DwarfCast 138 - Book Club #13: Backwards (Part Two) featured image
Subscribe to DwarfCasts:  RSS  •  iTunes

Yes, I’m sorry, I know we asked you to smoke us some kippers and I realise that we gave you a very specific idea about the sort of time you’d expect us back, but sometimes these things take a little longer than expected, ok? The kippers will be fine, we’ll have them cold in some kedgeree or something. Please, stop crying.

Yes, that’s right, your three favourite ace holes have returned with the next instalment of the DwarfCast Book Club, which this time is all about part 2 of Backwards, Smoke me a Kipper, I’ll be Back for Breakfast. Why is Louis Pemberton a perfect human being? How did Lewis Pemberton save Red Dwarf? Is Ace really all that great when compared to Lewis Pemberton? Lewis Pemberton? Ian, Danny and Cappsy discuss all that, and more!

DwarfCast 138 – Book Club #13: Backwards (Part Two) (175MB)

Next time time on the Book Club we will of course be moving onto part 3, Back to Backworld as well as the Midlogue, The Difference 1, so get reading and commenting below and we’ll be back soon with our next instalment. Before then, though, we’ll be releasing our commentary for The Promised Land, along with a bonus chat about our wider plans for DwarfCasts in a post-commentary and post-Book Club world.

Show notes

51 comments on “DwarfCast 138 – Book Club #13: Backwards (Part Two)

Scroll to bottom

  • ONE

    Odd decision to begin Part 3 with this chapter instead of concluding Part 1 with it, given that it’s followed by a jump ten years forwards.

    Kryten’s speech about war being a good thing because it brings people to life seems at odds with his guilt over having (un)killed the hillbilly.

    “Kryten brightened” is cute.

    TWO

    I hope every one applauded obsequiously for at least ten minutes when they reached this chapter. Seriously Holly was a nice surprise here as I hadn’t remembered him being in the book at all but this chapter confuses me. When exactly is all of this meant to be happening? It’s mostly while the crew are on backwards Earth isn’t it, but then Holly travels to the backwards universe on his own to increase his runtime, leaving Rimmer and the Cat stranded in Starbug?? Wha’?

    Holly worrying about onion skins is reminiscent of Dave Hollins’ collection of onions, which became Holly’s singing potatoes in Queeg. http://ganymede-titan.info/sonofcliche/b2hollins.php

    THREE and FOUR

    Ah, the Cat’s spiky cock. Horrible. The thought of part-cat people descended from Lindy Lou being a part of the backwards Earth’s past/future is such a weird one. I quite like that idea but none of this has any bearing on the rest of the book iirc.

    Despite my misgivings about Lister and the Cat’s de-aging, all the stuff about the teenage boys here is well observed and funny. Lister being argumentative and overly opinionated brings to mind young Lister in Timeslides. Kryten’s illogical fretting about the boys playing in the forest at night is good too – absolutely Kryten as Lister’s mum.

    FIVE

    Oh it’s the last chapter. I hadn’t realised this part was so short.
    ———————————————————————
    Rob obviously wanted to do the big cliffhanger at the end of Part 1 and break up the backwards stuff, and it’s probably best that this wrapping up of the backwards Earth bit of the book comes after Part 2. Despite being so short however, it does feel padded out, perhaps to justify its being its own separate thing. Whatever. I enjoyed it, including the dynamic between the crew with teenage Cat and Lister, but I’m interested to see how that holds out for the rest of the novel.

    Kryten is referred to as “the mechanoid” several times in Part 3, something Doug did in Last Human too, and yet I don’t remember it from the first two novels.

    MIDLOGUE

    I love these bits. Nice callback to Bull Heinman and “wets, weirdos and fatties” from BTL. Rimmer’s mother really is a bastard here.

  • ONE
    I’d completely forgotten about this sole chapter set before the timejump. It seems odd that it’s not the end of Part 1, bearing In mind that it ends on a similar cliff-hanger and wraps up a lot of the mysteries from the first ten chapters of the book.

