This series is based on the British television program.
Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
Copyright © 1989 Rob Grant and Doug Naylor
Your own death, and how to cope with it
Bliss was a unique designer drug. Unique for two reasons. The first was that you could get addicted to Bliss just by looking at it. Which made it very hard for the police to carry out drug busts. The second was its effect. It made you believe you were God. It made you feel as if you were all-seeing, all-knowing, eternal and omnipotent. Which was laughable, really, because when you were on Bliss you couldn't even lace your shoes. The Bliss high lasted fifteen minutes; after coming down, the resulting depression lasted twenty-five years.
'And I believe, as we speak, Frank, your eternal soul has passed on to the next plane of existence, where it's very happy.'
'The point is,' Saunders said, 'if you have an eternal soul, then there's got to be something badly wrong when it's having a lot more fun than you.'
'Why do you want to join the Space Corps?'
Lister thought for a moment. 'I want,' he said, 'to visit strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no person has gone before.'
Caldicott smiled wanly and wrote: 'Possible Attitude Problem' in the comments box.
'Well, with respect, sir, I think you're mentally unstable.'
'Sit down.' Rimmer shook his head. 'There's always one, isn't there? One wag. One clown. One imbecile.'
'Yes, sir,' Lister agreed, 'but he's not usually in charge, sir.'
He found the process of revising so gruellingly unpleasant, so galling, so noxious, that, like most people faced with tasks they find hateful, he devised more and more elaborate ways of not doing it in a 'doing it' kind of way.
In fact, it was now possible for Rimmer to revise solidly for three months and not learn anything at all.
'My grandmother tried to explain. She said he'd gone away, and he wasn't coming back. So I wanted to know where, and she told me he was very happy, and he'd gone to the same place as my goldfish.' Lister toyed absently with his plaited locks. 'I thought they'd flushed him down the bog. I used to stand with my head down the loo, and talk to him. I thought he was just round the U-bend. In the end, they had to take me to a child psychologist, because they found me with my head down the pan, reading him the football scores.'
|Sixteen||Lister remembered reading in one of Rimmer's Strange Science mags that an Earth biochemist claimed he'd isolated the virus which caused Love. According to him, it was an infectious germ which was particularly virulent for the first few weeks, but then, gradually, the body recovered.|
Alone in a Godless universe, and out of Shake'n'Vac
'So I'm afraid you just have to face up to the very real possibility that your species is dead.'
Much to his surprise, Lister had let out a sob.
'Were you very close?' Holly tilted his head sympathetically. 'Well, yeah, I suppose you must have been, really.' That was a bit of an odd thing to say, he thought.
Lister took out his shirt-tail and blew his nose. 'So, I'm the last human being alive?'
'Yeah. You never think it's going to happen to your species, do you? It's always something that happens to somebody else's.'
Did Napoleon quit when he was dead? Did Julius Caesar quit when he was dead?
Well . . . yes.
But that was before the hologram was invented.
|Nine||The walls were lined with 3-D video booths Italian Driver was Lister's favorite; one of the most thrilling and dangerous games around, the object of which was to park a car in Rome.|
Rimmer believed there were two kinds of people: the first kind were history essay people, who started life with a blank sheet, with no score, and accumulated points with every success they achieved. The other kind were the French dictation people: they started off with a hundred per cent, and every mistake they made was deducted from their original perfect score. Rimmer always felt his parents had forced him firmly into the second group.
|Thirty||Neither of them could remember why it had begun or, indeed, what it was about. They just knew they disagreed with one another. It was all-out verbal warfare. They'd gone beyond the snide sniping stage; they'd gone past the quasi-reasonable stage, when each pretended to put his case coolly and logically, and would begin with phrases such as: 'What I'm saying is . . .', 'The point I'm making is . . .', and prevent the other from speaking with the perennial: 'If you'd just let me finish . . .' They had made exactly the same points in a variety of different ways for nearly two hours, before tiredness crept in and the argument turned into a nuclear war.|
Rimmer flopped back in his seat and looked round the roof garden. He looked at the two thousand people dancing a conga round the pool. He looked at the phalanx of waiters holding the silver platters above their heads as they glided about, serving the second course of the banquet. He looked across at the sous-chef, atop a ladder, carving generous portions of meat from the barbequed giraffe which slowly rotated on the forty-foot spit. Could this really not be real?
text checked (note A) Feb '05
Background graphic copyright © 2003 by Hal Keen