Ok, this is one of two “reviews” I’m going to post for John Scalzi’s latest novel, Redshirts. This one came about because I sent Scalzi a tweet telling him that I was irked about how difficult it was going to be to review the book. [Spoilers could so easily abound!] Mark Lawrence caught the tweet, and suggested that I
“perhaps use a series of animal pictures wherein the expressions of kittens, elephants, etc., convey your thoughts?”
To which I, naturally, replied: “Done.”
So, here it is. As a dog lover, but also someone familiar with internet memes, I have provided (where possible) a parallel dog and cat (or, “kitteh”) review of various emotions I went through while reading Redshirts. This is far from exhaustive, of course.
[This is a one-time thing. Probably.]
At first, during the prologue, I was a little sceptical.
However, as the novel progressed, and I got to know the characters a little better, I started to find things rather amusing. The early chapters were filled with plenty of knowing, endearing asides and elements that are sure to please every fan of classic sci-fi television.
There were scenes that would make me grin like a fool, and others that would make me laugh at the absurdity of the crew’s situation, or a well-placed witticism.
After a while (roughly two-thirds of the way into the book), I became a little confused, as everything changed.
Perhaps even sceptical, again.
Nevertheless, despite the complete shift in gears, style and content in the final third of the book, it would be a lie to say I didn’t enjoy reading the main story of the novel. It’s fun, endearing, nostalgic science-fiction fun. It’s not perfect, but I can’t imagine any fan of sci-fi TV and novels not enjoying the wry poking-of-fun at some of the genre’s classic tropes, niggles and mores. In sum:
Just remember, whatever you do, if you find yourself on a space-ship wearing a red shirt, make sure you do one thing:
“Avoid the Narrative.”