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Previously on G&T: Regular reader Flap Jack put us all to shame with his incredibly detailed examination of the changes between hardback, paperback, Omnibus and unabridged audiobook versions of the four Red Dwarf novels. Now he's back to finish the job, with an examination of the abridged audiobooks.

Imagine: it’s 1993, and you’re excitedly rushing home after picking up a copy of the newly released Red Dwarf Series 1 VHS. You heat yourself up a bowl of alphabetti spaghetti, grab a Leopard Lager from the fridge, and start up the tape to watch The End. But part way through, you start to realise something’s wrong. What happened to the subplot about Rimmer’s exam? Wasn’t there a scene where you see Lister with Frankenstein before he gets in trouble with the Captain? What’s going on? You double check the VHS sleeve, and realise to your horror that it doesn’t say “Series I Byte One” but “Series I Abridged”! You try to scream, but discover your mouth is sealed shut. You run to the door, but behind it is just a brick wall. You look back at the alphabetti spaghetti: all ampersands.

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In the latest example of our readers being better than us at writing articles these days, we're proud to present an extremely niche but very important missive from Flap Jack. Ever since recording the Book Club, we've wanted to catalogue all the changes made within the various releases of the Red Dwarf novels. In a beautiful piece of synchronicity, old Flappo Jacko got in touch a few weeks ago having done exactly that. This is the first of two articles investigating the amendments to those sacred texts.

Red Dwarf is no stranger to having its episodes tweaked with over time. From smaller changes like the word “week’s” being omitted from the opening of Polymorph on VHS, to the huge reworks made for the controversial Red Dwarf Remastered project, you can never be absolutely sure that your favourite moments will be unaltered whenever the show is released onto a new format.

But there’s one corner of the Dwarf canon where this phenomenon has so far only experienced surface-level scrutiny: the novels. If you’ve ever read Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers on paperback and then later re-experienced it on audiobook -  or in the Omnibus edition with its sequel, Better Than Life - you’ll probably have noticed that a few things here and there aren’t quite the same. How many details were changed from version to version, exactly, and what were they? Today, let’s find the answers, piece by piece.

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It's been a little while but we're back to finish off Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers with Part Three: Earth - a part that is as almost as short as its title. What isn't short, however, is the discussion as Ian Symes, Danny Stephenson and Jonathan Capps gather to mull over the myriad references to It's A Wonderful Life, the nature of reality, and the logistical challenges of spit roasting a giraffe.

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Well, strap in everyone, because this is a longun. Once again Jonathan Capps, Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes gather within the digital realm to discuss the fuck out of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, specifically, Part Two: Alone in a Godless universe, and out of Shake'n'Vac. How many times can the book rob the TV show blind? What do Grant Naylor have against Brian Kidd, anyway? And was it Lister or the robot fish that broke the Cat's tuth? Endure all 2 hours, 12 minutes and 47 seconds of our chat to find out!

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Hello, and welcome to the inaugural edition of the DC/BC. For those who are about to re-read the Red Dwarf novels at a set pace and discuss each part with the community, we salute you. Join Ian Symes, Jonathan Capps and Danny Stephenson as they embark on what has already turned out to be a bigger undertaking than first thought, as they pick the bones out of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Part One: Your Own Death, and How to Cope With It. Was McIntyre literally carrying his nose in a Mimas Hilton Coffee Lounge napkin? Was Bliss this book's Chekhov's false water pistol? How many times can we make obvious Hitchhiker's comparisons? All these questions, and more, not actually answered in any meaningful way.

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It’s only taken us fourteen years, but today is the day that we record our final episode commentary from the original BBC run of Red Dwarf. With the bit between our teeth and Broadcunting House having been moved online, we want to carry on this out-of-character run of recording on a weekly-ish basis while we can, so what next for DwarfCasts? Well, we’ve still got thirteen episodes from the Dave era to tick off, plus a whole host of spin-offs, extras and rarities to jabber over if we get stuck. But we’ll be alternating those with something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Welcome to The DwarfCast Book Club.

