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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,1802272,981 (3.79)1 / 236
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Gollancz (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, ebooks
Tags:science fiction, 2012

Work details

Redshirts by John Scalzi

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English (222)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (225)
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
Author: John Scalzi
Publisher: Tor
Published In: New York
Date: 2012
Pgs: 317


Away missions are lethal. At least if you are nondescript, low ranking, crew member A or B who always dies on them. Most crew members avoid away missions with all their might. Then, Engisn Andrew Dahl finds some information that transforms the crews understanding of what their ship’s mission really is. Information that just may save all the redshirts lives. Well...at least some of them. Possibly not many. But some.

Science fiction
Space opera

Why this book:
The redshirts joke and Scalzi’s rep. Match made in heaven.

Favorite Character:
Dahl and Kerrensky

The Feel:
I’ve known the “bad to be a redshirt on Star Trek” trope for a long time. This makes me look at Star Trek in a new way...not necesarily a good way, but a new way.

Kerensky when they are trying to find out about the actors who play them on the television show. This Wikipedia database is compiled by idiots. Greatness.

The Writer feeling guilty about killing off characters is very meta.

The scene in the Writer’s dream in Redshirt limbo.

Favorite Scene:
So much goodness here. Too many.

Well paced.

Hmm Moments:
The 4th wall appears to be swiss cheese. Wonder if this is what these redshirts will discover. The poor bastards deaths do appear to be for captain-pain, to bastardize a trope of books, comic books, and cinema. Effectively refrigerating the redshirts.

Put this in context alongside Galaxy Quest and Night of the Living Trekkies as one of my favorite non Star Trek, Star Trek novels.

The idea that the crew of the Intrepid are real, but that they are aware that they are the extras on a bad TV show because their casualty rates mimic the Enterprise is...odd. And a bit jarring. I’m all for shattering the 4th wall, but this is odd.

What if we’re all just characters in someone else’s story?

The guilt that Scalzi has the Writer express over his killing off of characters on the show which resulted in the deaths of the alternate dimension “actual” persons is good stuff.

Nerd giggles galore in this. Laugh out loud moments too. Great one when teh Chekov has been brought into the conspiracy and is flying the shuttle. Dahl tells him not to fly into the missiles and he responds with a don’t blame me, blame the writer.

And then, we start not just breaking the 4th wall, but the 5th...and the 6th. Wonder if Scalzi had all this planned or if he when he broke the 5th he realized that he could go even deeper as the characters started to live their lives in his mind.

Last Page Sound:
Okay, the last two paragraphs in the anticlimax are just cruel...and hilarious.

The end of the Coda left me with a smirk. Not a laugh out loud smirk, but a that’s sweet smirk.

Well done.

Author Assessment:
This made me fall in love a little bit with John Scalzi.

In the Coda, where Scalzi takes us back to check on some of the characters, when the Writer talks about writer’s block. I’m thinking of printing this out and sticking it on my dry erase board and re-reading it whenever I think i have writer’s block.

“You know, I never understood writer’s block before this. You’re a writer and you suddenly can’t write because your girlfriend broke up with you? Shit, dude, that’s the perfect time to writer. It’s not like you’re doing anything else with your nights. Having a hard time coming up with your next scene? Have something explode. You’re done. Filled with existential ennui about your place in the universe? Get over yourself. Yes, you’re an inconsequential worm in the grand scope of history. But you’re an inconsequential work who makes shit up for a living, which means that you don’t have to lift heavy boxes or ask people if they want fries with that. Grow up and get back to work.

That is greatness right there. Thanks Scalzi.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library
South Campus
Irving, TX

Dewey Decimal System:

Would recommend to:
genre fans
__________________________________________________​ ( )
  texascheeseman | May 24, 2016 |
I wish I could give this book eight stars. If you have ever been a fan of any sci fi tv show ever, you need to read this book. It was very funny and a quick read (maybe only because I didn't want to put it down). Basically, years in the future, one ship is reliving a bad sci fi tv show's life span. Plots are the same, the characters are the same, and the death toll is the same. Those who are potentially doing the dying decide to see if they can do something about it. ( )
1 vote bookwormteri | Mar 30, 2016 |
Redshirts falls short of what I'm use to read from John Scalzi. It was disappointing, but still the book managed to be a bit entertaining. As far as thee codas go, I couldn't connect to the first two, making the last worth reading.

So, mixed feelings about this book. ( )
  Gerardo.Delgadillo | Mar 29, 2016 |
Hey it was pretty good and I liked the concept. Kind of funny too. My daughter liked even better than "Old Man's War" which I'm reading now. But for me it was a little light on the "make sense" scale. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
2.5 stars. A quick read, no horrific writing flaws, and a reasonably interesting concept. The characters are underdeveloped, but that's kindof the point: these are all characters invented to be extras of varying significance in a second- (or third-) rate sci-fi show. (In other words, the premise is a Star-Trekkified variant of the film Stranger Than Fiction.) Can these poor schmucks change their fate if they set out to do so?

Well, of course they can--or, at least, the important ones can survive long enough to do so. There's something very meta and strange about the fact that even as these characters bemoan their expendability as "real" characters whose lives are made up for a TV show, they are also the central characters of a book being written about them. The rules aren't that dissimilar: the book needs native action and excitement and a sacrificial death or two to motivate the remaining characters, just like the show does. The difference is that the characters become aware of the show and try to change it, but aren't aware of the book that is about their becoming aware of the show and trying to change it.

So there's an unspoken futility underlying the whole endeavor, but I don't think that was supposed to be the point. Although, truth be told, I'm not really sure there was supposed to be a point at all. Mostly this is just a humorously critical spoof of sci-fi shows that utilize nonsensical "science" and are ridiculously cavalier with the lives of nonessential cast members. As such, it's somewhat amusing, but not particularly meaningful. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lutjen, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Redshirts is dedicated to the following:

To Will Wheaton, whom I heart with all the hearty heartiness a heart can heart;

To Mykal Burns, my friend since the TRS-80 days at the Glendora Public Library;

And to Joe Mallozzi and Brad Wright, who took me to space with them.
First words
From the top of the large boulder he sat on, Ensign Tom Davis looked across the expanse of the cave toward Captain Lucius Abernathy, Science Officer Q'eeng and Chief Engineer Paul West perched on a second, larger boulder, and thought, Well, this sucks.
"Someone who knows that no matter what, you don't deal upward on the chain of command," Dahl said. The crewman grinned.
"I don't think luck had much to do with it."
"That's it? 'The Box'?" Dahl said.

"If it makes you feel better to think it's an experimental quantum-based computer with advanced inductive artificial intelligence capacity, whose design origins comes to us from an advanced but extinct race of warrior-engineers, then you can think about it that way," Collins said.

"Is that actually what it is?" Dahl asked.

"Sure," Collins said . . .
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Book description
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It's a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more thrilled to be assigned to the ship's xenobiology laboratory, with the chance to serve on "Away Missions" alongside the starship's famous senior officers.

Life couldn't be better... until Andrew begins to realize that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship's captain, its chief science officers, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) sadly, at least one low-ranked crew member is invariably killed.

Unsurprisingly, the savvier members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues' understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is... and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

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Enjoying his assignment with the xenobiology lab on board the prestigious Intrepid, ensign Andrew Dahl worries about casualties suffered by low-ranking officers during away missions before making a shocking discovery about the starship's actual purpose.… (more)

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