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Redshirts

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Redshirts Cover

ISBN13: 9780765334794
ISBN10: 0765334798
Condition: Standard
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Dustin Tran, January 28, 2014 (view all comments by Dustin Tran)
If you are a fan of epic space operas like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica - or, oppositely, get a good laugh at the overly contrived scenarios our protagonists somehow narrowly escapes and complete ignorance of any actual science, this book is for you.

The novel, Redshirts, follows the story of Ensign Andrew Dahl who has been recruited to join the Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since 2456. At first everything seems to follow an all too predictable plotline - full of aliens and killer robots - that leave crew members dead and replaced while Senior Officers plan the next mission, until characters finally catch wind of the unsettling death pattern and decide to take the narrative into their own hands before they fall victim to flesh eating bacteria, carnivorous worms... or worse. This makes for a unique twist in a familiar world, that will leave both the fans and critics of the genre satisfied and feeling in on the joke.

Redshirts is a quick read, full of wit, space battles, smart dialogue, and is easily one of the funniest books I've read in the last two years. While you truly don't need to be a devoted Star Trek buff to appreciate all the references, it makes them all the more sweeter.
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nrlymrtl, January 17, 2014 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Xenobiology team of the ship Intrepid, and he is very excited about this. It is a prestigious posting. Once on board, he realizes there is a certain feel running through the lower ranks. No one wants to go on away mission as they seem to always result in some lethal outcome; lethal to those ranks dressed in red shirts. As Dahl unfolds this mystery, he finds that luck plays a part and that an officer that has managed to hide himself in the ship’s innards for years may know enough to solve this mystery.

Oh, and there is a box. Whenever one of the senior officers give the science teams some unsolvable conundrum, they feed it into The Box and let it be for a few hours. Sooner or later it spits out some answer and the mission goes on.

This parody on Star Trek was such a delight to listen to. Joking within the lower ranks intersperses the action scenes, and a dash of more serious emotional content is thrown in for roundness. Of course the answer to their conundrum was quite amusing; I won’t spoil it for you but it made total sense and even if you saw it coming it was still worth a chuckle once it was said out loud. The ending was a bit rushed and I think I could have used another chapter or two in order to keep the same pacing and to allow for the same amount of humor. But taken all together, a very enjoyable, humorous read.
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PM, January 14, 2014 (view all comments by PM)
Fun, hilarious sci-fi novel. Reminds me of Douglas Adams wit. Great characters, twisting plot, and delightful dialogue. Second book I've read by John Scalzi and I am not disappointed.
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JPS Nagi, January 1, 2014 (view all comments by JPS Nagi)
Redshirts by John Scalzi is one of those stories which are difficult to review, without spoiling, but I’m going to try.

The story takes place in post-television 25th century future on an elite DubU ship ��" Intrepid. It is under the command of captain Abernathy, whose crew include science officer Q’eeng, first office Keerensky, medical office Hartnell and chief engineer West among others. Intrepid is on a peaceful mission to boldly go where no man has gone before. Sounds familiar? Well it should. During its explorations the crew encounters some hostile situations on different worlds, and quiet often there are away teams formed to deal with them.

The novel opens with some new crew members assigned to intrepid. They develop a sort of friendship while waiting for the shuttle in the bay that would take them to the ship. On reaching ship, they are take on their assigned tasks in different departments. They continue to meet when they are off duty, and found out that Intrepid has highest casualties for new crew members among any Dub U’s ships during these away missions, statistically. As they dig more and more, they find that there is some sort of space time continuum mix up where realities from different times seem to have intertwined.

I should stop now, because I think I have already said too much.

John has great ability to define his characters well and then develop them throughout his stories. This novel is no different. The new crew members Dahl (who is the protagonist), Duvall, Hester, Henson have characters that one easily understand when they interact while waiting in the shuttle bay. They do not always agree with each other. They also form a part of some of the away missions, and suffer losses. They start to observe a pattern, which the officers of the ship seem to be oblivious to. Over the course of events, their friendship, beliefs and trust for each other is tested. You start to identify with the characters, and can’t help but want them to control their own fate instead of letting the mixed up timelines decide what happens.

Redshirts does not disappoint at any place. It is a must read if you grew up with TV shows like the original Star Trek, or Dr. Who. The book is a nod to these and other cheesy space adventures of yesteryears. There are dozens of moments and in-jokes built around the worlds that are familiar and hilarious. It is darkly funny at times; even when things go wrong, John puts a smile on your face with interactions of his characters. The story moves at a fast pace, and is extremely well edited. There is nothing that does not add to the story or character development and you are drawn in. If you want to read a fun science fiction story during summer try this one.

If you like listening to books, get the audiobook. It is read by Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek ��" The Next Generation). Wil is very impressive voice actor, and he brings this book alive with his narration. He has collaborated with the author before in Fuzzy Nation and few others.

Both the book and the audiobook are highly recommended. I give this book 5 stars; hey, anything that can keep me up all night deserves 5 stars.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
HCNewton, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by HCNewton)
This warmed the cockles of my Geek Heart like no book since Ready Player One. I'm not sure how much I can say without getting into spoiler territory, but I'll try.

It starts off as a funny--but obvious--Star Trek parody, where all the lower ranking crewmen are terrified to go on away missions, for fear of getting killed in stupid and/or horrible ways. Entertaining enough, but...after a couple of chapters, I started to worry this gag was going to get really old over 300 pages.

Which is when Scalzi shook things up by a clever spoilery twist, which he followed quickly by another spoilery twist. And before I knew it, this had become a serious SF book with a comic flair. The codas at the end turn this from a fun adventure into something with a lot of heart and soul--and even more cleverness than the large amount displayed in the main body of the novel.

I so less-than-three this book. Go and read
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780765334794
Author:
Scalzi, John
Publisher:
Tor Books
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Subject:
Science / General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130115
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Redshirts Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Tor Books - English 9780765334794 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Review" by , “A real joy to read….It's hard to imagine a reader who wouldn't enjoy this one.”
"Review" by , “John Scalzi sets his imagination to STUN and scores a direct hit. Read on and prosper.”
"Review" by , “Scalzi takes apart the whole Star Trek universe and puts it back together far more plausibly — and a lot funnier too.”
"Review" by , “I can honestly say I can't think of another book that ever made me laugh this much. Ever.”
"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback: John Scalzi's New York Times bestselling tale of the starship ensigns who were expendable… until they started comparing notes.
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