When did you first read the novels?

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  • #228751

    Warbofrog

    Could you spare the time to complete this short survey for my course on… nah, I’d just like to know.

    1. How old were you when you read the novels? (Mainly the first one).

    2. How much Red Dwarf had you seen at that point?

    3. How do you think this impacted on your blah of etc. (Discuss?)

    #228752

    Warbofrog

    1. I was 11, saw the first book in the library when browsing the SF section for the first time.

    2. Brief snippets from IV but mainly post-Psirens VI at least twice through and probably VII, unless this was just before. Rd Dwarf had been a Starbug-based experience.

    3.

    I figured it was either a novelisation of how the series started – I assumed a loose adaptation (Jurassic Park’s book was different from the film, you see) – or maybe the backstory they never showed on TV if that had jumped right in.

    I was reminded about the adaptation thing when it got to Kryten’s origin, but otherwise I wasn’t thinking about that and just got caught up in the story. I don’t remember thinking that any of the random, often flimsily-connected escapades were probably all culled from different episodes, and it wasn’t jarring that the prose descriptions would give way to loads of dialogue during the Future Echoes/Me2 bits like it is now, it all just seemed to fit.

    My mental image of the Red Dwarf interiors was on the vast and realistic side. I saw some III & IV bytes a few months later and those seemed to fit in fine with what I’d imagined, if smaller, but when I saw series 1 a while after, I felt let down by the look, which I felt wasn’t doing those stories justice. I got over it.

    I read BTL a short time after, but it wasn’t such a page turner… not sure why, since I came to prefer it. A year or two later, I got the abridged audiobooks and Chris Barrie read them to me A LOT at bedtime. By then I’d probably caught up on the episodes, so appreciated the more direct-from-TV bits being left out in favour of the original novel plots, so those are what I think of when I think of the books. All in Chris Barrie’s voice(s). Girls, girls, girls and sex, sex, sex.

    Don’t have much to say about Last Human or Backwards.

    Well, I think that’s enough of a sample to confirm my hypothesis that the novels have deeper personal significance if you read them before seeing the relevant episodes. Feel free to chip in though.

    #228753

    MANI506

    I got the first two novels for my 12th birthday in 1992. I’d seen series 2, III, IV and V. Series I was extremely rare and I used to freeze frame the scene in the hologram simulation suite to try and see at least a bit of it.

    Anyway, I loved the whole of the first book but especially the Future Echoes section and I freaked myself out by imagining another version of myself walking in to the room like in the double Rimmer scene. When I finally saw series I the following year I generally loved the look of it but it bugged me that the stars from the sleeping quarters window were static when the ship was supposed to be traveling at light speed.

    Fave bit of the second book was Garbage World but now I appreciate how amazing the Better Than Life section is. It could almost be a Black Mirror/Inside No 9.

    Third book was long awaited (I got it for my 15th birthday) and at the time I wasn’t impressed although I like it now. Backwards passed me by a bit as by then we knew that series VII was being made which was a far more exciting prospect. When I got around to reading it I adored the Dimension Jump adaptation. I much prefer the abridged versions of Backwards and Last Human. Makes them tighter imo

    #228754

    Warbofrog

    It was the Future Echoes bit that blew me away most on the first reading too. But when I eventually saw the episode, there was no question it was the definitive take (in the way the Better Than Life and Backwards episodes weren’t).

    Actually, I’d read the Smegazine comic adaptation of (the end of) Future Echoes before I saw the episode, with its strangely modernised set and costume design. But I knew what series 1 was supposed to look like by then.

    #228755

    quinn_drummer

    I honestly can’t remember. Was a teenager probably, which would put me early 00s and I would have seen all of Red Dwarf at that point but maybe not so much that I knew it all inside out and back to front as I do now.

    #228756

    Dave

    Not long after the omnibus edition came out, after I’d seen V but (I think) either just before or just after VI had been televised. So I guess late 1993.

    #228757

    bloodteller

    >1. How old were you when you read the novels? (Mainly the first one).
    2. How much Red Dwarf had you seen at that point?
    3. How do you think this impacted on your blah of etc. (Discuss?)

    I was about 9 years old when i found “Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers” in my dad’s bookshelf. At the time I had only seen “Demons & Angels” so I didn’t really know too much about the show other than what the characters looked like.

    I remember reading through most of it on a long car journey and being incredibly interested by it all. my dad told me there was a TV show of it. i asked if it was like the book, where “he was all on Mimas being homeless” and my dad said no it started off with rimmer and lister fixing a soup machine. i was a bit put off but started watching it anyway, all the way from I-VIII. i remember being slightly disappointed that it wasn’t as grand and epic as in the book and that they never ended up getting back to Earth, but i enjoyed it anyway and that’s about it really

    #228758

    bloodteller

    in addition i remember being really freaked out by Last Human when i finally got around to reading that novel, i don’t remember if i ever actually finished reading it or not.

    needless to say i much preferred Backwards although i was genuinely horrified at the Gunmen adaptation where rimmer slowly gets boiled in his own melting flesh. that was just so disturbing

    #228760

    Warbofrog

    I never had much enthusiasm for the last two novels, what with them being solo projects and not read by Chris Barrie. I can’t remember anything from Backwards that’s not in the abridged audiobook, like the Gunmen stuff, so I don’t know if I ever finished the proper book.

    I chanced across all the horniest bits of Last Human during silent reading sessions at school (Kochanski sex, GELF sex, sperm donations). They were funnier in that enforced silence, pointing out choice lines to my friend.

    #228761

    bloodteller

    i vaguely remember Last Human having lots of really surreal and disturbing sections when i read it, like the cyber-prison Lister gets sent to, the parallel universe where the crew’s dead bodies are all found, and the flashbacks to lister’s foster mother. it all felt like a slightly off-brand version of red dwarf where everything is just a bit creepy and unsettling.

    the Rimmer/McGruder love story was rather sweet though

    #228762

    Warbofrog

    I must have read the first book before VII was broadcast (at least Nanarchy), since I hadn’t seen Norman’s Holly yet. I’d seen Hattie’s Holly briefly, and knew she was a character in the pre-VI series, but I didn’t understand why they’d changed her into a male for the book. And still kept the original, clearly female name.

    #228763

    bloodteller

    isn’t Holly called Holly because they’re a hologrammic computer though?

    i always thought that was the case since they call the stochastic(?) computer in Holoship “Stocky.”

    #228764

    Taiwan Tony

    1. About 13. I must have had pubes!

    2. A fair chunk of what was shown on TV. So up to Series VI.

    3. I love the books. The books might be the reason I prefer the earlier series to the later ones. Or my love for the earlier series could account for why I love the books. And although they are obviously connected, I sort of view them as separate entities. The books are untouchable. And the boys from the Dwarf will always, on paper, be cheeky, 20-something and have moderate acting ability. And Kochanski will always be Clare Grogan.

    You’ve made me want to read the books again.

    #228765

    Ben Saunders

    1) I started the first novel at 22 and haven’t finished it yet
    2) All of it
    3) I felt like Rimmer going to a brothel was a bit OOC honestly but to be honest it probably isn’t and I’ve not read that far into it, yet. I fully intend to, however.

    #228768

    bloodteller

    additional: i also recall picking up the novel for the first time, getting to chapter 1 where saunders punches himself in the dick and george gets his nose wrenched off by the mafia and wondering “who are these people and where is lister and the robot”

    the first few chapters of the novel really are interesting because they give you a glimpse of what society is actually like outside of the ship and the lives of the main characters, which is something i don’t think you really see in the show outside of that one section from The Inquisitor and certain parts of Samsara

    #228769

    Ben Saunders

    Oh, you have no idea how spooky it was for me to open the book on Christmas Day only to be greeted with “Saunders had been dead for almost two weeks now, and hadn’t enjoyed a minute of it.” Had I?

    #228772

    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    I stole my sister’s copy of the Omnibus when I was about eight, at which point I’d seen Series V and VI, but I didn’t actually read it for a long time. I then got the audiobooks for my birthday I few years later, having by then seen everything that existed at the time (up to VI), and listened to them straight away. It wasn’t until a couple of years after this that I actually read the books properly, and was shocked at just how much extra material was in there, compared to the abridged tapes.

