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"And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten." - Moses 1:33

Welcome, sentient life-form.

Thank the Maker you're here.  We are in dire need of your vast intellect and wisdom, renowned throughout the Universe, to assist us with this project.

Ah - how do you say - just kidding, sucker!  You should have seen the look on your face!  Because your brain is tragically and unspeakably inferior to ours (nothing personal of course; the same is true of your entire species) we would appreciate you not mucking about with things before they are finished.  This guide doesn't yet contain a grillionth of what there is to know but we're getting closer.  In the meantime, if something you need to know isn't here, we're very sorry and hope it isn't a life or death situation.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Space is big.  Really big.  You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.  Time is smaller, but not by an appreciable margin.

Now more than ever the length, breadth and depth of space and time are available to anyone and everyone, but not anyone and everyone is prepared for it.  To survive in the universe, you simply need to eat healthy, sleep often, and never say "Well, why don’t you bite my head off" to a female H’nemthe who's bigger than you are.  Since the first two items depend entirely on species, metabolism, and individuality, while the last is arguably Universal Truth Number One, this has varying degrees of dependability.

To live in the universe, you need a guide.  With more and more worlds joining the known interstellar community every zarb, it’s getting harder to keep track of who is who and what is what and which blue and yellow tentacled thing is which blue and yellow tentacled thing.  Several of these have been published.  The best ones are The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Encyclopedia Galactica.  However, the latter is aimed mostly at polished highbrow types, while the former’s target audience is obvious.

This compilation is aimed at both the casual tourist and the hardened traveler, and all those in between.  It is for those heading for the sunbeds of Venus on a cut-price package deal, as well as those backpacking around the uncharted galactic rim and beyond.

For the cosmic traveler today the three main problems of life offworld are the same today as they have always been:

a. How do I avoid accidentally giving offense to my alien host?

b. Is that multijawed alien with drool running down its face thinking of eating me?

c. Where can I buy reasonably priced soft toilet paper on Vulcan?

This encyclopedia attempts to answer the first two questions, while cleverly leaving the third for an overpriced sequel.  On that note, however, see our article on Where to Get the Best Stuff.

Aside from that, the information given here will allow you to pepper your speech with casual references to far-flung planets, species, artifacts, and the like, thus impressing your acquaintances and leading them to believe that you are a prolific traveler who's been around a few times.  Although, to be honest, you could just make some up and no one will be any the wiser.

If you are a first-timer, you should work your way through those entries pertaining to your general vicinity or wherever you intend to travel, making detailed notes on organic Vorlon mind-paper and eating them twice a day.  Do not attempt to memorize the entire encyclopedia, as the universe is far too vast and it cannot be done.  Afterwards you should take the Galactic Aptitude Test (G.A.T.) to earn an intergalactic passport.  Good luck, and may the Force (and the Schwartz) be with you.

Just remember - there are an infinite number of ways to get yourself killed or seriously injured out there. 

And in space, no one can hear you scream.

Adapted from the Introduction of Alien Encyclopedia: The Ultimate Alien A-Z by Andrew Donkin and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

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