Redshirts: Now Out!

So, I have a new book: Redshirts. Today, June 5, is the official release day here in the US and Canada. If you are in the US or Canada, you may walk confidently into your local bookstore, say to the proprietor, “Why hello, I would like to purchase the new book Redshirts, by that fellow John Scalzi,” and they will say “But of course. Here it is. Enjoy it in all its red-jacketed glory.” Likewise, should you wish to purchase the book for yourself or others in the glorious eBook format, you may do so jubilantly, without the dreaded confines or shackles of digital rights management. Or you can choose to have it read to you, in dulcet tones, by the estimable Wil Wheaton, in the audiobook version. Truly, this is the best of all possible worlds.

On this, the day of the release of the book, let me tell you what my own plan was for this book when I start writing it: To have fun with it, and to have you have fun with it. I wanted to write something that was unapologetically a blast to read, that was also unapologetically funny — I’ve written enough novels with humor in them that I felt it was finally time to come out of the closet, as it were, and write one for which being funny was a primary goal. I think there’s more to it than just humor, particularly in the three “coda” short stories that follow the novel proper (as I’ve noted before, Redshirts as a book is a more than just a single novel). But at the end of the day, the first thing Redshirts wants to do is make you laugh. I hope it does.

I’m not going to lie to you: I’m tremendously proud of this book, and I really, really want you to read it. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

For all of you who preordered the book and helped to make my publisher (and me!) already very happy with early sales: Thank you. You are fantastic. To everyone who decides to pick up the book — I hope you love it, and if you do, that you’ll tell folks about it. You telling your friends about it is the best advertising I could possibly get. So thanks if you do.

Happy reading, folks. You’re going to have fun with this one.


103 Comments on “Redshirts: Now Out!”

  1. (Please note that it is not currently midnight everywhere in the US and I cannot guarantee that eBooks, et al will be unlocked for you instantly.)

  2. Beyond excited.

    It is midnight here in Maine, but since I need to go to work and think about things tomorrow, I am NOT going to fire up my Kindle keyboard or my Kindle Fire. I am NOT going to do that. I am going to go to bed and go to sleep in my red “Expendable” think geek shirt. That’s what I’m going to do. Sleep. Nope. Not going to turn on the Kindle. Nosiree. Nope. Just going to sleep. That’s it. Just sleeping. Nothing more..

  3. Should I call Uncle Hugo’s, or just drive up there? (Looks at money, thinks about the dangers of arriving at either Uncle’s without a planned purchase … call first.) Congrats, Scalzi, I’m sure I’ll like it.

  4. It is 12:11 AM here in cincinnati and my Kindle version is not available yet. For shame :) One would think there would be A REALLY OBVIOUS place somewhere on Amazon where they define just exactly when June 5 is actually June 5.

  5. It seemed to me that the primary goal of Androids Dream was to be funny as well. was that not the case?

  6. Since the novel was supposed to be sold without DRM by all vendors, I thought I’d take a chance and buy it from Apple’s iBookstore. Sadly, the version that Apple currently vends is protected by FairPlay 2 DRM.

  7. Congratulations, John. It’s going to be a long fun night. hanks for reading that excerpt way back when in Seattle.

  8. Michael Cohen:

    Get it refunded and buy it elsewhere.

    Reminder that no vendor should be selling the Tor eBook with DRM on it. Period, end of story.

  9. If I remember correctly, When Fuzzy Nation came out, Amazon thought midnight Pacific time was when the day started. Note to Amazon – you very very wrong.

  10. Just downloaded my B&N copy and it’s DRMed. (Of course, my epub-importing workflow transparently de-DRMs, but still annoying.)

  11. @Brad Ackerman: It looks like the vendors generally did not get the “no DRM” message.
    @John Scalzi: I’ll try to get a refund, but am not hopeful.

  12. Pooh! Neither Google, Narns and Boble or the Kindle store will sell me this Right Now. Sadness suffuses the fabric of my being. Sadness and loss

  13. I’m in France and both Amazon and Apple’s store say it will be available on November 2012. :(

    Anyone knows where I can buy it from?

  14. I read Fuzzy Nation right after out came out, but I didn’t get to listen to the audiobook until recently. Now I’m looking forward to both reading and listening to Redshirts.

    @Hubert: I was at the Seattle reading too. I posted the first video of Molly Lewis performing Fuzzy Man.

