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DwarfCast 111 - Book Club #1: IWCD (Part One) featured image
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Hello, and welcome to the inaugural edition of the DC/BC. For those who are about to re-read the Red Dwarf novels at a set pace and discuss each part with the community, we salute you. Join Ian Symes, Jonathan Capps and Danny Stephenson as they embark on what has already turned out to be a bigger undertaking than first thought, as they pick the bones out of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Part One: Your Own Death, and How to Cope With It. Was McIntyre literally carrying his nose in a Mimas Hilton Coffee Lounge napkin? Was Bliss this book’s Chekhov’s false water pistol? How many times can we make obvious Hitchhiker’s comparisons? All these questions, and more, not actually answered in any meaningful way.

DwarfCast 111 – Book Club #1: IWCD (Part One) (133MB)

Thank you to everyone who submitted comments for this episode. We wish we had time to read out them all, but if we did we’d be handing you a Dan Carlin length podcast right about now. Needless to say, use the comments section here to house discussions on Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Part Two: Alone in a Godless universe, and out of Shake’n’Vac and we’ll be including as many as we can in our discussions when we record on or around the weekend of the 18th and 19th of July. Keep your comments as brief as possible, for the sake of your own phone’s free space.

Next episode we’ll have our commentary for Twentica which of course means the glorious return of MEN OF WAFFLE 1974, so bung us any questions you have for that either here or over on our Twitter.

Show notes

131 comments on “DwarfCast 111 – Book Club #1: IWCD (Part One)

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  • Was McIntyre literally carrying his nose in a Mimas Hilton Coffee Lounge napkin?

    I wondered about that for years.

  • Oh I timed this perfectly well. Finished part one last night. I only re-read the books (minus Last Human) last year but they’re always a joy. Even though I know the stories, the way they’re written and the details that go into them I also sort of forgot, so its fun getting to go through them again.

  • I absolutely read it as McIntyre having his nose removed. And yes, the ‘clenched metal fist’ description of the ship has always stuck with me.

    Also, the incredibly visual gag of “listen up”, and Rimmer’s team all angling their ears upwards, always struck me as such an odd choice for the book, and even odder that it never made it into the show proper.

    Additional: I pitched a graphic novel adaptation of this book to Grant Naylor Productions and a few comic publishers, while I was still working within the comics industry. The general consensus was if I could get a publisher interested, then GNP would be interested. The responses I got from publishers were “We love the property, we like the idea, we don’t think there’s a big enough audience to justify making it”.

    Oh well, it was a nice thought.

  • I pitched a graphic novel adaptation of this book to Grant Naylor Productions and a few comic publishers, while I was still working within the comics industry. The general consensus was if I could get a publisher interested, then GNP would be interested. The responses I got from publishers were “We love the property, we like the idea, we don’t think there’s a big enough audience to justify making it”.
    Oh well, it was a nice thought.

    When did you pitch this idea? in the 90s they were releasing a so many non-essential books and videos that i could only imagine in the 90s at least that this idea would have gone happened.

    These days i sorta do believe the audience isn’t big enough to justify alot of merchandise.

  • I want to make a case for the reason Lister is on Red Dwarf is in at least someway contradicted in the TV vs the book

    In the TV he has his 5 year plan to save up all his pay to buy a farm on Fiji. That doesn’t sound like a man who woke up from a pub crawl on another planet/moon and just wants to get home. That sounds like a man that’s taken a job that pays but also provides food and board for a few years so he can realise his dream.

    I do like how in the book it’s explained he deliberately sent the picture of himself with the cat to get out into stasis to get back to Earth quicker. But TV show Lister doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. In fact, having not dated Kochanski prior to the accident (at least until it’s retconned) presumably Lister wouldn’t want to go into stasis and would rather try and seduce Kochanski.

  • Good points! You could interpret it as the “five year plan” being something he concocted after signing up though, making the best of a bad situation after he learned he’d be stuck on board for just shy of five years. So faced with the news that he’s four and a half years from home, Book Lister comes up with a clever but sneaky plan to shorten the time with a planned stint in stasis, while TV Lister comes up with the noble idea of using that time wisely, but is undone by *accidentally* getting caught with a cat and getting an unwanted stint in stasis.

  • 80 minutes in, and I think I’ve realised along with yourselves what’s happening with the Septembers.
    During his second September (which is actually October), he sees that … no. no, hang on, I’ve confused myself again now.
    No, lost it again, forget it.

  • I keep thinking it’s easy to figure out. And I think I have a solution. Then I realise I don’t and would rather I didn’t have to think about it.

  • Waffle Question time… Given that Twentica has the most impressive miniature sequence thought out all series 11 and 12. What did you think of the rest of model shots of Satrbug, both used on-screen and un-used on the DVD ?
    On top of that, you think some of the shots look like redo’s of some of the fly-by CGI one from Series 7 ?

  • Even though I know the stories, the way they’re written and the details that go into them I also sort of forgot, so its fun getting to go through them again.

    I thought that, and then I read it for this and was pleasantly surprised how much I had forgotten in the interim.

  • Decided to check the audiobook to hear how Chris pronounces the text at the bottom of page 86.

    He doesn’t, the coward.

  • It is clearly pronounced “inverted comma omega function copywrite crucifix delta less than or equal to diamond floating open bracket ….”

    I would have continued through to the end but I don’t know what the next symbol is called, and I’d have been here all night. However, interestingly, I decided to check the eBook to copy the character into Google to get its name, and that sequence of characters is quite different in that publication. It is “0 Ifst-Y’#§f(OM’ ngE(E)§ Ifst-Y#§f(ng(E)§ Ifst OM’ oo – As” which my Mac’s text to speech does an admirable job of reading out. So there’s no fucking reason Chris couldn’t have tried. I hope they docked his pay for the equivalent of one line of text.

  • Great first installment of the Book Club.

    On McIntyre’s nose, I went back and forth for years on whether he actually was carrying his nose, and on the most recent read I was convinced thay they actually did cut it off.

    One thing I forgot to mention in the previous thread was something around Saunders and the implication that his hologram would remember pretty much everything in his real life up until his death – surely that wouldn’t be the case as he’d only share the real Saunders’ memories up to the point that he last backed up his hologram file?

  • McIntyre’s nose

    This needs to become a generic exclamation like Gordon Bennett by the way.

    McIntyre’s nose!

  • When did you pitch this idea? in the 90s they were releasing a so many non-essential books and videos that i could only imagine in the 90s at least that this idea would have gone happened.
    These days i sorta do believe the audience isn’t big enough to justify alot of merchandise.

    The pitch would have been in between Back to Earth and Series X. So around 2010, 2011 I think?

  • Small Point for the next episode:
    The description of Lister accidentally breaking things on page 110 must be drawn from real experiences with Craig Charles on set, going by behind the scenes anecdotes. A concrete example of an actor’s quirks being fed back into the character.

  • Was McIntyre literally carrying his nose in a Mimas Hilton Coffee Lounge napkin?

    if i remember right, there’s a part later on in the book (during mcintrye’s eulogy) that states he was, as well as being forcefed the severed nose. i will check later…

  • My book finally arrived this morning, so I had a nice catch up this afternoon before listening just now. Too late to add this for the DwarfCast, obviously, but I always found it tragic that Rimmer was clearly an excellent graphic designer and could have had a career that way, if only he’d been able to get past the expectations of his parents.

    I liked the bit about characters knowing they’re funny, it’s something I love about Men Behaving Badly – so many of the jokes in the show are told as jokes, even typically funny stories are followed by “really?” “No, don’t be daft!” and such. Adds to the realism of the characters.

    Totally agree with Si’s point about the writing. I’ve read so many books by ‘proper’ authors whose writing is far clunkier and more turgid than Rob and Doug’s prose on display here.

    Going to read part 2 tomorrow, will come back with a lot of tedious thoughts, no doubt.

