Tom's Reviews > Redshirts

Redshirts by John Scalzi
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's review
Jun 17, 12

bookshelves: humour, sci-fi, space-opera
Read from June 13 to 17, 2012

A fun, short, humorous story. However, there is no deep meaning, nothing new that it says about the genre, no amazing deconstruction of tropes going on. It was very disappointing compared to what I hoped for when I first heard about the book.

It must be stressed that the idea has been done before. In particular, the British comedies Red Dwarf and The League of Gentlemen have both done the EXACT SAME PLOT in the last decade. Further, the TV show Venture Bros and the movie Stranger Than Fiction have also dealt with similar ideas. Sorry Scalzi, but there's absolutely nothing new here. I was hoping Scalzi would take the idea in different directions, but it just repeats the plot and conclusion that previous media using this plotline have done.

Also, it was just way too short. The main story of the book ends too soon. Scalzi doesn't do anything interesting with the idea, he just writes it so that the characters figure out the rules, then fix everything by following them. There was no surprise, no later subversion of the ideas he'd set up. Missed opportunities.

The three codas were, in order,
1) fucking awful and made me instantly hate the book a lot more
2) decent enough and made me get over how much the first coda pissed me off
3) quite touching, and finally added a touch of depth that really should have been in the main story
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Reading Progress

06/13/2012 page 71
22.0% "Hilarious so far!"
06/14/2012 page 235
74.0% "Finished the main narrative, now onto the codas."
06/15/2012 page 273
86.0% "Coda 1 was kinda stupid. Dragging the book down for me :/"
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