I have to apologize in advance to Redshirts because I have major review fatigue. I was really hoping to do a double cannonball this year, and I can based on my pace, but lawd almighty am I ever running out of different ways to talk about books. And as such, this is going to be such a crappy review. Anyway, Redshirts was great. It hooked me immediately and kept me laughing throughout; I sympathized with the characters and was utterly delighted at each of Scalzi’s uber-winky PLOT TWST! moments. Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
“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.”
Scalzi’s writing is uncomplicated and straightforward. The candor of the style, the pacing, and the creative plot all come together to pay loving homage to Star Trek, but, crucially, you don’t have to be intimately familiar with Star Trek itself to understand or appreciate Redshirts. The characters themselves are fairly basic stock characters, which isn’t a bad thing (they work and for all of their simple characterization, they’re not complete stereotypes) and makes perfect sense once you get to PLOT TWIST! #1.
I’d suspected for some time that Scalzi’s books would be right up my alley, and reading this confirmed it. I’ve definitely got feelers out to read the Old Man’s War series next, once I make my way through the current stack of books on my nightstand.