Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: "Redshirts" by John Scalzi

I grew up as a Star Trek kid. Didn't see Star Wars until high school, so I grew up on the Star Trek cartoon with the original cast and with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Q was - and largely still is - my favorite fictional villain. Deanna Troi my first celebrity/fictional crush. Star Trek is really the reason why I love science fiction so much today.

Redshirts is equal parts love letter and parody to the Star Trek I know and love. Clearly, John Scalzi knows how ridiculous many sci-fi tropes are, and they're lampooned perfectly here. The characters realize that the ship they're on is radically different than the others that the Federation is associated with, and how things work on a specific timetalbe, and it becomes very obvious very quickly where the plot is going (as if the title isn't a dead giveaway).

What follows is simply a lot of fun from start to finish. There's time travel, there's the uprooting of basic sci-fi conventions, there's just a lot of fun stuff going on from start to finish. Plus, the book ends with a number of postscripts from various characters we encounter along the way. I don't want to give those parts away at all, but I finished the main story very late at night and still wanted to plow through the extra stuff, as they felt like bonus features as well as fleshed out the story a bit more.

What's interesting is that the story may be a tad too long and unnecessarily profane to get to its point, but it's easy to forgive it because it's so much fun, especially the codas. I'd imagine the audience for this is very limited to those who have a soft spot for Trek and the like, but there is plenty to enjoy here on a whole.

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