Thursday, July 25, 2013

Redshirts ... Even the Book Died

John Scalzi's Redshirts is a funny, quick read with several good parts and some very interesting philosophical questions.  Yet, when I was done reading, I felt very unsatisfied.

The concept is hilarious.  You're probably familiar with what happens to "redshirts" on Star Trek.  If an unknown gets beamed down to a planet along with Captain Kirk and the other regulars, guess who's going to get shot by the laser!  It's going to be the unknown dude.

On Star Trek, these poor "redshirts" don't know what's about to happen to them, but in Scalzi's book, they figure it out.  They avoid away missions and try their best to maximize survival.  Sounds hilarious, doesn't it?

Well ... it was until I got about halfway through and the concept wore thin.  Plus ...

#1) The plot was very simple.  The ending was abrupt and didn't provide a good sense of closure.

#2) The several f-bombs and "college dorm" situations seemed inconsistent with the whole established Star Trek universe.  I felt a little gypped, as the book didn't "feel" like what I expected.

#3) The characters were very bland and difficult to remember -- which I expect may be intentional, because they are "redshirts" after all.  But still, they seemed like pawns moving through a series of very helpful coincidences.

I did enjoy the philosophical questions Scalzi raised.  My favorite part turned out to be the "first person"  Coda.  There was some really good stuff in there.  I just wish the rest of the book had Scalzi's usual intelligence and fulfilling story telling.

My recommendation ... if you're looking for a light, funny read, then check this book out from the library.  Otherwise, you may better enjoy other Scalzi books such as Old Man's War.

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