    TWO

    Here’s where Part 2 *should* start, especially as it’s set after the timejump. It would even uphold the tradition of starting a Part with a comparatively minor character. (Sorry, Holly)

    It’s strange how simply humorously recapping a previous novel is instrisincally satisfying. Maybe because this one chapter links to the events of BTL more than Last Human managed in an entire novel.

    The mention about Rimmer and Cat (but not Kryten) “stranded in Starbug” is weird because of the absence of Kryten. This whole bit is presumably setup for a “somehow”, but the absence of Kryten poses questions that would otherwise have been handwaved away. This is Last Human levels of sketchiness.

    I can’t think of a reason why Stasis wouldn’t work in a backwards reality. Surely the whole point of it is that it’s free from the flow of time, irrespective of the direction of that flow?

    The way this chapter ends is very much like the end of Part 2, Chapter 1 with a teasing mention of the consequences of someone’s actions. It’s a nice trope, but it can get a little wearing.

  • Enjoyed the ‘Cast. Ian not letting Cappsy get away with saying Stilianidudideydidezzzzz’s name sensibly ????

    Admirable attempts at explaining “Father Cat” and Mellie looking like Holly here: http://reddwarf.co.uk/features/fiction/bongo-tranter/index.cfm

    It is definitely Mimas in Dimension Jump, not Europa. There’s a caption.

    Speaking of rude jokes on The Big Breakfast, I remember one morning they had an England football team cake, and when Johnny Vaughn asked Liza Tarbuck if she’d like a slice of Beckham, she replied “No, just give me a mouthful of Seaman.”

  • A Polish friend of mine used to bring proper vodka over and it was really nice. So an alcohol free version of that makes sense. Obviously the Smirnoff end of it is a different matter.

    The idea of hundreds of dead Aces arriving reminded me of a Doctor Who novel The Time Travellers in which a time travel experiment gone wrong results in the same people coming through a portal time after time after time from various different timelines, and them being increasingly ill or mutilated. Wonderful idea.

    Wank spanners was fantastic, I really needed that today.

  • Johnny Vaughn asked Liza Tarbuck if she’d like a slice of Beckham, she replied “No, just give me a mouthful of Seaman.”

    God bless Liza Tarbuck

  • GENERAL POINTS

    – I like how this part is largely from Cat’s perspective, now things have slowed down and they’ve rehabilitated him from merely being the (successful) comic relief.
    – Rimmer getting relegated to Cat’s role of background character with occasional quips is a consequence of him not having much to do in this scenario. It’s fine for a change, but a bit unbalanced considering there’s not a lot to compare Ace and the prologue/midlogues too. Then again, we know Rimmer by now and it’s an ensemble.
    – Yes, this is enough Backwards stuff now, but I still like it taking the time to clarify some of the mundane day-to-day mechanics through Cat having to learn them and getting a sense of how it works on urges and instinct.

    ONE

    – Do cats famously shit 3x a day? Mine does it once on a normal day, or twice if I’m less stingy with the wet food. I’m aware that Cat isn’t an actual cat, but what’s that about?
    – I don’t immediately see what would be horrible about the sensation of oral sex once you got over the end(beginning), but I don’t really want to. I’ll trust that Rob’s thought long and hard about it.
    – I don’t think we would have had Data’s amusingly overlong descriptions in the early seasons of Star Trek: TNG without Kryten describing the rabbit here.

    TWO

    – The first chronological round of applause for the return of Holly! And filling us in if we missed a book or it’s been a while.
    – I feel like Rob’s admitting that he messed up with Holly’s genius/lifespan issue a bit (just have him hang around while they do), but Holly being more convinced about sacrificing his intelligence the stupider he gets is BRILLIANT.
    – Confirmation that Cat went into stasis between books. Along with Rimmer, which might seem wasteful, but is more polite than switching him off if power’s not an issue (see: Future Echoes).
    – This chapter serving as a time-passing ‘meanwhile…’ makes the whole Ace Rimmer part feel like a weird detour by this point.
    – The cliffhanger teases are getting a bit excessive too. This had better be good, let’s all go home now.

