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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas | [John Scalzi]

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    chris 09-12-13
    chris 09-12-13

    30 something Male that works in manufacturing

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    Story
    "A one time listen"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    For a fan of Star Trek I probably would recommend this as a side book but for someone with just a general interest in sci-fi I would not. You could see the twist coming a mile away and the last few chapters didn't flow with the book at all.


    Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first full book I've listened to performed by Will Wheaton. The performance was excellent and look forward to listening to more.


    Was Redshirts worth the listening time?

    The story was worth the time invested once through. I can't see myself listening more than once though.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Edgewater, MD, United States 09-11-13
    David Edgewater, MD, United States 09-11-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is the Monty Python of space adventures!"

    If you are or ever were a fan of Star Trek The Original Series, you'll love this humorous and inventive story which borrows from and builds upon the genre it so effectively mocks. With fun and interesting characters and interesting plot twists, you never quite know what will happen next. You only know that, whatever happens, you'll enjoy every minute of it.

    And along the way, the story has some surprisingly touching moments. This is a book within a book within a book, much like the coded message coming from deep space in Carl Sagan's book, "Contact," contained a message within a message within a message. Don't think you're going to understand everything until you've finished the book. That's when you'll realize this story is not what you thought it was going to be.

    This is the Monty Python of space adventures!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C.B.E. Colorado, United States Minor Outlying Islands 09-10-13
    C.B.E. Colorado, United States Minor Outlying Islands 09-10-13 Member Since 2014

    Claywise

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    "Meta madness and crucial codas"

    "Redshirts" is the most fun you'll have reading a didactic novel about the creative responsibilities of authors you'll read this year - or any year.

    Some say the codas feel tacked on. I cannot agree. I see them as three short laboratories in which Scalzi is trying to put into practice what he's saying with the novel.

    Fun, hilarious, mind-bending and in the end, surprisingly moving.

    But I will second (and third, and fifty-eight) the critique of the maddening staccato of "he said, she said" that nearly drove me to distraction until (blessedly) my brain began to filter it out and the incidence seemingly decreased.

    On the written page "said" is an invisible word, and awkward substitutions ("he ejaculated" ... "she enthused" ... "grandma retorted"), which Damon Knight called "said bookisms," are distracting. The problem here is that when read aloud, Scalzi's unfortunate tendency to slap an attribution on almost every bit of dialogue — "Yeah," she said. "You sure?" Dahl said. "Yeah," she said. "Let's go," Dahl said starts to feel like a jackhammer.

    No joke: I almost stopped listening after 20 minutes. Maybe I wouldn't have been as sensitized had I not read some of the critiques of the "said madness" here on Audible.

    Glad I stuck with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Frisco, TX, United States 09-10-13
    Cheryl Frisco, TX, United States 09-10-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing. Good idea, poorly done."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, but I tell them about it! It's a great idea! Unfortunately, it was written by Scalzi. Scalzi has great ideas! Then his characters all have the same personality: snarky. They all talk the same, and what they're saying is punctuated by endless "he said"s. Fuzzy Nation had the same problem, though points for adding the dog.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Oh, good ending, wrapped thing up satisfactorily, had some comedy.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    They did their best; there's only so many times you can say the word "said".


    Was Redshirts worth the listening time?

    Once, perhaps.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my second Scalzi book, and to my disappointment I think I have to give up on him. All his books sound really interesting, but I can't listen to any more conversations that are just identical characters trying to out-snark each other.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Mount Airy, NC, United States 09-09-13
    Scott Mount Airy, NC, United States 09-09-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excessive foul language"

    I bought this because it was on-sale and the premise sounded interesting, however I wish I had known about the language so I felt I should pass this on. In general it seems ok but as I've gotten about a third of the way into it I've realized that I can't abide the cursing. It seems gratuitous rather than appropriate within the context of the story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Kaufman 09-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book slightly let down by Codas"

    As always, John Scalzi delivers a great book and Wil Wheaton reads it very well.

