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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi

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1,9221943,560 (3.8)1 / 222
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Gollancz (2012), Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2013 challenge

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Redshirts by John Scalzi

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Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
While "Redshirts" by John Scalzi was entertaining enough, there were times throughout the book that the plot became too much of an inside joke. Much of the story would be lost on someone not familiar with Star Trek. The character development was lacking as well, even for the main character. I also felt that the three "Codas" were tacked on to tie up loose plot threads. As a Hugo winner all I can say is the field must have been thin that year. And I absolutely loved Scalzi's "Old Man's War". ( )
  JohnGorski | Sep 4, 2015 |
So, what I thought was going to be a humorous parody of the iterations of the TV shows (and films) of "Star Trek" ~ and its propensity to kill off low-ranking crew members (i.e., those wearing the red shirts) for no other reason than to up the tension ~ turned out to be just that, a humorous parody, but it is also so much more. Driven by characters on an existential quest, "Redshirts" is a criticism of narrative shortcuts taken by writers of some writers of science-fiction television, which lazy writing results in bad science and untenable world-building. "Redshirts" also touches on the value of fiction when trying to deal with grief and loss and is a paean to the love of fans of even the least cutting-edge science-fiction TV shows. As a "Forbes" magazine reviewer said: "You don’t have to be a hardcore sci-fi fan to enjoy Redshirts, though there are plenty of Easter Eggs for those who are. And the beauty of the book is that it works on multiple levels. If you’re looking for a breezy, fun read for the beach, this is your book. If you want to go down a level and read it as a surreal meditation on character and genre like "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," this is your book." http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/05/30/john-scalzis-redshirts-is-a-gre... Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Storeetllr | Sep 1, 2015 |
Fantastic book and a must-read for all sci fi fans. Incredibly well-written, funny, self-aware, and a great space adventure too. Love the direction it takes halfway through - don't let anyone spoil it for you. Loved every page. ( )
  Alliebadger | Jul 27, 2015 |
Started off thinking this was a bit weak, but it got a lot better. 4 stars because he took the metafiction further than I thought he could without everything collapsing. ( )
  moopet | Jul 25, 2015 |
I’ve been reading Scalzi’s blog “Whatever” for a few years now but I had never read any of his novels. This one won the Nebula Award in 2012 so I figured it was a good place to start. I have to say that this is a really clever idea but I would expect no less from a man who comes up with clever things to say almost every day on his blog. It is also well-written (although not well edited) and humane.
Ensign Andy Dahl has just graduated from space school and he has been assigned to the Intrepid, the flagship of the Universal Union (dub U as it is referred to). Andy is a little older than the usual graduate but that is because he spent three years as a seminary student on a planet called Forshan that has four different dialects. Andy is fluent in all four. That will become relevant in the plot. While he is waiting for the shuttle to the Intrepid he meets three other ensigns, Duvall, Finn and Hester, who are transfers from other ships. Also joining them is Andy’s friend from school, Jimmy Hanson. They are all excited to be on the flagship; at least they were until they learn the fatality stats for away missions. On almost every away mission some crew member dies and quite often they are new members of the crew. Seasoned members of the crew know to disappear when the captain or other senior officer pays a visit so they are seldom chosen for away missions. Other things are pretty strange too. The xenobiology lab where Andy works has a magic box that solves problems just in the amount of time the senior officers have given them. There is a crewman who looks like a Yeti who hides in the tunnel system. One senior officer, Lieutenant Kerensky, gets severely injured on almost every mission he goes on but he survives. The crewman who looks like a Yeti, Jenkins, has an idea about what is going on but it’s crazy. Jenkins thinks that the Intrepid and its crew are in a science fiction TV show. As time progresses his idea begins to seem saner of Dahl and his buddies. Then they have to figure out a way to stop it before they all get killed.
The title refers to the term in Hollywood for extras that are given small parts on shows only to be killed. I learn something new from reading all the time.
I referred in the introductory paragraph to the fact that the book was not well edited. I found at least three errors as I was reading that were glaringly obvious. One time Kerensky’s name was used when it was clearly Jenkins speaking. From a reputable publisher like Tor I expect better. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jul 24, 2015 |
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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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