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View Diary: Wednesday night Hitchhiker's Guide Lovefest (17 comments)

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  •  I beg to differ - the grammar of time travel (none)
    That was one of the most brilliant pieces of work ever:
    The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveller's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you for instance how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations whilst you are actually travelling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own father or mother.

    Most readers get as far as the Future Semi-Conditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up: and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

    And now to put it into practice:
    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering.

    It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (wioll haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe.

    This is, many would say, impossible.

    In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on-eat) sumptuous meals whilst watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.

    This is, many would say, equally impossible.

    You can arrive (mayan arivan on-when) for any sitting you like without prior (late fore-when) reservation because you can book retrospectively, as it were when you return to your own time. (you can have on-book haventa forewhen presooning returningwenta retrohome.)

    This is, many would now insist, absolutely impossible.

    At the Restaurant you can meet and dine with (mayan meetan con with dinan on when) a fascinating cross-section of the entire population of space and time.

    This, it can be explained patiently, is also impossible.

    You can visit it as many times as you like (mayan on-visit re- onvisiting ... and so on - for further tense-corrections consult Dr Streetmentioner's book) and be sure of never meeting yourself, because of the embarrassment this usually causes.

    I have never laughed so hard as when I read those words for the first (and even second time).

    - "You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"

    by Hoya90 on Wed Apr 13, 2005 at 07:28:06 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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