    I would say that the the last two Codas are a bit of an anti-climax, somewhat long-winded and don't really add to the book. I still consider this to be a five-star book, but it you get to the codas and feel like skipping them, you won't miss anything important.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Broomfield, CO, United States 09-03-13
    Terri Broomfield, CO, United States 09-03-13 Member Since 2015

    Sci-Fi, Fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, thrillers with sarcasm are my favorites.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Red Shirt - Landing Party - OOPS!"

    An enjoyable bit of silliness. It must be something in the red dye that makes all security & other personnel wearing red shirts leave all sense & logic in the closet with their non-red clothes.

    Wil Wheaton is an enthusiastic narrator, but doesn't differentiate between characters with voice changes hence my 3 star rating.

    The book takes an interesting turn about mid-way through.

    I have always enjoyed seeing the reference to the "Red Shirt" picked up by other TV series, books & movies. Thanks John Scalzi for reinforcing the legend of the "Red Shirt".

    Star Trek has had an unbelievable influence on inventions, attitudes and entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlene Seattle, WA, United States 08-28-13
    Charlene Seattle, WA, United States 08-28-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just get past the first half an hour..."

    I really enjoyed this book - John Scalzi is a funny writer; Wil Wheaton is a great narrator. HOWEVER, the first half an hour or so is unbelievably stilted when read aloud. It's a lot of "he said," then "she said," then "he said" ad nauseum. I think when reading print, my eyes skip over those things and it's not a big problem. In audio, it's as if it's all I could hear. The first part, consequently, is irritating and confusing. Past that, it's a well written story that is ultimately about choices and consequences - thought I didn't realize it for awhile, because it is also very light and funny.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ozgribbo Australia 08-26-13
    ozgribbo Australia 08-26-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Sci Fi comedy"

    Really good take on the obvious STAR TREK lesser role players always getting killled on an away team mission. Very well written, with some good twists and turns. The only Sci Fi writer apart from Harry Harrison and Eric Frank Russell to write such humour.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly springfield, VA, United States 08-24-13
    Beverly springfield, VA, United States 08-24-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just as much fun as I expected, more meaningful"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Michael
    Gosport, United Kingdom
    7/18/12
    Overall
    "Great Book But Annoying Over Use of The Word "said"

    Like a previous reviewer stated this author really needs to learn another word for "said"; Yes, almost every line contains "...said" or "said...", it really does get annoying and you can almost hear the annoyance in the voice of the narrator.

    The storyline is pretty good and I did enjoy it; a subtle, or perhaps not so subtle, parody of Star Trek which mocks the fact that in almost every Star Trek episode you knew who was going to die as soon as the "away party" beamed down; those poor guys in red.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Singapore, Singapore
    12/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meta- but in a good way"
    Where does Redshirts rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've probably listened to 30 audiobooks in the last 2 and a half years. Almost all of them have been very good. I'd say this was in the top half of those.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the paradox, that the characters were supposedly vulnerable because they were not the main characters of the show, but of course they're the main characters of the book so in fact a slightly different set of rules apply. As much as the idea is (as the characters know) derivative of Galaxy Quest, Last Action Hero etc, Scalzi does a great job of making it feel fresh without it getting stuck up its own arse.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The last scene, which I won't say more about, because it would spoil it.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both actually, but it was surprisingly touching towards the end, considering how tongue in cheek the concept seems.


    Any additional comments?

    Really recommended. I'm not a big Trekkie or into anything particularly similar, but I think it's enough to have a passing familiarity with the tropes of the genre, which virtually everyone surely does.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A. Farenden
    Essex, UK
    6/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One annoying flaw in an excellent piece of prose."
    What did you like most about Redshirts?

    I liked the principle most, and the inner monologues. The fact that nobody knew why they were doing what they did.


    What other book might you compare Redshirts to, and why?

