Would the Red Dwarf guys respawn in case

  • (1) is the group that is to the present
  • (2) is the group that is traveling in the past to visit (1)
  • (1) is in year 8 000 000 for example
  • (2) is in year 8 000 015 for example
  • (2) comes back to the past to kill (1)
  • (2) kills (1) which would mean that (1) can't live in the future and they would never kill themselves.

I'm talking about "Out of time" episode, which is described as

Starbug enters an artificial fog containing devices that create false realities. Persevering through it, the crew find what it is hiding — a time machine. Shortly after, they meet their future selves, from fifteen years later. The crew learn that their future selves are incredibly corrupt and amoral through abuse of the time drive, to experience the "very best" of history. In the end, the two Starbug crafts engage in a space battle to end all space battles.

Episode page on wikipedia.

Would they respawn after their future selves kill them?

  • 8
    I've read this through a couple times and, honestly, I have no idea what you're asking. Could you re-write it to include background and clarity? I'm a RD fan and have re-watched the series many times, but I'm still not clear just what you're talking about that is RD specific. This just sounds like it's a general time-travel question like the grandfather paradox.
    – Tango
    Oct 9, 2011 at 17:20
  • @TangoOversway: They met themselves very FAT. Don't you remember?
    – genesis
    Oct 9, 2011 at 18:13
  • You might want to include more to reference that episode and what you're talking about. As it is, this question doesn't sound like more than a general "kill your earlier self" question that could apply to any SF. Since one intent of this site is long term reference, a clear question, referencing the episodes and incidents helps keep it all clear. But, that paradox was taken care of in the explanation in the episode that followed, where the camera blew up when Lister tried to explain it. In other words, in typical Red Dwarf fashion, they used comedy to explain what physics wouldn't.
    – Tango
    Oct 9, 2011 at 20:45
  • @TangoOversway: Take a look here
    – genesis
    Oct 9, 2011 at 20:49
  • @TangoOversway: yes, that's episode I'm talking about. Lister tried to explain that to the camera but it exploded.
    – genesis
    Oct 9, 2011 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


You are talking about an ontological paradox, and, in the show's terms, we don't know. Each time there has been the potential for one, something has occurred to prevent it. In the case of the episode I believe you are referring to, Rimmer goes and destroys the device that permitted the future group to exit, thus abrogating their future. True, he does this in response to them, but if looked at one way, his timeline can now proceed without interference, and they are merely a potential future that has been prevented.

Something similar exists in White Hole; at the end, with time going back to where it was, the whole episode never happened.. No paradox in this case, because the initiating events never happened, but our hero's are in the same position as the 'Future self' versions in this one; they are part of a time line that will now not happen, and fade from existence.. although Kryten does take the opportunity to take a jab at Rimmer, since it will never be seen.

And, then there is the episode with they cyborg that is judging all of mankind (one at a time), where Lister steals the time gauntlet and sets up a paradox to protect himself.. Which turns out to be useless, as (since he set up a situation where he saved the villain) were he deleted, he would never have set up the paradox in the first place... Although this is actually a gambit to sucker the bad-guy into zapping himself with the now rigged gauntlet, and take himself out of time.. again, reverting the entire cast to the pre-episode state.. In this case, though, we see alternatives of the crew, while Lister and Kryten are protected from deletion by the fact that the gauntlet has not yet deleted them from existence.

In each case, the actual paradox is prevented, resulting in the abrogation of a future time-line, so we really don't see WHAT would happen. The easiest way to look at it is to concentrate on the earliest (in a temporal sense) group; they are the ones that will continue, if possible. Think of them as the source of a stream or river. The future versions are possibilities, but, when the possibility is 'cut' by whatever action, that particular path for the river is blocked, and it finds a new path to follow. A true, self-destructive paradox (like their future selves killing themselves, and thus preventing their own existance, and, by extension, all of their actions) runs the river in a circle -- in real life, this would result in a pond, lake, etc, until it overflowed it's banks and found a new course -- in the Red Dwarf universe, I suspect that 'temporal potential' that would build up is what keeps such things from being possible.. In point of fact, they may have happened.. hundreds or thousands of times.. but they eliminate themselves, and repeat, until something changes.. all we can see is the results of the LAST change.

Oh, and then, of course, going back to early on, there are the 'Future Echos'; but these are an example of incomplete understanding of future events; no real paradox exists, as they are unable to change events thru not having a full understanding of what was going on.

The closest to an exception that I recall is Lister's parentage; that's a paradox, but it's not a self destructive one, it's simply the 'chicken and egg' type, in that we can't say how exactly it got started.

  • I assume you mean Lister's parentage. Oct 11, 2011 at 16:27
  • Yah. That's what I meant. Doh! :)
    – K-H-W
    Oct 11, 2011 at 21:51

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