Introducing “Redshirt: The Theme to the Novel ‘Redshirts'” by Jonathan Coulton

Yes, Jonathan Coulton wrote me a song to go with my book. Here’s all you have to do:

1. Listen to the song (because it’s awesome).

2. Go to’s final Journey to Planet JoCo installment to read and/or hear me and Jonathan Coulton talk about the genesis of the song, and how it relates to the book. Stay tuned for a very special video near the end of the talk, featuring me.

3. Share the song with folks (because it’s awesome).

Also, let me take a moment here to thank Jonathan for a truly fantastic song. I literally could not be happier with it. Although I admit to bias here, I think it’s one of his best. I hope you think so, too.

Update: Jonathan updates his page to talk a little about the song. If you love the song, you’ll soon be able to buy a copy from JoCo himself.

35 Comments on “Introducing “Redshirt: The Theme to the Novel ‘Redshirts'” by Jonathan Coulton”

  1. Didn’t you say, way back when, that you asked JoCo to write a song for Agent To The Stars, but he didn’t know you from Adam and he turned you down (or reported you to the police. I forget which)?

    Does he recall that event (now that you are pals and all) or did this happen only in my imagination?

  2. Annnnnnnnnnnnd. . . .I just read the Update. So, never mind on that.
    Thanks again!

  3. AlamM follow the directions in John’s post. They actually talk about that.
    I kinda had a feeling this was this John. Last week I remembered the Paul and Storm “Fuzzy Man” from last year. Then I thought, “holey shit did he get JoCo to write him a song about Redshirts?” It is a really good song.

  4. Thrilled at this release, and so looking forward to the book. I stumbled across your writing, John, by following Coulton, Paul & Storm, and other geeks on Twitter. The interviews with JoCo are good work, and ought to synergize an expanded audience for you both. Best of luck!

  5. Well, damn it all, I’m at work. And not in-the-other-room work scenario. Today it’s in-the-same-room-as-the-boss scenario. Bum deal. I’ll have to listen to Jonathan’s song at home. Looking forward to this (and the book, of course).

  6. John, I like the words, but hate the melody…Having read the first few chapters of the book, I was expecting to hear Heavy Metal instead of canned elevator music.

  7. Very interested to hear that he almost took a metaphorical turn with the song. I’ve thought about the same metaphor, but also taking it a step further: How often is Love itself a Redshirt, in our lives?
    Love the song – looking forward to June 5!

  8. Great song, but you have now established a precedent. Fuzzy Man could have been a one-time thing, but now people are going to expect a song for every book. Do you know enough musicians to keep this up much longer? Next I suppose you could try to get Neil Gaiman to talk Amanda Palmer into doing one. But after that?

  9. John, your comments earlier in the Coulton series about collaboration brought this to mind, and I throw it out there for what it’s worth: one of the best experiences of my life was seeing my local community theater put on a one-act I’d written. I showed it to one of my friends and said, “would you want to direct this?” and the next thing I knew some of my favorite actors were sitting around my kitchen table doing a read-thru (and I was frantically blue-pencilling and going “Oh my GOD that line sounds awful out loud”); then they went off and rehearsed the rewritten version and the next time I saw it was the finished product. Made me feel like a damn genius. I’ll never forget it.

    So I guess my point is, there’s more than one way to collaborate; having a good actor incarnate one of your characters is freaking amazing, and I hope the OMW film does that for you.

  10. It’s okay, I guess….. my wife liked it a lot. Kind of reminds me of background music for a scene in the Original Star Trek. Back in the 70’s a bunch of us in college were watching “The Naked Time” and some wag blurted out what would a show be like with the following:

    A haze filled room somewhere on board the Enterprise, Spock and Kirk trading hits on a bong, Chekov and Scotty passed out in an alcohol induced coma and Sulu floating in the lotus position chanting very bad poetry. What would the conversation between Spock and Kirk be?

    Hilarity ensued. We never were able to finish watching the show, and even today I can’t help but snicker …..

  11. I apologize if i missed this information elsewhere – but where can we get a “Redshirts” shirt? (if I could get it before the JoCo concert this weekend, even better!)

  12. “now people are going to expect a song for every book. Do you know enough musicians to keep this up much longer?”

    I’m already looking forward to whatever occasion precipitates Scalzi’s invitation to Molly Lewis!

  13. This is a lovely song and I actually found it quite moving. Perhaps I’m having an attack of sentimentality but thank you anyway….Is there anywhere in the music universe another song quite so moving about what is ostensibly a TV trope? I’m going to make the assumption that by tomorrow this song will be paired with a multitude of clips of Kirk, McCoy, Spock and some poor doomed red shirts.

  14. “They said this air would be breathable.”

    For some reason, I am thinking of Gardener’s Explorer Corps, and their term for dying: “Going ‘Oh S—.'”

  15. One thing about this: When I link to this page on FB, it shows the WordPress logo. When I link to the YouTube page, it shows the Redshirts screen. Dunno what that means, but I figured it was better to have the right logo.

  16. I’m usually more of a lurker, John,but this is song is awesome and really fits the feel of the book. (Or at least the feel that I’ve gotten from the preview of the book.) I also found it hilarious and very appropriate that every place you read the Prolugue got the reference without any help from you. Has John hit a meme? I think he has.

  17. I would REALLY like the chords for this.

    I already have JoCo’s “Still Alive” mastered.

  18. John,

    Just wanted to let you know, that I bought your book “Redshirts” on Google Play not only because it is awesome (I could have borrowed it in a library), but also because you insisted on distributing it unencrypted and DRM free. Thank you for that.

%d bloggers like this: