I had put this off until it was nominated for a Hugo, thinking it would be a light read but not high merit. I was wrong. The first 75% of the book is an entertaining pastiche on the tropes of Star Trek, and how someone might react if their life were like the characters in worst of Star Trek episodes. I laughed out loud several times, and couldn't resist telling my wife about parts. Then the three codas did something I didn't expect -- showed the longer term impact of the story on 3 people, with a depth that made me care. I'm coming to think that Scalzi has a skill specifically for showing us the power of different points of view on the same event. In a year of good novels, this one got my vote for the Hugo.
Are you the type of geek who asks themselves "Why is the commander of a starship assaulting a enemy ship? Wouldn't that be a job for the security detail?"? If yes, this book is right up your alley.
Sarcasm is one of the major languages today, and Scalzi is both fluent and skilled in it, while Wheaton's crisp, wry delivery gives it that perfect zing.
Loved it, keep em coming.
I want to make clear that I had no issue with the book itself, nor with the voice acting. Wil Wheaton has a perfect voice to provide for Scalzi's biting wit. The story itself was well-paced and fun, throwing things together in ways that caused me to chuckle several times at unexpected turns. So... voice acting is top notch, story is top notch... loved it.
My main point of criticism comes from... I suppose, Scalzi's writing style. For most audio books, I've been able to train myself out of hearing a lot of the "he intoned... she stated... he exclaimed" phrases that are necessary in a book without voices, but not necessary when it's being read to you. But this book... There are numerous times that I just about gave up due to the number of conversations that utilize "he said" and "she said".
Enjoyed the heck out of this novel. Loved the idea/concept, and I suppose the execution could have had another level of depth, but I enjoyed it greatly all the same. I suppose the lack of depth might have bothered me if this was a 500 page book, and not half that. I listened to the audiobook, which Wil Wheaton did an excellent job with.
As for the 3 codas, they were all excellent, and I agree with a remark from an Amazon reviewer: not only are the 3 codas better than the novel itself, but they get progressively better, with the 3rd the best, and most touching. If, like me, you are ignorant of what a "coda" is outside of the music world, it is most easily described as a side story or short story that didn't fit into the main novel. Each of these is also from the point-of-view of a non-main character. If you are a Dresden Files fan, think "Side Jobs".
Insert something snarky here.
There are so many people who don't care for this book and I can understand. The book is largely fun and silly. The actual plot of the book does a fabulous job of lovingly sending up Star Trek (especially TOS). I love Star Trek and have loved it ever since I was a small child. Some of the in-jokes had me laughing out loud, which is not something I often do. When it comes to the codas, that is where a lot of the dissent starts. People who liked the tone of the first part of the book are put off by the nature of the the three codas (first, second and third person respectively). They might think that they are unnecessary. But I don't think the story works as well without them.
One thing that was a little annoying about the book was, well, all the dialog attributions. "She said,", "he said", "Dahl said", etc. After a while it became a little tedious, especially when there were a lot of different characters talking at the same time.
Scalzi has such a fresh voice and his humor is both witty and timely. He pulls you in to the story and demands your attention.
Wil is just THE best reader around. He is like listening to a favorite friend spin yarns.
A fun story whether you are a Trekker or not.
ROFL funny for all space-opera addicts, particularly Star Trek fans. The guy in the red shirts dies horribly on away missions, does he?
A wonderful spoof, but with a rollicking plot.
He has outdone himself, clearly enjoyed the material.
Grinned contantly, laughed out loud frequently. Really brightened up a bad day I was having.
Between the rigid "he said" dialog, and the narrator's unwillingness to differentiate character voices (I had no idea one of the characters was female until the book used a gender pronoun) it was just grating to listen to.
Redshirts has just won the 2013 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. It is also nominated for the Hugo Award which will be announced at the World Science Fiction Convention at the end of August.
Does that mean the story is good? Probably.