Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Redshirts by John Scalzi

John Scalzi Redshirts
Redshirts was the November selection for my local book club. All of the members who read the book agreed that it was very funny and entertaining. We were all glad that we had read it.  It did help that all of us are fans of the Star Trek shows, though that is not required for one to read and enjoy this book.

 I will admit, that I was the only member who did not make the connection of the title, RedShirts, with what was happening in the story.  It seems, that in the first series, Star Trek,  that when a crew member was killed on an away mission, they inevitably had a low level ranking and thus wore a red shirt. 

The Intrepid is the flagship of the Universal Union.  It's crew, with the exception of the captain and his 4 supporting officers, know that something is wrong, that a crew member will die every time there is an away mission led by one of the 'five'.  They do whatever they can to avoid an away mission the captain or any of the other four.  This being said, no one is attempting to do anything about this situation until red shirt wearer Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the Intrepid.  Fortunately for the rest of the crew, he is not willing to accept the status quo and seeks an explanation and a solution to these untimely deaths.

It seemed natural to me that the five new crew members: Dahl, Duvall, Hanson, Finn and Hester, would band together.  They were assigned to the Intrepid at the same time, and waited in the same departure lounge for hours awaiting their transport.   This quick camaraderie continued once they were aboard the Intrepid as they all noticed that something was amiss.

During our book club meeting, we had an interesting discussion but we kept getting drawn off track by talk of our favourite Star Trek spin off and by particular episode plot lines.  My new term for the day was 'Treknology', having to do with the futurist technology used during the various shows, particularly the tricorder.   The best example of this in the book, is 'The Box' which is only used during times of extraordinary difficulty, when an improbable solution is needed in an impossibly short period of time.  For an explanation of how it works, you will have to read RedShirts.

Visit Two Canadian Readers for a few comments on this book by another member of my book club.

Author John Scalzi's website

Thanks to MacMillan for use of the cover image.

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