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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

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • 1 Stars
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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The real Star Trek

I've watched all the t.v. shows and all the movies, but you got to believe this is the real Star Trek. This is from the view of those thousands of crew members that do the actual work, that take the non-sensible orders from the higher ups and make the ship work.

John Scalzi is the funniest writer out there and with Wil Wheaton they are the best duo to listen to. The book starts out with a sort of grunts by the water cooler feel. The new guy treatment is spot on. So even those who are not sci-fi fans will like the first three hours. The story does take a weirder then I prefer turn and I wish JS could have came up with a better explanation. The story actually ends around five hours and then you get the not so funny Coda's. Coda one is interesting, but goes on too long. Coda one also gets a little nasty with the writers of the original Star Trek. As a Star Trek fan I enjoyed laughing at myself and the show during the story. J.S. seemed to use coda one to say, hey if you were to stupid to figure it out, I think the Star Trek writers were lazy or stupid. Scalzi did not do his homework or he would have known that Gene Roddenberry set out to make a non-violent show. During the pilot, cowboys were the big thing and the network wanted blood or they were not going to air the show. The results were Redshirts getting killed. Coda two gives a serious message, but no answers. Telling someone that can't figure out what to do in life, that they need to get there shit together, does not help. Coda three was sweet and warm.

I gave this five stars and it was the best book I have read this year so far and Wheaton's performance makes listening to it better then reading it. I do believe it would have been even better without the coda's.

76 of 78 people found this review helpful

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Not his Wheal-house

I love Wil Wheaton reading this book read by a former actor on Star Trek is kind of amazing. His delivery of some of the deadpan and laugh out loud lines in this book is excellent.

However his total lack of character voices make some of the dialogue heavy passages really challenging to follow. You end up having to pay careful attention to the "he said she saids" at end of most of the lines. And then you're just tired of hearing the word "said."

There isn't even really a differentiation between the male characters and the one female character which can be incredibly confusing. It doesn't help that some of the character names can be similar to, so you're struggling to catch who said what.

The story itself is a fabulous farce, with really interesting philosophical implications. It was both funny and thought provoking. If you're a fan of Mr. Wheaton's you might be willing to forgive his shortcomings as a narrator, but I might still recommend the text version over the audiobook.

81 of 85 people found this review helpful

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  • Kent
  • Springfield, VA, United States
  • 04-18-13

Clever, creative, and FUN!

What a creative and clever way to look at characters! I don't know if this started off with Scalzi saying, "Hmmm, I wonder if I can write in various points of view, and look behind the scenes of how characters tick?", or as just a random idea. Regardless - it worked! The main story was funny, poignant, and creative. The separate coda were well-linked to the main story in a very heart-felt manner. I really liked this book a lot! I am fastly becoming a huge Scalzi fan-boy! “Old Man’s War”, “Fuzzy Nation”, and not “Redshirts” – all good stuff! Oh, but, I guess amidst all this mush of Scalzi-love, I probably should point out that he does have a tendency to use the screenplay style ("he said", "she said") a bit too much! And, particularly in an audiobook, this becomes VERY obvious…and not just a little irritating! Let's just call this his "room to grow" as an author! (Maybe that's how he gets his word-count up for meeting publisher requirements???) Still, other than that one affectation, I really like the way he thinks and writes! His dialog is crisp and focused, and his characters are ALWAYS unique and enjoyable. I will definitely read/listen to more of his works!
And, as an audiobook, Wil Wheaton did an excellent job as Narrator - which makes sense that he'd be able to inflect emotion into these characters because, he himself (as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek TNG") must have felt like his character might just as casually become just such a "Redshirt" in the early days of his TV series appearances. Wil Wheaton did a really good job of putting dynamic range into the various characters - with more vocal intonations than I'm use to from him (as an audiobook Narrator). He really got into these characters!
So, from all perspectives, this was an excellent listen!

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Quite an enjoyable read

It's not without its flaws but overall it was certainly worth a credit.

Laugh out loud funny at several points and it prompted me to put several of his other books on my TBR list.

If you know what a Redshirt is, then you'll probably enjoy this book.
If you're a fan of Wil Wheaton, then you'll probably enjoy this book.

If you know that you are likely to be distracted to the point of RageQuit by the overuse of a word, then I wouldn't recommend this. The only nitpicky negative critique I have about this book is that is a dialogue heavy book and the word "said" is used to the point of annoyance.

Regardless of that, it is a fun book and I enjoyed it.

62 of 67 people found this review helpful

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"Really Funny!" She said.

