Author: John Scalzi
This book came to me as a recommendation of a co-worker and friend of mine. He told me that if I liked the TV series Star Trek I would like this book. I was told that it is a comedic take on the classic trope of red shirts always dying. If you know anything about Star Trek it was always true in the original series that if there was a random person in a red shirt that was part of an away team mission, they were going to die. The book tells the story of a ship where this fact is known and no one wants to avoid away missions as they might be that person destined to die.
I will admit that when I started the book it felt a bit flat, the story progressed slowly as the main characters who were all ‘red shirts’ were introduced. It also bothered me for a long while that there were two similarly named characters Duvall and Dahl. There were times it was hard to keep them straight even though Dahl is the main protagonist, a pacifist and male while Duvall is one of the supporting main characters who is female and a bit of a partier. Still, when first learning names it is hard to keep track particularly when they are speaking to one another.
However, when the characters get on the ship and Dahl starts experiencing first-hand the oddness that is the spaceship Intrepid things grow to be interesting. One minute, Dahl can be speaking with his fellow officers and the next minute they are rushing off to get coffee or have vanished to do inventory yet again. When this happens a senior officer walks in and recruits him for an important and impossible mission, speaking about science that makes very little sense yet must be accomplished. Given task Dahl is supplied with a box that works much like a microwave and will give the solution to the problem at the last minute. In addition to this oddity there is a strange yeti man who seems to know that there is more going on than meets the eye.
While there is so much that can be said about this book a lot of it would blow the surprises contained within. So without blowing the story I’ll say that the story is worth the read and the effort to get past the slow start. The story picks up with good comedy, classic tropes of science fiction and a nice sense of adventure and impending doom. You really aren’t left lacking or wanting in the story and it satisfies you in the end giving you a story that is well worth the read. Over all I’d give the book 4 pages. It isn’t a book I’ll go running out to buy a copy and tell all my friends about but for the right person looking for the right book? You-betcha, I’ll tell them about Redshirts.