    THREE

    – Cat being a teenager is what lets this chapter get away with it.
    – I built it up so much worse in my mind as Cat hungrily approached the crying woman, I was quite relieved when it was consensual. It was an accident. We can worry about Rob, but Cat’s alright.

    FOUR & FIVE

    – This all feels positive and victorious as the plan comes together. Kryten’s nagging worry about the missile is disingenuous jeopardy, it is pretty bloody clear by now that everything will be fine.
    – Assuming the Star Wars program reference is just a nice detail Rob thought of and not the entire reason he chose this time + setting, otherwise he probably would’ve had them hang around for 50 years and have Starbug be the Roswell UFO for good measure.
    – Teenage Lister is quite funny, but will presumably be fixed for the second half of the novel. The mention that he’s lived out two lifetimes already is nice attention to continuity, so we can trust that Rob knows what he’s doing. Right?

  • THREE

    SO, is the only reason for this unnecessary time-jump; this deeply unpleasant sex scene?

    I do find it bizarre that Lindy Lou is described as “most beautiful woman who ever dreamed of being alive” as well as “some kind of cousin to Ezekiel and Zacharias”. I wonder if she has webbed toes?

    ANYWAY, are we meant to take this to the logical conclusion, that Cat just “unreproduced”, and Lindy Lou recently unbirthed a kindle of kittens? I hope they get on with the pig.

  • FOUR

    Ok, so maybe there’s a couple of funny bits about Lister and Cat, but it’s all a bit generic and reducing previously rich characters into stereotypical teenagers.

    ‘He’ll turn up. I mean, what’s the big deal? Why is it always me who’s supposed to know where he is? You’re always getting at me. I’m not responsible for the Cat. Just leave me alone, OK?’

    Lines like this are relatively funny…but they’re not particularly practical for the development of a main character half-way through a novel. So is Lister going to be sullen, be uninterested in their predicament and not talk to the others for the rest of this book? (The answer, of course, is no…as it’s quite easy to forget later on in the novel that he’s been youthed)

  • FIVE

    Teenage Lister mocking Rimmer when they have a rather pressing flight-plan to keep. I’m firmly on Arnie’s side here, and the fact that he actually puts the “boys” in their place, is a rare time when we’re able to celebrate a Rimmer accomplishment.

    Lister seems to have matured quite a bit by the end of this chapter, anyway. The comment about “feeling like an actor in someone else’s script” is interesting, as it seems to be arguing that Lister has lacked free will. The choices Lister made in Backworld were all his; he just didn’t understand them until he made them. The flipside of this would be a person living with choices they made as a younger person, and having to live with them even if they now regret those choices. A parallel of this would be…er…Lister, choosing to hitch a ride to Earth on Red Dwarf and then ending up the last human alive in deep space.

    “Finally, he gave up trying, and simply nodded to Rimmer, who gave the command ‘Engage.'”

    I was living and working in the United Kingdon when Backwards was first released. I came in the middle of this novel, clearly a science-fiction novel, and at once, to my horror and outrage, what I thought I read, was a rip-off of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was already reaching for the telephone to call my lawyer, when something happened that made me laugh…

  • Wanking spanners!

    I just listened to the dwarfcast this afternoon and almost had a laughing fit at this bit.

  • ONE
    Starting with a vivid description of a pile of shit. Thanks, Rob.

    This is an example of how the cliffhanger idea doesn’t always work to the book’s advantage. The end of part one was great, but having this chapter here feels really weird.

    “That’s what I just said, sir” feels more like a Data joke than a Kryten one at this point.

    TWO
    Largely because of Last Human, but also partially because we haven’t had more than a few words out of him since the first start of Better Than Life, but the reappearance of Holly feels really strange. So much so that Rob felt the need to remind us who he is and what happened to him in the last book.

    This really is the start of Rob being relentlessly unpleasant to every character at every given opportunity.

    THREE
    Oh fucking hell this chapter.