  15. Just looked it up on the Kobo store. Available for purchase, but listed as having Adobe DRM.

  16. Just bought from the Sony ebook store. Nothing about DRM was mentioned in the listing, but the file has Adobe CS4 on it. has it listed as DRM-locked as well. Ah well, I’m planning to get the Hardcover anyway.

  17. Wow. In 2012, a newly published book and it is region-locked and unavailable in The Rest of the World. Pity Tor only got half a clue when they went DRM-free (quarter of a clue, actually: it is now apparent that they are DRM-free in marketing only and the books that are, you know, actually being sold, are still DRMed).

  18. Had the same thought as Elgion: I would say The Android’s Dream was definitely written for humor purposes.

    Anyways, extremely excited to go pick this up in the morning. I have a feeling I will be done with it by tomorrow night because my house mates will be bugging me to finish so they can read it.

  19. I bought it through Google Play, and it’s DRM’d there too. Trying to get my money back, but I’m not really hopeful.

  20. My wife just tried to buy it for me for Father’s Day from iTunes. I can confirm that it has DRM, and that we are returning it, sadly, until they get their act together. (I do hope that the first Whatever reader to find a store that has done it right will post, before ensconcing themselves with their brand new book.)

    vx – I would not harsh on Tor too much just yet – I suspect that Apple, B&N, etc., may not have gotten the word. I reserve grief for after they have a chance to respond. Though, come to think, if anyone has contact info for “Fritz Foy, Macmillan EVP Digital Publishing and Technology”, the gent that shared the stage with John, Charlie Stross, and Cory Doctorow, Mr. Foy might want a _polite_ heads up that things perhaps have not gone according to plan.

  21. I bought a Kindle version, and it was DRM’d. So, I returned it with “DRM” as a reason. It looks like that problem is abundant (from the comments above), so I guess I’ll try again later.

  22. Inveterate End First reader here. Had read the four chapter promo plus reviews, went straight to third to last chapter of main novel, read to end.

    Happy now.

  23. Did the Night Dragons Trilogy have any effect on your Big Idea for this book?

  24. Redshirts is not released until November in the UK.

    Cost for pre-order in UK = £20.00

    Cost to purchase on US website AND international shipping = £15.86

    Why, then, do UK prices have to be so high and why, then, are UK release dates so distant? In these days of international shopping and charging where is the sense in this?

  25. And don’t get me started on NOT being able to purchase the Redshirts song as I have a UK iTunes account, not a US one . . . . . GRRRRRRRRRRR

  26. Hurray! The Audible version is available too, downloading now! Can’t wait for the drive home from work so I can start listening. No region restrictions, double Hurray!
    Sadly, audible only has a DRMed format… guess I have to live with that a while longer.

  27. Was very happy to be able to pre-order an ebook edition from Amazon as an Australian. Yes, I have to wait until November, but hey, I have a huge backlog of other things to read in the meantime. Perhaps by then the DRM teething troubles will have also been figured out. Best wishes to John for a successful book launch. (Is “launch” even the right word here?)

  28. Like others, when I checked, everywhere selling the eBook was selling it with DRM. All the sellers on what is presumably the official page (i.e. the one linked to from the TOR site) have it available in DRM format only – Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo. The “Other sellers” option doesn’t seem to do anything.

    I’d really like to pay you money to download and read your book. Do you have a link to anywhere selling a downloadable DRM-free PDF file that will take my credit card?

  29. Do you as an author have any influence on the release date in the international market (or even just the UK), esp. for digital releases or is this something, that is completly in the hand of your publishing company?

  30. To my surprise (and pleasure), the Amazon Kindle version retains the (proper) subtitle of “a Novel and Three Codas”.

  31. My copy is being delivered to Chicago (where I’ll be in a couple of days) so I can get it signed by you on Sun. I may pick up another copy for my daughter, who is living and working in Japan, and who was so intrigued by the description, bought the digital copy. Never can have enough Scalzi.

  32. Goshaldarnit! I just tried to order from and they claim that they haven’t got it in stock!

    Bastards. Have we lived and fought in vain?!?

  33. This is all so very bizarre.
    German amazon allows the purchase of the English language hardcover even if it’s “currently not available” but the release date for this is given as today. The English language Kindle version is only available on Nov 15th.
    I am traveling to the US in two days. There I would be able to purchase the hardcover but I will still not be able to get hold of the kindle version because my kindle needs to be registered to
    German amazon because of my German billing address.
    Furthermore I see people talking about already receiving the kindle version. The release date for kindle edition on the “.com” site of amazon is given (to me at least with german IP address and german account) as Nov 15th, too.
    Great new world of eBooks.
    Anyway: Looking eagerly forward to finally getting the book because I enjoyed all the other books from Mr. Scalzi very much.

