Book #95: 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.

When I saw the cover, the title, and read the blurb, I knew I had to read this book. I’m all about comedy and meta esque stories. There aren’t that many and I’m glad to have found one that was very enjoyable.

Redshirts was exactly what I wanted in a Meta book. It has parallel universes, Star Trek and other Geeky references, and on top of all that . . . it is about the iconic Red Shirt. If you don’t know what or who a Red Shirt is… think back to Star Trek episodes, or watch one of the oldies on Youtube. There is one character who seems to die in every episode. This character has different actors, different deaths, but has one thing in common . . . a red shirt.

Now what’s great about this book, is that our main cast are Redshirts. They are simple crew members of the spaceship The Intrepid. Their story is the type of story you wonder about when you think outside of the main cast. Like, what is the backstory of Redshirt B? What about that random Hufflepuff in Hogwarts? Soldier A in Anime Z?

You can see why I got excited. I love the idea of the non-special person, the non-chosen one, being the main character. That said, this book was awesome. I was laughing at the strange deaths and the comments of the main cast. I was on the edge of my seat, hoping that Dahl and co. would survive the Narration. I even loved the last bit of the book, the strange different narrators that weren’t a main part of Dahl’s world, but were affected by Dahl and co.

Honestly, this was a fun book and I am seriously thinking of looking at more work by Scalzi. No idea if his other work was just as funny, but I’m definitely going to try it out.

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