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Robert Batten

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author

November 27, 2018

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 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.

I listened to the audible rendition of this novel, which is narrated by Will Wheaton. I mean, how could I not? It’s a comedic spoof of Star Trek narrated by Will Wheaton. It lived up to my expectations.

Redshirts is a send up of the sci-fi trope regarding crew members in red shirts dying on away missions (which originated with Star Trek). Whenever an adventure required someone to die for dramatic tension, you could be guaranteed an inconsequential character in a red shirt with minimal backstory would bite the bullet. In Redshirts, Scalzi digs into what might happen if the hapless souls became aware of their precarious existence. It’s a great concept and sets up some fantastic hijinks. I took a little longer to settle into this story, as I adjusted to the tack it was taking (after all, the entire point of this novel is poking fun at cliches), but I soon found myself absorbed with the characters and the mystery of, “What the hell is going on with the Intrepid?”

You’ll like this if…

If you love classic sci-fi like Star Trek and don’t mind making fun of it a little, or if you’re a fan of other send-ups like Galaxy Quest, then you should enjoy this novel.

Finding Redshirts

You can find Redshirts on Goodreads here, or pick up a copy on Amazon here. If you want the Will Wheaton audible version, that's over here.

If you liked this recommendation…

Why not check out my others? Each is for a book I enjoyed and would happily recommend to a friend.



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