Colony was the first book written by Red Dwarf co-creator Rob Grant since Backwards, which was based on the aforementioned TV show. In Colony, Grant takes a bit of a risk and ditches the well known and well loved Dwarf characters, but replaces them with characters who have just as much charm.

Arr! You be sailing from the Island of Unknowing to the Cape of Spoilers! There be sharks here, Eddie. There be dragons.

Eddie O'Hare is a very unlucky man indeed. Two and a half million quid has upped and left from his computer, stolen by...his computer, and he gambled all of his other money away trying to reclaim the two million. Even worse, the debt collectors are coming for Eddie and when they do arrive his life expectancy will likely be shortened drastically. He opts to make a run for it into the casino and bets his last chip, a fifty, on the roulette wheel. He notices a man who looks suspiciously like him putting it all on 13, and so Eddie does the same. He does this repeatedly until he has about £36,000 but foolishly walks away when he has the opportunity to pay off his debt and win £48,000,000. Ooops.

Stumbling across the streets knowing he's a dead man, he goes into a bar and is immediately assaulted by something/someone, loses a lot of blood and is asked if he wants to join a project to get the hell off of Earth before global warming finally does for it, and switch identities with someone who did win the 48 million quid. Eddie agrees (why wouldn't he?) and so becomes a Pilgrim.

Pilgrims are meant to be the creme de la creme of all humanity, sent on a bloody great ship with a sentient computer (sound familiar?) to the nearest inhabitable planet. Positions are selected according to parentage; you're only allowed to breed with the people you're told you can breed with and so the line of greatness goes on. Except for one slight problem.

Eddie mysteriously dies a few days after he boards the ship and is reawakened a generation later as merely a head in a jar attached to an incorrectly wired robot body. And he's not Eddie, nor even the person he was supposed to switch identities with. He's Dr Piers Morton, and he was only selected out of all the other heads because the ship has lost the ability to read and they misread the labels on the jars. The ship is damaged and Eddie is apparently the only one who can save it. The staff are completely warped: the captain is 13 and names planets things like Penis, Thrrrp and Panties, the ship padre is an atheist who spies on the resident Catholic nut (who is also the science officer) whipping herself in her room and, of course, none of them can read. They're fucked, basically.

Grant writes with the same sort of style he uses in Backwards-full of hilarious similes and concepts stretched out of all proportion to try and get as many laughs as possible out of them. In this respect, Colony is a great book, piss-your-pants funny at every turn (and with a cast list like I said above, how couldn't it be?). It doesn't focus on sci-fi concepts as much as Backwards: wisely I think. Indeed, most of the book is just like a boat-going-to-smash-into-bloody-great-object novel...just in space and very funny at the same time, many of the characters could easily be transposed into the aforementioned scenario.

This book was printed by Viking in the year 2000. It is available from Amazon.