  34. John, I know you keep declaiming and pointing to the FAQ, but the non-DRM thing has fallen flat, and surely as much as you point out (quite rightly) that international is outside your power, this is getting ridiculous. 6 months for the ebook, but I can have the physical copy shipped from the US right now.

    Can we get you to campaign for some sanity in international distribution? You will not get an Australian sale from me, because it will already be purchased from the US, lent, returned, re-read and discussed profusely before it is even possible for me to get it locally. This will condem Australian (and over Overseas ) sales to be of even a less priority. Surely someone in the publishing industry can see this? Heck even the monolithic TV studios are rushing american Tv shows to AU in days instead of months in some cases, but ebooks still have a 6 month delay for purely contractual reasons?

    Die a slow death all intermediary organisations, I want to give the artist my money directly without your interference. (…and by this I do consent to giving money to Tor for their Editing/Marketing/Whatever work if the artists chooses to, but can the geographical restrictions already…no one is advertising Redshirts in AU, now or in November, and they dont deserve a cent for the interference.)

  35. Aargh! 8:36 Eastern Time, and my phone’s Nook app still says it’s not available for download! I could be DONE by now, and enjoying a second read!

  36. Got the Audio book this morning to support Wil and will go get the hard cover at the local independent store today so that I get a first edition hard cover copy of this timeless classic for all posterity.

  37. I had been waiting patiently for 96 hours to get the email that my copy of Redshirts was ready to download onto my preferred mobile reading device – now I know that you of all people would tell me that I am an adult, and the only person responsible for my actions is me. However, I downloaded the book at just after midnight, and I couldn’t bring myself to wait to get started. So I thought I would just open it and read one chapter. . . I went to bed at 5:30. I am still blaming you for my inability to function at work today. Thank you for such a great story!

  38. Am wearing a red shirt & black pants to work today; look forward to starting the book during lunch! As an April Fool’s Day baby, I am a big fan of humor, so bring it on.

  39. I have a little over two hours before the local bookstore opens. It’s pouring rain where I am. The perfect day to read a book.

  40. So was it intentionally times for the Venus transit?

    and totally inappropriate but your line about the manner in which one could order the book (had one not pre-ordered it & now waiting by the dang mail box for arrival) Reminded me of this line from “The Meaning of Life”:
    “I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry’s and hold my head up high and say in a loud, steady voice, ‘Harry, I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today, I think I’ll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant.’

  41. My advance-ordered Kindle copy downloaded overnight. Can’t wait to start it, John! :-D

  42. As a German I can confirm what Carsten said. I can preorder the Kindle version on but the “deliver date” is 15th November. However, I could also order the hardcover which would be delivered immediately. This is just ridiciously in 2012. Dear publishers, please wake up fast.

    Because I want a clean conscience, I’ve just preordered the Kindle version and will resort to “dubious” actions to get the book now.

  43. I got my hands on an ARC (thanks Von’s Books!) and enjoyed the living daylights out of the story – so much so that I’ve got the audiobook on order. Keep up the great writing!

  44. Sounds like the Tor folk (hi, Patrick) are on it. Thanks, John, for handling it. Exactly what you wanted to do at 6:30 AM on a book tour.

  45. John, if a store puts out copies of your book early, do the sales still count towards your Week 1 sale (and is this a concern for you)? The local B&N left a message for me on June 1st to tell me to pick up the copy of Redshirts I reserved. There is another author whose blog I follow to whom the official release date matters a great deal and is upset when the stores put out the books early. The author’s recent novel was put out early too; when I asked the bookstore why, they said that the publisher didn’t ask to wait to release the book (as they did for Harry Potter, for example), so they release it when they get it. Does it matter, and do you have a say in these things with the publisher?

  46. I checked with again. They say it ships in 1-2 months.

    Someone in is keeping me from my book!

  47. ALF – Somebody at that bookstore is very mistaken. Pretty much every book has an on sale date, and just because a publisher doesn’t send out special notices doesn’t mean bookstores and Libraries aren’t bound to respect those street dates. At least that is my understanding from 15 years of working in the part of my library where we hold every book and other media that our vendors list a street date for. The only things that don’t have them listed are things that ship after the street date. I’ve seen bookstores in my area do this as well, and we occaisionally make a mistake and something slips through, but not very often at all.

