I started listening to audiobooks to fill my almost three-hour daily commute; and for last month, the service I subscribe to offered a 2-for-1 deal. I jumped on that, of course (because deal) and while their selections were outside of my normal reading range, I chose two books that mildly piqued my interest: How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell and Redshirts by John Scalzi. I wasn’t totally sold on them, but hey, a deal is a deal.
I was familiar with How To Train Your Dragon from the film series and started with that one. The story was was different than what I remembered from the film, but I enjoyed the book, nonetheless. I don’t normally read the YA adult genre, but this book was fun, especially with the talented David Tennant doing the reading.
Then I started Redshirts. I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond the synopsis (the story follows a group of crew members [red shirts] on a military/research spaceship that suffers an unusually high number of deaths from hostile alien attacks during “away missions.”), but I recognized the Star Trek reference and figured I might like it. I was wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was funny, well-written and extremely well-plotted. It was just plain enjoyable. I like most of the books I read, but this is one of the few that I know I’ll be reading again.
I think what I liked most about the book though was the feeling of nostalgia it inspired in me. I grew up watching the original Star Trek with William Shatner (in syndication, of course – I’m not that old). It aired on network television on Sunday afternoons and was one of the few shows I watched with my dad. The time we spent together watching this show wasn’t anything intentional, I don’t think – I probably just wandered into the living room, saw the television was on and sat down with him to watch. But that action inspired a life-long love of Sci-Fi shows and films: all Star Trek shows; all Stargate shows and the movie; The Orville; Saturday afternoons on SyFy; I even liked M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs (admittedly, though, I never got into Star Wars). This book reminded me of that time, when life was simpler and could be made more enjoyable by disconnecting from everything else and getting lost in a strange future. Even now, when I want to relax, I make my way to the couch, find a Sci-Fi movie or show to watch and zone out for an hour or two.
So, to recap, Redshirts was a worthy read. If you enjoy science fiction, Star Trek, or just want something light and funny to read, check it out. This is definitely one book I’ll be rereading soon, if only for the trip down memory lane.