Listens while running
Solid narration, good plotting, and easy to follow while listening. It's exactly the kind of book I want for listening.
The homage to bad sci-fi is what pulled me in. I cared about the characters, but I do think I enjoyed the book more on a cerebral than emotional level.
Obviously, Wheaton's connection to Star Trek adds a layer of interest you wouldn't have just reading the book. For me, the tone switches were really powerful; Wheaton does a good job of indicating the mood of the story (and especially the codas) simply by tone.
I listen while running with my dog, and there was one point where I literally guffawed. My dog gave me a strange look. I can't say more without spoiling one of the better plot points.
The premise is simple enough: What if Star Trek's legions of disposable extras became aware that they lived only to serve the dramatic requirements of Captain Kirk's adventures? That they were born, and died, simply because a script declared it must be so?
Like any good story, though, the simple premise becomes weirder, more complex, and more fun the further one delves. How would a person's backstory relate? How would someone come into possession of knowledge that directly contravenes past experience, or even laws of nature? And the most important question of all: What happens when the Redshirt says, "enough is enough" and decides to put an end to Death in the Name of Fiction?
As in his previous books, Scalzi's writing in Redshirts will rarely wow the reader with the power of its prose. The main story in particular is written in a flat, dialog-heavy style that must be a stylistic choice; the titular codas are written in far more expressive and emotional language. That disconnect is Redshirts' greatest weakness: for a novel which ultimately lampoons and decries bad writing, it contains more than its fair share. But setting aside the jarring stylistic choice, the story has a heart to go along with its belly laughs. The well-worn tropes of TV Science Fiction are lovingly laid out, polished and admired even as we, along with Scalzi, roll our collective eyes. And once the novel reaches its codas--three stories that explore the "real-world" implications of the fictional premise--the book stops grasping for laughs and lays bare its heart: that the power of stories come in our reactions to them, and that even the worst (in every sense of the word) stories are catalysts for powerful personal change.
In the audiobook version, Wil Wheaton once again sits behind the mic to narrate, and the results are much as before. Wheaton's earnest, comfortable delivery brings the dialog to life, although his lack of vocal characterization can sometimes make it difficult to determine which character is speaking.
Given the book's target audience, Redshirts is destined to become a geek favorite, but its relevance extends far beyond the realms of nerd love and fan fiction. The book asks interesting and important questions, suggests some answers, and then steps back to let us think about them on our own time.
Being a big Trek Fan I am glade I heard it. Just have to say like another writer I will not mention, the story gets a bit winded towards the end.It keeps you going all the way to last couple of chapters then you (I anyhow) kind of felt like "OK finish it already."Not being a writer myself I have read a few writers that seem to drag out at the end so I can live with it.I Liked it over all.
Cannot say as it might be a Spoiler Alert. Trek Style with twist.
No. I might give another story a read to see how he does.
I am a bit of a cynic. Might explain the 3 overall rating.
Dear John Scalzi,
"you have now used up your allotted use of the word "said" for your next three books", I said.
"but I write so witty dialogue?" you said
"that you do!", I said, "but it is often drowned out in your absolute horrific overuse of the word "said".", I said again.
"but did you like my story?" Jon asked.
"I did.", I said. "but like I said, you use "said" way too much, making it hard to tell the story from the said saids", I said.
If you think the above is an exaggeration, I think you may be in for a nasty surprise.
I actually DID enjoy the story, but it has been my hardest listen on audiobook yet ( I think out of about 40ish books). It was so HARD to focus on the story, when all I did was wait for the next time Will Wheaton would say "said" again.
I considered going back and actually COUNTING them, in chapters 2 and 3, but figure my life is short enough as it is.
Oh, and on the subject of Mr. Wheaton's performance. I've rated it five stars. There's a LOT of emotion in his emotions, and a lot of character in his characters. But Will.. just between us two? You're on the precipice dude. I was this close to knocking you down to four or even three stars, due to overacting. You're still reading a book, and you SHOULD make the characters come alive.. but it's not a dramatization, so don't make it into one. Thanks :)
Wil Wheaton Delivers!I am a Scalzi fan and listening to Wheaton's performance of his work will solidify his position at the top of my favorite artists. His portrayal of a drunken crewman in deep conversation had me giggling. Scalzi's works are heavy in dialog, but the way that Wil animates each character you will have no problem keeping up. Good stuff!The main story arc ends after about 4 & 1/2 hours which was a very satisfying story. Then Scalzi tacks on the codas, which turn out to be 3 excellent tie-ins that give you not one, but four different (and equally satisfying) climaxes. They will in turn have you laughing and crying. This book will stay with me for a while (I am sending copies to my friends who are also big Original Series Trek fans). In fact I will probably listen to this again.
