Don't Panic.

Okay Okay, look, before we go any further I’ll just hold my hands and admit that I like science fiction. Probably not as much as some other geeks (we’ve already discussed my geekiness, and I don’t have a penchant for turning up at lovely conventions dressed as a Klingon (though I know what a Klingon is and I have dressed up as a comic book character before…where was I?) but I do love a good old sci-fi novel – like Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, or a good old sci-fi movie – like Minority Report, or a good old sci-fi TV series – like the X Files.

And in these shows and books and films and radio plays there are items that they have that I would love to see in real life – like the Minority Report glass screen moving swiping thing that one day will be my TV screen I am sure. And, maybe, the memory erasing Men In Black tube type thing, so I can get away with stealing Jelly Babies from friends at the cinema and then convince them that there was, in fact, no Jelly Baby.

One of my all time favourite novels is the venerable Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and it’s resulting 4 sequels that make up the five part trilogy. The main character of the books is not Arthur Dent (for how could such a simple ape-descendant take that title) but the namesake of the book it’s self, the book, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If that has confused you then you really need to call me and get a copy of it. So here are the things in the book that I’d love to exist.

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster

1. Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.
2. Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.
3. Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
4. Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it.
5. Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qalactin Hypermint extract.
6. Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger.
7. Sprinkle Zamphuor.
8. Add an olive.
9. Drink . . . but . . . very carefully . . .

Tastes like: "Like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick."

Thanks, and real combinations...: Wikibooks!


In the “love” novel of the series, the fourth and quite lovely So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur flies over London with his lover Fenchurch. He figures out how to do it in the third novel, Life, the Universe and Everything. The trick is simply to fall at the ground and miss, by either intention of by accident. It is all about tricking gravity into not noticing you are falling and at the exact moment you are to hit the ground completely forget about hitting the hard surface and just missing it completely. The moment you full realise you are flying you will stop - Gravity is like that, y’know? I’d love this to be true (indeed, it still might be) and I try regularly each day to miss the ground, though mostly at weekends after a few… sandwiches, of course.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The actual item of the books is a genius idea – a massive database of articles about everything in the universe, submitted by users that can be accessed for free anywhere and is regularly updated by… um… users… er. Wait.


And using my iPhone I can access it anywhere. Douglas would have loved to see it.

And XKCD noticed that too, albeit with the Amazon Kindle 2.