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Colonial Discourse as an SEP Field: Reading Life, the Universe and Everything as a postcolonial text Introduction There is a nation-wide

tendency to view British colonialism and the British Empire as a section of Britains history rather than a part of its current ideology. As a result of this perception colonialism is not a subject overtly discussed in popular culture; rather it is relegated to the history books alongside the era it is considered to encapsulate. As Nicholas Thomas rightly points out in Colonialisms Culture this reduction of British colonisation to a phenomenon or monolithic attitude confined to the late-nineteenth-century is both incorrect and dangerous[1]. Whilst the administrative fact of colonialism and the British Empire may have ceased, the effects and attitudes born of it still prevail in British society Britain has prospered as a result of the profits of violent colonial endeavour, making colonialism, as Thomas points out, a thing of the present, not the past[2]. The inability of current British society to see this connection, therefore, constitutes a large and wilful blind-spot. Post-colonial study, which explores the impact that colonialism has had on both the colonised and the colonisers, was born out of academic research into the connections between literature and colonialism. Research into the connections between science fiction and colonialism forms a significant, albeit marginalised, subsection of this. This has focused on subjects as diverse as the colonial connotations in George Lucass Star Wars series and the portrayal of the effects of European colonisation on Africa in District 9. This has helped to build up a solid base of publications that link fantasy and science fiction to various aspects of colonialism. As Rieder points out, it is no longer a case of asking if colonialism is discussed in science fiction; it is now time to discuss how and why it is done.[1] This article takes its impetus from Rieder by looking at how the self-perpetuating nature of colonial discourse is called to our attention in Douglas Adams Life, the Universe and Everything (LUE) and yet how it still, ironically, escapes unnoticed by critics and readers, thereby demonstrating the self-righting capacity of colonial discourse. This analysis first allows us to better understand how colonial discourse reinforces itself and secondly highlights how popular culture can be used as a vehicle to both acknowledge British colonialism and discuss it, thereby challenging the colonial blind-spot of current-day British society. The article begins with a textual analysis of LUE to demonstrate how it can be read as a post colonial text, and secondly the work of prominent cultural and critical theorists is drawn upon to demonstrate why it should be read as a post-colonial text.

Reading Life, the Universe and Everything as a Post-colonial Text. In the centre of Adams narrative is Arthur Dent: one of only two surviving human beings from Earth, positioned as the central character and a traveller within the Universe. He is accompanied by his guide, Ford Prefect, whose personal knowledge and experience of the Universes terrain can be likened to the local knowledge and experience of the native guides

taken into service by British colonial explorers. The fact that Arthur is the sole human in almost the whole narrative draws a parallel with the image of the lone British explorer striking out into unknown territory. It could be expected that he would also embody the corresponding image of the quintessential British heroic male explorer, but Adams takes this opportunity to play with the image of the popular British stereotype, highlighting the colonial centres downfalls through Arthurs image and personality. Throughout the narrative Dent is depicted in a shabby dressing gown and pyjamas, in stark contrast to the image of the archetypal British explorer hero smartly turned out and well groomed as documented in the historical literature of colonial exploration. In his influential book King Leopolds Ghost, Adam Hochschild describes Henry Morton Stanley (Welsh born journalist and explorer who spent much of his time in Africa) as being fastidious about his appearance during his time in the Congo, constantly dressing in pure white suits and ritually grooming and blacking his moustache.[2] Whilst highly impractical for the hot, wet and muddy climes of the Congo, Stanley refused to compromise his image. Alison Lurie explains that this insistence on wearing British colonial white was a portable sign of status, and symbolically transformed military occupation and commercial exploitation into justice and virtue, even into selfsacrifice.[3] It is clear that Stanley, and other explorers like him, sustained these rituals as a tool of power: a way of distinguishing himself from the natives of the country and reminding himself that he was from a separate, altogether more civilised sphere. Men like Stanley chose white fabrics to further distance themselves from the natives whilst at the same time perpetuating the image that they were involved, not in violent occupation, but in a process of charitable development and aid to a lesser developed culture. Indeed, as Lurie points out in one of her examples, in mimicking the white clothing often traditionally worn by sacrificial victims in some cultures the explorers indicated that they were sacrificing their own lives in order to help the native peoples become civilised from a Western perspective. In drawing this parallel between Arthur and Stanley, Adams is mocking the archetypal image of the British explorer and illustrating how vulnerable the British male is in another country and culture when the security of his materialistic symbols is either removed, as with Arthur when he is deprived of his usual daytime attire, or misunderstood, in that the people surrounding both Arthur and Stanley would have had no prior knowledge of what these clothes signified in the first place. By highlighting the uselessness of clothing signifiers in another culture, Adams shows how British colonists were using these symbols of heritage to convince themselves that their power stemmed ontologically from their Whiteness and Britishness rather than fire power and brutality.

