May 14 2012

This Premise Sounds Brilliant: Redshirts

Published by at 6:37 pm under Plotting

From John Scalzi’s Redshirts:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.


Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.


Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission.Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “This Premise Sounds Brilliant: Redshirts”

  1. B. McKenzieon 14 May 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Here are some pro tips to avoid getting devoured by space monsters:

    1. Don’t work anywhere with a Xenobiology anything.

    2. Don’t work anywhere with a containment unit. Containment is derived from the French conteniment (“first victims”).

    3. If you are given any bullets, save them for the Chief Xenobiologist. If bullets could stop the man-eating, bus-sized creatures in your lab, your company wouldn’t have bothered building a containment unit.

  2. ehrichon 14 May 2012 at 9:04 pm

    i think that would be a kick ass comic of the doomed away mission nobody’s finally realizing what is happening and the extraordinary steps that they come up with to try to avoid there almost certain deaths

  3. Carl Shinyamaon 14 May 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I love it, actually 🙂

  4. Comicbookguy117on 15 May 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I think this sounds like it could be funny as hell! Like Buffy or Angel, funny but with a great deal of dramtic action. You know?

  5. ekimmakon 16 May 2012 at 4:53 am

    It’s sounds to me like they’re making fun of star trek.

    Never watched an episode in my life, and yet I still think it sounds like that.

  6. B. Macon 16 May 2012 at 5:17 am

    “It sounds to me like they’re making fun of Star Trek.” Absolutely. Naming the book “Redshirts” suggests to me that Star Trek fans are a target audience.

    It sounds like an affectionate parody. From one of the Amazon reviews: “Redshirts is a self-aware science fiction novel, paying respect to Star Trek in the vein of Dean Parisot’s Galaxy Quest. Redshirts is definitely a spoof but it is also a very thoughtful and well plotted homage.”

  7. M. Happenstanceon 16 May 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Well, this could be awesome. That’s a premise that could be twisted in any number of delightful ways. I’d love to see more books written from the perspective of someone who isn’t The Chosen One (TM) – I think those characters can actually be more interesting from the outside.

  8. NeonFractionon 19 May 2012 at 3:40 am

    I have to say, I really hope this turns out well, because the premise itself is making me squeal like a fangirl.

  9. Linebylineon 19 May 2012 at 7:50 am

    I’m not really a Trek fan; at best I’ve seen a few episodes here and there and enjoyed it more often than not. Even so, this book looks completely awesome, and I already have the Amazon page bookmarked.

    B. Mac, your pro tips reminded be of the Pirate Logs from Metroid Prime. (You almost have to feel sorry for Science Team, except most of what happens to them is their own stupid fault.)

  10. B. McKenzieon 19 May 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I don’t feel that sorry for the pirates–they respawn infinitely and missiles don’t. 😉

    One thing I find very impressive about this premise is that I think it could work really well with readers that are only vaguely familiar with the Star Trek series. I’ve only seen the most recent ST movie and haven’t watched any episodes, but I’m still curious about how the author would execute this premise. (In particular, I’m intrigued by the mystery angle–why are officers participating on highly dangerous missions? How do they manage to survive every time?)

  11. Gogopowon 21 May 2012 at 5:54 pm

    That made me laugh. I’m a trekkie. One of the things I love about Star Trek is the redshirts. Red usually meant you were in the security field. So of course they died a lot. Now it’s a joke. It gets better in the newer series and books. Except for the newest Star Trek movie. They fell back to killing off red shirts. 😛

  12. scarletton 26 Aug 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I am a devoted trekkie, and I want to read this so bad!

  13. aharrison 26 Aug 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I picked it up, and it’s pretty funny. I can’t say too much about it without risking revealing the twist.

    One criticism I have of it is that it feels like there’s some gratuitous cussing in it. I don’t have a problem with bad language, but in this case, there were some places where it felt like the only reason the characters were cussing was because the author felt like it was regular dialogue. Maybe normal people really do talk like that, but none that I know.

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