Sunday, March 17, 2013

Redshirts, by John Scalzi

Redshirts, by John Scalzi

I loved, loved, loved this book! It starts as a parody of Star Trek, then starts making fun of the development process of a TV show, and then it gets weird. The plot follows a group of people that the readers immediately recognize as being crew members on a starship 400 years in the future that is a dead ringer for the Enterprise. These characters start to recognize that something about the ship isn't quite right, with an abnormally high mortality rate for those not on the bridge crew and a mysterious device that solves any problem just in the nick of time. Eventually they come to believe that the strangeness is being caused because their lives are actually being controlled by a 20th century TV series. "It's messed up that the most rational explanation for what does go on in this ship is that a television show intrudes on our reality and warps it. But that's not the worst thing about it. ... That as far as I can tell, it's not actually a very good show."

Three codas wrap up the story, but not before Scalzi shows his wicked humor by first telling us the ship is vaporized six months later killing everyone, then writing chapter 24: "No, no, I'm just fucking with you. They all lived happily ever after. Seriously." The codas are where the book gets truly meta; the first is written in first person, the second in second person, and the third in third person—each following a different set of characters from our century and providing a satisfying conclusion on several fronts. What started as a simple skewering of Star Trek ends as creative, well-written, and surprisingly emotional novel. A great read.

First Sentence:
From the top of the large boulder he sat on, Ensign Tom Davis looked across the expanse of the cave toward Captain Lucius Abernathy, Science Officer Q'eeng and Chief Engineer Paul West perched on a second, larger boulder, and thought, Well, this sucks.

1 comment:

Skagway Fishing Charter said...

I've been meaning to try an audio book narrated by Wil Wheaton; I've heard nothing about good. I need to read this one.

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