    “He would have eaten his mother alive, just to lick this woman’s armpits for ten seconds” was a line which stuck with me as a kid. Describing a 16 year old as a woman is a bit… odd.

    Anyway, yes, basically a teenage girl fucks a cat and causes severe injury to her vagina in the process. Thanks, Rob.

    FOUR
    I wish the list of things I currently don’t want to think about was only two. Lovely Kryten stuff here, anyway.

    ‘The boys’. Yes, the decision to make Lister and Cat teenagers. It allows for some more viscerally unpleasant humour – crispy sheets, masturbation – but I’m not sure I really see how it benefits the plot. It feels a bit like a step too far, and it’s my only real complaint about the book, as far as I remember. Effectively, for the rest of the book, these aren’t quite the versions of the two characters that we know, and it doesn’t quite work for me. There are some mildly amusing sulky teenager jokes, but they don’t go much deeper than Kevin the Teenager really.

    I really like the Old King Cole joke, it’s a wonderfully improbable line that could come from a V script (were there one that involved excessive masturbation).

    I imagine it took Rimmer most of the ten year gap to get to grips with backwards logic in the way he finally is here.

    FIVE
    It’s weird, I remember there being more of them just living on backwards Earth before taking off. But no, a very brief section that is very fast paced and action-oriented after the slightly more cerebral Ace section.

    MIDLOGUE
    That’s not a word, is it?

    Add poisonous snakes and crossbows to the precious tomahawk in terms of the Rimmer brothers’ weaponry.

    Hard to assess this section without its epilogue counterpart, but needless to say this version of Rimmer is easy to feel very sorry for. He’s not yet decided to take his failure out on everybody else, he’s just a kid who can’t meet expectations.

  • I couldn’t help but smirk on p154 when Lister arrived and “Rimmer stiffened visibly”.

  • ONE

    Reverse-pissing is a more unpleasant prospect than reverse-shitting? Cat, you so crazy.

    The blowjob discussion is a bit weird, in that I always find it a bit ill-fitting when Red Dwarf gets into really sexually explicit areas, as it doesn’t really jibe with the tone of the TV show for me. Maybe all this sex-talk is to just pave the way for what’s to come later. It’s Chekhov’s blowjob.

    The whole Lister-Kryten exchange about the rabbit meal that finishes “Wonderful, I love a meal with a happy ending” feels *so* like something from the TV show that I struggle to believe that it isn’t. 

    Cat asking to be shot in the head fits even better here than in Justice.

    The Second World War/Hitler retreating bit *is* in the novel after all – I’d forgotten that when we discussed the Berlin wall section earlier.

    But as funny as it is, all this stuff is starting to feel a little repetitive now. We get it, time runs backwards here. Wringing humour out of describing things in reverse is starting to suffer from the law of snruter gnihsinimid.

    Rob still has a fantastic way of writing these characters in novel form though. Rimmer desperately trying to pin all the blame on Kryten and then thinking he’s won the argument but also feeling like he’s lost it is a great little moment. 

    Also, I don’t agree that this chapter belongs at the end of the first section. The first section ends on a great reveal and moment of drama. Tagging this on the end of section one would really undercut it, and here I think it provides a useful recap of where we left the crew before we launched into that big chunk of Ace’s dimension.

    TWO

    Holly! It feels like a real treat to spend time in Holly’s head again. (Not to spend time in Holyhead, that’s something completely different.)

    All the stuff referring back to Talkie and the IQ-boost runtime-compression plot again cements the feeling that this is the true third Red Dwarf novel.

    The undoing of that plot is fairly elegant, logical, and most of all, funny. This chapter shows the potential for what every single lazy “somehow” could be instead. (If it had got kept down a year etc. etc.)

    Nice tease at the end for later, too. Rob does love his mini-cliffhangers.

    THREE

    If you remember nothing else about this novel, you remember this chapter.

    Reading the description of the sixteen-year-old focus of Cat’s lust makes me feel a bit like an unwilling sex offender.

    (I wonder what “trigonometrically impossible breasts” look like. I’m thinking a Picasso portrait come to life.)

