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Redshirts Audiobook

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

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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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  •  
    Daniel O. Buchholz Arlington, VA USA 05-24-13
    Daniel O. Buchholz Arlington, VA USA 05-24-13 Member Since 2004

    Computer Geek

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    "What do you never want to be?"

    Ah, redshirts. It seems to be a sign of a true SF geek to immediately get the reference, vs those would stare at you blankly if you referenced it. But what if you suddenly realized that you weren't the main character in the reality that you inhabit. Worse, you come to the suspicion that your part in the show may be to become just interesting enough to make the audiences feel some emotional loss when you died. And everyone around you is dying at a rate unheard of for any other ship in the fleet.

    Well, this is what happened to the main characters of this story. And after living through a dreaded away mission (except for their dramatically lost friend ironically) they finally figure out what is going on and even when their show is being written (though of course via divergent universes there is no reference to their show). After kidnapping a main character (one of the best ways to ensure that they don't die off-screen) they are off to the past to try and stop the writers from killing them and their compatriots.

    Overall a fun book, with entertaining characters and a sly wink to a bunch of in-jokes. It may not be a book I ever go back to re-read but it was an interesting story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    majkia Niceville, FL USA 05-07-13
    majkia Niceville, FL USA 05-07-13 Member Since 2009

    majkia

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    "A paean to Star Trek"

    'Where no redshirt has gone before...' The little guys sudden begin to conspire when they realize that away missions are usually deadly, but only for them! So they formulate a plan - and execute it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey BREWER, ME, United States 05-03-13
    Joey BREWER, ME, United States 05-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Hilarious - great fun!"

    This book is hilarious - and is in its own way more sci-fi than some of the sci-fi I've read. Having Wil Wheaton read it is a good thing and a bad thing. Mr. Wheaton has some problem differentiating different characters with accents and such.
    On the other hand - Sci-Fi fans are well aware of Mr. Wheaton - and his 'geek cred' elevates this book to some extent.
    One thing that may be a result of Mr. Wheaton's lack of differentiation between characters, the script frequently breaks the dialog with things like 'X character said' or 'Y character said' sometimes many times within a minute, which does distract one from the story. Excepting that - this is a great book - and kept me interested from first to last.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Nelson Marietta, GA, United States 03-25-13
    Dave Nelson Marietta, GA, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2014
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    "It is not a Star Trek novel"

    John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton do it again. Redshirts is good fun in a goofy sci-fi story that I am surprised has not been made into a TV mini-series. Maybe someone will make a web series out of it one day.

    There is a lot of "inside baseball" and breaking of the fourth-wall here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 03-22-13
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 03-22-13

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

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    "Better than satire- SHATIRE!"

    It's every bit as funny as they've told you; The first half of the story is overflowing with ridiculous clichés from 'Star Trek' & it's like. If you're fan of the series, than this alone is worth the price of admission. The unexpected leap the characters make of recognizing the nature of their predicament, and then devising a plan to confront their creators is perfectly in tone with the series while also transcendent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coleslaw Boulder, CO USA 03-05-13
    Coleslaw Boulder, CO USA 03-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Can you *get* any more meta?"

    Buckle up, friends, because the way this book shifts gears around 2/3 of the way through puts the likes of Million Dollar Baby to shame.

    I've enjoyed Scalzi books before and since, and I'm always glad to hear Wil Wheaton narrate, particularly when you get the uncanny sense that he's poking gentle fun at the author's awkward-to-read bits. You could turn his delivery of "Dahl said--Duvall said--Dahl said--" into a nice hip-hop remix.

    Just as he has in his other books, Scalzi treats a farcical and absurd premise with a surprisingly naturalistic tone and serious philosophical meditation. Still quite funny in places, though not as raucously as the likes of Galaxy Quest, which I suppose it still most closely resembles.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard FOXBORO, MA, United States 02-14-13
    Richard FOXBORO, MA, United States 02-14-13 Member Since 2016

    A good way to get through the work day.

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    "You'll never expect it."
    What did you love best about Redshirts?

    The humor and interesting story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The really dumb caption


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Every time the captain said something dramatic


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

    Made me laugh


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 02-07-13
    Eric 02-07-13 Member Since 2011
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    "So meta it hurts"
    If you could sum up Redshirts in three words, what would they be?

    Trek, meta, Wheaton


    What did you like best about this story?

    Star Trek references


    Any additional comments?

    Towards the end of the story it starts to get more and more convoluted. Seemed like an effort to be as "meta" as possible. Enjoyable book for the most part, just tried too hard at points.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek Long Beach, CA, United States 02-04-13
    Derek Long Beach, CA, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2017

    Think on this: The Universe is a place so complex; It created tiny bits of itself to contimplate its own existance.

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    "Good tale, but the Narration could use work."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Redshirts to be better than the print version?

    I prefer Audiobooks when I can get them, because most narrators do different voices.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There were good characters throughout the book, and because of the writing all were equally interesting to me.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Wil Wheaton’s performances?

    I do not know, I expected an actor to read in different voices. All of Will's characters sounded alike, he was just reading the novel, not acting it. I read a review (false as to turns out) that said Will's Captain sounded like a Shatner styled character. I was more than disappointed to find this was not the case. I would have to listen to a sample of another Wheaton performance before purchasing another.


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

    Volunteer for Nothing on the Intrepid!


    Any additional comments?

    I was every disappointed in the performance of Will Wheaton, I expected the characters to sound different, he was just reading the book. This made it more difficult to follow because the Author has characters who's names sound alike. When the narrator stated that one person with the D last name, and the other person has a D last name. The way its read it make you wonder just who is speaking in a given section of the story.

    Sorry Will, I like most of the other things you do, this was not one of them.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn Armstrong 01-27-13 Member Since 2002
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    "A short story stretched to the breaking point"

    The story within a story (or play within a play), what is real versus what's fiction is not a new or original concept, no matter how many readers seem to think it is. Shakespeare used it and as Scalzi himself bears witness, there have been a lot of movies, books, plays and so on that have used one or another variations on this theme. I don't have a problem with that. In fact, I like his wililingness to explore a classic theme and was interested to see where he was going with it. I also appreciated his acknowledgments of others who have used some version of this story.

    I really enjoyed the first part of the book, the interaction of characters with reality/unreality. I wasn't bothered by "he said/she said" and didn't much notice it. What I did notice by the end of the first coda as he was moving into the next ending? variation? was I was getting bored.

    It really was like a piece of classical music that has one coda too many,

    I liked the first coda well enough. His exploration of the mind of a writer in the throes of writer's block was interesting, although a bit heavy-handed. By the final coda, I was antsy and felt as if I had slipped back in time to find myself in a college writing class .. not a good thing.

    I listened through to the end, though I drifted a bit toward at the finish as the book pounded relentllessly to its conclusion.

    Less would have been more. It was a good idea, a clever concept. It had good narration. But it needed more plot. It felt like a movie that runs out of script 20 minutes before it runs out of film, too thin a tale to support its own length. I've read lots worse ... but Scalzi has written much better.

    2 of 2 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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Singapore, Singapore
    12/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "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.

    4 of 4 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.

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    2/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
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    "gripping story"

    superbly read and oddly believable I could imagine myself in the situations following the characters

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • kingsys
    2/4/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sam Martin
    1/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • James Hannam
    12/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic! "

    A great book to get into! Story line and narration are really good. I'd highly recommend this!

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mat
    Crewe, United Kingdom
    7/4/12
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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