Book Review – “Red Dwarf Omnibus”

The Red Dwarf Omnibus is a printing of
Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
and Red Dwarf: Better Than Life in a single

General Information

Title: Red Dwarf Omnibus

Author: Credit goes to Grant Naylor, the combined
pseudonym for Rob
Grant and Doug Naylor.

Original Publication Date: This is a 1992 compilation
of two novels
first published in 1989 and 1990.

ISBN: 0-14-017466-4

Cover Price: 8.99 GBP, $17.95 Aus, or $12.99 Can for
this printing.

Buy from:

Past fiction reviews can be found here.


The sole surviving human, a dead guy resurrected as a
hologram, a
cleaning robot, and a cat evolved into a hominid form
travel back to
Earth on a huge, huge, huge spacecraft.

High Point

Lister introduces Rimmer to the women Kryton has been
caring for.

Low Point

This isn’t nearly as funny as the show, and I think
I’ve finally
figured out why. Strictly speaking, Red
isn’t a
sitcom. A sitcom, aka situation comedy, is a show in
which characters
are put into funny situations for the amusement of
the audience. The
situations that these characters find themselves in
are not funny.
The human race has been wiped out, the sole survivor
is trapped with a
bunkmate that he hated with a passion, and so forth.
What makes the
show so freakin’ hilarious is the way the characters
interact. This
is probably why the only moments in the books that
are still truly
funny are the scenes with heavy dialogue. Without
the interaction, it
just falls flat.

The Scores

I have to give them some originality credit
for the team of
characters that they’ve managed to assemble. It
takes an impressive
group to make the reader laugh in some of these
situations, but they
manage to do it anyway. It’s almost enough to
overlook the
similarities to Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the
, with the
sole human out of touch with Earth being dragged
around by a couple of
lunatics and a brilliant but senile computer. I give
it 4 out of 6.

The imagery is just barely in place. There
are moments when
I didn’t realize the characters had changed location.
I’ve gone back
and reread a couple, and found that it’s due to the
fact that there
was no dialogue or description to tell the reader
that the location
had changed. Other scenes are well described, but I
still give it 3
out of 6.

The story is slow and plodding in the first
novel, but it
starts to pick up in the second. I give it 4 out of

The characterization is what got me to
finish reading this
thing. The characters are interesting, and they are
funny. I give it
5 out of 6.

The emotional response, as you’ve likely
guessed by now, is
not what it should be. It’s only mildly amusing in a
prose form,
which is rather disappointing when you know how funny
the show is. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The editing has a few issues. There were a
couple of typos,
and some fact checking (such as discussing the “Karma
Sutra,” or
talking about moving to “Def Comm 3”) just wasn’t
done. I give it 2
out of 6.

Overall, it’s not terrible, but I can’t say
I’d recommend
it. If you’re familiar with the show, it probably
won’t live up to
expectations, and if you’re not familiar with the
show, this probably
won’t make you want to watch it. Grab the DVDs
instead. I give it 2
out of 6.

In total Red Dwarf: Omnibus receives 23 out
of 42.

2 replies on “Book Review – “Red Dwarf Omnibus””

  1. Not that bad… but what about the other two?
    I liked IWCD and BTL, simply because they gave a lot more depth and even likeability to the characters. The really bad part about the books is where the “sitcom-ish” scenes from the series are just thrown in for the sake of getting the jokes into the book, where they don’t work nearly as well as when played out by the actors.

    The truly odd thing is that these books were even released a second time, especially when books 3 and 3 in the series still haven’t made it over here.

    Yes, book 3 and 3 in the series. Y’see, after the first two, Grant and Naylor decided to each write the third book in the series, both picking up at the end of BTL.

    Rob Grant, who pretty much left the show after series 6, gave us Backwards, which is a replay of some of the best series 3 through 6 (Dimensional Jump, Gunmen of the Apocalypse, Maroon, Justice) along with a good amount of original story.

    Doug Naylor, the lead writer for seasons 7 and up, presented Last Human, which replays DNA, Emohawk, Quarantine, and some other bits, along with its own original story to tie it all together.

    Me, I liked Grant’s book better, it’s a much darker and more serious book (much like BTL is towards the latter half), making it more of the black comedy RD was in its finer moments. Last Human isn’t nearly as well written, although both are good for a read for fans.

    Funny that they were never published in the US, though, although you should easily find them on Amazon UK or another overseas bookseller.

    • Re: Not that bad… but what about the other two?

      Funny that they were never published in the US, though,
      although you should easily find them on Amazon UK or
      another overseas bookseller.

      I didn’t know they weren’t out in the US. We got both
      here in Canada. I’ll review them next.

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