The Last Novels

lastnovels

The Red Dwarf novels are some of the finest TV to book adaptations in existence. In fact, no, I’ll go as far to say they are the best TV to book adaptations *ever*. Some people even hold the opinion that they’re superior to their TV based cousin… Me? Well, I think it’s impossible to compare, as both versions succeed in ways the other have no chance of succeeding in – they compliment each other beautifully despite the fact they share totally separate continuities. Still, that’s beside the point. The point is that after the second novel, Better Than Life, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor ceased writing under the Grant Naylor entity and went their separate ways, taking two different strands of the Red Dwarf novel universe with them to create their own original continuation.

Last Human cover

The creative split of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor has a whole raft of downsides. Rob has gone on and done his own thing quite admirably, but unfortunately no one’s really been paying much attention. As a fan of Grant I’ve been quite well catered for, but a few TV shows of varying poorness and three post-Dwarf books haven’t really set the world alight, which is a massive shame as they *are* all decent. Doug went on to make two new series of Dwarf which just did not sit right with a number of fans. Even people fond of VII and VIII can’t deny that life would’ve been much sweeter had the Comedy Police stayed side-by-side, instead of this painful division of efforts which ended up producing so much mediocrity.

As it happens, though, the split had one good side effect. We got two new Dwarf books in the space of a year and the first proper opportunity to see the writers’ individual interpretations of the characters they created together. This was the first time in eight years of Dwarf in which the writers were effectively pitted against each other, and the result would go on to form the basis of many’s opinions of the writers as individuals for a long time to come.

The idea of taking off from the same starting point and branching out to two different ‘realities’ is a very interesting one, and more than a little comic book like in nature, taking as it does a quite lax view on a single line of continuity. It’s an utterly fantastic idea, as we know the books are part of a separate continuity from the TV series so this narrative forking seems very natural. This choice is helped along even more by the introduction of parallel universes in both books, filling the reader with understanding of the concept and allowing them to explain the narrative implications of the split for themselves.

As with most things surrounding the Grant and Naylor, there are various stories and rumours surrounding the writing of the two books. Here’s a brief history, taken from TOS:

Doug Naylor’s Last Human was the first of the two sequels. In 1993 Rob and Doug had begun nibbling around the edges of a novel that went under the title of The Last Human. At that time, they gave an interview to the Red Dwarf Smegazine giving away no details, but explaining that the new book would pick up from Better Than Life literally ‘the next day’. A cover design – featuring a distant Starbug beetling across a starscape with the book’s title written in bones – was developed, and even previewed. But the book itself was never written.

When the writers parted – with Rob expressing a desire to produce his own solo novel – the Last Human title (losing the ‘The’) went to Doug. However it was Backwards that actually picked up the Dwarfers on backwards world…

It’s unclear quite what the intention was when The Last Human was first conceived, but the fact that the story would continue directly from BTL suggests that it was close in concept to what Rob eventually put out in Backwards. Obviously, the is all one big guess, but the fact that Doug’s novel, the re-titled Last Human, distances itself from Backwards‘s chronology does suggest that Doug was in a position where his book was the one that had to deviate the most from the early plans for The Last Human.

The upshot of this distancing is that the two books are almost guaranteed to be two very different creations, and they are indeed that. Where-as Backwards feels like a much more traditional Dwarf novel, with the direct continuation, the heavy use of previous episode ideas and very consistent characterisation, Last Human‘s distance from the previous storyline allows it to get that baggage offloaded within a few pages and get on with making a strikingly different book than those that came before it. Sure, it still used left over strands from BTL, most notably as a way to contrive Kochanski into the crew (still a much more acceptable contrivance that what he later did in Ouroboros, though…) and also the black hole they previously navigated to visit the backwards world in the first place. Other than that, though, this is a very self contained story, which owes almost nothing to what came before it. It’s without doubt the bolder of the two books, and it’s something that brings about its best and worst attributes.

