Exciting news – more than a decade on from Fat, Rob Grant has a new novel out later this year. It’s an adaptation of The Quanderhorn Xperimentations, the Radio 4 sitcom he’s co-written with Andrew Marshall of 2point4children fame, set to be released in June at the same time as the radio version is broadcast. We’re told that this will be “expanded from” the radio series, prompting hopes of a Red Dwarf style full novel treatment, rather than a straightforward transposition of the scripts.

We’re very much looking forward to all of this – it’s been far too long since we got hold of any new Rob Grant material, and now we’ll be treated to new examples of both his dialogue and his prose, all within the next few months. It’ll also be interesting to see how he works with another writer; correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time he’s collaborated with someone other than Doug.

Time is short and we are lazy, so here’s the press release in full:

THE QUANDERHORN XPERIMENTATIONS is a full length novel springing and expanded from the soon-to- be-broadcast six-part Radio 4 series of the same name. The series will be broadcast alongside the release of the book and features a stellar cast of comedy performers.

England, 1952. Churchill is Prime Minister for the last time. Rationing is still in force. All music sounds like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. People like living in 1952: it’s familiar and reassuring, and Britain knows its place in the world. Few have noticed it’s been 1952 for the past 65 years.

Meet Professor Quanderhorn; a brilliant maverick scientific genius who has absolutely no moral compass. Assisted by a motley crew of outcasts – a recovering amnesiac, a brilliant scientist with a half-clockwork brain, a captured Martian prisoner adapting a little too well to English life, the professor’s part-insect “son” (reputedly ‘a major breakthrough in Artificial Stupidity’), and a rather sinister janitor – he’ll save the world. Even if he destroys it in the process. With his Dangerous Giant Space Laser, High Rise Farm, Invisible Robot and Fleets of Monkey-Driven Lorries, he’s not afraid to push the boundaries of science to their very limit. And far, far beyond…

Marcus Gipps said: “I’ve long been a fan of Andrew and Rob’s work, and Gollancz was the proud publisher of two of Rob’s earlier, brilliant novels, so it’s great to welcome them home. QX is witty, silly, clever and fun, and having spent a day at the recording I know it’s going to be a hit both on radio and in print.”

Rob /Andrew said: “We’re excited to be at Gollancz – the home of British science fiction. We hope Quanderhorn will thrill and delight in equal measure. It’s as if aliens had horrifically grafted John Wyndham onto P.G. Wodehouse and made the monstrous outcome write a book. We have to go now – we’re not really allowed to use these crayons.”

THE QUANDERHORN XPERIMENTATIONS will be published in hardback, ebook and audio reading alongside the radio broadcast, June 2018.

54 comments on “The Quanderhorn Ovelisation

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  • Comes out on 14th June according to Amazon. A big boy too at 368 pages. They also have a cover image.

  • A novelisation of a sitcom, putting several episodes together as one narrative and expanding on events from the source material? Sounds like something in the vein of the Dwarf novels (and the One Foot in the Grave novel… any others)?

  • There was a One Foot In The Grave novel?

    Yep, it was basically a novelisation of the first series, if I remember rightly. Our family had the book 20 years ago or so and I really wish it hadn’t ‘disappeared’ i.e. my mum doing a cull of ‘things no-one needs’ otherwise I might have it on my shelf right now! grrrrr :p

  • Great! I’ve always enjoyed Rob’s writing so I’m definitely looking forward to this.

    I’m also hoping he’ll randomly include some jarringly explicit sex scene or horrific piece of blackly comic violence, as per usual.

  • After some actual searching it seems it came out after the 3rd series and contained material from the episodes up to that point, albeit expanded.

  • There was an interesting Gazpacho Soup article comparing the Dwarf novels to the OFITG novel and Porridge book.

    The excerpts from the OFITG novel sound quite intriguing.

  • The One Foot book isn’t great. Imagine reading “I don’t believe it” without hearing Richard Wilson’s intonation and you’re half way there. A lovely keepsake/thing, but it doesn’t complement the series in the same way the Red Dwarf books do.
    Some stuff from the book made its way into later series. Series 6, I think.

  • Looking forward to new Rob material.
    I wonder if Andrew done the story and Rob done the jokes.

  • Everyone should do their background reading of the Quatermass serials or films before June, or it’d be like watching Red Dwarf without having watched Blade Runner.

  • I’m also hoping he’ll randomly include some jarringly explicit sex scene or horrific piece of blackly comic violence, as per usual.

    Knowing Rob, it will probably be both.

  • >it’d be like watching Red Dwarf without having watched Blade Runner
    Extremely enjoyable and quick to become one of your favourite series’?

  • my mum doing a cull of ‘things no-one needs’

    The greatest natural predator of the irreplaceable collectible is a mom with a garbage bag.

  • Ah! They’re not the diaries. Diaries are a whole other sub genre, though, aren’t they. I think they’d make a good Dirty Feed article if John’s reading this.
    There were Rene’s Allo Allo war diaries and Dorian’s from Birds of a Feather…

  • There was a Dad’s Army book as well that followed a similar format to ‘Allo ‘Allo books. Edited by a relative of Sgt. Wilson, that paints Captain Mainwaring in a more heroic light. Much like how the ‘Allo ‘Allo diaries makes Rene out to be a hero of the resistance and not a philandering coward.

