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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    6,529
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    5,146
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    1,952
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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Wheaton and Scalzi are made for each other

He may go overboard at times but Wheaton really adds to Scalzi books. Or perhaps he is a vast improvement over my inner voice.

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Great Premise, Lackluster Book

I wanted to like this book more than I did. This was my first novel by Scalzi, and I have been interested in several things he's written, but the solid "meh," feeling this left me with has dampened my enthusiasm. Redshirts was an interesting story held back by mediocre writing. Overall I did like it, but I can't recommend it unless you're a Star Trek fan that really enjoys meta humor, as I have significant criticisms, and I don't think it holds up outside of an audience that's predisposed to like it.

At first Scalzi's repetitiveness was tolerable, but as the book went on, it began to be a drudge, particularly whenever there was dialogue. Line after line of "[Statement], Dahl said. [Reply], Duvall said. [Question], Dahl said. [Answer], Duvall said," really challenges my patience as a reader. The main characters all felt like variations of the same sardonic personality overlaid on top of simple archetypes (the hero, the girl, the rake, the friend, etc), which, while possibly entertaining in one person, becomes dull when it's all of them. I kept forgetting Hansen and Hester were separate characters, their behavior was so interchangeable. There was no depth to any of the secondary roles either - they acted as set pieces there to move the story forward, which is ironic for a novel that strove so hard to make the point that the extras in our favorite sci-fi pieces have lives of their own.

The codas at the end also felt wholly unnecessary, and when my partner and I (we listened together on our commute) reached what felt like the end of the story, we were shocked to find there was still 2 hours left to the audiobook. I endured and finished, but he was not able to stand Wil Wheaton reading, "ex ex ex, ex ex, ex ex," over and over in order to convey redacted information.

I like Wil Wheaton a lot, but I could take or leave him as a narrator. There's no nuance to his narration, and there are certain books that could work for, but knowing what's possible for depth in an audio performance (Phil Gigante and Robin Miles have spoiled me), I probably would be reluctant to choose him as a reader for fiction in the future.

What I did enjoy was the premise and the humor throughout the book. I do like cynical characters who manage to keep moving forward despite the obvious pitfalls before them, and Redshirts has that in spades. I think the book does work fairly well as a sarcastic homage to Trek, I just suspect loses a lot of its entertainment factor without that context.

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every character is Wil Wheaton

seriously, every single character is a sarcastic arrogant brat and Wil Wheaton embodied it exactly. but the story is entertaining none the less.

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For Star Trek lovers

Awesome story with a great first person perspective. However the writing (So in so said) is quite distracting.

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I wanted to like this book so much but...

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this book, the book starts off strong and interesting however by the end it's very contrived and formulaic without making much sense.

Any additional comments?

If this was my first John Scalzi book I'd be very hesitant to listen to another. His repeated use of "said" really pulls you out of the moment. Since I've listened to Old Man's War I know this just isn't to his usual standards.

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fun story, but writing style not great for audio

lots of "he said, she said, Duvall said, Dale said.." etc. Makes the audio version a little convoluted, but fun story, and good narration over all.

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Fun an enjoyable!

A really neat book with a fun perspective! Lots of good references and an interesting "what if" shows like Star Trek became self aware

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A rollicking, funny, and ...

This must have been a hoot for Will Wheaton to narrate. The tale of real people ona spaceship suddenly realizing something or someone is screwing with their lives, how they figure out what's going on and how to fix it was the funny rollicking part. it was the codas, especially the last one that sobered and induced one to look deeper at life and how our decisions lead us to where we end up. That was rather an interesting thing Scalzi did there.

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Another great Scalzi novel!

Scalzi's style of writing is fun, easy, and hilarious! I loved this book and although the "he said, he said, she said" does get a little annoying, it's well worth it. This novel was fun and engaging up until the very end. Well worth the credit!

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dialog cues get really distracting early on

Scalzi needs to learn how to come up with different ways to indicate who is speaking, That part is really bad early on in the book. overall I liked it. funny, meta, sci-fi. The second level of metaness felt forced and the codas at the end were unnecessary, but for the most part I enjoyed it. An interesting play on the idea of why redshirts always die.