NOW, HERE ARE EIGHT Of RED DWARF’S COOLEST SCI-FI CON­CEPTS…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Dwarf: An Sfx Celebration -

VIR­TUAL RE­AL­ITY

Back when The Ma­trix was still sit­ting on a floppy disc in the Wa­chowskis’ PC, Red Dwarf used vir­tual re­al­ity to cre­ate some of its most mem­o­rable episodes like “Bet­ter Than Life” and “Gun­men Of The Apoc­a­lypse”. For a few brief mo­ments we even be­lieved the whole show was ac­tu­ally a to­tal-im­mer­sion videogame – un­til it was re­vealed to be a De­spair Squid-in­duced hal­lu­ci­na­tion.

HARD LIGHT

Bring­ing back dead crew mem­bers as holograms, un­able to touch any­thing, is a won­der­ful idea in it­self, but to later give Rim­mer phys­i­cal form via Le­gion’s “hard” mod­i­fi­ca­tion to his light bee took it to an­other level. Star Trek’s holodecks played with the prop­er­ties of light in sim­i­lar ways, but never put it quite so elo­quently. It’s light! It’s hard! (And it’s so plau­si­ble that real-life sci­en­tists are ac­tu­ally work­ing on turn­ing light into a solid.)

PAR­AL­LEL UNI­VERSES

A sci-fi sta­ple, yes, but Red Dwarf has al­ways played the mir­ror uni­verse card su­perbly. From the fe­male-cen­tric uni­verse en­coun­tered in “Par­al­lel Uni­verse” to a time­line where Arnold

Rim­mer grew up to to be the bravest man in ex­is­tence, Red Dwarf was dab­bling in the “many worlds” in­ter­pre­ta­tion of quan­tum physics decades be­fore Fringe got in on the act.

THE JUS­TIcE fIELD

Ex­ist­ing in that sweet spot where ge­nius and sub­lime silli­ness col­lide, the Jus­tice Zone is one of Red Dwarf’s great­est cre­ations. A prison where any crime you at­tempt to com­mit is im­me­di­ately trans­ferred to you in­stead? We have no idea how it would work, but it’s a won­der­ful premise. And the au­to­mated shoes that guide the Dwar­fers around the Jus­tice Zone are hi­lar­i­ous.

QUAN­TUM EN­TAN­GLE­MENT

The idea of quan­tum en­tan­gle­ment – where two par­ti­cles on op­po­site sides of the uni­verse can in­ter­act with each other – is on the out-there end of real-world physics. Red Dwarf played the con­cept to hi­lar­i­ous ef­fect in Se­ries X episode “En­tan­gled” – and gave Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn to show off some amaz­ing in-sync act­ing skills.

WHITE HOLE

What’s the op­po­site of a black hole? Ob­vi­ously it’s an en­tity that spews time and mat­ter back into space. Yes, this is mostly an ex­cuse for gags about time re­peat­ing it­self – “what is it?” – but it also skirts sur­pris­ingly close to ac­tual sci­en­tific the­o­ries. And “white hole” sounds much more ap­peal­ing than Star Trek’s many “sub­space anom­alies”.

RE­LI­GION AND THE Af­TER­LIfE

The way Fiji and Lis­ter turn into the promised land of Fuchal and spir­i­tual icon Clois­ter over three mil­lion years of Cat evo­lu­tion is a very clever satire of or­gan­ised re­li­gion. Kry­ten’s belief in a Sil­i­con Heaven is also rather sweet – though its origins (hu­man over­lords pro­grammed the idea of an af­ter­life into ma­chines to keep them servile) are ac­tu­ally rather sin­is­ter. Pre­sum­ably those pro­gram­mers now cre­ate soft­ware that re­sides in Sil­i­con Hell...

LIS­TER’S PARENTAGE

A crazy premise that ties your head in more knots than Dave Lis­ter’s per­sonal fam­ily tree – thanks to some timey-wimey stuff, he’s his own dad. The grand­fa­ther para­dox is a dod­dle to un­der­stand next to this one.

An al­ter­na­tive di­men­sion that looks a lot like home...

A match made in a par­al­lel uni­verse.

The Dwar­fers at their best.

Camille shows Kry­ten his ideal woman.

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