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.
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!
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.
There is a lot to like about Redshirts and Scalzi creates an interesting meta-universe that gives a backstory to the disposable extras the filled many an episode of Star Trek. The book pokes fun at a storied television franchise and goes from silly to absurd as the junior crew members do what they can to avoid going on away missions. One inside joke after another keeps things entertaining and the tale goes from simple to complex as it unfolds.
Be warned that there is also a lot to dislike about Redshirts. The characters aren’t very deep and the story is more about the running joke than it is about the characters. You will also quickly grow tired of hearing “he said/she said” in the dialogue.
As a self-proclaimed geek and former actor on a Star Trek series, Wil Wheaton is a natural fit as the narrator here. I have enjoyed other books read by Wil but I didn’t feel like this was one of his better readings. He doesn’t do a lot of voices so it can be hard at the beginning to keep track of all of the various characters; however, Wil is still adequate and it is the story itself that will either keep you entertained or drive you away. If you are a SciFi fan capable of having fun at the expense of a beloved television series then this book is for you.
l'enfer c'est les autres
This book accomplishes what very few other sci-fi books can do. It makes you laugh out loud. It's not the most original story, but it will make you laugh out loud because of the dialogue and situations, and you will be interested in the story's main arc.
A perfect book for a car trip with a fellow listener. The sci-fi is fun and the ending is worth the read, and the book will make you laugh out loud!
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 am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
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.
"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!
"A good short story"
I am a big fan of John Scalzi, having loved Old Man’s War, and this short story didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. I found it funny and witty, with his mick taking of various sci-fi series and the concepts raised interesting and good.
It only gets four stars due to what has already been said. When I initially read the other reviews I didn’t think that the “he said/ she said” would be as bad as described. If anything, it’s worse!!! It doesn’t ruin what is a very good ‘read’ but is still extremely annoying and causes this book to miss out on the five stars rating for me.
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