March 23, 2014

The Angels Wanna Wear REDSHIRTS (A Review)

(Spoilers follow. I'm not proud)

Admittedly, my science fiction reading has been extremely limited to....well, books with the words Doctor and Whoin the title. So when a colleague suggested I check out John Scalzi's Redshirts, I eagerly took on the challenge, thanks to the Chicago Public Library.

And....well....the results are mixed.

The premise is simple: junior officers on a Star Trek-esque spaceship realize that many of their superiors are acting in strange ways....and that many of their fellow officers are cannon fodder. As they investigate matters further, they find that they are.....

Well, the idea is somewhat clever, almost reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode. It's not a bad idea, per se, but it's been done slightly better in other works. Thankfully, Redshirts is a relatively easy, short read, and has much to say about How to Live Life....

...and that's the major fault of the book. It wallows in its own cleverness, and takes a slightly pretentious tone towards the end. (The "Three Codas" at the end feel more like padding than playing out the end of the book). Perhaps Scalzi was attempting to mock specific tropes in Star Trek, but the book does seem to take on a slightly haughty, we-are-making-an-important-point-about-life tone towards the end that makes it seem more insiderish and exclusive. It's as if the book says, "Let us hammer the point home, because some of you won't get it."

I'll probably earn the enmity of my fellow geeks/nerds/whatever, but this is merely an OK book. Is it worth reading? Only if you check it out of the library.

No comments: