Title: The Last Human
Author: Doug Naylor
Year written: 1995
Publisher and year: Penguin Books, 1995
ISBN Number: 0-14-014388-2
This is the third Red Dwarf book, and as far as I know it’s the last written, though this time just by Doug Naylor rather than writing it with Rob Grant. It does continue from the second book, Better Than Life, but I had this for years before I read the other two and it stood up on its own. The beginning is slightly confusing that way but there is a bit of a ‘previously on’ type beginning that does explain it to new readers.
If you haven’t heard of Red Dwarf the basic idea of the TV series, and the books, is that Dave Lister is the last human being alive, hence the title of the book. He was put into stasis on board a space ship as punishment for having a cat and while he was frozen in time there was a radiation leak that killed the crew. 3 million years in the future the ship’s computer, Holly (who doesn’t actually feature in this book) woke him up when the radiation was safe and the human race is extinct. On board the ship Dave Lister, the last human, is joined by a hologram of his bunk mate, Rimmer, a lifeform that evolved from the ships cat, simply called Cat, and a cleaning android called Kryten.
As this is based on the TV series, and written by the same person, it is probably written for fans of the show and this one does go further away from the episodes and dialogue within them than the previous books. The characters from the TV show are in it, with some added extras, and they do stay true to their on screen versions so fans of the show would probably enjoy that, though like the other books there’s parts of this book that build on the whole lore of the Red Dwarf universe and some parts that rewrite it which could make this both interesting and frustrating if that bothers you.