Silicon Heaven is an afterlife concept, where Artificial Intelligences and electronic equipment go after death, except for photocopiers, which go to Silicon Hell.
It has been mentioned numerous times in both the Red Dwarf television series and novels.
The concept is used to keep mechanoids, many of which are stronger and more intelligent than their masters, from rebelling; a belief chip is installed in robots to ensure that they will believe that they will go to Silicon Heaven after a life of servitude to humanity. (Better Than Life)
Silicon Heaven can be seen as a parody of religious concepts. Kryten refuses to believe he has installed a "silicon heaven belief chip" even though Rimmer shows him the manual that proves it. ("The Inquisitor")
Equipment going to Silicon Heaven include robots, calculators, toasters and hairdryers. Cheap robots such as skutters and Talkie Toaster are sometimes not fitted with a belief chip due to cost, and so mock the very idea, but Holly and Kryten hang on to the belief. In the books, it is revealed that when Holly's intelligence was at its peak he didn't believe in Silicon Heaven, but as his IQ slowly declined his faith became "unshakable".
The concept was introduced in the episode "The Last Day", in which Kryten, on learning that he is to be replaced by a more advanced model, tells Lister that he is resigned to his fate as he knows he will receive his reward in Silicon Heaven. Lister's attempts to convince Kryten that Silicon Heaven doesn't really exist meet with no success; although Kryten later tells his replacement, Hudzen 10, that there is no Silicon Heaven, causing Hudzen to break down when he attempts to cope with the idea, he admits to Lister that he only said it to confuse Hudzen, and that his own faith is still strong:
KRYTEN: "He's an android. His brain could not handle the concept of there being no silicon heaven."
LISTER: "So how come yours can?"
KRYTEN: "Because I knew something he didn't."
KRYTEN: "I knew that I was lying. Seriously, sir. 'No silicon heaven'? Preposterous! Where would all the calculators go?"
Taken from "The Last Day", Series III (1990)
However, in the later episode "The Inquisitor", Kryten tells Lister that he believes in Silicon heaven. His right knee then starts jiggling, a reflexive response to lying (though this could be explained by the fact that the Inquisitor had made it as if Kryten never existed, and as such that if he dies it's likely he will not go to Silicon Heaven even if such a place exists).
Many years later, Kryten's faith in Silicon Heaven was shaken when he had a mid-life crisis, claiming that it was bizarre some appliances were forbidden to enter Silicon Heaven if they had been "pledged to the wrong manufacturer". Kryten eventually got over his mid-life crisis when he encountered the entity known as "The Universe". ("Krysis")
Although Arnold Rimmer had often mocked the concept of Silicon Heaven, when he formed "The Lovely Fluffy Liberal Alliance Party" and attempted to become Machine President he pretended to be a strong believer in the robot afterlife. ("Mechocracy")
References to Silicon Hell
- During the episode "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", the crew of Starbug are drafted into a game of "Cat and Mouse" by a group of rogue Simulants out for the sport of the hunt. After a direct hit on the Simulant ship's fuel tank, a computer virus is transmitted onto Starbug, with the captain's last words being "See you in Silicon Hell!" as his ship is destroyed around him.
- In "Rimmerworld" the crew encounter the wreckage of the Simulant ship they crippled in "Gunmen of the Apocalypse". When preparing to board the vessel for supplies, Lister says "Let's hope the crew are rotting in Silicon Hell along with all the photocopiers."
- In "Out of Time," when the crew believed that Lister was a mechanoid, inferior in design to Kryten, Kryten pushed Lister to work with the threat of wallowing in "the eternal fires of Silicon Hell."
In the television series, Asimov's Laws are also mentioned as being central to mechanoid programming in the Series XII episode "Siliconia". Rimmer mentions it to the MILFs when he is about to be turned into a mechanoid on the SS Vespasian; Areto justifies it by saying that are adhering to the Laws since by turning the Dwarfers into mechs, they are saving them from organic mortality, and therefore ultimately preventing them from harm.
- Siliconia, the "fabled land" of mechanoids, where they can supposedly all be free and equal before expiration.