What I'm Reading: Redshirts - Update
This has to be a first for the What I'm Reading feature, only a week between updates? that must mean the book sucked and I didn't finish it, right?
Truth be told, this was one my favorite books in a long while. My new commute affords a good amount of reading time, but more to the point, i didn't want to put the book down. This was a pleasantly easy read, not bogged down with a lot of the world building and techno-jargon that so many other sci-fi books suffer from.
After a quick prologue that served as a nice introduction to the world we're now in, the book starts in earnest with Andrew Dahl, a xenobioligist and alien religious scholar, newly assigned to Universal Union's flagship-ship, the Intrepid. Roughly translated to: a redshirt is assigned to the Enterprise in Starfleet.
He quickly discovers that his fellow lab members fear all commanding officers, and particularly going on away missions with said officers. In his first days aboard the Intrepid, Dahl befriends a group of misfit ensigns of different expertise, and learns of a conspiracy regarding the frequent, and untimely deaths of many ensigns while on away missions.
This happens fairly early in the book, and the remainder follows Dahl and crew trying to figure what, if anything, is causing these deaths.
I don't want to go into much further detail with this review because anything else could be considered a spoiler.
It's funny thinking where my thoughts were last time we got to this point, and how vastly different it is now, either way, on to the rating...
I've already recommended this book to at least three other people, and am planning on purchasing other books by John Scalzi, because this was an extremely well written book. He knows his audience and writes for them, and the book thrives because of this.
From the first page the author knows exactly the story he wants to tell, and while it may get meta towards the end, it's all to serve the story at hand.
The characters are all well fleshed out by the end, which in of itself is part of the story. The world in which these characters reside isn't completely realized on page, but that's because Scalzi expects the readers to connect the dots with their knowledge of sci-fi shows, Star Trek predominantly.
Because of this, I'm not sure if a non-sci-fi fan would enjoy this book as much, but if they're open to accepting the ideas of a show like Trek, I think they'll also be on board.
My only gripe with the book is that the two main characters are Dahl and Duvall. The similar names for the two most important characters was somewhat jarring initially, but it's something easy to get past. I just think as an author, that was an easily avoidable hiccup for the readers.
This is a good time for me to mention that I plan on rolling out a new rating system for this segment , hopefully I have everything prepared by the next edition of What I'm Reading.
Come back next week for the next book I read, or at least attempt to.