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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John…

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi, Scalzi

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2,3052372,754 (3.8)1 / 241
Title:Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
Authors:John Scalzi
Other authors:Scalzi
Info:Tor Books (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Redshirts by John Scalzi

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English (234)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (237)
Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
I could summarize the plot of this novel in a short paragraph, but I won’t because if I did, you won’t have the “Oh, that’s different” experiences I had reading it, and I quite enjoyed them. I wouldn’t want to ruin those for you.
At one level, this is obviously a parody of Star Trek, The Original Series, told from the perspective of the poor unfortunate crewmembers sent on away missions for the sole purpose of dying in interesting and dramatic ways to advance the plot. As such, it’s a hoot. It has aliens, space travel, split realities, and inexplicable tech stuff. It also has additional layers that make it more than a comic ride through the galaxy aboard the Universal Union Spaceship Intrepid. These layers provide depth and make this a solid, thought provoking read. But even with all the philosophical and existential brain-bending, it is still a lighthearted and charming book.
When I started reading this, it reminded me of the movie Galaxy Quest. Then it became more like Star Trek IV. Then it turned a corner and seemed a bit like the Thursday Next books (by Jasper Fforde) with maybe a touch of The Never Ending Story. (Yes, I confess to being something of a geek, but who else would be reading stuff like this?) My point is that there is more than one story being told here. It’s rather like a thought experiment in novel form. I loved it.
The story has interesting, likeable characters, witty dialogue, and a very Star Trek-like setting. But if you’re looking for a mindless action adventure with a few jokes, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a simple slapstick parody of Star Trek, this isn’t it. It is also nothing like Scalzi’s Old Man Goes to War books (which are also very good) or even Fuzzy Nation (also a winner for me). Scalzi continues to grow as a writer, and this book proves it. I won’t say it’s better than his other books, but it is definitely different. What I will say is that I thought it was so good I wish I wrote it.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
It's funny and good material. We have bunch of new people on the most famous discovery spaceship on the whole galaxy. In this specific ship there are away misions and no matter which department they're in they will be part of one or more of these missions. It looks exciting , exploring new worlds..although ther is a but. On these missions always atleast one crewman ends up dead and there are five senior officers who are exceptions to this rule.

John Scalzi is a natural story teller and I always find reading his books super easy. This book is the same and you will have a lot of laughs reading this book. ( )
  ardvisoor | Oct 4, 2016 |
A Star Trek parody, in which the extras who die on away team missions become self-aware, and realize that they are characters in a TV show. In this case, they are actually in a TV show that seems to be a ripoff of Star Trek, which explains the minor differences in names and things, but it’s still very obvious who’s who.

As the poor “redshirts" witness their colleagues being killed in increasingly gruesome and seemingly nonsensical ways, while the captain, first officer and chief medical officer remain untouched, they realize that they better find a way to change "the narrative” before they die.

I feel like I should have loved this, being a big Star Trek fan, and there were funny parts and funny lines; I know I laughed out loud more than once. However, I found the premise wore on me after a while. I liked the premise, and yet it went a bit overboard with the meta-ness. As the characters even say at one point, it would be more fun to talk about these concepts while stoned in a dorm room, rather than read an entire novel about it.

And I have to say, as a Star Trek fan, I did get a bit irritated by all the comments about how they’re in a “bad TV show.” I mean, they describe it as a ripoff of Star Trek, but still, it got my fannish hackles up. ( )
  catfantastic | Sep 14, 2016 |
This really made me chuckle. It's science fiction, taking the mickey out of the genre, and in particular out of badly written serialisations and television series. A bunch of redshirts (as in, the ones who get killed off in these stories) realise their destiny and seek to change it. It's rather meta, but it also takes the mickey out of itself for being meta. I really recommend it. However, I must say, it's not exactly elegantly written. Without reading more of Scalzi's work I can't say whether that is a deliberate move in order to further emphasise the story, or if it is just plain sloppy. It did grate a little after a while, particularly the clumsy dialogue - he said, she said, and so on. It is still a good book though. ( )
  eclecticdodo | Aug 17, 2016 |
A fun, quick read. Yeah, I could wish there'd been a smidgen more character development—in fact, the three codas were better in that respect than much of the rest of the book. But basically, just read this book and enjoy how it pokes (affectionate) fun at Star Trek. ( )
  Silvernfire | Jul 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
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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 . . .
“In other words, crew deaths are a feature, not a bug,” Cassaway said, dryly.
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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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