Eric's Reviews > Redshirts

Redshirts by John Scalzi
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's review
Jun 24, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: sf
Read in June, 2012

This was a easy, fast and extremely enjoyable read.

When authors knowingly play with tropes of the genre, there needs to be a knowledgeable audience and a master author for it to come off well. If the audience isn't knowledgeable, they won't get the references and it won't make any sense. If the author isn't a master of the genre, you get an self-indulgent, impossible to follow mess.

This book demonstrates Scalzi as a master of the genre. The book works on multiple levels at once, and causes you to think deeply about many issues, forward and backward in time, and up and down the reference chain of reality he is playing with. He does it while making it a accessible, fun, easy read. That is extremely hard to do and shows his mastery of the craft of writing and the genre.

If you know science, it is an interesting pass on issues like the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. As literature, it strikes intensely at the art of writing. As SF, it goes right to the heart of what makes a lot of episodic SF writing (very) bad. It does this by pulling out the many SF tropes that get badly used, and shows them in the light of "if this really happened, how would real people actually feel and respond?"

The end of the main book is hysterically funny - literally rolling on the floor and tears to the eyes funny (at least for me). Don't read it where you will wake someone up.


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