    It’s interesting to note just how much the abridging changes your perception of the books. For Infinity, it pretty much skips from the accident to rescuing Kryten to the Better Than Life bits, which take up a much bigger proportion of the story as a result. For BTL, I recall the majority of the cuts were from later on, and so the game stuff is more prominent there too. Most interestingly, they skip the Polymorph stuff so Lister’s heart attack is brought on by old age, rather than being as a result of the confrontation.

    #228773

    International Debris

    1. How old were you when you read the novels? (Mainly the first one).
    It was a World Book Day type thing and our school had people in selling loads. I found the first four there and persuaded somebody to lend me the money to buy the first one (I never paid her back). I think this would have been 1998, so I was 13.

    2. How much Red Dwarf had you seen at that point?
    I’d probably seen all seven series, but I’d only got off-airs of IV, VI and VII. I might have had a couple of Remastered videos too. The others I hadn’t seen in a few years.

    3. How do you think this impacted on your blah of etc. (Discuss?)
    I couldn’t get used to ‘rip his nipples off’ in the TV version of Future Echoes, and similar small changes. I’ve always taken elements like Z Shift, Lister and Kochanski’s relationship, Kryten’s history etc. as canon.

    #228774

    Hamish

    1)
    It was 2008, when I was 14, that I went through all of the audio books for the first time. I have only just finished reading the full unabridged Backwards novel, and I am about halfway through Last Human.

    2)
    Every show that had been made up to that point, but just barely – that was also the same year that I finished watching all of the Red Dwarf DVDs for the first time.

    3)
    Honestly the first Red Dwarf novel is the only one I can wholeheartedly recommend. Both Better Than Life and Backwards share an unrelenting bleakness that just puts me off them in a way that IWCD never did, and Last Human is a bit too off brand as has already been stated. If anything going through the full Backwards novel lowered my opinion of it, as it just left more room for Rob Grant’s obsessive torture porn, with me actually starting to feel a little bit revolted during the Gunmen bit. Besides, part of the joy of the Gunmen episode is Andy De Emmony’s tight direction, so the novel version just reads as a flabbier imitation of that.

    I would have much preferred it if the BTL plot had been wrapped up quicker in the second novel to make more room for life on board ship parts like in IWCD before moving onto Garbage World, and I still don’t like how missing the flight window in Backwards reverts Lister and the Cat to teenagers, even if it does allow the novel to make a nice subversion of the “jail bait ball girl” joke. Does anything new really get explored by the BTL bits in the second novel, other than just more elaboration on Rimmer’s self-loathing? It feels redundant to me, especially when so much of the first book was already dedicated to covering it.

    So yeah, mixed feelings then. IWCD is just about perfect though.

    #228776

    bloodteller

    >it just left more room for Rob Grant’s obsessive torture porn

    so THAT’S why Backwards is so gruesome? i never really realized that when i read it, i just thought it was being gory and nightmarish in the Gunmen Of The Apocalypse segment to make the whole thing a bit more scary

    that certainly does explain the out-of-nowhere chapter where the Cat tears up a women’s vagina and then runs off and it’s never really talked about again though

    #228777

    Dave

    It’s been a while since I read it, but aren’t the consequences talked about quite a bit before it happens (in true Backwards-world style)? The act itself is the payoff to the setup.

    It’s still very unpleasant, though.

    #228778

    bloodteller

    oh and of course there’s the Agonoids section in which they have somehow turned the ship into a giant torture chamber and are discussing various torture implements to use on Lister to keep him alive but in as much pain as possible.

    i think that section was the only bit of literature i’ve ever read that’s legitimately made me shudder in disgust. the only bit of it i can recall is them planning to use a cocktail umbrella to scrape out the insides of lister’s penis, but either way i recall the whole chapter being rather fucked up

    #228779

    Ben Paddon

    One of my parents’d bought “Last Human”, so I started reading it. I was 11 at the time. Later, I found “Backwards” in the school library. At the time I had no idea they were a separate continuity.

    #228780

    International Debris

    Yes, it got under my skin in a rather horrible way as a kid. Also Ace’s rather graphic death.

    #228781

    Dax101

    I got Last human when i was like 10 years old and i only remember reading parts of it on random pages, so i kinda already knew Rimmers fate even though i hadn’t read the book fully.

    Technically the first time i actually got through one of the books was seeing the Infinity welcomes careful drivers abridged audiobook in a library and loaned it out to see what it was like.

    What i was expecting from it was Chris just narrating the book but when i realised chris was doing impressions of the cast incredibly well i was hooked on it.

    So really the audiobooks were my first take on the novels.

    #228782

    Pete Part Three

    1. How old were you when you read the novels? (Mainly the first one).

    12 for Infinity and BTL. And no, I wasn’t a full member of the book club.

    2. How much Red Dwarf had you seen at that point?

    I can’t remember for Infinity and BTL; probably no further than Series 4 . I got Last Human and Backwards on publication date, so 1-6 (apart from Psirens) and 1-6 (inclusive) respectively.

    3. How do you think this impacted on your blah of etc. (Discuss?)

    I can actually remember buying Infinity and then eagerly starting to read it in the back of my dad’s car ( Incredible. Bentley V8 convertible) . No, really. I think I was a bit surprised reading it and seeing the differences of the first series, which I found a bit jarring at first as I was expecting more of a novelization of the show than a novel. I was probably expecting it to open on the first scene of The End, so the stuff about Saunders and his rubber plant were all very strange.

    Clearly, I was a twat. I love the first half of the book. It’s the best bit of all the novels. Lister lusting after Kochanski (but Kochanski never getting any actual dialogue) is the best realization of their relationship because it sidesteps the problem of making this fantasy into a character. Likewise, Rimmer’s exam technique is just brilliant characterization of him, it’s perfect. It also does a better job at explaining what’s going through Rimmer’s head in The End when he’s taking his astro-nav (the palm print, the blowing “between” the sheets).

    Likewise the stuff with the Duplicate Rimmer is also much better realised than Me2, with the bit about the two not sharing mints and getting on each others tits, being stuff that really wouldn’t work onscreen.

    I hadn’t seen It’s A Wonderful Life when I first read the book (and don’t think I did for another 5 or so years), so that stuff was a little odd to me and I don’t think I even guessed what U = BTL meant, despite having already seen the episode several times.

    Better Than Life is pretty great too. I love the reveal of who Trixie La Bouche is. The pace of the novel seems a bit off though, as Lister seems to hurtle from one disaster to the next. He comes out of BTL, is extrremely ill, has to play pool with planets, crashlands on Garbage Land, ages in the blink of an eye (to the others), and then dies of a heart-attack after battling the Polymorph. There doesn’t seem to be much status quo of “Life on Red Dwarf”.

    I raced through Last Human in one day. I’ve never been keen. It’s not really Red Dwarf to me, and the chunks of the episodes it recycles stuff from don’t seem to sit easily in the narrative. It all seems a bit more Star Trek than Red Dwarf, with a strangely populated galaxy of gelf tribes and civilizations. For example, Reketrebn, the symbimorph who helps Lister escape Cyberia, reminds me of that shapeshifter in The Undiscovered Country who helps Kirk and Bones escape from that prison planet. The other new characters are also shite. Kochanski in utterly bland, and Michael McGruder is just (and that whole storyline) is…NO. And I DETEST the stuff about Rimmer’s brothers all getting chips implanted, explaining why they’re all marvelous and Rimmer is hopeless.

    I actually did English Literature coursework, comparing Last Human and Backwards. I like Backwards quite a bit more in terms of the prose, but I don’t think the story hangs together at all. They spend YEARS on Backwards Earth, get on Starbug, find Holly…who dies, Ace pops in for a bit and -um- dies, then they play Gunmen, then Rimmer and Kryten -um- die…then the teenage (?) Lister and Cat fuck off to another dimension. It’s kind of too hard to be invested when you re-read this one, as they never get where they’re supposed to get to (Red Dwarf), almost everyone dies, and then they ditch their original dimension anyway.. Curiously, the framing device around the novel is stuff about Rimmer and Ace (both of whom stuff it) as if the overall story is about them.

    Sorry. I’m drunk. I got a bit carried away.

    #228784

    Hamish

    > so THAT’S why Backwards is so gruesome?

    I have no idea why Backwards is so gruesome, but Rob Grant does seem to rather like writing about torture and gore. I comes up again in Colony as far as I can recall, although that is the only other book of his I have been exposed to.

    #228785

    Hamish

    > oh and of course there’s the Agonoids section in which they have somehow turned the ship into a giant torture chamber and are discussing various torture implements to use on Lister to keep him alive but in as much pain as possible … i think that section was the only bit of literature i’ve ever read that’s legitimately made me shudder in disgust.

