- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (Jan. 15 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765334798
- ISBN-13: 978-0765334794
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 20.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas Paperback – Jan 15 2013
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“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
About the Author
JOHN SCALZI is the author of several SF novels including the bestselling Old Man's War and its sequels and the New York Times bestseller Fuzzy Nation. A winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Scalzi won the Hugo Award for Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, a collection of essays from his wildly popular blog The Whatever. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.See all Product description
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But what if the redshirts knew that their fates were coming, and tried to stop it by whatever means necessary? That's the idea behind "Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas," John Scalzi's affectionate lampooning of sci-fi TV. It's a light, fluffy novel that touches on some philosophical ideas, but nothing too serious.
In the 23rd century, Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the Universal Union flagship Intrepid. It's a dream job for a xenobiologist, except that some of his new shipmates are acting a little strange.
And soon he finds out why: the Intrepid has an incredibly high mortality rate. The captain, science officer, engineer, doctor and the handsome if dim Lieutenant Kerensky are never permanently injured, but low-ranking officers inevitably die messy, violent deaths. There's also a magic "box" that generates the answer to impossible problems.
The widower of one "redshirt" has already figured out the answer -- a bizarre answer that calls into question the nature of reality itself. And with Dahl scheduled for an away mission, he and his fellow endangered officers will have to take drastic steps: go back in time to a parallel world, and find a way of stopping their problems in the 21st century.
"Redshirts" is a fun idea for a story -- what if the disposable extras became aware of their doomedness, and tried to prevent it? There's a lot of metafictional twists and some contemplation of what reality is, but it never gets too heavy. It's a pleasantly light sci-fi story.
It also has some fun with the scientific improbabilities of "Star Trek" and similar shows, although the world of the Intrepid is definitely much, much dumber than most (robots with harpoons!). And Scalzi inserts some rather un-"Star Trek"-like comedy at times, such as Kerensky (and his doppelganger) being deprived of their pants.
However, it can get a bit confusing at times. And even now, I'm not entirely sure how you can time-travel into a reality controlling your own without that reality interfering in your plans. Scalzi... sort of explains it at the end, but also doesn't.
None of the characters are very deeply developed or given much backstory, but I guess that makes sense since they are meant to be "extras" who have little development. Scalzi still manages to give them depth and texture that makes them likable, even doofs like Kerensky or the acid-tongued Duvall.
"Redshirts" is a lightweight sci-fi adventure, but the gentle spoofery and humor make it a fun read. Just don't expect great things.
I will admit, that I was the only member who did not make the connection of the title, RedShirts, with what was happening in the story. It seems, that in the first series, Star Trek, that when a crew member was killed on an away mission, they inevitably had a low level ranking and thus wore a red shirt.
The Intrepid is the flagship of the Universal Union. It's crew, with the exception of the captain and his 4 supporting officers, know that something is wrong, that a crew member will die every time there is an away mission led by one of the 'five'. They do whatever they can to avoid an away mission the captain or any of the other four. This being said, no one is attempting to do anything about this situation until red shirt wearer Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the Intrepid. Fortunately for the rest of the crew, he is not willing to accept the status quo and seeks an explanation and a solution to these untimely deaths.
It seemed natural to me that the five new crew members: Dahl, Duvall, Hanson, Finn and Hester, would band together. They were assigned to the Intrepid at the same time, and waited in the same departure lounge for hours awaiting their transport. This quick camaraderie continued once they were aboard the Intrepid as they all noticed that something was amiss.
During our book club meeting, we had an interesting discussion but we kept getting drawn off track by talk of our favourite Star Trek spin off and by particular episode plot lines. My new term for the day was 'Treknology', having to do with the futurist technology used during the various shows, particularly the tricorder. The best example of this in the book, is 'The Box' which is only used during times of extraordinary difficulty, when an improbable solution is needed in an impossibly short period of time. For an explanation of how it works, you will have to read RedShirts.
It's a space opera set on the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid. Andrew Dahl, Andy to his friends, has just been assigned to the ship and strangeness occurs right from the start.
One of the senior members of the crew has caught an alien virus that will liquefy him in 6 hours if an antivirus isn't found. Andy is tasked with finding the anti virus. No problem his fellow crew mates say ; just put the blood sample in "the box" and the answer will be generated. Funny thing though is that the box just looks like a small microwave oven! Andy pops the sample in, pushes the button and as promised comes up with an antivirus within the 6 hours saving the crew member.
With that introduction the author takes us on a wonderful journey through a "wonderland" type environment that exists on the Intrepid.
Eventually, Andy starts to figure out what is happening and soon there is time travel and possibly a solution. It's all written in a tongue in cheek style that keeps you reading to see how crazy it's going to get.
The author develops the story line at a good pace, has relatable characters and a wicked sense of dark humour.
As a bonus there are 3 Codas at the end of the book that link and expand on the theme in the main story. Again very funny.
This is a book you will not be able to put down as who knows what could be on the next page !!!
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