From the top of the large boulder he sat on, Ensign Tom Davis looked across the expanse of the cave toward Captain Lucius Abernathy, Science Officer Q'eeng and Chief Engineer Paul West perched on a second,larger boulder, and, Well, this sucks.
–John Scalzi - Redshirts - c.2012
p>Read for the 2014 Sci-Fi Experience
Ensign Dahl has just been assigned to The Intrepid. In many ways this is an honour. The Intrepid is the flagship of the fleet, she leads the way. The only negative is the death count. Statistically speaking it is the most dangerous ship to be aboard. But try telling anyone that, they’ll just say that The Intrepid takes on high risk missions. It is unfortunate, but only makes sense, that it has such a death rate. But for the crew-members the only thing that makes sense is avoiding being sent on an Away Mission. They always lead to a fatality.
I read this book in almost one sitting. Part of that is I had time to kill, but another part is that I was really enjoying it. It isn’t the greatest book ever written, I certainly would not call it ingenious as a reviewer on the back cover does, but it works well for what it is. A look at the craziness that makes up episodic tv where unreal drama is often created by peril to the main characters. Peril created by the deaths of people around them, Star Trek fans have long known this as the Redshirt effect, hence the title.
It is a well told story, although I found the characters a little interchangeable and easy to mix up. But I liked the general idea and the way the story was told. The whole meta-fiction narrative was a fun idea, although it never made total sense. I don’t really think it was supposed to though.
Overall, there are a lot of worse ways to spend your time than enjoying a book like this.