Backwards cover

I’ll get it out of the way now, and say that Backwards is my favourite of two books by not an inconsiderable margin. While I really respect the creative decisions made with Last Human, and I thought the ending was about as perfect an end to Dwarf as you could possibly get, the experience of the whole story just didn’t click with me fully. It’s a deeply unpleasant book to read at times, and I find myself really unhappy with the idea of an evil Lister, even though the concept is a good one. I can’t help but feel the whole thing could’ve been pulled off with more skill and subtly. Also, as much as I love the extension to the Rimmer/McGruder storyline and the heartbreaking conclusion, the circumstances which bring Rimmer’s son, Michael McGruder, to him all seem FAR too convenient and contrived. I know what you’re thinking, and I know Red Dwarf is not a stranger to taking such narrative liberties, but it seems at odds with the tone of the book. Still, these are quite insignificant when you view the book as a whole, and I especially love the way it skilfully deals with the integration of Kochanski with the crew, with Rimmer facing a hilarious conflict of interests of both respecting his superior officer and hating her guts. It’s brilliantly played and entertaining. It does make me wonder just how series VII would’ve differed if Chris Barrie stayed on board. Would we have seen a similar tension in the place of the *really* uncomfortable Kryten jealousy we eventually got? I think so.

Where Last Human takes our characters and stuff them in this very different scenario, Backwards very much takes the route of the first two books by taking a group of scenarios from the TV series and expanding them and modifying them into a whole new beast. In this respect, Backwards could be seen as a very unoriginal book and not really a good representation of Grant’s individual vision of Dwarf, but he handles the ideas in such a way that he very much makes them his own. The ‘Backwards’ third of the book is completely changed from the TV series, and is developed in many interesting ways. For a start, the book version makes a million times more sense than the TV, and some very interesting concepts are skillfully explored, not least that of the de-aging of the Cat and Lister. Where as the idea is good, it probably becomes the books biggest flaw, as the 15 year old versions of the characters aren’t explored that much, and when they are it can be distracting frm the main plot. Following that, the expansion of Dimension Jump and the character of Ace Rimmer easily provides the strongest section of the book as both the concept of alternate dimensions and the characters in Ace’s universe are very well realised. In fact throughout the whole book it becomes obvious (and later, reading the character of Grenville in Grant’s 2006 book Fat) that Rimmer is very much Grant’s character. The escalating tempers, the long, ranting inner monologues, the superiority complexes and the crippling and impotent rage is written with such perfection… it’s so Rimmer like that it’s impossible not to see that Grant is the very beating heart of this character. And it’s an absolute joy to read… a joy that I just never found to the same extent in Last Human.

In the end, I’m eternally glad that these books exist on their own and that we had a chance to witness this splitting of minds. It’s fascinating to read both books, with all their flaws and plus points ecoing that of the individual writer’s, and the two books certainly have more worth from an analysis point of view than a single Grant Naylor book would. Having said that, I don’t think there are many fans in this big old wide cosmos that wouldn’t swap Last Human and Backwards for The Last Human, but that’s because, without a shadow of a doubt, the Grant Naylor whole is immeasurably greater than the sum of its parts.

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29 Responses to The Last Novels

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  1. > Doug Naylor?s Last Human was the first of the two sequels. In 1993 Rob and Doug had begun nibbling around the edges of a novel that went under the title of The Last Human.

    This proves that Rob Grant was honouring a gentlemen’s agreement to call his book something *very* different from the book they didn’t succeed in completing together, whereas Doug Naylor wasn’t.

  2. > Backwards is my favourite of two books by not an inconsiderable margin.

    Would you go so far as to say it’s your favourite of the two books by a *considerable* margin?

  3. > It does make me wonder just how series VII would?ve differed if Chris Barrie stayed on board.

    Would Kochanski have been brought on board for VII though, if Chris Barrie hadn’t been leaving? I know her arrival, the precise number of 52 episodes and the remastered debacle are all elements to achieve American syndication and generate interest in the movie, so maybe she would have been brought on without Rimmer’s leaving. In any case, we can see Rimmer and Kochanski together in series VIII which gives us an idea of how it might have happened. I suspect it’s a writer thing – I doubt that Doug Naylor could have managed the tension that Rob Grant does in Backwards. I’ll go out on a limb and say Rob Grant was the one who did the main science, grit and atmosphere in the TV series, while Doug Naylor was better at writing the scenes for running about and gurning.

  4. So I guess I should read these things…

  5. > This proves that Rob Grant was honouring a gentlemen?s agreement to call his book something *very* different from the book they didn?t succeed in completing together, whereas Doug Naylor wasn?t.

    Um… no it doesn’t. *very confused*

    > Sure, it still used left over strands from BTL, most notably as a way to contrive Kochanski into the crew (still a much more acceptable contrivance that what he later did in Ouroboros, though?)

    Well, I wouldn’t say it was a contrivance, since she was plainly there at the end of “Better than Life” – it’s possible they planned to have her as a main character in “The Last Human” as well. I’d say it was more of a contrivance in “Backwards” to say that she was a backwards-person and he wasn’t, and offering no reason for the difference.

