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Showing 1-10 of 1,027 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,450 reviews
on April 4, 2017
Good thing I wasn't on the award committee... Within the first few pages, I said to myself; "I am going to love this book!" It taken courage to invest in a character and then summarily delete him—Bang. Then, it started to drone on with what must have seemed creative to the author, but interest-exhausting to this reader. It would have been a great -short- story: TV program kills the planet in the second episode.

*Full of surpirses—not all welcome.

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on March 19, 2017
This book had been on my radar for awhile. I'd see it at bookstores. I'd noted it won an award. I'd read the free sample, several times. I'd noted some of it's less than stellar reviews. I even read a $0.99 short-story/novella of Scalzi's before I committed to buying and reading this. In truth, fairness, etc, I had to push through to finish this. The best part, the free sample. The worst part, oh my god, the dialogue between characters. In a word, awful. The constant he said, she said, then he said, then she said (insert character names rather than he said, she said) was quite possibly some of the most distracting writing I've ever slogged through. I'll try and remember how much I enjoyed Scalzi's short "After the Coup" and dismiss "Redshirts" and it's "coda's" from memory.
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on July 18, 2016

There WAS stuff I liked about this book, but ultimately I think it's suffered from improper billing, both public and artistic. I first heard of this book as a kind of meta-narrative, of Star Trek redshirts figuring out their expendable nature and trying to change their narrative around that. And yes, the book works on that level, to an extent, but just when I grew weary of the codas at the end, and the last few chapters in general, Scalzi pulled a fast one and made this book ultimately about choice and fate, something almost Pirandello-like, though a good majority of the book seems to put aside such considerations for a lot of expositional dialogue and occasional wit, which is what wore me down in the first place.

Redshirts has some worthwhile ideas in it, but the execution suffers the reader to put up with a lot to get to the juicy bits.
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on July 28, 2015
John, you certainly didn't put much effort in to this one. Because it was written by John and because it won the Hugo I believed it had to be a great story. Big mistake, this one is a real stinker and I'll be a lot more careful when looking at Scalzi's future work.
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on November 12, 2015
Redshirts maked a horrible first impression on me, developed into a genuinely interesting mystery, exploded into a self-referential mess, then inexplicably turned into some kind of dumb, fun, interdimensional bombastic heist story. Throughout this arc I was mostly coming around on what this novel actually was, accepting that while it's main story conceit was in no way earned but ultimately continued to amuse me.

However, the final twist on that twist reframed the entire story and made me really think back on what I had just read. Scalzi goes to great pains to make sure you know the Narrative of the Intrepid is a cobbled together wreck of tropes and one-dimensional characters that pays as much respect to the laws of physics and common sense as it pays to its crew. Maybe I'm just not very observant but that misdirection kept me totally on board with the actual story taking place behind the scenes. But, then one conversation adding the final meta level brought into sharp relief that this book was actually the exact illogical, contrived nonsense it happily steps on to prop itself up.

But then it gets worse.

The addition of the Codas as the end, specifically First and Third Person, managed to sour me even more on a story that I should have, and wanted to enjoy, but it would not let me.

First Person continues to stomp on and belittle bad science-fiction writers, excuse me, writers of bad science-fiction through that very same lense. It's totally fine to be a weird meta commentary on genre fiction, I'm fine with cliche from time to time as long as it's entertaining, and taking down bad storytelling is a noble pursuit. It's the combination of all of these that rub me the wrong way. It feels like Scalzi wrote himself into a corner while trying to lampoon poor science fiction and instead of retooling his own story to make any sense, he just leaned into it. But the sheer audacity to admit that your meta commentary is the very thing it hates, and then continue on in an epilogue to twist the knife and repeatedly insult the writer was just petty and frankly insulting to the reader as well.

Then Third Person wedges in an unearned, unneeded, out of complete left-field sappy love story that was the one cliche left on the checklist that hadn't been hit yet.
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on January 10, 2016
Another humor-sci-fi hit out-of-the-ballpark by John Scalzi; he certainly is a master of this genre.

So what would happen if the Redshirts in the typical television quest sci-fi show were self-aware enough of the danger? How would a group of scientists and explorers overcome the issue of being a "Redshirt"? Investigate and resolve.

Story got a little too Meta in chapter 23 and the final bit with the end of chapter 23 and start of 24 fell flat to me.

