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New Year Resolution: Avoid trying to predict the future.

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Audiobook Review: Scalzi, Red Shirts
Red Shirts
John Scalzi

This book opens like pretty much any other spaceship based sci-fi. Things seem normal enough for Ensign Dahl, he and his fellow crewmen (and women) are on their way to their first assignment aboard the Intrepid. Upon arrival they soon find out that crew members die at an alarming rate when leaving this particular ship on away missions.

The title tips the book’s hand a little bit. For those not following Star Trek or what has become a bit of a meme it works like this; whenever a minor (or worse, unnamed) crew member left the USS Enterprise on an away mission wearing a red shirt they were certain to die on the surface of whatever planet they had just beamed down to.

Then the twist- in between avoiding being sent on an away missions, Dahl and his friends figure out what is so special about this ship, and hatch a scheme to save their lives and protect all future red shirts.

The audible book was very good, a big part of that coming from the book being read by Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher on Star Trek Next Generation, aka @wilw on Twitter, aka host of the You Tube show TableTop within the Geek and Sundry Channel, aka himself on Big Bang Theory)-- just noticed the Wesley Crusher character has a wikipedia page, and in the photo he’s wearing a red shirt- heh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Crusher)

Throughout the book the author kept a good balance between not taking the story too seriously and at the same time putting in enough effort to build a quality story. The result is just the right mix of embracing the genre and mocking it. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, the book won the 2013 Hugo for best novel.


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