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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25 
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Post The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
Douglas Adams

Chapters 21-25



Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:54 pm
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Post Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
It is in these chapters that we meet the strange old man on the planet of Magrathea. I wonder if anyone else felt that Douglas Adams version of 'god' just walked into the story? We are on a planet that specialized in designing and building custom planets, complete with the creatures and all. At one point, after the old man and Arthur have traveled into this amazing planet and into the workshop, the old man points at the new 'earth' just under construction, like some kind of creator. He also has an odd line about 'liking science' which just come out of nowhere ... Adams has some fun with this guy ... turns out that he's obsessed with making fjords and has built them into the new Africa and so on, when Arthur visits his office he has a chair made of a stegosaurus ribcage, and ... as the story progresses he declines in stature, seems more and more foolish and ends up being dismissed from his job by mice (oddly inter-galactic mice but still mice!!). Mice who we think are the subject of science but turns out they are the masters of science ... and they dismiss him ... so who is the old man, Slartibartfast, and what is his significance?



Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:22 am
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Post Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
Hi Giselle, I also enjoyed the character of Slartibartfast. He did appear to be a 'god-like' character. I did enjoy that in the end he got back at the mice by letting Arthur and the group use his vehicle to get back to the Heart of Gold and he provided some guidance along the way as to which button to push. So Slartibartfast appeared to know what was going to happen and provide some help like an all knowing character. I just finished the Hitchhikers and I wonder if Slartibart fast will appear in the books after this one.



Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:39 pm
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Post Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
sal10e wrote:
Hi Giselle, I also enjoyed the character of Slartibartfast. He did appear to be a 'god-like' character. I did enjoy that in the end he got back at the mice by letting Arthur and the group use his vehicle to get back to the Heart of Gold and he provided some guidance along the way as to which button to push. So Slartibartfast appeared to know what was going to happen and provide some help like an all knowing character. I just finished the Hitchhikers and I wonder if Slartibart fast will appear in the books after this one.

You know, when one is hitchhiking around the universe, knowing which button to press could be really, really important!!! :D The mice are not terribly likable characters, which I guess it appropriate because most of us don't like mice much, well except for a weird few who, like Trillian, think they are cute and keep them as pets. Perhaps this is why DA's interesting turn-around where the mice are experimenting on us just seems to ... resonate somehow :x I like Slartibartfast, I mean how can you dislike a dude who specializes in making fjords? But he does have a really terrible name. I've tried to think what the name means, it must have some significance, so if someone knows please enlighten me.



Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:04 am
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Post Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
My first take is that the significance of Slartibartfast's name is that it's supposed to make you think it has some kind of significance when it really doesn't.

There is an interesting discussion of the name on wikipedia:

Quote:
"The rude name that is hard to type"

Douglas Adams writes in the notes accompanying the published volume of original radio scripts that he wanted Slartibartfast's name to sound very rude, but still actually be broadcastable. He therefore started with the name "Phartiphukborlz", and changed bits of it until it would be acceptable to the BBC. He came closer to achieving this goal in the following episode, with the double-act Lunkwill and Fook. He adds to this statement in Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion, an analysis by Neil Gaiman.

Quote:
...One thing I don't think I explained in the script book was that I was also teasing the typist, Geoffrey [Perkins]'s secretary, because ... she'd be typing out this long and extraordinary name which would be quite an effort to type and right at the beginning he says 'My name is not important, and I'm not going to tell you what it is'. I was just being mean to Geoffrey's secretary.


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Post Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
tbarron:

That's a great insight into Adams strange choice of name, thanks for looking it up. When Slartibartfast tells Arthur that his name is not important and refuses to tell him his name and then, not much further on, does tell him his name it was pretty obvious that DA was up to something with this name and the character. I had commented earlier that I thought Slartibartfast had a sort of 'god' character thing about him, and I would speculate that the game with S. name relates to this. After all, we have many names for 'god' and we have many gods, or none, and really what does it matter what we call it/them or if we get the name right? Another odd thing about the encounter between S. and Arthur is that S. is a bit threatening, albeit in an awkward and rather backhanded fashion, but Arthur does not seem scared at all and goes along with S., thus discovering first hand the secrets of the planet. When I think of Arthur's reaction to meeting Slartibartfast, I'm reminded of one of John Cleese's lines in the Holy Grail ... "what an odd person" ...



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Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:00 am
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Post Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 21-25
Giselle, your comment makes me think of the relationship between Aslan and the children in the Narnia books -- it was ostensibly friendly but the children could never be sure what Aslan would do next or what kind of hot water he was about to drop them in. It could be that DA was parodying this kind of "He loves me, and he scares me" kind of attitude on the part of believers.

With regard to the name of the deity, I think it's kind of funny that the name for "the" god monotheists believe in has come to be God, kind of like calling your dog, "Dog" or your cat, "Cat". I guess the point is that the deity only needs a name if there's more than one.


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