    To be honest that bit did not bother me as much because there is a certain dark comic aspect in finding the most roundabout ways of using every day household implements to inflict pain in the most ridiculous of ways. It at least felt a bit more justified than half the rest of the shit that Rob Grant actually put people through.

    #228786

    Paul Muller

    I have a very vague memory of reading Last Human to an (extremely elderly) primary school teacher. I must have been about 10 at the time. Luckily I think we only got a few pages in, so she was mercifully spared the horrors to come.

    #228787

    Hamish

    LISTER: Or Rob Grant – what a bastard!
    RIMMER: Eh?
    LISTER: He’s the big fat git who comes up with all these unspeakable ways to inflict pain using all of the kid’s favourite toys!

    #228788

    Warbofrog

    >Rimmer’s exam technique is just brilliant characterization of him,

    That’s probably the book’s greatest legacy for me – novel Rimmer has always informed how I see series 1 Rimmer on-screen. It makes The End and Me² more meaningful, and the brief gag about him wasting weeks making his revision timetable in Balance of Power has a rich backstory.

    It’s not the same for novel Lister. I never imagined that all the Mimas stuff happened before The End, since it wasn’t mentioned. He was just an ex-supermarket trolley attendant who had a home on Earth where he might conceivably have left a light on in the bathroom and sausages on the table.

    #228789

    Dax101

    >I have a very vague memory of reading Last Human to an (extremely elderly) primary school teacher. I must have been about 10 at the time. Luckily I think we only got a few pages in, so she was mercifully spared the horrors to come.

    So you didn’t get to the kochanski/lister sex scene?… that would have been awkward to read.

    #228790

    Paul Muller

    God I hope not. She’d have probably phoned social services there and then.

    #228791

    Dave

    That’s probably the book’s greatest legacy for me – novel Rimmer has always informed how I see series 1 Rimmer on-screen. It makes The End and Me² more meaningful, and the brief gag about him wasting weeks making his revision timetable in Balance of Power has a rich backstory.

    Same for me. That early Rimmer stuff from the books does a great job of fleshing out the small amount of pre-accident Rimmer we see on-screen.

    #228792

    bloodteller

    >LISTER: Or Rob Grant – what a bastard!
    RIMMER: Eh?
    LISTER: He’s the big fat git who comes up with all these unspeakable ways to inflict pain using all of the kid’s favourite toys!

    this made me laugh out loud, nice one

    #228793

    Warbofrog

    >Ben Saunders: I started the first novel at 22 and haven’t finished it yet

    Come on, it’s “new” Grant Naylor Red Dwarf! But the long stretches that are just copy-pasted script extracts with “said Rimmer” inserted are probably tedious and off-putting if you’ve seen the episodes, I might even skip those if I read it again. There’s plenty of new and expanded stuff to look forward to though, but maybe not as affecting if you didn’t read it as a Dwarf-deprived adolescent.

    >I felt like Rimmer going to a brothel was a bit OOC honestly but to be honest it probably isn’t

    It’s a droid brothel, isn’t it? That’s less weird to me than thinking of TV Rimmer fucking an inflatable doll.

    #228794

    Flap Jack

    I’ve only listened to the audiobook versions of the first 2 novels, but nonetheless.

    1. 24.

    2. ALL OF IT – except for Series XII because that hadn’t been broadcast yet.

    3. Wow, OK, that’s a broad question. I’ll try to break my reaction to the novels into points:

    • I really liked a lot of the back-story expansion and pre-accident story stuff, especially the details about the development of the cat race, Lister’s first meeting with Rimmer and induction to Red Dwarf, Rimmer’s whole exam ordeal, and his stasis habit too.
    • However, I hated any major detail which contradicted the TV version. Lister got himself sentenced to time in stasis on purpose? Hate it. Kryten was directly responsible for getting the crew killed due to inexplicably being crap at his only job? Hate it. “Zero-Gee Football: It’s A Funny Old Game by Joe Klump”? HATE. IT. They got it backwards; Lister is meant to be kind of thick (at least in the beginning) and Kryten is supposed to be smart. Yes, yes, I know, skeletons, but the show makes it clear that’s the exception, not the rule.
    • Compared to the TV version, there was a definite shift towards drama, which made for some really good set pieces, but on the whole really wasn’t that funny to me. Classic dialogue exchanges fall a bit flat when it’s just multiple Chris Barries with no audience..
    • So… Better Than Life The Book was really one made for Talkie Toaster fans, eh?
    • There’s so much bitterness and bleakness in these books. The 2 Rimmers are both around for much longer and torture each other way more, Holly revives Talkie out of pure loneliness and they end up hating each other too, Lister and Rimmer basically just straight up loathe each other even more than on TV, everyone is almost killed by Better Than Life, Lister spends several decades just barely managing to survive all alone on Garbage World before dying of a heart attack… there’s no everyday life on Red Dwarf here to make it feel like a sitcom, just constant danger and sadness.
    • The concept of the black hole causing time to move at different speeds in different parts of the ship is brilliant, and I’m surprised the show itself didn’t copy the idea back (not that I’d replace the time trickery we did get in White Hole!). I actually finished listening to Better Than Life less than a week before the Doctor Who episode “World Enough And Time” aired, which was a fun coincidence for me.
    • Something felt… off about Lister’s fantasy being It’s A Wonderful Life. Not just the fact that we never got any indication that this was a fixation for him before this, but the fact that it’s so specific and limited. Surely a Lister fantasy would be more inventive than just “Lister, in one specific part of It’s A Wonderful Life” – and definitely involve a farm on Fiji? As with so many Marilyn Monroe mentions, it felt more like Doug and Rob were the George Bailey fanboys, not Lister.
    • The structure is still very episodic despite the format, which unfortunately prevents either book from feeling like it has a proper overarching story. Hitchhiker’s Guide has this problem too, of course, but Hitchhiker’s has a style and humour that better suits it. Also, I can confirm that ending a book on a cliffhanger is just as annoying as ending a series on one.
    • Garbage World as a concept is great. It was the one part that felt truly Adamsian in its view of the future, and could have been a genuine direction the TV show could have gone in, if they wanted to be a bit darker.
    • The Cat’s BTL fantasy was perfect; Rimmer’s was good, especially with how bizarre the Trixie stuff got, but the amount of complexity involved with his multiple marriages and such seemed a bit needless. I don’t even remember Kryten’s fantasy; something about doing a nice bit of ironing?
    • Chris Barrie’s reading is just spot on for so much of these audiobooks. I think I would have listened to the remaining 2 novels by now if he’d done those as well.

    Phew. Anyway, on the whole, I’d say that Red Dwarf (affectionately known as “Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers”) and Better Than Life are… fine. Yep.

    #228795

    Pete Part Three

    >Something felt… off about Lister’s fantasy being It’s A Wonderful Life.Not just the fact that we never got any indication that this was a fixation for him before this, but the fact that it’s so specific and limited.

    IAWL is seeded early in the novel as being the favourite film of both him and Kochanksi. (Were you listening to the abridged versions?, as maybe it’s not in that). Lister’s annoyance when he discovers that they are in BTL and he could have dreamt a little bigger comes up, but it’s indicated that the game is trying to conceal itself by going relatively subtle (being a far more devious type of game than the TV episode’s version of a genie lamp. Plus, Lister craves a simple life (in contrast to Rimmer and The Cat).

    The fact that Lister can’t really leave Bedford Falls, just as George Bailey never could, is really neat too.

    >I can confirm that ending a book on a cliffhanger is just as annoying as ending a series on one.
    I *LOVE* that last line. It could just as easily be an ending.

    >Garbage World as a concept is great. It was the one part that felt truly Adamsian in its view of the future, and could have been a genuine direction the TV show could have gone in, if they wanted to be a bit darker.

    It seemed to have at least reached the draft stage, as Ed Bye mentions a script for the TV show where the crew mount huge cockroaches in “Six of the Best”.

    >Lister got himself sentenced to time in stasis on purpose? Hate it. Kryten was directly responsible for getting the crew killed due to inexplicably being crap at his only job? Hate it.

