Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Rob Grant’s Colony

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  • #269824
    Warbodog
    Participant

    It’s connected to his buttski.

    A thread for anyone who enjoyed the perverse delights of the Backwards re-read and is ready to jump to another universe in search of more (I assume, I’ve not really read it).

    The book has four parts. Maybe we could take it at a part per week, unless that’s too fast and you have a better idea? (Part three looks to be twice as long as the others, so could be split).

    If this turns out to be an extremely niche interest, or enthusiasm wanes, synchronised structure won’t matter so much.

    If you need some time to get the book, we can make it Covember.

    #269826

    I’d want to wait until we get a definitive ‘no’ from the chaps about doing Rob’s novels for a second series of the Book Club, but if that’s not on the cards then definitely up for this. I’ve never read any of them so it’s something I’d like to do at some point.

    #269827
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    I’m up for this. Loved Colony when I first read it, I’d go so far as to say I enjoyed it more than Backwards. It would be great to discuss its flaws, jokes that went over my head and if anyone else saw and heard Styx as Banjo Kazooie in their mind’s eye. I was around 11 or 12 years of age, so maybe it hasn’t aged as well as Banjo Kazooie, although the way its not commercially available and needs a bit of hunting down in order to get a second hand copy does make it similar to Banjo Tooie, as well as coming out the same year (well, in the US anyway. We had to wait another year here, but we had copies of Colony to keep us entertained so much that I forgot to buy Banjo Tooie until it was sadly too late.)

    Just to make it clear, I am definitely up for a reread of Colony.

    #269828
    Ridley
    Participant

    (well, in the US anyway. We had to wait another year here, but we had copies of Colony to keep us entertained so much that I forgot to buy Banjo Tooie until it was sadly too late.)

    “You are a journalist, we can get it on import.”

    #269829
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    Haha! Brilliant.

    #269830
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’d want to wait until we get a definitive ‘no’ from the chaps about doing Rob’s novels for a second series of the Book Club.

    I mentioned it a couple of times before to check (this is also a check). It’d be nice to get a full DwarfCast series, but maybe more the sort of topic they’d cover in a one-off? Does anyone know their customer support number?

    #269831
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Thank you for your enquiry. Our call centre hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please try again later.

    But srsly, I don’t want to rule it out completely, but if we do do it, it won’t be for the foreseeable. We’re doing Smegazines next and there’s 23 of those, plus we’ve got an idea for another series which needs to start at a specific time in about a year, so I’d suggest you guys go ahead now if you’re keen.

    #269832
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Okay, best give it a few days’ grace in case anyone’s getting a book delivered and to prepare our Rob Grant Bingo cards, unless we can’t contain ourselves.

    #269833
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Rob Grant Bingo cards

    GRATUITOUS CLIFFHANGER: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    BESTIALITY REFERENCE: _ _ _ _ _
    GENITAL INJURY: _ _ _ _ _
    JAILBAIT LECHERY: _ _ _ _ _
    CALCULATION OFF BY 2 (HARDBACK ONLY): _ _ _ _ _
    MORE GENITAL INJURY: _ _ _ _ _

    #269835

    I’ve ordered a copy but won’t arrive until the end of the week. Annoying it his only book that’s not digital to!

    #269837
    Dave
    Participant

    I’ve also ordered a copy (arriving late next week) so maybe we can kick things off properly in a week or so?

    #269838
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’ve got an ebook. I don’t remember where I got it, but not a legit place.

    #269839
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    There’s an audiobook read by Mark Williams too. I think it’s all up on youtube.

    #269840

    I’m away for a week and have no cash so I might be late joining you all.

    #269842
    Ridley
    Participant

    #They have no money

    #269867

    My copy of colony has arrived.  It had a train ticket in it as a book mark

     

    Standard Day Single

    27th october 2005

    Chelmsford – London

    9.20gbp

     

    Was there a consensus on when we’ll start and also how much we’ll read each time?

    #269868
    Dave
    Participant

    My copy of colony has arrived.  It had a train ticket in it as a book mark

     

    Standard Day Single

    27th october 2005

    Chelmsford – London

    9.20gbp

     

    Please can we try and avoid advance spoilers, some of us haven’t read the book before.

    #269869
    Warbodog
    Participant

    My Dirk Gently Omnibus had a nice 1977 Silver Jubilee leather bookmark included, God save.

    I thought one part per week starting each weekend as a suggestion to improve upon or see how it goes. Trying to keep it manageable for people’s time without spending ages on something that there’s a risk we might not be that into.

    #269870

    Sounds reasonable.  Part one is only 56 pages, seems a good place to start at least.

    #269871
    si
    Participant

    Please can we try and avoid advance spoilers, some of us haven’t read the book before.

    There’s a colony… Oh shit, sorry.

    Actually, you know, I say that, there might not be. It’s a long time since I read it. I might join in with you all.

    #269872

    My copy of colony has arrived.  It had a train ticket in it as a book mark

     

    Standard Day Single

    27th october 2005

    Chelmsford – London

    9.20gbp
    Please can we try and avoid advance spoilers, some of us haven’t read the book before.

    This is actually the opening prologue, a man from Chelmsford travels to London by train to colonise the city.

    #269873
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I thought it was a biography of Billy Colony.

    I saw this book in shops around the time it was released, but rather than being interested in the new sci-fi comedy project from the former co-writer of my favourite show, my reaction was more “how DARE you.” Because obviously all space comedy is the same and he should have just stuck with Red Dwarf if he wanted to write more of that (I was about 15).

