Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Redshirts
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Monthly Reading: Discussion > April 2019 "Redshirts" <No Spoilers>

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Apr 01, 2019 07:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3667 comments Mod
Group Read #30


message 2: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3490 comments Mod
I've read it two years ago and it is still quite vivid with me. It was a joyful read for me even despite I haven't seen a single Star Trek episode. However, I was aware of the term because the first TV series that hooked me while on air (I usually prefer finished series) - Lost. There was a lot of discussion and the term sprang up


message 3: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Does anybody know if Codas are original part of the book or were they added as ectra material later on and not worth the time spent on them?


message 4: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bryan | 481 comments Mod
Art wrote: "Does anybody know if Codas are original part of the book or were they added as ectra material later on and not worth the time spent on them?"

I read this book a while ago without reading the Codas and I didn't have any trouble or feel like I was missing something.


message 5: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Apr 02, 2019 10:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3667 comments Mod
I read it some years ago. When I read it again, later this month, I will let you know if the Codas seemed familiar or not. Of course, by the time I get to it, this question will probably be answered


Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 122 comments I just read the book for the first time. I don't know whether the codas were added later on or not, but they're worth reading. They're certainly not as good as what precedes them (which is excellent), but I think they enhance the experience to some extent.


Abigail Reilly | 2 comments I read Redshirts earlier this year. I loved it. I was sort of shocked I had never read it before. I’m not sure when the Codas were added. I found them a little bizarre at the outset, but enjoyed them by the end.


message 8: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 650 comments Book link: Redshirts.

Read 3 years ago. The codas were my favorite part. The earlier humor wasn't funny enough to me, but the codas brought in some poignancy.


Yvonne | 6 comments I bought this at one of the audible sales years ago and it’s one of the very few I have listened to twice. I’ve had a skim through the paperback just to refresh my memory, though I skipped the codas which having read the comments above I might go back and read. I enjoyed it each time but I felt the first couple of old man’s war books were much more polished and funnier.


message 10: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
I am enjoying this book, I enjoy Scalzi's style so far and the story itsslf, though I could imagine some of the Trekkies getting outraged. There's one thing that made me very curious, I will put it in the spoiler brackets even though it has nothing to do with the plot, so those who haven't read it yet open it at your own discretion. Once you see it, it cannot be unseen and I am wondering if it's "a bug or a feature". What's the deal with all the (view spoiler)


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Did the fact that Scalzi felt he had to attribute every single line of dialogue, no matter how obvious who it was saying the line, bother anyone but me?


message 12: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3667 comments Mod
I will have to get farther in it than I am, but when I read it a few years ago, I never even noticed. Though I have to say, I read pretty fast and I tend to bleep over stuff when it's not necessary. Or even when it is, sometimes, unfortunately.


message 13: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "Did the fact that Scalzi felt he had to attribute every single line of dialogue, no matter how obvious who it was saying the line, bother anyone but me?"

Dan you can safely click that spoiler link of mine.

Still I am enjoying the book so far.


message 14: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3490 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "Did the fact that Scalzi felt he had to attribute every single line of dialogue, no matter how obvious who it was saying the line, bother anyone but me?"

I guess it beats the alternative (like a book I recently finished), where either no attribution or just he/she (with multiple persons of both genres present)


message 15: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "I will have to get farther in it than I am, but when I read it a few years ago, I never even noticed. Though I have to say, I read pretty fast and I tend to bleep over stuff when it's not necessary..."

Probably that is exactly that, at some point you just start blocking it out.


message 16: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 122 comments I also noticed the overwhelming number of saids. I tend to prefer prose that mixes in other words (remarked, stated, asserted, claimed, mentioned, etc, and that doesn't use any when it's unnecessary. But like Oleksandr, I think it's better to be clear than unclear.


message 17: by Dan (last edited Apr 15, 2019 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Art wrote: "Dan you can safely click that ...spoiler link of mine"

I can, since I read the book some years ago, before it was nominated for an award, and gave it a negative review.

