19 October 2012

Beam me up: A Review of Red Shirts, John Scalzi

A while back I expounded  on my love for John Scalzi.  As is the case with almost all writers with a growing body of work there is going to be a book or two that lacks appeal. So be the case for Red Shirts

Trekkies or should I say Trekkers  (still unclear? read this and become more so) are familiar with the term "Red Shirts".   Please be advised that this post contains reference to Star Trek.  While I cannot bend you to my way of thinking I strongly recommend you embrace your inner fan.  The term red shirts refers to the crew of  the Starship Enterprise on the television series Star Trek who would tragically die on away missions.  In practically every episode of the original and the newer versions (The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine) the lead cast members lives would be put into jeopardy (this is called drama).  Rather than killing Spock or Kirk and thus having to go out and cast a new lead to the show Roddenberry would kill one of the Enterprise's crew.  As it so happened those crew members seemed to wear red shirts.  

I feel like we should all do a shot right about now....or have a beer.  You do click on the links right?

Using the premise of the red shirts,Scalzi superimposes it into a " real life" spaceship that so happens to be connected in a "twilight zone" parallel universe kind of way.  A universe that results in the lives of this ship's fate being  impacted by a TV show's weekly scripts that are consequently being aired in the U.S.A during the 1990's.   What?...come again. Let's try this again... There is a spaceship that exists in the future whose crew are killed off during away missions because the ship is linked to a 1990's science fiction television show that so happens to resemble Star Trek.  What ever is written for the script ends up occurring in real life to the crew of this ship. Come again?....Okay, so there is.... you know never mind.

Now to be fair, there is a very sound idea here. One that would have been great if a little more effort on the part of the writer and a little more editorial review had been invested. This book has been rushed.  Frankly, I am amazed that in its current state it was even sent for publication and then so widely supported by the publishing house with a full book tour put behind it. Either Scalzi was pushed to produce a new book or has gotten too big for his own good. In any event, I did not like this book.  I did not. The rambling end to the book is so annoying that I just wanted to read the darn thing to be done with it and move onto something with thought behind it.