Author: John Scalzi
Year Published: 2012
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Audiobook Length: 7 hours 41 minutes
My Pre-Reading of Redshirts
Synopsis: 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 facts 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 expended on 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.
Review: This was soooooo much more than I expected it to be. I thought it would just be a fun simple satire of the redshirts from Star Trek: The Original Series, but it is so much more. Not to be too spoilery, but this book tackles topics of existentialism and is super meta. I was surprised how much it made me think. Between listening to the chapters, I was thinking about so many things.
The "meta"ness of this book is amazing. There are so many levels that it will make your head explode. Scalzi did an excellent job putting this book and the concept together. I loved the explanation for each character. They all had their place.
There were so many specific Star Trek episodes that were referenced or indirectly referenced that I got the nostalgic chills for. I'm sure they were even more references place by Scalzi that I didn't get. You don't have to be that familiar with Star Trek though.
The three codas at the end of this novel have a completely different feel to the rest of the novel. When listening to the audiobook, the story ended and I still had two hours left. There were so many emotions felt by me during the codas. I related to each of them in a different way.
This book was entertaining, funny, and thought provoking. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it. Wil Wheaton's narration is also excellent. I give this book and its audiobook a 5/5.