Redshirts

RedshirtsFinished this book 30 hours after purchase. Needless to say a quick read. While I cannot say this book caused laughter induced bellyaches, I did catch myself grinning widely at parts. Anyone who appreciates the campiness of the original Star Trek series will enjoy this book. Essentially, the starship Intrepid and bridge crew are facsimilies of the original Enterprise. However, this story is about the lowly ensigns in the bowels of the ship who realized their survival rate is abyssmal, especially on the dreaded Away Missions which everyone avoids like the plague. This is a quick read with a few humourous action scenes resulting in the deaths of some more redshirts. Ensign Andy Dahl and his shipmates come to discover, though the aid of Jenkins the widowed recluse who lives in the maintenance tunnels of the ship, they are at times in the grips of The Narrative which controls their actions and decisions. For dramatic effect, the impossible task is accomplished by a piece of alien technology called The Box, which always gives the correct answer moments before its too late (to heighten the drama). Andy and his friends timetravel back to present day to put a stop to the narrative since they discover their lives are based on a fictional TV series called the Chronicals of the Intrepid. There they discover everyone on the crew has a doppleganger – an actor who played them on the TV show. They use this to their advantage by switching Hester for Matt who is the producer’s son suffering a coma after a motorcycle accident. They bring the patient back to the future all the while referring to him as Hester, to fool the Narrative. It works. Essentially Hester and Matt switch identities and through the miracles of 23rd century medicine Matt (now Hester) recovers. Since the producer got his son back, he agreed to Andy’s terms (undisclosed) to stop killing people on the show and wrap it up. At the end, Andy begins to wonder if he really is a minor character or the protagonist in another work (ie the novel you are reading). The story of Ensign Andy Dahl and his shipmates concludes about three-quarters of the way though the book. The remainder is three codas, or summaries of that happened to the other characters in the contemporary timeline. The first is about Nick the senior staff writer and the creative block he suffers after learning his words actually kill people. The second is about Hester’s doppelganger Matt who miraculously recovers from a coma without any sign of his injuries. The final chapter is about Samantha, the contemporary double of Margaret, Jenkin’s deceased wife. In Margaret’s correspondence he feels the love that her husband had for her and induces the same desire to be loved in herself. At the end, on the beach she meets Nick the writer, who just happens to be Jenkin’s double. Did I like this book? Yes. For the short time commitment and easy ready it delivered some smiles and moved along at a brisk pace.

The Walking Dead

(Amazon) Redshirts

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