Book Review – Redshirts (or: Dead Ensigns is going to be the name of my next band)
If you’re like I was when reading the early reviews, this one might frustrate you, because I’m going to try not to spoil things too badly. It’s not going to be easy, though, as Redshirts is not like most sci-fi books you might read. You’re going to make assumptions about this book, John Scalzi’s latest, based on the cover and title, some of which would be correct. It’s about ‘Redshirts’, the disposable ensign that gets killed on away missions instead of Captain Kirk or Spock or whoever. Many shows have them, and no, they don’t always have a red shirt, but we all know how to spot them.
In fact, you could make a fun genre romp that just turns that trope on it’s head – what if the Redshirts figured out they were cannon fodder? What do they do? There’s some of that, here, but it goes a lot deeper than that. It gets freaking meta, man. There’s…well, here’s where I run into the “don’t spoil it, asshole” part. Hmm. Instead of giving it away, let me just ask you this: If you think a combination of Star Trek, Stranger Than Fiction, and The Matrix would be interesting, with characters who are snappy smartasses, and a set of three codas that twist your perspective around on itself a few times, check this out. Just do it before a Borgovian land worm eats your brain.