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.
First off this is a great book. I am also a big fan of Will Wheaton. However I can now say I am not a huge fan of him reading books. He speaks clearly and the quality is good but I have become used to readers who vary their voices for characters. -1 star on performance for that. (5 stars for me are for multi cast ones ).
A good book for late night discourses on ontology, existentialism, and the meaning of life. Imagine Kierkegaard as a crewman on Star Trek or, better yet, head writer. Not your usual science fiction and delightfully perverse in its twists, Redshirts is worth reading and discussing.
Full disclosure: I'm easy to please. That being said, I have liked both John Scalzi books, this being the second, that I have "read" via audiobook. I actually quite enjoyed this story, which is full of funny tounge-in-cheek characters and circumstances, but some how the repetition of the word "said" before or after every character line became irritating as there was much dialogue. Also, I like Wil Wheaton well enough but I was surprised that, especially as he is an actor, he did not give the characters their own voices. I've heard some narrators do vocal acrobatics in order to portray the characters, and that can be distracting or the voice may not match my perception of the character, but Wil used his own unaltered voice for all the characters which I think detracted from the point of an audio book being a performance of the written story. In my head, when I read a book, the characters become unique and, if the story is written well enough, have their own voices. It makes sense to me that a narrator would try to vocalize the characters dialogue's idiosyncratically. If you like campy, star-trekish, space based, quasi futuristic stuff: you may want to check this one out.
I loved Lock In and Fuzzy Nation, if you've not listened to (or read) them, they're worth every moment and Wil Wheaton does an outstanding job.
Redshirts was quite enjoyable too, though I thought the writing lacked some of the depth that the other two had. For me at least. The story was almost a bit too kitsch.
Still going to listen to others by Scalzi though, I think he's terrific.
I really enjoyed this book. While I agree, there were an awful lot of "said"s in the beginning, they evened out as the book went along. It was only a little annoying because it is an audiobook, otherwise you'd never have really noticed it. All in all, it was a great story, interesting premise, with well done characters and dry humor.
Wil did a great job narrating the book, and it just added a little extra to the story that it was someone from Star Trek reading it. I am actually hopeful that someone makes this into a movie with Wil in the starring role - that would be awesome.
Fantastic book. Gets surprisingly meta at times. Really makes you think. Startlingly long epilogue, too. The dialogue takes some getting used to, though. There's a whole lot of "X said, Y said, X said" over and over. Still great, though!
Most of the negative replies to this audio book are based on the he said she said redundancy. Please know, hopefully without spoilers, that this is a part of the narrative, and instead of detracting from the book it adds to the narrative. There is a reason for it. And if you do not pick that up then you are not listening or did not listen to the book to its completion. Wil Wheaton does an excellent job and tugs at the heartstrings at times. If you look e star trek and want to break down the expected walls of narration this is for you.
"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.
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