  • I always liked the idea that the accident that killed the crew happened so quick that no one knew it was happening till it was too late. a silent killer hitting each part of the ship bit by bit. Rimmer having no clue about it till he see it coming towards him.

    To have the crew know its happening while they run around screaming that they were about to die doesn’t have that same tragic impact IMO.

  • One thing I forgot to mention in the previous thread was something around Saunders and the implication that his hologram would remember pretty much everything in his real life up until his death – surely that wouldn’t be the case as he’d only share the real Saunders’ memories up to the point that he last backed up his hologram file?

    I really, really hate it, but in M-Corp Kryten says he can restore Lister’s memory using cctv footage, so maybe the shortfall in Saunders’ memory could be made up in a similar way?

    Excellent start to the DC/BC. Speaking as a native of Gateshead, purely belter Geordie accents btw. I wonder whether the Captain’s name was changed because of the thing about Hollister sounding, and looking, like a conflation of Holly and Lister.

  • Ok for part two I think I’m going to post some chapter-by-chapter bullet points as I read them so as to not waffle on too long.

  • ONE

    -This immediately feels much more like the TV show. The coming out of stasis is described with a few more details (smell etc.) but is essentially the same.

    -You could even potentially begin the whole novel here (filling in a couple of past blanks along the way) and it still work. Although I wouldn’t want to lose that early stuff.

    -“Everybody’s Dead Dave”: you can’t help but hear the TV version as you read it, but I like that it extends the joke with the different word order and emphasis etc.

    -Inside Holly’s head: the book makes Holly a three-dimensional character in the way the TV show never really did. Getting an insight into his concerns and preoccupations is fascinating, and the reasoning for his blunt dialogue (to lift Lister’s mood etc.) adds an extra dimension to what are just gag lines in the TV show.

    -The end of this chapter, with Lister’s breakdown, is one of the key passages that sticks in my mind from the novels. It’s a much more realistic reaction to his plight (albeit one that would maybe be too heavy for a half-hour sitcom) and justifies the need for Rimmer better than the TV show ever did. Plus Rimmer’s introduction is perfect – you can almost see it playing out on-screen. Much better than him just casually wandering into the Drive Room in The End.

  • TWO

    -Love Rimmer’s utter self-pity and lack of any evident sympathy for Lister.

    -Again, feels very TV show with the reused passages.

    -The stuff about discrimination against holograms is really interesting. The pro-hologram march scene suggests that holograms in the real world are allowed to have a pretty full personal life independent of whoever is footing the bill for their runtime, and also that they can congregate in large numbers, unlike the sparing way they’re seen in the TV show (with the exception of Holoship).

    THREE

    -Rimmmer’s irritation with Lister is very funny.

    -The line ending “…it had ever been Rimmer’s misfortune to encounter” is very Meltdown in its phrasing, isn’t it? I also thought of Meltdown last week when the name Caldicott turned up.

  • Ok, part two thoughts:

    Chapter one: Lolita joke, example of something from the book that would be reused in the show later on.
    Lister losing it after leaving stasis: brilliant. Putting it into context of him wanting to get back home makes it seem much more tragic than in the TV version.

    Chapter two: ELP lyrics is a really odd reference. Prog isn’t really a genre referenced elsewhere in Red Dwarf.

    Chapter four: Music on DATs. Did they think DAT was going to be the next big thing? Also, “DAT tapes” is such an annoying tautology and I’d have hoped Rob and Doug would know better.
    The idea of drinking a pint of someone else’s diarrhoea every hour for seventy years is one of the most gloriously repulsive things they ever came up with.

    Chapters five and six: Incredible.

    Chapter nine: The whole Lister’s babies plot never gets resolved in the book universe. Weird.

    Chapter sixteen: Lister’s lucky pants are described as both y-fronts and boxers on the same page. This always bothered me, even when I first read the book at the age of 12.

    Chapter twenty-four: This is really where it starts getting completely new, isn’t it? Everything up to here has been a variation or expansion of the TV series, but Lister trying to get the Duality Drive working is completely unique to the book. It’s quite refreshing after a section which has been mostly lifted directly from the series.

    Chapter thirty: I always find that Skutter death incredibly sad.

    Chapter thirty-two: Any chance to get a deeper look into Rimmer’s psyche is worthwhile, and this is particularly great. His own skewed perspective seeing Van Gogh and John Merrick as lucky, wonderful. Also “the deaf, mad, elephant Frenchman” really made me laugh. I’d forgotten a lot of the new material in this.

    Chapter thirty-three: I love this. A real improvement on the (already great) TV version. Rimmer’s evening being a disaster from the start, Lister really being consoling at the end. A really beautiful chapter that feels like the first time the two of them really get along in the book.

    The further I get into this, the more I realise it wouldn’t be a good film, but I’d love to see the books done as a big budget TV series. If anyone wanted to do a reboot, a scene-by-scene adaptation of the books would be incredible. It’d be more of a comedy drama than a sitcom, but it would look incredible.

  • Chapter four: Music on DATs. Did they think DAT was going to be the next big thing?

    I remember a lot of this in X-Files too.

  • FOUR: I like all this, but given how similar it is in concept to the early parts of Future Echoes I find it weird that it’s all happening before they’ve even met the Cat.

    FIVE: Talking of which… this is only a short chapter but it feels like a key one. I love all the details of the floors of Red Dwarf (for some reason the description of all the raw materials like wood and water really work to bring the scale of the ship to life for me) and I like Lister noticing the impact of the cats surviving from the empty floors. I also like the description of the cat houses and glimpses of cat civilization (including the Flintstones callback/forward to Backwards).

    Introducing the Cat as a threat in a scene of tension rather than comedy is an interesting choice too. It’s more dramatic and compelling an introduction, but is he less immediately likeable as a result? The goofy stylishness of his first appearance in The End is much more endearing I think. But then book readers mostly know him and like him already, so does that matter?

    Also, is this the first introduction/only explanation of what a Bazookoid is and what it’s for?

    SIX: More of the inside of Holly’s head, which is always fun. Also the infamous Joe Klumpp (who, as well as ruining the gag, seems to have introduced a rogue full stop into the omnibus version too, ruining it further).

    I like the details of Cat evolution we see here too. I presume it’s a conscious decision to have Holly start the chapter musing on whether or not there’s a god, and then end up playing the role of omniscient observer as the cat society evolves and grows. I think that you can make the argument that Holly is the cats’ god in a way that’s more true than it is for Lister.

  • A couple of things in here that I find interesting, in terms of being able to visualise it, are the Cat civilisation (as Dave touches upon above), and also, back in Part One, the dipiction of the vastness of Holly and the ship’s interior. Way back when, when the Smegazines were around, they had a strip called Lister The God, which I seem to remember Ian mentioning in a Dwarfcast at one time, plus back in his Smegazines feature a few years back (yes, I do go back and reread old bits of G&T).
    In that, you have the big Cat cities, as well as Holly on a massive screen, with a big, busy drive room… Sorry, just saying. I can see that in my mind’s eye when I read about the Cats.

  • Chapter sixteen: Lister’s lucky pants are described as both y-fronts and boxers on the same page. This always bothered me, even when I first read the book at the age of 12.

    Must be a really benign and unimaginative Polymorph. Simple.

  • Holly on a massive screen

    Holly feels much bigger, physically, in the books in general. When Lister comes out of stasis he’s on an eight foot square screen and then projected on the floor etc., whereas in the TV show he’s mostly human-head-sized.

  • Part Two…

    Chapter 1 and 2 – From this point on we understandably get a lot of material borrowed from the TV scripts. The use of the occasional line from the deleted scenes helps to keep things interesting, and explicitly describing Lister going to pieces and then Rimmer being revived to keep him sane works well in a novel (and wouldn’t have worked in a sitcom, as it would have taken up too much screen time).

    Chapter 3 and 4 – Nice expanded look at Lister and Rimmer’s relationship. “He was like one of those little grey monkeys you see at the zoo who openly masturbate whenever you go round with your great-aunt Florrie!”

