Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Redshirts Redshirts
by John Scalzi

Supplied for review by Hugo Awards Voting Package

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

As a preface to this review, I will point out that if you are happy to read books in electronic form, it might well pay you to sign up as a supporting member of the WorldCon. You’ll get five each of novels, novellas and so on, delivered to you in your voting packet. They’ve all got through the Hugo nomination process, which means they’ve been chosen by fans as the best of the previous year’s SF&F. And, of course, you’ll get to vote on the Hugos. What more can you ask for?

As it happens, I voted for Redshirts and it did in fact win the Hugo for Best Novel. However, I will admit that I hadn’t actually had time to read the whole thing before voting – just the first chapter or so. That was enough to convince me that this was the deserving novel - clever, funny and a witty satire on a certain TV space opera. But, as I read further, I realised that it’s a whole lot more than that. It’s about the relationship between reality and fiction, and puts a whole new and decidedly science fictional twist on breaking the fourth wall.

Yes, at times it does seem a bit contrived, and as if Scalzi is trying just a bit too hard, but he can be forgiven for that in the sheer exuberance of writing something innovative and unlikely to be ever copied.

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