8

At the end of chapter 19, this is written about Eddie:

A few minutes later he opened and closed the hatchway again in response to a command that caught him entirely by surprise.

Is this surprise the cops that appear later in the story, or did I miss something?

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  • @Glorfindel UK editions (e.g. Pan) have "Hitch Hiker's"; US editions (e.g. Pocket) have "Hitchhiker's". So both spellings are acceptable. Commented Jan 15 at 21:03
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    @GarethRees then I must have a US edition ... didn't realize there was a difference. Thanks!
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 15 at 21:04
  • @Glorfindel archive.org has a 1979 Pan edition and a 1979 Pocket edition which you can compare. Trans-Atlantic variation in book titles used to be much more common than it is now—see this answer for many examples. Commented Jan 15 at 21:11
  • OK (my emphasis), "The different versions of the series spell the title differently — thus Hitch-Hiker's Guide, Hitch Hiker's Guide, and Hitchhiker's Guide are used in different editions (UK or US), ... some omitting the apostrophe. The h2g2's English Usage ... claims that Hitchhiker's Guide is the spelling that Adams preferred. At least two reference works make note of the inconsistency in the titles. ... Adams decided ... that "everyone should spell it the same way [one word, no hyphen] from then on." Commented Jan 15 at 21:27

1 Answer 1

15

It is not explicitly explained, but the command was presumably issued by Trillian's two pet mice, Benjy and Frankie. Shortly before the ship landed on Magrathea the two mice escaped:

Trillion burst in through the door from her cabin.

“My white mice have escaped!” she said.

An expression of deep worry and concern failed to cross either of Zaphod’s faces.

“Nuts to your white mice,” he said.

The party then leave the ship, and eventually reconvene at a dinner party where the mice are already present, "sitting in what looked like whisky glasses on the table."

In order to have arrived there, they would have had to have left the ship after the others had gone. And as "vast hyperintelligent pan-dimensional beings" they would have had no problem in commanding Eddie, whose surprise was presumably that he had no previous idea of the mice's true nature.

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  • OK, then this is why I haven't found it - I thought though that the mice exited the ship little before them, but your version makes more sense than the cops checking the ship. Thanks! Commented Jan 13 at 18:58
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    The cops aren't around at this point. Their ship doesn't arrive until chapter 32 (causing every alarm on the planet to go off). Commented Jan 14 at 0:31
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    Ah, yes, because more than "A few minutes" have elapsed by that time. I also found now this two sentences at around the beginning of ch. 20: "Trillian hugged herself, shivered and frowned. She could have sworn she saw a slight and unexpected movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she glanced in that direction all she could see was the ship, still and silent, a hundred yards or so behind them." Commented Jan 14 at 12:15

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