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.
Review of Redshirts
I’m just going to start out by saying that if you are not a Star Trek TOS fan, you are probably not going to get Redshirts. Well, maybe you will, but only if you read the entire book! If you a fan of the original series, you will immediately grasp the way of things.
TOS fans will latch onto the plotplot very soon into the book. I just made that compound word up: plotplot. It needed to be coined. Kind of like a plot within a plot, but more like a plot that is made up of a plot. Hmmph. Yeah, that did not make sense to me as I typed it, but it does make sense to me in terms of the story of Redshirts. All I can say is, read it. And feel free to use my new word.
Redshirts have a rep. I know it. You know it. Unless you are a chief, if you wear a red shirt, your life is on the line every time you step onto that transporter pad. Ensign Dahl is a redshirt. Or as they are called in the book – ensign.
Dahl quickly learns that other crew members are somewhat aware of their very precarious place on the Intrepid and have devised a system to make life just a little bit safer. This inspires the intrepid ensign to take his scientific curiosity and apply it to his life on (and off) the Intrepid.
As a nearly life-long fan of Star Trek, I loved the references to the characters, ships, missions and monsters of TOS. Finding and anticipating the parallels became a game, to see if I was right about who was who and what was what.
The ending postludes were amusing, but I actually think I could have done without them. Rather than add to the story, they actually told different stories – which were marginally interesting.
Star Trek TOS is both revered and ridiculed by fans all over. Redshirts is like a TOS fan, reverent of the show, but also poking much fun at the series. Mostly, poking fun. Can fans who only love and adore TOS appreciate this book? Doubtful. If you read Redshirts, bring your ability to laugh at this sacred icon of science fiction television.
My review copy came from the local public library. I had to give it back after two weeks. This review is my honest opinion.
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