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Backwards

(Red Dwarf #4)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  9,411 ratings  ·  100 reviews
This is the third adventure of the unlikely space heroes of the cult TV hit Red Dwarf – Lister, Rimmer, Kryten, Holly and the Cat – as they continue their epic journey through frontal-lobe-knotting realities. We join them just as Dave Lister has finally found his way back to planet Earth – which is good. What’s bad, however, is that time isn’t running in quite the right di ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published by Penguin Books (first published February 5th 1996)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  9,411 ratings  ·  100 reviews


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David Sarkies
Apr 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Life in Reverse
23 April 2016

So, at the end of Better Than Life we leave Lister trapped in a universe in which time goes in reverse, namely because he had become so old (due to being caught up in a temporal distortion caused by a black hole) that when they encountered the polymorph he had literally been scared to death (or something like that – I'm not quite sure even though it was about a month ago that I actually read the book). Anyway, in an effort to save his life they take his body to an al
...more
Jason
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am am huge fan of Red Dwarf, one of the best sci-fi series ever made and backwards is one of my favourite episodes. I was really pleased when Rob Grant decided to make this episode into a book. Reading the book was like reliving the episode but it was an extended version, everything from the episode is there and there was more new stuff. One of my favourite Red Dwarf scenes was The Cat doing a backwards poo. :)

If you've never watched Red Dwarf, it doesn't matter, read this book anyway as it is
...more
Morgan Murray
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is Rob Grant's unadorned vision for Red Dwarf, as opposed to his collaborative view with Doug Naylor. Backwards follows Lister's journey to a planet going back in time, another encounter with Ace Rimmer and a tangle with some simulants - all of which have been covered in some way by the TV show.

Grant's description of Red Dwarf is a little darker than that found in the TV show, with more rounded characters. The Cat barely gets a look in, as Lister and Kryten dominate the book - the book's fu
...more
Evans Light
DNF. Loved the first two Red Dwarf books, but couldn't get into this at all. ...more
John Kirk
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although this book was published after Last Human, I think of it as the third novel in the series, because it follows so closely from Better Than Life. Also, it seems fairly clear to me that Rob Grant brought most of the talent to the "Grant Naylor" gestalt.

This novel introduces some completely new ideas, as well as tying together several episodes from the TV series. (view spoiler)
...more
Sandi (Zorena)
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm sorry to say that this one did not have an audio version read by Chris Barrie so I stuck with the written edition. Maybe it was the lack of Chris or maybe that Grant does need Naylor to balance him but I wasn't as happy with this outing.

I don't think I minded that there were less laughs and some of the humour was darker. What I did mind was that living backwards just couldn't sustain the concept for an entire book. I still laughed and enjoyed it but just not near as much as the first two. I
...more
Christopher
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved the concept of writing a world that existed backwards. The writing was very clever and extremely fun. I felt that the story flagged a little when they escaped but the inclusion of "Ace" was interesting, and the epilogue really helped flesh the character out. Made me think of the little decisions I've made over the years to get me to where I am now and wonder which ones I could (or should) have avoided to be a better person.

The story was kind of dull around the whole killbot scenar
...more
Paul Dobson
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you thought the episode was good, let me assure you the novel is right there with it. More backstory, and all the character panache from Rob Grant. As far as sci-fi comedy goes, this is gold. Don't miss the other Red Dwarf novels as well! ...more
Liz
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Huge shame that they had to split. Though still a good read, 'Backwards' just doesn't have the same finesse in its narrative and characters that the first two Red Dwarf books did. It is very interesting to see, after reading this and then the subsequent novel, 'The Last Human', just how different Grant and Naylor's writing styles are. It makes it all the more impressive that they managed to co-write two books in which you could not spot any differences in writing style or lack of cohesion in the ...more
Jane
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was a disappointing read for me in comparison to the other Red Dwarf books. The core of the book is based across three well known episodes... episodes that happen to be three of my favourites. They are joint together in an interesting way but for me it just heavily diluted three sterling episodes into something only so-so.
Abi
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm so sad that I finished this ...more
Felix Foote
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This book isn't perfect, but I enjoyed reading it. Rob Grant's writing is as detailed and talented as ever, and this book is based on a few great episodes of a great television show. I suppose my major complaints about it are more personal than anything. While I admire how Rob Grant chooses to go beyond the details set by the original television show and change the story, I found myself loving some changes, but not appreciating others. For instance, we spend a lot more time in the Backwards univ ...more
Tom Sadira
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one had all the great Red Dwarf stuff: Lister and the gang, absurd dimensions that defy reason, plenty of action (not always forward in time, which was a triiiiip), and sadistic-murderous-insane robots.