    I listened to the abridged audiobook passively in 2015, but don’t remember a thing about it. Which might mean the story or narration wasn’t engaging or whatever game I was playing at the time was too engrossing, that happened a lot.

    #269875
    Dave
    Participant

    Oh, I thought this was an autobiography told from the POV of Rob’s colon.

    #269877
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Colony is actually the only Rob Grant book I haven’t read so I would have been interested in joining a readalong of this, but I doubt I’ll be able to source a copy any time soon sadly (and I’m wary of trying to find an ebook version “on the high seas” so to speak!)

    #269878
    Dax101
    Participant

    The audiobook is on youtube. Read by Mark Williams.

    #269882
    si
    Participant

    Oh, I thought this was an autobiography told from the POV of Rob’s colon.

    Followed up, of course, by the views of his Fat.

    #269883
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Oh, I thought this was an autobiography told from the POV of Rob’s colon.

    Followed up, of course, by the views of his Fat.

    And his graphic struggle with Incontinence. The trilogy wasn’t a total shock after Backwards.

    I’d guess people don’t count Quanderhorn as a Rob novel, since it’s not solo. But it’s also different as it’s pretty much a straight-up linear novelisation with a bit more first-person introspection, from what I remember anyway.

    #269884

    Gorden Bennett, lucky Juleit May isn’t directing.

    #269942
    Warbodog
    Participant

    #269955
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Part 1, chapters 1-5 spoiler-free feelings (but still probably don’t read)

    It really is quite Red Dwarf (specifically novel ‘Dwarf). More than I was expecting really, but it’s comforting. Since most people probably read it because of that connection, there are the touches of familiarity you’d appreciate when going from Simpsons to Futurama or something. Except more specifically similar.

    I took more specific notes if points come up, but I’m enjoying it. And the bits that are characteristically Rob made me laugh a lot, more in an at-him than with-him way. A lot of the time, I can hear his non-existent audiobook reading in my head.

    #269956
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Thanks for starting this thread.

    I’ve just begun my re-read and will post my thoughts on the first section in a day or two.

    #269962

    Having just read chapter one, agree very much that it feels novel Dwarfy. I mean, it opens with a man who has lost everything and is about to be beaten up by thugs. Basically exactly how IWCD opens.

    That opening line, about feeling like the unlikeliest man alive reminded me of Hitchhikers. Not the first time we’ve compared Ron’s writing to Douglas Adam’s. These guys are obviously cut from the same cloth in some ways.

    Even down to it all being a big misunderstanding feels like something that would happen to a Hitchhikers character.

    #269963
    Warbodog
    Participant

    The name O’Hare will always remind me of my first space opera.

    Around the same time I was watching Junior Red Dwarf, SpaceVets.

    #269964

    I’ve never seen that before and I feel like it’s been made entirely as a joke.

    read a couple more chapters last night. It struck me that we’ve not been told exactly where this is set. I’m assuming another planet but could just as well be Earth at this point right?

    #269965
    Dave
    Participant

    Bucky O’Hare was excellent in a naff sort of way. The designs and toys were good.

    #269966
    Warbodog
    Participant

    It struck me that we’ve not been told exactly where this is set. I’m assuming another planet but could just as well be Earth at this point right?

    Chapter 5 will take care of your exposition info dump needs, but I think it’s mentioned earlier than that as being climate-controlled Antarctica.

    The original Bucky O’Hare graphic novel was some zany satire, indiscriminately having a go at conservatives, activisits and UN bumbling alike. The designs are iconic to me, but I was over action figures after my Batman-Ghostbusters-Turtles marathon.

    #269967

    Isn’t it luck I’m about to start chapter 5 then.  Maybe I missed the bit about the Antarcitca.  In chapter 2 it’s described as being carved out of ice or something along those lines, but assumed it was off world I think.

    #269968

    Oh yeah, whilst I generally do not mind at all Rob’s twisted psychie and his love of torturing his characters and generally being a bit gross … the idea of a handjob from a woman who had a hand with a vagina grafted onto it is possible a bit much.

    #269969

    Having read chapter 5, lots of reoccuring themes between this and Red Dwarf.

    Firstly 27 TV channels … “groovey funky channel 27” … just find it interesting Rob has returned to that number again.

    A ship too big and too vast to build on Earth, though I get the impression the Project is significantly larger than Red Dwarf.

    A ship that will take it’s crew great distances away from Earth over many centuries.

    An Earth that’s dying due to global warming.  Not quite the same in the RD books, but it basically becomes a dump due to pollution and such and is then abandoned by the colonies.

    As short as that chapter was I really enjoyed that world building it briefly gives, which is what I like about sci0fi in general, is it’s capacity to create any version of humanity it wasn’t near or far future and building interesting and complex worlds around it.

    It partly what makes the RD novels so interesting, as that it allows them to expland on the universe they created and bring in information about Earth that Lister et al wouldn’t know or discuss.

    #269970
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Yeah, chapter 5 filled things in nicely and felt like a natural break point to start talking about it before it properly gets to the plot.

    – Eddie is the stock neurotic loser in the Rimmer mould (boring accountant is maybe a bit too stock), but with a few too many undesirable traits cumulatively piled on, like Rob doesn’t want us to build an attachment. Of course, he doesn’t have the benefit of a familiar TV incarnation and Chris Barrie performance. Maybe Rimmer would be less likeable if you’d only read the books?

