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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Redshirts by John Scalzi

RedshirtsRedshirts by John Scalzi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:  Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expendedon avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

Bookgroup selection for January 2013.

I liked Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades; was so-so on Last Colony, and bounced off of Zoe's Tale.  Thus I wasn't sure what to expect of Redshirts.

I expected too much, it seems.

I prefer my books to entertain, not annoy.  Even understanding the premise of the book: the not so subtle jabs at Star Trek, the reference to Stranger than Fiction (one of my favorite movies), and the overall whole situation - that an alternate reality can affect your reality if the the two timelines intersect - I was ultimately disappointed.

It read like teenage Fan-fiction; from someone who wrote Old Man's War, I expected a slightly higher caliber of writing.

The use of three characters who's last names start with "D" and two characters who's last name starts with "H".   Nope.  Doesn't work.  I spent more time trying to keep who was who straight that if there was any character development, I missed it.

The "Three Codas" ending was reminiscent of the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings movie, where the endings just. kept. coming.  I will grant a concession to the use of "First Person POV", "Second Person POV", "Third Person POV" and a different character for each was interesting enough - almost more interesting than the main story itself, but it wasn't enough to overcome my overall disappointment.

Recommended if you are a Scalzi fan. Recommended with reservations if you are not. 

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