    Chapter 5 – You feel that the description of going down hundreds of floors into the bowels of the ship is the kind of thing that Doug would have loved to have done in a movie. It’s much stronger than the TV introduction of the Cat, and conveys a real sense of danger.

    Chapter 6 – I don’t like the substitution of Joe Klumpp’s name, and the folly of this kind of tampering is shown by the fact that Kevin Keegan is probably more famous now than he was 30 years ago. I would suggest that he’s certainly more well-known than Netta Muskett anyway! The reason given for the holy wars is also slightly more credible than the one featured in Waiting for God.

    Chapters 7 to 13 – Fairly faithful reproductions of Future Echoes, but there are one or two additions that amuse me. The mention of Lister’s arm coming off and the idea of a video game where the objective is to park a car in Rome! Not the most interesting section of the book though imo.

    Probably a sensible decision to make it Lister’s grandson who has died and Rob Grant later explained it:
    “It’s not really a great resolution that your son dies. Frankly, it’s nothing to be punching the air and doing a toe-shoe shuffle about, is it? Let’s face it… So we tried to remove it as far as possible in the books but even so it’s not very satisfactory.”

    Chapters 14 – An attempt at biting satire from Rob and Doug with all of the Coke stuff, and then a valiant attempt to explain Kryten’s responsibility for the crash. I also assume that Rob and Doug were attempting to be forward thinking by having the ship mainly being run by women.

    Chapter 15 – Essentially a bunch of stuff taken from the TV series with occasional minor alterations. This second part of the book doesn’t quite match up to the first part for me now, but when it was originally published fans obviously wouldn’t have watched the episodes hundreds of times and the material would have felt fresher.

    Chapter 16 – The description of Lister being left alone with Alison Bredbury in her parents’ double bed the night her dad has a heart attack, is an indication that he has never exactly been the gentleman towards women that some would like him to be. :)

  • Chapter sixteen: Lister’s lucky pants are described as both y-fronts and boxers on the same page. This always bothered me, even when I first read the book at the age of 12.

    Lister’s lucky pants are boxers, but they have a large letter ‘Y’ stitched on the front, in tribute to Lise Yates.

  • Just want to thank the guys for part 1, which made a 120 mile drive to a reunion with my parents fly by. I’m baffled by the continued confusion over McIntyre’s nose stuff as I swear this was discussed on here a while back. I dread to ask about the Astro’s ear.

    I’ve started Part 2, but going to stagger it a bit as I tore through Part 1 in two sessions. First observation: Burroughs is the second person that Lister thinks of when informed that everybody is dead. He’s above Kochanski, Chen and Selby in the pecking order.

  • >The stuff about discrimination against holograms is really interesting. The pro-hologram march scene suggests that holograms in the real world are allowed to have a pretty full personal life independent of whoever is footing the bill for their runtime, and also that they can congregate in large numbers, unlike the sparing way they’re seen in the TV show (with the exception of Holoship).

    I find this passage in the novel a bit clunky. The march is obviously meant to evoke anti-discrimination protests from the past (…) but when it’s revealed in a subsequent passage that hologramatic status (outside of space crafts) is an exclusive privilege reserved for the ultra-rich, the whole thing kinda falls apart. I’m not sure I can believe a society that treats rich dead people worse than poor live ones.

  • Also, is this the first introduction/only explanation of what a Bazookoid is and what it’s for?

    Yes, I believe so (forgot to mention this myself). They always felt a bit odd in the show, ie why did they have massive guns just lying around? It’s another book aspect that was picked up for series 3. There aren’t any plot bits that were used later, but things like that, the continued appearance of Kryten (although I was surprised at just how small an amount of the book he’s in; also, he remains David Ross’s Kryten throughout, not having much science knowledge and obsessively serving food – I’m sure in BTL he’s written more like Bobby’s version), etc. feel like they’re drawing up a blueprint for where the show would go next time they made it.

  • > I’m baffled by the continued confusion over McIntyre’s nose stuff as I swear this was discussed on here a while back. I dread to ask about the Astro’s ear.

    I genuinely remember because there were about two dozen posts in the ‘Idea for an episode’ thread we got out of it

  • he remains David Ross’s Kryten throughout, not having much science knowledge and obsessively serving food

    I’m not up to Kryten’s introduction but I remember this being the case. I don’t think he really fills the de facto science officer role in any of the novels like in the TV show, I suppose because there’s no need for him to provide the exposition in that way. I know some people don’t like Kryten washing the computer but it just about works with the novel version of the character for me.

  • Started re-reading the book. Years since I last read it. A couple of small points.

    Grant Naylor must have foreseen the rise of veganism in the future with Litster swiping a soya sandwich and noodle burger before joining Red Dwarf.

    I forgot in the book they made the captain female. Which is a bit strange as both writers really liked Mac’s performance as the captain. Maybe they were just trying out a different approach.

    I also always thought McIntyre has his nose cut off as well.

  • I’ve not quite reached Kryten’s intro yet (next chapter – I’m just about to meet the crew of the Nova 5), so I was going to wait til I’d reread it, but I was going to ask how people read Kryten in Infinity? Might as well jump in now we’re getting onto the subject.
    We’ve already established that the book was written after series two, but it was published less than a fortnight before RDIII aired. So although the Kryten material in there is from Kryten (the episode), presumably Rob and Doug had gotten used to Robert’s portrayal by now. Now, I can’t remember whether it states that Kryten has an English accent in IWCD (like I say, I’ll find out soon), but the crew is American, yes? Not sure whether the books have Lister repairing Kryten as the reason for an accent change or not.
    So are Rob and Doug writing for Bobby’s Kryten saying Kryten Mk1’s words, or will David’s Kryten go on to be reciting lines from Polymorph? The audiobook has Chris reading it in Robert’s voice – How do people hear it when they’re reading it themselves?

  • I’ve always read it as Bobby’s voice in my head. But that’s probably because I saw Series III and IV (and maybe V?) before I saw series 2

  • SEVEN

    Some fun Cat stuff here, but also a confusing typo: “the notion that someone might now know who he was was beyond his comprehension” – that “now” should be “not”, surely. Or should it?

    EIGHT

    More fun Hollythoughts here, but my favourite part might be the description of Cat’s abandoned suits. It’s a bit like American Psycho, the more you try to actually visualise the clothing descriptions the more utterly ludicrous it all becomes.

    NINE

    I always loved the psychedelic scene that opens this chapter with Lister seeing (and becoming) such unreal things. It’s another what-would-Red-Dwarf-do-with-an-infinite-budget moment.

    Also, I think that the whole “what things?” scene from Future Echoes might work even better in book form. Unlike a TV show, books exist outside of time in the sense that all of the pages of a book exist simultaneously and you can jump between moments in time by simply flicking your eyes across the page. Which is especially satisfying for a sequence of repeated dialogue like this, as you can’t help but check back and see that, yes, Rimmer is saying and doing *exactly* the same things twice over, even down to the written description of him scratching his H and then walking off.

  • TEN-THIRTEEN

    This is maybe the most straightforwardly “the TV show, but in book form” section yet. But even then there are some interesting details and changes. Bexley’s son. The reminiscences of Lister’s life gone by (the running joke of “how many men could say that?” always makes me chuckle). Oh, and of course ripping off Death’s tits in full and not just his nipples.

  • FOURTEEN

    I like this chapter a lot. Seeing the crew of the Nova 5 in action always felt special to me, like one of the best deleted scenes imaginable. And I love the silliness of their mission too, it’s always been a very memorable part of the books for me. “Pepsi would be *buried*” is another one of those perfectly-formed comedy nuggets that always makes me smile.

    Oh, and I definitely hear David Ross’ Kryten for all of this.

