There came a point while reading Redshirts that I stopped and thought, “Is this what I’m watching when I’m watching Star Trek? Is Star Trek really a bad science fiction show and I just can’t see it because I’m so wrapped up in the grand idea of it?”
I went into Redshirts expecting something along the lines of Star Trek from the POV of redshirts, or a flat out parody of the show. And it was, to a point.
The parody would have been enough to carry an entire book and make a buck. But, John Scalzi built so much more into it, made it mean so much more, that Redshirts became something to seriously consider and analyze.
None of which I’m going to do here because I suck. Feels like it needs a proper book club treatment. (Note to self: must find a book club).
Then Redshirts became an indictment of bad science fiction television.
You know what I’m talking about and it’s not just in whatever the hell Syfy original movie is on this week starring that guy from that show you loved back then. Beloved shows are guilty of the crimes of writing portrayed in Redshirts. Maybe not as dire as an ice shark or time traveling through a black hole, but offensive nonetheless. Killing a character to falsely create tension. Building up a minor character then killing her to give a lead a reason to cry. Bad and/or fake science (it matters. It really does). Even Star Trek has it’s moments, as I’m learning on this Star Trekk 700 mission.
Then Redshirts became an examination of the relationship between reality and art.
Then Redshirts became a warning about not wasting the lives we’re given. A rather inspiring warning, too.
The only real problem I had with Redshirts was that the characters were pretty much indistinguishable from one another as they’re just names and dialogue. That’s probably by design, as redshirts by nature are indistinguishable from one another, even if they have a little backstory and minor arc.
Could also be me getting old and confused. Even so, Redshirts is a buy.
Cheese Rating Scale: grass-fed sharp white cheddar. You think you know what to expect, but there’s a surprising complexity there. Also melts well on sandwiches.
Review copy provided by Tor.