Star Trek Characters In Search of an Author


Great post title with the Pirandello reference.
I had a very different experience with this book. It played the TV riffs with accuracy but no real feeling, as if it was working from a Wikipedia page on Star Trek cliches. Scalzi is breezy but never really funny; for example, the recurring joke about the science lab characters disappearing never gets absurd enough to work.

And maybe the metafictional twists are supposed to protect him from this criticism, but there's nothing to the characters. They all speak with the same cadences, they have wisps of backgrounds, they appear and disappear as the plot demands. I read the book a week ago, and I couldn't tell you anything about them.

The writing is better in the codas, but the tonal shift is jarring, and he hasn't built up enough emotional collateral to borrow against.

"Redshirts" has a lot in common with Ryan Boudinot's "Blueprints of the Afterlife," which I'd recommend instead.
I remember reading an article in TV Guide on this topic called the You're It Syndrome. They used Star Trek as an example...Bones, Spock, Chekov and "Ensign Taylor" beam down to a new planet. Which one finds the rock monster with a laser in its mouth first?
I love John Scalzi so very much and I am sad this post only has three comments.
@4 here, I'll add one: I've never read John Scalzi, but I will read this. I've been looking for something light and fluffy for the lazy, drunken, rooftop-sitting weekends, and the book I'm staring at right now is "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" by Karl Popper. 500 pages of German philosophy doesn't really scream "relaxing with a cocktail," you know?
Oh, and @3 - another variation is "5 extras and a really famous guest star" on any random procedural/detective show. Guess which one the murderer is!
@6 Ohh, um, frightened extra #2?
I also will add a comment. I had a few minutes to kill so I read his novel "Redshirts". A good effort for a post-literate author, reminiscent of an "Archie's" comic book, without the clever drawings or character development, although the humor was on the same level.
Last time I read something written at this level all the i's were dotted with tiny hearts or smiley faces(maybe in his next book?). If I were to grade this attempt I would feel very comfortable giving it a D+. He claims this book only took 5 weeks to write; judging by his results I think 5 days or hours would be more accurate. Also a coda is the conclusion to a work of drama, literature or music. Since this drivel does not qualify in any of those categories it does not meet the definition. Call it what it is Mr. Scalzi; 'Padding".