In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.
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I came to read (actually first listened to via audio book) Redshirts because I am a lifelong Star Trek geek (my cred goes as deep as the fact that I have personally run a play-by-email Star Trek RPG), and because I'm a fan of both John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton (who reads the audiobook and has been a friend of my site for many years).
For anyone who has a deep and abiding love of Star Trek, Redshirts is a hilarious and loving tribute to the most-abused characters in all of science fiction. Scalzi crafts what seems at the beginning to be a breezy satire, but which quickly turns into both an experienced insider's critique of lazy television writing and a love letter to the people who created some of our most beloved entertainment franchises. I spent a huge portion of my earlier years watching these shows, and even more time reading the hundreds of novels written in these universes, and Redshirts at once transports me back to those experiences and then walks me through them with an elbow poking my ribs. And yet, by the end, I can only love them all the more and wipe away the something-in-my-eye that resulted from caring about the characters and being satisfied with how their stories were resolved.
I think Redshirts is a great gift for anyone who has that abiding love of Star Trek but also the perspective to be able to recognize the tropes of sci-fi television for what they are, while taking a leap beyond them to appreciate another fan's unique love letter to the show.