Review of Redshirts by John Scalzi

13055592Redshirts by John Scalzi. ★★★1/2

Redshirts is a comedic science fiction novel that riffs off the premise of the disposable “redshirt” characters from TV shows such as Star Trek. Ensign Andrew Dahl has just joined the crew of the starship Intrepid, and he’s noticed that something strange is going on. Every Away Mission involves fatalities… but a certain subset of officers will always survive while a low ranking crew member dies. The Intrepid‘s crew have thus developed an elaborate system of avoiding these officers and the Away Missions at all costs. Then Dahl finds out something that offers him and his friends a chance of survival…

“Ensign Davis thought, Screw this, I want to live, and swerved to avoid the land worms. But then he tripped and one of the land worms ate his face and he died anyway.”

Redshirts was a lot of fun to read. The writing is delightful, and the jokes are hilarious. Even though I haven’t seen much of Star Trek, I still really enjoyed it. Part of what makes it so appealing is the super meta aspect to it. What would happen if you took the narrative devices and have the characters realize what’s going on?

My main problem with Red Shirts was that I found the characterization thin. At most, each character had one or two defining personality traits. Some seemed to lack even that. In terms of female characters, there was only one who had any impact on the plot.

Taking up a substantial amount of page time are three codas, located at the end of the book. They are all extraneous material and frankly not worth the time.

Redshirts doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, but I still found it worth a laugh. If you’re looking for some humor to lighten up your day, it’s a book I’d recommend.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yeah, I want to read more John Scalzi, but I don’t think this is probably the place to start? I like a funny novel, and it’s nice that he makes it accessible to non-Star-Trek fans, but it sounds like it’s still not his best work.

    1. I’ve only read this one, Lock In, and Agent to the Stars, so I’m not really a Scalzi expert. However, among those three Lock In was the best.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s