About Me

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London, United Kingdom
A mythical beast - a female wargamer! I got back into wargaming in the summer of 2011 after a very, very long break. My current interests are Ancients, ACW, 30YW and SciFi gaming.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Quick Update and Book Review: Redshirts

I'm back! It's been interesting the last two weeks watching to see how many page views I got despite the lack of posts. It seems that I've got 50-100 people who take a peek every day. To those 50-100 people I offer my apologies for not having posted anything for so many days.

I have been doing a little bit of painting over the last couple of weeks, but nothing worth showing just yet. My plan for tomorrow is to finish off painting the 30YW cuirassiers - there's not much left to paint now, but it might be a while before they are completely finished - the cold winter weather isn't conducive to opening windows to provide ventilation for spraying matt varnish!

I've also done some work on the FSE spaceships - various panels have been painted red or white. I just need to touch up some of the blue, paint weapons, engine surrounds and the exhaust. The red and white panels do improve the look of the ships, but I'm still not sure about the colour scheme. I'll see how they look when I've finished painting them, but suspect that I might end up stripping and repainting them.

As well as the above, I've also assembled one of the Conquest Norman Knights to see whether the technique I use for 15mm horses will work for 28mm horses. I'm pretty much finished on the horse (the technique seems to work OK) and just need to finish the rider.

Well, that's enough of an update. Onto the book review.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Imagine you are a junior officer newly assigned to the fleet's flagship, the UUS Intrepid
Imagine that all of your colleagues make themselves scarce when the senior officers are looking for people to go on away team missions
Imagine that junior crew members on away team missions have an extraordinarily high chance of dying in stupid and pointless ways
Imagine that at crucial moments the laws of physics seem to take a vacation
Imagine that a feral crew member warns you to stay away from the bridge and to avoid "the narrative"
Imagine he later tells you that the only way all the above makes sense is that you are somehow part of a television show (and not a very good one at that) in some alternative past timeline
Imagine that you come to realise that he might be right
Imagine that you don't want to die a pointless death as part of "the narrative"
Welcome to the world of the Redshirts

Heading the dedications at the start of the book is this:

"To Wil Wheaton, whom I heart with all the hearty heartness a heart can heart"

Yuk. In the words of the inimitable Dr Sheldon Cooper:

Yup. I'm not a fan of dear Wil. However, I didn't let that detract from my reading of the book.

The book was very well written (no surprise there) and absolutely hilarious as you read how the characters come to terms with what is going on and how they resolve to beat "the narrative".

As you would expect from the title, there are references/homages a-plenty to Star Trek (ToS) and the story just keeps you turning the pages. I read it in an evening. However the ending was a bit of a let-down (although Chapter 24 - the last one - did make up for it a bit).

And then I thought "Hang on a second, there are still a whole wodge of pages left in the book. What the heck?"

There are three "Coda" after the end of the main story, written in the first person (a blog); the second person and the third person. All are worth reading.

*****Highly Recommended*****

Over the past week I'd also read two other SF humour novels by Scalzi - "Fuzzy Nation" and "The Android's Dream". If you're unlucky I might subject you to reviews of those next week.


  1. I've read here and there that Redshirts is less interesting than his Old man war trilogy ( which I like a lot).
    Can you confirm it?

    1. It's different, rather than less interesting. The Old Man's War trilogy were (obviously) written as a longer story line and with a more serious "hard SF"/military SF angle, although with some humour. Redshirts is a standalone SF humour story which is much shorter so isn't able to develop the characters as much.

  2. I also enjoyed the Old Mn series and Scalzi's writing style. This sounds to be quite my cup of tea so I'll check it out - thanks Tamsin!

  3. I haven't read any of his stuff. Big Bang theory is one of my favorite shows, but I have to wait for Netflix to carry the episodes to see them or find them on YouTube.

    Looking forward to seeing you post some figures again. Try using brush on varnish, then you don't need windows to be opened.

  4. @ Paul - As I said in my reply to Seb, Redshirts is very different in style to the Old Man series, but works very well. Actually, it's 4 different styles when you take the 3 Coda into account

    @ Anne - I might have figured out a way I can do spraying in the winter without freezing my entire flat. I just need to find somewhere to store something.

  5. I haven't heard of this before but it sounds like a fun light read. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review.

  6. Hope your back on your feet and feeling good again soon


  7. Didn't see you at Dragonmeet Tamsin, did you go? Anyway, Redshirts is actually quite deep, for a humorous story, as it questions narrative development, and the purpose of death in driving plots.

    I also enjoyed his Agent to the Stars, which makes a nice matched pair to the Androids Dream, as both refer to either literary works and, or story telling conceits.

  8. @ DFlynSqrl - you're welcome. It's a good read.

    @ Ian - cheers. The main reason I'm so fatigued at the moment is that I'm pushing my hours back up to full time (hopefully) which leaves me drained in the evenings, recovering on Saturdays and not having much time after chores on Sunday for painting.

    @ Ashley - I wasn't at Dragonmeet - I thought it was RPG oriented, which isn't my bag these days. You're right about the book being much deeper in its concepts.

    1. It is RPG orientated, but I was running the OGRE demo with miniatures the whole day. So at least one miniature wargame going on.

  9. Hmm, looks as if I may have found a good Christmas gift. Thanks for this Tamsin.

    Hey, drop me a note at curtcampbell(at)mac(dot)com so we can establish coms for the Painting Challenge. Thanks!


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