    Never really had a problem with the Lister change (or Rimmer no longer being responsible for the radiation leak) but the Kryten thing is unnecessary. Seemed to wander into the TV show in Ouroborous (“You killed the crew, Kryten! No wonder you ended up on your own! All right, it was an accident, but nevertheless… “)

    #228799

    bloodteller

    >Lister and Rimmer basically just straight up loathe each other even more than on TV

    yeah, i remember at one point in the novel Lister is incredibly cruel and callous towards Rimmer (something about him hating him so much he’d rather drink his own shit every day?) to which Rimmer seems genuinely hurt and offended. it felt a bit out of character for him to be so downright horrible

    in the TV show, you get the sense that although they argue and moan about each other a lot, they’re actually fairly good friends

    #228803

    Flap Jack

    IAWL is seeded early in the novel as being the favourite film of both him and Kochanksi. (Were you listening to the abridged versions?, as maybe it’s not in that). Lister’s annoyance when he discovers that they are in BTL and he could have dreamt a little bigger comes up, but it’s indicated that the game is trying to conceal itself by going relatively subtle (being a far more devious type of game than the TV episode’s version of a genie lamp. Plus, Lister craves a simple life (in contrast to Rimmer and The Cat).

    Ah, I wasn’t listening to the abridged versions, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t just forget that detail. Fair enough!

    I can’t exactly pinpoint why Lister’s fantasy feels off to me, because it does make sense for Lister to want a simple, calm life like that.

    Maybe it’s that everyone else’s fantasies are original settings, while Lister’s is literally just It’s A Wonderful Life. With the other fantasies, you can kind of buy that Earth might just be like that in the distant future, but Lister’s fantasy makes the artifice immediately obvious.

    Surely if the game was trying to stop Lister realising it wasn’t real, it would put him in a scenario that was like Bedford Falls, but not literally Bedford Falls. If it’s his favourite ever movie, then Lister of all people should have recognised it as a fiction straight away.

    #228807

    Plastic Percy

    When I was eleven, so around 1999. I read the first book after picking it up at a school jumble sale. I’d seen a few bits and pieces previously, parts of Stoke Me a Clipper and Epideme. I was utterly surprised when I first saw The End as I had figured that the books matched the series pretty faithfully.

    #228809

    Pete Part Three

    >lSurely if the game was trying to stop Lister realising it wasn’t real, it would put him in a scenario that was like Bedford Falls, but not literally Bedford Falls. If it’s his favourite ever movie, then Lister of all people should have recognised it as a fiction straight away

    Well, it’s not really. In Infinity, the explanation is that there is a real town by this name (believable) where fans of the film live and honour the fiilm It’s basically a Capra-convention. Lister goes by the pseudonym “George Bailey” (although this seems to be abandoned in the second novel) and the other residents treat it as an in-joke.

    Although, tbf; this explanation isn’t presented as the reason why it’s always Christmas Eve. Even Lister twigs that this is a bit strange.

    #228810

    clem

    Also the game works by making the player so happy and content that they don’t question anything odd. Stuff doesn’t just pop into existence as if by magic like in the version in the episode, but impossible things still happen, like Lister’s baby son driving a car.

    #228812

    bloodteller

    i always liked the way the “Earth” section of the book was put together, because on your first read you’re sort of tricked into thinking they really have managed to get back to Earth and that this is really how it’s going to end.

    at least for me, the revelation that they’re in Better Than Life was as much as a twist for me as it was for the characters-the curious absence of kryten and the repeated statement about lister’s arms hurting slowly clues you in that something isn’t quite right, but i never really realized that they were in the game until the bit where it’s stated the second message on his arm is “U=BTL”. it’s quite a clever bit of plot twist and the foreshadowing of it during the Future Echoes part is quite well done too

    #228814

    Flap Jack

    Well, it’s not really. In Infinity, the explanation is that there is a real town by this name (believable) where fans of the film live and honour the fiilm It’s basically a Capra-convention. Lister goes by the pseudonym “George Bailey” (although this seems to be abandoned in the second novel) and the other residents treat it as an in-joke.

    OK, I guess my attempts to look for wholly rational reasons not to like the Bedford Falls fantasy didn’t go to plan. My only remaining rationale is that Bedford Falls requires an extra level of fakery. Better Than Life has constructed the fantasy, but Lister has constructed a fantasy within the fantasy.

    #228817

    Dax101

    >at least for me, the revelation that they’re in Better Than Life was as much as a twist for me as it was for the characters-the curious absence of kryten and the repeated statement about lister’s arms hurting slowly clues you in that something isn’t quite right.

    Its a great twist and its pretty dark and horrific

    #228821

    Dax101

    >Surely if the game was trying to stop Lister realising it wasn’t real, it would put him in a scenario that was like Bedford Falls, but not literally Bedford Falls. If it’s his favourite ever movie, then Lister of all people should have recognised it as a fiction straight away.

    I think the book does mention that even lister was shocked a place like that even existed where people who loved the film got to live in a town exactly like bedford falls.

    I think its more of a case that lister had no reason to be suspicious because to him he was back on earth and he remembers getting back to earth.

    #228823

    Warbofrog

    This topic has inspired myself to read the books again (at least the good ones). I’ve just got to the accident and Frankenstein being safely sealed in the hold. Good, innit?

    Red Dwarf’s introduction to the reader with a Star Trek: The Motion Picture style flyaround is immense in the literal and colloquial senses. Book Red Dwarf has a crew of 11,000+, I didn’t remember that.

    There are also lots more little touches that originated in the novels than I remembered: light bees, Rimmer’s Io backstory and brothers, Salt: An Epicure’s Delight, an Alsatian dog after a head swap operation, smallprint hidden in a microdot on the letter I, a scientist claiming to have isolated the positive virus of love. I could go on. I won’t go on.

    #228825

    Lily

    Okay so I’ve never read the books as I presumed they were essentially novelizations of the shows.

    But skimming this thread has me horrified enough to pique my interest.

    #228831

    Flap Jack

    Okay so I’ve never read the books as I presumed they were essentially novelizations of the shows.

    But skimming this thread has me horrified enough to pique my interest.

    Oh, now I feel bad for this thread containing so many plot details.

    Despite my complaints, I do definitely recommend the first 2 novels, because no matter how good or bad things are in the moment, the divergences from the TV series are always interesting.

    FWIW, it’s not too much of a financial risk to try them out. The books are all super cheap used, and the unabridged Chris Barrie audiobooks are pretty reasonably priced on both iTunes and Audible.

    By the way, does anyone know what the difference is between the unabridged audiobook versions of IWCD/BTL and the “Radio Show” versions? They seem to be a lot shorter, but cost 2-3 times as much. If they’re just abridged versions, then that’s seriously terrible value for money.

    #228834

    Pete Part Three

    They also have sound-effects. They were re-edited for BBC World (Radio) in the nineties.

    #228838

    Flap Jack

    Well… at least it’s something. One for the money-rich/time-poor among us, I suppose.

    #228839

    bloodteller

    i checked out the abridged “radio show” versions on youtube a while ago. they really do skip over a lot of it, especially the post-accident stuff where they’re just hanging out on the ship before finding the Nova 5. this makes some of it feel a bit rushed, but i think they’re still worth listening to. the music added to them is really good too- the music as the radiation leak happens is incredibly intense, and the “ending” music to the Better Than Life show adds to the emotional impact of that scene

    #228841

    Flap Jack

    Good to know! Perhaps I’ll consider those versions next time I want to re-listen to the novels, but it probably makes more sense to go unabridged if you’ve never read the novels before.

    #228845

    Dax101

    Okay so I’ve never read the books as I presumed they were essentially novelizations of the shows.

    But skimming this thread has me horrified enough to pique my interest.

    Infinity and BTL are definitely worth a read or even a listen too if you go with the audio books.

    There are several plots and elements from the shows in each novel but for the most part they are their own stories.

    #228861

    International Debris

    Okay so I’ve never read the books as I presumed they were essentially novelizations of the shows.

    But skimming this thread has me horrified enough to pique my interest.

    As others have said, they’re greatly expanded versions of the show with lots of new stuff. IWCD is closest to the show, but probably the best standalone read. Once you get to Better Than Life, the differences between the TV and book versions are much bigger. Rob’s Backwards is rooted in episodes, but expands them much, much further than the first two books (the titular episode is given physics that makes sense, for example), and Doug’s Last Human is practically an entirely new story (+ universe) with a few scenes from the show transplanted in.

    #228873

    clem

    > Kryten was directly responsible for getting the crew killed due to inexplicably being crap at his only job? Hate it.

