Stand alone published 6/5/12
I borrowed this book from my library saving me $24.99
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 have such mixed emotions (all good) about this book that again I am left not knowing where I want to start. First off, read it. Especially if you loved, or even mildly enjoyed, any of the Star Trek shows or movies, read this book. If you are a fan of cheesy sci-fi drama, read this book. If you want something that is going to make you smile and perhaps even cry a little, read this book.
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started this book. I knew Mr. Scalzi is a fairly well-known writer and blogger, but Redshirts is the first book I’ve read of his. I was expecting a tongue-in-cheek romp of a story that exaggerated all the clichés from my beloved Trekiverse as it poked fun at the franchise and its characters. That is exactly how this story started off too. Then about mid-way the book changed and itself became a cheesy sci-fi drama on its own. Sure there was still this hat-tip to Trek, but this story became more substantial. It wasn’t just a running gag anymore and I became invested in these characters.
This book is one of those stories inside a story inside a story. The sort of work that I love to peel the layers back upon and get lost inside. The complexity of how it all connected was really quite clever. I loved how the characters knew that something wasn’t right in this universe, that something fishy was going on. Now it is pretty obvious to the reader what is really going on, but the author gives the characters a good section of pages for mayhem and to figure out what that is.
I don’t want to give anything away, but there is so much more I would like to talk about… The main story line ends fairly early. Loved chapter 24 by the way, I had to read those few pages twice it was so clever The last fourth of the book is divided into three Codas. The tense changes for each one and these sections took this story one step beyond and are what earned that fifth star from me. These pages are quite touching and I hope are a true representation of Mr. Scalzi’s talent. While the main story often had me laughing out loud, each of these sections had me tearing up at the end. NOT sad-sad, but more of a happy-sad…Oh hell just, all kinds of feels in these last few pages, read them.
If you just want to read a campy fun parody of sci-fi drama then read the main story in this book and stop. There is a complete satisfying story in that itself. However, if you want to delve deeper into this world(s) then read the three codas too. It takes a bit to adjust, the writing style changes quite abruptly, but it is worth it. This was a special book for me and I think I am going to go out and get my own copy for my home library for those times I need to smile.
My Rating: 5 Stars