Mostly Harmless: Three Douglas Adams Inventions We Wish Were Real

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WowbaggerEoin Colfer Memorial Award For Excellence in Unnecessary Additions:

Bowerick Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged
Adams’ books are packed with bizarre, hilarious ideas of all sorts, but Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged is one of my favorites, and representative of the keen and cynical insights into human nature that underlie most of his writing. We’ve all wondered what it’d be like to be immortal, but it’s one of those things that becomes less appealing the more you think about it. Indeed, a key element of most of our stories about long-lived or immortal beings is the sense of terrible loneliness that would inevitably come with watching everyone you ever meet grow old and die while you just keep on keepin’ on. Faced with such a fate, some would simply avoid forming close bonds as much as possible, while others would cling to denial as their touchstone.

Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who gained his immortality after an incident involving “a few rubber bands, a liquid lunch, and a particle accelerator,” came up with a novel way to pass the time: he would insult everyone in the universe, individually, and in alphabetical order. Wowbagger is one of the most quintessentially Douglas Adams things Douglas Adams ever thought of, and even though it’s infinitely improbable, I keep hoping that one day Wowbagger will show up on my doorstep and call me a right git. A man can dream, can’t he?

(Yes, we know the accompanying pic is from Paul. There is a disappointing lack of satisfying Wowbagger pictures out there on the internet and this is the “angry alien” shot we liked best.)

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  1. Gardner Underhill says:

    You missed the SEP (Somebody Else’s Problem) field generator. It makes anything within the field somebody else’s problem and therefore completely invisible outside observers.

    • Chris K says:

      Never mind that, you forgot something more important!

      You forgot the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters!

      • quentin says:

        There was a bar in San Diego years ago that sold a drink called just that. Doubt that it had any Ol’ Janx Spirit in it

  2. Scott Panfil says:

    Love that the 3 inventions are more than three.

  3. Jeff Brewer says:

    Great article. My only quibble is that you used a picture of Marvin from the movie, rather than the BBC MINI-series…

    • quentin says:

      If you watched the movie carefully, they did show the original Marvin for just a few seconds

  4. quentin says:

    Isn’t Google Glass pretty darn close to Peril Sensitive Sunglasses? There might be an app for that

  5. Truth says:

    well i can see this person doesnt read or he’d know it hasnt been a “Trilogy” since nearly the start.

    there are 6 books out there:

    Hitchhiker’s guide
    Resturaunt at the end of the Universe
    Life the Universe and Everything
    So Long and Thanks for all the fish

    Mostly Harmless (released several years later)

    and a lesser known 6th book released after his death:

    And Another Thing (By Eoin Colfer) Dont know if Adams had any contributions to this story

  6. gazinbali says:

    Ohhh Im soooo depressed….

  7. libby says:

    This is what Marvin the Paranoid Robot really does look like.