    That’s interesting. The bit about washing the computer is daft, but I think it works with the novel version of Kryten, the first two novels anyway. In my head he’s much more like David Ross’s Kryten than Bobby Llew’s, and doesn’t become the de facto science officer/ know-it-all exposition machine to nearly the same extent as in the series, so doing something so ridiculous doesn’t seem as far fetched.

    > “Zero-Gee Football: It’s A Funny Old Game by Joe Klump”?

    I think I’m right in saying that was a change made for the Omnibus, and in the original version of Infinity… it’s by Kevin Keegan as per the TV show. And obviously just Football rather than Zero-Gee. I don’t like that change either.

    #228874

    clem

    Anyway,

    1. 11

    2. Became a fan during the 1994 repeats and I’m pretty sure I must have read the Omnibus during that run, or very shortly thereafter. Christopher Smith in the year above used to let me look at his copy on the school bus before I had my own.

    3. This thread has made me want to read all the novels again but the first two are where it’s at. I read that Omnibus to death and it might well be the most dog-eared book I own. It’s just so rich and contains so many brilliant quotes and passages that have lodged in my brain. A few that come to mind and haven’t been mentioned yet: (SPOILERS)

    – “Aquamarine with a diagonal lemon stripe”
    – Rimmer complaining at great length about Red Dwarf not having a STOP button, and how relatively cheap even a jewel-encrusted one would be.
    – The chapter about the evolution of the cat people, figuring out what a tin-opener’s for and all that, interspersed with Holly gurning for thousands of years and going senile.
    – The Nova 5’s mission. COKE ADDS LIFE
    – “I’m a bleeding technisherrn, don’t yew know!”
    – Juanita’s goldfish bowl bra.
    – The Cat’s castle with the milk moat. Hunting dogs and playing croquet with gerbils.
    – KIT stands for Keep It Tidy, or Ken Is a Transvestite

    The two solo novels do have their moments. I love the young Rimmer chapters in Backwards. Great covers, too.

    #228877

    Flap Jack

    That’s interesting. The bit about washing the computer is daft, but I think it works with the novel version of Kryten, the first two novels anyway. In my head he’s much more like David Ross’s Kryten than Bobby Llew’s, and doesn’t become the de facto science officer/ know-it-all exposition machine to nearly the same extent as in the series, so doing something so ridiculous doesn’t seem as far fetched.

    It’s kind of hard to feel the David Ross vibe in the audiobook when Chris Barrie is doing a near-perfect Bobby impression throughout. =P

    But my main problem isn’t that Kryten should be a super expert in all things scientific like he is in the show, it’s that his entire job is CLEANING on a SPACESHIP, yet he somehow doesn’t know that he shouldn’t just clog all the electrical equipment with soapy water. This is meant to be his one area of expertise!

    I think I’m right in saying that was a change made for the Omnibus, and in the original version of Infinity… it’s by Kevin Keegan as per the TV show.

    Wait… WAIT. They changed things between the solo edition of Infinity and the omnibus/audiobook?! How many things did they change? And why? Did they really need to do “Remastered” for the books as well as the episodes?

    #228878

    bloodteller

    i think they corrected a number of things between the original and Omnibus editions of the books. the only one that springs to mind is the fix of continuity error regarding exactly how many times Rimmer has failed his exams

    #228880

    clem

    > They changed things between the solo edition of Infinity and the omnibus/audiobook?! How many things did they change?

    I dunno about the audiobooks but I think both the Grant Naylor novels had changes made for the Omnibus. Apparently it’s only a few minor alterations. Another one might be the song played at McIntyre’s funeral which I’m almost sure isn’t See Ya Later, Alligator in the Omnibus like it is on TV. I’ve only ever read the Omnibus versions.

    It’s just occurred to me writing that that if I’m right about McIntyre’s funeral song, the Netflix version makes three variants of that joke. Gonna have to check what that song is tomorrow. In bed now.

    #228881

    Warbofrog

    Finished the first book and loved it. Even if you hadn’t seen the series, it’s really well structured with some great character development.

    “I always thought you saw me as a sort of big brother character. Heck – we don’t always get on. But then, what brothers do? Cain didn’t always get on with Abel.”

    Lister tries to cheat his way back to Earth through a smart but lazy stasis scheme, which goes wrong. When he eventually spots another chance of getting home using the Nova 5 drive, he puts his brains to use and becomes a hard worker for months. Alright, so that doesn’t exactly go to plan either.

    (It was very satisfying to see Red Dwarf’s mining equipment actually put to use. Rob & Doug must have been pretty pleased with themselves when they thought of that. If you hadn’t seen the series, you’d think the mining ship detail was just another bit of seeding like the book’s jam-packed with).

    Rimmer’s development is a bit more forced and on the nose as he gets an objective view of himself. It’s the same thing Me² already did for TV Rimmer, but still works great here.

    And when everyone’s learned those lessons and become better people, we’re treated to a crazy coda that’s got the most concentrated laughs of the whole book, leaving us on a compelling cliffhanger.

    “A fifteen-month-old baby driving into town to get some milk for his brother. It was barely believable.”

    Reading again, the Future Echoes bit stood out as the weakest. As classic as those scenes are, it’s a bit of an awkward deviation into episodic territory, and I don’t think the future visions amount to anything in the book continuity, though maybe they wanted to keep that open just in case (is the old Lister in the next book connected to the old Lister in this one?). More time settling into the lonely cosmos and getting to know Cat would have been a better use of the time, but it’s not like Rob & Doug weren’t busy enough writing Red Dwarf III.

    #228883

    Pete Part Three

    >Reading again, the Future Echoes bit stood out as the weakest.

    Yes, agreed. It’s not really expanded on like the other episodes that are lifted (with the only real change being Rimmer seeing Lister’s grandson’s death). I’m guessing it’s mainly in the novel simply to justify Lister not going straight back into Stasis (which is never actually explicitly stated in the show).

    #228889

    Warbofrog

    Better Than Life re-review:

    The Officers Quarters era novel. Some excellent high-concept sci-fi comedy, but light on character compared to the previous one. And not all that funny, but maybe that’s because the funniest bits are in the copy-pasted dialogue that I have to credit to the episodes.

    It’s true that Lister never gets a break and is hurled from one ordeal to the next, but the ending makes up for that. First by having him point that tendency out, when he realises he’s been marooned for the long-haul a second time, and then by giving him a surprisingly happy ending that beats his BTL fantasy.

    The BTL bit itself wasn’t all that enjoyable, dragging on, repeating the same stuff from last time and actually getting quite depressing. I like the Holly/Toaster stuff, but the planet-potting works much better when you can see it, as does the Polymorph action which was the clear culling candidate for the abridged audiobook. The Marooned section also felt like a page-filling segue they’d been lucky to find a place for, but it’s understandable they’d want to recycle as much material as they could. There was more of that than I remembered, and even though I hadn’t seen these episodes when I first read it, they didn’t stand out in the way Future Echoes and Me2 did in the first book.

    What I REALLY liked is the time dilation stuff, the brief Backwards snippet at the end, and Garbage World most of all. That’s some great pessimistic world-building, and what a way to subvert expectations when its identity is revealed: the “mission” is over in the middle of book two.

    #228891

    Pete Part Three

    The Backwards stuff at the end is great – much better than the depiction of that idea in the episode, and really no similarity to it at all.

    >the “mission” is over in the middle of book two.

    There’s a vague attempt at setting a new one; Lister wants to toe it back to the Solar System (why?), although this is discarded pretty sharpish.

    #228893

    Warbofrog

    I think he admitted towing Earth was just for sentimental reasons, but don’t know how he planned to achieve it.

    Grant Naylor probably at least had a vague plan for Lister creating the universe in their next book (jump started?) Maybe that’s why it’s the universe that’s “wrong.”

    Did Holly recover from only having a few seconds of life remaining and no conceivable way of being fixed? Erm, I think they put some ointment on him. Considering Holly can provide instructions for turning ashes back into a human being, he could probably just print instructions again.

    #228902

    Dax101

    I feel like the Polymorph stuff in BTL was inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing. there is just something kinda horrific about the way its described in bits.

    Once they leave the game in BTL i notice the overall tone changes and i wonder whether all of the BTL stuff was actually written back with Infinity welcomes careful drivers and they just decided to end it on a cliffhanger instead and use the rest with the next book.

