DwarfCast 125 - Book Club #7: Better Than Life (Part Four) featured image
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We did it, everyone. Almost an entire year of consistent podcasting and all it took was a global pandemic and stay at home orders to make it happen. I even bought a proper microphone. So, in a very nice accident of timing, we are rounding out the year with our final book club for Better Than Life, Part 4: The End and After. Danny, Ian and Cappsy gather round the virtual yule log to discuss the shit out of 12 whole pages, before fully embracing the Christmas cheer with some truly awful parsnip waffles.

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DwarfCast 123 - Book Club #6: Better Than Life (Part Three) featured image
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I know we said we'd be back soon but just count yourself lucky we only made you wait an extra week and not almost 40 years. As we get very close to finishing Better Than Life, join the pale, waxy figures of Cappsy, Danny and Ian as they enter The Book Club Time and are after feasting on Part Three: Garbage World. What are the long term narrative implications of Garbage World? Is Polymorph a show to book conversion too far? What could possibly be next for the poor giraffe? For those of you not of a nervous disposition, listen on and find out.

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DwarfCast 121 - Book Club #5: Better Than Life (Part Two) featured image
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Sit down, get comfy, put on your favourite Paul Robeson track and blow the dust off your, er, dust covers because we're back with another Book Club! Join the emaciated husks of Danny, Ian and Cappsy as they tackle Better Than Life Part Two: She Rides and discuss the first ever instance of the show stealing from the books as well as the very meaning of relative time dilation in an amazingly compressed space. And giraffes.

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DwarfCast 119 - Book Club #4: Better Than Life (Part One) featured image
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In what will surely test the very limits of the phrase "worth the wait" we're back with our DwarfCast Book Club (patent applied for)! After a short break, Ian, Danny and Cappsy are ready and willing to dive into Better Than Life; starting, uncontroversially, with Part 1: Game Over as our time in the deadly TIV comes to an end.

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Better Than Reality featured image

"I alter people's perception of reality." - Dr. Hypnosis

One recurring theme of Red Dwarf has always been the rather tenuous grip on reality our crew have. Whether it's the Total Immersion Videogame of Better Than Life, the hallucinations suffered in Back to Reality, those damn reality pockets in Out of Time - to name three of many - perception of reality is something which Grant Naylor return to time and time again.

What's interesting, however, is that Red Dwarf is far from the first time Grant Naylor have explored this idea. In fact, we can trace their fascination with it right back to their very first solo writing credit: the first episode of Radio 4 sketch show Cliché, broadcast on the 16th March 1981.

I present to you the strange adventure of Dr. Hypnosis: his real name... Dr. Hypnosis.

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Hancock's Half Hour: The Tycoon featured image

When people talk about antecedents to Red Dwarf, it's often science fiction which is endlessly referenced. Films like Dark Star, in terms of the situation and portraying working class people in space, or Alien, which amongst other things directly influenced many sets in the show, to Blade Runner, which... erm... I got nothing.

When it comes to sitcoms, there's the classic "Steptoe and Son in space", which is often thrown around as an early concept for the show. Porridge is also mentioned, in terms of the claustrophobic trapped situation between characters which the show was trying to evoke. All of this is certainly true, but typically there's very little analysis beyond mentioning a TV show or film, along with a one line description.

Recently, I've had the utter delight of watching Hancock's Half Hour for the first time. And the episode The Tycoon (TX: 13/11/59) has a number of remarkable similarities to the Dwarf episode Better Than Life, broadcast nearly thirty years later. Moreover, I don't just mean in terms of character work - the main plot beats of the episode are broadly identical, despite Better Than Life seemingly hanging off a science fiction idea which Hancock would find impossible to replicate.

Rather than vague hand-waving or simplistic single line reductions, let's take a look at the episode in detail, shall we?

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In an article that could well win awards for featuring the biggest leap in logic ever, PrisonPlanet.com has been theorising on the similarities between Sony's new online community software Home with the fictional virtual reality concepts seen in The Matrix, Red Dwarf and Phil Dick’s Time Out of Joint along with their less than desirable situations and concequences.

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