In the way that Galaxy Quest is my favorite Star Trek movie, Redshirts is my favorite Star Trek novel. That is, they don’t technically take place in the Star Trek universe, but close enough. And they’re hilarious.
The term “redshirts” refers to the original Star Trek series where the teams sent to a new planet’s surface would include the show’s three main characters and Ensign Somebody, who inevitably wore a red shirt and quickly died a horrible death.
But in John Scalzi’s book (which won both the Hugo and Locus awards), the redshirts have to started to realize how expendable they are, and start to fight back. It’s clever and absurd and a fun, breezy read. If you’re a fan of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, you’ll feel at home in Redshirts.
Recommendation: Read it! You don’t need to be familiar to with Star Trek to enjoy the book, but fans will get more out of it.