Review: REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi

REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi
REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi

As I think I’ve mentioned in a previous book review, I’m a bit of hipster when it comes to popular books. REDSHIRTS, by John Scalzi, was another book that I’d heard great things about, but since everyone was reading it already, I put it off in favor of other books on my epic to-be-read pile. But while I was on vacation last spring, I panicked that I didn’t have enough books on my Kindle and bought REDSHIRTS on a whim right before I left.

I’m so glad that I did. I tore through it in about a day and a half on the cruise ship and loved almost every minute of it.

I’ve been a fan of STAR TREK for as long as I can remember, from watching episodes of The Next Generation with my grandmother and renting The Original Series VHS tapes from my local BlockBuster in elementary school to watching Voyager with my mother in high school and finally devouring Deep Space 9 with friends in college. So I consider myself thoroughly versed in the tropes of that particular subgenre.

I was expecting a lighthearted romp that fed on reader’s expectations of the Star Trek universe, focusing on the plight of the poor anonymous cannon fodder crewmembers who never get lines, much less names or personalities. Perhaps something like the infamous Next Generation episode “Lower Decks,” which would introduce us to fleshed-out characters only to destroy them before our very eyes.

I was not expecting all of that, plus a hefty dose of metaphysics, timey-whimey, and conversations on the nature of creativity and authorial intent. However, all of these things only added to the depth of the plot and the characters. Suddenly, the book was about so much more than random characters on a starship. It was about relationships and causality and even what it means to be a writer. Which especially hits home when the reader is a writer as well.

Recommended to everyone who has ever enjoyed Star Trek, but especially to everyone who has ever watched or read a science-fiction story or movie or television show and spared a moment to consider the poor guys getting blown up in the background.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars.

Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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