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.
Devourer of all books fantasy
This is the second Scalzi book that I have read. The first was Fuzzy Nation which I enjoyed immensely. This book was also very enjoyable; it was funny and clever. Although I kind of wish it has ended before we got to the Codas. Still it was an entertaining read.
I read this on audiobook and really really enjoyed it. It's read by Will Wheaton, who does an excellent job reading audiobooks.
In the future the Intrepid is the flagship of the Universal Union and it is an honor to be assigned to it. So thinks Ensign Andrew Dahl until he starts to notice strange things...like the strange way the officers talk at times, like the high body count on away missions, and like how he does and says things he normally wouldn’t on away missions.... When Dahl and his friends start looking into things more deeply they find that things on the Intrepid are very very wrong.
This is a hard book to review without spoilers, but I will try my best. Let’s just say it’s a very tongue in cheek type of funny story. It’s full of mystery, gorey sci-fi action scenes, strange coincidences, and a bit of time travel.
The characters are all quirky and interesting. Although this isn’t a character driven story, they are there mainly to unravel the mystery of Intrepid.
The whole craziness around time travel and predestined fates gets a bit confusing towards the end of the book, but Scalzi approaches it all with a sense of humor that makes it more believable.
My only complaint is that I kind of wished the book would have stopped before it got to the Codas, I think they detracted from the story. The three Codas basically tell the impact of the Intrepid’s story on three characters that get involved from our time and world. They were kind of interesting, but didn’t add to the story a whole lot.
In the end exactly how and why things happened how they did on the Intrepid was a bit ambiguous and confusing, but it was still pretty hilarious.
Overall this was an entertaining read. If you enjoy parodies and over-the-top humorous science fiction you will enjoy this book. It was pretty hilarious and entertaining to read. The story didn’t always make complete sense and was a bit ambiguous at times, but Scalzi kind of makes fun of this so it works for this book. Recommended if you are a fan of humorous sci-fi or if you are a fan of Scalzi’s previous books.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
I've watched all the t.v. shows and all the movies, but you got to believe this is the real Star Trek. This is from the view of those thousands of crew members that do the actual work, that take the non-sensible orders from the higher ups and make the ship work.
John Scalzi is the funniest writer out there and with Wil Wheaton they are the best duo to listen to. The book starts out with a sort of grunts by the water cooler feel. The new guy treatment is spot on. So even those who are not sci-fi fans will like the first three hours. The story does take a weirder then I prefer turn and I wish JS could have came up with a better explanation. The story actually ends around five hours and then you get the not so funny Coda's. Coda one is interesting, but goes on too long. Coda one also gets a little nasty with the writers of the original Star Trek. As a Star Trek fan I enjoyed laughing at myself and the show during the story. J.S. seemed to use coda one to say, hey if you were to stupid to figure it out, I think the Star Trek writers were lazy or stupid. Scalzi did not do his homework or he would have known that Gene Roddenberry set out to make a non-violent show. During the pilot, cowboys were the big thing and the network wanted blood or they were not going to air the show. The results were Redshirts getting killed. Coda two gives a serious message, but no answers. Telling someone that can't figure out what to do in life, that they need to get there shit together, does not help. Coda three was sweet and warm.
I gave this five stars and it was the best book I have read this year so far and Wheaton's performance makes listening to it better then reading it. I do believe it would have been even better without the coda's.
Ah, redshirts. It seems to be a sign of a true SF geek to immediately get the reference, vs those would stare at you blankly if you referenced it. But what if you suddenly realized that you weren't the main character in the reality that you inhabit. Worse, you come to the suspicion that your part in the show may be to become just interesting enough to make the audiences feel some emotional loss when you died. And everyone around you is dying at a rate unheard of for any other ship in the fleet.
Well, this is what happened to the main characters of this story. And after living through a dreaded away mission (except for their dramatically lost friend ironically) they finally figure out what is going on and even when their show is being written (though of course via divergent universes there is no reference to their show). After kidnapping a main character (one of the best ways to ensure that they don't die off-screen) they are off to the past to try and stop the writers from killing them and their compatriots.
Overall a fun book, with entertaining characters and a sly wink to a bunch of in-jokes. It may not be a book I ever go back to re-read but it was an interesting story.
'Where no redshirt has gone before...' The little guys sudden begin to conspire when they realize that away missions are usually deadly, but only for them! So they formulate a plan - and execute it!
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.
John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton do it again. Redshirts is good fun in a goofy sci-fi story that I am surprised has not been made into a TV mini-series. Maybe someone will make a web series out of it one day.
There is a lot of "inside baseball" and breaking of the fourth-wall here.
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.
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
I'm a big Scalzi fan and, whilst this book has his customary wit and is very well written, it covers ground that has been very thoroughly explored by other writers, tv shows etc. It's still a good book and the codas are excelent (if rather long) but it feels less inventive than Scalzi's other books.
