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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.

Buy this at Amazon or B&N.

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Book Preview – Redshirts

I’ve had some Scalzi on my to-read list at Goodreads for a while, but just hadn’t gotten to it.  When I saw this pop up, though, I was thoroughly intrigued.  As a Star Trek fan, the references to the Original Series are obvious and numerous – we’re just seeing it from the ‘redshirts’ side of things.  Where it gets wierd, though, is that it becomes clear that these red-shirted Ensigns are somehow being compelled to do these remarkably stupid things.  They’ve gone to school for years to learn science, but when it comes time to analyze the sample that the Captain gives you, it takes exactly the amount of time that the plot seems to require.  But the rest of the time, the world seems normal and real.

So what’s happening?  We’ll have to find out when the book hits the shelves (or your favorite eBook reader) in June.  For now, you can read the first 4 chapters for free via your Kindle or Nook, or on the Tor Forge site.  If you like the excerpt and would like to buy the book, you can order it via either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, with these links helping me keep this place running.