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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John…
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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi, Scalzi

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2,4572492,503 (3.8)1 / 263
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Title:Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
Authors:John Scalzi
Other authors:Scalzi
Info:Tor Books (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Redshirts by John Scalzi

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English (246)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All (249)
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
Redshirts stars Ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned to the starship Intrepid. It doesn’t take long for him to notice that something weird is going on. Everyone reacts strangely to any mention of away missions, and the Intrepid’s crew has a much higher than normal mortality rate. In an effort to avoid a dramatic and untimely death, Dahl works together with several other new crew members and discovers things that seem too impossible and bizarre to be true.

I went into this book expecting it to be a combination black comedy and Star Trek parody. It started off that way, but then it morphed into something that packed more of an emotional punch than I expected.

This is the third book by Scalzi that I’ve read, and I think it’s the best of the bunch. The premise was interesting and fun, even though the characters themselves admitted it wasn’t terribly original. As with Scalzi’s other books, I felt that the characterization was very thin - I kept forgetting who certain characters were and had to flip back to their introductions for reminders - but even if I had trouble caring about them as individuals I was still riveted by their situation. Was a solution even possible? I couldn’t stop reading because I just had to find out.

I spent most of this book approaching it like a weird adventure, which is part of the reason why the “ending” threw me off so much. My copy of the book was 317 pages long, and the story’s apparent ending happened on page 230. Honestly, readers could technically stop at that point. It’d leave a few questions unanswered, but the result would be an okay sci-fi adventure with a reasonably happy ending. (The brief fake-out pissed me off. I wish Scalzi hadn’t done that - it was upsetting and annoying.)

I vaguely remembered hearing about the Three Codas but, since I’d read reviews ages ago and hadn’t bothered to look any up prior to starting the book, they still took me by surprise. They dug a bit deeper into characters I hadn’t expected Scalzi to spend much time on, and answered a few questions I had thought Scalzi would avoid dealing with. Then again, I’d also thought he’d avoid any direct mention of Star Trek and the Enterprise, and I was wrong about that too.

I can’t say too much about the codas without including major spoilers, so please excuse the vagueness from here on out. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about them. I enjoyed them, I think, but aspects of them also annoyed me. The first one was my favorite, because it answered one of the questions that had been foremost in my mind. The answer the character arrived at in order to keep functioning and moving forward didn’t quite work for me, but it was better than “he quit” or “these discoveries had zero effect on his emotions or behavior.”

All three of the codas had some amount of emotional manipulation in common, but the second and third codas were the most obvious about it. I was relatively okay with the second one, because it at least gave me a peek at how one aspect of the big plan had worked out. The third one struck me as being more forced. This woman had a complete stranger show up on her doorstep, give her something that was either highly creepy (if she viewed it as coming from a deeply obsessed fan) or impossible (if she believed it), and then leave without an explanation. She handled it all way better than I felt was believable.

One thing in particular that bugged me about the second and third codas (and here I get into “unavoidable spoilers” territory): the way theyemphasized that the connection between the characters and their actors went deeper than surface level. I don’t have the words to fully explain why it bugged me, but the idea that the characters and their actors were essentially the same person didn’t sit well with me.

All in all, I liked this book a lot more than I had expected I would. Although I’ve seen quite a bit of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine, I don’t consider myself to be a Trekkie and was worried that that would impede my ability to enjoy this book. Happily, that wasn’t the case.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
1 vote Familiar_Diversions | May 20, 2017 |
Ensign Andrew Dahl has been assigned to the Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union space fleet. While waiting to board he meets a few other new crew members and a natural bond of friendship is born. It looks to be a good career move but why is everybody doing their damnedest to avoid the senior officers and what's the score with away missions? Almost every single one ends up with a casualty with a high number of these being fatal. It's never the officers who die though but always a low-ranking member of the team. Are they just cannon fodder or is something really strange going on aboard the Intrepid? It's then that Andy and his friends meet Jenkins. He's the only crewmember to offer any sort of explanation and no matter how outlandish it seems Andy is forced to consider it and come up with a plan to stop the impending deaths of himself and his compatriots.

This is a parody of science fiction TV shows, most notably Star Trek, along the lines of the movie Galaxy Quest. Where the science is not always plausible and the action is overly dramatic but it all adds up to a lot of fun. It's a quick, light-hearted read with characters you learn to care about and some witty dialogue along the way. There's also some quite touching moments too especially with the coda's included after the main story has finished. Having only read some of his Old Man's War books previously it's good to know that Scalzi's other work is worthy of attention also. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | May 5, 2017 |
I just didn't get this book. I don't know why, everyone else seems to love it - won the Hugo in 2013, all the reviews seem to be very positive.

It was suppose to be funny I guess, a satire on the old Star Trek shows, I found it stale and difficult to read. The plot was predictable, the characters thinly drawn. Oh well - maybe his next novel.... ( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
Sinceramente, no sé qué puntuación darle.
Me ha gustado (de hecho, la nota sería un 3'5), pero no me ha entusiasmado. ( )
  Owdormer | Feb 26, 2017 |
John Scalzi's Hugo winning novel begins conventionally enough. Ensign John Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union flagship Intrepid. It is a prestigious assignment. But Dahl and his fellow newbies soon discover that things just aren't quite right. Crew hide when senior officers come looking for personnel to join away teams. The away missions always end in tragedy with the untimely death,or disfigurement of a 'redshirt'. But said senior officers survive unscathed. What the ......? Dahl and his colleagues try to find out why this is so, and when they do, embark on a mission to change the universe (or at least their universe).

Guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of puppies. ( )
  orkydd | Feb 2, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lutjen, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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.
Quotations
"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 . . .
“In other words, crew deaths are a feature, not a bug,” Cassaway said, dryly.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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