"What a great idea"
As a Trekkie these many years, I approached this book thinking why has nobody come up with this idea before.
Viewing the space opera from the "cannon fodder's" perspective is surprisingly enlightening. These people have a life beyond their 2 minutes of fame and their gradual realisation that "something is very wrong with their universe" is entertaining and moderately suspenseful.
At first I found the presentation of the dialogue stilted i.e. He said she said etc then I realised the author was writing dialogue for a TV show.
The codas work well to tidy up the loose ends in a satisfying manner.
All in all a good listen and very different to my usual selections. I will endeavour to boldly go again
"A fun listen for Star Trek fans"
This is a brilliant parody novel made all the better by Wesley Crusher (sorry Will) doing a brilliant job of reading the story.
The main story riffs on some of the most prevalent tropes of the genre by making some of the minor characters or redshrits on the crew of an Enterprise style ship aware that they are in someone else's story. The writer has a lot of fun with this before getting down to the elements of the main plot and it works really well
There are 2 sections to the novel, the main story and a really great set of "what happened next" stories covering some of the minor character and elements from the main plot. Its really nice to get some closure on these stories
To make one small complaint, the writer needs to work on their "he said/she said", it gets a little distracting especially when read out loud
"Funny, irreverent and deliciously subversive"
This, as a character in a movie I particularly love might have said, is a slice of fried gold. Not only is this a wonderfully entertaining story, but it's read by Wil Wheaton, who does a remarkable job of bringing the characters to life and giving them personalities you can't help but like. If you ever watched an episode of Star Trek (just one - you don't have to be a fan), this one's for you. Do yourself a favour and check it out.
"Wesley Crusher what has thou don est?"
Had to stop listening as the word said was not edited out of the narrators copy. It appeared so many times in the first few minutes it gave me a nose bleed. Disappointed but to all those budding audio book stars introduce the character once and use vocal range to distinguish who is talking don't just say "said John" "said Andy" after every utterance even after one word AGGHHH! make it stop Will Wheaton.
"Could have been good but......"
I love Galaxy Quest and Star Trek so I found the story reasonably entertaining but I actually gave up listening to the book for weeks on 3 occasions due to the truly awful narration. Wil Wheaton makes everyone; male, female, human, wookie sound exactly the same and then attributes every, and I mean every, yes I really mean every single line of dialogue, even during long, quippy back-and-forths. Wil Wheaton is shockingly terrible as reader of this audiobook.
"Funny, but slightly annoying..."
A great story, but you're better of reading it. As much as I love Wil Wheaton his narration is a bit flat, and John Scalzi needs to learn some synonyms for "said" and "asked" -- the dialogue is painful to listen to as almost *every* line is followed by "[someone] said", and once you notice it it becomes impossible to ignore.
"An interesting read"
The idea of the book is at once, both funny and intriguing. I thought it would be a comedy, but John takes an absurd premise and then writes a very engaging story around it. A very clever and a likable book. The two things that work against it. 1 - Others have mentioned it, and I will too, but only because it does grate. The use of the word "said" so often. Enough said :). 2 - I was a little disappointed with the narration. There is very little in the way of distinguishing different characters and the reading was a little flat in a lot of places. Neither of these were enough to make me stop listening though, and I got right through to the end without a problem. Clearly John is happy with him as Wil narrates a number of his books. Overall it is a solid and enjoyable listen.
"Don't believe the hype"
The conceit is nice enough, but the execution seems somewhat listless and by-the-numbers. None of the characters become too likable, and the plot never gets so original that it really draws you - or at least me - in.
Wheaton seems a nice enough guy, but I feel that at some points in this reading, he overacts a bit. (He's quite OK the rest of the time, though.)
"Warp Factor 5 Stars"
This was the first book I picked up on audible as a trial and had me sold on a full membership.
If you are a Star Trek fan then release the docking clamps and prepare for a brilliant book. If you're not then there is still a lot for you to enjoy here. Scalzi has found a way to mix satire, parody and plenty of geek chic into one brilliantly condensed package. His writing is nothing short of stellar (no pun intended) and serves to create incredibly evocative characters who you genuinely start to care about more and more as the book progresses. I found the tone of the book took a shift about half way through from being hilarious to genuinely clever and compelling.
Suffice to say I won't mention why here. Far better for you to give it a listen yourself and have the plot unfold for you as it did for me.
As a parting shot all that is left to mention is Wil Wheaton. His narration of this book is spectacular. I don't think I can really sum up the excellent job he did in words and do it justice. What I can say is that when I was about 7 or 8 one of my favourite teachers read "The Hobbit" to the class. It was the first time I had a book read to me by someone who went the extra mile. My teacher 'did the voices', got into character and read with real passion capturing the enthusiasm and imagination of all the children around him. Wil Wheaton still doesn't knock Mr Jenkins off his top spot for being the best story teller I have ever heard. But you know what? He comes pretty damn close.
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