John Scalzi’s Redshirts had me laughing out loud in public more than once. Both parody and homage, the book employs well-known sci-fi tropes to hilarious effect, while still delivering an enjoyable story: quick and fun, if not terribly deep. Considering the main focus of the book—the high death rate of low-ranked crew members serving aboard the Universal Union’s flagship, Intrepid, especially on away teams—I’m not sure the humor could have been sustained with a deeper treatment of the material.
The author’s ability to write deeper characterizations is demonstrated within the book's three codas. The reviewer who brought the book to my attention said that the codas made him cry; I wisely waited to read the end of the book in private.
I originally purchased this book as a gift, thinking I would eventually borrow it back. Before wrapping it I read the prologue and knew I’d have to get my hands on it faster than that. Thank goodness for Interlibrary Loan.