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Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas (Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel) Hardcover – June 5, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 1,294 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

About the Author

JOHN SCALZI is the author of several SF novels including the bestselling Old Man's War sequence, comprising Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades, and the New York Times bestselling The Last Colony. He is a winner of science fiction's John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and he won the Hugo Award for Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, a collection of essays from his popular blog Whatever. His latest novel, Fuzzy Nation, hit the New York Times bestseller list in its first week on sale. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Ed edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765316994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765316998
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Sullivan VINE VOICE on 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is not worth reading. It won a Hugo, I think. I would fact check that guess, but I don't want to waste the ten seconds it would take to find out. If it did earn that award, I can't fathom what the judges were thinking. Anyway, here it is in brief - there were lots of characters and all of them were flat. Part of the problem is that Scalzi focused on dialogue in this book. It's impossible to develop characters when you attempt to flesh them out with nothing but dialogue. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe he overused dialogue because it's a cheap, quick way to push a story along. Whatever the case, the characters, quite aside from overstaffing this tale and never shutting up, are insubstantial and not worth knowing. One other significant problem - metafiction. The story ends abruptly en media res and abruptly transits to an egregious foray into stream-of-consciousness metafiction. Gad. Hate to give such an unhappy review for this author as I liked his Old Man's War stories. With this one, however, he appears to have run out of steam.
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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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Format: Hardcover
Redshirts by John Scalzi tells the story of the support crew onboard the Universal Union Capital Ship, Intrepid, and all the perils they face on a daily basis. I've been sitting on this review for a while, partly because I've not had much time to write but mostly because it has taken me a long time to come up with the right words for it. I'm a relative newcomer to Scalzi, having heard lots about him and his various sci-fi works but having never sat down and read anything of his until Redshirts. My first impression - if his other work is anywhere near as good as Redshirts then I can see myself devouring the rest of his bibliography in no time at all.

The story follows Ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned as a junior scientist onboard the Intrepid, complete with red shirt. Almost immediately he notices something strange - the support crew are very good at hiding, the away missions have an obscene amount of fatalities, and the officers always seemed to survive the most horrific of injuries and are back up within days ready to face the next away mission. Dahl is determined to find out what is going wrong on this ship, before the next away mission becomes his last. This is a book that exploits the concept of the Redshirt, that guy on the away team in Star Trek that you knew was going to die because he was wearing a red shirt. It pokes fun at all those 70′s - 90′s sci-fi TV shows in a number of overt and subtle ways. Decks six through ten always suffer from explosive decompression during a fire fight, consoles on the bridge blow up in a shower of sparks every time the ship is hit by an energy weapon, you know, the little things that make sci-fi TV unique. Redshirts is a book that feels more like a tribute than a parody - I found the whole story heartwarming, and never condescending.
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