Act One was great, even if it forced me to bend my mind to think backwards (how's that for titularity, dude?!) For example, characters would regurgitate bites of their food until their lunch was reassembled on their plates, then hand it off to a waiter and collect a fee. Other mundane activi
...more
Christa Riley
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
So, I definitely consider this the third and final instalment in the Red Dwarf trilogy. It's not my favourite of the three but, of course, I still found it fantastic! I loved the elements of the show as well as the new plot points, like the agonoids and the detail into Ace's background.
There were some problems I had with it, like the fact that it wasn't all as connected as the previous two in terms of plot. For example, the 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse' plotline was definitely forced in there towar
...more
Nimishg
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is an alternate continuation to "Better than Life" (the other continuation being "Last Human"). About the first 1/3 of the book takes place exclusively in the Backwards universe, and that part, I have to admit, is amazing. Grant does a great job of reverse-engineering all the events and putting the characters in interesting positions throughout that bit.

The rest of the book feels a bit weird... as though Grant is trying to set up surprizes for the reader that aren't surprizes at all if
...more
Lily
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When people ask me for book recommendations, this is always my go-to.

No kidding, I was in tears from laughing while reading this book. It is absolutely hilarious and a must read for any Red Dwarf fan.

Some of the funniest moments in the series were taken from these pages and being able to read certain character's thoughts and reactions to the events unfolding is an added bonus.

Red Dwarf: Backwards, in my honest opinion, is hands down the best of the Red Dwarf books and the smegging funniest book
...more
Martha Ginny
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
This felt a little more all-over-the-place than the other Red Dwarf novelisations that I've read - I think partly because it felt like there was SO MUCH to fit in (Backwards AND Dimension Jump AND Gunmen, plus snippets of others) but I could read about my idiot boys just having a nap and I'd still have a load of fun, so I'm still happy either way, and I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the flashbacks to Rimmer's childhood, but that's because I'm predictable as hell.

Special mention to the li
...more
James A
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book if you're already a Red Dwarf fan. Not sure how much it would appeal otherwise, as it's largely a mix of stories from the series, albeit the 'backwards' world dominates for quite a while and leads logically into the other stories. It helped that I was familiar with the characters, especially as I haven't read the other books in the series and this was, I think, number 3. Possibly it's best - if you have no previous knowledge of the series/characters - to read the other books first.

It
...more
Gary E
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well this one took me a while to finish but that does not mean it was not enjoyable.

It is just as fun as the previous books in the series.

It really is great to read these far more detailed stories (as opposed to watching the TV episode(s) that the story became). We get a lot more insight into the characters and their back stories. Even if you are not a fan of the show these books are still good sci-fi and are worth reading.

If you are a fan of the show these are really must reads!
Thomas Cullen
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I was a bit skeptical about this book. Backwards has always been one of my least favourite episodes of Red Dwarf but I thoroughly enjoyed "better than life" so thought, what the smeg.

The shenanigans the Red Dwarf crew find themselves in throughout this book are hilarious; I loved the appearance of Ace Rimmer, the deranged aganoids and a larger focus on Lister. There was a bit too much slapstick comedy in places at times but I can let that slide. Overall, a pretty good follow on.
...more
Oliver
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colleen Lawrence
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another enjoyable adventure with the boys from the Dwarf. It's interesting to see the difference in writing styles between Doug Naylor and Rob Grant, who wrote the first two books together before writing a their own sequel each. It's a little sad that there aren't any books to read, but at least there is more of the TV show being made. ...more
Billycongo
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite what the title says, it's the 3rd Red Dwarf book. The continuity of the last book to this book is much better.

The main story is taken from an episode of the TV Show and expanded. In this case they do a great job. They bring back 'Ace' Rimmer, and the gelfs, and it's quite enjoyable. I'd say that this is the best of the books, because I've already read Red Dwarf #4, 'The Last Human'.
...more
Valentine
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook before I was able to sit down and read it for myself, and I had no idea how much had been cut (well, a chap and then the whole Gunmen part, but it's quite a lot), so that was nice to be able to read. I loved the stuff we got to see of Ace, and the stuff with baby Rimmer was just a really pleasant way to end the book. ...more
Igor
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I think these books are marked slightly out of order. This is (should be) the third title in the series then followed by Last Human. In my opinion, this was the weakest of the 4 books and doesn't contribute much to the book series overall. ...more
C. Bella
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent,terrific and i love this book.
Charles Cascio
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Darker than the TV series and just as true in their own right.
5y1v4r
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Only 3 stars because oh god was the first part on the backwards world hard to read. Once they get back into a normal time stream it settles back into a similar amusing sci fi romp as the first book.
Sarah
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great until the Apocalypse virus bit which drags, otherwise still funny. Love Ace Rimmer :D
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Grant

Writes under the name Grant Naylor when collaborating with Doug Naylor
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Other books in the series

Red Dwarf (4 books)
  • Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers (Red Dwarf #1)
  • Better than Life (Red Dwarf #2)
  • Last Human (Red Dwarf, #3)

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