Author: John Scalzi
Length: 320 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library
Plot Basics: Four new crew members join Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. They quickly find themselves in the unique position of completing jobs and tasks that don’t seem logical or rational to their scientific minds. Within days, the truth of their situation is revealed — they are Redshirts, compelled by the Narration, to perform seemingly impossible (or deadly) tasks.
Banter Points: For the record, I’m not a Trekkie. I am, however, a gamer, and the meta gaming that happens in this novel had me laughing. I also love time travel stories along with their unique world rules; my delight in this book was primarily due to watching them unfold, complicate the story, and be resolved.
As a non-Trekkie, I’m sure I missed out on puns and insider jokes, however, nothing was so insider that I couldn’t keep up with the overall story.
The way that the main characters solved the first mystery and identified that they were red shirts inside of a television show was clever. I liked how it used conventions where someone already had parts of the information, and getting all of the people into a room (and on the same page), made it believable. At their core, each character has unique attributes, predefined to fit the wold, but also build to compliment each other so that ultimately they solve the puzzle together. Just like any good marauding party in your favorite dice-rolling game.
Bummer Points: I bet a missed a bunch of good humor, not being a Trekkie. It didn’t cause gaps, but given the humor that existed, I missed out.
Stacie’s Recommendation: Fun, quick read that I’d recommended to anyone who understands the vital role that redshirts play.