Australia Having established the existence of the colonial polemic we now look at how Adams makes a specific connection with the colonisation of Australia. He demonstrates this in four main ways: first, with the naming of his central character, secondly, by using the scene of the Ashes cricket test as the backdrop for his exploration of colonial discourse, thirdly, through the history of the Golgafrinchans, and fourthly, with a consistent emphasis on genocide. The readers attention is drawn to the naming of the central character in the first chapter as an Alien greets him as Arthur Philip Dent.

Having already established Arthur as a representative of the British colonial explorer, a clear connection can now be made between himself and Arthur Phillip, the British naval officer who became the commander of the First Fleet and subsequently the first Governor of New South Wales. As Governor of the first English colony established in Australia, he was instrumental in the genocidal invasion of the Australian continent. By naming his main character after this prominent figure in colonial history, Adams further underlines the allegorical nature of his text. In doing so he brings post-colonial theory and science fiction together, so we can consider one within the sphere of the other. The setting of Lords Cricket Grounds is also significant to the allegorical structure. Adams addresses the monolithic way in which colonialism is viewed by British society in clear relation to Australia when Ford and Arthur appear at Lords Cricket ground accompanied by a chesterfield sofa, in the middle of an ashes test match. The commentators discuss this incident by referring back to previous incidents recorded in the extensive annals of cricketing history: "Well, this is an interesting incident, Brian," said one radio commentator to another. "I don't think there have been any mysterious materializations on the pitch since, oh since, well I don't think there have been any have there? - that I recall?" "Edgbaston, 1932?" "Ah, now what happened then ..." "Well, Peter, I think it was Canter facing Willcox coming up to bowl from the pavilion end when a spectator suddenly ran straight across the pitch."[7] Whilst clearly a joke, mocking the way extensive and specific trivia is treated as sacred knowledge by sport commentators, it is also a comment on colonial discourse, indicated by the following line one for the record books[8]. This highlights the way Britain emphasises the importance of sporting endeavour and our triumphs, whereas there is an alarming lack of written records concerning the deeds committed against the Aboriginal peoples of the same country. Raymond Evans explains that, as Henry Reynolds also stated, the number of Aboriginal lives taken through massacre and genocide are most probably in excess of forty thousand in Queensland areas alone, but demonstrates that this cannot be proved beyond doubt due to the disregard the British Colonists displayed in recording any deaths by their hand11] This method of selectively documenting is one of the ways Britain maintains the masquerade of a flawless facade through colonial discourse. By concentrating on British achievements and neglecting to recognise its downfalls it appears, on paper, as a well-intentioned messianic society. Bhabha argues that by making visible the necessity of such rule it is justified by those moralistic and normative ideologies of amelioration recognized as the Civilizing Mission or the White Mans Burden (p. 69). This shows that the perception of the colonising nation as a positive intervention can be accepted if the discourse claims it is so. For this process to function it is essential to have extensive records detailing the claimed positive effects of colonial endeavour whilst neglecting to take or remembering to destroy those which document negative effects. It is this obsessive record keeping of positives which Adams draws to our attention during the cricket commentary. The third point in the narrative that specifically addresses the colonisation of Australia is the depiction of the Golgafrinchans, drawing close parallels to the doomed race theory. This idea is drawn from eugenic assumptions that Indigenous peoples were biologically weaker to their nonIndigenous colonisers and were, therefore, destined (doomed) to lose in the survival of the fittest battle that would necessarily ensure after colonisation. The history of the Golgafrinchams resembles this doomed race theory very closely. The people of Golgafrincham decide that they want to rid their planet of their abundance of white collar

