Slartibartfast was a Magrathean designer of planets. During the planet's societal height, he constructed the coastlines of continents on planets manufactured by Magrathea; in particular, he specialised in fjords. He won an award for his work on Norway.
Slartibartfast encountered Arthur Dent when he (along with Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, Trillian and Marvin) traveled to Magrathea. He showed Dent his newly-redesigned Africa, with plenty of fjords because they give a "baroque" feel to a continent. Slartibartfast shared the historical records on Sens-O-Tape with Arthur of the story of Deep Thought and the Answer to the Ultimate Question.
Slartibartfast also later assisted Arthur and Ford, through the use of his starship Bistromath, in combatting the menace of the Krikkiters.
Slartibartfast appears in:
- Douglas Adams writes in the notes accompanying the published volume of original radio scripts that he wanted Slartibartfast's name to sound very rude, but still actually be broadcastable. He therefore started with the name "Phartiphukborlz", and changed bits of it until it would be acceptable to the BBC. He came closer to achieving this goal in the following episode, with the double-act Lunkwill and Fook.
One thing I don't think I explained in the script book was that I was also teasing the typist, Geoffrey Perkins's secretary, because ... she'd be typing out this long and extraordinary name which would be quite an effort to type and right at the beginning he says 'My name is not important, and I'm not going to tell you what it is'. I was just being mean to Geoffrey's secretary.Douglas Adams
- Cook, John R. (2006). British Science Fiction Television: A Hitchhiker's Guide. I.B. Tauris. p. 231. ISBN 1-84511-048-X.