Slartibartfast’s ship that looks like an Italian restaurant. Inspired by “Life, the Universe and Everything” by Douglas Adams, the fourth book in the Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy series.
About this creation
In the opening scenes Arthur and Ford hitch a lift out of prehistoric earth on a chesterfield sofa caught in a temporal rift. They find themselves on the pitch of the Lords Cricket ground, in the middle of a game for the Ashes. Moments later it is attacked by Krikkit robots creating death and destruction with their bat-like weapons.
But Slartibartfast has landed his Starship Bistromath right in the Lord’s as well! It is cloaked by a Somebody Else’s Problem field, an SEP.
An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem.... The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.
This is because it relies on people's natural predisposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain.
In this case, the Starship Bistromath is a small upended Italian bistro with guidance fins, rocket engines and escape hatches.
Here are some quotes from the book on the interior.
“The interior of the flight deck was dark green, dark red, dark brown, cramped and moodily lit. Inexplicably, the resemblance to a small Italian bistro had failed to end at the hatchway. Small pools of light picked out pot plants, glazed tiles and all sorts of unidentifiable brass things.
Raffia-wrapped bottles lurked hideously in the shadows.”
“The instruments that occupied Slartibartfart’s attention seemed to be mounted in the bottom of bottles that were set in concrete.
Fords reached out and touched it.
Fake concrete. Plastic. Fake bottles set in fake concrete. “
“The fundamental heart of mind and Univere can take a running jump, he thought to himself, this is rubbish. On the other hand, it could not be denied that the way the ship had moved made the Heart of Gold seem like an electric pram.”
The second deck contains the Central Computational Area and the room of Informational Illusions.
‘What they found upstairs was just stupid, or so it seemed, and Ford shook his head, buried his face in his hands and slumped against a pot plant, crushing it against the wall.
“The central computational area,” said Slartibartfast, unperturbed. “This is where every calculation affecting the ship in any way is preformed. Yes, I know what it looks like, but it is in fact a complex four-dimensional geographical map of a series of highly complex mathematical functions.”’
‘”It looks like a joke,’ said Arthur.
The central computational area looks like a table set for twelve, with robot customers, robot waiters and seating for the captain and crew, set in glass box.
A quote on bistromathics:
The first nonabsolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turn up, or the number of people who subsequently join them after the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has shown up.
The second nonabsolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusons now play a vital part in many branches of mathematics, including statistics and accountancy, and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else's Problem field.
The third and most mysterious piece of nonabsoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the bill, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table and what they are each prepared to pay for. (The number of people who have actually brought any money is only a sub-phenomenon in this field.)
The descriptive of the central computational area decided what size the ship would have to be. With a wrought iron spiral staircase in the middle of the flight deck the table set for 12 would have to fit above it.
“The room of Informational Illusions was a welcome relief after the visual monstrosities of the central computational area. There was nothing in it. No information, no illusions, just themselves, white walls and a few small instruments that looked as if they were meant to plug into something that Slartibartfast couldn’t find.”
It is not described in the book, so the bathroom is a touch of my own…
The attic too, is an atristical liberty. A decent starship has a shuttle deck. Everybody knows that!
Once boarded, the shuttle’s engines come up, it swivels about, and is launched through the opposite door.
The smaller part of the attic is the storage deck. A tri-axis anti-grav pulley loads cargo into it.