|“||He was smartly dressed; and his hair was short. He had no beard and no long fingernails||„|
|~ Description of Zarniwoop|
Zarniwoop is an antagonist in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in the second book. He obstructs Zaphod's plan to get to the Restaurant, and he imprisons him in his pocket universe.
It is Zaphod's dead grandfather who first tells Zaphod to find Zarniwoop. "I've never heard of the cat," responds Zaphod, but he goes anyway. Actually, he has no choice because his grandfather throws him onto the planet Ursa Minor where the Guide offices are and Zarniwoop is.
Zarniwoop annoys Zaphod even before they meet; because he is told that the man is "on an intergalactic cruise... but he is in his office." This utterly confuses Zaphod, naturally, as he can't understand why he is in two places in the same place. So, he heads up to Zarniwoop's office. But the Frogstar Fighters bomb the building, and actually take the building away, worried about what Zaphod plans to do. So, they take him into Zarniwoop's pretend universe, where the only difference is that the Fighters are not gray. Then, Zaphod is put on the Total Perspective Vortex which can kill a man, but because the universe has been made for him, he lives. So, he runs off and meets a cabin cruiser, which is grounded, and full of decrept old men in beards. The cabin announcer tells them that they will soon move again and they wake up screaming. Zaphod runs in fear, but one of them follows. However, he is soon clean shaven and smart, and young, and he reveals himself as Zarniwoop, who Zaphod was going to meet.
Zarniwoop pulls Zaphod out of the fake universe and into the real one. He reveals that he put Zaphod's ship in his jacket pocket and expands it to its real size and reactivates it, not to help him, but with the purpose of finding the ruler of the Universe. Tricia responds that Zarniwoop is a "social climber" and Zarniwoop smirks so much that Zaphod punches him in the face. Then they get sent to the Restaurant by the computer. Zarniwoop waits patiently for them to come back and when they do they get to the planet where the ruler is.
Zarniwoop disrespects the ruler and arrogantly asks him questions about life, and says he is all wrong and shouldn't be ruler. Then Zaphod and Tricia, having had enough, leave the planet. The ruler speaks over the ship leaving to distract Zarniwoop, and when Zarniwoop notices that he is alone, the ruler denies that Zaphod and Tricia were there. Zarniwoop tells the ruler to screw it and runs out into the rain but finds himself alone. He screams out into the rain.
Later, he finds his way off the planet and takes over the Guide, getitng employed by Gag Halfrunt. He pretends he is a completely different man to fool Ford Prefect and everyone else. He becomes successful in his business and resells the Guide, turning it into an evil organization and denying hitchhikers the actual Guide. He asks Ford if he wants to be their writer but Ford knocks him unconscious, steals his bank account, and bankrupts the company. Zarniwoop is presumably still in the business, having benefitted from the destruction of Earth and Halfrunt's victory.