Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

red shirts

Author: John Scalzi
Published: 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi
Series: N/A
Rating: B –

 Redshirts is the first book I’ve read by John Scalzi and won’t be my last. The book is filled with a lot of humor and a clear affection for cheesy sci-fi.

When ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the Universal Union’s flagship, the Intrepid, he’s excited to have such a prestigious posting. However, he quickly starts to notice a couple of odd things. First, his fellow crew members have the tendency to disappear whenever a senior officer approaches. Second, every away mission goes insanely bad and ends with a high body count. Somehow, though, the senior officers always make it back alive….even when it’s against all odds.

The first half of this book is great. It pokes a lot of fun at Star Trek and I liked seeing the parallels between the two. I was having a blast reading about crew members fleeing at the approach of the senior officers and the baffled reaction of Dahl as the away missions went completely off the rails. The humor in all these scenes are spot on and actually had me laughing out loud on a couple of occasions.

Where the novel started to lose me was in the second half, when things got super meta. I was able to shrug off most of it until time travel was introduced into the story. Personally, I hate time travel. I try to avoid books with it because I know the chances of me enjoying the story are low. While the time travel didn’t kill the novel for me, I did find myself less invested with what was happening.

Overall, I still really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it. If you enjoyed the movie “Galaxy Quest”, you’ll probably find something to love here. I’ll definitely be checking out more of Scalzi’s work in the future.

17 thoughts on “Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

    • Yeah, I think because the story stayed fairly shallow is why some of my interest started to wane in the second half of the story as well.

      The codas were nice wrap-ups and they kind of started going a little deeper. I just wish it would have been done more with Dahl and the cast of the Intrepid.


    • Thanks, Nath. I had to think about that for a minute. Honestly, I think that if I wasn’t familiar with Star Trek I would have been a little bored.

      I haven’t read anything by else by Scalzi, but if you’re looking to check him out, I think I’d recommend starting with one of his other books.


  1. I’ve only read one Scalzi book so far, which was the sci-fi police procedural Locked In. Quite enjoyed it, probably because it’s touted as one of his least shallow books (it includes discussions about ableism and racism, among other serious topics). Redshirts is on my TBR because I loved Star Trek growing up, but I’m glad you mentioned all the time travel stuff because I don’t usually enjoy that either!

    Liked by 1 person

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