42 Clever and Deep Quotes from 'The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy'

Read on for the funniest and most thought-provoking lines from Douglas Adams’s endlessly quotable sci-fi classic.

The first novel in Douglas Adams’s beloved sci-fi franchise, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been enthralling earthlings since 1979. But before it was published, it was a series of broadcasts on BBC Radio—and listening to the audiobook lets you enjoy the original charm of its spoken performance. In his narration of the iconic volume that inspired six more books, a television series, a video game, and a feature film, esteemed actor Stephen Fry enhances Adams’s thought-provoking passages while delivering impeccable comedic execution of the novel’s off-the-wall, absurdist humor. These 42 quotes from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series are some of our favorites in the whole saga—maybe even the whole galaxy. 

Quotes About Humanity

Although The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy revolves around interstellar travel and the destruction of Earth, Adams's insights on the human condition are just as relevant on our home planet. Metaphorical or otherwise, these quotes may help you reflect on your own life and your place in the universe. 

1. “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

2. “He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

3. “This planet has—or rather had—a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

4. “One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

5. “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

6. "‘Did I do anything wrong today,’ he said, ‘or has the world always been like this and I've been too wrapped up in myself to notice?’” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

7. “I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

8. “Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

9. “My capacity for happiness...you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

10. “Here, for whatever reason, is the world. And here it stays. With me on it.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

11. “There’s an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they’ve worked out.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

12. “Reality is frequently inaccurate.” — Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe 

13. “What is it? The girls? The leather? The machismo? Or do you just find that coming to terms with the mindless tedium of it all presents an interesting challenge?” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Quotes About Wisdom and Logic

Adams also provides many thoughts concerning wisdom and logic. From questions about space and divinity to comments about individual happiness, Adams had a way of weaving in these small tidbits of contemplation.

14. “Don't Panic.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

15. “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

16. “Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

17. “I'd far rather be happy than right any day.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

18. “If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

19. “‘You know,’ said Arthur, ‘it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.’ ‘Why, what did she tell you?’ ‘I don't know, I didn't listen.’” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

20. The answer to the great question...of Life, the Universe and Everything...is...forty-two.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

21. “The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

22. “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

23. “All through my life I've had this strange unaccountable feeling that something was going on in the world, something big, even sinister, and no one would tell me what it was.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

24. “Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

25. “Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

26. “So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

27. “Well, I mean, yes idealism, yes the dignity of pure research, yes the pursuit of truth in all its forms, but there comes a point I'm afraid where you begin to suspect that the entire multidimensional infinity of the Universe is almost certainly being run by a bunch of maniacs.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

28. “I don’t know what I’m looking for... I think it might be because if I knew I wouldn’t be able to look for them.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

29. “Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity—distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Quotes Just for Fun 

At the end of the day, though it’s provocative and philosophical, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is best known for its brilliant moments of comedy. Adams’s writing is rich with humor, making the end-of-the-world plot paradoxically full of laughs. 

30. “For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

31. “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

32. “Ford... you're turning into a penguin. Stop it.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

33. “The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the 'Star Spangled Banner,' but in fact the message was this: ‘So long and thanks for all the fish.’” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

34. “We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

35. “‘What's so unpleasant about being drunk?’ ‘You ask a glass of water!’” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

36. “In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

37. “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. The effect of which is like having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

38. “‘I don't want to die now!’ he yelled. ‘I've still got a headache! I don't want to go to heaven with a headache, I'd be all cross and wouldn't enjoy it!’” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

39. “Hence a phrase which has passed into hitch hiking slang, as in ‘Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.’ (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

40. “And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before—and thus was the Empire forged.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

41. “Very deep... You should send that in to the Reader's Digest. They've got a page for people like you.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

42. “Why should I want to make anything up? Life’s bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it.” — Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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