  6. >> Backwards is my favourite of two books by not an inconsiderable margin.

    >Would you go so far as to say it?s your favourite of the two books by a *considerable* margin?

    Why would he, when what he said already made sense??

  7. G&T Admin

    > Well, I wouldn?t say it was a contrivance, since she was plainly there at the end of ?Better than Life? – it?s possible they planned to have her as a main character in ?The Last Human? as well. I?d say it was more of a contrivance in ?Backwards? to say that she was a backwards-person and he wasn?t, and offering no reason for the difference.

    Well, yeah, I guess it’s no more of a contrivance than Holly managing to match her and Liser’s ages in Better Than Life. But in Backwards a lot is made of Lister just not belonging to that universe and since Kochanski was practically re-born in there, she belonged to it properly. It makes some sort of sense, at least.

  8. G&T Admin

    > >Would you go so far as to say it?s your favourite of the two books by a *considerable* margin?

    > Why would he, when what he said already made sense??

    Yeah, there is a difference to a not inconsiderable margin and a considerable margin. Plus, I like the sound of it. SO THERE, PONTIFRAT.

  9. G&T Admin

    > I?ll go out on a limb and say Rob Grant was the one who did the main science, grit and atmosphere in the TV series, while Doug Naylor was better at writing the scenes for running about and gurning.

    I’d agree that Rob obvious did have a lot of influence in those areas, but it’s more than little unfair to dismiss Doug like that.

  10. >Also, as much as I love the extension to the Rimmer/McGruder storyline and the heartbreaking conclusion, the circumstances which bring Rimmer?s son, Michael McGruder, to him all seem FAR too convenient and contrived.

    I thought that bit was a tad soap-opera-ish, myself. But I guess Doug needed a damn good excuse to…you know…Rimmer at the end of the book. In fact, maybe I’m not being as fair as I ought to be, but, while I cried as much as anyone would at the end of the book, the whole novel felt, well, too dramatic to me to be proper Red Dwarf.

  11. I’d go one step farther and say that both Backwards and Last Human felt less classic RD to me because of the more dramatic approach compared to the first two jointly-written novels. I’ve re-read the first two many times, but the last two– not so much.

  12. Nice article. It’s definitely sparked my interest to want to re-read both of them, if not all four novels.

    I’ve always been pretty staunch in my preference for Last Human. A big reason being something Arlene mentions above the “dramatic” approach to it. I guess it’s just a personal thing but when I’m sitting down to read a novel the ability to read at your own pace combined with the extra-level of detail available to the author(s) to further flesh out their characters feels far more suited to having that added drama.

    Possibly another reason I wasn’t overly keen on Backwards was, as mentioned in the article, the central themes and ideas explored were, by the time of it’s release, a bit old hat in dwarfdom. By that, I mean that in terms of NEW dwarf – there hadn’t really been any. So as any fan does I’d turned back to the taped-off-the-telly vids and watched the classic tales of Ace Rimmer and the Backwards universe to the point of exhaustion. So naturally when Backwards’ the novel emerges it was easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’ve seen this, I know all this inside out, do I really need to spend the next 50 pages having an idea explained to me I’m allready overly familiar with.

    Now it’s fair to say that almost certainly wasn’t the case but grasping at a faint spark of a memory I think that may have been my impression at the time and so it’s something worth re-examing.

    Pssst any chance of a lend then? ;-)

  13. >> This proves that Rob Grant was honouring a gentlemen?s agreement to call his book something *very* different from the book they didn?t succeed in completing together, whereas Doug Naylor wasn?t.

    I assume this is meant to be sarcasm?

  14. > but it’s more than a little unfair to dismiss Doug like that

    Would you go so far as to say it’s less than largely fair? :)

  15. I like Backwards because of the backwards universe. It’s used a lot in that novel but not so much in Last Human. And I’m sad enough to find it fun to read the backwards universe bit backawards and work out what’s happening…

    But I feel that the fact that Lister and Cat de-aged… well, it was interesting at first, but then quickly became background and boring.

    Last Human I like because it explores the Rimmer/McGruder storyline, and also the idea of how the GELFs set up settlements and all the different cultures (the Potents, Cyberia’s complex and guards etc.). And it introduces some types of GELF we haven’t seen before.

    So basically I like them both the same.

    But I can’t help wondering how good the combined effort book would have been had it been written…

  16. G&T Admin

    Oi, person, drop me an email and I’ll reset your password, if you can’t get in.

