Redshirts by John Scalzi

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 fact 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:
Really enjoyed this story, and loved all of the Star Trek references! Scalzi doesn’t really make fun of the old show, but it seemed like more of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge type of homage. I don’t know if it will make as much sense or be as amusing if you’ve never seen the original Star Trek, but I found myself nodding along and laughing out loud at times!

Ensign Dahl is excited to be assigned to the flagship of the fleet, the Intrepid. It’s a prestigious assignment, but then he begins to notice odd behavior from the rest of the crew. Their habit of disappearing whenever certain officers appear, and their strange reluctance to go on away missions. Comparing notes with other new crew members, they begin to realize that something is not quite right.

Very glad that Scalzi wrote this story, though I’m puzzled why no one else beat him to the punch as you have to admit, it was a story begging to be told! Why did no one on the original Enterprise ever notice that away missions were so dangerous when the senior officers participated? And why would officers be allowed to go on dangerous missions anyway? Leaders never fight on the front lines, so why would the Captain and his senior officers? Seems a little irresponsible to me.

This was a very fun read that I finished it in one sitting! Loved the ending, as it made me laugh. And I really enjoyed the codas at the end. Not really necessary, but a nice addition. Gave this one a 5/5 as I really loved it, love Scalzi’s sense of humor, and am looking forward to reading all of his other books!

ARC received at BEA 2012

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