Two Of My Favorite Robots

If you’ve never read or seen Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, I’d like to introduce you to Marvin The Paranoid Android.  Built as a failed prototype of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, Marvin suffers from extreme depression and boredom.  Why is this?  Well, having a brain the size of a planet comes at a cost.  Combine this with the fact that he has to serve human masters who are far from his equal, we can all understand his unending frustration.

marvin depressed

During the series he’s kidnapped by a race of fierce robots who interface his giant mind with their war computer.  Marvin not only manages to plan the entire planet’s military war strategy, but he also simultaneously solves, “all of the major mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, sociological, philosophical, etymological, meteorological, and psychological problems of the Universe except his own, three times over.”


The only thing he found slightly difficult was writing poetry.  Of his many poems, only one is known to us, particularly his personal lullaby How I Hate The Night, “a short dolorous ditty of no tone, or indeed tune.”

Now the world has gone to bed
Darkness won’t engulf my head
I can see by infra-red
How I hate the night

Now I lay me down to sleep
Try to count electric sheep
Sweet dream wishes you can keep
How I hate the night

Marvin was constructed much against his own wishes.  In his own words,

“I didn’t ask to be made: no one consulted me or considered my feelings in the matter. I don’t think it even occurred to them that I might have feelings. After I was made, I was left in a dark room for six months… and me with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. I called for succour in my loneliness, but did anyone come? Did they hell. My first and only true friend was a small rat. One day it crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I have a horrible feeling it’s still there…”

Despite his near limitless wisdom, his human masters rarely listen to his advice.

marvin advice

The other robot from the same series is the giant super-computer Deep Thought, constructed by an advanced trans-dimensional species to find the answer and meaning of the universe.


After millions of years of thought, it concluded the answer to life, the universe, and everything else is the number “42”.  Not satisfied with its conclusion, the advanced species demanded an explanation.  This leads to the creation of Earth and our universe.  Our world is a special “program” written by Deep Thought where life itself is part of its “operational matrix”, specifically engineered so that we could find out the meaning of life for them.

As a side note, Deep Thought was later commissioned by the Consortium of Angry Housewives to create the Point Of View Gun.  Anyone subjected to it immediately understands the point of view of the gun’s holder.  Marvin ends up using this weapon on the Vogons in the clip above, which is why they all fall to the ground exclaiming, “What’s the point… I’m so depressed.”

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