    FIFTEEN-EIGHTEEN

    Again, more or less just “Kryten” in book form. Although it did strike me through this section (and a little bit through Future Echoes) that the Cat is a little more absent in general in the book than he is in the series. I guess the books don’t have the problem of having to give a series regular a certain amount of material per 26 minutes. I like it in a way, having him occasionally slink in and not do very much makes him feel more like a real cat.

    Also, Kryten has a sonic screwdriver! The headcanon possibilities are endless.

  • Has no one else picked up on Lister’s change of age?

    In chapter three it references the pub crawl for his 25th birthday.

    He is on Mimas for 6 months, then Red Dwarf for a further 7 months. So he should be 26, which works out as it’s November for Rimmer’s exam and Lister registers his date of birth as October.

    He definitely isn’t then 24 as Holly insists on the first chapter of part 2.

  • In chapter three it references the pub crawl for his 25th birthday.

    In Chapter Three, it says that they’d “decided to usher in his twenty-fourth year”. Which would actually make it his 23rd birthday, not 24th or 25th.

  • In the Omnibus that bit says “his twenty-fifth year”. So maybe that was changed for the Omnibus to fix it, only they got it wrong because as quinn_drummer says, he would’ve had another birthday by the time he goes into stasis. So it was right in the first place.

  • He definitely isn’t then 24 as Holly insists on the first chapter of part 2.

    Maybe he accidentally included twelve extra Septembers.

  • We’ve already established that the book was written after series two, but it was published less than a fortnight before RDIII aired. So although the Kryten material in there is from Kryten (the episode), presumably Rob and Doug had gotten used to Robert’s portrayal by now.

    I’d imagine the time for a book to get completed, typeset, manufactured, promoted and distributed is easily longer than the turnaround time for a TV show at that point in time, so it’s quite likely the bulk of the Kryten material was written before Robert’s character was perfected, or even really started.

  • In Chapter Three, it says that they’d “decided to usher in his twenty-fourth year”. Which would actually make it his 23rd birthday, not 24th or 25th.

    In the Omnibus that bit says “his twenty-fifth year”. So maybe that was changed for the Omnibus to fix it, only they got it wrong because as quinn_drummer says, he would’ve had another birthday by the time he goes into stasis. So it was right in the first place.

    I’m reading an extremely old copy of Infinity published in 1989 (first edition?) so the Omnibus hasn’t changed it, but whatever version Si is reading has. Curious!

    Oh, and the Infinity ebook has it at 25th year too.

  • He definitely isn’t then 24 as Holly insists on the first chapter of part 2.

    Maybe he accidentally included twelve extra Septembers.

    You could read it as Holly being thick (as that is covered in that chapter too) and just getting Lister’s age wrong, and Lister doesn’t correct him.

  • We’ve already established that the book was written after series two, but it was published less than a fortnight before RDIII aired. So although the Kryten material in there is from Kryten (the episode), presumably Rob and Doug had gotten used to Robert’s portrayal by now.

    I’d imagine the time for a book to get completed, typeset, manufactured, promoted and distributed is easily longer than the turnaround time for a TV show at that point in time, so it’s quite likely the bulk of the Kryten material was written before Robert’s character was perfected, or even really started.

    I always read the earlier Kryten stuff as David Ross Kryten. I actually read all of Infinity and lots of BTL as series 1-2 Red Dwarf. There’s a moment where it switch though and I start reading it as series 3&4 onwards, as the book starts to cover that material. It’s really weird how my mind is able to just completely visualise the setting and the characters different from one bit to the next.

  • I’m reading an extremely old copy of Infinity published in 1989 (first edition?) so the Omnibus hasn’t changed it, but whatever version Si is reading has.

    Ah. This is where I look a dozy twat (no change there then, blah blah).
    When I wrote that, I didn’t have my copy (also a battered old 1989 paperback) to hand, so I consulted a pdf copy of the book I’d downloaded to my laptop a little while ago, which has the year being ushered in as his 24th.
    Having now got the actual book in front of me, it does, indeed, tell us that they’re ushering in his twenty-fifth year.

    Meanwhile, I’ve spotted (as have others) assorted spelling or grammar mistakes in the book, but none so buttock-clenchingly horrible as this, in Chapter Sixteen:
    “‘You’re nickname was never “Ace”.'”

    *shudder*

  • I spotted a misplaced apostrophe in my first edition paperback the other day, so expect a good ten minutes on that in the next podcast.

  • I spotted a misplaced apostrophe in my first edition paperback the other day, so expect a good ten minutes on that in the next podcast.

    I’ve seen one (probably the same one), but I couldn’t be arsed to make a note of where it was.

  • It is astonishing how little proof reading is done to this book. The publishers ought to be ashamed. Perhaps we should write a letter complaining, all sign it and send it back into the past.

  • Yeah. 31 years is a short enough time for them to recall and reprint the books before anyone notices any errors.

  • Why is it, so you think, that Lister owns a bass guitar (that he is putting into storage) rather than a guitar guitar. Of all the little changes to make, that screams “for the sake of it” more so than anything else.

  • Chapters five and six: Incredible.

    Yep, and I imagine they’d be a real trip for anyone reading the novel for the first time who didn’t know the show either. (The blank books – what the fuck?) I like how it’s not made clear in Chapter 6 that Holly is even aware of the cats yet, so you just get the juxtaposition of him going senile through boredom and loneliness, the gurning and reading trashy romance novels and all that, with the evolution of the entire cat race, all while Red Dwarf is accelerating away from the solar system. So inventive and unusual. I love the sort of quasi-religious language, for example when the cats are praying at the silver mountains, and figuring out what the tin-opener’s for, followed by the brilliant bathos of “alphabetti spaghetti in tomato sauce.” One thing I don’t really like is the war being fought over Cloister/Clister. Cardboard hats is funnier.

  • Rob mentions Chelsea Brown, the actress who supposedly chewed Lister’s ball of gum (Chapter 4), in a Smegazine interview. He talks about Mugs Murphy and then says “We didn’t want to use any contemporary stuff, we didn’t want to use Wilma Flintstone and that kind of thing; we wanted to create our own icons. We didn’t want to be using Marilyn Monroe, we wanted to be using Chelsea Brown who you’ve never seen – and things like that. But in the end, sometimes you’ve just got to have that shorthand of using something people know.”
    Interesting that they obviously felt able to put in more niche references like that when they wrote the novel. See also Holly reading Netta Muskett in Chapter 6 rather than Agatha Christie like in Confidence and Paranoia. It’s odd because in the TV show I always thought they mostly stuck to things like Casablanca and Marilyn Monroe partly because you could well believe they’d still be famous in the future. I guess if you use something obscure enough that it almost might as well be made up, that works too.

  • I have to say you’re all doing a great job of digging deep into this masterpiece. Speaking as someone who read the novel before series 1 was released on video I really was blown away by the Future Echoes part and kept looking over to my bedroom door imagining another me walking in. I was also horribly grossed out by the description of Bexley’s son blowing up and the disgusting depiction in the smegazine didn’t help. Watching my off air of series 2 I thought the mayor of Warsaw exploding (as seen in the background of the hologram simulation suite) was this moment from Future Echoes and I was preparing myself for some horrific (if unconvincing latex style) gore when I got the video even though it was a PG.

  • If anyone owns the Better than life #1 remastered fanclub, lets call it magazine. it does have small interview section where Rob and Doug talked about originally wanting to transcribe the shows from the series into novels. but then they started thinking about writing novel that was set before the series started and while writing it they just enjoyed the lack of limitations so much that it just kinda went on from there.

  • My copy has finally arrived and I’ve caught up. My contribution to the Great McIntyre’s Nose Debate: yes, I believe he is literally holding his severed nose. It doesn’t seem too outrageous given that just a few pages later there’s severed ears raining down on a windshield.

