Friday, June 15, 2012

What a POD Peep Reads: Redshirts

I, like apparently everybody else in SF-fandom, bought John Scalzi's latest book Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas. I took a break from reading the Hugo list to read the book. Herewith are some random thoughts:

1) The book is a short novel with three closely-related short stories attached. The whole thing probably clocks in at 80,000 words, which is short for Scalzi and about what I write. I found it refreshing to read something that wasn't of epic length.

2) The main novel is humorous, but not (at least for me) wet-your-pants funny. Scalzi (deliberately) kept his characters a bit generic (they are, after all, red-shirts) but in this case that worked.

3) I actually found the codas much more engaging than the novel. Each of the codas is written in a different point of view, and each provides a wrap-up for selected characters in the book. These were, I thought, universally very well done. They also provided needed emotional heft to what would otherwise be a lightweight story.

4) Redshirts, like much of Scalzi's work, would be an excellent gift for somebody new to SF, or especially for somebody who says they don't like the genre. It's a great gateway book.

1 comment:

Ceska said...

I really enjoyed the book. It's a good fun read, and then we get the coda's at the end to add to the whole thought experiment, so few of the characters, in this book anyway, are treated as red shirts. Instead, we get to see how John Scalzi works through building characters and trying out story lines and how a good writer can attack the same story from lots of points of view. In fact, as much as this was an entertaining read, it actually might server better as an instructional book to teach creative writing.