|Creator:||Rob Grant and Doug Naylor|
|Date(s):||1988-1999, 2009, 2012, 2016-2017, 2020,|
|Country of Origin:||UK|
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Red Dwarf is a British science-fiction sitcom that ran 1988-1999. A three-part special was aired in 2009. This was followed by Series X, consisting of six episodes, which was first broadcast on UK TV-channel Dave in October/November 2012.
The main characters are Dave Lister, the last known human alive, and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of Lister's dead bunkmate. The other regular characters are Cat, a lifeform which evolved from the descendants of Lister's pregnant pet cat Frankenstein; Holly, Red Dwarf's computer; Kryten, a service mechanoid; and, as of Series VII to Back to Earth, Kristine Kochanski, an alternative-reality version of Lister's long-lost love.
The fandom is small, has been active since the 1980s and is still active today. The pre-Internet fandom centered around fanclubs, fanzines, informal meet-ups and the Dimension Jump convention. One early fan states that there was relatively limited crossover with general science fiction fandom; the show tended to attract comedy fans, many of whom were monofannish. A relatively small number of Red Dwarf zines were produced, mainly in the 1990s-2000s.
 The Red Dwarf mailing list was founded in 1995, and there was also a list hosted by the pipex.com list server. Early fannish projects were often canon resources, and include a timeline for the universe, a catalogue of sources referenced in the show/books, the Plot Inconsistencies Project, and many others. Multiple fansites sprang up in the mid-to-late 1990s, including Ganymede & Titan (one of the few still extant), Hol's Post Pod Primer, Queeg's Red Dwarf Archive, Scouser's Red Dwarf Survival Guide, SmegWeb & Swirly Thing Alert, some of which were linked by the Red Dwarf Webring.
Fanfiction appeared in some of the Red Dwarf zines, such as Better Than Life which was a publication of The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club. Red Dwarf fic also featured in several multi-fandom zines, largely with other more popular 1980s fandoms, such as Doctor Who and Blake's 7.
Red Dwarf fanfic has been posted to Fanfiction.Net since 2000. As of 2014, the site was at the time still the largest archive of Red Dwarf fic. However, it has since been surpassed by A03 as of 2021. Before this time, fanfiction was posted to other archives. The first online Red Dwarf slash fic may have been posted around 1999 - one contender for this position is Yuchtar's 'What the Smeg' (Lister/Rimmer, Kochanski), which was posted in early 1999.
It's likely that the rise of slash in Red Dwarf fandom was due to the founding of Yahoo group the Red Dwarf Slash Society in 2001. ("Listmummies: Princess Lauren([email protected]), Poet ([email protected]), and Dervla Nightshade ([email protected]).") Prior to this time, slash had largely met with flames from other non-slash fans, which had kept productivity low.
The Red Dwarf Slash Society (RDSS) was particularly active in its first three years, with around 300 posts per month (going up to 600 at its height). The group is still open today. The group is known for producing RPs that were turned into popular fics.
A sister group (the Red Dwarf Het Society) was set up a year later ("Listmummies: Lauren Scavenger and Dervla Nightshade"), although it was never as popular. After the first few months, most months only saw about <10 posts.
There are multiple communities on Livejournal, including red_dwarf (founded in 2001), reddwarffanfic (founded in 2005 and seemingly largely replaced by reddwarfslash) and reddwarfslash (founded in 2003).
There have been two major incarnations of the kink meme - the original Red Dwarf kink meme (2008-09) was hosted by Kahvi on Livejournal. In 2013 saylee created a new kink-meme only Livejournal, starbuggers, because it had "been quite some time since the old one was started, and there [were] a lot of new faces in the fandom who might want to participate."
Fics are now also posted (and re-posted from other archives) to Archive of Our Own. Numerous fans are also on Tumblr, and the fandom has its own Texts From Last Night Meme journal and Confessions journal.
Red Dwarf is a frequent request at Yuletide.
Most Red Dwarf fanfiction is for the pairing Dave Lister/Arnold Rimmer. Other relatively popular pairings (far less so than the main ones) include Lister/Kochanski, and Rimmer/himself (in the form of Ace Rimmer),
In 2010 theficklepickle claimed that Red Dwarf is a fandom "which on the whole tends to go in for short, funny stories", although by 2014 this view had changed. rosecathy1 suggested "longer, angsty and/or sexy stories [seem to] have the biggest draw, while janamelie commented "Maybe the "short, funny stories" observation was true once, but in recent years the most popular and prolific authors tend to write lengthy fics - Kahvi / Roadstergal, Felineranger, Kronette, Veronica Rich etc. They certainly can be funny though. :)" Other fans agreed.
Some fanfic examples include:
- Making Up The Numbers by Kahvi. For Yuletide 2010
- Here Be Dragons by gemjam. Lister/Rimmer. theficklepickle writes on epic recs: ""It's often difficult to feel any sympathy for one of the more unattractive characters of recent years [Rimmer], but his struggles with his own feelings are beautifully portrayed and any reader with even half a heart will undoubtedly end up rooting for his awkward but ultimately successful attempts to understand and reconcile himself to his developing connection with Lister."
