The "No Aliens" Rule / GELFs

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

    Messages:
    944
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2016
    Location:
    Deep Space in the 15th Century
    At first I really enjoyed the "No Aliens" rule. People assume a spaceship programme is going to be full of aliens, and Red Dwarf wasn't like that. It was more about this lonely, existential drift through space where the plot was very character-driven, with the antagonists being mind-warping astrophysics and imaginative technology. "Waiting for God" is one of my favourite episodes, where Rimmer thinks they've made contact with aliens, but it turns out to be Red Dwarf's rubbish bin.

    But obviously the writers couldn't sustain that and increasingly came to bend their rule. While there are no "aliens" per se, the universe is teeming with life-forms that humans created: Kinitawowis, Pleasure GELFs, BEGGs, Holograms, Simulants, Rogue Simulants, Psirens, Emohawks, Despair Squids, Polymorphs, Rogue Droids, Pan-Dimensional Liquid Beasts from the Mogadon Cluster, Vidal Beasts of Sharmutt II. These function as aliens for all intents and purposes, although one of the characters always points out to the viewer that the bug-eyed monster trying to eat their brain was genetically engineered on Earth, just in case we think it's an alien!

    Do you think they should have just bitten the bullet and allowed "aliens", or does the fact that they're not technically aliens add something to the narrative? What are all these human-created creatures doing so far out in deep space? Did humans put them there? Were the individual GELFs made by humans, meaning GELFs are more or less immortal or that humans existed until very recently, or have GELFs been breeding on their own?

    In Emohawk, Lister is engaged to the Kinitawowi chief's daughter. So the Kinitawowi sound like they're not genetically engineered as individuals anymore, but rather have been breeding on their own for up to three million years. But in Entangled, the BEGG chief says he personally ate someone from an English boarding school. This means that depending on when/if humans became extinct, BEGGs must be extremely long-lived or even immortal for him to have eaten someone from an English boarding school up to three million years ago. Or it means that someone from an English boarding school still existed until relatively recently. I suppose they could both be true, that they can reproduce on their own and they're ageless. Or maybe Kinitawowi reproduce and BEGGs are immortal, although Kinitawowi and BEGGs look closely related.
     
  2. Seb

    Seb Captain Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,802
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    JMC HQ
    I like the no aliens rule. It may be rendered functionally obsolete from a story point of view by the addition of so many tribes and cultures of GELFs, but I think there's an important philosophical point at the heart of the show - the fact that Earth really is the only place in the universe where life originated - that would be lost if you ever encountered aliens.

    It's a unique and distinctive hook among sci-fi, one of the many things that sets Dwarf apart from everything else, and I'm glad it's there.
     
  3. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    1,477
    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    You gotta love how the show has no aliens, even though the movie Alien is sighted as being one of Dwarf's biggest influences.
     
  4. sundayforsammy

    sundayforsammy Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    2,404
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Newcastle UK
    ^ What he said :-)
     
  5. FeeBeeBells

    FeeBeeBells Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    1,981
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Australia
    I also like the no alien rule. Its something that I like about Firefly as well, that it has no aliens though not sure if it was a rule or not with that show. Everything else I watch about space is full of aliens.
     

Share This Page