workers who are doing nothing to further their development as a society. They board them onto the B Ark, a ship with the capacity to keep them all in suspended animation until they reached their destination, informing them that the rest of the fleet would follow on. Of course there was no following fleet, and the ship was programmed to crash land on a deserted planet many light years away; Ford and Arthur discovered that planet to be Earth. After crash landing the narrative then goes on to demonstrate that the Golgafrinchans lack any useful skills as they try to start a new life on pre-historic Earth. The naming of the ship as the B Ark is a direct reference on Adams part to the Bark Endeavour, the ship in which Captain Cook first discovered Australia. Even more significant, however, is that in presenting the Golgafrinchans as a group of unwanted citizens who make up the first fleet of an expedition Adams is relating them directly to the British First Fleet which consisted of approximately seven hundred and fifty unwanted British criminals who were shipped to Australia in an attempt to cleanse Britains society and empty its overcrowded prisons.[17] Having established the Golgafrinchans as representatives of the First Fleet to arrive on Australias shores we now look athow Adams depiction of the Golgafrinchans after they land confirms this. In Imagined Destinies: Aboriginal Australians and the Doemerd Race Theory McGregor explainst that the British settlers arriving in Australia nurtured the presumption that because the Aboriginal peoples did not farm the land in a manner they could immediately recognise, they must therefore be incapable agriculture. This assumption led to the colonisers labelling the Aboriginal people as intrinsically inferior to the British and as a depiction of civilised man before he became civilised: the first rung on the ladder of human societal development. The Golgafrinchans are presented in a similar light in that they are living on the un-cultivated land of prehistoric Earth. Despite this base similarity, the fact that Adams makes a comedic point of them being middle class office workers and hairdressers with no practical living skills produces a sense of irony in relation to the Aboriginal peoples who had perfectly developed skills for living off their land and making the most of their surroundings. By contrasting these two polar opposites Adams is indicating that what we as the white British consider civilised development, signified by the occupations of the Golgafrinchans, is not necessarily what another culture would praise as positive development in their society. By using his narrative to create an ironic take on the doomed race theory applied to Australia Adams is illustrating the way the white British colonial centre uses cultural and societal values to position The Other in relation to the centre: to judge them on the same factors and form false assumptions about them as a people. He is also drawing attention to how this enables British people to justify their actions in that they create a perception of another race or culture in order to give reason for their behaviour against those people. Why Life, the Universe and Everything Should be read as a Post-colonial Text Having demonstrated how, through the use of textual analysis, it is clear that Adamss text can be read as a post colonial text, we now focus on why we should read it as a post-colonial text. The concept of the blind spot in colonial discourse mentioned earlier is picked up by Adams and explored in depth through Slartibartfasts explanation of the SEP field. This is the Somebody Elses Problem field that prevents people from seeing his spaceship, effectively operating as a cheap but very effective invisibility cloak for his craft. This is the first main point in the text that overtly tells us to see the text as a comment on colonial discourse. Slartibartfast points out that

because people dont want to see his spaceship, dont want to believe that it is there, and want someone else to simply deal with it, they dont actually see it: it is invisible to them. "An SEP," he said, "is something that we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. That's what SEP means. Somebody Else's Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye."[22] This excerpt is an innovative and accurate explanation of how colonial discourse works. As the Colonising society, Britain does not want to face up to the atrocities committed in the name of the Empire and chooses to look away and ignore them, designating them Somebody Elses Problem. Kate Foord discusses this mechanism of colonial discourse in her essay on Frontier Theory, labelling it as a method of displacement used to highlight one issue whilst disguising another. The example she uses is that of the displacement of race onto gender issues in colonial texts and how they emphasize gender stereotyping over racial stereotyping in order to gloss over the uncomfortable issue of racist colonial attitudes.[23] Adams draws our attention to this mechanism of discourse by detailing how it works through the SEP field, which subsequently encourages us to recognise colonial discourse and how it works. In chapter eleven Adams examines this aspect of colonial discourse and looks at how this denial is actively encouraged, creating a self-perpetuating discourse. At this point the reader sees that Zaphod is unsure of how to react to the Krikkit robots when he first comes into contact with them. He is afraid of them but cannot grasp the magnitude of their genocidal crimes. We learn that this is because he spent his history lessons at school trying to have sex with the girl in the cyber cubicle next to him, with the help of his history teacher. This meant that he missed out on a period of ancient history that would have been of inestimable value to him at this moment.[24] Zaphods lack of knowledge makes it significantly easier for him to avoid the concept of genocidal attack, to consider it as Somebody Elses Problem and, in so doing, to behave precisely as the colonial centre, and colonial discourse itself, encourages. The implication of Zaphods history teacher as being an integral part of his distraction makes a significant point about the role of education within colonial discourse, and how important it is to recognise this. Britains education system is built upon and around colonial discourse. The history curriculum of any British school covers anything from the Aztecs to local history, but there is no mention of any lessons covering the brutal behaviour of Arthur Philips first fleet in Australia, or Stanley and his followers in the Congo Basin1. The result of this is that often each generation is taught of the bravery and the adventures that white explorers embarked upon, about the dangers they endured all in the name of spreading the supposed virtues of Christianity and British ideals. As Ravitch discusses in Language Police history is constantly being re-written, especially in the form of school textbooks and study guides. She refers to this re-writing as frenzied cutting and pasting[25], resulting in a one-sided view of Imperial history which encourages each generation to see it in a certain way. The significant point here is that each time this view is accepted the discourse is strengthened even more which, in turn, makes it harder to see through this constructed discourse. The fact that Adams explains this complex piece of theory to the reader so clearly using the SEP field is indicative of his understanding of colonial discourse and its mechanisms. It is not only a clever piece of writing, but also marks him as different from any other writers of post
1

