This was a novel with humor and humanity. It also had several creative touches, and a fine narrator in Wil Wheaton. If you are tired of the pompousness and ultra-seriousness of recent sci-fi and fantasy movies, this is a beautiful change of pace.
Well, since it was my first one, its was the best one.
Its like Star Trek meets Being John Malkovich
Loved the fact it was narrated by Wheaton, perfect cast.
The point when I realized the book wasn't quite over, and I had 3 more codas to listen to.
This was a really fun read. I found myself laughing out loud more than once. I think those people that grew up watching the original star trek will enjoy it more than others. The sillyness of parts of the book are, I think, intentional.
I'm not sure if you'd really appreciate this story as much if you were not familiar with Star Trek (particularly the original series). I think Wil is a great match for this writer, and possibly can bring much to his performance being associated with Star Trek.
The story itself is quite good, however there are some codas that I think would make more sense in the written version. It was strange getting to the "end" of the story and then having 2 more hours of "story". I was not as big a fan of the codas as the main story.
Overall it was an easy going story, and quite humorous. It managed to combine several stereotypical sci-fi oddities in a fun way.
I'd recommend it certainly. Anyone who's familiar with Star Trek TV or Battlestar Gallactica or other TV Scifi will get a kick out of it. And hearing Will Wheaton is a real treat. But...
The front of the book is padded. It takes too long to get to the gist of the story. And there is much too much padding at the end with a strange "coda."
The book isn't so much a novel as a novella. And would have been only around 5 hours without the padding.
TV or Reality TV?
Kat at FanLit
"This is the part where you run and scream a lot."
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Intrepid, a spaceship that has the reputation of killing off most of its non-essential crew. The captain and senior officers and one or two especially good-looking guys always come back from planetary “away” missions alive (though often mangled up a bit), but always, always, at least one, and often many more, of the crew is killed. When Dahl and a few other new recruits begin investigating, they discover that the statistics just don’t work out right. There is definitely something weird going on. With the help of a computer hacker who hides in the bowels of the ship, they set out to get some answers and make a discovery that completely changes how they view the world.
I’d love to tell you more about the clever plot of Redshirts, but I don’t want to give it away. I hope it’s enough to say that I was delighted from the first page and I laughed a lot. Redshirts is a spoof of Star Trek; the title refers to the ever-changing expendable red-shirted crewmen who go down to the planets with Kirk, Spock, Bones, et al., but usually don’t return. Most Trekkies are sure to find it hilarious. Though Scalzi mocks Star Trek plot clichés, there’s a sincere sense of affection and nostalgia for Star Trek that I found charming. Also charming is the reminder that all those expendables have real lives, too.
Redshirts is self-aware metafiction divided into three parts: a novel and three codas. While the novel is a comedy, the codas are meant to make us think about life and death and our place in the universe. The conceit starts to wear a little thin by the second coda, but rebounds for a gut-wrenching twist at the end. If you don’t like metafiction, Redshirts may not be for you, though I’d encourage you to try it anyway, especially if you’re a Star Trek fan.
I listened to Audible Frontiers’ audio production of Redshirts which was read by Wil Wheaton. I don’t know if Wil Wheaton’s narrations are always so good, because I’ve only heard him narrating novels written by John Scalzi, but let me just say that in my experience, Scalzi + Wheaton = a brilliant performance. Wil Wheaton totally “gets” John Scalzi’s characters (and it’s not just because he used to play an ensign on Star Trek). If you’re an audio reader, you definitely want to read Redshirts in that format. If you’re not an audio reader, Redshirts could convert you.
I have no idea how the mental images I construct when experiencing a story would be like if I read the book, but the audioversion is fantastic. Will Wheaton starts off doing more or less ok the first chapter or two, but from there on, he really settles in his voice as narrator. I'm pretty sure that I prefer the audio version.
The writing is great. The only problem I had was the constant use of "he said", "she said" that kind of got on my nerves a little. Other than that, it starts out as a fun sci-fi romp, but becomes something much more. It's a colorful dive into narrative-exploration, making fun of tropes while being an ode to them at the same time. A lot of it is wonderfully subtly done, without an attempt to hammer the meta or the observations into the focus of the reader/listener.
That probably sounds boring, but I assure you, it isn't. From killer robots with harpoons to writer's block, this book is fracking awesome.
I'd compare it to movies. Think Galaxy Quest, Back To The Future and Pi.
Also, the experience isn't complete without the codas, in the excact order that they are.
The book itself gets a very fitting voice because of the background Will has, in fact so much that i can't imagine anyone more suitable. That being said, it's more the middle and end part of the book where his voice clicks into place with everything else.
The codas specifically was read with such great and subtle emotion that I was surprised. No offense to Will Wheaton, but I would never have imagined that one of his performances, in particular a voice only, -almost made me cry.
Fear The Narrative.
Fans of star trek or any weekly sci-fi show: buy it. It'll make you happy you did.
Will Wheaton's narration really reflected the character's emotions and gave you a feel for each situation the author had the characters in. Truthfully, I didn't know he was that good and was pleasantly surprised.
Someone finally wrote a good story about the plight of the red shirts.
Most of the main characters were done well but I like the interaction between the characters in the science lab!
I think 'Redshirts' says it all.
Well worth the listen. Wil should branch out in the audiobook narrations. He does a good job in Metatropolis also.
These poor characters. They're afraid of "Away Missions" because someone ALWAYS dies. Hilarious.
I enjoyed this far more than I had anticipated. Scalzi writes great dialogue and clearly understands the sci-fi television industry. The story stands as a really fun parody of the 'redshirt' concept in sci-fi, but also is a honest story about people trying to find out what their lives really mean in the greater universe. Wil Wheaton is a wonderful narrator for Scalzi's material.