  17. Word of advice… to evade spambots, always post your email address (if you *really must* post them on forums such as this one) with the following format: namesurname at hotmail dot com.

  18. > Backwards very much takes the route of the first two books by taking a group of scenarios from the TV series and expanding them and modifying them

    It’s funny you should say this, because I seem to remember the reverse being true. I remember (and it was quite a while ago when I read them) thinking that Naylor had simply taken popular bits from the TV show and shoe-horned them into the plot. Guess, I’m remembering wrongly.

    It’s interesting that some people consider Grant “the funny one” and Naylor “the sci-fi one” (not here, but I’ve even read Grant’s reaction to this idea). The intense exploration of a backwards universe was surely much more “sci-fi” than the entire of Last Human. If I had to make a distinction, I’d say that Grant was the one who was interested in plot (especially a sci-fi idea) and characters, and setting up constant smirk-inducing humour, interspersed with the occasional big laugh. Whereas Naylor was the “gag man”; The one who would supply a reasonably steady flow of chuckles, and was not really interested in exploring sci-fi element fully, or developing the characters in detail. (I’d say that Series VII really confirms this, at least to me, too.)

    There’s also an element of the first two novels that you haven’t mentioned, that I personally think would have been explored more fully in The Last Human: Genius Holly’s assertion that Lister ‘created the universe’. Now I know that most people probably just ignore this because it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of RD, but it does tie in with Rob and Doug’s idea that ‘the ultimate atheist would, in fact, turn out to be God’. With this in mind, I can’t help but feel that the engineer’s description of the RD universe in ‘Back to Reality’ probably would have come to light in some incarnation of RD, IF they two writers had stayed together.

    > Having said that, I don?t think there are many fans in this big old wide cosmos that wouldn?t swap Last Human and Backwards for The Last Human, but that?s because, without a shadow of a doubt, the Grant Naylor whole is immeasurably greater than the sum of its parts.

    Very true! I wish I knew why they ended such a successful partnership!

  19. > Genius Holly?s assertion that Lister ?created the universe?.

    It’s an odd throwaway thing but I always read it as referring to Earth being found in the latter parts of the novel, and Lister would be (ultimately) responsible for [re]creating the universe.

    Of course, Garbage World was never built upon (and, if we’re being picky, neither was Nova 5 from Infinity) in either sequel. The early drafts of “THE Last Human” by Grant Naylor started ‘the day after’ Better Than Life finished, whereas both Backwards and Last Human start many decades after so, as you say, there were obviously quite a few changes from the original idea.

    Number two question to ask them if you get them in a room together: “What was the original story outline?”

    Number one question: “What happened, guys?”

  20. G&T Admin

    That’s a really good point about the memory implant. It’s such a shitty way to invalidate years of character development. Rimmer being the runt of the litter just isn’t interesting any more when you rationalise it with some bollocks explanation like that.

    > Grant Naylor, where are you?

    They were last spotted going for a curry together after the recording of DVD commentaries!

  21. > if you?re going to do the science fiction without the science; why bother?

    I always saw Doug – at least as far as Last Human goes – as much more science fantasy than science fiction. Doug’s Star Wars and the Chronicles of Riddick, Rob’s Star Trek and Pitch Black. Or something.

    Which is to say, s-fantasy doesn’t, and shouldn’t, get held to the same criteria as s-fantasy. But the Grant-Naylor series blended the two, and so later novels and series get held to rules that, actually, both have moved away from. (The science of dimensions and bodyswapping may be okay, but the science of solid hallucinations or psi-moons certainly ain’t.)

    There’s a very interesting article in all of this, actually…

    Looking at the last two novels, Last Human throws out a lot of big imaginative ideas for the characters to play with, where Backwards takes a few specific concepts and uses the characters to examine them in detail. The two approach the genre(s) quite differently.

  22. I think “science fantasy” is about as kind as you can be to any of Doug’s solo work. Even his TV episodes were, well, average at best and bad at worst. I had fond memories of them, but I rewatched Series 7 recently, and, oh my god, they were abominable. The “Xtended” episodes were the worst… it made me realise that, really, there’s about 15 minutes of decent RD material in one Doug episode. So, to be fair, I guess it’s not all bad. Doug’s always good for a funny one-liner, too. I can’t actually remember laughing this time around, though.

