Also, the current top link provided an interesting summary of the role 42 plays in Douglas Adams's novels. It even links to an post allegedly written by the author himself, explaining where 42 came from!
I first became addicted to the Hitchhikers trilogy in early high school. I could always tell if a person would understand my sense of humor by whether they enjoyed the books or not. To me, they were hilariously funny, and I could read them and laugh at them again and again. I remember once sitting in a library, reading passages from So Long and Thanks For All the Fish to a friend.
I was trying to read without giggling, so she could truly appreciate his witty word-play. She was staring at me blankly. It was clear that not only did she not find it funny, but she couldn't even see a reason they might be funny!
I tried another passage that amused me. It was this one:
- "He had read somewhere that the Eskimos had over two hundred different words for snow, without which their conversation would probably have got very monotonous. So they would distinguish between thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that came in flurries, snow that came in drifts, snow that came in on the bottom of your neighbor's boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remember from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you were going out fishing, and snow that despite all your efforts to train them, the huskies have pissed on. "
She remained completely unimpressed until I got to the last phrase, then she laughed. "Snow that the huskies pissed on!", she chuckled. "Haha! Dog pee!"
I gave up trying to share...it was clearly hopeless.