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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas [Kindle Edition]

John Scalzi
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (843 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $5.00
You Save: $9.99 (67%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Hardcover $18.96  
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Book Description

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 fact 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 expendedon 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.

Redshirts is the winner of the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel.


At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.



Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Scalzi sets his imagination to STUN and scores a direct hit. Read on and prosper.”
—Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box

“I can honestly say I can’t think of another book that ever made me laugh this much. Ever.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

“Scalzi takes apart the whole Star Trek universe and puts it back together far more plausibly—and a lot funnier too.”
—Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians

“A real joy to read… It’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t enjoy this one.”
Booklist, starred review

Review

“Gripping… A perfectly executed plot clicks its way to a stunningcourtroom showdown in a cathartic finish.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Fuzzy Nation

“ In a genre flooded with bloated epics, it’s a real pleasure toread a story like this, as compactly and directly told as a punchto the stomach.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on Fuzzy Nation

“ If Stephen King were to try his hand at science fiction, he’d belucky to be half as entertaining as John Scalzi.”
—Dallas Morning News on The Ghost Brigades

“ Scalzi’s captivating blend of offworld adventure and political intrigue remains consistently engaging.” —Booklist on The Last Colony

Product Details

  • File Size: 449 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0765316994
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0079XPUOW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,796 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
233 of 257 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cute idea that struggles to sustain a novel July 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover
"Redshirts" is founded on a fairly clever conceit. Anyone even vaguely familiar with the original "Star Trek" television series is surely aware of the disposable crew members who were slaughtered in sordid ways when the Enterprise visited strange, new worlds. They were frequently ranked "ensign" and clad in red shirts. In each episode, the viewer could reliably predict the fate of the "away team" members, often by shirt color alone. Scalzi affectionately lampoons this and various other conventions of the sci-fi television series.

In his novel, new crew members aboard the Universal Union flagship Intrepid recognize some alarming patterns, not the least of which is that those of their ilk don't tend to live long... or prosper (sorry!). They slowly discern that there's a "Narrative" dictating the outcomes of their missions. While the more senior crew members have adapted by avoiding recognition and staying off the proverbial radar, the new crew members decide to challenge the "Narrative".

While Star Trek provides fertile ground for this type of satirical treatment, there really isn't enough substance for a novel. The primary narrative of "Redshirts" is only 231 pages, but that's at least a third longer than necessary given the story. The plotting is uncomplicated and straightforward despite the metafictional elements which Scalzi, to his credit, took a bit farther than expected. Characterization, another good potential use of space, was nonexistent. This wasn't a clever metaphor on Scalzi's part (i.e., symbolic that "redshirts" aren't fully-fleshed out characters in the series) but because, rightly or wrongly, he chose to focus on the ideas underpinning the story instead of character-building.
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101 of 122 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as clever as it thinks it is August 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Set on a bad 21st century rip-off of Star Trek, the young ensigns aboard the starship Intrepid discover that their ship has an astonishing turnover of junior officers. They soon set out to investigate why so many of their shipmates are destined to die, while the senior officers (and one dashing young lieutenant) survive unscathed. The answer leads to a breaching of the fourth wall and a quest that draws its cues from a certain Star Trek cliche that I won't reveal here.

There were two ways John Scalzi's Redshirts could have gone: 1) it could have been a brilliant and clever deconstruction of the plot contrivances of Star Trek; 2) it could have been a one-note satire, too smug and self-satisfied for its own good. Unfortunately, Redshirts takes path #2.

I really wanted to like the novel (and three codas) -- in the hands of a stronger writer, this idea could have become a multilayered satire, but Scalzi is unfortunately not up to the task. Instead, the Star Trek jokes are obvious, and the pseudo-Trek universe of the Intrepid is significantly less inspired than the film Galaxy Quest, to which the novel has more than a passing similarity. Unlike Galaxy Quest, which was a loving send-up of Star Trek (and indeed is more entertaining than the Next Generation films), Redshirts seems at times to have a smug contempt for the source material. It focuses on the bad science and plot problems of Trek, rather than the sociopolitical commentary and iconic characters that made Trek great.