    #228905

    bloodteller

    There’s a vague attempt at setting a new one; Lister wants to toe it back to the Solar System (why?), although this is discarded pretty sharpish.

    you would think it would’ve come up again in Backwards or Last Human that they’ve got the entire planet Earth chained onto the back of the ship, but it never is mentioned again.

    then again both Backwards and Last Human sort of seem to forget about the previous two books at some point in their stories, what with Starbug somehow being back despite it being melted to shit by acid rain

    #228924

    clem

    Sorry to bang on but re McIntyre’s funeral music: turns out I was thinking of the pilot script in the Omnibus. The song is Stevie Wonder’s ‘Heaven is 10 zillion light years away’. And what I remembered as croquet with gerbils for balls is polo with unspecified small furry creatures for balls.

    I can kind of see why they did it but I’m not all that keen on the change to the reason for the cats’ holy war to Cloister/Clister. Cardboard hats is funnier.

    #228925

    bloodteller

    >I can kind of see why they did it but I’m not all that keen on the change to the reason for the cats’ holy war to Cloister/Clister. Cardboard hats is funnier.

    yeah, the cardboard hats thing is funnier because it’s such a simple and meaningless thing to start a war over, as well as the eventual punchline of “…they were supposed to be green!” cloister/clister doesn’t really have a joke to it, it’s just an unfortunate misspelling.

    #228927

    Ben Saunders

    I love Craig’s delivery of “yeah that’s me, Cloister the Stupid!” because it’s like he doesn’t realise what he’s saying until the very final syllable, on the “-pid” and by that time it’s too late. Cloister is funnier than Clister tbh

    #228933

    clem

    I love that too. Waiting For God is really underrated imo. 48th place in the Pearl Poll? Fuck off.

    #228935

    Warbofrog

    I wonder what possessed Grant Naylor to limit the universe options to six in Better Than Life, considering all the alternate universe stories they like to tell.

    Last Human has the evil Lister universe (any more?), while Backwards covers five at least (Backwards universe, Ace universe, dead-Ace universe, proper universe, they-died-playing-BTL universe). And Last Human and Backwards are in different universes. And none apart from the Backwards universe seem to be the “right” way round.

    #228936

    bloodteller

    maybe the “six different universes” in BTL are different from the “infinite parallel realities” mentioned in Backwards?

    or maybe Rob Grant just forgot, i dont know

    #228937

    Warbofrog

    They mostly use “reality,” but interchange with “universe” sometimes. Clearly Backwards takes place in the universe where there are infinite universes.

    #228939

    Dax101

    Rob and Doug probably forgot certain details when it came to writing their own novels 5 or 6 years later.

    Whats interesting about BTL is that by the end of the novel Rimmer seems to be much more caring about what happens to lister and expressed some joy that Lister wasn’t gone for good… but with Robs novel Rimmer went back to being a goit again who didn’t care what happened to lister and just wanted to leave on backwards world to save his own butt.

    #228949

    Ben Saunders

    Both Rob with Backwards and Doug with XI seem to have come to the conclusion that writing Rimmer as an out and out bastard is easier/better

    #228950

    Warbofrog

    Backwards: I liked it more than I remembered and expected, but definitely has its problems. Compared to the smooth adaptation segues of the previous two, this feels more like a three-byte video of random episodes with minimal cross-fading.

    The Backwards part has some unpleasantness, but the backwards logic keeps it interesting and it’s not overlong. Youthing Lister and Cat is bonkers though, especially since we only just corrected Lister’s age in the other direction. Grant pretty much disregards this distracting detail towards the end when it’s hardly mentioned. Maybe he regretted digging that pointless hole. So we’ve done that, on to the next episode.

    Dimension Jump was a good choice for the novel expansion treatment, especially for giving us more of “Spanners” Lister’s background and clarifying exactly where his path forked – continuing the theme of Prime Rimmer ruining things for everyone even when he’s not trying. Shame it doesn’t really go anywhere once Ace crosses over, his ship being the only consequence of any of that. No Infinity-style growth for Rimmer upon encountering himself, he’s going to be dead again soon anyway.

    High Midnight is where everything goes to shit. The Agonoid scenes themselves are fine, their OTT violence obsession being turned on themselves is probably funny if you like that sort of thing, I used to more than I do now. But then that death and gore bleeds into a once-charming Western pastiche and everything ends on a downbeat note.

    #228953

    bloodteller

    so out of interest, what’s the general consensus on the “canon” of the novels? personally i only ever considered IWCD and BTL to be canon, since both sequel novels just aren’t really that great compared to them, as well as pretty much ruining the happy note that BTL ends on.

    #228956

    Hamish

    I personally do consider Backwards to be cannon, but only because I am still hoping that Rob Grant will sit down some day and write a follow up.

    #228959

    Warbofrog

    Last Human’s not great.

    #228960

    Flap Jack

    None of the books are canon in the general sense, because they all massively contradict the TV versions.

    In terms of whether Last Human or Backwards is canon to the first 2 novels, I’d say they both have equal claim.

    #228962

    Dave

    I took the question to be about the canon of the novels alone – otherwise yes, there are loads of contradictions with the TV show.

    For me, Backwards is a better continuation of the first two novels, so I choose that as the ‘official’ third book over Last Human. Too many details in Last Human just feel ‘off’ to me.

    #228963

    Jimboid

    #228964

    Jimboid

    Ah, fuck. Uploaded the wrong image.

    Why can’t I edit my post?

    #228966

    bloodteller

    >I took the question to be about the canon of the novels alone

    yeah, that’s what i meant. personally i never really considered either Backwards or Last Human to be canon to the first 2 novels- i always saw them as sort of optional bonus sequels.

    besides, Lister getting to spend the previous 36 years of his life living happily on Earth with Kochanski feels like a much better ending to the novel series than “everyone is fucking dead and lister is now 15” or “lister and kochanski have sex in the bushes”

    #228968

    International Debris

    I prefer Backwards in terms of canon, largely because it still feels like it operates in the Red Dwarf universe (what with having the ship, and Holly, in it), whilst the Last Human universe is so heavily populated that it feels somewhat at odds with the show.

    #228970

    Dax101

    I think IWCD and BTL fit nicely together as a whole while Backwards and Last Human have a time skip and do abit of a refresh when the novels begins.

    Robs novel probably connects better to the previous books then Last Human which did feel abit like a stand alone adventure.

    I also agree with the person that said Doug novel feels more like star trek in some ways because he uses the concept of gelfs, simulants and Hologrammes to populate the universe abit to make up for the fact aliens don’t have a place in Red Dwarf.

    #228971

    Warbofrog

    the Last Human universe is so heavily populated that it feels somewhat at odds with the show.

    The show nowadays feels a lot like that to me. Last Human is especially crowded, but it’s explained that all those guys have been dumped there by the Omni-zone and are getting by.

    The Star Trekification started in VI with “GELF space” and Simulants prowling around like the Borg.

    #228972

    bloodteller

    >The Star Trekification started in VI with “GELF space” and Simulants prowling around like the Borg.

    i guess, but after VI it quietens down a little for a while, doesn’t it? VII barely has them encounter anything (in fact there’s 2 episodes where they pretty much do nothing) and although VIII has the full crew alive, outside of the ship there seems to very little going on-they only find 2 derelicts, and the one they find Cassandra on has a genuinely believable reason for why a derelict is out 3 million years into space.

    i feel like it went full-on Star Trek in XI, where it pretty much felt like the universe was almost overly populated.

    #228973

    quinn_drummer

    They also make the point in X is it, or BTE, that they haven’t really encountered anyone or anything for a long time. The entire time the show is off air.

    In fact, its only Hoggie that seems to show up as having met the crew in all that time, and it seems he is as bored as they are.

    I like the idea of going through different areas of space. Populated, nothing at all. Thats what space would be like, depending on how far out the human race has expanded.

    In fact, the first thing they ever come across is Kryten … and if we take the novels as canon, then that had a drive to hop it out to the far reaches of space to turn a star super nova.

    Then next encounter is what? Camille in series 4?

    Takes them a while to get into any sort of populated space. Maybe the time in between is between galaxies or something? RD can clearly travel very fast (future echos) so makes sense they slow down when in a star system and speed up in between

    #228974

    Warbofrog

    I felt X was populated too, with that droid shopping channel… area, or whatever it was, and the BEGGs.

    I should have laid my “VI” blame squarely on Emohawk. Not a bad episode, but it kicked off a few undesirable trends.

    #228975

    clem

    > and the one they find Cassandra on has a genuinely believable reason for why a derelict is out 3 million years into space.

