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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi (Author)

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3,1463152,771 (3.76)1 / 348
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.
Authors:John Scalzi (Author)
Info:Gollancz (2012)
Collections:Your library

Work details

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

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English (311)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (314)
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)
When I first began reading this story, I was baffled that it could have ever won a Hugo Award. It seemed like it was only a satirical take on science fiction television programs, most notably Star Trek, filled with in jokes and sly send-ups of science fiction tropes. But the codas flipped that assumption around. Now I see why the book won.

The story begins with a group of new Ensigns beig assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid. Andrew Dahl is assigned to Xenobiology which is his dream job. But he soon becomes concerned when he learns that the ship has more than its fair share of deaths, especially among those who go on away missions with the ship's Captain, Science Officer, and Lieutenant Kerensky. At least one low ranked crew member dies on each mission.

Needless to say this has been noted and most are eager to find a way to skip away missions. Andrew and is friends want to find out what is going on and are surprised when they learn that their whole world is based on a not-very-good science fiction television series from the 2000s. Andrew has found his life taken over by "the narrative" which leads him to know things he didn't know and do things that are rather stupid when he is taken over.

He becomes determined to go back to the past and convince the writers and producers of the show to change their ways.

I liked the science fiction in jokes and the referencing to absolutely imaginary science that so many of the shows use. I liked the character development both among the crew members of the Intrepid and of the characters in the present (2012) time who formed their templates. The Codas added a lot of depth and heart to the story. ( )
  kmartin802 | Dec 7, 2019 |
To give you an idea of how much I like this book--I finished it in one three hour and forty minute session. Scalzi falls down a little in characterization in the first three quarters--his cast feels a lot like a series of caricatures from Old Man's. But after page 230, I promise you, it gets weird, it gets meta, it gets good. ( )
  prufrockcoat | Dec 3, 2019 |
Ever wonder if you are a background character in a movie that is going on around you? What would you do if you found out that this is true? Redshirts is about the background characters in a Star Trek like show who keep on getting killed in away missions.
It's fun, lighthearted and quick read. I found myself staying up way to late as I lost track of time. Also fun that it visits places that I frequent often. Recommended for anyone who is a Sci-Fi fan, particularly if you like Star Trek. ( )
  nmorse | Dec 3, 2019 |
Quick read but lots of fun. Really loved the codas. ( )
  Aug3Zimm | Nov 12, 2019 |
“But define 'completely ridiculous shit,'" Duvall said. "Does space travel count? Contact with alien races? Does quantum physics count? Because I don't understand that crap at all. As far as I'm concerned, quantum physics could have been written by a hack.” - Redshirts

This book is once again hard to rate.

Personally, I was not too much into it. It had some fun references to classic science fiction, and it had some great moments, but overall, the thing I probably enjoyed most was the first coda, and that's not how it's meant to be. So, on a personal level, I found this book to be the weakest Scalzi I have read.

On the other hand, I think the enjoyment you will get from this book is proportional to the amount of science fiction series you have watched. I am sure I missed a ton of references, since I basically only know a bit of star trek, stargate, battlestar galactica and firefly, and almost all references are (obviously, as you can tell from the name) aimed at star trek fans. So, if you know a lot of science fiction, perhaps you will get more from the experience.

I guess it all depends on if you are willing to take a risk. Do you know your science fiction and have nothing better to do? Give it a try. It's not bad, but it's not great, either. ( )
  malexmave | Oct 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 311 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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