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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codasby John Scalzi
2013 Hugo Award
I don't reread books often; I just don't have the time. But this is one book that will get reread annually, if not more often. While the bulk of Redshirts is a comedic romp that gleefully skewers the conventions of sci-fi television, the three codas at the end provide depth and poignancy to what has gone before.
If you're seeking formulaic and uninteresting fan fiction, then this is not the book for you. But if you're looking for adventure, romance, and death-by-ice sharks, then John Scalzi's your man. Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the Intrepid, a laudable starship with a nasty reputation for death and chaos. Low-ranking officers are always, always the first to die on away missions. The bizarre and surprising truth behind all the flagellations and vaporizations defies time and reality, and Scalzi uses first-, second-, and third-person narration to stunning effect. It'll be on your Top 5 list, too. Pinky swear.
Synopses & Reviews
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, 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 a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship's senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs.
Then Andrew stumbles on information that 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.
"In a world where junior starship officers inevitably and dramatically die on planetside missions — a problem any Star Trek fan will be familiar with — ensign Andrew Dahl joins the crew of the Universal Union ship Intrepid, the pride of the fleet, and quickly realizes his life is at risk. As Dahl's fellow officers drop like flies and backstab each other to escape away duty, he decides to figure out exactly what's going on. The first third of the book is a darkly comic romp, skewering common plot holes and lazy genre conventions while making the reader eager for the ingenious reason for the 'coincidental' deaths. Sadly, and all too soon, Scalzi reveals an explanation that neither surprises nor satisfies. The rest of the book is increasingly strange and unfunny as Dahl breaks the fourth wall to demand answers. Scalzi explores life among the doomed redshirts with ingeniously morbid glee, but that's not enough to save the story from collapsing in on itself. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“John Scalzi sets his imagination to STUN and scores a direct hit. Read on and prosper.” Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box
“I can honestly say I can't think of another book that ever made me laugh this much. Ever.” Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
“Scalzi takes apart the whole Star Trek universe and puts it back together far more plausibly — and a lot funnier too.” Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians
“A real joy to read....It's hard to imagine a reader who wouldn't enjoy this one.” Booklist, starred review
From the bestselling, award-winning author of Old Man's War, a novel that answers the question: What happens when all the expendable ensigns on the exploring starship start comparing notes?
About the Author
John Scalzi is the author of several SF novels including the bestselling Old Man's War sequence, comprising Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades, and the New York Times bestselling The Last Colony. He is a winner of science fictions John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and he won the Hugo Award for Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, a collection of essays from his popular blog Whatever. His latest novel, Fuzzy Nation, hit the New York Times bestseller list in its first week on sale. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.
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