Scalzi discusses his addition of codas here: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/3.... At the time I read the book, I frankly didn't notice I was reading codas at the end. I thought the author, along with not knowing how (or more accurately, when not) to write attributions, also didn't know how to end a novel. Now I see the addition of the codas was a style choice. Whatever. I also am now wondering if all the extra dialogue attributions (which I find insulting to my intelligence) were added as a way to pad his word count. Interesting.

I know Scalzi knows how to write dialogue. His earlier Old Man's War, one of my favorite books, which I read more recently, is very well written.


message 18: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "I also am now wondering if all the extra dialogue attributions (which I find to be insulting to my intelligence) were added as a way to pad his word count..."

That's what I was thinking. The plot itself went in different direction than I hoped it would, still I enjoyed the original novel. Even if 4.5% of the word count was allotted to the word "said" followed by the name of the person who was doing the actual "said"-ing (after reading that article I believe it is my right to write my posts as I see fit!). Now that you really think about it, few hundred words short of 10% of the book is quite a lot.

Still, I repeat once again, I enjoy the book and I like his writing style even though some of the jokes were too "millennial" for my taste.


message 19: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Apr 15, 2019 03:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3667 comments Mod
There are writing books and lessons out there, and I cannot tell you which ones because it's been too long, that tell authors to use "said" all the time. Because you aren't supposed to really look at the words of attribution, I guess, they are just there so you don't get lost.

And DEFINITELY don't use adverbs to define said or remarked or whatever. Apparently, this is bad form because it's lazy. Show the emotion that the characters are feeling by actions, instead. So, instead of "he said, angrily" use "he pounded his fist on the table and said . . . "

I have only reread the first few pages, so no further insights.


message 20: by Dan (last edited Apr 15, 2019 07:27PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan I don't mean to be a total negative Nelly. Sorry.

One of the neat things I remember about Redshirts was its use of metafiction, which in short is book characters commenting on themselves, or in experimental ways stepping out of the text of a book. One sees this from time to time in postmodern fiction, but almost never in genre fiction.

Maybe the metafictional aspects of the book is a discussion better held in the spoiler section since specific examples can't be mentioned here.


message 21: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 650 comments Dan wrote: "I don't mean to be a total negative Nelly...."

I want to be positively Nelly! (I'm thinking now of the Nelly Deli in New Orleans.)

I don't remember noticing all the "He said"s but will look for them in future. It is something that can drive me crazy in some books. But it can also drive me crazy when absent and I can't figure out who is saying what.

Maybe it was, in this case, because it sort of represents a fictional script for a TV show, even though written in the form of a novel.

This is not my favorite Scalzi, but it was good. I think I most liked The God Engines which was the first of his I read and The Collapsing Empire and Old Man's War I also enjoyed. I'm impressed by how different those books are from each other.


message 22: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 650 comments Scalzi talks about the codas here on his website.

He says it could be considered a novel plus 3 extra stories. You can stop without reading them, or continue.

One commenter says that The Glass Bead Game does a similar thing.

Scalzi says something about the "He said" here on his twitter, but I'm not sure exactly what he's talking about because I don't understand how twitter works.


message 23: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 650 comments Ok, I found what he was talking about by going outside of twitter and doing a websearch:

in print, having “he said” and “she said” at the end of dialogue makes good sense — it helps direct traffic and pacing. They can get repetitive, but most readers eventually gloss over them — they know they’re there but their brain starts processing them more like punctuation than words. They see them, but they don’t sound them out in their heads.

But in audio, every “he said” and “she said” is spoken out loud by the narrator. I was never more aware of how much I used dialogue tags than I was while listening to one of my audiobooks. It became so obvious to me, in fact, that after I started regularly selling my books to audio, I started reducing them even in work that was going into print first.


https://www.audible.com/blog/arts-cul...


message 24: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 650 comments Dan wrote: "Scalzi discusses his addition of codas here:..."