    Anyway, this whole chapter doesn’t really seem necessary to me, and exists only to facilitate the payoff, which exists only to tell you something about the Cat that you never wanted to hear. I guess it’s meant to be funny, if you find the idea of a vagina-shredding cock funny.

    FOUR

    I am disproportionately satisfied by Rob correctly conjugating the word data as a plural at the end of the second paragraph here.

    I remember that I found the description of Lister and Cat’s behaviour as teenagers quite poignant and it made me quite melancholy with recognition when I first read this book as a teenager myself. And now, as the father of two kids approaching their teens soon, it makes me quite melancholy with recognition all over again.

    “Propitious” is a nice word, isn’t it. It makes me wonder if the effect of backwards-time on Kryten has been to turn him back into a more David-Ross-style Kryten, using more pompous and old-fashioned language, clucking with satisfaction or nerves, and filling his time with playing mother to his crew.

    If Kryten is the mother of the teenagers then Rimmer has become their father. And it works curiously well. You can just hear Chris delivering that sarcastic “Marvellous”.

    Cat celebrating losing his virginity is kind of funny given that on Backwards-Earth logic he’s actually celebrating becoming a virgin. (Edit: as Rimmer indeed points out next chapter.)

    And Rimmer’s worry about Cat’s mutant offspring is presumably unfounded, given that Lister has lived many decades into this world’s future and heard nothing of it.

    FIVE

    This is all quite exciting. I like a good Starbug action sequence. And this section ends on another very nice Rob-Grant-section-ending-cliffhanger (patent applied for).

    MIDLOGUE: THE DIFFERENCE – 1

    Nice to be in young Rimmer’s head again, but this section doesn’t feel like it gives us nearly as much meat as the opening of the novel – and it only really works in context once you read the concluding parallel section of the book.

  • Rimmer’s worry about Cat’s mutant offspring is presumably unfounded, given that Lister has lived many decades into this world’s future and heard nothing of it.

    I didn’t take that seriously, as I don’t see how they’d be biologically compatible, but this family seems to do a good job of keeping themselves to themselves. At least when they’re not being tormented by thugs who violently sexually assault their teenage cousin, murder them, then nick their car.

  • I didn’t take that seriously, as I don’t see how they’d be biologically compatible

    If Cat can have baby Polymorphs then all bets are off.

  • Presumably polymorph embryos adapt to their hosts reproductive abilities.

    In terms of Cat, they’re presumably an Alien like parasite rather than him being pregnant per se.

  • MIDLOGUE

    I said this before, but I really like all of these logues and they’d make a fine framing device for a novel about Ace and Arnold. This is not really that novel, though. (Admittedly, at this point it still seems to be)

    OVERALL THOUGHTS

    I find this Part pretty redundant. It’s very short and, aside from the Holly bit, doesn’t really add anything for the story. I appreciate we need a bit of a time jump for the stuff with the agonoids, but a decade seems superfluous. In fact, the stuff with the teenagers is just a big “no” from me. If I was abridging the novel for the audiobook, this whole chunk would be the first to go.

    I love how this novel is written. I just hate pretty much every single plot development.

  • If I was abridging the novel for the audiobook, this whole chunk would be the first to go.

    You can pretty much sum it up without missing much by saying “so they had to wait for ages before taking off.”

    “Oh, and Cat’s got a weird dick.”

  • Something that occured to me during this readthrough that didn’t occur to me while reading part 1 – why does Rimmer continue to function forwards when they come to backwards world?

    While we think of him as a character, as a hologram he’s really just the result of a mechanical process – so shouldn’t the computer processes and software running him and the hardware projecting him all go into reverse as soon as they enter the backwards universe? Similar to the battery-charging-up issue in the first section.

    So he shouldn’t really have the free will to choose to run forwards, he should just automatically be running his program backwards at all times, with his light bee constantly sucking his image back into itself. He’d be unlearning stuff as he goes, instantly forgetting stuff as it happens. And crucially – usefully – he’d have a memory of stuff that hasn’t happened to them yet.

