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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John…

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

by John Scalzi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (287)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (290)
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
Honestly, there was no way I wasn't going to like this. A book where the redshirts actually notice they die in big numbers when on away missions with the bridge crew? Sold. I was hooked from the opening scene where a redshirt realizes he's acting in a way that will get him killed but can't stop himself.

I could have done without the codas. They felt like fanfiction to me, in the way that they weren't necessary for the story but they were wonderful little tales of bit characters. I liked them, I just didn't think they added to the book.

[2013 Hugo Awards] ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, and he thinks his career dreams have come true. In fact, he's entering into a nightmare.

Dahl quickly acquires friends among other new crew members, and is thrilled to be assigned to the xenobiology lab. Yet his immediate supervisor and co-workers behave a little oddly. He and the other new arrivals--Maia Duvall, Jimmy Hanson, Finn, and Hester--all learn that they are replacing people killed in recent away team missions.

And everybody dodges Captain Abernathy, Science Officer Q'eeng, Chief Medical Officer Hartnell, and Chief Astrogator Kerensky. Dahl even has an encounter with a strange, very hairy person who warns him to stay off the bridge and "avoid the Narrative." After his first couple of away missions, Dahl starts to understand why. Nutty things happen, people die, and he finds himself doing things that are very dramatic but rationally stupid, as well as sharing, when required, information he didn't have before it popped into his mind in response to the situation.

What's going on here? Dahl and his friends decide they have to find out, before they all get killed.

This is a book perhaps best appreciated by people who remember the significance of the word "redshirts" with respect to Star Trek. I think it would be enjoyable anyway, but there's a whole meta level that would be missing if you're not familiar with the reference.

Some nice touches involve Kerensky getting to break out of the character the Narrative imposes and be the real Kerensky, as well as Dahl, his friends, and Kerensky encountering people who, um, look an awful lot like them.

Recommended for a purely fun read.

I bought this book. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
If you have never watched Star Trek, don't bother reading this. But for all of us out there who say we aren't big fans, but have somehow watched every single episode, this book is for us. You know the kind of person I mean. The one who watches Kirk dodging some furry monster and keeps shouting "Just beam up to the ship, you idiot!" Scalzi explores what would happen if the red shirts finally catch on. ( )
1 vote JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
"Let us violate cakes together"

In "Redshirts" by John Scalzi

(*day dreaming*)

I applied for a job to be a licensed fiction writer of sorts last year - it was working on flavour text and copy for the Star Trek Franchise. The interview was heavily focused on my ability to write within the constraints of their authorial voice and existing publications - as stringent as working for any publication with a house style. That's not quite, I admit, the same thing as writing tie-in novels - but the attitude of IP holders to how licensed authors should write I experienced seems very much to be more like writing for a journal or newspaper than writing fiction - the job I applied for would very much have been technical or copy-writing about subjects that were fictional. Definitely a "specific skillset" as this Scalzi’s novel shows once again - but in retrospect I'm quite glad I didn't get the job. Having to write fiction to the same level of editorial constraint as in a job writing non-fiction seems to be sucking the joy out of the imaginative aspects of SF. On a related note, I think as a whole licensed fiction walks a very fine line of absolutely killing the enjoyment you might get from something you like through over-explaining. The more authors try to explain every aspect of their world and remove all the uncertainty, the more everything becomes a dry knot of detail. SF lives, for me anyway, in its unexplained bits - the intimation that there's a big world out there that's quite unlike what you're used to. Explaining every aspect of it, leaving no gaps to fill in with your imagination, risks losing that. But by all means, have fun with your toys in the present moment, the days of size and profit margins! Children and childish adults don't really take the future seriously, despite the fact they enjoy reading about it so much, now do they? ;)

Bottom-line: Scalzi's "Redshirts" is not really a franchise novel; it's more of a parody. Fancy tap dancing on my part to disguise the fact that franchise media tie-ins are quickly written, rigidly formulaic novels (parodies or not). All in all, this is a lovely little paean to shallow entertainment. Lots of influence and big profit margins while the hype lasts, of course. But in the long run things get a little bit different, don't they? Will people read these silly novels in 100 years? Not really I should say. ( )
2 vote antao | Sep 15, 2018 |
A wonderfully witty and novel premise for a scifi novel. Scalzi brings a kind of comedic timing reminiscent of Roger Zelazny and Steven Brust. "Redshirts" isn't one of those books you'll put down and say, "Wow", but it's a very fun read and fits well if you're looking for an entertaining break between more serious fiction. ( )
  st.ryder64 | Sep 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionscalculated
Getty ImagesPhotographersecondary authorsome 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 Wil 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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