Guest Post by Author Sechin Tower

Sechin Tower

Author Sechin Tower

My guest blogger today is Sechin Tower (SechinTower.com).  He is the author of Mad Science Institute: A Novel of Creatures, Calamities, and College Matriculation.  Today he’s writing about a favorite topic of mine…

Red Dwarf Changed My Smegging Life

Red Dwarf changed my life. Well, not in a huge way: I mean, I didn’t move to Fiji, get a sheep and a cow and breed horses. But it really opened my mind to what science fiction can be.

For those of you who don’t know about this show, do yourself a favor and put the first five or six seasons into your Netflix queue right away. Watch it before you read any further. It’s okay, I’ll wait right here for you to get back.

Okay, now that we got rid of the noobs, let’s get personal. The first time I saw Red Dwarf I was 15 years old and prior to that the only science fiction I had experienced were space epics. Star wars. Star Trek. Star Search. Okay, not the last one, but you get the idea.

What made Red Dwarf different? It was funny. And it was science fiction. At the same time. Mind: Blown.

Science Fiction + Comedy = Awesome

Aside from Spaceballs and maybe one or two other endeavors, science fiction and comedy had never mixed prior to Lister’s 3-million-year-detour. Sure, space epics have their funny bits, like when C-3PO says “let the wookie win” or when Spock cocks a deadpan eyebrow at human illogicality, but they were just little bits and afterthoughts. Red Dwarf, on the other hand, takes visionary sci-fi ideas and turns them into knee-slapping hilarity, like dating a version of yourself from a parallel universe, or having your fashion sense sucked out by a GELF (Genetically Engineered Life Form), or experimenting with fun accessories for your android’s groin socket.

The secret to Red Dwarf’s success is the characters. It wasn’t about mystical cosmic knights or highly trained astronauts: this show was different because it was about the OTHER guys. The normal joes. The fuck-ups. It foresaw a time in the future when anyone could go into space, even a slob like Lister or a smeg-head like Rimmer, and they seem real because they’re just like people we know, and maybe even ourselves.

Bring a Smeghead to Work Day

July 11th is the birthday of Craig Charles, so in honor the actor who played Lister I’d like to declare it “Bring a Smeghead to Work Day.” I’d like to declare that, but I don’t have to: there are already plenty of smegheads where I work. So instead I’m just going to eat some curry and watch a few episodes of the boys from the Dwarf doing what they do best.

Red Dwarf Series X has been filmed (in front of a live audience) and will air in September in the UK. Their last reunion show, Back to Earth, was—how do I say this politely?—a pile of crap. Nevertheless, I’m going to hope this new season quickly gets picked up by someone in the states (I’m looking at you, PBS!). Lister, Rimmer, Cat, Kryten, and Holly were—and still can be—more fun than a bucket full of emo-hawks.

–Sechin Tower

Author of Mad Science Institute: A Novel

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One Response to “Guest Post by Author Sechin Tower”

  1. For the most part, I have to agree about Back to Earth. But the Bladerunner photograph analysis scene made up for all the rest in one short joke.

    Red Dwarf X is a true return to form. Funny, clever, crap F/X, the works. Genius in TV form.

    There have been other attempts at SF comedy since the small crimson one – Hyperdrive, for example – but none have come close. Red Dwarf is, and will always be, *the* science fiction comedy.

    So go on. Pick a favourite episode… Back to Reality edges it for me.

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