The first time I read the Three Codas - where we return to "modern" times and follow the lives of the people impacted by the Redshirts time travel visit was a struggle. I disliked the staggered ending. When I re-read it now, I actually enjoyed the three Codas - first off for giving us more about the people impacted by the visit. Second for the writing exercise the Codas represent - the first Coda is written in first person, the second Coda is written in second person and the third in third person. If someone is having problems with POV definition, reading these three Codas might help. I don't think it will help them write in the different POV, but it will help them understand what they are - the "I", "you" and "s/he".

In conclusion, funny, funny story for the most post. The ending, starting about chapter 21, in the first read-thru annoyed me - felt weak - and I got a little lost. The second read-thru about 3 years later, I enjoyed the beginning just as much as the first time and the ending felt much better. I "got" it. Still not as funny as the main part of the book and that last bit of chapter 23 annoys me, but does provide good resolution. Overall a 4.5.

A must-read for enjoyers of prose who also like starship television sci-fi. Basically this is the prose equivalent of the movie "Galaxy Quest".
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on May 26, 2013
I was looking forward to this book and came away very disappointed . If you made a drinking game out of every time a line ended with "Dahl said" you would pass out in the first few chapters. I hardly ever critique grammar or sentence structure, but the sheer laziness of the overuse of the same words over and over grated on my nerves and kept me from becomming immersed in the story. No big loss though, because the story was lame. This book was such a great idea but the execution was underwhelming. I felt like I was reading a high school writing class assignment. No character depth. No investment. And the audiobook version was even worse with Wil Wheaton's cheesy delivery. As the voice of this character, he just emphasizes the problems and sounds annoying. Irritatingly overpriced even after reduced to $8. the irritation over the price was of course after reading.

One of my favorite authors, Rothfuss (a witty genius), reviewed this book as one of the funniest he had ever read. After reading the book, I have to conclude he was amused at the attempt rather than the intended humor.
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on April 22, 2017
I like Scalzi's writing. He generally moves the plot and along (just expect light entertainment) punctuated by witty and creative "different take" surprises. I thought the whole meta perspective and the existential ramifications had real potential in this book but it just uncharacteristically fizzled. Lots of humor, but wound up just sketching out a concept and then didn't know how to wrap it all up. Kinda like the ending in Monty Python's Holy Grail. With more work on the deeper underlying puzzles, this could have been a really good book.
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I’ve read some of Scalzi’s work and while it is not some of my favorite science fiction, neither is it among the weakest of the genre. I purchased this book because the premise sounded intriguing, but must admit to be somewhat disappointed.


Essentially, the main characters in the story discover that they are actually fictional characters in an early 21st century science fiction television series modeled after Star Trek. As in Star Trek, while the “key” players (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott) avoid death, there are always unfortunate “ensigns” on the “away team” that are considered expendable by the writers. Our protagonists are horrified to learn that they play the role of Redshirts, or expendable extras. Others on the crew have recognized this pattern and a culture of avoidance and nonsensical technology has developed on the Starship Intrepid as crew members go to great lengths to prevent assignment to away teams.

The newly assigned Redshirts come upon a way to address their seemingly hopeless situation which involves time travel and confrontation with the producers and writers of the television show.

Following the relatively short “main story”, which ends rather humorously, the author follows with three “codas”, or short stories that expound upon the original novel through vignettes focusing upon minor characters in the main story

The premise is cute and presents some interesting situations, but is just a little bit too silly to work for me.
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on November 24, 2014
Yeah, that pun is way too subtle, and even then, it's not all that creative. It's everything this book isn't: predictable, obtuse, and forgettable.

I knew when I saw the title what the premise of this book had to be. Having been a reader of Mr. Scalzi's blog for years, I had this suspicion confirmed long before I had the chance to actually read it. I put off reading "Redshirts" for a while, partly because I couldn't imagine any scenario in which the story wouldn't be so abominably meta as to become unreadable. I suppose that's the difference between me and a masterful science fiction author like Mr. Scalzi; he CAN imagine such a scenario. In fact, he did. And funny as the story can be at times, the characters don't come across as jokes. Rather, as a reader, I found myself bound to their lives, feeling their pain and reveling in their triumphs. My favorite aspect of a book is when the characters become real enough that the barrier between the real and the fictional is blurred. And if you think that's an awfully predictable thing to say in light of the book's plot, tough. The fact that this one achieves that recursively both within the story and between book and reader is just another reason I gave this five stars. It's a delightful read, and I can't wait for it to be made into a television show and become trebly recursive.

TLDR Version: Holy science fictiony fun, Batman! You gotta read this!
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