    Obviously it’s a lot easier to treat him like any other character who can think in both directions and choose to defy the laws of time, but it’s an interesting thought.

    Shut up, it is.

  • You could argue the same for Kryten too.

    I’d say for Rimmer, because it is a computer program, and one that is designed to behave in a way Rimmer would, it knows to reverse the output and essentially make it so Rimmer is running in reverse to appear to be running forwards.

    That doesn’t really explain how the computer side of it works, who it isn’t unlearning stuff etc.

    I guess what this does is prove beyond any measure that holograms are more than just computer simulations anyway. They’re based off of the personality of the hologram, but maybe there is more to it than that going on anyway.

    Rimmer arguably does have free will (whatever the logic of that is re the physics of “he’s a computer simulation – Rob and Doug write him and present him as an independent character), we see too many instances of him executing it, and he grows as a character not just over the course of the show, but very specifically in series 1 too.

    Maybe the light bee is less computer simulation than we think and is actually somehow powered by brainwave patterns that are able to, in this instance, counteract the backwards physics.

    That would then apply to Kryten who apparently has a part organic brain. That could explain why he is so easily able to overwrite programming and break code etc, but the organic matter gives him an element of free will that a simple I/O computer program couldn’t really be said to have.

  • Hmmm, I like that part-organic explanation for Kryten (I hadn’t thought it through that far, but you’re right, the argument is the same for him too.)

    I mean, given that the whole of the laws of physics are in reverse I guess you could argue the same for the human characters too, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t just snap into backwards mode, whether mechanical or organic.

    I guess the basic rule ends up being “stuff from the forwards universe carries on behaving like it’s the forwards universe unless acted on by an outside force”. So that also explains stuff like Starbug’s functions operating normally in the first section (doors opening after buttons are pressed etc.) but also how it can be un-ripped-apart by a missile.

  • I guess the basic rule ends up being “stuff from the forwards universe carries on behaving like it’s the forwards universe unless acted on by an outside force”.

    Rimmer’s battery was working in reverse, so it’s not a rule.

    Smart Holly foolishly kept himself turned off rather than benefit from the rejuvenation of the Backwards universe that was right there on a plate, so maybe it would have badly affected him somehow…

    I just checked the bit Pete highlighted about stasis not working, that’s only Dumb Holly speculating / Rob trying to work out what they were thinking when they wrote the end of BTL.

  • This is the whole problem we had with the first part about how do you add matter to a universe that is undoing itself. It is comprehensible to take something from a backwards world and put it in a forwards reality as it will ultimately decay and die.

    But to take it from a forwards reality and put it in a backwards reality it needs an origin that doesn’t exist, unless the universe changes around itself to accolade the new comers.

    Same sort of thing is happening with forward/backwards consciousness/computer routines etc. You kind of just have to accept it is possible, they’re not affected by the backwards time as they’re not from there. They continue to process things in a “forwards” way.

    Otherwise for Rimmer (and Kryten), they’d ostensibly enter the backward universe with all the knowledge of the next 10 years. Nothing should be a surprise to them in the way it is for Lister and Cat.

    Also, there really shouldn’t anything stopping Starbug taking off using the standard take off procedures. Just because time is running backwards doesn’t mean physics necessarily *have* to. They are affected by backwards physics, but they ought to still be able to have a cause>effect on their environment. In the show we see Kryten eat and egg and drink a glass of water for example.

  • Also, there really shouldn’t anything stopping Starbug taking off using the standard take off procedures. Just because time is running backwards doesn’t mean physics necessarily *have* to. They are affected by backwards physics, but they ought to still be able to have a cause>effect on their environment. In the show we see Kryten eat and egg and drink a glass of water for example.

    Yeah, I guess it all comes down the argument Rimmer and Lister have in this section. Rimmer insists that it should have been possible to get away earlier and wants to blame someone for failing to do so. But Lister knows that it was never going to happen because it just didn’t happen that way, and Backwards-logic comes with a huge dollop of predestination that you just have to accept.

  • and Backwards-logic comes with a huge dollop of predestination that you just have to accept.

