Rule of Three – Katy Brand

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    Taiwan Tony

    Katy Brand has chosen the first Red Dwarf novel. Marvellous.



    Thanks, it was nice to hear people showering praise on one of the best books ever written.

    Starts at 08:35 after some unofficial version of the theme from Best Ever Sci-Fi Themes, Vol. 3. Some points that stood out:

    – They like the sitcom but were much more impressed by the novel.
    – Katy read Infinity when she was 11/12, sneaking off to read it during family day trips. Had seen some of the later series, but not the early ones at the time. Same here, might be why I also prefer the novel version.
    – It gave her an early window into the male psyche that helped her to write male characters later on.
    – Thinks it’s brave of Grant Naylor to reveal what are presumably their own needs, insecurities and fantasies in there.
    – As a teenage “obsessive Christian” and later theology graduate, she appreciated the section on the Cats’ holy war over nonsense.
    – Joel Morris (I think that’s who’s talking) is a bit dismissive of the TV version as being “mainly jokes about dirty pants,” despite most of what he admires originating on the series.
    – He compares the novel’s various existential crises to Kurt Vonnegut-style “hard philosophy,” with the advantage of strong characterisation. And zingers.
    – Goes as far as to describe it as “not sci-fi” as it is “so relentlessly not set in the future,” with all the familiar 80s mundanity.
    – Despite this, they admire the Black Mirror-style prophetic tech of Better Than Life in particular.
    – Rimmer’s BTL fantasy is unfortunately compared to Trump, with the Rimmer Buildings and that. Don’t ruin Red Dwarf for fuck’s sake.
    – The last act of the book is mining into the characters’ psyches, like a mining ship mines.
    – Red Dwarf is better than Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because the (main) characters want something.
    – Red Dwarf is better than Stanley Kubrick films and Lord of the Rings because it’s introspective.
    – The book’s ending is as good as Toy Story 2’s.
    – Kryten was the missing ‘mother’ element from the classic sitcom formula and the story finally achieves balance when he shows up.
    – Less insightful comparison of Red Dwarf’s characters to Father Ted’s. If you want to know, Rimmer = Ted, Lister = Father Jack, Cat = Dougal, Kryten = Mrs Doyle.
    – KB mistakenly talks about some sci-fi story for a while that she thinks happens in a later Red Dwarf novel, with aliens playing netball or something. It doesn’t.


    Ben Saunders

    I was about to say wow, they’ve really thought about it, until the alien netball story. Do they mean the basketball game in Pete?



    She said that one of the later books had scenes where some aliens were playing netball and didn’t care about the score, and reading a novel where the protagonist dies halfway through but the book carries on, some kind of society where they don’t care any more or something. She listed the novels at the start but only got as far as ‘The Last Human’ (sic), not mentioning Backwards or the Rob and Doug split, so was probably just a fan of the first two novels and got teenage memories mixed up.


    Taiwan Tony

    It’s a good podcast, generally.
    I’d also add the conversations about story structure and Disney as noteworthy.
    It was lovely to hear them praising the writing, and the seamless partnership of Rob and Doug.



    The Hitch Hikers episode is great too as is Kevin Eldon on the Rutles.

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