Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
by John Scalzi
I FINALLY finished this. Honestly, it wasn't as funny as I had hoped it would be (the back cover told me I would ruin my pants; this, luckily, was not the case), but I did find a lot of it funny. Halfway through, I found out that Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook version. So I REALLY wish I had earread it (I might try to find a copy of that to listen to down the road).
The basic premise is about a starship crew that suffers at least one casualty every away mission or every week. The body count keeps going up and the lower crew members start to get concerned... and start putting together theories. Eventually, they discover that they are merely pawns in the great game the Narrative is playing with them. And once they figure out what rules they operate under (i.e. cheesy sci-fi television show rules) they learn how to manipulate those rules to stay alive.
I read this book while at the ER and during some other hospital visits, as well as for 20 minutes every 2 or 3 weeks at the allergist's office. So it took me a LONG time to get through. I finally finished it up on Saturday while waiting for a car oil change. I feel like there were some time travel details I just didn't read properly or that I have forgotten, so I really don't know how certain things happened in the story. This is my fault, though, not the book's. And it's a reason a second reading by me might not be a bad idea, if I ever come across the audiobook version.
The main story is funny and creative. I grew to like these characters, and I wanted to root for them against their badly-written stories!
The book also has three codas, which I should have expected, given the title, but I honestly missed the title until I got to the codas. The first was about the author, discovering that his stories actually were real--real situations, real characters, real deaths. He creates a blog to ask advice and gets some interesting responses. The other two codas involve characters who are not main characters, but whose fates in the story are interesting; these two flesh out their experiences afterward in a satisfying and rather touching/emotional way.
Overall, I definitely recommend it to anyone familiar with sci-fi shows like Star Trek. The fact that it was written by a Stargate Universe writer is icing on the cake (and if you haven't seen Stargate Universe, you really should, because it is really good)