    I will say, I was so thrilled by the pre-accident stuff in the first section that it was a bit of a letdown to move on to the more familiar material. I think Rob and Doug are pretty clever about how they weave what were totally separate plots into a logical progression of events, but when it comes down to “Here’s this dialogue scene from ‘Future Echoes’ but written down in prose,” it usually results in a close but not-quite-as-funny version. Quick-hit jokes sometimes get lingered on too long, some jokes become less subtle, and the small changes stick out because I’ve seen the TV version a million times. I don’t know that ripping Death’s nipples off is objectively funnier than ripping Death’s tits off, but I miss “nipples” when it’s not there.

    A Small Point, or a Waffle, or whatever, and maybe this is better left for the end, but: what do you all think of the actual title “Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers” itself? Howard Goodall said his goal in writing the Series I/II music was not to write “comedy music,” and similarly, until about VII and VIII, Red Dwarf mostly avoided giving episodes “comedy titles.” I find it a bit jarring for being gently wacky.

  • Grant Naylor must have foreseen the rise of veganism in the future with Litster swiping a soya sandwich and noodle burger before joining Red Dwarf.

    Similarly, I assume Lister drinking “Glen Fujiyama” is supposed to be a joke, but Japanese whiskey is now fairly popular among people who know what they’re talking about when they talk about whiskey. (This does not include me.)

  • what do you all think of the actual title “Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers” itself?

    This could be bollocks but I was under the impression that ‘Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers’ wasn’t originally part of the title, and everyone just called it that because of the sign on the cover that was really only part of the artwork. I’ve only got the Omnibus and the front matter has the subtitle on some pages but not on others, so I dunno. Anyway, I’m not mad about that title. As you say it’s not very Dwarfy.

  • Similarly, I assume Lister drinking “Glen Fujiyama” is supposed to be a joke, but Japanese whiskey is now fairly popular among people who know what they’re talking about when they talk about whiskey. (This does not include me.)

    Yes, this occurred to me too. There are some very highly-rated Japanese whiskies these days.

  • NINETEEN TO TWENTY-FOUR

    This stretch of the book is very satisfying to me, and feels like it hangs together as a decent coherent stretch of story, with each chapter building naturally on what comes before, rather than a staccato series of individual vignettes as it could feel like with some of the earlier chapters.

    Mixing Kryten with Me² ends up feeling pretty inspired – both storylines feel transformed by being mixed with the other, and unlike the book version of Future Echoes (which is a pretty straight lift from the TV show) there’s a sense of both these stories being ennhanced by extra scenes not in the TV version.

    The description of Rimmer going on a long walk to talk to himself is very funny, the description of Kryten relaxing (and all the references to basing his behaviour on Androids) is both funny and character-enriching, and the scenes with Lister fixing Kryten and also doing the work needed to understand how the Nova 5 drive works are nice nods to his spirit for self-improvement that’s often referenced in the TV show. It shows that he can dedicate himself to learning and becoming a better person in a way that isn’t true of Rimmer.

    Some small notes:
    – I had thought that Kryten would feel more like Robert Llewellyn post-rebuild, but he still calls Lister “Mister David” so he’s still the David Ross Kryten to me.
    – The Nova 5 seems much bigger in the novel version than the relatively small looking ship on the TV show, based on how many shuttlecraft are needed to lift it and the scale of the food supplies it contains (130 tons of mango chutney?).
    – Only six shuttlecraft left, rather than a giant fleet of Starbugs? Interesting.
    – Using the Nova 5 for the second hologram feels very logical.
    – The scene with the person wedged half in and half out of a stasis booth has always really stuck with me as a horrific image, and maybe a bit much for Red Dwarf. I wonder which writer was responsible for that part…?

  • The scene with the person wedged half in and half out of a stasis booth has always really stuck with me as a horrific image, and maybe a bit much for Red Dwarf.

    It’s only in the past few years – the last two or three rereads – that I’ve really given it some thought, visually, and yeah, it’s very striking.

  • Nice curveball that I don’t think I’ve ever picked up on before.

    Lister and Rimmer ponder how Jim and Bexley can be born without a woman around.

    Cut to: Captain Yvette Richards…

  • Oh, I like that. Maybe one of those things that actually works better for anyone coming to the books without having seen the series.

  • TWENTY-FIVE TO THIRTY-FOUR

    Finished this final section this evening.

    Observations:
    -Only 96 skutters for a ship the size of Red Dwarf feels like a very low number. If the crew is 11,196 that’s a very low skutter-to-human ratio.
    -All the stuff with the mining is fun and almost feels like a lost TV episode. I guess it would be expensive to make and some parts would be impractical (stuff like Cat becoming such a superb pilot) but it all feels very true to the characters.
    -The extended double-Rimmer scenes with the Nova 5 welding are also fun. I like that the collapse of their relationship is such a slow-burn in the books compared to the TV show, and there’s a slightly nastier edge to it in the book thanks to being able to truly get inside their heads.
    -Also, the book makes much more explicit the idea that the old Rimmer is differerent to the new Rimmer due to having been changed by his relationship with Lister, which is definitely something that fed back into my understanding of the episode of the TV show.
    -Holly just seems to drop out of the book for most of this section, like they forgot he existed for most of it. It’s interesting that the arrival of Kryten precipitates that so quickly in the novels.
    -The Gazpacho soup anecdote is just perfect in the book, I think I prefer it to the TV version. The escort, the forgotten joke, it’s all great.
    -The dreamlike quality of that final chapter is wonderful – what a setup for the next section.

  • Rimmer’s obsession with aliens (Chapter 16, Series 1, 2) suddenly strikes me as a bit strange since he’s essentially an alien himself.

  • Lister lost his virginity to Michelle Fisher in the series, but Susan Warrington in the continuity presented in Infinity. I don’t have BTL to hand: but can anyone confirm whether it is still Susan in the chunk lifted from Marooned?

  • Chapter 23 – Rimmer’s “French dictation theory of life” is interesting and those tests must have had a profound effect on Rob and Doug as they discuss them again in the Bodysnatcher commentaries. It adds another facet to Rimmer’s tragic upbringing.

    Chapters 18 to 27 – The whole uranium mining/duality drive idea is interesting as it is so different in tone to much of the first couple of TV series of the show. Tonally it feels a little closer to Series V maybe in terms of getting off the ship.

    Chapter 28 – Having the Cat learning to drive the lunar transport vehicle is a nice touch as it shows a shift towards him becoming more a part of the crew.

    The above all feels a little awkward to me though sandwiched between the sections taken from Me2 and Kryten.

    Chapter 32 – I rather like the warped line, “Was that fair? That a man should spend more time with his head down a lavatory than buried in the buttocks of the woman he loved?”

    Not so sure about the stuff regarding how lucky Napoleon was not to be born Welsh or how lucky John Merrick was to be goggled at. It feels like rather mediocre stand-up to me.

    Chapter 34 – A nice little setting of the scene for the final part.

  • Lister lost his virginity to Michelle Fisher in the series, but Susan Warrington in the continuity presented in Infinity. I don’t have BTL to hand: but can anyone confirm whether it is still Susan in the chunk lifted from Marooned?

    I don’t think there is a chunk lifted from Marooned.

    Just had a flick through, there’s the rest of BTL, White Hole, Polymorph, the start of the Garbage World stuff (which tied in which White Hole) and the start of Backwards.

    Unless I’m missing anything, and I don’t remember it being there, then there isn’t any Marooned material in BTL.

  • Thanks Clem. TBF, I looked back and it’s not specifically referenced that Susan Warrington relieved him of his virginity – but does imply that Lister’s choice of “just a place to go” is rather “I enjoy having sex on golf courses”.

  • It’s in Chapter 6 of Part 2 and it’s Michelle Fisher I’m afraid.

    Well now I look a fool don’t I!

  • I started watching RD with Series 3 (though I did see Queeg before), so I read Infinity with no knowledge of the first 2 series or how the boys ended up alone in space. So I was pretty lucky really that I got to visualise it all with no prior “that’s not how it should be” ideas, and it was my definitive version of how the RD story starts. To me it was just an epic sci fi novel about ending up lost in deep space. I like how it’s not even that laugh-out-loud funny in a lot of places, more sort of meaningful in how flawed characters would be pushed by all these situations (future echoes, being the last human, having an annoying double) to examine themselves.

