Red Shirts by John Scalzi
By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian
Anyone who likes science fiction shows, in particular Star Trek, knows about “red shirts.” Fans of the show began noticing that those with red shirts in “away teams” always died. They were usually guest stars or extras. In the book Redshirts, Mr. Scalzi plays on this idea.
The Intrepid, the flagship of the Universal Union, continually replaces its lower ranked crew members, especially after away missions. Ensign Dahl, newly assigned to the Intrepid, begins to realize that whenever an away crew is sent on a mission, at least one crew member doesn’t come back. The three officers—the captain, the science officer, and the pilot Kerensky always survive. Kerensky is almost always injured but recovers extremely fast. No one knows why. Ensign Dahl has to investigate; he has been on one away mission already, and he lost two friends. Luckily for him, he knows a man inside who just might have a way to stop the deaths…
Mr. Scalzi is a science fiction author known for his wry humor. He has a popular blog and hangs out with other popular SF authors and Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: Next Generation fame. (Mr. Wheaton also narrated the audiobook version of Redshirts.) His book Old Man’s War was well received and was nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award. It is also a very good book, in my opinion.