Scalzi still uses 'said' for nearly every exchange of dialogue, which will drive some people really nuts. It's the elephant in the living room for this book. If you don't zero in on it, you might never notice.

Personally, I LOVED the comedy, speed, and pitch of the banter. The first five hours are a huge laugh, with some earnest drama and important life lessons sprinkled in, from first to last. The star trek references are so very classic. And the dramatic pauses and high school theater way the officers make exchanges, then automatically switch to normal speech when not on point. So funny!

This was my first book with this author, and it had me moving happily on to Android's Dream, Agent to the Stars, Fuzzy Nation, and the Old Man's War series. A great find! Fixation on the word 'said' or no.

36 of 39 people found this review helpful

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He said. She said. He Said. She said. They said...

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

No.!<br/><br/>Though I have always found John Scalazi's humor and plot lines engaging his use of dialogue in this book so tedious it spoils the whole experience. <br/><br/>The meat and bones of what the characters have to say is fine but the connective tissue of he said's can, at best, be said to occasionally rise to the level of tedious.<br/><br/>The problem might not be so obvious on the printed page but as an audio book the the repetition of "He said"or "She said" as the link between almost every spoken phrase had me cringing in anticipation. If Pavlov had slapped the dog with a wet fish every time he rang the bell I imagine the effect would have been very much the same.<br/><br/>

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

No.<br/><br/>

Any additional comments?

It's a pity, I really do like the way Scalazi thinks but I just couldn't enjoy this performance.

45 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Bradford
  • Omaha, NE, United States
  • 03-06-13

Disappointing, but somehow still worth a listen.

There were a few reasons I was intrigued enough to purchase this audiobook. First, I was eager to read my first John Scalzi book and see what he could do. Second, I'm a fan of Wil Wheaton as a narrator. Third, I'm a huge Star Trek fan. So, the idea of a novel based around one of the funnier/sad aspects of ST:TOS, I was excited to read this book. My intrigue quickly turned to disappointment especially once the core story's big reveal took place and the course of the 2nd half of the novel came into focus. But to Scalzi's credit, I cared enough about his characters by that point that I wanted to find out what happened to them, so I read on. After finishing the book I had to endure the three codas. Interesting as they were, Scalzi had more than used up my patience by that point with the storyline and his writing. I was surprised to find the codas were written better than the main novel itself! I look forward to reading more Scalzi novels to determine whether this is one of his lesser works or if he really is this below-average a writer. Regardless, he should fire his editor who for some unknown reason allowed a novel to be published with a nearly endless stream of "he said" and "she said" on every page. You can even hear Wheaton begin to sigh at points after reciting "he said" nearly a dozen times over the course of 30 seconds. Wheaton continues to impress me with his narration skills, bringing life to a group of characters and making the story enjoyable enough for me to stick around. Fans of ST:TOS should enjoy the references as well as the take on the meaningless deaths of so many characters, but I for one think Scalzi could have approached the same idea in a different way with more success. Regardless, the characters are worth the time, if for no other reason than to hear futuristic space explorers/warriors cursing like modern-day truckers.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Scalzi writes another winner/it's really different

Listening to the first hour of so of "Redshirts" I was sure it was just another funny story, full of sly humor and sassy one liners that make me laugh the way "Fuzzy Nation" and "Agent to the Aliens" did. When I heard about the book on Scalzis blog and read the beginning paragraphs I was sure thats where it would go-and I'm fine with that. I love his fun novels. Everyone needs a laugh at one time or another. Except for the head banging "He Said", "She said" dialogue that Scalzi writes (which seems to drive we audiobook listeners bonkers), the start of Wil Wheatons reading of Scalzi's new novel led me to believe I'd laugh the evening away.

Then it got a bit serious. Funny, still, but serious with a strange twist that had me totally amazed at the concept. I had to rewind a chapter here and there because I was sure I'd missed something. I wasn't getting it all. As the novel got deeper into the left hand turn the plot had made, it didn't lose it's fun jauntiness but it did gather even more unexpected sober, tough thinking adding plenty of "I never thought about that before" to the plot .

Character development is ...well..odd because Scalzi has developed his main protagonists along a couple of different lines. Pathways I had never considered in many years as an SF reader and viewer (and listener even). It's good character development...we know the protagonists- we have known them for years, even decades of Star Trek and they never seem to change..but these characters are sharper, more developed and very clever when they analyze their situation aboard the Universal Union Capital Ship "Intrepid", flag ship of the galaxy. They have a captain who is completely J.T. Kirkian in attitude and language, a ships engineer, doctor...in fact all the standard characters we have gotten used to seeing-including new ensigns wearing red shirts. The ones who die on away missions.

