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In "Timeslides",

Rimmer goes back in time, alters the past, returns to the present, and he (and Holly) discover that he is alive, not a hologram. Then he accidentally kills himself and so is a hologram again in the next episode.

But, has the timeline been altered? So should Lister, Cat and Kryten from then on remember a past in which Lister and Rimmer both had been alive until "Timeslides"?

If so, shouldn't they remember someone else being a hologram?

If they have no memory of a live Rimmer (other than Series 1 Ep 1), why not? (Other than "Grant and Naylor don't worry too much about continuity").

  • No, because the show doesn't have (much) continuity. The early episodes were just a bunch of stuff that happened. – Valorum Apr 27 '18 at 6:14
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When Lister went back in time and changed his own past, he

disappeared, as did Cat and Kryten,

but neither Holly's nor Rimmer's memories were changed to correspond to the new reality.

Logically, then, when Rimmer went back into the past and made another change, the consequences of that change shouldn't affect Lister's, Cat's or Kryten's memories either.

As to why: apparently, that's just how this particular form of time travel works. Getting a time travel plot to make sense is bothersome even if you're trying, and you're not going to get all that much of an effort in a comedy format. :-)


PS: the first new timeline wasn't self-consistent either; Holly would have had no good reason to animate Rimmer's hologram without Lister.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to make sense; it's a comedy.

Warning: TV Tropes link, credit goes to Jontia for finding it.

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    It's also worth noting that even Rimmer's memories didn't seem to be altered to fit him being alive. He was surprised when Holly told him about the status change. Ultimately Red Dwarf runs on tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfFunny – Jontia Apr 27 '18 at 8:10
  • @Jontia, that's not as surprising, AFAIK most time-travel stories have the person or people who made the change keep their original memories. There are a few exceptions but they're all the more notable for it. Excellent link, though; I'm going to steal it, thanks. :-) – Harry Johnston Apr 27 '18 at 22:24
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It would seem that the others did not "remember" Rimmer being alive.

The "rules" of time-travel vary greatly between different sci-fi universes, but Red Dwarf has featured various different methods of time-travel with different results. However, within this episode, it is evident that those who make changes to history retain their prior memories.

When Lister successfully persuaded his younger self to patent the 'Tension Sheet', he, the Cat and Kryten all disappeared from their timeline (because the change affected them) but Rimmer remained and remembered everything about them and what they had done. This is why he proceeded to return to their "new" futures and undo the changes they had made.

When Rimmer undoes the changes in the timeline, returning things exactly as they had been before, the other crew return having no knowledge of what just happened, but Rimmer and Holly remembered and understood what had happened. It is Holly that notices Rimmer is still alive, and presumably, when Rimmer quickly dies again, Holly also resurrects him as a hologram.

The comedy punchline is that the others are not aware that Rimmer has just died, so it could be assumed that they never know. If holograms are generated from a 'backup', Rimmer's new hologram may only have been able to pick up his memories from prior to entering the Timeslide, and he may not have remembered his second death. Therefore it is possible that only Holly remembered all the events.

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