At first, I liked Red Shirts, by John Scalzi (Old Man’s War,The Collapsing Empire and the second book ofThe Interdependency series, The Consuming Fire). I love Scalzi’s writing. His space-action is absolutely riveting, the plots have just the right amount of complexity and twists, and he’s funny as hell.
So, I liked Red Shirts, until about a third of the way in, when things change quite a bit, and not everything (and everyone) are exactly what they seem to be. I lost interest.
Then, needing something handy to read, I see it still in my library, and I dipped back into it, and freaking loved it. It was a very strange experience. I liked the book until I didn’t, but then returned to it and as I finished it, realized that I had just finished reading one of my top 10 favorite sci-fi books ever.
Yes, EVER. And I read a lot.
Red Shirts hits on so many cylinders, I feel like I bought a 4-banger Toyota Somethingorother, and driving it off the lot, discovered it’s a 12 cylinder Mercedes AMG luxury machine.
Unfortunately, discussing everything that makes the book so great would require me to spoil it a bit, so I won’t. Probably just as well, since I’d start running at the mouth and not stop until I’d rolled past 40K words, and that would just be sad. I’m a writer too, behind on a couple projects, and generating that many words for a blog that makes me no money at all, would be…unfortunate.
Suffice it to say that if you are a sci-fi fan, you will love Red Shirts in at least two different ways. Yes, early on, Trek fans will think, either hey, you’ve ripped off Roddenberry, or will be suspicious about it. That’s good. Go with that.
Audible listeners will perhaps, be a little misguided by Wil Wheaton’s narration. His performance, as in The Interdependency Series books, is perfect, but the “red shirt” thing, being read by Wesley, may spin you a bit.
Again, go with it.
I liked Red Shirts until I didn’t, but then loved it tremendously. This is a must-read, and to really enjoy it, a must-listen.
17 stars out of 5!