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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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  •  
    Patrick RIVERSIDE, CA, United States 08-12-12
    Patrick RIVERSIDE, CA, United States 08-12-12 Member Since 2010

    PCS

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Fair book: Galaxy Quest/ Star Trek meets ..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Redshirts to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Wil Wheaton does an excellent job giving voice to the characters and pacing the story well.


    Would you be willing to try another book from John Scalzi? Why or why not?

    Maybe. It felt like the book could benefit some from a Thesaurus and a harsher editor. While the plot moved along fine, his sentence structure and vocabulary remained low and repetitive to the point of annoyance. Lines like "he quietly entered the quite alley" just hearken me back to what I used to write in Junior High. Ultimately, its tolerable, but it is something I wish could be improved.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    *********SEMI-SPOILER ALERT***********
    **********(this isn't revealed until 1/3 of the way through)**********

    Star Trek meets Stranger Than Fiction: Star Trek redshirts seek compromise with show writers to escape their imminently written deaths


    Any additional comments?



    Ultimately, I found the book just okay. I enjoy the Star Trek universe, and thought that despite being simply a combination of 2 basic plot lines with only average writing the book had a decent pace and was fun to read. Personally I would recommend books like Daemon, Ready Player One, or Reamde to the geek looking for a modern SciFi adventure but if you have exhausted those top shelf options this is certainly worth the time to listen through.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yuan-Yuan Zurich, Switzerland 07-31-12
    Yuan-Yuan Zurich, Switzerland 07-31-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    "A MUST for Star Trek fans"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Every single absurdity about the show - the ones I remembered as well as the ones I didn't even remember - was addressed. I kept going "yes! yes!" But of course in a nice way. We love Star Trek, after all.


    Any additional comments?

    This book may or may not be interesting for people not familiar with / fans of Star Trek. I couldn't say.

    Not sure about the Coda yet... Still mulling that over.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Bellevue, WA, United States 07-30-12
    Jennifer Bellevue, WA, United States 07-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    7
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    "Very entertaining even if not the best writing"

    Very witty - loved the sarcasm and creative thinking that went in to the storylines. Basic conversational prose conventions were a little annoying at times, but overall it was entertaining and well worth the credit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WILLIAM CROWN POINT, IN, United States 07-30-12
    WILLIAM CROWN POINT, IN, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    14
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    "After a while you get used to"

    the fact that Mr. Wheaton does not do different voices for the characters (beyond very slightly pitching his voice on occasion). Really, you do - though it may not be imaginable at the beginning when (phonetically) "Dall" and "Duvall" are talking to each-other.

    The story, on the other hand -- dang those three codas were enjoyable. Just, dang.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wade Addison, TX, United States 07-30-12
    Wade Addison, TX, United States 07-30-12

    The universe rearranges itself to accomodate your picture of reality.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
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    Story
    ", another star trek spoof"
    Would you listen to Redshirts again? Why?

    Yes, it was funny and I love star trek.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I wouldn't have anything to add


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

    Yes, this one was just as enjoyable


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    can't think of one.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Survivor Southeast MO 07-30-12
    Survivor Southeast MO 07-30-12

    jdh

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Concept"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, made the miles fly by.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pretty much like them all.


    Any additional comments?

    Made the miles fly; easy entertainment for me. Some hard core SciFi folks may find it offensive but I enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cole BREMERTON, WA, United States 07-30-12
    Cole BREMERTON, WA, United States 07-30-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Truly Funny"
    What made the experience of listening to Redshirts the most enjoyable?

    Wil Wheton was great. He was very expressive and had more then a few voices. There are only a few people who are really good at reading books and he is one of them.


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

    I listen while commuting and part of my drive is I-5 through down town Seattle during rush hour right at the begining so everybody is still going fast but there is bumber to bumber cars. I was at the part about the "magic box". I almost crashed my car. My eyes were watering and I was rocking with laughter. I couldn't focus on anything. Even after I turned it off I kept thinking of the lines and cracking up.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Silver Spring, MD, United States 07-28-12
    Paul Silver Spring, MD, United States 07-28-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quirky fun and also thoughtful"

    This book starts out as a stupid cartoon, and that is intentional. It is funny and bizarre, and wonderfully read by Wheaton, who was absolutely the right choice for this. Using the cartoon as a hook, Scalzi gets down to his usual business of writing about serious existentialism in a fun way. Super book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob lewisville, NC, United States 07-28-12
    Bob lewisville, NC, United States 07-28-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A fun romp that turns into something more."

    I purchased this because of the recent deaths in my life of loved ones (both human and animal) thinking i needed a light hearted action comedy along the lines of Douglas Adams. The first 3/4's of the book did not disappoint... then, in the the mode of the highest aspirations of Science Fiction, the novel moved to a higher plane, meta on top of meta, and my amusement and escapist fantasy turned into serious self reflection that was as deep as it was unexpected.
    Well played Mr. Scalzi.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Mitchell 07-26-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    34
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    "Great story"

    This is a must if you are a Star Trek Fan, Will does an outstanding job reading.
    the book is both fun and gives you something to think about.

    0 of 1 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.

    4 of 4 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.

    1 of 1 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
  • Max
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    7/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "poor concept, but well performed"
    What disappointed you about Redshirts?

    the concept was very frustrating, and it did not work for me


    What could John Scalzi have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    see above


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Wil Wheaton?

    yes


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointed, as the plot was basically a single concept


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Liz
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    4/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Velvet
    northamptonshire, UK
    3/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great narration, writer skill let it down overall"
    What would have made Redshirts better?

    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.


    What was most disappointing about John Scalzi’s 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.


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

    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.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Amusement, annoyance, frustration, disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • L. Savage
    Essex, United Kingdom
    2/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Two good books tacked together"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    Would you recommend Redshirts to your friends? Why or why not?

    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.


    What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    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.


    Could you see Redshirts being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    I could see this being a 1 hour special on Sci-fi if they drop the last third of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Seriously disappointing, yet still I'm pleased I read it - a contradiction but one I can live with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sheamus
    UK
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A quick witted parody of a distopian Star Trek"
    If you could sum up Redshirts in three words, what would they be?

    Don't wear Red


    What did you like best about this story?

    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?"


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andy
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    11/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining story with well matched naration"
    What made the experience of listening to Redshirts the most enjoyable?

    The tone suited me and I enjoyed the meta-story


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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