Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
©2012 John Scalzi (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Though I have always found John Scalazi's humor and plot lines engaging his use of dialogue in this book so tedious it spoils the whole experience.
The meat and bones of what the characters have to say is fine but the connective tissue of he said's can, at best, be said to occasionally rise to the level of tedious.
The problem might not be so obvious on the printed page but as an audio book the the repetition of "He said"or "She said" as the link between almost every spoken phrase had me cringing in anticipation. If Pavlov had slapped the dog with a wet fish every time he rang the bell I imagine the effect would have been very much the same.
It's a pity, I really do like the way Scalazi thinks but I just couldn't enjoy this performance.
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!
Think on this: The Universe is a place so complex; It created tiny bits of itself to contimplate its own existance.
I prefer Audiobooks when I can get them, because most narrators do different voices.
There were good characters throughout the book, and because of the writing all were equally interesting to me.
I do not know, I expected an actor to read in different voices. All of Will's characters sounded alike, he was just reading the novel, not acting it. I read a review (false as to turns out) that said Will's Captain sounded like a Shatner styled character. I was more than disappointed to find this was not the case. I would have to listen to a sample of another Wheaton performance before purchasing another.
Volunteer for Nothing on the Intrepid!
I was every disappointed in the performance of Will Wheaton, I expected the characters to sound different, he was just reading the book. This made it more difficult to follow because the Author has characters who's names sound alike. When the narrator stated that one person with the D last name, and the other person has a D last name. The way its read it make you wonder just who is speaking in a given section of the story.
Sorry Will, I like most of the other things you do, this was not one of them.
My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.
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!
Proud to be a nerd
I love Scalzi's take on the cliched disposable 'Red Shirt' ensign phenomenon. I don't know a single person who watches Star Trek and hasn't said that they'd NEVER volunteer for an away mission if they weren't one of the big stars. So Scalzi makes this the central story to his plot, and also manages to poke fun at other related topics such as Trek philosophy, time travel 'rules', actors, Comic Cons, 'scifi science' and alien silliness (Ice Sharks? Really!?!) And, while Redshirts never takes itself too seriously, it still manages to present thought provoking dilemmas for it's intrepid heroes.
I think I'll leave out my favorite moment, so as not to give away the plot too early. My second favorite moment was the time travel sequence.
Yes, I have listened to several Wheaton-narrated performances by Cline, Scalzi and Wheaton, and this is another solid listen. Wil Wheaton is absolutely the most appropriate reader for this book, given the subject matter. He did a great job. The only thing that I found distracting was the use of, "he said," "she said," "Dahl said," etc, after almost every spoken line. While not Wheaton's fault, it was terribly distracting and even a bit irritating after time. I hope Mr. Scalzi invests in a thesaurus for his next book. The word "said" ends in a hard stop that is quite noticeable when repeated several times in a short time-frame. It really kills the flow of the dialog.
Absolutely. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of scifi, especially Star Trek geeks like myself. I think that it was very cleverly done and will be sure to make any Trek fan roll with laughter.
I've always really liked Scalzi books and this latest one is a fine addition to an impressive body of work. The main story is a lot of fun and occasionally provokes some deep thinking. It ended too quickly and I wondered what the heck could John do with three Codas - I wanted more of the main characters. But, leaving the reader wanting more isn't a bad thing for any author. The Codas actually turned out quite well and interweaved into the story with some new characters in a different time and place. I actually got choked up at the last spoken sentence of the final coda.
Wil Wheaton gives a magnificent performance and I hope he and Scalzi will team up again in the future.
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
???Is it just me???or is everyone on this ship monumentally f-ed up about away teams???? asks one of the Redshirts early on in John Scalzi???s ???Redshirts.??? It sets-up pretty much everything you???d hope for and expect from a new Scalzi book. It???s funny, geeky, exciting, and it gets emotional and heartfelt in the most surprising places. But what???s really unique about this one is how Meta it gets. Scalzi plays with his narrative like a phaser set to disintegrate and aims it at all the tropes, poor logic, and shoddy science that badly made genre TV, film, and fiction have conjured.
There???s a lot of characters, and as a result, some of them feel a little more cookie-cutter than I???d prefer. In particular, the protagonist doesn???t stand out as much as some of the others he???s written. The constant dialogue tags, the characters voices, etc. (However, the way this story???s setup, it can certainly be argued that that is the point.)
And even if that's not a persuasive argument, Scalzi has a lot of fun playing with the theme of characters being ???Under the Influence of the Narrative??? or creating scenarios where they advise each other to "STAY OFF THE BRIDGE! AVOID THE NARRATIVE!??? I have little doubt that much of it will become shorthand for all sorts of creative types in the future. Through it all ??? Scalzi throws down a challenge to not only live long and prosper, but to stop wasting time - to take advantage of your life and really live, and to do something worthwhile.