    Yeah that pesky predestination smeg!

  • Thought I’d make a start on our new chunk of homework with just a few chapters before bed last night.
    Back to Backworld, and first of all, refresh oneself with ‘our lot’ after a whole section away with strangers and alternates.
    Second of all, look up ‘sibilants’. (Yes, there are things even I don’t know. I did even try to read it backwards at first, see if it made any sense.)

    Rimmer slouched to the scanner table and flopped into a chair. ‘Smeg me. I’m bushed.’

    Have we ever heard the word ‘smeg’ used like that before? Because it sounds fucking ridiculous.

    Chapter Two – Look! It’s Holly. Partly reminding us that he still exists, partly sort of telling us what happened at the end of Better Than Life, and also bridging the gap between the crew preparing themselves for the decade-or-so ahead/behind in Chapter One, and then said decade-or-so passed in Chapter Three.
    Aah, Chapter Three. More uncomfortable Red Dwarf sex.
    And while it is a good punchline, reading it as I reach early-middle age is way more uncomfortable than when I read it as a teenager when the book came out.

    Ho-hum.

  • I’ve always wondered why Ace Rimmer appears at this point in space. Our Rimmer is long dead so is Ace bought to this point in space in this dimension by Rimmers rotting pile of dust that they seemingly must have kept aboard red dwarf. I assume that a computerised version of Rimmer doesn’t count as a version of Rimmer. There must be versions of Rimmer stored on most space Corps systems. So would be pretty lucky to appear here.
    Ooooooor am I overthinking it.

  • Also and please just tell me if I’m being a sausage brain here, but why has ace arrived in the future.he’s arrived three million years later and in another dimension. Rather than the same time period he left in but in our Rimmers dimension. Presumably it would be shortly after the accident and Red Dwarf on its way out the solar system.

  • He arrives at the same point in his time line. So presumably its age that matters. Ignore the fact Rimmer was born 3million years ago and is now dead, if you count all the years Rimmer was alive and then the years he has spent as a hologram, he’d be say, 33 at this point? Assume Ace is also 33 or whatever so he just arrives then.

    Granted it makes no fucking sense but here we are.

  • So definitely locking on to Rimmers rotting dust pile that the crew so nicely kept. ????

    He arrives at the same point in his time line. So presumably its age that matters. Ignore the fact Rimmer was born 3million years ago and is now dead, if you count all the years Rimmer was alive and then the years he has spent as a hologram, he’d be say, 33 at this point? Assume Ace is also 33 or whatever so he just arrives then.

    Granted it makes no fucking sense but here we are.

  • why has ace arrived in the future.he’s arrived three million years later and in another dimension

    There was a line I can’t remember about adjusting the system so it would take him to a more divergent reality, so he ends up far away in time and space as a result.

    I assume that a computerised version of Rimmer doesn’t count as a version of Rimmer.

    This just confirms that God, Fate, Time, or Whatever is less cynical than we are in accepting the validity of holograms. The pile of albino mouse droppings isn’t Rimmer.

  • …Oh hang on, Ace arrives when Rimmer’s absent from that universe, doesn’t he? So maybe Rimmer is the ashes after all. Bummer.

  • On that point, shouldn’t Ace turn up in the Backwards universe?

    Or does that Backwards universe still count as our Rimmer’s reality, and if Ace were to go to his reality and traverse a blackhole he’d up in a different Backwards universe

    Basically what I’m asking is, is Wildfire and the blackhole doing the same sort of thing, along people to move between different universe/realities or are there universes nested within realities?

    Universes and realities need defining somewhat don’t they, as they’re used interchangeable but in this instance I feel they’re different.

  • We discussed that briefly in part one. I see it* as the set of seven universes splitting off sideways into infinite branching dimensions, so Rimmer being in universe three of this dimensional plane would still count.

    Unless the seven universes contain seven Rimmers.

    * I don’t actually ‘see’ that, it would drive me insane. I think it already is.