    I don’t think your comparison to Star Wars/science-fantasty really holds up, as it’s not as if Last Human just merrily ignored the science for the adventure element (as in true Science-Fantasy); his book is crammed with science… it’s just BAD science. BAD BAD BAD science. Starbug is fitted with a “Hubble telescope” for Pete’s sake! It’s the type of “science”-fiction that would amuse your Mum (if you get what I mean); it doesn’t hold up to *common sense*, let alone scientific theory.

    I suppose you could argue that Barbarella and other such sci-fantasy stories do the same, and I guess, thinking about it, I can’t disagree with that. It’s just not what I liked about RD.

    Ah well, I’m happy to hear the boys are enjoying each other’s company once again! Maybe we’ll see some new Grant Naylor work? (Fingers crossed.)

  23. I’ve just re-read Backwards and I’d forgotten how completely brilliant it was. I’m also surprised (and perhaps pleased) at how little was taken from the series. There were three ideas taken from three episodes: Backwards (obviously), Dimension Jump (the idea of Ace Rimmer) and Gunmen of the Apocalypse (pretty much the whole show). Only really the latter relied heavily on the TV show (which was an odd choice considering how much was based on visual humour), and even then almost all of the dialogue was different (unlike the first two novels which copied dialogue verbatim, more often than not, when taking things from the TV series).

    (Edit: There’s actually an additional thing from the TV show (Series 6 to be more precise): The idea that an ancient race of battledroids are tracking down The Last Human. It’s only the vague idea though, and like most of the ideas from the series in this book, it’s expanded and changed considerably.)

    It runs at such a comfortable pace, too. You really get the idea that Rob could have just kept on writing it, and bizarrely, I don’t think the reader would have gotten bored, either. Maybe because of this, the ending does appear a tad rushed/abrupt, although this may just be an illusion caused by the two spelling errors that even made their way into the paperback edition…! (How the one on the final page got through, I’ll never know.)

    Still, despite it’s size and apparently rushed ending, it’s a incredibly cohesive and satisfying read. I don’t think I really noticed the journey that Rimmer goes through when I first read it (no idea why, probably too excited by a new RD novel), but this time it was clear that it was the backbone of the whole story.

    There was at least one trick missed by Rob, though: A scene where an uptight Rimmer and a reluctant Ace talk in private to try and figure out where their lives diverged would have been priceless, and could have set up the epilogue nicely, too. Bizarrely this potentially interesting conversation is replaced by the “wrap things up quickly” scene from the TV series (where Lister has sudden and amazing insider-information on where the change took place). Ah, well.

    Another odd, but not at all surprising, thing was how Rimmer had his personality reset to “bastard mode” from the warmer person he changed into when Lister grew older in the second book. Like I said, no real surprise.

    In all though, it was a great read, much better than even I remembered/expected. I’ve just ordered an old copy of Last Human to do a more proper comparison of the two, and see how it fares all this time on.

    PS – Is it just me, or is THAT chapter featuring a teenage Cat and a young nubile woman in a gingham dress just a little bit weird/creepy/disturbing/wrong?

    ——————-

    Edit: How annoying – by revising this post (to clear up a few hard-to-read moments), it’s pushed it down as a “new post”…. disrupting the flow of this conversation. Argh :(

  24. Ok, just a quick follow-up: I made it 50 pages into Last Human, and I just can’t take it any more… It feels, I don’t know, wrong. It’s funny, don’t misunderstand me, there’s some brilliant lines, but it just feels wrong. Like a badly tuned engine, it keeps on moving, but it doesn’t sound right.

    Doug clearly has no issues with messing with the entire RD canon, either. Rimmer is not as good as his brothers… because he didn’t get a memory implant?? Grant turned this neuroses into his entire book (practically), that we can all relate to, but Doug quickly explains it away in a sentence.

    There’s also all this new bizarre, psuedo science that doesn’t hold up to even the tiniest scrutiny, it doesn’t even hold-up to the rules established in the RD universe… Throw-away scientific bits and bobs that are tossed in there without explanation… all of a sudden even Cat is an astrophysicist. “Ununsed time lines”? “Hubble telescope”? It’s horrible.

    I guess Doug would argue it’s entertaining, but really, if you’re going to do the science fiction without the science; why bother?

    It’s also interesting to note that, whereas Rob pretty much re-wrote every line of dialogue taken from the series, Doug just simply “cut and pastes” whole chunks of dialogue from the scripts… often without any additional description/lines, either. Doug’s take is more in keeping with the first two novels, in this respect.