Wil Wheaton once again does a very strong job with the narration ??? and really, who else would you pick to narrate this book but the once and future Wesley Crusher. It???s great to hear him reading another Scalzi book.
For Star Trek and genre fans, for creative types, for anyone who has ever watched a SF TV or film and wanted to throw something at the screen because it all suddenly stopped making sense - this is really worth checking out.
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
Last night I had dinner with two true intellectuals, (a rarity I assure you), and when I told them I was reading Redshirts their faces lit up with joy. This made me feel very accomplished and just a bit guilty because I was sure it would be seen as juvenile.
Redshirts is a sharp, witty mind bending ride that I'm sure to read again and again. It's bizarre science fiction, something that rarely attracts me. For sure, had it not been for Audible offering Redshirts as a daily special there is no way I would have purchased this gem. As it stands now, (and on the recommendation of my friends), I have purchased Scalzi's Old Man's War.
I really don't know how to review this book without spoiling the story. Suffice to say its inconceivable to me that anyone could imagine where it takes them.
The characters and dialogue is first rate. It's lol funny and read by a professional with impeccable timing.
Not my usual cup of tea, but another 5 star effort from Audible!
Ever wonder what life would be like on the Star ship Enterprise as a Red shirt? Well this book gives you that spin on the classic (Star Trek TV show)/ generic sci-fi TV show. Well here’s your chance to see what life is like from a Red Shirts perspective. Follow along as they try and make sense of this crazy world where things don’t always make sense. I especially enjoyed the reading by Wil Wheaton who played the role of Wesley Crusher in Star Trek Next Generation.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
Scalzi's work has been heading in this direction for a long time - fun, funny science fiction adventures that are full of lots of references to classic science fiction and aimed squarely at fans who are in on the joke. This is the next logical step, one that asks, in a number of ways, "what if (mediocre) science fiction was real?" The movie Galaxy Quest is the right cultural touchpoint here.
Redshirts delivers on the premise with some real humor, and some fun plots, but Scalzi is not quite enough of a writer to make the self-references mean much beyond providing clever plot twists and good jokes. The character development is light, and, though the reason for this is justified in the book, it doesn't actually make up for the fact that the characters are all fairly boring. Similarly, many of the most interesting aspects of the self-referential plot are left unexplored, as the book veers more to adventure in the last part of the novel.
Wil Wheaton, while obviously a brilliant pick in terms of adding to the meta-science fiction fun, is actually less successful as a reader here than he is on other novels. Part of that is that there is a lot of dialogue, and Wheaton doesn't do voices, so there is a lot of "he said" "she said" among similarly-named characters that makes things confusing. Not horrible, but not optimal.
Though it may sound like I didn't like the book, I actually found it a lot of fun, more, in fact, than I would have expected from the sum if its parts (thus, four stars for the overall rating). But, among Scalzi's work, this book is much more Agent to the Stars than Old Man's War - fun, amusing, but ultimately very light.
"A must for any fan of Trek!"
Being a life long fan of the Trekverse i thought i was probably was either going to love or hate this fun little read from an author I'd never tried before. As it happened i was torn in two on it.
I should clarify that i had the audio-book version which was decently read by Wil Wheaton who at best was an excellent meta choice because of his place in the Trekverse and all things geek but on the negative side, although his reading is strong and clear, he really doesn't have the range of 'voices' that the best audio actors employ to bring their readings alive.
Scalzi had great fun here cannibalizing the absurdity of badly written sc-fi TV and even those of us who love the genre, both good and bad will chuckle and guffaw our way through a novel and plot which pokes holes in all of the tropes we, the army of geeks, eat up time and time again. There is also quite an interesting examination on the nature of free will similar to that aired in the excellent 'Stranger than Fiction' starring Will Farrell and Emma Thompson, which extends beyond the main story and into the epilogue and codas.
On the negative side does Scalzi really feel it necessary to use the word 'said' before or after every statement made by every character at every stage of the book? This was particularly annoying in the frequent snappy backwards and forwards between the key characters.
I used the phrase 'meta' earlier and this applies not only to the genre aspects but in that Scalazi uses this to examine the art of writing. This becomes especially apparent with the 'epilogue' and the 'codas' written after the main action narrative has concluded which seems to be an examination of plot, character, general quality of written drama and the reasons for/difficulty of overcoming, writers block.
In summary great premise, interesting thoughts on the art of writing let down by an annoying writers tic and a slightly one dimensional reading.