    I remember buying the Last Human new in hardback first week of release after reading the first 2. It actually feels bittersweet to remember now. I used to go to Leamington Spa shopping centre with my family, and there was a particular bookshop that had a big scifi/fantasy section. If I had any money from a birthday or anything, I’d be getting a Red Dwarf, Discworld or Star Wars related book from there, and there was a record shop nearby that I’d be looking for hard/classic rock albums like Queen’s greatest hits or Metallica. I even nearly bought the Biker Mice from Mars soundtrack CD. Sorry to go on such a tangent but the Dwarf novels just conjure up such a vivid time for me.

  • Last Human is the one I vividly remember buying too. I think because I was getting it on release day which I didn’t with the previous novels. Those shiny sunglasses on the cover are etched into my mind. I remember taking it to school every day to read it during breaks (what a cool kid).

  • What about Lister meeting Rimmer in the android brothel? I always thought that was a little un-settling. And why androids…are there not human sex workers anymore, or do people just prefer idealised androids, or is Rimmer too anxious to visit a human one? I found it hard to reconcile Rimmer being a virgin with him being confidently depraved enough to go to some brothel with sheep.

    I was a kid (12 ish I think) when I read them, and I didn’t really know about cyberpunk or Blade Runner, but now I really appreciate those dark details about the RD universe.

    I always think Lister as written seems like a more gentle character somehow? Like when he’s crying watching “it’s a wonderful life” and stuff. It feels like he was conceived as more of a nerd than what he became in the show. More of a Simon Pegg ish character I suppose. I’m not sure I’d have imagined him as a tough working class guy in a leather jacket. Maybe that’s how he is in the show too – like in series 1 he’s more of a generic likable nerd and from 3 onward he becomes more like Craig Charles.

    The part of the novels that has always haunted me (and I know this is from the second one) – is high-IQ Talkie Toaster saying that Lister created the universe. That seems to have never had a follow up in any RD format, other than the mention in the Back to Reality game – which I always thought was a reference to how it really could have happened.

  • I know it’s too late for the podcast now, but you can really tell the age of this book by the fact the manager at rhs upper market Lister works at has two GCSEs and that is supposed to be impressive.

    I know it was for a lot of working class people in the 80s, especially post O-Levels being a thing. But nowadays that joke would be a super market trainee manager with a PhD is Philosophy and 3 years in to a 4 year fast track grad scheme course in retail management.

  • Additionally to that chapter … in the TV show, as Lister prepares to go and bypass the NaviComp, he asks Rimmer what he was wearing in the future echo and Rimmer replies something along the lines of “those trousers and that t-shirt”. He doesn’t mention that hat, which he told Lister earlier he ha even wearing, so Lister took it off so the future event couldn’t happen.

    I’m the TV show, I’ve always read Lister as putting his had on at that moment as Lister forgetting what Rimmer had said earlier and Rimmer lying to him, to force him to put the hat back on, so he dies.

    Now the book reads as Lister deliberately putting his hat on because he knows that’s what he should be wearing, because now Rimmer tells him he was wearing his hat, and Lister is getting prepared to go and die as Rimmer saw it.

    That to be reads differently from book to TV show, but I wonder if I’d just not understood the TV show … or perhaps even the book the other 8 time I’d read it until now.

  • I think Lister’s tough because he’s had to be but generally wears his heart on his sleeve – “an enlightened 23rd century guy”, for the most part. And don’t forget he cries at slushy films in ‘Confidence and Paranoia’ and ‘The Inquisitor’. He does seem a bit scuzzier and more slovenly in Infinity so far, but then he is sleeping rough til he gets on Red Dwarf.

  • I always think Lister as written seems like a more gentle character somehow? Like when he’s crying watching “it’s a wonderful life” and stuff. It feels like he was conceived as more of a nerd than what he became in the show. More of a Simon Pegg ish character I suppose. I’m not sure I’d have imagined him as a tough working class guy in a leather jacket. Maybe that’s how he is in the show too – like in series 1 he’s more of a generic likable nerd and from 3 onward he becomes more like Craig Charles.

    I think Lister’s tough because he’s had to be but generally wears his heart on his sleeve – “an enlightened 23rd century guy”, for the most part. And don’t forget he cries at slushy films in ‘Confidence and Paranoia’ and ‘The Inquisitor’. He does seem a bit scuzzier and more slovenly in Infinity so far, even considering he’s sleeping rough til he gets on Red Dwarf.

  • I’m the TV show, I’ve always read Lister as putting his had on at that moment as Lister forgetting what Rimmer had said earlier and Rimmer lying to him, to force him to put the hat back on, so he dies.

    Now the book reads as Lister deliberately putting his hat on because he knows that’s what he should be wearing, because now Rimmer tells him he was wearing his hat, and Lister is getting prepared to go and die as Rimmer saw it.

    That to be reads differently from book to TV show, but I wonder if I’d just not understood the TV show

    I’ve always read the book and TV show the same way – that it’s Lister deliberately dressing as Rimmer told him he was dressed, going to face death. By that point he’s resigned to it being inevitable after his experience with the Cat’s tooth.

  • What Dave said. In the TV show, he says he wants to “get it over with” and deliberately puts on the supposed “costume” (including the hat).

    Quite why Bexley/Bexley’s son wears the same clothes, and why it’s not too much of a biggie that he will have a very untimely (and unpleasant) death is another question. I know they tried to “soften” it in Infinity, but maybe the best way to do that was to have Rimmer witness “Lister” being in a big explosion but it being ambiguous as to whether he died, beyond Rimmer’s claims that he “probably” did.

    Old Lister could then reveal that Bexley survived. It would then excuse Lister’s chirpiness.

  • I think Lister’s tough because he’s had to be but generally wears his heart on his sleeve – “an enlightened 23rd century guy”, for the most part. And don’t forget he cries at slushy films in ‘Confidence and Paranoia’ and ‘The Inquisitor’. He does seem a bit scuzzier and more slovenly in Infinity so far, even considering he’s sleeping rough til he gets on Red Dwarf.

    fair enough..I guess it’s more that the book versions seem almost weirdly realistic and less cartoony at times. I think it could be fair to say though that both Lister and Rimmer became more realised through the actors? Like Rimmer is a kind of generic fussy superior at first. Things like him liking Risk and Morris Dancing seem like things that fit Chris Barrie’s performance more than the original character. Like how Lister goes from being “generic likeable slobby guy” to being kind of more specifically like CC.

  • What Dave said. In the TV show, he says he wants to “get it over with” and deliberately puts on the supposed “costume” (including the hat).

    Quite why Bexley/Bexley’s son wears the same clothes, and why it’s not too much of a biggie that he will have a very untimely (and unpleasant) death is another question. I know they tried to “soften” it in Infinity, but maybe the best way to do that was to have Rimmer witness “Lister” being in a big explosion but it being ambiguous as to whether he died, beyond Rimmer’s claims that he “probably” did.
    Old Lister could then reveal that Bexley survived. It would then excuse Lister’s chirpiness.

    Lister usually tries to look on the bright side. At that same moment he finds out that he’s going to have a son, so he’s on something of a high from that – and being told that one day that son will die is a bit abstract at that stage, in the sense that everyone will die at some point.

  • It does seem like an inappropriate reaction but there’s always been a strange sort of blasé attitude to death in Red Dwarf. I mean we went on about Irene E but it wasn’t completely unprecedented. I guess holograms being a thing is part of it.

    I think it could be fair to say though that both Lister and Rimmer became more realised through the actors?

    Yeah I think Lister’s less sassy in the novel and that’s partly because you’re not getting Craig’s performance, so I get where you’re coming from when you describe him as “more gentle”.

