And To Close the Evening, This May Be My Favorite Redshirts Review Yet

It’s brief enough to quote in full. It’s from Nick Harkaway from this longer “a year in reading” column over at The Millions:

John Scalzi’s Redshirts is a little bit of genius. It starts out as a very funny Star Trek in-joke and then crosses the rubicon to become a somewhat disturbing examination of that joke before diving into the dark and delivering a strange, bittersweet literary ending which isn’t so much a punchline as it is the moment when you realize you’ve been paying for your drinks all night with $100 bills instead of $10s but that at the bottom of your plate of peanuts there’s a diamond.

In other news, “Peanut Diamonds” is the name of my next band.

Nick is just one of many notables putting in a “a year in reading” list over at The Millions. You can link through to see them all here.

14 thoughts on “And To Close the Evening, This May Be My Favorite Redshirts Review Yet

  1. Peanuts Diamond would also make a splendid gangster name, should you ever find yourself stranded in 1922 and decide to go into bootlegging.

  2. I disagree. It was a diamond from the beginning. But now I curse the book, because my husband, your latest greatest fan, keeps talking about The Narrative every time we watch t.v. or see a film.

  3. I did notice the gradual shift from “wow, that’s funny” to gradually more and more serious characterization. Oddly, what this mostly put me in mind of was Ouran Host Club, which has the same pattern (except for the codas).

    The codas strike me as a brilliant resolution of the problem Hofstadter wrote about so many years ago wherein you can tell how much novel you have left, and this affects your interpretation of events.

    (Side note: One of my many, many, random sci-fi setting notions involves a FTL drive which works based on Narrative Plausibility. The reason that maverick pilots who don’t play well with others get there faster is that OF COURSE THEY WOULD. A colony ship takes as long to get to a habitable planet as it takes for the colonists to develop the cultural traits that make for interesting stories. As with any idea I post on the Internet, this one’s free for the taking if someone has a use for it.)

  4. I hope we won’t have to get legal when my new emo band “Diamond In The Nuts” is unveiled. Actually, I might change musical direction: Old Romantic is probably more appropriate.

  5. One of my many, many, random sci-fi setting notions involves a FTL drive which works based on Narrative Plausibility. The reason that maverick pilots who don’t play well with others get there faster is that OF COURSE THEY WOULD.

    I can just imagine pilot training in this world. (“Now, it says here that you’re subordinate, persistently punctual, well turned out on parade and respectful to your senior officers. And three times this month you’ve turned up on the flight line sober. For two credits I’d throw you out of the academy, Mitchell. This record is utterly unacceptable.”
    “Well, that’s exactly my plan, sir.”)

  6. Pilot training? The maverick pilots who don’t play well with others don’t need training, they’re all capable of flying anything before they’ve learned to walk!

    Well, as long as they can reach the controls that is…

  7. Nice review! I enjoyed Redshirts, and was also faintly reminded of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Only You Can Save Mankind’ which has a similar ‘metastory’ approach.

  8. And here I thought it was just an interesting story and a fun read. Guess you enjoy the muppents at a deeper level than me. 8-{D

  9. I think of “Peanuts Diamond” as a lounge singer with dreams of making it big, who has fallen in with the small time gangster night club owner. She’s guarded and quick to temper, but underneath those defenses is a small town girl with a lot of moxxy and a heart of gold.

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