I didn't really have a favorite character, but the dynamic within Scalzi's Redshirt group was at times hilarious and at other times touching.
Yes, and this is one of his best.
Not gonna spoil this but I experienced both extremes - there was plenty wacky space humor with just enough father/son tenderness thrown in to make this a great, if not unusually structured, book.
This book was o.k. and worth listening to but the premise was a little too weak. I would still pick up a Scalzi book and look forward to listening to it I just hope the next one has a better working premise.
Wil Wheaton's performance is great. He makes the wonderful dialog feel real. He gets the listener to feel like he is just hanging out with him and he's telling a story over a few beers. If that ever really could happen with them running around a spaceship and all.Wheaton's real isn't he. I mean he's an actor? Not just something the narrative put into this question to set me up for my red shirt moment.
The third coda. A coda I learned when I looked it up is defined as something that serves to round out, conclude, or summarize and usually has its own interest. The third coda gave me that geek love story happy ending joy. The pleasure of the fiction that the smart kids do finish best. I felt joy, I felt like I was really standing on the beach. I could feel the pleasure of the moment. Real Genius, Weird Science, Nina Simone Feeling Good kinda feeling.
He had the perfect amount of tongue in cheek, and honesty/believability.
I laughter out load several times, and I cried a little. I did it in public, cause I was caught in the story, and truly removed from the Dallas Love Field Gate area. It just forced me to react, and not just listen.
I really love this book. I've listened to over 800 books on audible, and this one ranks as one of the best. I have a handful of books that I just love to talk about the plots with friends. All of the rest are non-fiction book. Make me want to believe this book is real.If your looking for a fun quick thought provoking read, I don't think you can go wrong with this book. It really has something for all. Just give into it, and let it take you. Embrace the narrative. This narrative seems to come for a kind and loving author. (Despite the year later apocalypse, that he says is just kidding, but that probably isn't!)
I love John Scalzi books, so I eagerly and impatiently waited for the day this was available on Audible and bought it immediately. I was incredibly happy a soon as the prologue started, but I have to admit, I almost gave up halfway through the first chapter. I've seen criticisms of Scalzi regarding his overuse of the word "said". I never noticed it as a problem until this book. Maybe it's because two characters have similar sounding names, but it was so distracting I stopped listening for a day and was going to wait to read the book I pre-ordered once it arrived. I decided to try again the next day, and was very glad I did. Once more characters were introduced and there was more action, it became less of an issue, and there really are scenes that are just absolutely fantastic as read by Wil Wheaton. "I'm an astrogator. I just wanna... astrogate." probably makes the whole book for me.
The codas at the end are sweet, though not my favorite parts. I love the Star Trek references, criticisms and parodies, the philosophical implications of the story, the meta puzzle that is this book.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean buyer. If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
Redshirts is a phenomenally funny and compelling story. It's nothing inherently new, though it is the first to admit that, but it does a sort of post-modern sci-fi referential comedy book perfectly. As always, Wheaton does a perfect job with the narration, On the whole, I would completely recommend this to anyone, regardless of whether they're Star Trek fans, but with the caveat that while the codas are fun and creative, they are ultimately irrelevant. They cover things that you don't necessarily wonder about, having already answered those questions in the story, and introduce quite a few new characters. Still, completely worth it!
John Scalzi's Redshirts is good fun for fans of Star Trek, science fiction TV or the genre in general. He plays with science fiction cliches and manages to provide some clever and poignant moments. Most of characterizations aren't deep but the novel is well-paced, funny and resourceful and there are genuine surprises along the way. This is far from the author's best (check out Old Man's War for a different side of Scalzi) but it's good fun.
A word of warning: another reviewer (T. Pell) mentioned how often Scalzi follows character dialogue with "he said", "she said", etc. in the book. She wasn't kidding. It really does become distracting and even irritating during sequences in which there's a lot of dialogue being exchanged in short statements. However, there are only a few brief portions of the book where I found it truly impacted my enjoyment so overall, it wasn't a problem. Nevertheless, if this sounds like the kind of thing that will truly bother you, think twice before downloading Redshirts.
One last thing: Wil Wheaton was a good (and obviously logical choice) to narrate the book and he does a fine job, as usual.