For full up to date curriculum details visit: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/primary/b00199012/history/ks2

colonial texts, such as E.M. Forster who, in Howards End[26] gives us hints towards an undercurrent of brutality concerning the origins of the familys fortunes, but hides this behind the veil of upper class society and genteel self-construction.[27] Adams is distinct from this type of text in both genre and approach. First, the genre itself is unusual, by discussing such a subject within a comedic science fiction genre he is essentially bringing a subject which is rarely confronted head on in English literature out from its home of high brow classics and into the highly accessible medium of popular fiction. In doing so he is able to reach a much wider readership than an author such as Forster as his polemic extends its accessibility. Thomas, in Colonialism's Culture, commends this attempt to bring colonialism out of the past and show that it is much more part of our present than we originally believe by indicating a fundamental flaw in colonial discourse. The integral reason that British people do not consider colonialism to be part of their present is due to the self-perpetuating nature of colonial discourse and their willingness to adhere to it. Thomas discusses how British people Other the deeds of colonialism and how this enables them to remove themselves from it. It is all too evident that this kind of progressive self-fashioning would stereotype the era in something like the same way that geographically removed societies or peoples have been stereotyped (as has been far more frequently noted) for the purposes of selfdefinition and self-affirmation. Of course, dead people can hardly be troubled by being othered; the problem is to do with the extent to which we may be fooling ourselves.[29] In the light of this passage it is possible to see that by drawing our attention to the workings and flaws of colonial discourse within a science fiction text read, Adams is indicating that colonialism is part of British societys present, and by denying it they are only doing as Forster points out and fooling themselves. By explaining how this colonial discourse works in detail the text illustrates the fact that the colonial centre does not tend to confront the undesirable effects of colonial discourse, and that the consequence of this reluctance to confront is the continual fortification of the discourse itself. Where previous texts have always tried to address the issue in a sensitive way, alluding to it and leaving the reader to make up their mind, Adams actually recognises that this behaviour simply reinforces colonial discourse. It gives the reader the opportunity to gloss over the significance of colonialism, and because they have been groomed by colonial discourse to do so, they will. Texts using this approach can be considered examples of colonial discourse themselves in that they still promote the colonial centre and contribute to the denial of the darker side of the British colonial history. With the SEP explanation Adams is telling the reader exactly how the discourse works, telling them to look at it and recognise it for the cover up that it is. Of course the irony here is that most readers do not do as he says. No critic or writer has recognised Adams work as a post-colonial text, or even commented on the allusions to genocide. This again demonstrates how ingrained colonial discourse has become in British society, how readily British people accept it and refuse to see a bold criticism of it when they see it. By refusing to recognise this text for the comment on colonial discourse that it is, they are compromising the efficacy of the text. Ashcroft, Griffith and Tiffin discuss the significance of a texts efficacy in The Empire Writes Back. They emphasise the importance of considering a post-colonial text in relation to its efficacy as a post-colonial text; it should be considered for its ability to change the perception and attitude of the colonial centre in such a way that helps to break down colonial discourse and its effects. [30] Adams text has the ability to do this with a wide readership, but only once both critics and readers take the instruction of Bhabha and accept that it is our responsibility to recognise and accept the underlying polemic within the science fiction narrative.[31]

Once Adams has delivered a clear explanation of what colonial discourse is, and how it functions, he then goes on to reiterate this point within the narrative. The fact that he does so demonstrates his awareness of the readers reluctance to accept his SEP theory and his subsequent desire to give them confirmation that this explanation is viable. He does this during the tutorial that the main characters receive from Slartibartfast on the history of Krikkit[32]. He chooses this place to demonstrate the effects of colonial discourse in particular, as the reader is encouraged to identify with the characters here: These, then," said the figure, speaking from an immensely comfortable chair, "were the Krikkit Wars, the greatest devastation ever visited upon our Galaxy. What you have experienced ..." Slartibartfast floated past, waving. "It's just a documentary," he called out. "This is not a good bit. Terribly sorry, trying to find the rewind control ..."[33] Zaphods lack of historical knowledge explored earlier is drawn attention to once more as Zaphod and Ford need the lesson in history because of colonial discourse, because they have been encouraged to ignore the history itself by the society they have grown up in, just as the British reader has been encouraged by colonial discourse in their society to ignore the deeds it protects. Here Adams is using a literary tool for two purposes: first the British reader is taught the history of the planet of Krikkit, which naturally they would have no knowledge of, but secondly and at the same time, they are also taught the history of genocidal colonisation, which they should be aware of but are, for the most part, ignorant of because of the nature of colonial discourse. In this same section of text Adams also uses the symbol of The Wikkit Key for two purposes: to demonstrate how the colonial centre uses sport, and to illustrate the self-restrictive nature of colonial discourse. The Wikkit Key was rebuilt. Its components shone and glittered: the Steel Pillar (or Marvin's leg) of Strength and Power, the Gold Bail (or Heart of the Improbability Drive) of Prosperity, the Perspex Pillar (or Argabuthon Sceptre of Justice) of Science and Reason, the Silver Bail (or Rory Award for The Most Gratuitous Use Of The Word "Fuck" In A Serious Screenplay) and the now reconstituted Wooden Pillar (or Ashes of a burnt stump signifying the death of English cricket) of Nature and Spirituality.[34] In this excerpt Adams reinforces the connection discussed earlier between sport and colonialism. The Wikkit Key, which obviously resembles the wicket of cricket (made up of three stakes and two bails) is reconstituted here. The first pillar mentioned is the pillar of strength and power, ideals that Thomas Arnold prized highest in his time as headmaster of Rugby School. He believed that team values, good health and fair play were inherent to promoting a healthy British society. [35] The same values were promoted throughout the British colonies in an effort to enforce a more acceptable and British way of life upon the original inhabitants of the colonies. The use of this ideal within the Wikkit Key is Adams way of representing the core of British society and its tendency to impose it upon other cultures. Secondly, the fact that the Krikkit robots, another symbol of the British Empire, are sealed away using this key is paradoxical in that they are imprisoned by their own culture, they are an allegory for British culture and colonisation and yet they are sealed away using another representation of British culture. Here Adams is first of all reiterating a common post-colonial view that colonial discourse is used by Britain to isolate itself from other peoples and cultures, and keep them out of their own society. Secondly, and more importantly, he is saying that this use of colonial discourse actually works

