Dr. Jim Fox -- Former College Professor and Mental Health Therapist
Scalzi and Wheaton did "Fuzzy Nation" together which is absolutely marvelous. Scalzi writes in a fast pace mode and Wheaton pulls if off. BTW, if you think of Wil Wheaton only from his Star Trek, TNG days, you will find the "man" terrific to listen to!
Anyone who knows anything about original Star Trek, they know that the unknown person who beams down with the away team will die -- hence the title.
The story is amazing, fast paced, and wonderfully philosophical. It is rare that a great sci-fi novel has words from a Catholic priest in the last few minutes.
The book is about the part of the crew of the Star Ship "Intrepid", and of course several centuries in the future. From there it gets "complicated" (a running joke through the book).
From Space Ships and a Star Trek like academy to a roller coaster starting its uphill climb. The 3 Codas at the end are like the end of the roller coaster ride -- smooth and even to bring you back to normality -- but it does not quite succeed. That is what makes a great roller coaster ride.
It is a bit expensive for 8 hrs, but not money wasted. In fact, you might want to listen to "Fuzzy Nation" first to get used to the Scalzi/Wheaton combo.
P.S. I Love You
Scalzi doesn't disappoint and Wheaton is brilliant. When the crew of a starship realizes it's at the mercy of science fiction writers from the past you get a great audible listen!
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
John Scalzi blends well written sci fi romps with thoughtful twists. Redshirts starts about as campy as expected ??? Star Trek from the Redshirt point of view. It is funny and silly, and if that was all it was, I would have been very happy; instead, when the silliness is almost ridiculous, the story morphs into an insightful character analysis with a thought provoking story ideas. There are jokes, meta-jokes, and meta-meta-jokes, which I really enjoyed. This book succeeds at several levels. The narration is spot on, sometimes getting laughs beyond the writing.
I read. I blog. I cook.
As to the genre… I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea don’t “get” the whole science fiction slash satire or fantasy slash satire thing. Or usually I don’t. I don’t “get” Douglas Adams. I don’t “get” Terry Pratchet. Howevurrr… Redshirts by John Scalzi is different. It is meta. Maybe meta is different from satire. As I started to listen to the Audible version of Redshirts, I thought, “Oh no. Here we go again”. Before long though, I became totally enmeshed in a geek get-off sort of way. It is impossible not to if you have any affinity for Star Trek.
As to the plot… “In this galaxy there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all that, and perhaps more...only one of each of us”. -Dr. McCoy, Star Trek, “Balance of Terror”.
WELL… NOT ACCORDING TO JOHN SCALZI! According to John Scalzi, in some weird alternative time-line there CAN be more than one of us. Just ask Ensign Andy Dahl and his other low ranking, red-shirted compatriots.
The Three Codas… Towards the end, the cadence of the book changes from a fast paced and funny warp 9 to a slower, thoughtful, thrusters only velocity. As I liked things nicely wrapped up, I would not have minded six or even more codas.
The narrative and the narration… Wil Wheaton reads with élan and gusto and excitement. The last coda he reads with emotion and compassion. Many of the Audible reviews comment on the distraction of the overuse of character perspective indication. It’s complicated… How do I explain. In the narration there are conversations between characters where the sentences are short and all of them end in “he said, she said” or “Dahl said, Duval said. This is especially rampant at the start of the book, but grows less. I have not seen the complaint in reviews of people who read the book as opposed to listened to it. Maybe the book is written to read like the script of a TV episode, I don’t know. I just thought it added to the book’s overall quirkiness.
As to quality, yes it is worth to use your monthly free credit. As to length, it was a bit short. I usually try to get more minutes for my money. (Remember, my monthly Audible subscription costs 130 South African Rands)
This book is hilarious - and is in its own way more sci-fi than some of the sci-fi I've read. Having Wil Wheaton read it is a good thing and a bad thing. Mr. Wheaton has some problem differentiating different characters with accents and such.
On the other hand - Sci-Fi fans are well aware of Mr. Wheaton - and his 'geek cred' elevates this book to some extent.
One thing that may be a result of Mr. Wheaton's lack of differentiation between characters, the script frequently breaks the dialog with things like 'X character said' or 'Y character said' sometimes many times within a minute, which does distract one from the story. Excepting that - this is a great book - and kept me interested from first to last.
What a creative and clever way to look at characters! I don't know if this started off with Scalzi saying, "Hmmm, I wonder if I can write in various points of view, and look behind the scenes of how characters tick?", or as just a random idea. Regardless - it worked! The main story was funny, poignant, and creative. The separate coda were well-linked to the main story in a very heart-felt manner. I really liked this book a lot! I am fastly becoming a huge Scalzi fan-boy! “Old Man’s War”, “Fuzzy Nation”, and not “Redshirts” – all good stuff! Oh, but, I guess amidst all this mush of Scalzi-love, I probably should point out that he does have a tendency to use the screenplay style ("he said", "she said") a bit too much! And, particularly in an audiobook, this becomes VERY obvious…and not just a little irritating! Let's just call this his "room to grow" as an author! (Maybe that's how he gets his word-count up for meeting publisher requirements???) Still, other than that one affectation, I really like the way he thinks and writes! His dialog is crisp and focused, and his characters are ALWAYS unique and enjoyable. I will definitely read/listen to more of his works!
And, as an audiobook, Wil Wheaton did an excellent job as Narrator - which makes sense that he'd be able to inflect emotion into these characters because, he himself (as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek TNG") must have felt like his character might just as casually become just such a "Redshirt" in the early days of his TV series appearances. Wil Wheaton did a really good job of putting dynamic range into the various characters - with more vocal intonations than I'm use to from him (as an audiobook Narrator). He really got into these characters!
So, from all perspectives, this was an excellent listen!
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
It's every bit as funny as they've told you; The first half of the story is overflowing with ridiculous clichés from 'Star Trek' & it's like. If you're fan of the series, than this alone is worth the price of admission. The unexpected leap the characters make of recognizing the nature of their predicament, and then devising a plan to confront their creators is perfectly in tone with the series while also transcendent.
Time travel. Parallel dimensions. Space ships. Battles with explosions on decks six through 12. Love. Humor. Characters I care about when they die. Characters I care about when they come back to life. And a Wil Wheaton Narration. More. I must have more!
Buckle up, friends, because the way this book shifts gears around 2/3 of the way through puts the likes of Million Dollar Baby to shame.
I've enjoyed Scalzi books before and since, and I'm always glad to hear Wil Wheaton narrate, particularly when you get the uncanny sense that he's poking gentle fun at the author's awkward-to-read bits. You could turn his delivery of "Dahl said--Duvall said--Dahl said--" into a nice hip-hop remix.
Just as he has in his other books, Scalzi treats a farcical and absurd premise with a surprisingly naturalistic tone and serious philosophical meditation. Still quite funny in places, though not as raucously as the likes of Galaxy Quest, which I suppose it still most closely resembles.
A good way to get through the work day.
The humor and interesting story.
The really dumb caption
Every time the captain said something dramatic
Made me laugh