Goodreads Book Review - Redshirts

RedshirtsRedshirts by John Scalzi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an interesting book, not just for the story itself but for its framework, but we'll get to that bit later. The majority of the story is a bit of a send-up of sci-fi TV show conventions, specifically Star Trek. In that regard, it's brilliant. It's entertaining and witty and made me laugh out loud quite a bit. The twists in the story and how the whole thing is resolved are clever as well, especially in how one trope of the genre is solved by another. A flaw to the main story is that none of the characters have a distinct voice or personality; they all pretty much sound exactly the same and if their names weren't used in dialogue it would be impossible to tell them apart and know who was speaking to who. It dawns on me that that might be a conscious choice non Scalzi's part, another commentary of the nature of "redshirt" characters, but if it is a conscious decision, it feels off to me. It would be like he was reinforcing the very trope he was lampooning. Either way, that lack of individuality doesn't work for me. The other interesting part of the book is the codas; there are three of them and aside from the first one they are written in completely different styles and tones than the rest of the book (the first coda is also written in a different style, but the tone is the same). I won't say what the codas are about to avoid obvious spoilers, but it's an interesting structure as the codas combine to make up about a third of the book. So yes, flaws aside, this is an interesting and fun read that I'd recommend to sci-fi fans.

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