    – I didn’t wince at the violence or take it seriously, because after all we’ve made of Rob’s sadistic streak, it was just funny to see him up to his old tricks and imagining the group reaction to classic Rob. “Exploding Eddie’s reality into a white-hot eruption of electrified suffering.” Standing ovation.

    – Instead, it was the psychological darkness that got to me more, like Eddie’s musings on death and the later casino chapter, which gave me a sense of the sickening intoxication of gambling addiction.

    – I don’t know if Rob’s been outspoken about global warming or if he just finds the environmental apocalypse to make for compelling/credible sci-fi, but I was reminded of Garbage World too. A spaceship the size of a city invites more comparison than anything else, but they obviously have different purposes.

    – I’ve seen geostationary space lifts in Arthur C Clarke stories and novels, but maybe they were already fairly established in sci-fi (there was one in Star Trek: Voyager before Colony too).

    – I took note of a “disease-riddled cock,” but I’ve mercifully forgotten the details.

    #269971

    Maybe Rimmer would be less likeable if you’d only read the books?

    without wanting to totally derail this thread into a Red Dwarf discussion, is Rimmer really that unlikeable in the books? In Infinity he gets on Lister’s pecks pre-accident and it a bit annoying, but post accident he sort of fairly quickly gets a duplicate of himself who takes the focus off Lister and squarely looks at why Rimmer is a bit sad, but not altogether a bit fo a dick like he can be in the show.  Then from there he’s generally quiet mature and a part of the team in all situations.  Getting out of BTL, dealing with the time dilation, rescuing Lister from Garbage World, then again rescuing him from Backwards world.  He can be a bit self centred but he generally does the right thing, or tries to, most the time.  And doesn’t really exist to wind Lister up in a way he does in the show as there simply isn’t time for it between all the mis-adventure going on.

     

    I didn’t wince at the violence or take it seriously, because after all we’ve made of Rob’s sadistic streak

    Given Rob’s seeming fascination with violent and grousome images appearing in his/Eddie’s minds eye when he masturbates, presumably we can start to understand where the obsession for including it in his writing comes from,

    That aside, I hadn’t really read Eddie at this point to be unlikable, more directly as the book puts it, unlucky.  Amusing things seem to happen when he is in the room so far, but otherwise he hasn’t done a lot.

    I assume climate change is used as a world ender because a) it can be and b) the 90s it was a brand new red hot topic wasn’t it.  Sea levels rising, hole in the o-zone layer, greenhouse gasses.  It was relatable.  And being just a few years post cold war, I’d expect most would have lost the appetite for nuclear destruction.

    The idea of the space lift is an interesting one, because presumably it is quite unstable, and any civilisation sufficiently advanced enough to build a ship in orbit would have more efficient ways of getting material and equipment up there.

    – I took note of a “disease-riddled cock,” but I’ve mercifully forgotten the details.

    I did enjoy that because the dude was trying to sell it in it’s undesirable state.  But also they way Rob describe his handing of it, just made it a rather ridiculous image.

    #269973

    It is so wonderful to be reading something that, to me at least, is recognisably Rob, and not having the faintest idea what’s going to happen.

    Regardless of whether you’ve read the RD novels before, there’s always a sense of knowing what comes next as you know the show so well.

    Chapter 6 is so full of suspense, and long but it didn’t feel it. I was really rooting for Eddie and I’m bloody angry for the outcome.

    “just tag his toe and roll his bell” is a wonderful line

     

    ”deeply in the uncharted waters of the Cape of Loonyness” it’s classically Dwarf, a very s5/6 line.

    #269974
    Dave
    Participant

    I just finished the first section. I agree it feels very IWCD, especially early on with the sections that evoke the opening McIntyre chapters from that book. But the more it goes on, the more it starts to feel like its own thing, albeit with a similar voice to the Dwarf novels (except Last Human, obviously).

    I like that Rob is quick to introduce all these high concepts and then almost immediately start having fun with them by pushing them into the realms of absurdity. Another trait that feels familiar from Red Dwarf.

    It might be nice for there to have been a bit more getting to know the main character by this point – he’s fairly broadly sketched – but maybe there will be more to come on that front soon.

    And yes, regarding the violence and sex, the inner thoughts of the lead character here do seem to shed some light on Rob’s preoccupations, don’t they?

    #269975
    Dave
    Participant

    Oh, and also: the lowercase title in the “by the same author” section confirms that it *was* only the K that was mirror-flipped in the title of Backwards after all. Case closed!

    #269976
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Yeah, it kicked off for me with the back-to-back world-building and casino chapters after the early ones felt a bit generic dystopia (and I was thrown by the perspective shift to the other guy for that one chapter until it came back, expecting more of an ensemble).

    Chapters 6-9

    – My chapter 6 note to self: how can the least violent chapter be the most tense and sickening?

    – Learning about Eddie’s childhood made him more sympathetic. “He thought all dads yo-yoed between drunken misery and outrageous, flamboyant generosity.” Rob can be mature when he wants to be.

    – Ah, it’s the literal cameo of the roulette wheel from the paperback cover. Now waiting on the severed head in the jar floating in space. This reminded me of the Better Than Life and Backwards covers/titles highlighting the first part only, then leaving you to discover the rest on your own. Maybe that’s even a recommended publishing strategy.

    It is so wonderful to be reading something that, to me at least, is recognisably Rob, and not having the faintest idea what’s going to happen.

    Definitely.

    – Genetic hybrid creatures are mentioned in passing. I wonder if they belong to Chekhov.

