Brian Layman Ummmmm, yes. You could say that "Red Shirts" was, in a completely non-copyright infringing fashion, inspired by Star Trek and its "away" missions.
Thomas To me personally this book is Star Trek (or maybe many other space opera TV shows / films) review in this kind of allegorical science fiction novel form. Story and characters were there to make a point about bad and repetitive story writing. That's how I see it.
Kristina This book begins as a direct parody of Star Trek to the point that it mentions the Enterpise, the United Federation of Planets, and the show by name--and a summary of one episode (not a particularly good one, but Scalzi nitpicks in his criticism of the show). It's fun as a parody, but then the story takes a turn into a more heavy-handed philosophical discussion that annoyed me (even if parts of it were still funny).
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)[Oh ffs. Do you realize you just dropped a huge spoiler? It's a lot of fun to read a book without somebody describing half the plot. Mind, I thought this was a mediocre book with a terrible finish, but I did enjoy picking it up blind, not knowing what to expect. Try not to ruin life for the rest of us, m'kay? (hide spoiler)]