  • I just twigged that Ouroboros and Future Echoes both run on the same logic: Lister’s sons are guaranteed to be genetically identical to him, for no explained reason.

  • I think Bexley is just meant to look very like him, which isn’t unusual for a father and son/grandfather and grandson.

  • I think Bexley is just meant to look very like him, which isn’t unusual for a father and son/grandfather and grandson.

    I know, but if Bexley only looks a lot like him in a regular hereditary sense, and isn’t totally identical, then it’s not believable that Rimmer would be so sure it was Lister he saw die. It’s not like he didn’t get a clear enough view of his face or anything.

    Of course, in the case of Bexley both his parents are the same person anyway, so that explains why he might look much more similar to his father than most sons do, even if it’s not 100%. That explanation doesn’t work if it’s Bexley’s son that dies though (unless Bexley gets impregnanted by his parallel self too).

    Kochanski contributed very little to Lister’s appearance didn’t she?

    She contributed 50% of his genes. It just so happens that Lister’s dad shared that exact same DNA, but it was the other 50% of Lister’s dad’s DNA that was passed down to Lister by him. Elementary genetics really.

  • KRYTEN: But sir, don’t they realise the only way any society can evolve is through mutations in the gene pool? When there is no richness or variety, congenital disorders and inherited lunacy are commonplace. Who can forget the famously insane European monarchies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

    LISTER: Hold my Lager.

  • I just twigged that Ouroboros and Future Echoes both run on the same logic: Lister’s sons are guaranteed to be genetically identical to him, for no explained reason.

    Marty McFly Jr., Rodney’s real dad in ‘Rock & Chips’, Norman Clegg’s dad in ‘First of the Summer Wine’, that Laurel and Hardy short where they play their own sons. Clearly both of those episodes are parodying the comedy trope of having actors portray the children/parents of the characters they usually play.

  • if Bexley only looks a lot like him in a regular hereditary sense, and isn’t totally identical, then it’s not believable that Rimmer would be so sure it was Lister he saw die. It’s not like he didn’t get a clear enough view of his face or anything.

    That exchange where Lister says “did you actually see me face?” and Rimmer says “you were wearing a hat but it was definitely you” always suggested to me that Rimmer didn’t get a clear view of his face.

  • in the Smegazine adaptation of Future Echoes where you actually see the scene of Rimmer witnessing Lister get violently blown apart (Rob Grant would be pleased) Rimmer only sees Lister from behind and never gets a look at his face, so you’re probably right there

  • Just watching Pete Part 2 (for the purposes of the DwarfCast), when the Canaries are on their way to accost Pete they are travelling by train, which I imagine is the ship’s metro system as described in the book.

  • Has anyone paused to wonder, How do the Cat Species know that their progenitor was named, “Frankenstein”?? This would suppose that Frankenstein herself was not only aware of the name Lister gave her but was able somehow to communicate it to her kittens and they to their kittens through thousands of generations until the cat species developed speech… Are we to conclude that in the Red Dwarf universe common house cats have speech and understanding – or perhaps Frankenstein had a collar with a name tag, that might have been saved by her decedents, though I don’t recall seeing any such thing in the video…

  • I’m no Desmond Morris as you know, but cats do indeed recognise their human-given names – when we had two, they’d each respond individually to their name being called and ignore when we called the other. They can also communicate with each other, so I’m imagining some bizarre and complicated scenario whereby Frankenstein somehow told her kittens her name in cat-language, and they continued to pass it on as their methods of communication evolved, until it reformed as “Frankenstein” in English. Like using Google Translate to turn something from English to something else and then back again, except accurate.

  • so I’m imagining some bizarre and complicated scenario whereby Frankenstein somehow told her kittens her name in cat-language, and they continued to pass it on as their methods of communication evolved, until it reformed as “Frankenstein” in English. Like using Google Translate to turn something from English to something else and then back again, except accurate.

    Or, at a pinch, Lister wrote it down.

  • I do realize that Dogs an’ Cats can know their own names… My sisters had a lot of Cats and at least some of them recognized their names – others I’m not so sure about – I think maybe they just hung around for the free meals…

    I suppose the question would be, had Lister owned Frankenstein long enough for her to have learned her name? And come to think of it, she’d also have had to know Lister’s name as well, or there’d never have been “Cloister the Stupid” in the Cat books… However the real crux of this massively unimportant question is, How could the cats communicate these names down though the generations until they developed language??

    Note: I think somewhere it was mentioned that the Felis sapiens were confined to the lower cargo decks and never found their way into the crew quarters – If so, Lister writing anything down for the cats doesn’t wash either..

  • “And Cloister gave to Frankenstein the sacred writing, saying, ‘Those who have wisdom will know its meaning.’ And it was written thus: ‘Seven socks, one shirt…'”

    Lister lined Frankenstein’s basket with his laundry list, the one the cats think is directions to the promised land. Maybe something else was in there with her name and other information on it, for some reason.

  • “And Cloister gave to Frankenstein the sacred writing, saying, ‘Those who have wisdom will know its meaning.’ And it was written thus: ‘Seven socks, one shirt…’”

    Lister lined Frankenstein’s basket with his laundry list, the one the cats think is directions to the promised land. Maybe something else was in there with her name and other information on it, for some reason.

    Well that’s a point, perhaps he was also laundering her cat blanket or the like… Something with Frankenstein’s name on it… Though he would need to be extra stupid to do so – depending on whether you accept the book version or the video version…

  • I just rewatched Ouroboros and it’s really interesting watching it with the novel so fresh in my mind, as the flashback to Lister returning from shore leave feels like it’s trying to incorporate the novel continuity in lots of small ways – Lister being open about the punishment for bringing a cat on board, not being very subtle about hiding it, the breakup with Kochanski, the Rimmer salute, and Kryten being responsible for the death of the Nova 5 crew.

    Also, Tim being a chef arguably retcons a bit of extra motivation for Lister specifically choosing to try and pass the chef’s exam in Balance of Power.

  • as a kid I just thought cats in the RD universe are psychic, and Frankenstein passed on the story psychically to her young but the story got distorted over the years. We know now that Touch-T people exist in RD so it’s even more text-supported now.

  • he cries at slushy films in ‘Confidence and Paranoia’ and ‘The Inquisitor’

    I’ve just realised I not only double-posted that comment but got the wrong Series V episode. It was late, I’d had a drink, I apologise. I did of course mean ‘Holoship’.

    Because I’m reading the Omnibus and so Part Three doesn’t take up the rest of the book, I hadn’t realised it’s quite so short. I’ve decided to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ before I start on Part Three, as it’s a good few years since I’ve seen it.

  • I still haven’t watched It’s A Wonderful Life, and I bought it a couple of Christmas’ back with the intention of filling that gap in my film knowledge.

  • You say in the book, the second Rimmer being generated by the Nova 5 gives them good reason to murder a Rimmer, because in the show he is only turned off because it’s an inconvenience to Lister.

    Yet it’s just occurred to me, Lister had the ability to switch the second Rimmer off all along. Of it had been me at the end of Confidence and Paranoia. As soon as a second Rimmer booted up I’d have switched it off and tried to figure out where I went wrong.

    For some reason Lister is happy for a second Rimmer to exist for a while, only to get annoyed enough by the two bickering that he wants to switch only one of them off and keep the original around.

  • Yet it’s just occurred to me, Lister had the ability to switch the second Rimmer off all along. Of it had been me at the end of Confidence and Paranoia. As soon as a second Rimmer booted up I’d have switched it off and tried to figure out where I went wrong.

    For some reason Lister is happy for a second Rimmer to exist for a while, only to get annoyed enough by the two bickering that he wants to switch only one of them off and keep the original around.

    It’s a sign of how good an episode Me² is that this contradiction isn’t really mentioned. It didn’t occur to me until 2 weeks ago when I came up with this award winning entry for the “Break a Red Dwarf Episode” forum thread, which I’m sure you and everyone who posted there remembers with immense fondness:

    ME²

    Both Rimmers refuse to be turned off, and there’s nothing to be done about it because Rimmer is the highest ranking crewmember on the ship. Lister isn’t surprised by this because it’s been his issue for most of the series.

