something different.

Manic is the adjectival form of “mania.” It’s pretty much the opposite of depression. Mania is characterized by extreme enthusiasm, exaggerated self-esteem, an increased sex drive, insomnia, lighting-fast thoughts, etc…

Extreme Enthusiasm… naw, Marvin’s got none of that. +0

Exaggerated self-esteem. Yep… he thinks he’s got a brain the size of a planet. He also believes himself ‘above’ such menial chores as picking up a piece of paper. +1

Increased sex drive. He’s a robot… if he even looked at a boobie once, with interest, that would be far more than I’d expect. You know, for a robot, that is. +0

Insomnia: Hmm… he does shut himself off at least once, probably several times, during the books. But does he sleep? “Now I lay me down to sleep; try to count electric sheep; sweet dream wishes you can keep; how I hate my life.” --Marvin. +1?

Lightning-fast thoughts. Literally. He’s a robot. Electicity is as fast as electiricy, possibly a bit faster. +1

So two of five… three if you don’t count complete inactivity as ‘sleep’…

I’d say he’s manic, alright.

He’s not paranoid, tho. The Universe WAS out to get him. So were a few of the other universes, if I remember properly. But that doesn’t make him special… apparently It’s out to get everybody. :eek: :cool:

It’s not exaggerated, it’s spot-on. Whether the brain thing is literally true or not, his abilities far exceed what’s asked of him, which is one of the many many many things that gets him down.

I think the last line is “how I hate the night.” But he also hates the day and every other time, and he’s seen lots of it. To me, this sort of amazing consistency is exactly why he’s not manic. Robots don’t need to sleep, Marvin just gets sick of dealing with the humanoids.

Doesn’t count since he’s a robot. When applied to humans, it’s a metaphor for excitement, and he doesn’t have to be excited for this to be true.

At most, if we’re charitable with the self-esteem thing, that’s 1/5. As Marvin would tell you, it’s a pitifully small number.

Ok, if you’ve never met anyone manic or manic-depressive, have you ever met someone flying on coke? THAT’S manic. Marvin is not manic.

Okay, I was under the impression that manic in manic depression meant “very deep”. Now I’ve lookeed up the definition I see I was wrong.

He was a depressive, not a manic depressive.

Thank you all for your input. For the record I always thought Marvin came across as more depressed than paranoid but I know he was referred to at least once (by Zaphod?) as the Paranoid Android, so that is why I used the phrase.

Murcielago that is an interesting link…gave me something to consider.

I also realize Marvin really is very smart and not just blowing smoke…the Krikkit robots hooked him up to their war computer because of his tremendous mental capacity, failing to take his personality problems into account. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, Zaphod does call Marvin “the Paranoid Android”. And I believe that the term “manically depressed robot” gets used at some point in the first book.

(I think it was when Ford and Arthur were first walking to the bridge of the Heart of Gold - "“What do you do with a manically depressed robot?’ What do you do if you ARE a manically depressed robot. No don’t answer. I have a brain the size of a planet and even I don’t know the answer. It’s an effort just to think down to your level. GOD, I’m so depressed!” - - or something of the sort. Actually, I’m kind of surprised that I got that close, what with the book being at home and all.) ((And I won’t be surprised if I got the manically wrong, either.))

So, although both phrases are incorrect, they are DIFINITIVELY incorrect.

(Unless I’m wrong about the manically.)

And for my 100th post, I learned how to Google properly and found the damn thing myself. Woot.

Note the “brain located in hyperspace” note.

(I guess I have my own eternal gratitude, then :cool: )

Marvin the Paranoid Android, as a throwaway insult line tossed off by Zaphod was funny. When the Marketing people co-opted it in their promotional materials, I got annoyed by it.

Same as when the blurb-writers decided to describe Arthur Dent as a knee-biter on the strength of two passages in Life, the Universe, and Everything.

None of the above is intended to be a slam on your usage, Laughing Lagomorph.

I’m sort of shocked that I haven’t been corrected, yet. But I’m home and here’s the quote, from the first exit onto the planet Magrathea:

“Oh, the Paranoid Android,” he said. “Yeah, we’ll take him.”

“But what are you supposed to do with a manically depressed robot?”

“You think you’ve got problems,” said Marvin, as if he was addressing a newly occupied coffin, “what are you supposed to do if you are a manically depressed robot? No, don’t bother to answer that. I’m fifty thousand times more intellegent than you and even I don’t know the answer. It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.”

So there you are. DIFINITIVELY incorrect. Even Marvin said it.