(Source: , via hitchhikersguidetothegalaxy)
With the news today about the re-release of the Hitchhiker’s text game, I felt an urge to go see if I could find my old copy of the original radio scripts. As I was thumbing through it, I came across this footnote:
Ah yes, the whale. Well, this came about as a result of watching an episode of a dangerously insane TV detective show called Cannon in which people got shot the whole time for incredibly little reason. They would just happen to be walking across the street, and they would simply get killed, regardless of what their own plans for the rest of the day might have been.
I began to find the sheer arbitrariness of this rather upsetting, not just because characters were getting killed, but because nobody ever seemed to care about it one way or another. Anybody who might have cared about any of these people - family, friends, even the postman - was kept firmly offstage. There was never any “Good night sweet Prince” or “She should have died hereafter” or even “Look you bastard, I was meant to be playing squash with this guy tonight” just bang, clear them out of the way, on to the next. They were merely, excuse me, Cannonfodder.
I thought I’d have a go at this. I’d write in a character whose sole function was to be killed for the sake of a small detail in the plot, and then damn well make the audience care about it, even if none of the other characters in the story did. I suppose I must have succeeded because I received quite a number of letters saying how cruel and callous this section was - letters I certainly would not have received if I had simply mentioned the whale’s fate incidentally and passed on. I probably wouldn’t have received them if it had been a human either.
BTW, here is the F/X note in the script for the whale’s materialization:
F/X: POP AS OF WHALE SUDDENLY COMING INTO EXISTENCE SOME MILES ABOVE THE SURFACE OF AN ALIEN PLANET. INCREASING WIND.
Douglas Adams is the best when it comes to describe characters
we need to teach classes on Douglas Adams analogies okay
“He leant tensely against the corridor wall and frowned like a man trying to unbend a corkscrew by telekinesis.”
"The Galaxy, which had been enjoying a period of unusual peace and prosperity at the time, reeled like a man getting mugged in a meadow.”
"it was a deep, hollow malevolent voice which sounded like molten tar glurping out of a drum with evil on its mind.”
"Stones, then rocks, then boulders which pranced past him like clumsy puppies, only much, much bigger, much, much harder and heavier, and almost infinitely more likely to kill you if they fell on you.”
"… a large and voluminous creature who looked like someone losing a fight with a pink duvet …”
"He screwed up his face and then dropped his head forward, shaking it like someone trying to shake a coin out of a money box.”
"He gazed keenly into the distance and looked as if he would quite like the wind to blow his hair back dramatically at that point, but the wind was busy fooling around with some leaves a little way off.”
"He leapt to his feet like an author hearing the phone ring”
"he started to stalk forward slowly and stealthily wearing a puzzled frown of concentration, like a leopard that’s not sure whether it’s just seen a half-empty tin of cat food half a mile away across a hot and dusty plain.”
"it looked only partly like a spaceship with guidance fins, rocket engines and escape hatches and so on, and a great deal like a small upended Italian bistro.”
"If it was an emotion, it was a totally emotionless one. It was hatred, implacable hatred. It was cold, not like ice is cold, but like a wall is cold. It was impersonal, not as a randomly flung fist in a crowd is impersonal, but like a computer-issued parking summons is impersonal. And it was deadly - again, not like a bullet or a knife is deadly, but like a brick wall across a motorway is deadly.”h2G2 has one of my favorites: “It hung weightlessly in the air in much the same way bricks don’t.”