I don't write spoilers so all this sounds vague but I want to encourage listeners to stick with the book through the irritating dialogue then listen carefully to the next few hours.

As for the Codas,I think they add to the book. I don't know how else Scalzi would have added the information..it wouldn't have fit into the body of the novel. And though it isn't really vital information it is lore that adds to the novel and incases our knowledge of the characters. Some reviewers on the Amazon site discounted the codas entirely. I think they are part of the book and it's an interesting way to insert this data into the book.

This is a book for SF lovers, Star Wars/Star Trek fans, ComicCon goers and generally those of us who grew up with Heinlein and Roddenberry, with Ray Bradbury (who passed away today at age 91) and Rod Serling, with Neil Gaiman and Isaac Asimov.
Scalzi fits in with all these guys, especially the early Robert Heinlein YA books, though theres nothing YA about "Redshirts".

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

80 of 94 people found this review helpful

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  • Eivind
  • New York, New York
  • 08-06-12

He said, she said

It starts out decently and the concept is quite clever and funny, but the dialogue is doing my head in. The book has these pockets of time where the main characters stand around discussing events in an effort for us and them to understand them. Fair enough really, but the way it is presented is driving me spare.

Blabla – X said
Blala – Y said
Blalabla – Z said

I just can’t take it. Especially not in audio format.

112 of 132 people found this review helpful

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What Fun!!!`

I cannot fully express how much fun this book is.

I love the fact that Wil Wheaton reads this, and that he sounds like he is impersonating Captin Kirk in his rendition-This makes it even more fun.

It is outlandish and requires a complete suspension of disbelief. And, yes, I enjoyed Star Trek and its spin-offs (with the exception of Deep Space Nine) and there are lots of tongue-in-cheek references to the original series. I found myself smiling regularly as I listened and laughing out loud frequently. I highly recommend this book if you enjoyed Star Trek. Redshirts is a book I will bring out if I am feeling blue or nostalgic and need a dose of laughter.

I am relatively new to Scalzi, but I love his dry humor and ramapant sarcasm. He is a man after my own heart!

Highly recommended by a Trekkie (Ok, I never actually attended a convention so I might only be an honorary Trekkie~)

37 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 07-18-12

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.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • J Hurwitz
  • 04-02-17

I cannot listen to this book

I am an hour into this book and literally have pulled my headphones out. If I hear "he said" "she said" "he said" "he said" "she said" one more time I will freak out. This is the single worst piece of literature I have come across.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 12-04-13

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • 08-05-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Farenden
  • 06-25-13

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.<br/>When you get lines like:<br/>"Are you sure?" Dahl said.<br/>"I'm sure." Duvahl said<br/>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...<br/>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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-28-15

{name} said after every line of dialogue

interesting premise, with a really annoying writing style. makes it hard to enjoy

Poor experience

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 07-14-15

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. G. Mitchell
  • 10-12-17

Interesting concept ruined

Like others have said (pun intended) they do say &quot;said&quot; A LOT and that has to be down to the author rather than the Narrator or the production, but the situation isn't helped by Wil Wheaton doing the same voice for all the characters.

The underlying story was interesting and different but I was unable to enjoy it due to the above.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lewis
  • 10-06-17

A mixed bag...

So yeah, a seriously mixed bag.

Firstly, the "said" issue that other reviewers mention is definitely a thing, together with a number of other grammatical and phrasing issues. If you are anything like me, you are going to have to constantly suppress a nervous tick while listening to this.

The story goes in a much more existential direction than I expected, but I have to admit I was totally hooked in the middle. I expected the Star Trek like setting to be a lot more relevant than it was, but the book still manages to keep you interested. I found myself thinking about the book in-between reading it, which to me is the sign of a good book. It's an interesting idea for a story and develops reasonably well.

It is worth a listen/read, but do yourself a favour and skip the last "Coda" (or both of them if you are not that bothered). The first is mildly amusing, but the second tries too hard to be sentimental, made worse by the author delivering it in an over the top dramatic style. I wanted to vomit a little bit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex
  • 09-18-17

fun idea, well narrated

it was a nice conceit but the codas at the end felt a bit odd. really enjoyed the narration but the text does tend to be a bit "he said, she said, he said, etc.",which can be a bit wearing to listen to. I still devoured the book tho!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 06-08-16

Good book, but!