    *sigh* You can clearly see that Doug was the man with the funny one-liners, but no grasp of characterisation or exploring his universe. Rob’s book feels deeper, but much heavier by comparison. They’re like two parts of the same brain.

    Together the two created a formidable team, I hope they can put aside whatever their past problems have been and work again at some point. When they worked together they really turned two funny, talented guys into one hilarious, unique, sublime, gestalt entity.

    Grant Naylor, where are you?

    ?????????-

    Edit: How annoying, again! – By revising this post (adding one point I forgot to make), it?s pushed it down as a ?new post??. disrupting the flow of this conversation. Argh :(

  25. In my own opinion, Backwards is by far the superior of the two efforts. Last Human was too serious in many areas, The evil Lister, the quite grotesque imagery described in the book and the unRimmerlike heroic deed at the end just doesn’t do it for me. The whole thing with The Rage just felt too over the top and just not very interesting for a supposed ”funny” book. It just didn’t feel like Red Dwarf whatsoever. It didn’t have enough idiosyncrases of the characters. One of the things I did like about the book, was the cover – the shadow of Lister with his hat on and that skeleton with those glasses. I remember seeing it for the first time when I was quite young. Backwards obviously took more of a straight comedy approach bar the Agonoids, however I never liked the idea of a young Listy and Cat, just seemed a bit too dull and out for laughs at the mere thought of it; it would have been better if they were able to accelerate their growth back to the status quo before the end of the novel. Also, finding Lister at the start, that whole backwards chase sequence was just too overdrawn. I was waiting for it to end. I liked the Ace story throughout the book, especially his introduction in the Space Corps facility. The characters in Backwards gel nicely with each other, retaining the characterizations from the early books. Rob’s adaption of 3 of the most cherished episodes in the shows history guaranteed success with the fans. Not only did he take the concepts of the episodes in his stride, but he drew a completely alternate original story out of them. He managed to weave them together to form one arc of great story telling. However, both Backwards and Last Human, the latter more so, seem to pale in comparison with the first two, for sheer humour. I much prefer the stories in the first two books, they were executed better than the latter two. However Backwards and Last Human add up to make a selectively enjoyable read.

  26. G&T Admin

    In a rush, so I don’t have time to go through the whole comment, but…

    the quite grotesque imagery described in [Last Human]

    What, and there’s none of that in Backwards?! Or indeed in Rob’s solo books in general.

    the unRimmerlike heroic deed at the end just doesn?t do it for me

    Sorry, Rimmer is not unheroic. He’s a coward, of course, but deep down he always *wants* to do the heroic thing. He does have a streak of self-preservation, which often dictates his actions (such as stealing the escape pod in Rimmerworld), but he’s shown that in extreme circumstances, heroism can take hold. Just look at Out of Time, where with the rest of his crewmates dead, he formulated a plan to save not only himself, but everyone else too. One of Rimmer’s finest moments. And the diving bell scene in Back To Earth – he may have fucked up for a long while, but he did pull them out of there pretty sharpish as soon as he realised what was going on.

    Basically, when it comes to volunteering for dangerous missions, Rimmer’s a coward. When it comes to looking after himself, that’s always Rimmer’s number one priority. But when everyone depends on him, and nobody else can save him, he always comes good.

  27. It’s been a while since I read Backwards, and I haven’t got round to reading Colony which I bought a few years ago. Last Human’s imagery just really sticks out in my mind, more the heavy dark SciFi elements which just detract from the humour in the book. I believe you when you say that Rob’s novels also have this element of imagery but his writing style probably shapes in well with the characterizations and comedy. One thing I do admire about Last Human is the fact that Doug did make it completely different to the earlier books, showing development and not just a rehash of style. I certainly acknowledge that Doug was bolder with the way he wrote the characters and story than he was with series VII or VIII(and I’m a big fan of the last two series).

    Yes, true, Rimmer does always yearn to be the heroic type deep down in his mangled self hating nature. However the way that it is pulled off in Last Human just seems too rushed and his death isn’t merited enough by Lister. In Out of Time you have the very same idea, it is rushed and Rimmer does inevitably summon the courage to act in a heroic way. The only thing is, he doesn’t quite succeed this time as the future crew blast Starbug to smithereens. I see your point though about how when it comes down to it, Rimmer can be brave and do the right thing.

  28. G&T Admin

    The only thing is, he doesn?t quite succeed this time as the future crew blast Starbug to smithereens.

    Well, that depends on what you want to believe. In my mind, he succeeded, and that’s why the time drive was destroyed.

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