    The problem with this is that the ship is there because Cassandra was considered so dangerous, but whoever sent it into deep space to get rid of her could have done so much more easily by tipping some water on her power cable.

    #228977

    Ben Saunders

    >Then next encounter is what? Camille in series 4?
    Polymorph

    #228978

    Dax101

    >The Star Trekification started in VI with “GELF space” and Simulants prowling around like the Borg.

    I only really noticed it with Series 7 because the moment i heard the phrase “gelf battle cruiser” it suddenly felt like they become the Klingons of the Red Dwarf universe.

    I feel like you could have gone from 6 and never acknowledged those gelfs again and they could have been just one time things but Series 7 seemed to embraced them as a regular gelf species that even hung up with simulants.

    #228979

    Dave

    If you’re counting the Polymorph then presumably you also count Hudzen 10.

    #228982

    quinn_drummer

    I didn’t count the Polymorph or Hudzen 10 because they both arrived on Red Dwarf on their own ships/shuttles.

    One was left adrift in a pod that assumable floats through space from its point of origin. Hudzen 10, like the post pod, was trying to catch up to the Nova 5 (presumable) and then Red Dwarf since they left the solar system.

    I was looking at derelicts and such that had made is that far out, ships under a crew that had died/crashed etc.

    #228984

    Hamish

    > VII barely has them encounter anything (in fact there’s 2 episodes where they pretty much do nothing)

    Well, if you ignore the GELFs in Ouroboros and the GELF and Simulant in Beyond a Joke, then sure, they encounter barely anything. Besides Epideme.

    #228989

    bloodteller

    >The problem with this is that the ship is there because Cassandra was considered so dangerous, but whoever sent it into deep space to get rid of her could have done so much more easily by tipping some water on her power cable.

    Yeah but then the best episode of VIII wouldn’t exist

    >Well, if you ignore the GELFs in Ouroboros and the GELF and Simulant in Beyond a Joke, then sure, they encounter barely anything. Besides Epideme.

    Well sure but arguably there are long stretches in VII where not much really happens- it’s definitely a less populated universe than VI, where there was an asteroid with 20+ crashed starships that had all somehow come across the Psirens etc.

    i think XI and XII are still the most populated with stuff so far- it gets to almost bizarre levels in Can Of Worms, where they encounter a research station, a Vampire GELF hunting ground, and a spaceship torpedoing into a black hole all within the space of around 10 minutes

    #229002

    International Debris

    Encounters with external lifeforms, craft, or settlements*:
    I: 0
    II: 1 (Kryten)
    III: 2 (Polymorph, Hudzen-10)
    IV: 4 (Camille, DNA, Justice, Meltdown)
    V: 4 (Holoship, Terrorform, Quarantine, Back to Reality)
    VI: 6 (every episode)
    VII: 3 (Ouroboros, Beyond a Joke, Epideme)
    VIII: 3 (Cassandra, Pete Part I, Only the Good)
    IX: (I don’t know whether to count the squid or not, as it was supposedly picked up between V and VI, and also don’t know whether to count that as one or three episodes)
    X: 2 (Entangled, The Beginning)
    XI: 6 (every episode)
    XII: 4 (Cured, Siliconia, Timewave, M-Corp)

    *excluding parallel universes/realities and time travel, which don’t really reflect the area of space they’re in.
    * also excluding references to derelicts they’ve previously found

    #229004

    International Debris

    So yeah, VI and XI are the worst for it, although I agree that, although VII manages to avoid the format for the most part, Ouroboros and Beyond a Joke really make it feel like they stumble across GELFs and Rogue Simulants pretty regularly. The two Starbug series definitely feel much more Star Trekkish, with GELF space, GELF battle cruiser, the Simulant and GELF working together etc. It’s the closest the show came to the feel of Last Human, with something resembling an actual society out there.

    Although I actually prefer that to the more human-centric approach taken in XI and XII.

    #229005

    quinn_drummer

    > Although I actually prefer that to the more human-centric approach taken in XI and XII.

    Yeah same now I think about it. Don’t mind meeting the occasionally human if it’s done right … like Timewave for example … despite the episode being shit, they were pulled from the past into the present.

    But it’s much more interesting when they come across other forms of life, even if it does get a little repetitive, it highlights that whilst there maybe some life in the universe, it is human made and Lister is still the last alive … Kochanski notwithstanding of course.

    #229008

    bloodteller

    >Lister is still the last alive … Kochanski notwithstanding of course.

    apart from the 1000+ members of the resurrected crew who buggered off at the end of VIII and then never showed up again. where did those guys go?

    #229010

    Hamish

    > Lister is the last alive … Kochanski notwithstanding of course.

    Which of course makes the whole “Last Human” title feel a bit odd as well.

    #229011

    quinn_drummer

    Same place as the cat people … into a plot hole.

    #229013

    International Debris

    Which of course makes the whole “Last Human” title feel a bit odd as well.

    Mm, a book with two Listers, Kochanski and Rimmer’s isn’t really deserving of the title ‘Last Human’.

    #229016

    bloodteller

    they really should have called it “Only Human”, that would have solved everything

    #229022

    Warbofrog

    There’s a line right at the end where Lister contemplates his responsibilities as “the last human,” so Doug could get the title in. That beats Tikka to Ride in stories not paying attention to themselves.

    #229023

    bloodteller

    “Cat….you ever read Last Human?”
    “…Sure.”
    “D’you think Wilmot’s sexy?”

    #229052

    International Debris

    By “Rimmer’s”, I meant, of course, “Rimmer’s son”.
    Still, Four Humans isn’t such a good title.

    #229053

    Hamish

    “Four’s Company”

    #229056

    Ben Saunders

    Four Humans, a Cat and a Spaceship

    #229058

    Hamish

    Two Listers, Two Rimmers

    #229092

    quinn_drummer

    I think it says a lot when, after reading all the novels multiple times, I can never remember the plot of Last Human.

    The others all seem much more like Red Dwarf to me, and Backwards feels like the natural continuation of the other two

    #229093

    Hamish

    Sp I just reached the chapter in Last Human where Kryten uses the DNA machine. Make that five humans now.

    #229095

    International Debris

    I’d totally forgot that happened in Last Human.

    #229096

    Ben Paddon

    Yeah, I can definitely remember bits of Last Human, and some of them are even original to the novel too, but I can’t remember the overall narrative.

    #229098

    Warbofrog

    One of several pointless annoyances throughout Last Human is how recycled episode dialogue and events are redistributed depending on which characters are around at the time, as if those lines could have been said by anyone. And Rimmer gets turned into the chicken, so there has to be an explanation about how the machine converted his light bee into organic matter or something, rather than just doing it to Cat or Kochanski. (Maybe that was to set up Kryten using it, but sticking with the part-organic brain would have been fine).

    The only thing I really liked in Last Human was the psi-scan informing them that Cat’s disembodied head was “lifeform incomplete.” Good old psi-scan.

    #229100

    Pete Part Three

    Huh. Ok, I’m not going to cheat and look at Wikipedia.

    There’s another Lister in a parallel universe and he’s bad and he kills the rest of his crew for reasons. He’s sentenced to be imprisoned in nasty BTL (sorry Cyberia) by some GELF.

    Lister and Kochanski are rescued from the Backwards world and we get a chunk of Psirens and an embarrassing sex scene. The crew are on their way back to Red Dwarf when they find the other Lister’s Starbug and the dead crew. They realise that they’re in the wrong universe….and….

    [gone blank here]

    They rescue the other Lister from Cyberia, but then the bad Lister knocks him out and switches places. The good Lister is hurled into Cyberia..while Bad Lister heads off on Starbug to conduct his evil lickle scheme (no, can’t remember what this was).

    THREE MILLION YEARS EARLIER, Rimmer’s son (sigh) Michael McGruder leaves Earth on a ship with terraforming equipment (I think). He thinks Rimmer’s a really great guy.

    Lister escapes Cyberia with the Shapeshifter lady from Star Trek VI. And…somehow meets up with Michael McGruder. And then Kryten turns into a human. For a bit. And we get a really crap version of the double-polaroid scene with Kochanski sitting in for Lister. There’s some weird professor in various GELF forms also posing some kind of vague threat, which Kochanski defeats with a rubber band. Yes, really.

    Then Bad Lister turns up, and shoots Good Lister in the groin. And Rimmer dies somehow, but manages to say goodbye to Michael (although their relationship is so unexplorered, I can’t remember them even meeting) by morsecode from his lightbee. Then he sends his lightbee into The Rage…but i can’t remember what this is. Some kind of cyclone of negativity. Like this place after Timewave aired, I guess.