against the colonial centre; it prevents Britain from integrating other cultures into their own, thereby preventing them from accepting and being accepted. So while a xenophobic attitude is often considered as a form of protection, Adams shows here that it is really a barrier, which works against, not for British culture. Here we can see how genocide and xenophobia work as two sides of the same coin to perpetually support each other. The xenophobic attitude of the colonial centre attempts to allay its own fears of the perceived threat of The Other by eradicating them, in the case of the planet Krikkit, and of Australia, this is done through genocidal attack. Before looking at the way Adams depicts genocidal attack in his text it is first necessary to explain why the inclusion of this depiction is intrinsic to Adams polemic. In Australia it was not the peoples bodies that were wanted for labour as has often been the case in other colonised countries; it was their land that was wanted for profit. This led to a shift from slave labour for profit, to genocidal attack to clear land for profit. The fact that Adams chooses to depict white British colonialists with the image of the genocidal Krikkit robots directly informs us that he is highlighting the atrocities inflicted upon the Indigenous peoples of Australia in particular. Having established this, genocide is in itself a problematic word, which is too often assumed to only refer to the massacre of a peoples. Whilst the term does encompass this, it also refers to the destruction of a peoples through any act that aims to break down their society and culture. Many such forms of genocide have been forcefully employed in Australias history, from Aboriginal massacres to the Stolen Generations. This second example, in particular, is depicted in Adams work in the form of Arthur Dent. The fact that Arthur has been forcibly removed from his home planet and placed into the confusing, unfamiliar land that is the rest of the universe demonstrates the impacts that the Stolen Generations endured. The experiences and effects resulting from the Stolen Generations are so vast in number and complex in nature that it is outside of the scope of this paper to attempt to discuss them in detail. However, by looking at the The Lonely Planet Guide to Australia, (a series of books similar in concept to Fords Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), it is possible to gain a basic understanding. The text informs us that The Stolen Generations is a term used to refer to a practice employed predominately between 1910 and 1970 whereby an estimated 100,000 aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in care. The British colonists justification for this act was undeniably flawed; they did not approve of the union or resulting children of white fathers and aboriginal mothers.[36] As discussed earlier in relation to the record keeping of Aboriginal peoples murdered during the colonial massacres there is an ongoing struggle to discover the statistics relating to child removal. Although there have been rough estimates made, as above, we still cannot know just how many children were effected. This is an issue discussed in the Bringing Them Home report: It is not possible to state with any precision how many children were forcibly removed, even if that enquiry is confined to those removed officially. Many records have not survived. Others fail to record the children's Aboriginality.[37]

