2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A curate's egg,
This review is from: Redshirts (Paperback)
The main story is a light, predictable, Science Fiction romp with Scalzi's trade-mark wise-cracking characters who all fill a role but otherwise act and speak with identical voices. His characters' lack of identity is his major failing as a writer. It isn't even a spoiler to say that the central premise of the main part of the book is "Hey, isn't it just like we're on TV". He takes that and runs with it in predictable, neatly summed-up fashion. It's mildly amusing throughout but the dialogue is like listening to a room full of old men wise-cracking before climbing into a barber's chair. The sort of thing that passes through the head of the nondescript guy standing at the other end of the bar in a Damon Runyon tale. It is wearying but tolerable over the course of the story.
The second, almost, half of the book is made up of a series of fairly strange, serious, philosophical reflections, near essays, on choices, consequences, inevitability and obligation. It isn't what I was expecting and I neither enjoyed or benefited from it.
To be honest I haven't really enjoyed Scalzi's work in the last few years but I keep giving it a shot. This is far from the worst book out there and worth a borrow if you're a Star Trek fan, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're after something truly original or interesting. His first couple of Old Man's War books are far better in that regard. If you're after wise-cracking SF then you'd do a lot worse than re-visiting the classic Stainless Steel Rat stories of the late-lamented Harry Harrison.
3.5 out of 5.