I found it deeply concerning when, some months back, it made the headlines that science-fiction writers were being hired by certain tech firms to predict coming problems in an attempt at future-proofing. This was really stupid, and I find it odd whenever anyone takes science-fiction writing as some kind of sooth-saying (despite the fact that science-fiction, even at its best, suffers from bookstore apartheid). Visions of the future are pretty much dime a dozen, and tend to have about the hit rate of most guesses. People tend to find the wrong merit in science-fiction, which is funny considering that it is still often decried as being less than serious reading but a good many people. But in actual fact science-fiction can be a lot of different things to different people.
Red Dwarf is a long running British TV show. It follows a cast of characters stuck on a space-faring ship called the Red Dwarf. The characters seem tailor made to get on each other’s nerves, and thus comedy ensues.
As far as the TV show goes it should be said that Red Dwarf is first a sitcom and second a sci-fi series.
This book is rehash of the TV show, and that fact may very well be the difference in how the book is received. If you are expecting something new, you may not get exactly that. This is not meant to say that the jokes are word for word rehashes of the TV show, but the plot points are pretty much beat for beat. If you are looking for new stories, you won’t find them here. But I somehow imagine that this is not the kind of book you read for the plot. You read it for the humor of it all. What you will find in many of the stories is that they are greatly expanded – for the better. The expansions are well detailed, and frequently add a lot to what the episodes had.
As far as the book goes, it is first a comedy and second a science-fiction book, but the two are much more well blended.
It becomes difficult to say whether I liked this book, or simply liked the TV series an transplanted my emotions from the one to the other. Some of the material felt new, but that may have just been my not paying enough attention to the series when I watched it, which was some time ago.
The series, as a whole, is rather silly. To return to the anecdote I began this review with, one would really hope no one is looking to this for visions of the future. Those efforts would be poorly spent indeed. Instead it may be helpful to make sure that we are looking at all things in light of what they are.