Rob McKenna was a miserable bastard and he knew it because he'd had a lot of people point it out to him.
—McKenna's description[src]

Rob McKenna is an ordinary lorry driver who can never get away from rain, and he has a log-book showing that it has rained on him every day, anywhere that he has ever been, to prove it. He is because of this rather grouchy and resigned to never seeing the sun; he notes it even rained when he went abroad. He was described by the scientific community as a "Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer". In the novel "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish", Arthur suggests that he could show the diary to someone, which Rob does, making the media deem him a 'Rain God' (something which he actually is) for the clouds want "to be near him, to love him, to cherish him and to water him". This windfall gives him a lucrative career, taking money from resorts and similar places in exchange for not going there.

McKenna splashes Arthur Dent, who is hitchhiking in a normal environment, on the side of a desolate road in England.[1] Then Arthur meets him in a cafe, in "Thundercloud Corner," Rob McKenna's personal spot, which most people wouldn't venture near. But McKenna is mentioned continuously throughout the book, especially when he is hailed by the media as a "Rain God," though not in those terms. He explains, as the narrator does in the book, that "Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer" means, in layman's terms, a Rain God, but the media couldn't call him simply that, because it would suggest that the ordinary people knew something they didn't.

McKenna hates the music of Barry Manilow.

Rob McKenna's specified rain varieties

Rob McKenna had a little book, in which were entered two hundred and thirty-two different types of rain. These varieties include:

  • Type 11: breezy droplets
  • Type 17: dirty blatter (McKenna's least favourite type)
  • Type 33: light pricking drizzle which made the roads slippery
  • Type 39: heavy spotting
  • Type 47: vertical light drizzle
  • Type 51: sharply slanting light to moderate drizzle freshening
  • Types 87 and 88: two finely distinguished varieties of vertical torrential downpour
  • Type 100: post-downpour squalling, cold
  • Type 123: mild cold gusting
  • Type 124: intermediate cold gusting
  • Type 126: regular cab-drumming
  • Type 127: syncopated cab-drumming
  • Types 192 to 213: seastorm types
  • Type 232: Bucketing down


He appears in:

Behind the scenes

  • McKenna was played by Bill Paterson, who also played one of the Arcturan Megafreighter crew in Fit the Seventh of the radio series.
  • Rob McKenna is assumed to be English because that is where he is always driving round, trying to escape the elements, and where, thanks to the summer resorts who've heard of him, he will be confined until his death in the Quintessential Phase; but in the Quandary Phase, he has a Scottish-sounding voice.

Notes and references

  1. In the radio show, however, he picks Arthur up instead of ignoring him, and meets him again later, after he acquired his fame. He then has a much more positive attitude towards Life, the Universe, and Everything, and is thrilled to meet Arthur again.