A philosophy-fillled, meta-packed, sci-fi fun fest!
NOTE: This review is for the Audible.com audio edition narrated by Wil Wheaton.
I love Scalzi's take on the cliched disposable 'Red Shirt' ensign phenomenon. As even the casual Star Trek viewer will tell you, you NEVER volunteer for an away mission if you're not a main character. On the UU's flagship, the Intrepid, the ensigns and other secondary crew members have learned this as well. While the premise is based on the perils of the 'redshirt effect' other popular scifi tropes are addressed as well, such as Trek philosophy, time travel 'rules', actors, Comic Cons, 'scifi science' and alien silliness (Ice Sharks? Really!?!) And, while Redshirts never takes itself too seriously, it still manages to present thought provoking dilemmas for it's intrepid heroes. Frequently batting his story up against the 'fourth wall' (though never fully breaking through it) Scalzi takes meta to interesting new levels.
I have listened to several Wheaton-narrated performances by Cline, Scalzi and Wheaton, and this is another solid listen. Wil Wheaton is absolutely the most appropriate reader for this book, given the subject matter. He did a great job. The only thing that I found distracting was the use of, "he said," "she said," "Dahl said," etc, after almost every spoken line. While not Wheaton's fault, it was terribly distracting and even a bit irritating after time. I hope Mr. Scalzi invests in a thesaurus for his next book. The word "said" ends in a hard stop that is quite noticeable when repeated several times in a short time-frame. It really kills the flow of the dialog.
Was Redshirts worth the listening time? Absolutely. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of scifi, especially Star Trek geeks like myself. I think that it was very cleverly done and will be sure to make any Trek fan roll with laughter and will leave you thinking about it long after you've finished.