  48. Having just purchased the audio book from Audible, I look forward to starting it! I also plan to buy that good looking HC. *winkwink*

  49. I got my ebook and began reading it on the el this morning, and have every intention of being the proud owner of TWO signed copies (one for me, one for my daughter) by Sunday evening. I think I may have been the first person to register for the Indian Trails event and I’m very excited.

  50. Can anyone speak to the likelihood of someone getting a full kick out of this book with zero knowledge/background/appreciation in Star Trek and the like?

  51. Tried to buy it from my local Barnes & Noble. They had one copy left. They would have sold that copy to me for $15 if I’d paid online. They wanted $25 since I came to the store with cash in hand. Someone else can have that copy; I’m buying the Kindle edition.

  52. @ALF – Stores can sell a book prior to its release date if a signed affidavit for a strict on sale does not exists. They are often asked to observe release or laydown dates, but only strict on sale dates have to be studiously honored.

  53. Mine was pre-ordered, and should be en route. It’ll get a priority override to the top of my reading pile once it arrives.

  54. Downloaded it to my Nook this morning, and it’s sitting there waiting for me to get home from work! This may be the first time my partner and I actually have to agree on “who gets to use the Nook now” — up til today she’s largely ignored its existence. Redshirts may finally coax her over to the Dark Side . . .

  55. Still waiting for it to arrive on my doorstep today…….anytime now would be fine………..

  56. Tracey, that is not exactly right. There are no signed affadavits for every book. If a publisher is going that far they are preparing further legal action for the violation of a street date. We have signed agreements with our distributors (B&T, Ingram, etc.) to not make street date material available to our customers before the publishers street date. If we violate this often, the penalty is they won’t send us the material before the street date. There are soft street dates, but most of them are not. Publishers use words like strict and embargoed to emphasize the street dates on especially high interest items. Most street dates are hard street dates.. If a store is violating them, they are risking not having their material in the store on the day a customer expects it there.

  57. Response from Kobo customer care to my complaint about the presence of DRM:

    “Unfortunately there isn’t anything that we could do here for you in this situation, The books that you see displayed on our website are given to us by the publishers and Authors for distribution, Kobo has not changed any files of the book itself, The way it is on our website was the way it was provided to Kobo. Sorry for any confusion.”

  58. Tim: “And don’t get me started on NOT being able to purchase the Redshirts song as I have a UK iTunes account, not a US one . . . . . GRRRRRRRRRRR”

    So far as I can tell, if you get it from JoCo directly, it shouldn’t matter where you are in the world, AND you have your choice of audio formats:
    Despite all the blathering about how “complicated” it might be, I bought from him directly & found it incredibly straight-forward.

  59. I won an ARC from Tor a couple months ago but hadn’t had time to read it yet. Read it Friday night in one sitting. It was AWSOME. At one point fairly early on I said to myself ‘I see where this is going but I bet there are twists, because it’s Scalzi.’ Awesome twists. Loved it, will be buying the audio book, too.

  60. Yeah, I’m with Michael Carmody here. Myself or one of my friends will have imported this long before the Australian release comes upon us and it will have been read and passed on and read and passed on and read and passed on simply because we can’t tell someone “oh, you’re interested in it? Just go to any book store and they’ll have it.” A six month delay for eBook release IN ENGLISH is just the dumbest.

  61. Verdict: I will never be able to watch Star Trek again. At least not without laughing hysterically.

  62. I just read it (sans codas, which I’m hitting now) while at a particularly lazy day at work. It was entertaining as hell.

    I must be an idiot, but I didn’t get the pun at the end. However, hats off for the final gag. That’s a hell of a lot of plot to go through for one swift zinger.

  63. Just finished Redshirts, and yes, Scalzi, you should be proud of it – very proud. It was quite excellent.

  64. i really don’t get why i have to wait 5 months to buy the exact same book you americans are getting right now for your kindles.

  65. I put Redshirts on reserve with my local library a few days ago, figuring, if I was lucky, I’d be tenth in line. An hour ago, I walked in, checked it out, and now I have the REAL THING in my grubby little mitts. My evening is set!

  66. Thanks for. It padding out the novel to make it longer, because I’ll be able to go to bed only stupidly late instead of ludicrously late after being unable to put it down. Great read!

