NOTE: While this review is spoiler free, readers are free to discuss the novel in the comments, which may contain spoilers for future episodes of the radio series.
The first thing that strikes you when you pick up a copy of The Quanderhorn Xperimentations is that it’s BIG. Certainly a heavier tome than any of the Red Dwarf novels, and comfortably the largest installment of Rob Grant’s post-Dwarf literary career so far. He has some help here, of course, from the presence of co-writer Andrew Marshall, as well as the existence of six freshly-written radio scripts to adapt. The press release that first alerted us to its existence promised us the book would be “springing and expanded from” the radio series, bringing to mind the aforementioned Dwarf novels, which still stand as masterpieces of their genre for the way they take the source material and use it to build a much bigger universe. Now that the book has hit the shelves, does the reality meet those, admittedly rather hard-to-match, expectations?
Tell me when will you be mine? Tell me Quander Quander Quanderhorn. Well, the brand new sci-fi comedy radio series, written by Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall, starts today at 11:30am on BBC Radio 4. You can listen live via the Radio 4 website or the iPlayer Radio app, or tune in on an actual radio via DAB, FM or LW. It should be available on catch-up pretty much straight after it finishes airing, again via iPlayer Radio, or on the BBC programme page, which has now been updated to get the co-writer’s name right. (This is all assuming you’re in the UK, of course – foreign types will have to resort to more nefarious means, I would imagine.)
Anyway, this is your thread to discuss the episode before, during and after broadcast. Spoilers for episode one are allowed in the comments, but when the book comes out on Thursday, keep please keep discussion of the book confined to that thread, so as not to reveal anything about future episodes of the radio series. Why can’t anything vaguely Red Dwarf related ever be released in a straightforward manner?
This will most likely be the only Let’s Talk About for Quanderhorn, unless each episode ends up attracting as many comments as a new episode of Red Dwarf does. Either way, the signs are very promising, and we’re very much looking forward to devouring new Rob Grant material for the first time in years. Let the Xperimentations begin.
It’s always the way, innit? You hang around Rob Grant for ten years and you don’t see one new project. Then all of a sudden, three of them turn up at once. More accurately, one new project turns up, but released in three different ways. The Quanderhorn Xperiment, in its various forms, will be with us before the month is out, so let’s take this opportunity to summarise what we know about the three individual products and their release schedule.
Exciting news – more than a decade on from Fat, Rob Grant has a new novel out later this year. It’s an adaptation of The Quanderhorn Xperimentations, the Radio 4 sitcom he’s co-written with Andrew Marshall of 2point4children fame, set to be released in June at the same time as the radio version is broadcast. We’re told that this will be “expanded from” the radio series, prompting hopes of a Red Dwarf style full novel treatment, rather than a straightforward transposition of the scripts.
We’re very much looking forward to all of this – it’s been far too long since we got hold of any new Rob Grant material, and now we’ll be treated to new examples of both his dialogue and his prose, all within the next few months. It’ll also be interesting to see how he works with another writer; correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time he’s collaborated with someone other than Doug.
Time is short and we are lazy, so here’s the press release in full:
Here’s some brand new gossip then, from comedy writer extraordinaire Andrew Marshall, (co-)writer of The Burkiss Way, End of Part One, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff, If You See God, Tell Him, and 2point4 Children. Speaking to Steve O’Brien about his old fanzine:
If you still do that, Rob Grant and I will have something new to talk about soon.
Andrew Marshall and Rob Grant collaborating? That is a very, very intriguing team-up indeed. And something to keep us all excited until Red Dwarf XII hits our screens. Then we’ll forget all about it and moan about UKTV Play for six fucking weeks straight instead.
Anyway, here’s one of my favourite End of Part One sketches, for precisely no reason at all.
With thanks to Ian Potter for the friendly nudge towards this news.