    Then again, maybe both Rimmers sort of gave permission by agreeing with Lister that one of them had to be turned off, assuming it would be the other one. I can see Holly interpreting the rules that liberally just to end the torment. It also means Lister couldn’t have just turned off the 2nd Rimmer straight away.

  • There’s no one around to really punish Lister for breaking the rules, anyway, he could turn off OUR Rimmer at any point he wants. In Me^2, Lister probably just was excited for something slightly interesting to be happening, wanting to see how it all went, rather than immediately turning him off and going back to the boring old status quo.

  • In Me^2, Lister probably just was excited for something slightly interesting to be happening, wanting to see how it all went, rather than immediately turning him off and going back to the boring old status quo.

    I think this is it. All the stuff with him clearing out Rimmer’s possessions at the beginning, the death video etc, makes it clear that he’s quite amused by it all.

  • Do you think Me² would be a much more philosophically troubling episode if it were made today? What I mean by that is, back in series one, holograms were just holograms. Rimmer 2 was just a bit of light that talked. There was no real moral quandary involved with turning him off. Or, at least, these days, with 30 years of Lister having a relationship with Rimmer, and Rimmer being hard-light… he’d find it a lot more difficult to “kill” a Rimmer, wouldn’t he? I don’t think he’d do it so brazenly. It would probably be more of a Star Trek episode where you could argue that both have as much of a right to live as each other. I’m sure this is touched on a little in Me², but it would be more of a big deal, now, I would think.

  • There’s no one around to really punish Lister for breaking the rules, anyway, he could turn off OUR Rimmer at any point he wants.

    I figured that it wasn’t about a lack of punishment for Lister breaking the rules, but him being physically incapable of messing around with the ship’s hologram(s) in the first place because he doesn’t have, well, admin permissions. Or the computer hacking skills to override Holly, and Holly’s going to stick to the rules.

    In Me^2, Lister probably just was excited for something slightly interesting to be happening, wanting to see how it all went, rather than immediately turning him off and going back to the boring old status quo.

    He probably did feel a bit like that, but it wasn’t actually a choice between 2 Rimmers and 1 Rimmer, it was a choice between 2 Rimmers, 1 Rimmer, and actually finding and activating Holo-Kochanski.

  • Well it’s just a couple days’ fun -before- activating Holo-Kochanski, innit. She isn’t going anywhere. I’d probably stick along for the ride, as well.

    I was going to ask why he didn’t just activate Holo-Koshanksi -after- Me^2, but the actual reason for that is because the writers decided not to go with that ending, innit.

  • him being physically incapable of messing around with the ship’s hologram… and Holly’s going to stick to the rules

    Well, Series 2 quickly reveals neither of these things to be particularly true, with Thanks for the Memory and Queeg, but how long after Me^2 are those?

  • I suppose it still makes sense if we assume that Holly’s computer senility and generally hands off personality has allowed for loopholes and a lot of loosely enforced rules, but that doesn’t mean some of the most important restrictions like “you can’t deactivate a hologrammatic crewmember without proper authorisation” can’t still be strictly enforced, given the personhood of holograms. Like Holly’s a screwup but I still think he’s expected to get his basic life preserving functions more or less correct. Or he might have just woken up Lister too early and killed him.

  • Could Holly “stop” Lister, realistically speaking? How much power does he really have over Lister, and how much power does Lister, the last human being alive, have over Rimmer, who is dead? It’s a bit of a special case, to be honest, and if Holly’s MO really is “keeping Lister sane” above everything else, perhaps he would let Lister deactivate Rimmer, if he thought it would be better for Lister in the long run.

  • I guess Queeg exists, but Holly was just having a laugh there, he was always in control of the situation. I guess the question is less COULD Holly stop Lister, and more WOULD he. In Queeg, he only does so for a laugh.

  • Do you think Me² would be a much more philosophically troubling episode if it were made today? What I mean by that is, back in series one, holograms were just holograms. Rimmer 2 was just a bit of light that talked. There was no real moral quandary involved with turning him off. Or, at least, these days, with 30 years of Lister having a relationship with Rimmer, and Rimmer being hard-light… he’d find it a lot more difficult to “kill” a Rimmer, wouldn’t he? I don’t think he’d do it so brazenly.

    Yeah, I think the stuff in Promised Land touches on this. There, you have a situation where Lister essentially talks Rimmer out of suicide.

  • I guess the question is less COULD Holly stop Lister, and more WOULD he. In Queeg, he only does so for a laugh.

    Well, Balance of Power straight up tells us that Lister can’t just turn off Rimmer without either his permission or by outranking him. So unless Lister is just so stupid that he doesn’t think to double-check with Holly what he actually has the power to do, the fact that Holly WOULD stop Lister from switching off Rimmer is canon.

    Circumstances can change of course, so maybe in later series Lister does have the authority switch off Rimmer but chooses not to, or there’s some other reason why he can’t, like other hologram discs getting lost or corrupted. But obviously those circumstances don’t change between Confidence & Paranoia – where Lister’s inability to switch off Rimmer without his explicit permission is a key part of the plot – and Me² – where Lister switches off (a) Rimmer without his explicit permission. Because the plot of the first episode directly flows into the next.

    Hence why we’re theorising in what way the double Rimmer situation might be a loophole – either because the Rimmers gave Lister implicit permission at the end, or he always had permission to switch off one of the Rimmers (maybe the ship computer would consider 2 holograms of the same person a glitch that anyone would be allowed to rectify) and just thought it’d be interesting to see the scenario play out. But we can be fairly sure that Me² isn’t trying to tell us that Lister now can switch off Rimmer Prime at any time he wants.

    It’s a bit of a special case, to be honest, and if Holly’s MO really is “keeping Lister sane” above everything else, perhaps he would let Lister deactivate Rimmer, if he thought it would be better for Lister in the long run.

    My interpretation is that if Holly does value Lister’s sanity over the personhood of whichever hologram is currently activated, he would still choose to stop Lister from deactivating Rimmer if he could (i.e. if Lister didn’t achieve a higher rank to override the decision), because he knows that a Kochanski hologram (who, as of series 1 continuity, barely even knows Lister) would not make him more content, and would probably not be happy herself either. Holly’s working under the assumption that Lister and Rimmer butting heads is keeping them going, and he might be horribly wrong about this, but you can see the sitcom logic at work.

  • I don’t think later-day Lister would believe it was morally right to rob Rimmer of his existence. By Series III, he’s agreeable to a bodyswap with him.

    With Me2, he seems disinterested in the whole thing and doesn’t gain anything from the act of turning off Rimmer #2 aside from re-establishing the status quo of Lister V Rimmer (keeping Lister sane), rather than Rimmer V Rimmer (driving Lister mad).

    Lister’s attitude is that the Rimmers are the same person (which isn’t exactly true) and since they can’t put up with each other, one of them needs to go. I guess that could be rationalised as being OK as a Rimmer survives. They got into that situation because Rimmer played a powerplay on Lister by switching the discs (as he does with the cigarettes earlier), so Lister simply plays one back. The fact that he learns what Gazpacho Soup is, is not the game of someone who wants to turn off the remaining Rimmer anytime soon; it’s someone who needs leverage as he believes he’s stuck with him for years to come and can use the story as ammunition.

    I’m going to enjoy Better Than Life Book Club when the Nova 5, the reason for switching off Rimmer #2 and the duality drive are all completely forgotten.

  • The fact that he learns what Gazpacho Soup is, is not the game of someone who wants to turn off the remaining Rimmer anytime soon; it’s someone who needs leverage as he believes he’s stuck with him for years to come and can use the story as ammunition.

    I never saw it as quite as calculated as that. I think he just wanted to know what Gazpacho Soup meant for his own satisfaction.

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