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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas [Kindle Edition]

John Scalzi
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (943 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.01
You Save: $5.98 (40%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Kindle Edition $9.01  
Hardcover $17.57  
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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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,059 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
239 of 268 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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110 of 138 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing premise that failed to deliver June 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
John Scalzi has some great stories, but Redshirts is not one of them. When I heard about Redshirts last year, I was very psyched. A typical Scalzi novel is filled with wit and humor and given the premise, Redshirts sounded like it was going to be full of that and so much more, while potentially delivering a fascinating story. Instead, we are treated to a curse laden short story that got stretched into a novel, and because it was still short and lacked depth, had three afterthoughts attached. What does it say when the codas contain more character depth than the novel itself? Sad, but true.

A Scalzi protagonist is typically consistent between his novels: pun master, sarcastic, stubborn, and usually acts on behalf of the greater good. With Redshirts, all major characters felt like they were the same person because they all acted the same. Despite the novel's short length and that I read it in two days, I found myself getting confused with some of the main characters, not only because they all acted the same, but also because several names started with the same letter. Some disparity would have been appreciated.

I really had high hopes, and while Redshirts is a very quick and easy read, ultimately it is only mildly amusing. It does not feel like Scalzi put as much focus as he has with his other novels. Redshirts is a respectful nod to Star Trek, but it constantly separated itself from any Star Trek kind of atmosphere with the often unnecessary and excessive swearing. Despite that, I welcomed the absurdity of the story's twist, which handily added to the attempted humor of the story, but it is still that same story that ultimately fails to deliver. Compared to Scalzi's other works, it is pretty easy to recognize why Redshirts falls short with the story, characters and humor.
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19 of 22 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun idea, bad execution
If you're even a mild fan of the original Star Trek series, you're familiar with the phenomenon of sending an away crew to a planet with a few "stars" (e.g. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A paradox wrapped in an inigma
I enjoyed the Old Man's War books and this one, based on another weird assumption, was great: satirical and thoughtful.
Published 1 day ago by Rick Bruski
5.0 out of 5 stars Silly and fun
A silly a** book that poked fun at the entire genre. I loved the part about "a bad science fiction TV show".
Published 5 days ago by Jon
1.0 out of 5 stars And writing is poor. Better off if it was a twilight zone ...
not an original idea. And writing is poor. Better off if it was a twilight zone tv episode
Published 7 days ago by Steven M Chomicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Meta
One of the best books I've read. It's a quick read and short and you'll want more once it's over. Perfect match for Galaxy Quest. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Entertaining
This tongue and cheek treatment of a Star Trek universe is light reading. Anyone looking for literary material should look elsewhere, but if you liked Galaxy Quest, this might be... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Rebecca Richardson
4.0 out of 5 stars If you love Star-Trek (and feel just a little guilty about it)
Love the premise, love the fun. What do you do when your world stops making sense? Develop coping strategies that look like superstition until you're proven right (then they look... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Batty McBattypants
5.0 out of 5 stars Very meta!
Well written, and I greatly enjoyed the concept. It also was quite humorous! The best (albeit only) tongue-in-cheek indirect Star Trek parody I've ever read.
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected twist?
Spoiler: it's a romance. ;)

Reads like a night spent with friends laughing at plot inconsistencies in episodes of Star Trek. Fast and fun.
Published 15 days ago by James H. Elwood
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a geek but it really ...
You don't have to be a geek but it really helps in following this storyline that breaks the literary fourth wall, and maybe the universe. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Robert E. Williams
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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 Lil one Loki |  See all 8 posts
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