  • In BTL, the backwards universe they take Lister’s body to as per Holly’s instructions is called Universe 3, and is one of only seven universes (iirc Holly also says that our universe is actually the odd one out, i.e. the other six are all backwards). Last Human does actually fudgily address this with an explanation about rejected timelines being stored in the Omni-zone, along with the gateways to the seven Universes.

  • We discussed that briefly in part one. I see it* as the set of seven universes splitting off sideways into infinite branching dimensions, so Rimmer being in universe three of this dimensional plane would still count.

    Unless the seven universes contain seven Rimmers.
    * I don’t actually ‘see’ that, it would drive me insane. I think it already is.

    Oh yeah it’s one of 7, I forgot that! So it’s 7 universes nested in a single reality.

  • Setting a limit on the number of universes was unnecessary and short-sighted, considering how much they like to play with realities.

    Seeing further universes where time’s always running forwards also negates the smart-arse point in BTL about ‘our’ universe being the dud one that’s the wrong way around (implicitly because Lister created it, in an abandoned plot development).

  • I see parallel dimensions and universes as different things. There are infinite parallel dimensions within our one forwards universe, and so infinite parallel Rimmers.

  • Unless the seven universes contain seven Rimmers.

    Every Rimmer has seven Listers
    Every Lister has seven Frankensteins
    Every Frankenstein has seven kittens

    Kittens, Franks, Listers, Rimmers:
    How many were mistaken for Yul Brynner?

  • MATHS IN THE RED PART ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FOUR:

    Unless the seven universes contain seven Rimmers.

    Every Rimmer has seven Listers
    Every Lister has seven Frankensteins
    Every Frankenstein has seven kittens
    Kittens, Franks, Listers, Rimmers:
    How many were mistaken for Yul Brynner?

  • We’ve had some scheduling snafus recently with holidays and work trips and what not, so as a result we’ll most likely be recording the next part of this on the weekend of the 24th and 25th, so if anyone wants the opportunity to catch up, this is it!

    After that things should hopefully be in a more predictable and (relatively) swift pattern.

  • One

    By now the explanations of the backwards universe are becoming ever more tedious, but Kryten still makes me chuckle with his: “Wonderful. I like a meal with a happy ending.”

    One thing that I really miss about the book, up to this point, is the crew not spending any time in their own universe. It means that we don’t really have them simply talking nonsense about everyday life which can be one of Dwarf’s strengths.

    Two

    I don’t have an issue with using Holly to explain an element of the plot, but it feels like a wasted opportunity to me. If the plot of the book had gone in a different direction, we might have had Norman’s Holly (in the reader’s mind) interacting with the crew which could have been a good source of comedy without the need to actually deal with Norman.

  • Three

    With much of this book I can’t help trying to work out the backwards logic in my head. I try not to with this chapter as it is grim enough to begin with.

    Four

    Rob’s obsession with bodily functions continues, but there haven’t been many laughs to be had in this section up to now.

    The final line about a heat-seeking missile is a good way of whetting the appetite for what’s to come, however.

  • Five

    I think this chapter is the strongest of this section as it has a reasonable amount of drama, and there is some interest in resolving exactly how they might escape.

    Lister and the Cat have become fairly dull 2-dimensional teenagers which means that it is Rimmer’s and Kryten’s contributions that are the most interesting.

    It also then feels a little awkward for Rob to try to add some heart at the end of the chapter when Lister to still a stereotypical and annoying youth.

    Midlogue

    A section that is not good and not particularly bad. It doesn’t really add a huge amount to Rimmer’s character, although it shows a little bit more of his mother, and it is all rather generic.

  • One thing that I really miss about the book, up to this point, is the crew not spending any time in their own universe. It means that we don’t really have them simply talking nonsense about everyday life which can be one of Dwarf’s strengths.

    Honestly this is also the main reason why I do not rate Better Than Life as highly most. Between being stuck in the game and everything to do with Garbage World, there is precious little time for the boys to just hang. Infinity excelled at showing exactly this and none of the other novels match it.

Scroll to top  •  Scroll to 'Recent Comments'

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.