    – I wouldn’t suck the open wound, personally

    – I think chapters 7-8 had the first Backwards-style cliffhanger where the scene just carries on immediately. He’s changed his approach.

    – The identity swap deal felt a bit too amicable and lacking in drama, but then he pulls the rug out at the end and kept me excited for more.

    #269977

    Well Gordon is a bit of a prick isn’t he!

    I forget this earlier, but Willflower is awfully close to Wildfire.

    Those last few chapters of the part are a much better read now that things have gotten going.  Agree with the Backwards-style cliffhangers … there was something a little unnecessary about them, especially so early on.

    I like that there’s that twist with the identity swap, it did feel a little easy to get Eddie onto the ship … but glad that it just adds to his continued lack of luck as it were.

    I kinda hope we get some glimpses of what happens with Gordon on the ground as Eddie’s story propels him across galaxies, but I suspect that isn’t going to be the case.

    #270002
    Stilianides
    Participant

    I’ve only just finished Chapters 1-5, but they are quite enjoyable.

    It’s kind of hilarious that Rob once said (probably on Comedy Connections) that he left because he wanted to do something other than Dwarf. The opening section here is not exactly a departure from what had gone before.

    It’s probably entirely coincidental, but odd that C.P. Gordon is so similar to C.P. Grogan…

    #270003
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Read up to Chapter 5 myself now, it’s zipping along at a very nice pace so far isn’t it! I recall Incompetence having a similarly healthy penchant for getting on with things quickly so I guess it’s just part of Rob’s style.

    Plenty of Dwarf vibes coming across so far, both in terms of settings and character archetypes. The mention of “poise” and “elan” had me thinking back to Emohawk as well

    #270006

    he left because he wanted to do something other than Dwarf. The opening section here is not exactly a departure from what had gone before.

    Yeah its very similar in theme and style.  I suspect what he wanted to do was have the freedom and ability to explore things outside the Red Dwarf universe and writing partnership.  He and Doug had been together 15ish years by that point?  Don’t blame him wanting to flex his own writing muscles.

    And frankly, given Last Human vs Backwards and series vii and viii … I don’t blame him.

    #270018
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Anyone catching up should feel welcome to share their thoughts as they go and can hopefully avoid seeing too many spoilers.

    But we can keep up the momentum and crack open PART TWO: GENERATION I, whenever you like to do your reading.

    Looks to be a similar length to part one, or a bit shorter.

    #270020
    Dave
    Participant

    Excellent. Thanks for running this and keeping us on track.

    #270021
    Warbodog
    Participant

    We need a bit of discipline or we’ll go another 20 years failing to read a decent book targeted specifically at us.

    #270023
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Chapter 10. Quite a substantial chapter I’ll have to digest by itself.

    – New characters! Captain Gwent a more chaotic antagonist than we’ve had thus far, if similarly unhinged (and this is the elite first generation).

    – Section Leader Peck seemingly exists to be Eddie’s (and perhaps by assumption the reader’s) unattainable sexy stoic scientist love/wank interest. So far the female characters are still faring better than in his previous novel, imagine if they weren’t.

    – Familiar awe-inspired description for the massive space lift from the author who grew up reading sci-fi. “You could have hidden the Pacific Fleet from the Japanese bombers in this space. The source of the Nile could be lurking in one of the corners, and you’d never find it. It’s a big, big space.” (Reminded of Red Dwarf’s “big, red, red, big…” “It could eat Copenhagen…”).

    – Then strangely subverted when we’re denied the satisfaction of seeing the actual ship. Is that significant? What’s he hiding? Is it a big willy? Is it just a simulator, like some really obvious Twilight Zone twist? It’s probably a willy.

    – I realised I’d been reading part one like a prat and not looking for hints and foreshadowings until they came up again. Mainly with what turned out to be the obvious setup of Eddie’s romantic type earlier, but now I’m belatedly wondering what that unseen ‘animal sting’ in the bar was, that was mentioned again. An injection?

    – Despite this attention to detail, we’re invited into Eddie’s erotic fantasies (whether we like it or not), but without any violent flashback clips complicating the mood as promised.

    – Laugh out loud: “His eyes are bulging like a dodgem fare collector’s jeans.”

    #270024
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Laugh out loud: “His eyes are bulging like a dodgem fare collector’s jeans.”

    Unless that’s a joke you don’t/didn’t get and is just about collecting a lot of money and not inappropriate boners.

    #270026

    I read 10-12 earlier and will need to flick through the pages again before commenting much but one thing I noticed is that twice now Rob has predicted fish to be used as screen savers in the future, and that future hasn’t been realised yet and I find  that incredibly disappointing.

    Chapter 10 was really great though. Lots going on and really enjoyed getting to know so me new characters who will presumably be around until the end now.  I like how Eddie’s ignorance basically makes him a funny and likeable character to these people, except Jezebel of course.

    Then strangely subverted when we’re denied the satisfaction of seeing the actual ship. Is that significant? What’s he hiding? Is it a big willy? Is it just a simulator, like some really obvious Twilight Zone twist? It’s probably a willy.

    Given Gordon is supposed a there for community planning and such, it being elaborate simulation wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility. Hell, if the planet is going to shit and is going to take hundreds of years to get to another planet, you just need to ship to house colonists for long enough for the planet to destroy itself and star over a fresh. They don’t actually need to go anywhere.   There was a line early on about how they hoped to solve the space propulsion system problem late into the ships development, well being a stationary hub for a few hundred years would solve that issue.

