Just finished Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas John Scalzi. Now, normally, my reviews don’t consist of summaries of what the story was about, as my reviews are opinions of the book and if I think you should read it, and don’t really (in my opinion) need to have summaries you could easily find elsewhere. But, as a dear friend pointed out, it can be annoying to have to click on other links just to find more complete information. So, here’s a brief summary about what the book is about: “Query: What happens when Star Trek-esque characters wearing a red shirt find out that they ARE, in fact, Redshirts.” I said it would be brief. As such, it is VERY incomplete, the ending gets a LOT more existential, and I suggest you find a better summary of the book elsewhere. Possibly, by clicking on a link.

As most, if not all, Scalzi books, I found the plot absolutely spell binding. Which was a really good thing, as the writing was very much not. Seriously, Scalzi is one of those authors who needs to find a thesaurus. The repetition of the word “said” almost made me stop reading the book. Which would have been a shame, as, like I said, the plot was fan-fucking-tastic. Writing might have gotten a “C” in any college Creative Writing course, but the plot might have made a professor “grade kindly.” There was definite character development, which is almost unheard of, in a Scalzi character. Except, possibly, with the Old Man’s War saga.

The only problem I had (aside from the thesaurus issue) with this book was the ending. Or series of endings. The whole Codex part of the title made sense at the end of the book, but honestly, I almost wish he hadn’t put those series of endings in. Yes, it wrapped up story lines that otherwise wouldn’t have been wrapped up, but as they were tangential arcs, I’m not entirely convinced they were important for the story. Unless it was a statement that reached back to the existential issues the book was talking about. In which case, thank you Scalzi for not hitting us over the head with the point, but I think a little more clarity that that’s what you were doing would have been nice. I rarely do this with books but, I would suggest that, if you were to read this, stop at the end of the first ending. Because, while the rest is not likely to hurt your eyes to read, it’s certainly not going to leave you with any Lasting Impressions, if you’re anything like me. And, if you’re NOT anything like me, then this entire review is sort of meaningless anyway.

I would recommend it to other Scalzi fans, but I certainly wouldn’t want this to be anyone’s intro to him. Due to the repetition and ending(s,) I would have to say that this is a two out of four paw book.


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