It’s the year 2465 and Andrew Dahl has just joined the crew of the ship Intrepid as part of the xenobiology lab. Dahl will have a chance to serve on away missions with the ship’s captain and a few other high level officers. Only, things seem a bit odd. Dahl’s lab mates seem evasive and conveniently disappear whenever the captain makes an appearance. Dahl has also noticed that away missions tend to always involve a deadly alien encounter, the captain, along with a handsome lieutenant and three other high-ranking crew members, always survives, and a low-level crew member always dies on an away mission. Always.
What’s good: Red Shirts by John Scalzi is a humorous riff on old sci-fi shows and I really enjoyed the idea behind it. Scalzi writes instantly likable characters who try to figure out what is going on with their ship while trying to avoid getting killed themselves. It’s a tad campy at times but I took it that it’s supposed to be that way. It’s a quick read and I did chuckle/laugh out loud a few times. After the end the are three codas told in first, second, and third person points of view. These three codas (the original name of the book is Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas) focused on three later characters and were all exceptionally written and very heartfelt. I almost teared up during one of them and I dare say I liked the codas even better than the main book.
What’s not so good: Well, not much really. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was an over reliance on the use of “….he/she said.” I found it a tad distracting that almost every time there was a line of dialogue from someone, the line would be identified with “…Dahl said; …the captain said…”, etc. I actually started to omit reading those qualifiers as the book went along. Other than that, I found the book to be very enjoyable.
I don’t want to give away too much of the book since the reason for the crew members always dying and the high-ranking officers always surviving is a goofy, fun reveal that sets the plot for the rest of the story. Redshirts was a fun, fast read that had likable characters and a good ending. The three codas were standouts for me, though I certainly enjoyed the whole book. If you are looking for a fun, sci-fi read, or just an enjoyable read, I highly recommend Redshirts. You shouldn’t be disappointed.