The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

May 16, 2009 in Quotes

I would be remiss if I didn't follow my last post by publishing the excellent passage that reveals that the answer to life, the universe and everything is, in fact, 42. This excerpt is from chapter 27 of Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

(Deep Thought is a computer that has been figuring out the answer for 7.5 million years; Loonquawl and Phouchg are the unfortunately-named descendents of those who first put Deep Thought to the task.)

There was a moment's expectant pause whilst panels slowly came to life on the front of the console. Lights flashed on and off experimentally and settled down into a businesslike pattern. A soft low hum came from the communication channel.

"Good morning," said Deep Thought at last.

"Er ... Good morning, O Deep Thought," said Loonquawl nervously, "do you have ... er, that is ..."

"An answer for you?" interrupted Deep Thought majestically. "Yes. I have."

The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.

"There really is one?" breathed Phouchg.

"There really is one," confirmed Deep Thought.

"To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?"


Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children.

"And you're ready to give it to us?" urged Loonquawl.

"I am."


"Now," said Deep Thought.

They both licked their dry lips.

"Though I don't think," added Deep Thought, "that you're going to like it."

"Doesn't matter!" said Phouchg. "We must know it! Now!"

"Now?" inquired Deep Thought.

"Yes! Now ..."

"Alright," said the computer and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.

"You're really not going to like it," observed Deep Thought.

"Tell us!"

"Alright," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question ..."

"Yes ...!"

"Of Life, the Universe and Everything ..." said Deep Thought.

"Yes ...!"

"Is ..." said Deep Thought, and paused.

"Yes ...!"

"Is ..."

"Yes ...!!!...?"

"Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

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