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Redshirts Paperback – 15 Nov 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575134291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575134294
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.3 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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"

"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

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"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

They were expendable . . . until they started comparing notes! This is a must-read novel for all fans of smart, witty SF.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book, not having read much of Scalzi's previous work, mainly for its intriguing premise. What if, several centuries in the future, in a universe somewhat like that of "Star Trek" - starships, a galactic federation, aliens, diplomacy, space battles - the junior crew (and in particular, Ensign Andy Dahl) on one of those ships start to ask awkward questions - questions about why there are so many pointless, contrived and unlikely deaths among their ranks?

The title alone seemed to promise an amusing read, enlivened by geeky in-references. If you're interested in the book you'll probably know where the title comes from - but if you don't, the "redshirts" were the expendable security personnel in the original "Star Trek", a couple of whom would invariably accompany Kirk and Spock on hazardous missions and almost invariably get killed). Terry Pratchett said, I think, something about the minions in fantasy novels who would come running in response to the call of "Guards! Guards!" deserving a book of their own - well, here is the Sf equivalent.

In fact, this is much more than an amusing read. I don't want to say too much about what happens, for fear of spoiling the story, but as well as having fun exploring his central concept, Scalzi manges to pose a number of questions about what is real and what isn't, free will, an author's responsibility to his or her characters, and what are the hallmarks of good (and bad0 SF writing (and perhaps, writing in general). And he writes a good, page turning story as well - this isn't just a parody, or a dramatisation of tvtropes.org.
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By M. G. Chisholm TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Scalzi has written some great sci-fi such as Old Man's War, however he has misfired a little on this curious mix of parody, comedy and pathos.

Essentially we have a crew of a space ship who have come to realise that they always end up getting offed whilst the senior officers lead a charmed life. Just like Star Trek whom Scalzi has some clearly disparaging ideas about. The thread of the story is the bit part players trying to work out why this is happening and to somehow stop it. I won't say too much more or it will give the game away.

What somewhat spoils this is the fact that to start with Scalzi is writing a comedy, then it turns into a parody eventually becoming a little confusing and a lot serious. It's a bit like the newer Terry Pratchett stories where the initial part of the book is good fun but tapers off towards the end. I just wish that if a book starts off this way it would continue rather than becoming ever more schizophrenic.

Effectively we have a mix of Star Trek and Galaxy Quest with some of Jasper Fford's Thursday Next chucked in for good measure. It's not all bad but it could have been great.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book, having seen it was on a few 'Best of..' lists. Certainly the premise appealed to me as a fan of Sci-Fi shows and Star Trek in particular. Sadly it was a poor book. It is written almost entirely in dialogue, with each speech bubble being followed by a 'said SO-AND-SO.' After a while that gets really irritating.

'Shall we go down here' said Bill
'Let's' said Tom
'I don't know what we'll find' said Bill
'Neither do I' said Tom.

Also I found the characters to be poorly developed. They were all a bit snarky with no real defining features beyond perhaps their sex. (the female character being the only one really to have her sexuality brought into it).

I almost didn't finish it but decided in the end to push on through. It wasn't worth it.
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Format: Hardcover
So, Redshirts, the new John Scalzi novel. Okay. Hmmm.

Look, I'm a fan of Scalzi's fiction. His Old Man's War books (Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, Zoe's Tale) are excellent SF with a good story, setting, and plenty of humour in the narrative that works well. Agent to the Stars was also a really good read, as was Fuzzy Nation. But Redshirts. Man, disappointing isn't even the word.

The focus of Redshirts is the UUC Intrepid, and some newly arrived ensigns - our titicular Redshirts. The primary character is Andrew Dahl, and it's his experiences as he joins the Intrepid that we follow. There's something very wrong on this ship, and with his colleaugues miraculously disappearing at the right moments just as senior officers walk into the room, Dahl soon sets about to discover just what the hell is going on. It appears that there's a rather high percentage of crew deaths on away missions, and it is clear that certain people seem to be invulnerable to this misfortune....

I'll start with the good: Redshirts is a funny novel, a quick read, and full of references to Star Trek. I enjoyed reading it, plowing through in barely a day, simply because it's a typical Scalzi novel and his prose is easy to read - it very much has the 'one more chapter' effect. I also very much liked the fact that Redshirts focused on the minor crew members on the Intrepid, not on the bridge crew and high-ranking officials as is the case with many novels, and TV shows.

However.

Despite how much I enjoyed reading Redshirts I got the feeling, on pretty much every page, that I'd seen this before. Scalzi pays homage to Star Trek, without a doubt, and manages to do so fairly well, but that's its biggest failing.
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