[{ "answer" : "", "type" : "Overall", "question" : "Would you consider the audio edition of Redshirts to be better than the print version? ", "id" : 42, "typeString" : "overall" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Story", "question" : "Who was your favorite character and why?", "id" : 6, "typeString" : "story" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Performance", "question" : "Which character – as performed by Wil Wheaton – was your favourite?", "id" : 26, "typeString" : "performance" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Genre", "question" : "Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?", "id" : 55, "typeString" : "genre" }, { "answer" : "I really like Wil Wheaton as a reader. The first book I listened to by Wil Wheaton was \" Ready play one\". I enjoyed that story and the way he read it. In fact I never wanted it to end. He has an infectious warm energy in his reading. I am a fan. So marking a 2 for performance does not feel right as he is better imho than that. Please take my 2 as a comment on editorial decisions and not the reading.

This is my first book by this writer. I really enjoyed the last few chapters. This is a good writer. The problem is the use of the words \"said\"! it detracts from the reading and all I heard for the first 20+ chapters. I think in book form using \"said\" would be ok. But in audio you are hearing it sometime every few seconds. It does not translate from paper to audio. I would avoid books by this author if they had the same issue despite liking his writing.

Please take some editorial license and work out a better way to edit the use of \"Jon said, \"Mike said\", \"fred said\". It detracts from enjoying the story. ", "type" : "Misc", "question" : "Any additional comments?", "id" : -1, "typeString" : "misc" } ]

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ashlea
  • 02-21-16

An enjoyable story

[{ "answer" : "I found the concept quite fascinating, but as with other books by Scalzi, I struggle with his incessant use of the word \"said\".

\"So you're a friend...\" Handson said
\"I am\" Duvall said ...
\"Great\" Hanson said ...
\"I would hope so\" Duval said
\"I'm going to get myself...\" Hanson said ...
\"I'm fine\" Dahl said
\"I could go for another\" Duvall said, waggling...
\"One of the same\" Hanson asked
\"Sure\" Duvall said
\"Great\" Hanson said ...
\"You got it\" Dahl said...
\"He seems nice\" Duvall said
\"He is\" Dahl said
\"Not hugely full of personality\" Duvall said
\"He has other qualities\" Dahl said
\"Like paying for drinks\" Duvall said
\"Well, yes...\" Dahl said
\"You mind...\" Duvall said
\"Seeing as...\" Dahl said ", "type" : "Overall", "question" : "Is there anything you would change about this book?", "id" : 48, "typeString" : "overall" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Story", "question" : "What was one of the most memorable moments of Redshirts?", "id" : 7, "typeString" : "story" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Performance", "question" : "Which scene did you most enjoy?", "id" : 25, "typeString" : "performance" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Genre", "question" : "Could you see Redshirts being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?", "id" : 57, "typeString" : "genre" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Misc", "question" : "Any additional comments?", "id" : -1, "typeString" : "misc" } ]

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig Johnston
  • 04-18-16

Said

The story was an interesting concept which I enjoyed. I never want to hear the word "said" again for as long as I live though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Cat
  • 11-10-17

Funny and thoughtful.

A great performance by Wil Weaton. A great look st the theory of red shirts and living a meaningful life. Well worth reading/listening to. Have recommended to my friends.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-26-17

thought invoking

loved the satirical take on classic sci-fi! Scalzi has a way of forging humor into complex philosophical ideologies while cultivating an impressively original plot

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  • James Macdougall
  • 09-15-17

really enjoyable tongue in cheek sci fi

clever, well thought thru story and surprisingly touching despite it's semi satirical nature. will be very surprised if it's not made into a movie

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  • Ricky@AWS
  • 08-13-17

very cool take on reality and a love story too

Very cool take on reality and a love story too. Never going to look at the redshirts the same way again.

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  • Martin
  • 07-17-17

fantasticallt Meta

loved the story and the Meta storylines in it. would recommend to most. superb storytelling

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  • Samira
  • 04-18-17

No seatbelts in space? Here's why.

Wil Wheaton's outstanding performance adds immeasurably to the excellent entertainment value of this book. The three codas are a really interesting approach to the story and take it beyond a routine approach. The word 'said' is somewhat overused however don't let that stop you from continuing on with what is a very clever book. As someone who can't watch an episode of Star Trek without bemoaning the lack of seatbelts, I cannot thank John Scalzi enough for explaining why that is the case! Looking forward to listening to more Wil Wheaton.narrations and also to John Scalzi's books - if you haven't yet caught up with The Dispatcher, do yourself a favour!

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  • Ruth
  • 03-31-17

Awful waste of time

I like sci fi but this was a really ridiculous plot line. The characters were nice, the performance pretty good but what can you do when a book starts out ok & then goes down hill? And don't get me started on the self-indulgent last section