  67. That should start “Thanks for not padding”. Stupid iPod keyboard…

  68. Congrats, i am sure the book is great (the first chapters were).

    But i am unable to verify it. Are they doing this to me because i am wearing a red shirt today? I started trying to buy the eBook on Amazon, but the message there is “This item will be released on November 15, 2012”. Then i tried iTunes, there i got the same message. Finally i found a shop that is willing to sell an eBook (B&N). But when i check out, they refuse the order, because i am not living in the U.S. Every approach to purchase the Redshirts as eBook has failed. What am i doing wrong? Is there no legal way for non-US citizens to procure the book?

  69. Hi, do you know why on amazon the kindle version is only available on november 15 th. Is it because i try to order it from France? Thank you for your time and attention.

    Alexandra a French reader

  70. Of course Uncle Hugo’s had it. Since I have some real things to do, I’ve left it in the bag and put it in the trunk of the car, to be dreamed of until it’s autographed. And then probably a few days more.

  71. I just finished the book, and I was quite surprised to have a character with my name die in the first few pages. Was that name chosen at random, or do you have something against me? :)

  72. Tied up in all day meetings, completely forgot that the book was coming out until I fired up my Kindle tonight. Of course, 4 hours later, none of the work I was supposed to do has gotten done, but I finished the book. Outstanding.

    I was reading the entire thing thinking that it was a rejected pitch for a Galaxy Quest sequel. And I say that with all due respect. It had the same parody, and simultaneous love of the genre, that Galaxy Quest had, but the book was better.

    And like others have mentioned, I’m completely missing what the pun could be, unfortunately. Perhaps my brain is fried. (see above re: all day meetings.)

    Thank you Mr. Scalzi, for another outstanding read.

  73. Not to be a cheapskate, but is there a reason the kindle edition is $14.91 while everywhere else it’s $11.99? Is there an amazon levy I’m not aware of?

  74. john thanks for such a great read. i ordered the book and finished it in two sittings….it would have been one sitting but i had to stop too many times to howl with laughter, wipe my eyes and inflict my so so performance as dahl on my wife as i forced her to listen to some of the choicer passages.

  75. I’d just like to point out the error that the Red Shirts in Star Trek made. They joined Star Fleet and went on Away Missions. What they SHOULD have done was join the NFL and go to Training Camp, where the guys in red shirts (QuarterBacks) CAN NOT BE TOUCHED!

    What were they thinking?

  76. I don’t normally bother with such things (more dross the fabric of the Web), but just wanted to let you know, Mr. Scalzi, that “Redshirts” is a fine read, that it made me smile a lot and laugh out loud here and there, and that Coda 3 actually brought a tear to my eye. Nice work, and I’ll be hunting down more of your stuff. Thanks!

  77. I had the pleasure of hearing John Scalzi read Chapter 3 of this at Worldcon 69, where he made us all swear not to reveal anything about this to outsiders except to say it was “fuckin’ AWESOME!” I’ve been waiting for the better part of a year and, yes, it is! Thanks for another wonderful read, John.

  78. I want to buy this book, but I use Aldiko as my only reader and it is not DRM-friendly. Where may I purchase this book DRM-free? So far I have been unable to find a reliable vendor for this. I am prepared to pay up to double the cover price if necessary.

  79. So all the problems people were having are gone? For example, I can go to Amazon and buy the ebook and not have to use the Kindle reader to read it?

    I just wanted to double-check because I’ve been burned almost a dozen times now with ebooks being “DRM-free” not actually being free of DRM. And there were so many unhappy comments above. I’m gunshy now. And thank you for being patient with me, I appreciate that.

  80. I have my doubts about Amazon (no pre-purchase hints that it may be readable on things that aren’t Kindles or Kindle aps), but I just successfully bought and downloaded it from Barnes & Noble, DRM-free. Yay! Thank you, Mr. Scalzi. Books are so much nicer when you can read them legitimately.

  81. John, loved Redshirts and I’ve bought and read a number of your other books (which I also enjoyed.) Convinced my college-age daughter to read Redshirts as well and she also loved the meta-ness of it. But please help us out with a quick answer that we couldn’t work out: what is the pun referenced at the end when Dahl and Hanson are talking?

  82. PLEASE (said in a desperate not whiny voice) — The question has been asked three times above without a reply — what is the pun referenced at the end when Dahl and Hanson are talking? My friends and I have searched our brains, the internet, etc. etc. and remain mystified. Would you relieve the frustration, please?