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 two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
I really enjoyed this book, however not because of the book itself. Had I read this book, I may have lost interest. Although it is unique, funny and intriguing I became agitated more by the writing style than the codas that really have nothing to do with the story (rather an explanation of how the story may have come about), and believe I didn't care for those.
The writing style is clearly that of a script writer rather than that of a seasoned novelist e.g., he said, I said, he said, she said. However the author confesses that from the beginning by describing this mad, impossible world as an expression of his subconscious trying to overcome... "where was I going with this???"
For Trekkies, this book is a must. But the real treat is Wil Wheaton. Sadly every time I started the audio, I became overjoyed with emotion as I briefly thought I was listening to "Ready Player One" again.
This is not an awful book, it really is fun and imaginative, but my criticism is genuine and this wouldn't be a book I would want to listen to over and over again.
Very few audiobooks actually make me chuckle or laugh out loud. I am not talking about the LOL abbreviation that is so commonly used, but you stop what you are doing, regardless of circumstance, and laugh. Yes the humor is a little cheesy at times, and dry all of the time. It was a fun, lighthearted story. Don't take it too seriously.
My only criticism is the editing. Just because lines in the book end with "he said." or "she asked." doesn't mean that needs to be vocalized. I know he said it. I just heard it. You can indicate that she asked it by the rising tone at the end of the phrase. A sort of verbal question mark. It gets distracting.
New crew members happy to be brought aboard a starship, are suddenly alarmed to find out that their away parties continue to come back one or two crew members short and begin to believe there something behind it all.
The title alone should get the faithful Star Trek & Battlestar Galactica crowd on board but non-fans will find just as much to enjoy in this funny fast paced thrill ride. The action scenes are brisk and pull you right into it's well layered trap of a twist. There's a lot to like in this story and at 8 hours it'a hardly a huge commitment and my only caveat is that I didn't get to know the characters enough. Their motivations are clear and their actions true to form but I would have loved more scenes with away missions, misdirection, and incompetence from the bridge crew. The three codas felt tacked on (with the exception of the third one) to fill the space at the end. The first one is funny and entertaining but it's hollow. The balance of the three is interesting but I think the third one would have made the perfect ending.
His adept perception, great knowledge and deft reading puts him at the top of his game. Will Wheaton comes out swinging for the bleachers and delivers another fantastic read. He gets this material, of course he does, and more so get's Scalzi's writing style, voice and humor. I don't want to imagine anyone else narrating his books, this is my third with this combination and I look forward to the next
A very entertaining, exciting, well read story that I only wish was longer and had a bit more depth.
I have been told that John Scalzi is a really funny guy, but with a quirky style. I never realized how true word of mouth could possibly be. Redshirts was hilarious, but at the same time was able to be profound.
To summarize, the book centers around Andrew Dahl, an ensign aboard the USS Intrepid. But something strange is going on with the ship and crew. Everybody seems to be terrified of going on away missions, because each time, at least one crew member is killed, but the captain, his first officer, science officer and the handsome lieutenant are somehow never on the KIA list. This in and of itself is enough to make any fan of Star Trek: the Original Series giddy with excitement. Even less-than-stalwart trekkies like myself are apt to laugh out loud when something happens that you can picture happening to Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy or Cmdr. Spock. The book is organized such that the "novel" section takes up the first 2/3 of the book, then this is followed by the three codas, each of which follow one of the characters we meet in the novel. Pop culture references abound, and give the book an interesting feel--you feel like this could actually be what future space exploration is like.
Strong points of this book are the ideas. They're hilarious, and executed well. Characters are largely believable, and you really start to identify with each one of them as they come into their own. The entire book treads a fine line between humor and profundity with such skill that you literally can laugh and cry while reading/listening to it. I listened to the audiobook, and there was a point where I could almost hear the narrator (Wil Wheaton) getting choked up. I don't mind saying that tears were streaming down my face. It was that good.
Points of criticism: there are two that jump out at me. First, if you get offended easily by the f-word, don't read Redshirts. As awesome as the book is, Scalzi uses it enough that you're going to be distracted and offended quite often. Second and more distracting for me is the He said/She said dialog. While this might not be as big an issue when reading the print version, it was ANNOYING while listening to the audiobook. I've seen some reviewers recommend Scalzi invest in a thesaurus. I don't think this will help. Here's an example, with some random dialog (not from the book):
"I don't think that's a good idea," Dahl said.