    #270027
    Warbodog
    Participant

    really enjoyed getting to know some new characters who will presumably be around until the end now.

    Don’t get too attached, you know what Rob’s like.

    Chapter 12

    The Catholic references at the end were fitting, since the whole thing felt like some bloodthirsty moral sermon. The professionals catching up with the amateur would-be villain was the only satisfaction I took from it.

    Chapter 13

    Okay, back to sci-fi character comedy, thanks.

    – Rounding out the crew with Styx the stock meataxe security guard and a doctor with the unfortunate name of Piers Morton.
    – “Drier than a constipated camel’s sphincter” is straight from Red Dwarf VI, but I can’t decide whether it’s Rimmer or Lister. That camel can’t get a break.
    – “Non-permanent suspension of life” could bring stasis to mind, but I could tell where it was going, since I’ve been waiting for it to show up.
    – The low-profile launch is further suspicious activity.
    – I’ve had hopes/ideas of what will happen later ever since I read the subtitle ‘Generation I,’ but I shouldn’t make predictions since I have physically if not mentally listened to the book before!

    #270028
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Turns out my only memory of this book is buying it at Waterloo station and reading it on a train somewhere.  I’m *sure* I must have read it again but, having browsed through the opening chapters, it’s not ringing many bells, beyond “Dwarfy ones”.

    I may try and catch up.

    #270029
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Yes, “drier than a constipated camel’s sphincter” is a line that struck me as well. Reminiscent of the “longer yellow streak” line that we know Rob was responsible for.

    There is a moment in chapter 15 which is particularly grim even by Rob’s standards.

    There’s something slightly bizarre about the fact that Rob often tries to describe his characters’ disgust at mutilation, whilst Rob himself seems positively enamoured with it.

    #270030
    Stilianides
    Participant

    I’ve enjoyed the book so far, in spite of all of that.

    There are sporadic moments of black humour and the occasional nice turn of phrase.

    It also skips along pretty smoothly and is an easy read (if you have a strong constitution).

    #270031
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Part two ends a bit abruptly. Now we’ve had time to get attached, it’s back to those foreboding cliffhangers with delayed gratification, very Red Dwarf.

    And probably about to get a lot more Red Dwarf. I’m not sure how Rob wants us to feel at this point, but since he’s made it obvious what’s going to happen next, I’m mainly looking forward to the relief of Eddie getting to come clean and be himself, even if there would be a significant cost involved. The more we learn about his assumed identity, the more it feels like Blake from off from Blake’s 7 having to go around branded as a child molester.

    I don’t think we really need to explore more of Gordon’s backstory at this point, but the South American Nazi connection seems a bit specific to be chance. They always did like namedropping Nazis though.

    #270035

    Part two ends a bit abruptly. Now we’ve had time to get attached, it’s back to those foreboding cliffhangers with delayed gratification, very Red Dwarf.

    It is a bit of a shame the part ends in the way a chapter might if it was due to carry on immediately in the next one.

    I’ve really enjoyed part two but it’s been very short, despite a lot happening.  We’re clipping along at quite the pace.

    Loving the prose.  Every single line is quite a joy to read, but particularly anything Gwent says.

    I’m quite interested in this society that Gordon has cooked up, sort of Brave New World-esque but also deliberately instils a system that was raised and fought in BSG, that of people following in their families footsteps on potentially decades long voyage across space.

    It actually also fleetingly made me imagine a Timewave written by Rob, think he’d do a much better job of tackling that sort of thing.

    The idea of only temporarily being relieved of life “non-permanent suspension of life” I immediately assumed was going to be a stasis thing, but seems more like a Borg Queen type thing?  Given the next part is Generation X and that Eddie has eaten his last meal I can only assume this is what’s going to happen to him.

    Rob obviously has a chip on his shoulder about chicken soup from a vending machine for it to appear in two of his works.

    And I’m wondering if Padre is going to be something of a stowaway activist too.  Not really a religious man looking to make change but someone who has deliberately worked their way on board to oppose the system etc.

    The low-profile launch is further suspicious activity.

    This is just adding to my guess further up that they’re not going anywhere at all and its all a rouse. Which would be very reminiscent of Ascension

    #270037
    Warbodog
    Participant

    a system that was raised and fought in BSG, that of people following in their families footsteps on potentially decades long voyage across space.

    It was very familiar, probably from BSG then, more than any historical basis, though I read something or other more recently that had aliens doing a similar thing.

    Given the next part is Generation X and that Eddie has eaten his last meal I can only assume this is what’s going to happen to him.

    Someone has to be the disembodied head on the hardback cover (however stylised), and Eddie/Heady, blatant.

    #270040

    Someone has to be the disembodied head on the hardback cover (however stylised), and Eddie/Heady, blatant.

    oh I have the paper back, I’ve not seen this.

    #270042
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    Look, it’s Heady O’Hare!

    I’m a bit behind on this, but I am enjoying the book a lot. The Pilgrim’s Progress excerpts at the start of each Part confused me when I was younger, but now I can see it’s just a joke. Used to think there was a deeper meaning, and maybe I’ll realise something later on, but I like the juxtaposition.

    The reason I haven’t posted is that I remember this book so well I’m worried about spoiling things.

    #270046
    Warbodog
    Participant

    The epigraphs (I had to look the word up, that’s how good a literature graduate I am) went over my head. If he’s being mock pompous, I feel like he’d be more obvious by referencing different impressive sources or including several each time, like you get played straight in Carl Sagan books. Referring back to the same one suggests there is some spiritual connection, whatever it is.

