Lindsey Astin's Reviews > Redshirts

Redshirts by John Scalzi
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Aug 11, 2012

it was amazing
Read in July, 2012

This is one of my new favorite books that I read this year. I was really impressed, having never read anything by John Scalzi before. I don't want to get into too much, since I think there are a lot of surprises in this book but...yea, there were a lot of surprises here and this book twisted and turned and went into directions I didn't think it was going to go. And it was really...surprisingly...moving. Philosophically moving, even. Like, had me nearly in tears by the end.

The essential gist of the plot is that this takes place in a Star Trek sort of sci-fi universe. A newly recruited ensign comes about a spaceship called the Intrepid, along with some other new recruits and they all notice right away that something isn't quite right and not much makes sense. Crew members are unusually terrified of going on away missions. The mortality rate for lowly ensigns (the "redshirts" of the book's title) on said away missions seems to be considerably higher than the norm. And the crew constantly cower and hide from certain captains and other high-rank folk to avoid going off to face Certain Death. If you know your Star Trek, this is pretty familiar. During any mission on Star Trek, you know Kirk or Spock are never going to die, but some no-name redshirt will probably get offed for the sake of drama and to up the stakes/suspense. The book deals with these ensigns realizing that something strange is going on the Intrepid and trying to figure out what it is and how to change their fate. I won't spoil you for the rest. Safe to say, I think I was expecting a straight-forward sci-fi novel and instead got something that was exciting, funny, clever, and surprisingly touching and thoughtful. Would definitely recommend this book and am seeking out more of Scalzi's stuff.
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