Hey, I posted the same link! Should have followed your link first. I must perform penance now.


message 25: by Dan (last edited Apr 16, 2019 11:13AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Ed wrote: "Scalzi says something about the "He said" here on his twitter, but I'm not sure exactly what he's talking about because I don't understand how twitter works. "

What the Twitter link you posted indicates is that all those unnecessary attributions can be glossed over by readers, as many here did, but not audio book listeners. (I think the main reason I noticed it is because I write, too, and look closely at craft.) It never occurred to me before how much more annoying and disruptive all those attributions would be for an audio book "reader". They probably looked for a bridge to drive off! (Cue up picture of a bridge behind a steering wheel.)


message 26: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Dan, though not for the same reasons as yours, I've learned to look at many award-winning books critically under (probably wrong) assumption that everyone else who does the actual voting does the same. I'm still trying to simply enjoy stories and writing itself, but I feel obliged to voice my opinion over things which did not work for me. I listened to codas by the way, there were no issues with attributions there.

@Ed
The screenplay scenario crossed my mind as well but then I decided it did not make much sense after all. Thanks for all the links and research, good stuff.


message 27: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bryan | 481 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "It never occurred to me before how much more annoying and disruptive all those attributions would be for an audio book "reader". They probably looked for a bridge to drive off! (Cue up picture of a bridge behind a steering wheel.) "

As an avid audio book listener, I can say that I didn't have that response when listening to this book. I did get annoyed that another Scalzi book was read by Wil Wheaton (We get it...you two are friends...)

But like Z and Kate are saying, I would prefer to much attributions than not enough. While listening, you mind just gets lost in the story and sometimes the voice changes, but if the narrator isn't great, then you can get confused by who said what.

But I also agree with what Ryan said "I tend to prefer prose that mixes in other words (remarked, stated, asserted, claimed, mentioned, etc, and that doesn't use any when it's unnecessary."

And you are right, Dan, that Scalzi has shown he can be a good writer in Old Man's War. That was my first experience with Scalzi. But, and I kind of hate myself for saying this, Scalzi doesn't seem to have written much of anything that compares to Old Man's War...it's like he's happy with this accomplishment and doesn't have the drive to do better.

The short story he did, The Dispatcher, was amazing and I really wish he would make a full book out of that idea.

But Lock In, Agent to the Stars, Fuzzy Nation and The Android's Dream, though I enjoyed them all...they blurred together. Especially for those of us that listen to his books because his buddy, Wil Wheaton, is the narrator for every one of those books. That made me want to drive my car into a tree...or just listen to a different book


message 28: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3667 comments Mod
I liked Agent to the Stars. It was a hoot.

I quit Fuzzy Nation really early on because it's a rewrite and he was changing things that were perfect. After I get over it, I might try again, particularly since I bought it.

I have Lock In, but I haven't read it yet.

And I have never even heard of The Android's Dream. I will look for it.

I liked Old Man's War, but I kept forgetting what was going on in the subsequent books because there's too much space between them all. I may read them again in a few years when I am sure he is done.

I find he is an excellent writer. I just didn't like The Collapsing Empire because I loved that first group of people, and then we never really got to see them again. And I kept WAITING for them to return. And then he killed off the princess' friend, and she was the only character I liked out of THAT lot. So annoying. It was probably better than the low rating I gave it.

He's usually someone I really like. I went and looked for The Dispatcher and it turned out I bought a copy well over a year ago, but I never read it. So, gotta go read it.


message 29: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3490 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "I have Lock In, but I haven't read it yet. "

Lock In is good, at least I liked it - quite an unusual take. If you plan to read it, start with his freely available prequel story Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome

As to 's/he said', I have a story :) one of my first English book was Shadowdale (it was nigh impossible to get new foreign books and only way was to get second hand ones in the specialized shop and they almost never had anything SFF), I used it to learn the language by writing down my translation. And the author used only 'said', no other equivalents and it drove me crazy :)


message 30: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Apr 17, 2019 08:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3667 comments Mod
Yes, I think I alerted this group to that one some time ago. It's good of Tor to put it up. It's good that some writers put prefaces and things like this instead of having a bunch of exposition within the story. Not too many writers can put lots of that in a novel without distracting from readability, as Radch clearly shows.


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