    I don’t know, Rob doesn’t seem to be ironically or faithfully retelling The Pilgrim’s Progress in space, like some kind of Ulysses 31. A troubled man is saved by another man who directs him to a gate where he will find salvation. No character names are parodies (Styx is Greek, Gwent is an historic Welsh kingdom, Peck is an actor from Jurassic Park). I do enjoy stretched analogies, but I think Rob’s just trolled me into wasting some time.

    #270055
    Warbodog
    Participant

    The next part of Colony is the longest by far (it’s almost half the book? Chapters 17-37), so have a few days’ “head” start on PART THREE: GENERATION X if you’re eager and we can see how it goes.

    #270057
    Dave
    Participant

    Ah shit, I haven’t had time to read part two yet. Soon.

    #270058
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Maybe part three should be extended across two weeks? No chapter counts, just take it at our own pace. We shouldn’t suffer for Rob’s asymmetry.

    #270061
    si
    Participant

    I’ve still only read the first four chapters. Maybe I should get a wriggle on.

    #270063
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Yeah, I think taking it slowly is a good idea to try to include as many people as possible.

    I have to say that this book is rather better than I remember it. And it is almost a Red Dwarf novel in everything but name.

    #270064

    If we go with what Warbo is suggesting, we read to the end of part 3 by the end of November?

    That will give everyone plenty of time to read at their own pace, chip in comments as and when they feel, should work out ok.

    #270102
    Warbodog
    Participant

    And it is almost a Red Dwarf novel in everything but name.

    It’s gone from being a similarly themed project with expected author similarities to basically a variation on Red Dwarf now. If Doug had written this book today, we’d put it down to legal difficulties or spite, I wonder how pure Rob’s motives were.

    It’s good that I didn’t read it at the time when post-Grant Red Dwarf was a fresh wound. After 20 years it’s reached a safe background level and I can just enjoy it.

    It’s kind of hilarious that Rob once said (probably on Comedy Connections) that he left because he wanted to do something other than Dwarf.

    And maybe aside from Incompetence, this is the best thing he’s done since Backwards.

    #270103
    Dave
    Participant

    Just finished Part Two. Still enjoying it, and I’m finding the horrible feelings of being in the shit and just waiting to be found out very Red-Dwarf-novel-Rimmer-ish.

    Other than that though I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how distinct it’s been from RD so far. Yes, there have been some surface similarities and the occasional familiar turn of phrase (“code mauve” is a shameless reuse of “mauve alert”) but generally it’s different enough to feel like its own thing.

    #270104
    Dave
    Participant

    one thing I noticed is that twice now Rob has predicted fish to be used as screen savers in the future, and that future hasn’t been realised yet and I find  that incredibly disappointing.

    I always took those moments as being references to the fishtank screen-savers that did exist in the 90s.

    #270107

    Oh I vaguely remember those. And now I think about it, along with numerous city and nature scapes, there’s quite a few underwater, fishy screen savers on the Apple TV.

    but I’d still like to live in a world where every monitor when idle just resembled a fish tank.

    #270116
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’m getting through part three more slowly anyway, because of how relentlessly heavy it is.

    Mental/physical degradation has been a common theme of my nightmares (usually with fictional pets I’ve neglected that proceed to inbreed like Frankensteins), so playing it for laughs doesn’t really work for me.

    And as far as brutality, Backwards was just a warm-up. I can enjoy over-the-top violence and gore when it’s explicitly for laughs, and can chuckle and wince when it’s played straight in Clive Barker type stuff, but it’s like Rob gets off on the suffering and misery, mercifully balanced out by lots of funny lines.

    #270117
    Stilianides
    Participant

    I have to say that personally I don’t find the book too grim and it zips along very quickly for me. I whipped through quite a few chapters today and there are some interesting ideas and a decent cliffhanger (I won’t go into details yet as we will discuss this section more later).

    There are huge chunks that feel similar to Dwarf and that feeling only gets stronger as the book progresses.

    Eddie himself sometimes feels like Lister, sometimes like Rimmer and occasionally like Kryten, so I guess some would reasonably say that makes him a new character. :)

    #270118
    Warbodog
    Participant

    It’s picking up again for me now after a lull, so I’ll offload notes. Can’t avoid spoiler implications, so avert your eyes.

    Chapter 17

    – The dialogue does as well as it could to lighten the horror (“extensive injuries,” etc).

    – “If it’s any consolation, you still have all your hair.” The most Red Dwarf line so far? (Eddie’s lost his watch, too).

    Chapter 18

    – Rob doesn’t want us to leave that jar. We must experience the suffocating body horror.

    – I’m sure everyone noticed “out of the gloop.”

    – He’s not even wired up properly, for fuck’s sake. This is the sort of nightmare future a Red Dwarf character would be presented with and successfully avert, but this is Eddie’s reality (for now, anyway).

    Chapter 21

    A very minor nitpick, but it would’ve been simpler if the mix-up with Eddie’s identity had happened because they can’t read the labels on the jars and were guessing, rather than having the computer read the names aloud so there had to be an extra detail of the heads being mysteriously mislabelled in the past.

    Chapter 23

    The promise of a new setting and purpose has me back on board. The ship was only a vehicle and it wasn’t about the journey, but the destination?

    Is he going to do THAT twist? With what he’s set up, could he resist NOT doing it?

