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.
Title: Red Dwarf Omnibus (Red Dwarf and Better Than Life)
Author: Grant Naylor
Year written: 1989 (Red Dwarf) and 1990 (Better Than Life)
Publisher and year: Penguin Books, 1990
ISBN Number: 0-13-017466-4
This is another older book and one I’ve had for a year or so now, though it was bought second hand on eBay for quite cheap with some other books. It seems to be one of those that’s available from a few sellers on there so if you want it it’s probably the best place to look for a good deal. With the recent series of Red Dwarf finishing it made me want to revisit the older ones (again) and I thought I’d give these a read too. This review is of both parts of the Omnibus, Red Dwarf and Better Than Life, I did consider doing them separately but as I read them as one and they’re basicaly a continuation of each other it made sense to do them both. If you want to skip to the review of the specific book then I’ll do the titles in bold when I start, though they’re very similar in tone so there’s not much to differentiate them apart from the plot, though I have avoided anything spoilery aside from mentioning a few episode titles.
This book, or rather two books, are based on the characters and plot of the TV series Red Dwarf. When this was published in 1990 the latest series was series 3 so anything after that in the TV universe isn’t necessarily canon with this, and vice versa. It’s a sci-fi comedy that pokes fun at sci-fi, has a lot of typically British humour in it and has the odd poke at society as a whole, or parts of it anyway.
Title: Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues
Author: Erik Burnham
Year written: 2015
Publisher and year: IDW Publishing, 2015
ISBN Number: 978-1631403569
I recently decided to finally buy the DVD versions of some of the movies I had on video, I’ve had a list for ages and this included Galaxy Quest. It was on the Amazon search that I discovered there are two graphic novels about the movie written as sequels so I thought I’d give them a go. This is the first one I got, it’s the most recent but I didn’t get it in physical form as it’s three times the cost of the Kindle version which is £2.99. The link in the UK on Amazon.co.uk is here, though it’s probably available in other formats on other sites too.
This book is written as a sequel to the movie, so it does help if you’ve seen the movie itself but there is a bit of a recap at the beginning as an introduction that gives the important information that ties in with this story. The idea is that there is a war going on in a distant galaxy that is won by one side, the Omega 13 is activated as in the movie and time goes back 13 seconds but this time the other side wins. Years later the side that loses goes in search of the reason for this change and they find the crew of actors who were in the original movie.
Title: Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion
Author: Terrance Dicks
Year written: 1974
Publisher and year: BBC Books, 2011
ISBN Number: 978-1-849-90193-2
This is another in the series of books BBC Books reprinted and released in 2011 from an old series written in the 1970s. These are all based on scripts for episodes that were aired, or rather groups of episodes that created a story arc. This book is written about the Third Doctor and is his first adventure after regenerating so you get to see the character getting used to his new body which hasn’t happened in any of the previous books I have read in the series. The episodes ran between 3 January and 24 January 1970 and includes as the ‘companions’ in this story Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Liz Shaw though neither are existing companions, one just met him and the other has met but never travelled with him. It’s the only one so far that has everything existing in video form and it’s one that I have actually seen recently, it was shown in the UK last year on the Drama channel, so I know myself whether it has had major changes rather than just relying on what the book says changed.
As with others in the series this book includes two extra bits at the beginning and another two at the end of the book. At the front is an introduction written by Russell T Davis which is nice to see as he’s the first of these introduction or foreword writers that I actually recognise. There’s also a short piece on the Third Doctor, UNIT and Dr Elizabeth Shaw to explain the previous interactions and who they are without having to go into a lot of detail in the story. At the end there’s a short piece about the authors and a Between the Lines segment that explains anything that may be outdated to a modern audience or any differences between the original script and the book version.
Title: Blue Box
Author: Kate Orman
Year written: 2003
Publisher and year: BBC Worldwide Ltd, 2003
ISBN Number: 0-563-53859-7
I can’t remember when or where I got his books, I think it may have been one I bought at the Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff eight or nine years ago but I’m not really sure as I read the other one I definitely got then at the time. I guess being a fan of Doctor Who can be both a positive and negative thing when it comes to these books, any review is going to be biased because I like the show and know something of the back story that someone who hasn’t seen the show doesn’t but at the same time I might be overly critical of it because I love the show so much.
This particular book is about the sixth Doctor and his companion Peri and I have to say that the sixth and seventh incarnations are two that I’m not very familiar with so it probably makes this less biased but I also can’t really comment on how true to the original characters it is. I’ve seen more of one through five and then eight to twelve and I’d say probably one episode for each of six and seven so I have to guess that it has remained true to the originals and I can definitely seeing this Doctor being cannon with his mannerisms.