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Billions of years ago when the Vogons first crawled out of the sluggish primeval seas of planet Vogsphere, and lay panting and heaving on the planet's virgin shores; when the first rays of the bright young Vogsol sun shone across them that morning, it was as if the forces of evolution simply gave up on them there and then, turned aside in disgust and wrote them off as an ugly and unfortunate mistake. They never evolved again; they should never have survived. The fact that they did is some kind of tribute to the thickwilled slug-brained stubbornness of these creatures. Evolution? they said to themselves, Who needs it?, and what nature refused to do for them they simply did without until such time as they were able to rectify the grosser anatomical inconveniences with surgery.

Meanwhile, the natural forces on planet Vogsphere worked overtime to make up for their earlier blunder. They brought forth scintillating jewelled scuttling crabs, which the Vogons ate, smashing their shells with iron mallets; tall aspiring trees with breathtaking slenderness and colour which the Vogons cut down and burned the crab meat with; elegant gazellelike creatures with silken coats and dewy eyes which the Vogons would catch and sit on. They were no use as transport because their backs would snap instantly, but the Vogons sat on them anyway.

Thus the planet Vogsphere whiled away the unhappy millennia until the Vogons suddenly discovered the principles of interstellar travel. Within a few short Vog years every last Vogon had migrated to the Megabrantis
cluster, the political hub of the Galaxy and now formed the immensely powerful backbone of the Galactic Civil Service. They have attempted to acquire learning, they have attempted to acquire style and social grace, but in most respects the modern Vogon is little different from his primitive forebears. Every year they import twenty-seven thousand scintillating jewelled scuttling crabs from their native planet and while away a happy drunken night smashing them to bits with iron mallets.

Vogons are one of the most unpleasant races in the Milky Way galaxy - not actually evil for the most part, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters. The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is to stick your finger down his throat, and the best way to irritate him is to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

On no account allow a Vogon to read poetry at you. Vogon poetry is the third worst in the universe, eclipsed only by that of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings or the Azgoths of Kria. Their early attempts at composition were part of bludgeoning insistence that they be accepted as a properly evolved and cultured race, but now the only thing that keeps them going is sheer bloodymindedness.