    #270122
    Dave
    Participant

    This is the sort of nightmare future a Red Dwarf character would be presented with and successfully avert

    It is kind of funny that Rob’s final episode of Red Dwarf set out his hero’s destiny as becoming a disembodied brain in a jar of green goop, and he then goes on to write a novel in which his hero’s destiny is to become a disembodied head in a jar of green goop.

    #270147
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Might Colony have been planned as a TV or radio series before/alongside becoming a novel?

    I listened to the first half of the abridged audiobook when doing other things, and noticed that [their extensive abridgement of] part one ends after 27 minutes, part two after 56 minutes and chapter 23 (mid point of the book?) after 86 minutes.

    Each of those ‘episodes’ ends on a dramatic cliffhanger or other natural break, which would have been reworked to suit the other mediums.

    The story doesn’t seem to require a big budget, especially with turn-of-the-century CGI, and the Strangerers got away with plenty of weird visuals.

    Maybe it would have been good, but listening to the abridged audiobook as it stands is not a good way to read the book. It clips along too fast, in a way that didn’t seem to be a problem with the Red Dwarf ones. There’s no time to care about anything.

    The Strangerers had the opposite problem of feeling unbearably stretched out (and repetitive) at nine parts, maybe that would have been better as a book too.

    #270148

    Chapter 17

    – The dialogue does as well as it could to lighten the horror (“extensive injuries,” etc).

    – “If it’s any consolation, you still have all your hair.” The most Red Dwarf line so far? (Eddie’s lost his watch, too).

    Just read this chapter and basically these are my comments.  Although I also found it drga a bit.  Maybe because I knew what it was building to, it felt very indulgent in keeping that from Eddie and the reader for as long as possible.

    The hair line, and the amature nipple gazing actually had me lol-ing. The rest is fine writing, I like the horror of it all unfolding to Eddie with him seeing a nymph and such.

    I’m intrigued to know how Styx is still around if it’s meant to be centuries, and how the ship appears to be in a position where they don’t know much of the history which it seems is the case from what’s said at the end of the chapter.

    I’m enjoy the book, and I’m intrigued as to where it’s all going … but as has been mentioned, it feels very much like Red Dwarf in the premise and … well having not really read the blurb or anything, I can’t help but feel we’re still in the set up stage rather than being underway with the story.  But I guess that’s how IWCD plays out too … and there isn’t a story in there so much as a series of events happening to the main character.

    For a comedy sci-fi book about a ship going to form a colony, it just currently feels like it’s not delivering on that very basic understanding I had of the premise and is rather doing something this author has already done.  Which is fine, I’m enjoying it, but also feel slightly cheated.  Does that make sense to anyone else?

    #270149
    Dave
    Participant

    Yes definitely. Last night I checked how thick the unread section of the book was compared to how thick the section was that I’d read, and was surprised to see that I was now around ⅔ of the way through. It still feels very much like it’s still setting up the situation and characters.

    #270150
    Dave
    Participant

    As for the Dwarfiest line of the book, so far for me it’s probably the bit about cannibals (that’s also on the back of the hardcover).

    #270153
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Chapter 17 – I don’t have any issues with this section because the description of Eddie’s body is so cartoonish. A person losing one limb might be horrific, to lose almost your entire body is too ludicrous to be disgusting. The idea of having been preserved for centuries could have come straight from Red Dwarf VI.

    Chapter 18 – Something of a shame that the cover gives away Eddie and his gloop. The genital assault is amusing and very Rob.

    Chapter 19 – “Call me a stickler and nail my gonads to a griddle” could almost be a lost Ace catchphrase. :) The name Piers Morton has stood the test of time well. “Even in the ladies’ shower room” hints at coincidental similarities with Krytie TV. It’s interesting how Doug and Rob approached a similar topic – Doug with a Carry on style and Rob being more sleazy.

    Chapters 20-21 – Short, but well-written chapters. The idea of a society that can’t read is another that could have come straight from Dwarf.

    Chapter 22 – The crash and the “it happens a lot” response is a neat use of foreshadowing. Not that it is unique to this book, but it adds an element of danger to these chapters that might otherwise have felt flat.

    #270154

    Chapter 18 – Hand. Pick up the ball!

    #270155

    Chapter 19 – “he locomotes with all the confident conviction of a newborn fawn who has been passed through a coffee grinder and put back together again by a blind wheelchair maker with Parkinson’s disease.”

    I love this line. It just keeps going.  Every time you think its coming to an end there’s another corner and more of it stretching before you.

    It also feels extremely out of place for this novel and Rob in general.  Sarcastic similies aren’t unusal but this feels more like something Douglas Adams’ would write for the voice of the book in Hitchhikers.

    #270156
    Dave
    Participant

    Does it say “wheelchair maker” in your copy? Is that the paperback?

    If so that’s interesting as the hardback has it as “watchmaker”. Maybe it was changed after someone pointed out that the cliché of the blind watchmaker is that they are actually really good at putting things together.

    #270157

    Ha no, I just read it as wheelchair maker. It is indeed watchmaker.  It is the paper back though.

    Further thoughts on 19 … I feel this book has just constantly been a series of events where Eddie is confused for someone else.  First by the debt collectors, then as Gordon, now as Morton … though it certainly feels as though we’re getting to something happening, such as this life threatening event he has been awoken for.

    But knowing our luck he’ll he shoved out an airlock at the end of this part then picked up by a passing ship in a couple of millenia.

    #270158
    Dave
    Participant

    If it’s any consolation I think wheelchair maker is funnier.

    #270159

    I am consoled.

