Redshirts by John Scalzi book review



Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:
(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces
(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

Initial thoughts

I love a bit of Star trek, nothing better than a nonsense science fiction TV show when you want to relax, so a book that takes a humorous slant on that? YES PLEASE.


I don’t know if I was in some weird mood, but I have never been so annoyed by the use of he said, she said, for every piece of dialogue, even the pieces that didn’t need it because you knew who was talking! UGH. My eyes eventually starting subconciously skipping them at times.

Other than that, it was really well written. Good description and good dialogue, (except for…well, you know.)


The set up was brilliantly done, that I was practically drooling. I thought, ‘I’m going to love this book.’ 


What happened to the plot? It was a great plot and then it veered off course, becoming cliche, and wrapped up waaaaay too quickly. I read, slack jawed and in disbelief. Everything happened waaaay too fast. The ending is incredibly abrupt too. I was not impressed.

We didn’t get the chance to explore the setting or character procession and I didn’t like the shift in plot in the second half. I’m so, so, so, so, sad about this. 


I think the Author took the character’s roles too far. In the book, the whole thing is they’re redshirts, essentially extras, (like in a TV show), and that’s how we got them. There wasn’t much in-depth character building. They had their roles to play and that was it. A shame, because what I read, I liked. 

Overall thoughts

I’m so sad about this book. It had SUCH POTENTIAL! It started great and I was convinced just from the first two pages that I was going to love it. But then things started happening at warp 10 and I didn’t get a chance to explore and enjoy the view. 

I enjoyed the style and the plot idea, but the direction it took was disappointing and not fleshed out enough. It was good enough that I’ll be checking the Author’s other work out.

Was it worth the read? No

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 3 grey

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5 thoughts on “Redshirts by John Scalzi book review

  1. Holly.Evans 18/06/2016 / 7:22 am

    I’ve heard amazing things about that book and that author but not tried them/him myself. It’s such a shame when they do that to a great idea 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Combustible reviews 18/06/2016 / 9:07 am

      Yeah, I know. A lot of people love it, but others seem to have similar thoughts to me. I’ve just picked up another book by him and it looks really good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nthato Morakabi 20/06/2016 / 8:27 am

    Well that’s unfortunate though that the book didn’t live up to its potential. Oh well. Onward forth right?

    Liked by 1 person

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