Whilst it is still, as the 1997 report states, impossible to determine the exact numbers, it is possible to discuss the reasons why this was done, and acknowledge the prevailing attitudes behind the actions. There were two main reasons behind this act of genocide; the breaking down of the aboriginal family unit, and the prevention of fairer-skinned children being brought up in the aboriginal culture. These practices were developed out of a fear on the part of the white settlers, a fear that, as Homi K. Bhabha tells us, is intrinsic to the ambivalence that the colonial centre feels towards The Other.[38] In the case of the British settlers in Australia this fear manifested itself most strongly as a fear of degeneration and contamination which led them to try and avoid the development of a half-caste population[39] and keep the aboriginal peoples as separate from themselves as possible.[40] In Life, The universe and Everything Adams reflects this overwhelming and irrational fear in the people of Krikkit and how they are so afraid of any being that is from a different culture that they feel the need to destroy the universe. If Adams is representing the colonial settlers with the Krikkit robots in this instance, then the corresponding allegorical representation of The Stolen Generations would be, as indicated above, Arthur Dent. In the first book in Adams five part trilogy we see Arthurs home planet destroyed the same second that he is rescued from it by Ford. If we are to apply the same post-colonial reading to the beginning of his series as we are doing to Life, The Universe and Everything then we can read two interpretations into this. First of all, the fact that the Vogons are destroying earth in order to make room for a Hyper Space Bypass is indicative of the fact that British colonisers cleared the land belonging to the Aboriginal peoples in order to make space for our their own advances. This parallel is clarified by the bureaucratic nature of the Vogons in the following passage as they blame the confusion of Earths inhabitants on them not having read the planning notices they drafted: "There's no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department on Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now."[41] This faith in Vogon law and disregard for others can be compared to the declaration of Australia as Terra Nullius in that once it was declared free land on paper it became legally so in the eyes of British law. By hiding behind misguided legislation and biased laws both the Colonising British and the Vogons engage in dispossession of the land in order to further their own aims and receive a financial gain. Simultaneously it can be said that the destruction of Arthurs planet before his own eyes is representative of the attacks carried out on Aboriginal families in front of their children. Just as Arthurs whole world is destroyed, so it must have seemed for the children who endured their parents being attacked by settlers before being dragged away from them as Arthur is. Whilst this may be the most explicit representation of the Stolen Generations in Adams series, it is perpetuated with more subtlety in Life, The Universe and Everything. This first separation of Arthur from his home is mirrored when Ford arrives on pre-historic earth to find Arthur there after five years alone. Once again it is Fords arrival which acts as the catalyst to pull Arthur once more into the confusion of the expansive Universe. Adams uses Arthur to represent the Stolen Generations and Ford to represent the intervention of the colonists resulting in the destruction of the aboriginal family unit. This is supported by the fact that we are encouraged to identify with the humorous, friendly character of Ford, so we do not immediately see his

intervention as harmful. This, coupled with Arthurs inability to fight against the intervention of Ford is indicative of both the violent measures used to secure the children and the smoke screen of the well-intentioned British colonisers. By repeating this process Adams is both reminding us of the experiences had by the children who were forcibly removed and reiterating the fact that it was not a one-off deed performed in the past but a practice carried out repeatedly up until the early 1970s. During Fords intervention on prehistoric Earth Adams also discusses how the Aboriginal people were silenced during the years of genocidal colonisation in the face of the vast river of European and American recordings.[42] Due to this overwhelming lack of the colonised voice the task of recognising and taking responsibility for the actions and effects of colonial endeavour is made constantly difficult. Even though we are trying, through looking at records and accounts of the time, to understand and accept responsibility for the events during colonisation, these records are all, with very few exceptions, made by us, the colonising white British. It is therefore a struggle to confront the truth, for in order to recognise colonial discourse for what it is, we must read it; we are trying to break down a discourse which we have to use in order to first find the facts. This lack of the colonised voice is pointed out clearly by Adams at the beginning of the text when Arthur is discovered by an alien after years of solitude on prehistoric Earth. Adams presents the two characters as an allegory of the colonial centre and the colonised. The wellgroomed, calm, technologically advanced alien Wowbagger signifies the invading British, and the countrys native, surprised and apparently in awe of the British, is represented by Arthur. The most significant issue to be discussed in this section of the text is that which comes after the alien arrives; the aftermath of colonisation. After the British attacked and staked their claim on Australia and its people, they gave no explanation, apology or constructive help. A public political apology has recently been given, however it is unfortunate that the apology came so late and required such persistent demand to initiate it. Even after the apology there is still considerable resistance in accepting responsibility from the conservative voices in Australian politics. The interaction between Arthur and the alien shows how indigenous Australians have been, and continue to be ignored, after experiencing attempted genocidal attack. Their dead were not counted, their children were never willingly returned to them and their right to reparation has never been listened to. The following generations of these people are left angry and indignant at the horrific crimes committed against them and their families, but, because the colonisers continue to be blinded and protected by their self-constructed colonial discourse, they still will not listen. As Adams puts it: There was no answer from anyone. There was no one to hear him or speak to him.[45] Conclusion Having analysed how Adams text can be considered a post-colonial political comment and considered why this should be done, it is now possible to consider the efficacy of this study and how the findings can be acted upon in the future. By analysing Adamss writing in this way, we are able to see more clearly how colonial discourse works and, thereby, how it is able to construct and maintain its blind spots. Adams shows us how colonial discourse is of a self-perpetuating nature in that it is used by the colonial centre in such a way to encourage its use and therefore strengthen its validity in the eyes of the colonial centre. The image that this discourse is used to reinforce is one of a well intentioned, messianic and patriotic Britain with a well meaning predisposition for encouraging other cultures to

