‘Forty-Two. It is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything else’
‘But what is the question?’
‘Err..I don’t know the question. I just have the answer’
The advance aliens in Douglas Adams epic sci-fi comedy: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, create a supercomputer named Deep Thought to find the answer to the ultimate question of life, universe and everything else. Deep Thought works on it for 7.5 million years and comes up with this answer: Forty Two.
Unfortunately, no one knows what the ultimate question is. Till this day.
In the novel, Deep Thought tells the scientists that a bigger supercomputer will be built to figure out the question. It would be named ‘Earth’ and it will take 10 mllion years.
But little did Adams know that he had triggered the massive 42 cult. He meant it to be a ‘simple joke and chose a smallish random number’. But till this day, millions of cult fans are still trying to ascribe some deep, symbolic significance to the number and its occurrences.
Here are some popular ‘42’ theories:
Light refracts through a water surface by 42 degrees to create a rainbow
The world’s first book, Gutenberg Bible has 42 lines per page.
Titanic was travelling at a speed equivalent to 42 kmph when it hit the iceberg.
Elvis Presley died at 42.
The Nagasaki atomic bomb contained the destructive power of 42 mn sticks of dynamite.
Cricket has 42 laws.
The 3 best-selling albums: MJ’s Thriller, AC/DC’s Back in Black and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon – last 42 minutes.
Some others propose that 42 was chosen because it is 101010 in binary code.
And so many more. But the frenzy to know the ultimate question is still on.
So what could be your ‘42’ story?
And as things go, this story also happens to be the 42nd in the #1MinuteStories series.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of the greatest works in the genre of sc-fi and comedy. Douglas Adam’s wrote this first for the BBC Radio show and then released the 5 book series in the late 70’s and 80’s. The books sold 15 mn copies in his lifetime and along with the Radio show that came before created the cult following for the series. TV series, plays and movies also came up.