    Then Kochanski and Lister have sex in some long grass. And then it ends. And you put it on the shelf and think “Well, that was a book I read”.

    #229107

    Warbofrog

    [Spoiler for Hamish etc.]

    You forgot the luck virus saving the day about four times in succession.

    You know how that happens at the end of Quarantine, but it’s really funny? The new scenes are not like that.

    #229108

    bloodteller

    yeah, i don’t really remember much of what Last Human was about. it does the Can Of Worms thing of trying to pack about a million different ideas into a novel that’s far too short to accommodate them all.

    there’s also random chunks of character facts and exposition shoved into sentences for no real reason. the only one i can remember off the top of my head is Lister in the prison craft “lying in the same fetal position as his long dead sister” because i remember reading that and thinking wait, what? so out of nowhere lister now has a sister i guess? this particular piece of information isn’t really relevant to the scene at hand and unless i’m mistaken, never comes up again at all.

    there’s also the one someone mentioned above about rimmer’s brothers having chips in their heads which make them good and smart. this also goes nowhere and negates all the stuff about his family we’ve heard about until now

    #229109

    bloodteller

    maybe i should actually re-read Last Human before i nitpick at it any further though, it’s probably much bettter than i remember it being

    i do remember there being some good bits in there. the DNA segment where kryten becomes human was done pretty interestingly iirc, and Retrekreben(?) was quite a fun character

    #229110

    Warbofrog

    Lister’s “sister” was just Doug being epic and literary by comparing him to his distant ancestor from the first chapter.

    Can’t exactly rate the novels against individual episodes, but if a series = a novel, I might go as far as:

    IV & V > IWCD > I-III & VI > BTL > X-XII & Backwards > VII-BTE > LH

    #229114

    Hamish

    > [Spoiler for Hamish etc.]

    I appreciate the sentiment, but I have already gone through the audio book several times, so the only really spoilery bit was Pete’s mention of the “weird professor”, which I already knew about from other sources.

    Still, Last Human is not terrible if you treat it as just a pulp science fantasy romp. It at least has an enthusiasm about it that is enjoyable when in the right mood. It does fail as a Red Dwarf novel though, no question.

    #229116

    Plastic Percy

    Never understood the anti-Lister shooting Lister. When I first read it, I’d assumed he’d castrated him with a bullet to his old chap.

    #229130

    Ridley

    Wehay! Luck virus!

    Sounds almost exactly like fu–

    It’s cold outside

    #229192

    Ben Saunders

    Add one to that list of encounters with external lifeforms, craft, or settlements for the pan-dimensional liquid beast from the mogadon cluster which happened between V and VI iirc

    #229193

    Ben Saunders

    And the Vidal Beast of Sharmutt II

    #229208

    Warbofrog

    Just watched Demons and Angels. What a Rob Grant’s Backwards episode that is.

    Though if he had novelised it, presumably the High crew’s deaths would have been even more graphic and we would have been “treated” to a deleted scene of Low Rimmer buggering Lister with his holowhip and barbecuing his underage rectum from the inside.

    #229259

    Katydid

    I suspect what actually killed the polymorph in Can of Worms was Cat’s barbed penis.

    #229293

    bloodteller

    re-read Last Human and Kryten’s segment reflecting on the idea of death was actually rather well written in comparison to the rest of the novel- it feels like something that wouldn’t have felt out of place in the first 2 books.

    the parts where it’s just dialogue copied directly from the TV show with “said Rimmer” stuck on the end over and over are quite annoying though.

    #229302

    Hamish

    > the parts where it’s just dialogue copied directly from the TV show with “said Rimmer” stuck on the end over and over are quite annoying though.

    Especially when they were Lister’s lines to begin with…

    I do think that the Micheal Longman addition does at least help make the whole “Kryten becomes human” bit feel less aimless, as they now have to struggle just a bit to turn him back into a mechanoid again, but I have to agree with Pete that the resolution of it using the luck virus and a rubber band is stupid. Using the luck virus to find the coordinates of Lister’s location was nice, and I appreciate that it was Rimmer’s idea to do it there, but the Cat discovering hyperdrive through it was yet another stretch too far. Of course they basically do the same thing in Epideme as well.

    As for Kryten’s musings on death, I would have thought Doug would have wanted to tie that into Kryten’s attempted sacrifice against the Rage later on in the book. In fact, thematically that would have worked far better than Rimmer’s death, as all Rimmer did there was try to live up to McGruder’s expectations, when in all of the passages beforehand the book was trying to argue that basing your life on an unrealistic hero figure like McGruder did is not a good idea. It is tonally inconsistent.

    #233629

    Bargain Bin Holly

    Just expressing my thoughts while I’m halfway through Last Human; the Cat really doesn’t translate well into print, does he? I mean, I’ve read the other three all the way (IWCD, Better Than Life, and Backwards) and I don’t think he gets much original characterization other than in the Better Than Life hallucinations and the you-know-what chapter in Backwards.

    I think Cat works way better in a visual medium since there the Cat gets characterized through his fashion sense and the way he moves/talks as played by Danny John-Jules. I really appreciate Danny’s acting as the Cat now that I’m reading these novels.

    Though I’m loving Kryten so far in these novels, mostly in Last Human; the way he interacted with Lister’s Other Self when he realized he was the doppelgänger got me really sucked in. I like the plot they are building with McGruder; and Rimmer’s love story with Yvonne McGruder was a nice rare bit of heartwarming after reading Backwards where Rimmer gets shit-on for most of it, especially at the end.

    Also something I noticed, did they lift President Nixon’s interaction with his staff and use it for Back in the Red Part I with Captain Hollister? That was pretty funny.

    A great part of the novels for me is we get to see things we never seen in the show; Mimas, Garbage World (would love that to be put in an episode tho), Agonoids, and now the Earth President and a peek into the politics of the Red Dwarf universe.

    #233632

    Warbofrog

    Cat didn’t come across too clearly to whoever drew this cover: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51X7TL0fy7L.jpg

    #233633

    bloodteller

    i’ve always rather liked that cover tbh. its quite a cool alternate interpretation of Red Dwarf

    #233634

    Katydid

    I was just dreaming I was listening to the Last Human audiobook, but read by Chris Barrie, and McGruder was given an ill-fitting nasaly cartoon voice that I very much disliked.

    But speaking of the actual audiobook, I think Craig manages to nail the speech patterns of his fellow cast members even if he can’t do the voices.

    #233635

    Bargain Bin Holly

    I prefer Craig’s reading of Last Human over Rob Grant’s reading of Backwards. Just due to Craig being a familiar voice.

    #233636

    Flap Jack

    Cat didn’t come across too clearly to whoever drew this cover:

    That’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

    #233645

    flanl3

    I’m thinking of getting myself a copy of the novels off Amazon – should I pay the extra few dollars for that cover?

    #233648

    Plastic Percy

    Rimmer seems to be played by a young James Gandolfini.

    #234112

    tombow

    I read the first 2 when I was 11-12. I loved them, they’re still some of my fave books of all time. By great luck, the Last Human was released new just as I was finishing BTL (I hadn’t planned it that way) so my Mum got it for me in hardback

    I hadn’t seen the first series when I read IWCD, only 2 onward, and I’m glad about that because I’m glad I got to experience the story for the first time with the bigger descriptions, inner thoughts, etc.

    I think I probably prefer Last Human to Backward, for all it’s faults LH seemed more interesting and ambitious where BW seemed more like a novelisation. I hated Kochanski perfectly fitting in and being loved by all the crew though, so glad DN made her more interesting for the show. I liked reading about Lister’s reverse better than life which is his worst nightmare.

    “there’s also random chunks of character facts and exposition shoved into sentences for no real reason. the only one i can remember off the top of my head is Lister in the prison craft “lying in the same fetal position as his long dead sister” because i remember reading that and thinking wait, what? so out of nowhere lister now has a sister i guess?”

    LH opens with a little aside about the birth of the first human who is just an unnamed prehistoric girl. She curls up and sleeps and then the action skips forward to Lister, the Last Human, sleeping similar to her. Just a little opening flair I guess.

    I guess the one thing with me and the novels, I really want to see where the story goes and what situation old Lister is in, from the future echo. I guess the ending of LH is the only real possible happy end for Lister that exists.

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