This book review will avoid the temptation to use the word smeg.
When Dave Lister gets drunk, he gets DRUNK. Which is how he ended up on a foreign planet with no money, a passport in someone else’s name, and only a storage locker to sleep in. So when a menial job on the mining ship Red Dwarf comes up, he jumps at his chance to get back to Earth. Pity it is going to take a bit longer than he expects.
It’s so nice to revisit an old favourite and appreciate it all over again. I was a little afraid that too much of the Red Dwarf book series would have dated badly. When I read this and when it was published was, after all, when I was in high school. Not to speak poorly of my younger self, but I can remember enjoying all sorts of trash. Red Dwarf was the good stuff.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the humour. I’d forgotten just how funny these books were. I’ve read too many novels that managed to be joke adjacent instead of decently funny.
The other highlight was how this book didn’t hate its characters. At times, particularly in British humour, satirical and humorous novels focus on having us laugh at the loser or inept protagonists. Even Rimmer, someone who is incompetent and useless, is treated as part of the odd-couple rather than the heel.
I enjoyed this so much that I continued straight into Better Than Life (Red Dwarf 2).
NB: if you get the chance, listen to the audiobook narrated by Chris Barrie. He obviously does a great job bringing the book to life, but he also nails every single character’s voice from the show.