become more civilised in their development. This image has the veneer of good intentions used to distract the eye from the atrocious actions carried out in its name. Adams shows us that the barrier of colonial discourse is double sided. In the view of the colonial centre it works for them by protecting them from any cultural influences they deem damaging to own society. However, in reality, the use of colonial discourse in fact works against them in that it prevents them from mixing with other cultures and from progressing into an accepting society. It creates a hostility between them and their Other, for by making another culture Other through this discourse we, in turn, make themselves Other to them. This article also shows how Adams exposes some significant points that are not widely acknowledged, or subsequently acted upon, in other examples of postcolonial literature and criticism. The first of these points is that one of the main ways that colonial discourse is perpetually strengthened and developed is through the education system. By highlighting the ignorance of two of the main characters in his narrative Adams indicates the pervasive ignorance of British society concerning the nations actions during the active establishment of Australian colonies. He demonstrates that the blind spot constructed via colonial discourse is constantly reinforced by educating each new generation in the same false representation of the white colonial hero. Secondly, Adams has drawn attention to the fact that colonialism continues to be an undeniable part of British society, and is not the nineteenth-century phenomenon that it tends to be presented as. Although, as has been acknowledged throughout, certain theorists such as Nicholas Thomas have highlighted this monolithic attitude, it is rarely given significant attention in fictional texts and novels. The way in which Adams amalgamates the popular genre of comedic science fiction and the traditionally academic subject of critiquing colonial discourse results in a text which shows that colonialism is an obvious part of the modern world in order to enable the reader to recognise it as a part of their own present. To follow on from the importance of genre, the third significant point to be found within Adams text is the insistence that the subject of colonialism is not one to simply be left to the arguments of theorists, but a topic which needs to be understood and discussed by as much of society as possible. It is with this third point that we move on to how we can actively use the concepts discussed within this paper. As explained above, Adams text encourages us as readers to recognise the underlying polemic and begin to see exactly how colonial discourse works to blind us from our own actions whilst alienating us from other cultures in a misguided attempt to avoid the perceived threat of The Other. Without learning to accept this recognition we cannot, as the Bringing Them Home report states, begin to truly understand and address the effects colonialism has. In no sense has the Inquiry been `raking over the past' for its own sake. The truth is that the past is very much with us today, in the continuing devastation of the lives of Indigenous Australians. That devastation cannot be addressed unless the whole community listens with an open heart and mind to the stories of what has happened in the past and, having listened and understood, commits itself to reconciliation.[46] As the report itself indicates above, only once colonising cultures accept responsibility for both the atrocities committed and the process of continual denial through discourse can they be one step closer to understanding the deeds committed during colonialism and therefore the attitudes still prevailing today. It is important that readers do not compromise

the efficacy of texts akin to Life, The Universe and Everything, meaning that we must discuss modern narratives and texts from a post-colonial view. It is in this way that we will find new ways of understanding the workings of colonial discourse and therefore new ways of deconstructing it and limiting its effects. Word count: 6900

Bibliography Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth; Tiffin, Helen, The Empire Writes Back, (London: Routledge, 2002). Adams, Douglas, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (1979), (London: Pan Macmillan, 2005). Adams, Douglas, Life, The Universe and Everything (1982), (London: Pan Macmillan, 2002). Adams, Douglas, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), (London: Pan Macmillan, 2002). Bhabha, Homi. K, The Location of Culture, (London: Routledge, 1994). Boehmer, Elleke, Colonial & Postcolonial literature, (Oxford: Oxford university press, 1995). Bottenburg, Maarten Van, Global Games. (Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2001). De Groen, Frances, Xavier Herbert: A Biography, (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1998). Evans, Raymond Plenty Shoot Em: The Destruction of Aboriginal Societies along the Queensland Frontier, Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, ed. Moses, A. Dirk, (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004). Foord, Kate, Frontier Theory: displacement and disavowal in the writing of white nations, Whitening Race: Essays in social and cultural criticism, ed. Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, (Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2004. Forster, E. M, Howards End, 1910, (America: Spark Educational Publishing, 2003). Griffiths, Tom, Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia (London: Cambridge university Press, 1996). Hochschild, Adam, King Leopolds Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism (London: Pan Macmillan, 2006). Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Report: Bringing them Home. Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997, 13 April 2008 < http://www.hreoc.gov.au>.