Every fortnight or so, we’ll be re-reading one part of one Red Dwarf novel to then discuss in great detail, and we’d love it if you joined us along the way. First up, naturally, it’s Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers Part One: Your Own Death, and How to Cope With It, and if you can squeeze in those 94 pages before we record on the weekend of 4th/5th July, we’d love to hear from you so that we can include your comments, reviews and observations in our discussion. Whether you’re just jogging your memory or experiencing the novels for the first time, please leave your comments in this thread. To help us out, please indicate whether each point you make is a general one about the part as a whole, or relating to a specific sub-chapter, so that we can collate everything more easily.

We’re really looking forward to revisiting the novels and finally discussing them with the level of depth that they so clearly deserve, and we hope that as many of you as possible find the time to join our virtual book group.

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Cliché, Episode 2
(TX: 23rd March 1981, Radio 4)

Out of tune bleeps and bloops, like Wendy Carlos on an off-day.

PRESENTER: The final cadences of the last symphony of the Spanish composer Don Dimitri, who died early this morning at the age of 86. Cliché now pays its own special tribute to Don Dimitri - one of the true musical innovators of this century. Don Dimitri's life was characterised by his refusal to accept the conventions and mores of the society in which he lived. In 1926, he went to the Sorbonne to study music. Rapidly, it became apparent he could not reconcile his own ideas with those of the establishment, and after three hours at the university, he left to set up his own school of musical thought. Professor Blakehust takes up the story.

BLAKEHURST: Don Dimitri's biggest contribution to musical theory was the decative. Instead of the conventional eight note scale the octave, he initiated the ten note scale - the decative. He invented two new notes: H and J. Instead of 'doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, ti, doh', the decative would run 'doh, ray, me, fah, soh, woh, boh, lah, ti, doh'. And in reverse: 'doh, ti, lah, boh, woh, soh, fah, me, ray, doh'.

PRESENTER: And he wrote all his symphonies using this scale?

BLAKEHURST: Indeed. And the instruments in his orchestra had to be adapted accordingly. Pianos were fitted with extra black keys; flutes now came in four sections instead of three; and accordions were scrapped, as the decative made them far too long for human beings to play. Trombones ceased to be a musical instrument, and now became a lethal weapon. And the lengthening of bassoons and saxophones extended the mouthpiece into the region of the lower intestine. Incidentally, in Don Dimitri's orchestra, women were banned from playing the cello.

PRESENTER: What other significant changes were inspired by the decative?

BLAKEHURST: Time signatures were changed. Instead of 3/4 time it was now 0.75 time. 7/8 time became 0.875 time, and common time - or 4/4 time - was now simply... 1. Don Dimitri's quartets comprised of five players, and his triangles had two sides - neither of them connected.

PRESENTER: And now, the last note of the last chord of the last cadence is written. At the grand old age of 86, Don Dimitri passed away this morning. Never one to do things in a conventional way, he died in a manner he would probably have appreciated - trying to suck a kazoo instead of blowing it. He inhaled the kazoo, it became lodged in his throat, and he died to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. We leave you now with the strains of what is universally acknowledged as his masterwork: quintet for seven instruments in H minor. The only work he ever wrote in 0.333 recurring time, a time signature which never actually allows you to reach the end of the first bar. Hence it's popular title: Dom Dimiti's Unfinished Symph. Goodnight.

A warped version of I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside plays, with accompanying bleeps and bloops.

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Just time for a quick update as I sit on the train moving at speed towards London town. The ever official TOS has revealed that we can finally purchase the unabridged version of the first Red Dwarf novel, Infinity: Welcomes Careful Drivers. It lasts eight hours and costs £9 which, as Andrew points out, is pant shittingly good value. The even better news is that it's not an iTunes exclusive, but is instead being distributed through, which is perfect for all us curmudgeons who would rather kill ourselves than install the Windows version of anything from Apple.

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