Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It's a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more delighted when he's assigned to the ship's Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn't be better... although there are a few strange things going on...
1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces
2) the ship's captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters
3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Suddenly it's less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew's fate may have been sealed, until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything, and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
Reviewed on 19th August 2013
An avid Star Trek fan, Redshirts is the first of John Scalzi's novels that I've read, and il have very much enjoyed it. The story follows Ensign Andrew Dahl as he's assigned to the fleet flagship and notices a worrying trend with the junior ranks in away missions.
The story was as much fun as I had imagined from what I had heard of it in advance, although the plot went down a route that I wasn't expecting. The humour is shiny and shows off a deep knowledge of Trek-like shows which are lampooned in a cosy and loving manner.
I found the ending a little weird, with the main body of the text coming to a halt much earlier than I had expected, and three fairly chunky codas following. However I thought the codas interesting and a good way to round the plot off with a nice satisfying conclusion that didn't feel forced or lacking.
Overall a very enjoyable one-day read that's encouraged me to look out for more of Scalzi's novels when I'm next on a book-buying spree.