Scalzi has another winner here. I chuckled quite frequently as I read, so many of the cliches of televised science fiction kept getting raked over the coals. The word redshirts has come to be associated mostly with Star Trek. You know, every episode with an away mission to some new planet or one in the middle of some sort of crisis, some danger. You can’t get rid of the main characters(except they can be hurt, sometimes quite near death, only to be in top notch shape the next week for the new show). So you get the anonymous security guard, wearing a red uniform shirt that’s the sacrificial lamb to illustrate the dangers the crew are in.
I remember author David Gerrold in the introduction to his DS9 novelization of the crossover with TOS episode THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES talking about his brief cameo as a security guard talking about looking at the back of the uniform costume he got to see if it had a bullseye on it.
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just transferred to Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, his first deep space assignment. It’s a plump assignment, the Xenobiology department, where he gets to participate in away mission with the senior bridge staff.
It doesn’t take long for him to realize how dangerous these missions are and the senior staff never suffers casualties. It’s always some poor snook new to the ship. Another thing he notices: a lot of the below decks staff actively go out of their way to avoid these away missions.
Dahl stumbles into something that may explain it all and give the lowly crew members a chance to survive.
Loved this one. It can be ordered HERE.
I’m adding a couple of videos. The first is a group of shots of redshirts buying it set to the song REDSHIRTS by Jonathon Coulton, written for the novel.
and the second one is Scalzi himself playing and singing the song with his ukelele. As he says, watch it to the end. He’s a little bit out there.