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Book review

Redshirts

by John Scalzi

Redshirts

Everyone who has ever watched more than a couple of episodes of the classic Star Trek will have noticed that when you’re beaming down to a new planet, you don’t want to be one of the team in red shirts. Those are the ones who end up shot, eaten, crushed, or otherwise killed by whatever this episode’s planet has in store.

Upon this premise does Scalzi found this charming book. The “red shirts” are real people, too, and in this alternate world, some of them begin to realise their fate.

“Yes, death by away team. Very effective on this ship,” Jenkins said.

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to this ship. It’s a prestige posting, but slowly he begins to see that – other than the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and one or two other charismatic key personnel, everyone else is at risk. As he shares this with a few close colleagues, they realise, too, that there’s no simple way out of this for them:

“In other words, crew deaths are a feature, not a bug,” Cassaway said, dryly.

Andrew and his compadres therefore expend a great deal of energy in not being the one’s selected for the away missions. Until the friends stumble upon a secret, which gives them – just maybe – a truly improbable way out of this all…

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