I guess I have been doing this review thingy for a while because I remember when Redshirts was being reviewed on the Cannonball, and I remember the reviews were mostly positive. I try not to go back and read reviews of my book until I’m done with my review, unless I just can’t think of what to say. Do you ever have a review like that? It’s frustrating. I got my copy of this review in a subscription box of sci-fi and fantasy books and wellness items. (I’m not going to say which one because while their black bath bomb did not stain my tub, it stained me and my kid, which was horrifying.)
Redshirts is about a group of newcomers on a ship sailing in the stars that discover that every time their crew goes out on away missions, a newbie dies horrifically, like a redshirt on Star Trek. They ban together as a team to try to put an end to the crew deaths. There are bigger themes here too about fate, and refusing to accept your fate. There is also the concept of free-will, and what happens to a person when it is taken away. There is a lot of humor in the book too, despite some of the serious concepts. Ridiculous things happen to the main characters because they are redshirts, and even after they try to change their status. The end made me gasp out loud, and the psyche on the following pages made me smile.
I think I recall the codas were somewhat controversial but I liked them and thought they tied up the novel very well. I follow John Scalzi on twitter, and he is deeply in love with his wife (and is delightful, you should follow up too). I’d like to think the letter from Jenkins to his wife was meant for her. Anyway, I really loved this and I can see why it won the Hugo. It’s silly and funny but also serious and sad and contemplative about our places in the Universe. When you die, how will you be remembered? Will you be satisfied with the life you have lived? I don’t know the answers to that yet, but I am always grateful to be here.