Monday, July 9, 2012

“In other words, crew deaths are a feature, not a bug…”

Ensign Andrew Dahl has been assigned to the xenobiology lab aboard the flagship, Intrepid.  Even though Away Missions are not necessarily part of his job description, there is always the opportunity for him to serve on one along with the famous Captain Abernathy and Commander Q’eeng.  But Dahl begins to notice something strange aboard the Intrepid: crew members scurrying out of the senior officer’s path, he is often left alone in the lab when Q’eeng arrives “unannounced” everyone having left for “coffee” or to “check inventory”.  There’s also the magic box that does impossible things and away missions that really serve no purpose but always end with the senseless death of a crew member.

After enjoying Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi I was excited to read his latest, Redshirts; especially when I learned what it would be about.  If you are familiar with Redshirts in the Star Trek universe, you know they don’t always fare well on away missions.  I was curious where he would go with this and I was looking forward to the great dialogue I liked so much in Fuzzy Nation.

In Redshirts, I got the dialogue and while I think I understand what Scalzi was going for, I felt a little let down.  I was hoping for something a little more sinister behind the demise of the poor redshirts.  What I got was a silly premise straight out of a bad sci-fi show, with bad science and someone saying something very dramatic .  The characters didn’t feel fully fleshed out; a little too one dimensional where any of them could have come and gone without much notice.  This is what I think Scalzi wanted to present but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

I was able to take something away from this as a wannabe writer so it’s not like this book is a waste of time.  There are some funny moments that make you laugh out loud.  There are also some sentimental moments contained in the three codas at the end.  So even though I was disappointed it was still a good read and there are lots more Scalzi books out there I'm sure I'll really enjoy.

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