About the Author:
Grant Naylor is the combined pen name of British writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. They worked as head-writers for the comedy TV show Spitting Image in the 1980s and created and wrote Red Dwarf for the BBC.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
An adaption of large parts of the first and second series of the Red Dwarf TV show. Drunken space bum Dave Lister joins the crew of the mining vessel Red Dwarf in an attempt to make his way back to Earth. However, after breaking ship's rules, he is sealed in stasis and therefore survives the subsequent radiation leak which kills the entire crew. Revived, Lister discovers that three million years has passed and his only company aboard Red Dwarf is the evolved descendant of his cat, the hologram recreation of his loathed roommate Rimmer and the senile ship's computer Holly.
I grew up watching and loving the TV series, so this book presented a welcome return to characters who I know and love of old. We get a great deal more insight into the background of those characters, Lister in particular. The book opens with an extended sequence on Mimas, where we find Lister living in a luggage locker and driving a (stolen) taxi before signing on to join the crew of the Red Dwarf. Similarly the backgrounds of Rimmer, Cat and Kryten get a bit more exposition than we see on the show.
The authors have brilliantly recaptured the humour of the show whilst simultaneously adding a bit more depth and complexity. The book has definite notes of Douglas Adams, who couldn't have failed to influence writers working on a science fiction comedy in the 80s. In particular, the deep personal scorn for middle management that Adams showed is also present in Grant and Naylor's work.
So, if you've never seen the TV show then this book will prove to be a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the mismatched and neurotic characters. For me, as a fan of the show, I enjoyed a lot but with one major drawback. That drawback was that a lot of the funniest moments in the book are spoiled for me by already having seen them on TV, where the performances of the actors take the comedy up a significantly large notch. For example, the famous dog's milk scene is a brilliant bit of writing but just isn't as funny without Norman Lovett's deadpan delivery of the lines.
Interestingly, the TV version of the story was notably kinder to P.E. teachers. There Holly's IQ of 6000 is described as being the same as 6000 P.E. teachers, but in the book it's 12000!
4 out of 5