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Description - Redshirts by John Scalzi

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 even more delighted when he's assigned to the ship's Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn't be better. . . although there are a few strange things going on. . .

(1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces

(2) the ship's captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters

(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Suddenly it's less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew's fate may have been sealed. . . until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything. . . and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives. . .

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780575134300
ISBN-10: 0575134305
Format: Paperback / softback
(133mm x 201mm x 24mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Gollancz
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 9-May-2013
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Redshirts by John Scalzi

Book Reviews - Redshirts by John Scalzi

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Book Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi - Reviewed by (03 Sep 2013)

I haven’t had this much fun reading a book for ages. I literally chuckled through the entire book. I’m not a sci-fi reader but am a big sci-fi watcher which works perfectly for this book.

Whether we watched it religiously or not at all we are all pretty familiar with Star Trek. And we’re also familiar with the coloured shirts they wore in the 60s TV series. Captain Kirk, Spock and co wore the blue and yellow ones. And the poor unfortunates who usually got killed off wore the red ones. Well this is the redshirts’ story…

The novel opens like your classic sci-fi story. We are introduced to five characters who are about to the join the crew of the starship Intrepid. However these new crew members quickly realize that all is not well with Intrepid and its crew. Firstly there seem to be an above average number of highly dangerous “Away Missions” where a crew member is nearly always killed except for 5 officers who always manage to escape being killed or narrowly avoid death. The rest of the crew do anything they can to avoid these “Away Missions” and try to hide whenever one of the 5 officers enter a room. The new crew members, led by Ensign Andrew Dahl, soon learn that there is more going on than bad luck and the colour of their shirts.

“Avoid the narrative”

This works on so many levels it may possibly give you a headache as you try to get your head around it. It is a great sci-fi adventure with lots of action and tech. It is also great satire that will have you laughing out loud wherever you’re are reading it. And it is totally brilliant metafiction. It breaks down the sci-fi genre, the writing process and the omnificence of the narrative. John Scalzi does all this while entertaining the pants off you.

The novel finishes with three codas. I had be warned off reading the codas and had heard some dissatisfaction about the end but I think they are great. They take the metafiction up another notch and if your brain wasn’t already spinning enough they give it another few, fast rotations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and wish it had come out in Australia at the same time as the US rather than 6 months later. But in saying that it is a perfect book for Summer reading and having a good laugh out loud. And it may lead me to read a bit more sci-fi.


Author Biography - John Scalzi

John Scalzi is the author of several SF novels including the bestselling Old Man's War sequence, comprising OLD MAN'S WAR, THE GHOST BRIGADES and the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling THE LAST COLONY. He is a winner of science fiction's JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD for Best New Writer, and he won the HUGO AWARD for YOUR HATE MAIL WILL BE GRADED, a collection of essays from his popular blog, Whatever. His latest novel, FUZZY NATION, hit the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list in its first week on sale. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.

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