Redshirts A Novel with Three Codas3.5stars



It is a Dangerous Wilderness Out There


By John Scalzi
Tor, $24.99, 314 pages

It is difficult to know how to judge Red Shirts by Jonathan Scalzi, a President of the Science Fiction Writers Association and former Stargate writer. Scalzi attempts to offer a criticism of the original show which had those who could be called “peons” in red shirts, the commanders wore different colors, dying before the first commercial break. It is a great attempt here to correct a fault. But with his former associations and standing, one may also write that Scalzi was inspired by a sense of rivalry towards a stalwart competitor which left many unknown writers in the dust.

““The red shirt,” Abnett said. “You know, in the original Star Trek, they always had Kirk and Bones and Spock and then some poor dude in a red shirt who got vaporized before the first commercial. The moral of the story was not to wear a red shirt.”

Star Trek at 47 has been monumental with five series, cultural icons, and hundreds of episodes. It is the most thought out and expanded enterprise in the history of science fiction. Red Shirts fails to acknowledge it as a triumph and multitudes of fans could easily argue that the best of Star Trek is up there with the best of science fiction. It was a dream that humans could stop being at war with each other and that we could put an end to poverty. Though it is responsible for using the word Frontier, in many ways it rightfully out distanced itself from the western motifs. In Scalzi’s examination of the Chronicles of the Intrepid, part of the Universal Union of planets, it is a great big dangerous wilderness out there. The fantastical elements in Codas, where the writer seeks to reform the franchise, is a failure to realize that such efforts have already been made.

Reviewed By Ryder Miller

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