Lindqvist, Sven, Terra Nullius: A Journey Through No Ones Land, (London: Granta Publications, 2007). Lockridge, Kenneth. A, Colonial Self Fashioning: paradoxes and pathologies in the construction of genteel identity in eighteenth-century America, Through a Glass Darkly: Reflections on Personal Identity in Early America, Ed. Hoffman, Ronald; Sobel, Mechal; Teute, Fredrika. J, (Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1997). Lurie, Alison, The Language of Clothes, (Michigan: Random House Press, 1981). McGregor, Russell, Imagined Destinies: Aboriginal Australians and the doomed race theory, 1880-1939, (Australia: Melbourne University Press, 1997). Morrissey, Philip, Facts about Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, Aboriginal Australia & The Torres Strait Islands, Ed. Sarina Singh, (Lonely Planet Publications: Victoria, 2001). Nelson, Brendan, Leader of the Opposition: We are sorry, History Teachers Association of Australia, 25 February 2008 <http://www.historyteacher.org.au/20080213_Apology_BrendanNelson.html> Nicoll, Fiona, Indigenous Sovereignty and the Violence of Perspective: A White Womans Coming Out Story, Australian Feminist Studies 15 (Oxford: Routledge, 2000). : pp 369 OToole, Sean, The History of Australian Corrections, (Australia: University of New South Wales Press, 2006). Ravitch, Diane, The Language Police, (New York: Knopf publishing group, 2004). Rieder, John, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction (Conneticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2008). Scanlan, Thomas J. Colonial Writing in the New World, 1583-1671: Allegories of Desire. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). p 14. Thomas, Nicholas, Colonialism's Culture: Anthropology, Travel, and Government, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). Welsh, Frank, Great Southern Land: A New History of Australia, (London: Penguin Books, 2005).

[1] Rieder, John, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction (Conneticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2008).

[2] Hochschild, Adam, King Leopolds Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism (London: Pan Macmillan, 2006). 69 [3] Lurie, Alison, The Language of Clothes, (Michigan: Random House Press, 1981). 187 [4] Adams, Douglas, Life, The Universe and Everything, (London: Pan Macmillan, 2002). 12 (Referred to in footnotes hereafter as Adams LUE) [5] Scanlan, Thomas J. Colonial Writing in the New World, 1583-1671: Allegories of Desire. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 14 [6] Adams LUE 2 [7] Adams LUE 18 [8] Adams LUE 19 [9] Bottenburg, Maarten Van, Global Games. (Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2001). 5 [10] Adams LUE18 [11] Evans, Raymond Plenty Shoot Em: The Destruction of Aboriginal Societies along the Queensland Frontier, Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, ed. Moses, A. Dirk, (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004). 167 [12] Adams LUE 21 [13] Nelson, Brendan, Leader of the Opposition: We are sorry, History Teachers Association of Australia, 25 February 2008 <http://www.historyteacher.org.au/20080213_Apology_BrendanNelson.html> [14] Adams, Douglas, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (1979), (London: Pan Macmillan, 2005).66 (Referred to in footnotes hereafter as Douglas HGG). [15] Lindqvist, Sven, Terra Nullius: A Journey Through No Ones Land, (London: Granta Publications, 2007).19 [16] Adams, Douglas, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, (London: Pan Macmillan, 2002). 149 (Referred to in footnotes hereafter as Douglas REU). [17] OToole, Sean, The History of Australian Corrections, (Australia: University of New South Wales Press, 2006). 28 [18] Adams REU 149-154 [19] McGregor, Russell, Imagined Destinies: Aboriginal Australians and the doomed race theory, 1880-1939, (Australia: Melbourne University Press, 1997). 2 [20] McGregor 20 [21] Adams LUE 12 [22] Adams LUE 26 [23] Foord, Kate, Frontier Theory: displacement and disavowal in the writing of white nations, Whitening Race: Essays in social and cultural criticism, ed. Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, (Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2004. 134 [24] Adams LUE 72-73 [25] Ravitch, Diane, The Language Police, (New York: Knopf publishing group, 2004).133 [26] Forster, E. M, Howards End, 1910, (America: Spark Educational Publishing, 2003). [27] Lockridge, Kenneth. A, Colonial Self Fashioning: paradoxes and pathologies in the construction of genteel identity in eighteenth-century America, Through a Glass Darkly: Reflections on Personal Identity in Early America, Ed. Hoffman, Ronald; Sobel, Mechal; Teute, Fredrika. J, (Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1997). 287 [28] Lockridge 287 [29] Thomas 12 [30] Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth; Tiffin, Helen, The Empire Writes Back, (London: Routledge, 2002). 203

[31] Bhabha, Homi. K, The Location of Culture, (London: Routledge, 1994). 18: For the critic must attempt to fully realize, and take responsibility for, the unspoken, unrepresented pasts that haunt the historical present. [32] Adams LUE 54 [33] Adams LUE 55 [34] Adams LUE 148 [35] these values impressed Pierre de Coubertin who went on to utilise them in the shaping of the Modern Olympics. Bottenburg 6 [36] Morrissey, Philip, Facts about Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, Aboriginal Australia & The Torres Strait Islands, Ed. Sarina Singh, (Lonely Planet Publications: Victoria, 2001). 26 [37] Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Report: Bringing them Home. Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997, 13 April 2008 < http://www.hreoc.gov.au> [38] Bhabha 86 [39] Morrissey 26 [40] Griffiths 188 [41] Adams HGG 37 [42] Hoschschild 6 [43] Boehmer, Elleke, Colonial & Postcolonial literature, (Oxford: Oxford university press, 1995). 64 [44] Adams LUE 2 [45] Adams LUE 3 [46] Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Report: Bringing them Home.