    #270160
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I feel this book has just constantly been a series of events where Eddie is confused for someone else.

    A fine line between running gag/theme and just being repetitive. To compare to The Strangerers again, the same thing happened several times in that too (different sets of characters going through the same misunderstandings and learning process as the previous sets). Decapitation was also a recurring theme.

    Did the abrupt time skip between parts just feel like missing chapters to anyone else? It’s strange that Rob would be so coy as to rob us of Eddie’s POV assault.

    #270161
    Dave
    Participant

    Yes that definitely felt jarring, but I think intentionally so.

    #270162

    Yeah its definitel felt as if something was missing.  But then I guess for the reader, you need to go into the next chapter having no idea whats going on, so the revelations hit you at the same time they hit Eddie.

    If we know he got brutally murdered for all intents and purposes, we’d be one step ahead of him in the next chapter.

    #270167

    Chapter 20 – finally more than half way through the book and an actual bonafied interesting twist has exposed itself.

    #270169

    Next couple of chapters start to move things along quite nicely.  There’s some brilliant irony that Eddie, under the circumstances, is coming across as more the sane, emotionally intellegent one.

    I wonder if this was the story Rob had in mind when he sat down to write this.  Imposter onboard ship, loses all but his head and then wakes up to find he is the only one capable of reading.  It’s a fun idea, just seems to have taken a long while to get to it.

    Looking forward to finding out … hopefully … why they have settled on a planet before know.  It seems a bit of a conincidence that the ship is hit and damaged within reach of 3 planet, 2 of them habitable.

    Also would love to know how a group of people lose the ability to read.  They’re bred to take on the roles of their parents, but you’d assume there’d still be training which would involve needed to read.

    I feel sorry for Styx in every line Rob writes for that character(s).

    I’m surprised the crew didn’t just mutiny when Gwent the younger was put in charge.

    Eddie’s lust for Peck I’ll assume is down to Rob’s lustful desires of strong, powerful, independant and unattainable women.

    #270174
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I wonder if this was the story Rob had in mind when he sat down to write this.  Imposter onboard ship, loses all but his head and then wakes up to find he is the only one capable of reading.  It’s a fun idea, just seems to have taken a long while to get to it.

    I’d been enjoying it as a series of unfortunate events before now, but this was when I got what you were saying about the story finally starting. Probably because Eddie’s finally starting to take an active role in events and not just being tossed around helplessly like a roulette ball.

    Also would love to know how a group of people lose the ability to read.  They’re bred to take on the roles of their parents, but you’d assume there’d still be training which would involve needed to read.

    This stretched credibility to me (I was fine with the reanimated head in a jar, clearly). Also how Oslo implausibly has all the wit and cultural references of an Arnold Rimmer.

    I’m surprised the crew didn’t just mutiny when Gwent the younger was put in charge.

    I appreciated this as a more serious look at how doctrine and undeserved respect will keep people in line. Oslo’s looking for a loophole, but still respects the chain of command almost religiously. And then there’s the actual religious ones.

    #270194

    So read up to chapter 30 …

    Things are definitely starting to get interesting.  The idea of Padre being athiest is quite amusing, and a nice little way of exploring the inevitable failings of people being born into their job.

    I keep struggling to picture Eddie as Snacky with a head in a jar.  There was reference to Eddie slamming his hands down on Padre’s desk in one chapter, as if he doesn’t have mobility issues or is made of metal with pincer hands.  I can’t help but feel if Rob hadn’t written Red Dwarf he’d have just made Eddie a hologram rather than going through all the bother of making him a clumsy robot … unless this becomes more relevent later on.

    I’m not quite sure how Eddie’s maths skills helped him spot orbital annomalies.  I appreciate maths would be involved but I’d image accounting is a very different sort of maths to spacial geometry or whatever it is.

    #270215
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Up to chapter 31

    This is getting more White Hole by the chapter, with the planetary collision and now the time-pressured consultation with the distracted geniuses.

    The Professors are a nice addition to the cartoonier side of the cast, balancing out the Styx drones. The wackier mutants feel quite Quanderhorn, or Toxic Crusaders.

    The mysteries of the computer’s warning to Eddie and the blocked-off corridors are compelling.

    I enjoyed the narrator’s Usborne Puzzle Adventure style ‘did you spot the clue, readers?’ at the end of the chapter, but reading back, it’s just some technobabble. Since we were reminded about Chekhov’s self-repairing hull plates a few chapters back, it’s probably about those.

    #270218

    Having just read chapter 31, have to agree about the White Hole comparison. It’s all very familiar territory.

    im disappointed Eddie didn’t get the answers he wanted, as I want them too.

    I hope the professors come back into the story soon though. As much as their cartoonishness was fun, I’d be annoyed if Rob wasted a chapter on them just for a laugh, when he via Eddie acknowledges the time constraints.

    Also, heads in jars and cryogenics. How many more ways to keep people alive are on this ship?

    The ship layout changing is interesting, I wonder if that’s the ship itself that’s done that for some reason? Given how it’s apparently able to regrow itself.

    #270264
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Finished part three and less gripped by the cliffhanger this time. Adding more deadly jeopardy just feels like a distraction from the more established imminent threat, the characters even express as much.

    Rob famously resisted putting a naff robot in Red Dwarf, and doesn’t do them here except in pisstake clunky robot suit form, but the book may all be building up to a cyborg scrap.

    It’s been good to space out the reading, since experiencing this along with Eddie in basically real time would be exhaustingly relentless. It’s remarkable that he’s still quipping.

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