My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Redshirts by John Scalzi is a wonderfully deceptive book. I already knew that the book was a satire of the ‘Red Shirt’ phenomenon in Star Trek, so I was expecting a humorous, though shallow, romp. What I did not expect was a genuinely humorous, satical reference to pop sci-fi that simultaneously was itself a very successful bit of science fiction. It’s wonderful the way that Scalzi is able to mix both a deep reverence and affection for the subject matter with a healthy criticism of science fiction and the tropes that sometimes diminish it.
The story revolves around Ensign Andrew Dahl and his circle of fellow ensigns, newly assigned to the Universal Union flagship Intrepid. Within a few weeks of coming onboard, Ensign Dahl and friends begin to realize that their fellow crewmembers behave very strangely indeed. They all seem to avoid certain members of the command crew and go out of their way to avoid Away Missions. As crewmembers start dropping, Dahl and his friends race against time to solve the mystery of the Intrepid and get away alive.
Redshirts is an easy, absorbing read. I found it very hard to put the book down and was constantly amazed with how Scalzi playfully used the source material to its best effect. I recommended it for anyone with an affection for pulp sci-fi in general and Star Trek specifically. In the words of another famous redshirt “Make it So“.