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.
I'm new to sci-fi, in fact it's something I've never read before as far as books go. I'm a 30 y.o. female who grew up watching Star Trek:The Next Generation so I'm not opposed to it and I was familiar with Will Wheaton, so I was amused and interested to see that he was the narrator.
Other reviewers have pointed out that he doesn't change his voice for each character - this is true. However, this doesn't bother me. I've listened to audiobooks where the narrator's character voices were obnoxious and took me out of the story, so for me it's not about the voice so much as the inflection. I thought Wheaton's inflection was perfect. I especially enjoyed a scene where he was voicing a drunken Lieutenant Kerensky; that one had me in stitches on my drive home from work. And I really didn't have a problem throughout the book differentiating between each character, even during a conversation. I pretty much knew who was saying what based on the situation.
Speaking of which I think it's funny that other people mentioned in their review the use of the word "said", which I have to agree WAS overrused (Ex: "blah blah" she said; "blah blah BLAH" he said; "blah blah," she said) In the first chapter it's used so much at first that I thought man, this is going to drive me crazy! Is this going to be a problem for me? BUT, after that I really didn't notice it anymore. John Scalzi is obviously a good writer so I was surprised that he didn't change up the verbs, but I got over it.
I know after reading this book that it's not really in-depth sci-fi; meaning it was easy for me to listen to it and not wonder what the hell was going on. It was a nice, playful introduction to the genre. I did see another review that compared it to Galaxy Quest, and I'd have to say that nailed it. It was just a lot of fun to listen to. I liked the opening scene-it had me laughing out loud within the first five minutes. The humor kept up throughout the book; although there were some more serious parts, I enjoyed the characters' dry humor and the way the novel made fun of itself throughout. And the 10 second last chapter ended it perfectly.
As for the codas, it was kind of "eh". The first one was lengthier than it needed to be but I wanted to hear the whole thing. That one wasn't as interesting as the book itself, which I knew had already ended so I just sort of pushed myself to get through that one. The second and third codas were much shorter and easier to listen to, and had one or two moments where I went "ahh, I see" or "that's who that is!"
The book itself is one of the funniest that I've listened to, which definitely makes it a favorite. Just the prologue had me laughing as I put it on sleep mode and went to bed, and I knew I was in for a fun ride. I would recommend it for sure, even if you really wouldn't normally ever look this way in a book store. It's not what you think, and you won't regret taking a chance on it.
As for me I'm on my next John Scalzi/Will Wheaton collaboration, "Agent to the Stars", and I can definitely recognize Scalzi's literary voice on this one. I'm definitely a fan of his and glad to have stumbled onto someone new (to me) and different.
Will not be my last. What a ride. A plunge into the deep end of metafiction. A fun, intriguing ride throughout.
And Wil Wheaton's narration was spot on. perfect for the story.
This sucked big time. I can't believe all the hype I've heard about this. Worst selection I ever listened to and I have a big library.
This is an interesting story that's also entertaining. However it leaves you unsatisfied with absolutely no explanation of how ( not gonna reveal the story ) and why the strange force that even creates the basis of the story works or how it came to be, nor for any reason why it exists. I guess that's left up to the listener to imagine. Maybe that's the point but still unsatisfying. The "he said" "she said" did become slightly annoying and distracting but I pretty much learned to tune it out. Wil Wheaton was great.
Did not read the print version, but enjoyed this audio version. Made sitting back, relaxing and listening to this good story a lot of fun.
Enjoyable fun read. Loved this book.
The three narratives as codas has brought so much more to this world than the bulk of the book did.
I finished the main story feeling mildly entertained by the fairly predictable, often very humorous ride along side the ill fated crews of the Intrepid. Somewhere between the nostalgia for Star Trek TOS and my curiosity of the increasingly self awared characters, Scalzi got me hooked. And then the nagging realization that TOS was not a very good show (at least to my taste) brought me back out to remember that I've seen/heard/read this type of stories before.
But just as I thought the book was finished, the real writing began. In three short stories, completely utter nonsense gibberish on their own merits, Mr. Scalzi brilliantly fleshed out his envisioned world onto the pages. Beautifully played into the experiences his readers just had with the futuristic naval crew, John Scalzi turned the main story into something more of a background, a setting in which the three narratives of the codas can use to learn from, and grow, in the most humanly way fictional characters can. It is as if he created a perfect Eden, just to show the imperfections of his Adam and Eve.
I've always hated the way writers finish their books. They feel so abrupted; rushed and hurried into the back of the reader's mind. But this, this is about as perfect an ending I could ever ask for. Thank you for the joy you've brought me.
Good story, brilliant concept, not as funny as I thought it would be, gets very soppy towards the end, slightly spoiled by Wil Wheaton being too earnest, terrible over use of the word "said" in dialog.
I'm stealing this title from the user named Elviri. I do this to show that I agree entirely with what they said, and also pay due respect.
Listen. The book seems more than entertaining. A great genre job, even with Star Trek not being
one of my absolute favorites. Wheaton does a good job, although I agree with another review that with this many characters, some sort of character voice differentiation might be helpful.
The main problem is that every line, and I mean (very close to) EVERY line ends with 'he said ' 'she said' 'x said' 'y said'. I can't handle it. The writing is, all in all, very well done, but this translates to audiobooks in an armageddon of painful repetition.
I reiterate that I think Wheaton did a fine job, and I will definitely hunt down the book in text form. But for audiobook, it's mind-numbing.
"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.
"Meta- but in a good way"
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.
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.
The last scene, which I won't say more about, because it would spoil it.
Both actually, but it was surprisingly touching towards the end, considering how tongue in cheek the concept seems.
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.
"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.
superbly read and oddly believable I could imagine myself in the situations following the characters
"worth a read"
not something I thought I would enjoy, however after listening for a few minutes I stayed enjoying it. would recommend to others
"Great listen, if a little jarring sometimes."
I loved this book, the concept was great, the characters, great and the performance - while not as good as Wheaton's other reads maybe - still absorbed me into the story. The codas in particular I thought came across as funny, involving and touching all at once and here was where Wheaton excelled. Much has already been made in other reviews here of the overreliance on 'he said' 'she said' 'he asked' etc and they are right, but you do eventually start to tune it out and I think this is more the fault of the editing for the audio read than against the writing or the performance as it doesn't notice as much when you read the physical copy yourself. I was surprised at how the book changes throughout. What starts as a sort of goofy idea full of nerd lore becomes a rumination on life, the soul and our place in the universe and reality. Once you get past the said issue, I'd highly recommend this to anyone, nerd and non nerd alike!
A great book to get into! Story line and narration are really good. I'd highly recommend this!
"this was like a teenage boy reading a comic...."
if it had been half as good as his previous book
wil wheaten is a great narrator but this is not his finest
john scalzi has written better novels, go and try the one about the agent to the alien, its funny
"One annoying flaw in an excellent piece of prose."
I liked the principle most, and the inner monologues. The fact that nobody knew why they were doing what they did.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Report Inappropriate Content