Sunday Selection: John Scalzi’s meta-novel Redshirts

This Sunday Selection is a book by John Scalzi called Redshirts, a story of a young ensign who figures out that away-team members always die.

This Sunday Selection recommendation comes by way of Sally on Twitter. It’s a humorous novel called Redshirts, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the original Star Trek series where all of the red-shirted crew members who went on away missions died. Obviously, fans of newer series may not get the reference, as red was changed to highlight positions of command in future television series. That said, the throwback nod was written by science fiction writer John Scalzi, who’s book Redshirts seems to strike a positive chord with most people who read it. Be it fans of the original trek, modern trek or Scalzi’s others works like Old Man’s War.

Redshirts has an overwhelming favorable review on Amazon, with over 1,635 reviews for an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The book is heralded not just as a good spoof on Trek but also falls into the same vein as other parody properties like Galaxy Quest. Many refer to the book as fun, and charming even if the ending didn’t land for some.

Amazon’s synopsis for the book seems to imply a heavy twist;

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 even more thrilled to be assigned to the ship’s xenobiology laboratory, with the chance to serve on “Away Missions” alongside the starship’s famous senior officers. Life couldn’t be better . . . until Andrew begins to realize 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) sadly, at least one low-ranked crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs. 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.

Fans physical media will be happy to know that it comes in hardback, paperback, and is available via CD for audio fans. It’s also on Kindle for those that prefer to skip trips to their local book store. For those wanting an audiobook option instead of something tangible, you’ll get an extra treat as Will Wheaton himself reads the story to you. That’s right, Wesley Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation is the one who handles this specific duty.

I’ve yet to read this book myself, but after getting that suggestion and reading the reviews, this is going on my list for my next book store or library visit.

Next: Friday Night Fights: Scarier alien menace Vidiians or the Borg?