"Why not?" Karenski asked.
"Because I don't think it'll work," Dahl said.
"It won't," (other crewman) said.
"It can't," (fourth crewman) said.
I know. Bad example. But this should be enough to get the point across. He writes a short sentence, and follows it with who said it. It's not that it's wrong, but it gets on your nerves after hearing five minutes of short sentences followed with "(crewman) said." If things like that don't bother you, congratulations! You've got a great read ahead of you. If it does bother you...the rest of the book is good enough to override those short-ish lapses into he-said-she-said dialog.
I rate this audiobook very, very highly. I am not a real fan of science fiction, but tried this due to its very high reviews. It is so well done. The dialogue is super funny with a young space crew with gallows humor. Wil Wheaton is a superb narrator, I could listen to him all day long. His voice is young and appropriate to the youthful characters.
Trip back to the present.
The very end at the beach. No spoilers.
A father trying to help his son.
Great entertainment and very funny and well done. I hated for it to end. This is very artfully written with three major codas to the end or beginning or whatever. These codas seem to answer some of the loose ends, but really tell a story of their own. There is a timeline issue in this novel that creates all of the fun. I loved the deep rich characters that the author developed. This was really entertaining.
This is by far one of the best books I've heard.
Keep away from the narrative!
I really like Wil Wheaton, but I had real trouble following at times as he didn't really differentiate between characters and had no voice for women.
If you enjoy audiobooks and science fiction, this book is for you. This is especially true for those who grew up reading, watching, and generally inhaling science fiction of all types. This is really, really *especially* true for anyone who ever watched (and enjoyed, even if it pains you now to admit it) any flavor of Star Trek.
What is especially outrageously awesome is that this particular book is narrated by Wil Wheaton. Who, if my first three sentences apply to you, you will recognize as the actor who played the spunky teen Star Trekker Wesley Crusher on the mid-to-late-'80's era "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Now this is true even though the two words "Star" and "Trek" never appear in close proximity to one another anywhere in this novel. I'm not going to say any more on this subject, but trust me, if *anything* I've written so far makes sense to you at all, you will greatly enjoy this audiobook.
John Scalzi is one of the funniest writers on serious subjects that I have had the good fortune to trip over. I almost snorted coffee out my nose at one point.
Caution: Listening to this audiobook on your earbuds while waiting in line at the grocery store may cause others to wonder what you're snickering about.
I had never listened to Wil Wheaton's narration performances before, but I will do so now whenever I get the chance.
Yes, honestly I would.
The story is amusing, and interesting. Not exactly original, but original enough. I enjoyed listening to the story and the ideas behind it were well thought out and engaging.
no, not really
The predominance of the word "said" is my only complaint with the book. There were whole chapters of conversations between "he said" and "he said" and "she said", said said said said SAID.
That was almost enough to make me turn it off and return the book. I managed to get past it and the story is still good. But it really does show a huge difference between READING a book and LISTENING to a book. If I were reading this book, I could skip over the word said and follow the conversation without it. But having it repeated over and over and over was very distracting and broke the narrative significantly.
However, that is my ONLY actual complaint about the book. I thought it was read very well and was very entertaining because it was Wil Wheaton reading it.
Definitely! A very clever parody/homage to the Original Star Trek.
All the little Star Trek parodies were amazing. The truth behind the mystery is quite a surprising twist, too.
The hilarity of Wil Wheaton reading a Star Trek parody should be lost on no one.
o.O Odd question. I guess, "The Mystery Beyond the Final Frontier."
Well worth your time, if you watched Star Trek. If not, you might not get all the jokes that really make this book awesome.
Yes. The story is well written and impeccably told. This is "Star Trek Meets The Hitchhiker;s Guide to the Galaxy!:
I thought the last sentence of the novel was the best. Then I thought Coda 1 was. Then Coda 2. Then Coda 3.
Wil grabbed exactly the right tone for these characters. Good choice, and a somewhat ironic one.
One of the best SF books in years!
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