  • I BEGS your pardon, Dave. They *are* diaries. Not in the usual stocking-filler sense of Allo² or BOAF. I should read them.

  • Yeah, I remember them essentially being Yes Minister stories as reported in Hacker’s diaries as published in the far future (with comments from Bernard, who eventually became some revered old lord or something).

    Definitely not just naff ‘Mr Bean’s Diary’ type stocking-fillers.

  • The One Foot book isn’t great. Imagine reading “I don’t believe it” without hearing Richard Wilson’s intonation and you’re half way there.

    If I were writing the OFITG novel, I would make it my life’s mission to ensure that the phrase is not said correctly even once, just using variation after variation: “I don’t believe this”, “I can’t believe it”, “This is unbelievable”, “I don’t buy it”, “I don’t belieb it… but Justin does say to #NeverSayNever”, “What the actual fuck?”.

  • Jay & Lynn also wrote an obiturary for Jim Hacker in Politico’s Book of the Dead in the early nineties. Hacker eventually rises to the House of Lords and ends up styled James Hacker, Baron Hacker of Islington; and Hacker College, Oxford is named in his honour.

  • To be fair, Victor says “I don’t be-“, “I do not believe it”, “I do not-” etc. as often as he uses the full phrase. And “What in the name of bloody hell?” (and variants) is almost as common.

  • Definitely not just naff ‘Mr Bean’s Diary’ type stocking-fillers.

    Mr Bean’s Diary is ace, you fool.

  • Is it? I remember it being a bit rubbish. Although I liked the flip cartoon and the joke about etymology, and the poem about Shirley Bassey.

  • I liked it, although it did have a certain darkness to it in that he acted as if Irma was his girlfriend but was basically just stalking her. And that whole bit about sending a jam jar of his blood off to the Give Blood people.

  • wasn’t there a bit in Mr Bean’s Diary about him trying to prank/kill his neighbour or something?

    it’s been years since i read it but i know there was definitely some sinister running gag about his neighbour

  • He has a year-long feud with a neighbour at number… (I’ve gone blank) who keeps on leaving notes (mainly commenting on the strange goings on courtesy of Bean) . I don’t recall Bean going so far as to try and kill him.

    The understated joke about the raffle ticket is kind of brilliant.

  • Yeah, that was pretty funny too.

    Actually it was good, wasn’t it? I don’t know what I was thinking.

  • I think Bean “buried the hatchet” into his neighbours’ door, at one point. Or vice versa.

  • I should really buy the Log No. 1996 off eBay one day, just to see how bad it is and fill that void in my Red Dwarf knowledge. I flicked through the Space Corps Survival Manual in shops when that came out, but wasn’t impressed even as a kid. “Is this glass of lager half-empty or half-full?” “Neither, because I’d have smegging drunk it!!!” is the bit that stayed with me.

  • I think I might be letting my bad memories of the Survival Manual colour my thoughts of Mr Bean.

  • >I should really buy the Log No. 1996 off eBay one day, just to see how bad it is

    it’s not that bad, there are a couple of good bits in it. i chuckled at the part where they decide to use the AR machine for a holiday, only for lister to mix up the “holiday in europe” software with the “victory in europe” software and them all ending up in occupied france with their only way out being to go off and assassinate hitler

  • rimmer’s increasingly dark “sjorbik bjornsson film night” bits made me laugh too

  • >I should really buy the Log No. 1996 off eBay one day, just to see how bad it is

    I should really sell the Log No. 1996 on eBay one day, just because of how bad it is.

    Seriously, I think it’s pants. It utterly fails at what it’s supposed to be. Mr Bean’s Diary works because you can imagine someone writing this nonsense in a book for an audience of…himself.

    The Log 1996 does jokes where 4 people are interacting by writing stuff to each other. It’s kind of like the “Idea for an Episode” thread.

  • Do you remember that bit in the Bachelor Boys book where they all wrote a story together on the toilet roll? That’s what the above description of The Log reminded me of.

  • It’s of its time, I’d say. I liked it, but then I like most things with Rik and Ade in.

  • Breaking nudes – just seen a cast photo and the main cast of 7 includes James Fleet, Ryan Sampson, Kevin Eldon, Freddie Fox, and John Sessions, plus two female performers I don’t recognise.

  • The release date for the book is now listed as 28th June – no sign of a date for the radio series, so (assuming it’s broadcast weekly), the book will definitely be out before the series is finished. It’s Primordial Soup and Psirens all over again.

  • Oh, there’s an audiobook of the novel confirmed as well, read by Ryan Sampson who will be impersonating the cast Chris Barrie style. So quite a lot of Quanderhorn ‘stuff’ imminent.

  • I’m very sad we’ll never see a Dwarf/OFITG-style novel adaptation of Cabin Pressure, now.

  • I’m very sad we’ll never see a Dwarf/OFITG-style novel adaptation of Cabin Pressure, now.

    Roger Allam’s voice is about 90% of the show’s greatness, though.

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