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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi

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1,6301664,443 (3.81)1 / 192
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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English (160)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (163)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
As the title (and cover) suggests, this is a science fiction book mocking the Star Trek trope of the 'redshirt' - the anonymous crew member that appears in one episode just so he or she can be killed in some nasty way. On the surface, the book is about such crew members and how they strive to avoid their fate - or is it? Is it about the really familiar redshirts, or about the writing of such scifi shows, or something else all together? Honestly, this is probably too deep for me, I couldn't tell. The story about the 'redshirts' was fun and interesting, but I wonder if I really got what Scalzi was trying to say. ( )
  Karlstar | Oct 1, 2014 |
The novella part of the books is a quick and enjoyable read. Its funny, it moves quickly and you genuinely want to see how it is resolved.
The only real issue I have with it is the random and unresolved twist at the end. I really do not like it when pointless plot points are thrown in and then unresolved, but when you make it a twist it makes me cranky.
The codas (3 related short stories) I could have lived without. Nothing wrong with them per se, but they could have been left off, they add nothing to the narrative and the story stands just fine without them.
I will read the novella again. Its funny. And it has a sort of mind bending premise that I like.

( )
  blatherlikeme | Sep 28, 2014 |
This was a cute novel. It was an entertaining read. I loved the conclusion that Jenkins reached regarding why the Intrepid had just a high casualty rate and the following action taken by the 'red shirts' to bring the losses to a halt.

If you like meta, if you like science fiction, if you have ever found yourself watching an episode of Star Trek and the minute you see the unnamed red shirt make an appearance, you just know he is going to get killed... read this book and be amused :) ( )
  autumnturner76 | Sep 22, 2014 |
This was an interesting book. I will likely read it again and my ultimate view of it may hinge on the second reading. That said, I'm not sure which way my future opinion will swing. I tend to be charmed by Scalzi's writing, so I'm going to guess that future me will decide he likes it a lot. Going on that hunch, I'll describe the annoyances of the book first, then its charms.

This is a book about writing. At least the writer part of Scalzi's brain makes a huge appearance in the text. Sometimes this is a good thing: think about the movies Adaptation and Barton Fink. Sometimes the writer loses the readers who don't want to see the making sausage/law part of the creative process.

The supposed plot is pretty weak. This is clearly intentional and not really an annoyance, but we warned, the book isn't about what it might seem to be about at first. Actually, the ending is a pretty brilliant way of signalling to the readers that this isn't a book that is described by its plot. Speaking of that:

The ending. (You only get one of those, Scalzi. I hope it was as much fun as it looks.)

The three codas. Without spoilers: these are the payoff. These are what the book was about. These could not be told without the lead in. These were heartwarming, wise, and wonderful.

Doing something completely different, well. I can't imagine that someone who isn't established in his craft could have sold the idea behind this book to her/his publisher. It is new and risky. I liked it.

Humor. Scalzi is good at making me laugh. Even when the jokes are shallow tripe being offered up as cheap distraction for a longer con he's working on, they still work.

Fuck it, OK, I like Star Trek and this, among other things, is a nice elegy for pulp sci-fi on TV, with many Trek tropes acknowledged and fondly given a roast.

Final Assessment
As with many self-reflective ambitious works, this could end up being self-indulgent crap. I don't think it will. It does enough well that I think it will go down as at least a cult novel, well and fondly remembered by Trekkies and readers alike. With Fuzzy Nation and then Redshirts, Scalzi seems to be going to his roots for inspiration. I like the results, but I'm also kind of hoping that now that his next books will offer something different. (Note: his next book is The High Castle, set in The Android's Dream universe, so it pretty clear he's going to stick w/ referential inspiration. Which is cool, too.) ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I don't think I'm a big enough fan of Star Trek to get the humor - I watched The Next Generation and that was at least 20 years ago. I enjoyed the Codas more than the main story. And I was really disappointed that Denise Hogan isn't a real author ... ;-) ( )
  kwbridge | Sep 6, 2014 |
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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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