- The Time of your Death by Norwegian Porn Faerie aka kahvi. Lister/Rimmer. theficklepickle writes on epic recs: Red Dwarf slash is a scarce commodity and some of it is of less than stellar quality. This story, happily, is one of the best; it's a slash story that isn’t all about the sex - and that, in my opinion, is just what the hologram ordered.
- Fifty Shades Of Smeg by felineranger. Lister/Rimmer. A very popular 50 Shades of Grey fusion fic.
- Pecking You, Baby by Lempo Soi (Lemposoi). Lister/Rimmer.
- Quick Fix by Lauren (notalwaysweak). Lister/Rimmer
Fanart has been posted in numerous locations on the internet, but is now largely collected on DeviantArt and Tumblrs. Popular themes include group shots and Rimmer in stockings (i.e. Low!Rimmer from 'Demons and Angels').
Example fanvids include:
- Noise from the Dwarf - celebrating 25 years of Red Dwarf - Analysis
- Star Wars vs Red Dwarf
- Star Trek: Red Dwarf versus Klingons
- Red Dwarf Smeg head in lego (from Camille)
- Back in the Red - Back in the Red fan-edit
Red Dwarf-specific publications:
- Back to Reality (2009–present) - current club magazine of The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club
- Better than Life (1990–2007) - former newsletter/club magazine of The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club, included some fanfiction/fan art
- The Red Dwarf Fan Club Newsletter - newsletter
- The Small Rouge One - fanfic
- Stasis-Leak - newsletter
- Tales from the Dwarfside - fanfic
- Talkie Toaster - newsletter of the German Better Than Life fanclub; mainly in German
Multimedia zines with Red Dwarf content:
- Badlands (multimedia zine)
- Cross Streams
- Eternity (Doctor Who zine) - non-fiction and fiction, primarily Doctor Who
- Jigsaw (multimedia zine) - non-fiction
- Stims, Blood, Adrenaline and Soma
- Whirly Thing Alert
- Official Forum
- Official Red Dwarf Fan Club
- Red Dwarf Web Ring
- Holly Hop Web Ring
- Holly Hop Red Dwarf Forum
- BTLi Forums
- Ganymede & Titan
- Gazpacho Soup
- Planet Smeg
- Total Red Dwarf
- Jupiter Mining.com
- Silicon Hell
- Corridor 159
- Sup's Smegging Red Dwarf Page
- Totally Red Dwarf
- The Red Dwarf Drinking Game
- Red Dwarf FAQ
Archives & Websites
All single-author sites, unless otherwise indicated
- Red Dwarf Slash
- https://www.squidge.org/peja/reddwarf/slash.htm (multiple authors)
- Red Dwarf on FicWad
- Yuchtar's Fan Fiction
- Red Dwarf Slash Society (RDSS) archive link "The RDSS is primarily dedicated to reading, writing and discussing Red Dwarf and Red Dwarf slash, but non-slashers are welcome provided they are tolerant of slash. OT ramblings also permitted, as long as they don't go too far... we're more than just a bunch of crazy fangirls! Vote in our polls, make friends with our members, and just have fun! Listmummies: Lauren Scavenger, Poet and Dervla Nightshade."
- Red Dwarf Slash archive link and Red Dwarf Chat and Fic archive link "Since someone mentioned how difficult it is to find RD fiction, I thought it would be nice to fill the need. I invite you to experence life through the eyes of Lister and the crew of Red Dwarf, such as it is. Slash fiction only. All fiction will join the work of my other lists archived at the url below unless I get a "Do Not Archive" notation."
- Ganymede & Titan: The Beginning (accessed 5 September 2014)
- RED DWARF Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQ) (accessed 5 September 2014)
- Hol's Post Pod: Welcome (via Wayback Machine)
- GUIDE TO ALT.TV.RED-DWARF DOCUMENTS (accessed 5 September 2014)
- notalwaysweak commenting on a Livejournal post on RedDwarfSlash in 2014
- Red Dwarf kink meme part 1 on Kahvi's journal
- Red Dwarf kink meme part 2 on Kahvi's journal
- A New Kinkmeme? posted by saylee on reddwarfslash in October 2013
- Of the 586 Red Dwarf fics hosted on Archive of Our Own in September 2014, 347 were Lister/Rimmer
- theficklepickle posting on epic_recs in 2010
- rosecathy1 commenting on a Livejournal post on RedDwarfSlash in 2014
- janamelie commenting on a Livejournal post on RedDwarfSlash in 2014
- theficklepickle posting on epic_recs in 2010
- theficklepickle posting on epic_recs in 2010
- The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club web site: About (2 November 2000; via Wayback Machine)
- Dimension Jump on Wikipedia