Author: Rob Grant
Page Count/Review Word Count: 344
Backwards is one of three Red Dwarf novels, but it’s the only one that Doug Naylor wasn’t involved with – to me, it’s noticeable, because whilst this is still a good book, it isn’t on a par with Better Than Life and Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers.
That said, it’s not just a simple novelisation of the episode with the same name, either – there’s a lot more depth to this, and Kristine Kochanski plays a huge role in the story line, too. There’s a lot of fun to be had here if you’re a fan of the series, and even though I think that the other two books are better, there’s room on your bookcase for all three of them.
One of the interesting things about this book in particular is that it offers an entirely different view of the Red Dwarf universe, and because time is flowing backwards, key events from the series either don’t happen or don’t happen differently. It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean without using spoilers, but you’ll see what I mean within the first fifty pages.
It’s also interesting to see how concepts and ideas from other episodes in the series are pulled together to create a sort of bizarre amalgam. Whilst the idea of backwards time is virtually identical to how it was represented in the show, there are also elements such as terraforming which are lifted from other episodes, making it a pretty convincing add-on to the Red Dwarf universe.
So overall, if you’re a fan of the show then I’d recommend it – after all, there’s only a finite amount of content to consume, and so you’re going to have to get around to this sometime. If you’re new to Red Dwarf, I’d recommend giving Better Than Life a try instead. And then there’s Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, too – that’s a good one to go for if you want to learn more about the back story, and how Lister got hired.