Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Review of Redshirts by John Scalzi

In the classic Star Trek series it was fairly typical that the anonymous redshirt on away teams would not return due to some mishap or aggresive alien life form. Redshirts begins the same way. Death by Borgovian Land Worms. The reader begins by being introduced by who could only be considered as Redshirts waiting for their time to come and following the exploits of the Intrepid as they hurtle through space.

One away mission finds Dahl, one of the new low rank redshirts in peril:

"Dahl weaved through the trees, screaming for Q'een and Taylor. Some part of his brain wanted to know if he was running in the right direction; another part wanted to know why he wasn't using his phone to contact Q'eeng. A third part reminded him that he had a pulse gun of his own, which might be effective against whatever was currently eating Cassaway and Mbeke.

A fourth part of his brain was saying, This is the part where you run and scream a lot.

He was listening to the fourth part."

These lines early in the book tickled me and really sets the stage for what is to come. However, why did Dahl not be consumed? He is after all a low ranked officer in a redshirt on an away mission. Therein we are led into another mystery. What really is going on?

We will soon be left pondering if this story line is reality, or........is it merely a television science fiction series where the characters have taken on a life of their own. I will let readers ponder this on their own. Star Trek, eat your heart out.

I came to what I thought was the end of the story but there are 3 Codas at the end. When I started reading the first I was thinking that this was really an unnecessary addition and that the story could have concluded previously. However, as I continued to read this first Coda and the following 2 I realized that my opinion was premature because they really did add to the story.

This was a most enjoyable read and as an original Star Trek original series fan during their first run, this book did indeed turn that world upside down. It was almost as if the transporters malfunctioned and created a bizarro world. I recommend this book to Star Trek fans, fans of television science fiction, whatever....anyone would enjoy this book.

To my surprise I came to learn that John Scalzi was Creative Director on the recent series Stargate Universe, a short lived but I thought an excellent addition to that franchise. I still would like to know what became of the crew. I watched a rerun of S-U and checked the credits more carefully. He is somewhat responsible for the creative direction. Can't wait to read his Fuzzy Nation sitting in my stack.

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