"poor concept, but well performed"
the concept was very frustrating, and it did not work for me
disappointed, as the plot was basically a single concept
"A delight for a snarky sci fi fan"
The concept of this novel is just as delightful as you're probably imagining it. It works well as a satirical love-in for whatever space opera holds a place in your heart (Stargate Atlantis, for me, but it hardly limited itself to a single show, as most of the concepts and conceits were universal to the genre). The lead characters are fun, but its the secondary characters who really make this awesome - they're the dumber substitutes for Shatner and co, and it MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. With some intimations of self-love including body doubles, which is pretty much everything the internet has ever laughed about in clones and Mirror Universe episodes.
The execution was occasionally slightly confused. Aside from the main plot line, the three codas (taking up a surprising chunk of the whole novel) are probably not going to suit everyone. One or two moments resonated with me, but there were long philosophies of the writing process (not Scalzi's process), and writers writing about writing is not everyone's favourite thing. There is a surprising happily ever after I didn't expect, so the codas aren't worth avoiding, just a little odd.
The narrator has a mellow, sarcastic way of speaking, which was for the most part awesome and added to the experience. The combination of speed and snark meant that dialogue stretches of, 'he said, she said, Dahl said' were occasionally confusing, and hard to follow who was saying what (though this usually didn't matter much). This gripe wasn't hugely annoying, however, and probably was neat in print form.
"Great narration, writer skill let it down overall"
Having a better editor, or the author listening to his editor. Even pre-warned by other reviews, the dialogue is monotonous with the 'he said' repeated ad nauseum. There are also other instances where the poor writing skill of the author lets down what is otherwise an excellent story.
Writing skill of the author. Phrases/grammar just gratingly bad (and that's leaving aside the constant 'he said' after every line of speech by a character) in places. This distracts and detracts from the storyline.
No I've not listened to any other performances so can't compare, but given the material he had to work with, he made a very good job out of what must have been a frustrating performance to give.
Amusement, annoyance, frustration, disappointment.
This book is *probably* worth persisting with despite the writing flaws. The story is good, it is a tongue in cheek caper through all things star trek, and I enjoyed it for that, but it's definitely not one for those easily annoyed by repetitive words.
"Two good books tacked together"
In hindsight I would say yes, it was a good idea, with some very interesting angles, and therefore I can think back on it and draw some good memories of it.
However, the writing of it was painful lazy and a massive surprise after the excellence of Old Mans War.
Yes, but with warnings. I think people who enjoy the Star Trek Universe will get a kick out of it, and it is a good concept for Sci-fi in general, but it is terribly written.
Sorry Wil, but he didn't bring anything extra to improve the book - but he did a good job. Wesley Crusher telling a story is about all I can say.
I could see this being a 1 hour special on Sci-fi if they drop the last third of the book.
Seriously disappointing, yet still I'm pleased I read it - a contradiction but one I can live with.
"A quick witted parody of a distopian Star Trek"
Don't wear Red
The story quickly dismantles a Star Trek-like distopian universe into a funny, if slightly silly, fantasy. It asks the age old questions, "what do the redshirts think about their survival chances and what can they do to improve them?"
"Entertaining story with well matched naration"
The tone suited me and I enjoyed the meta-story
A great story that drags a little with the extra codas - they become a little too meta - but an entertaining story that suits Wheaton's drawl.
"What's not to like?"
Haven't read the dead-tree version but I've read an awful lot of Scalzi and I end up feeling ever-so-slightly disappointed sometimes at the end of his books. Still not managed to finish Fuzzy Nation and I really want to...
The Ghost in the Machine... or was he the narrator? I'm not sure as I got all twisted up in the narrative.
I guess the hero was the best. Though they were all pretty entertaining.
Like trying to eat Spaghetti with your ears!
Well worth a listen!
"Enjoyable story, masterfull narration"
While the story is more than ok, Wil Wheaton does a superb job telling it. I enjoyed this very much, allthough the book itself falls short sometimes. The premise for this book is funny and clever, but it could do with some editing. It is far to long and drawn out at some points, but unlike many other reviewers, the "he said, she said" etc style of writning didnt bother me. To me, it feels like it is written as a script, and fits the book very well.
Bottom line; If Wil Wheaton had'nt narrated this, I might not have enjoyed it so much. As it is, I recommend this to all science fiction fans, and trekkies in particular.
"This was not so bad after all"
I downloaded this in a hurry - looking for some reasonable SF and tried this. I noticed someone mentioned the excess 'he said - she said' and I soon found the dialogue was really not suitable for listening. When you read dialogue heavy fiction - the he said - etc. bit is kind of filtered out, but on audiobook, however decent the reader is, and Wheaton is pretty good, the said bit gets really tedious. I nearly aborted this listen after 1/2 hour, but I was on a long journey, so kept going. In the end it was a pleasant light listen, with some clever twists. I will probably not bother with another Scalzi, but the experience was not bad. I tend to like the more cerebral SF, but am running out of authors! Help!
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