Yes, I’ve Seen This Red Shirt-Related Macro + B&N Review Take on Redshirts
Posted on July 2, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 12 Comments
The graphic above has only been forwarded to me about 40,000 times (I was first referred to it here). Yes, I’ve seen it. Yes, it’s funny. One suspects that the folks at Independent Health are sweetly oblivious to the cognitive dissonance their chosen shirt color provides us geeks.
While we’re at least tangentially on the subject of Redshirts, here’s Paul Di Fillipo’s review of the novel at Barnes & Noble Review. It has a couple things I consider spoilers, but in the main it’s an excellent review, not just because it’s positive but because the estimable Di Fillipo gets what’s going on with the book. Also, he favorably compares it to Voltaire’s work (in a glancing way, mind you) and this is the first time I’ve been compared to that lovely fellow, so I am tickled pink.
I thought that “Voltaire” was merely pseudonym of François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire for his science fiction, such as Micromégas and the vignette Plato’s Dream (1756). From early on, Voltaire had trouble with the authorities for even mild critiques of the government and religious intolerance. These activities were to result in numerous imprisonments and exiles. One satirical verse about the Régent led to his imprisonment in the Bastille for eleven months.While there, he wrote his debut play, Œdipe. Its success established his reputation. In writing about “The best of all possible worlds” he was dabbling in the Alternate History genre. But you can hang out with his ghost anytime.,
That billboard is enough to make a geek run screaming from Independent Health. I’m glad you showed us this John, because if I saw that while driving I might laugh so hard I’d wreck my car.
Oh, they’re probably not “sweetly oblivious”; they’re Mundanes and their lives don’t revolve around geek trivia. I find it all the time, people who enjoy going to the occasional fantasy or Science Fiction movie; but when they walk out of the theater the nitty-gritty details are lost from their minds.
The fact that we remember most of the trivia from all fantasy and science fiction sources is why we’re called “geeks”.
What a favorable comparison (even if glancing). Those are the sorts of compliments that really stick with you, too. A professor in college once told me that a poem I’d written reminded her of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnets, and I was similarly tickled (enough that I recall the exchange exactly even though it happened almost 20 years ago).
The interesting point of the review to me is that the comparison to Voltaire is premised, I think, on having read the codas as an integral part of the novel. How seriously do you mean it, John, when you say that the codas are take-them-or-leave-them lagniappes (at least, that’s how I interpreted your offhand comments about them in previous posts)?
Don’t get me wrong, I laughed out loud at the end of the penultimate chapter (my precise words were, “Scalzi, you asshole!”), so even without the codas I definitely enjoyed the book. But without them I think it would have ended up in a pile marked “fluffy romps” or “shaggy dog stories”. With them the book is much more interesting and chewy, and more likely to get multiple re-reads.
It looks like they actually trademarked “RedShirts” on that billboard. That’s not exactly chump change. You think they would have asked somebody if the term had any unintended meanings attached to it. Like when the tea party folks first formed and picked a name with, uhm… interesting connotations.
Here in NZ we have Red Shirt Painters http://www.redshirt.co.nz/ When they painted the building I worked in I was really quite worried about them falling off the scaffolding.
Wait, you mean we’re the aliens?!
Really there outta be an ellipsis between the words “TO” and “DIE”.
While Voltaire was obviously a key player in Europe’s intellectual life, from literature to politics, and maybe even to science, and a lot of fun to read, he certainly doesn’t qualify as a “nice fellow”. Ask Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whom he duly persecuted for decades. Or any victim of his acid-dripping quill.
(Que croyez-vous qu’il arriva ? Ce fut le serpent qui creva…)
@ Eric Picholle
No maybe about it. Voltaire was the first to record the suggestion that the comos began as a big bang. Also, Rousseau had some good ideas, but others, such as his endorsement of state religion, were ripe for “persecution” IMHO.
Speaking of Redshirts, when we stopped by the Hudson Booksellers in SeaTac airport on Sunday, we noticed that it was shelved with non-fiction (http://www.smofbabe.net/scalzi-airport.jpg) — is there something you’re not telling us? :->