    The only book other than John Scalzi's other books that this reminds me of is John Ringo's Last Centurion. Both books have soldier protagonists, both are commentary on how f-ed up the world they are living in is, and the tone and humor are similar. So are the narrators' voices.


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    I liked everything about the way he portrayed the characters, with the exception of Duvahl (not sure of spelling) Some narrators are able to portray female voices well, but Wheaton's female voice was indistinguishable, which is part of the flaw this book has.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I actually started crying somewhere near the end. It might have been when Dahl got skewered. Or it might have been during the epilogue when Finn lectures Nick. Actually Nick's epilogue is a pretty good part in itself.


    Any additional comments?

    The big flaw in this audiobook is a combination of writer and narrator. Scalzi overuses the word 'said' which _in print_ probably doesn't matter too much. He also named two of his main characters Dahl and Duvahl.
    When you get lines like:
    "Are you sure?" Dahl said.
    "I'm sure." Duvahl said
    Near the start and you can't tell which one is the female character because the narrator isn't that capable of female voices and the names are too similar to connect with the identifying information you were given...
    After the first hour I'd gotten over the "said,said,said," thing, but that section near the beginning is really annoying.Still a good listen though.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Karen
    London, United Kingdom
    8/5/12
    Overall
    "Metafandom meets Galaxy Quest"

    I love John Scalzi. Just have to get that out there. All of his books are phenomenal, though I confess I do love his humorous standalones a tiny bit more than the Old Man's War series. I can't say enough good things about his writing.

    So I guess it's no surprise that I loved Redshirts - it is certainly one of the funnier concepts he's come up with. What if a Star Trek-like TV show was not only real somewhere, but controlled by the pen of the show's writers? What if all those poor redshirts, the guys destined to die to make the audience realize the problem in any given episode was SERIOUS, were real people, who really died every time bad writing dictated?

    But don't be fooled by the absurdist premise - this is an incredibly well conceived novel, with a definite punch to the stomach in emotional weight, and a brilliant resolution.

    Highly recommended. And the narration by Wil Wheaton - of Star Trek Next Generation fame, no less - is spot on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Enfield, United Kingdom
    7/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "this was like a teenage boy reading a comic...."
    What would have made Redshirts better?

    if it had been half as good as his previous book


    What will your next listen be?

    wil wheaten is a great narrator but this is not his finest


    Any additional comments?

    john scalzi has written better novels, go and try the one about the agent to the alien, its funny

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Norma Miles
    6/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "To Intrepidly go where no man has gone ..."

    O.K. this might not be high literature. From its very story integrity it cannot be perfect science. But goodness me, what fun this book is. And what a fantastic science fiction comic pastiche film it would make following in the footsteps of the wonderful Dark Star or, more recently, Galaxy Quest.
    Full of well delineated characters, loads of action all read brilliantly by Will Wheaton, the main story had me laughing out loud. And it comes with a bonus of 3 'afterwards' stories as well.
    Just brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. Forrester
    UK
    4/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "And he said, and she said, and he said...."

    It was a great read and the first Scalzi I have picked up. However the audio production needs some work. Will does a great job overall however the immersion can be broken somewhat with him having to read each amd every "he said" or "she said" the dialogue can be quite short and punchy and looses something with Will having to put these in all the time. His voice work is more than good enough to be able to follow which character is saying what without the constant prompting from the text. Didn't ruin the book but was an annoyance. Still 5* overall

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christine
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4/12/15
    Overall
    "Superbly entertaining"

    I have listened to this story over and over and I still laugh. Love the narration, and the twists and turns. It doesn't get tired.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Karlis
    GB
    2/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny and deep"

    Very funny to begin with but has more to it than I had expected by the end.
    I prefer the story proper to the codas as it feels like the story has taken a different turn. But I enjoyed this listen overall.
    Wil Wheaton does a good job and handles the comedy moments well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    1/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More you I expected."

    I purchased this book on the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it much more than I expected. The story isn't as simple as I thought and the ending made me smile.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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