Megadodo Publications were the publishers of the popular guide book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
It was one of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor, however it had a questionable reputation throughout the Universe. At one point Megadodo set up an artificial universe within its buildings in order to allow its editors and contributors to collect book information without leaving their offices, and it was known for being secretive about its financial and historical records. In the book Mostly Harmless the company was bought out by Infinidim Enterprises, at which point it ceased selling the Guide to hitchhikers. This controversial takeover was in fact a cover for the Vogons and part of their plan to destroy every version of the Earth once and for all.
Megadodo Publications headquarters were situated at Megadodo House on Ursa Minor Beta. The building was a pair of 30-storey office buildings connected midway up their height by a walkway, with the entire structure resembling a giant letter H.
The offices were relocated to a resort planet, however this caused the company to lose much of its credibility among its customer base.
One of the buildings of these headquarters was uprooted by a squadron of Frogstar fighters and taken to Frogstar World B, in an attempt to capture and discipline Zaphod Beeblebrox, the rogue President of the Galaxy. These events, however, happened within the artificial universe within the building and it is unknown if this actually affected the real offices or not.
The Megadodo lobby is apparently always filled with grubby-looking hitchhikers waiting to complain about the Guide's many inaccuracies.
Although it was said that "most of the actual work got done by any passing stranger who happened to wander into the empty offices of an afternoon and saw something worth doing", there were some notable employees of this publishing corporation.
Employees included Ford Prefect, a hitch-hiker and field researcher for the Guide, who was sent to Earth by his editor to write an entry for it in the Guide and subsequently left there for fifteen years until he made his escape. At one point, later in the series, Ford charged a number of lavish expenses to the Guide and Infinidim Enterprises.
The editors of the Guide are mentioned a few times, mostly by Ford, and give off the impression of being strict, concise and possibly mean. Ford's lengthy and detailed entry on the Earth was cut down by editors to just two words, and it was his editor who sent him to the Earth in the first place, possibly intending to leave him stranded there.
A man named Roosta was another researcher and hitch-hiker and an acquaintance of Ford's, who saves Zaphod's life in the offices of Megadodo Publications and then travels with him into the alternate universe and on a journey to Frogstar World B.
Zarniwoop was someone who worked in the offices of Megadodo Publications, working on the Guide while on an intergalactic cruise within his alternate universe. When Zarniwoop was first introduced, he had been stuck within his alternate universe on the planet Brontitall and joined Zaphod on his search to find The Ruler of the Universe.
When Zarniwoop appeared later on in the series, Zarniwoop had escaped Brontitall and the alternate universe and was revealed to be a Vogon in disguise, with his full name being Zarniwoop Van Harl. He was one of the masterminds behind the takeover of Megadodo Publications by the Vogons.
- Megadodo Publications is referenced in the introduction to every version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as one of the "great publishing corporations" to come out of Ursa Minor.
Notes and references
- Life, the Universe and Everything, Page 397, Douglas Adams.
- It was mentioned early in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio, novel and tv) that field researchers could use the Guide to edit entries and transmit them back to the publisher, as Ford Prefect did with his entry on the Earth.
- The unflattering mentions of the editors of the Guide may have been inspired by Douglas Adams' own experiences with editors when writing and publishing his novels.