Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor

Review of Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor

Infinity Welcomes Careful DriversApparently, Grant Naylor is a gestalt entity comprised of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, writers of the now legendary British sitcom, Red Dwarf. This book dates from 1989, shortly after the first season aired in 1988.

The first couple of chapters, apparently, have nothing to do with the JMC mining ship Red Dwarf and its gormless vending machine technicians Dave Lister and Arnold J Rimmer – and you wonder just how dissimilar the novel is going to be. Lister soon arrive on-page driving a stolen taxi on Saturn’s moon Mimas trying gather enough money to return to earth. (He’d been on a Monopoly-based pub crawl in London, and had got so drunk the next thing he remembered was waking up on Mimas with someone else’s passport.) He picks up a fare (who turns out to be Rimmer) wearing a laughably thin disguise who says he wants to go to a restaurant but actually heads for an android brothel (where the customers customize their partners by selecting bodyparts from different androids).

We see the whole story of how Lister joins up with the Jupiter Mining Corporation, his romance with Kristine Kochanski, and the disaster that kills everyone onboard Red Dwarf – except Lister, who’s in stasis, and the cat, Frankenstein, who’s escaped to the cargo hold.

All the extra details from the characters’ lives make this required reading for any fan of the TV series. The differences mainly serve to fill in the background, but there is one interesting discrepancy – the captain of Red Dwarf here is a woman.

The writing is nothing special – descriptions tend to be overwritten – and to be honest, it’s not as funny as the TV show – and a lot of the best jokes are ones you remember from TV. But, of course, Red Dwarf the TV series was fantastic – and a hard act to recreate in novel form. But, still, I thought it was reasonably entertaining, with a few good laughs and a slightly deeper portrayal of the characters and their universe.

The book ends with Lister, Rimmer and the Cat trapped in a Better Than Life game – a section of the book that is quite different from the series two episode ‘Better than Life’. I think I need to get hold of the sequel – also called Better than Life – and continue reading.

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