Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: Redshirts

Redshirts by John Scalzi
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
Pages: 314
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought


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 thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that: 
(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces 
(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations 
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. 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.

My Thoughts

I will let you know right off the back: your mileage may vary with this book. If you are a fan of Star Trek or any of those science fiction shows and you know about all those old tropes, you will probably enjoy this book. You will get the inside jokes and the subtle nods. If you aren't a fan then this probably is not for you.

Scalzi takes what could have easily been a thin plot point and make it to a fun, clever tale. The book centers around "redshirts", or members of the crew that are seen as extras and people who don't matter, figuring out that they are redshirts and trying to change that. The story has a few twist and turns along the way and quite a few laughs. Like I said, the book is clever. It understand what it is and runs with it. It really is a very meta story. But, at times, it feels like it is trying to be to clever. Like it is trying to say "see what I did there? See how clever I was?" Scalzi also got straight to the dialogue and to the point most of the time. Though I can appreciate that, I do feel like if there was a few more descriptions of the world, it would have felt like a much filled out world.

On top of the main story, you also get three codas. They are each written in a different point of view: first person, second person, and third person. These story's really help the book. They help with realizing what the fallout and the consequences are. I personally like the first peerson one the best. But I can see the merit in all three and they were nice additions to the book.

As for the characters, there wasn't much difference between them. With the lack of descriptions and lack of time for anything but the plot, there wasn't much to the characters. They all felt a bit thin and kind of got jumbled together often. I had to reread things just to figure out who said what. They honestly felt more like things to push the plot forward and nothing else.

Redshirts is about taking tropes and plot points that fans of science fiction shows and making fun of them. It is clever, meta, and funny. I did laugh few times and just kept reading. It is a quick and easy read. And that I certainly would recommend it. Though, depending on who you are, your mileage will probably vary.

No comments:

Post a Comment