Thursday, 28 June 2012


Right out the gate: I enjoyed the hell out of Redshirts. We all know what they are, so what happens when Red Shirts recognise they are Red Shirts? This is the premise of the book by John Scalzi, and is gets more complicated from there. And more than just the book, the audio version is read by Wil Wheaton, which was the version I enjoyed.

The main point is that the characters realise they are in a fictionally influenced reality and they decide to do something about it. This might cause a few problems for some people, but being an LNH writer, that was right in an area of thinking about I was happy with (and have touched upon myself). Meta-narrative? You want it, you got it! (And it goes one further step at the end, which I approve.)

Interestingly, the book ends with three codas. The first two, done in a different style to the rest of the book, and entertaining enough and do wrap things up. The third... is very bittersweet, and ends on a rather sour highly contrived point (again, lampshading does not make it okay!) Oh, and speaking of style, expect a lot of 'Bob said' and 'Jane said'. There are a truck load of 'said's in this.

Anyway, this is nearly enough to make me want to try another Scalzi book. Recommendations?


evildicemonkey said...

I also heard the Wil Wheaton version and I was disappointed with his reading, I thought it was a straight reading with no emotion/acting behind it and all the poorer for it.

I was also disappointed with the codas, I wanted to see how the redshirts coped with what they had been through, we have been following them, they are the protagonists of the book but instead we get 3 people who had 1 or 2 scenes in the book and weren't part of the narrative (although they were part of the story). The codas do tie up interesting loose ends, but ends that we wouldn't have necessarily noticed were loose until thy were pointed out in the coda.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the way the redshirts themselves ended, it was an appropriate ending to this sci-fi book... but as the book went on for some length after the fact I would have liked one of the codas to have been if not about them then about the impact of their resolution of the problem.

My summation would be good story, poor writing.

Jamas Enright said...

Having heard Wil's other audio books (of his biographical essays), I might be biased towards him reading this.