Redshirts: A Novel with Three Cpodas by John Scalzi

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Cpodas by John Scalzi

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2012
Length: 7 hours, 41 minutes
Read by: Wil Wheaton
Source: purchased

The Short Version:
A group of low ranking crewmembers of a space exploration ship begin to have suspicions regarding the high number of them who die while on away missions.

Why I Read It:
I’m old enough to have watched Star Trek when it first aired and have seen every episide multiple times over the years so the high mortality of the ‘redshirts’ on the crew was a familiar thing to me. The premise of this book sounded fun and I’ve enjoyed Wil Wheaton’s narration before.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

My Thoughts:
This book both interested and irritated me. The story was fun and interesting and the three codas at the end were excellent. They gave the story added dimension that worked very well.

There was a lot of humor in this but there was also some very heart tugging moments. It had all the fun of the old Star Trek episodes while making fun of it at the same time. It was in the three codas at the end that the mood changed. They added some closure to some story elements but were a definite departure from the feel of the main story.

My irritation was with the author’s choice of dialog format. There were often sections of long conversations between two or more characters that always ran like this.
….., A said.
….., B said.
….., A said.
….., B said.

I began jumping for joy when the occasional “A asked” showed up. I’m wondering if this was less noticeable and irritating in the print version. It was very annoying at the begiinning. I think I learned to not hear it so much as the book continued because I really was enjoying the story. Every once in a while a long dialog section would take me out of the story again with the repetitive use of ‘said’ at the end of every sentence.

Despite the fact that Wil Wheaton does a good job of the narration the audio format has issues beyond his control and are the doing of the author. For that reason my recommendation is to read the print version of this. It really is a lot of fun in the same way the original Star Trek series was.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration (Wheaton was better than his material in this case)


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.