During Tuesday’s confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, U.S. senator and potential Charlie Sheen running mate Ted Cruz opened with a tough question. “What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?” Cruz asked. To which Gorsuch knew the answer, “42.” The reference was to Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Cruz asked the judge this question because it is a question Gorsuch often asks in his courtroom as an icebreaker. It could also be — and we’re just speculating here — Ted Cruz’s plea to the American people to join a book club with him.
In recent months there’s been a renewed interest in books featuring dystopian futures, with both 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale gaining spots on best-seller lists. Instead of another piece of speculative fiction about totalitarian governments taking away rights, perhaps — as a politician from the current ruling party — Cruz would prefer people read a more comedic piece of science fiction. The only problem, as Slate points out, is that unlike the devoutly Christian, climate-change-denying Republican, Adams was a self-proclaimed “radical atheist” who advocated for environmental issues and animal conservancy. So we suppose Cruz will have to hope his fellow Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy readers didn’t do their own research on his favorite author (see below).