Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Redshirts: A Novel with Three CodasRedshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a fan of science fiction television (and movies and books and video games and…). But, perhaps more importantly as a reader of this book, I am a fan of science fiction as a genre. I’m a fan of the tropes and the story conventions and the acting and the bad cinematography and everything else. Which is to say: I am a fan of the red shirt.

So, while this book was dedicated to Wil Wheaton and Brad Wright and Joseph Mallozzi, in my heart of hearts, I know it was really written for me. And, possibly, the thousands of other people who are just like me (including, no doubt, Wheaton and Wright and Mallozzi and Scalzi himself). All of this gives this book the amusing of affect of feeling intensely personal while staying mass-market.

Aside from being intensely and delightfully meta, this book is also extremely smart. It plays with the genre conventions in a clever fashion and introduces some great sci-fi ideas of its own. The first of the three codas then expertly wraps the whole thing up in a great big meta bow.

And, on top of all of that (being a love letter to science fiction, being smart and well written, being expertly constructed, etc.), it’s also funny. I actually laughed out loud at one point: and the last book that made me physically laugh was Douglas Adam’s Life The Universe And Everything. So I consider that pretty high praise.

If you’ve ever watched two different sci-fi shows and said “This is just like that other one!”, then this book is for you.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

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