In many ways, Redshirts feels like something Scalzi wrote for fun and never intended to publish. It lacks the creative heft of much of his other work and is probably not worth purchasing at full price. It's not terrible, but it's not worth the brief amount of time it takes to read it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hoped for much more October 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Interesting but not engaging

Facile but not funny.

I heard John Scalzi read an excerpt from this book, at Worldcon, before it was published. I have read 7 previous novels by John Scalzi and I loved 6 of them and liked the 7th. His reading at Worldcon sounded like it had potential, so frankly, I was hoping for more. But now that I have read the novel, it seems to me, that he got off on the wrong foot starting with the 'Prologue,' which really had no good reason for existing, and then he remained entirely too cerebral and 'conscious' through the rest of the book. Darn it. He is known for his characters, but it turned out that his characters were mostly flat, and the most engrossing part for me was actually found in 2 of the 3 Codas added to the end of the book. Yet even these would actually have been better done if they had been woven into the rest of the novel.

This book is one of those 'fun' ideas that people come up with, that would have been better off left alone. It has been done before, and done better, in both written and video form. It is the stuff of comedians, "You, unnamed crewman, look behind that rock." There was some mildly entertaining existential content and a perhaps more interesting hint at an extension of the concept of the Anthropomorphic Universe, but that part wasn't really pursued.

All in all, I felt that this book was mostly a waste of my time, and I NEVER thought I would say that about a John Scalzi book. Now that it is over, I wish he had skipped it and gone on to its sequel. Now THAT would probably have been an enthralling book. I look forward to it, alas, probably in vain.

ADDENDUM: Reading some of the other reviews, I note that some people like the 'Codas' but others don't.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story for any Star Trek fan
A great story for any Star Trek fan. Don't go into it expecting anything particularly groundbreaking, this is more just for fun.
Published 6 hours ago by Lisa & Adam
4.0 out of 5 stars MR. SCALIZ IS ALWAYS ON THE MARK.
MR.SCALIZ IS ALWAYS ON THE MARK.
Published 9 hours ago by Edward Surette
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun. Good read for classic sci-fi or Star Trek ...
A lot of fun. Good read for classic sci-fi or Star Trek fans.
Published 22 hours ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel novel for sure.
Perfect wonderful writing as usual from Scalzi with a totally unique story line.
This is a writers story sure to motivate would be narrative spinners. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Always Already
2.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction or Bad Satire?
John Scalzi served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He wrote this novel while he was president. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dave Schwinghammer
5.0 out of 5 stars One minor flaw in an otherwise AMAZING book
Despite the ridiculous overuse of the word "said" in Redshirts, I was not disappointed in what I expected from this book. Read more
Published 2 days ago by August
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting existential premise
Brace for a shift of perspective, but a good read.
Published 3 days ago by Anthony Prudori
2.0 out of 5 stars How the mighty have fallen...
An interesting premise and an engaging first 20 pages will get you published...and apparently a popular culture novel in an off year in a genre that's veering towards teen fiction... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty hilarious book
Look, you know going into this novel exactly what it is - a book about redshirts in real life. It's also a meta-novel about the relationship between reality and fiction. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Brian A. Schar
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and funny Scalzi !
Very original dynamic storyline with an incredibly funny premise.
Published 4 days ago by john a kay
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More About the Author

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "Redshirts," which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.

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Why are so many novels over-priced?
17.77USD for the rest of the world. This is an outrage. I'm really huge fan of Mr. Scalzi's work but his publisher's pricing policy is insulting.
Jun 18, 2012 by Merras |  See all 6 posts
Okay, this looks like fun.
Big fan of Scalzi, and I read the first 4 chapters (which were awesome). But I won't be buying this on kindle at the current price - I would rather buy the paperback... HOWEVER that's what the publishers want us to do, buy their precious paper instead of the e-copies... so I definitely won't be... Read More
Apr 22, 2012 by Xealous |  See all 8 posts
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