The book was published by Tor Books in June In the prologue, several senior officers of the Intrepid , flagship of the Universal Union, lament the unusually high number of casualties of low-ranking crew members during recent away missions and conclude that they will need more crewmen to replace them. Docking at a spaceport, the Intrepid takes on five new ensigns including Andrew Dahl, an expert in alien religions and xenobiology ; Dahl quickly discerns that the crew is extremely phobic of being near the senior officers and of going on away missions due to their unusually high fatality rate. After several close calls , Dahl meets Jenkins, a crew member who offers a different theory: their reality and timeline are under periodic influence of a badly written television show from the past.
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The book was published by Tor Books in June In the prologue, several senior officers of the Intrepid , flagship of the Universal Union, lament the unusually high number of casualties of low-ranking crew members during recent away missions and conclude that they will need more crewmen to replace them. Docking at a spaceport, the Intrepid takes on five new ensigns including Andrew Dahl, an expert in alien religions and xenobiology ; Dahl quickly discerns that the crew is extremely phobic of being near the senior officers and of going on away missions due to their unusually high fatality rate.
After several close calls , Dahl meets Jenkins, a crew member who offers a different theory: their reality and timeline are under periodic influence of a badly written television show from the past. This is why otherwise good officers occasionally seem incompetent, Ensigns make poor decisions, and the ship has mysterious technology on board to produce last-minute inventions and medicines which would otherwise be impossible to produce.
Jenkins explains that with Dahl and the other Ensigns' otherwise routine duties , their colorful histories will inevitably make them targets of "the narrative" when the writers need "glorified extras" to kill for emotional impact.
The Ensigns kidnap a senior officer and proceed to travel to the past with the mission of convincing them to stop the show. Once there, they meet their actor doubles and realize that they are exact parallels, down to their scars and skin blemishes. Because the producer's son appeared on the show as an extra , one of the crew members is effectively his identical twin, and will revert to the young man's personality by staying in the past.
Conversely, Dahl reasons that bringing the comatose son into the future will allow them to use "the Narrative" to their advantage, letting the advanced technology and reality-altering properties of the writing revive him.
While saving the ship, Dahl sacrifices himself to save a senior officer for the sake of the narrative.
Awakening later, Dahl receives a message from the writers and producers explaining his recovery, and they promise to make the lives of the crew meaningful instead of using death as a quick plot device. Dahl then compares the close calls he has had with those of the TV show's protagonists, and deduces that there is another narrative protecting him, which means that he is actually the protagonist of another story.
The novel features three epilogues. In the first one the head writer deals with writer's block as a consequence of his bad writing choices. In the second one the producer's son, having reverted to his personality from the crewman who switched with him, determines to do something useful with the second chance at life he's been given.
In the third one an actress, who once played an extra on the show, receives a message showing intimate details of the woman whose life—and death—she helped create. The novel satirises the tropes of redshirt and black box in television science fiction writing.
John Schwartz of the New York Times noted that the plight of the Ensigns as they realize their situation as characters in a television drama was similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead , where the story tells what happens when its characters find out they are not in the "real" storyline. And the beauty of the book is that it works on multiple levels. If you want to go down a level and read it as a surreal meditation on character and genre like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead , this is your book.
FX had started developing a limited television series in , however nothing materialized and their production window closed in when the rights reverted to the book's author, John Scalzi. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Novel by John Scalzi. Archived from the original on Retrieved 15 July The Hugo Awards. Retrieved March 31, Retrieved World Science Fiction Society.
The New York Times. John Scalzi. Lock In Head On Hugo Award for Best Novel. The Sword in the Stone by T. White Slan by A. Heinlein Fahrenheit by Ray Bradbury Miller, Jr. Clarke The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin Vinge Downbelow Station by C.
The Extras Get a Life
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Redshirts by John Scalzi tells the story of the support crew onboard the Universal Union Capital Ship, Intrepid, and all the perils they face on a daily basis. I've been sitting on this review for a while, partly because I've not had much time to write but mostly because it has taken me a long time to come up with the right words for it. I'm a relative newcomer to Scalzi, having heard lots about him and his various sci-fi works but having never sat down and read anything of his until Redshirts. My first impression - if his other work is anywhere near as good as Redshirts then I can see myself devouring the rest of his bibliography in no time at all.
Data Protection Choices
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