February 03

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Redshirts by John Scalzi: book club discussion questions

A reminder that all of our book club discussion questions contain spoilers.

Synopsis

An ensign on a starship notices that whenever the crew goes on away missions, at least one person dies. Can he avoid death long enough to work out what is going on, and find a way to save himself?

Discussion questions

Do you need to be familiar with Star Trek to enjoy this story?

Does the characters’ solution make sense?  If you were in a metafictional space, what would you do?

Can you prove you aren’t fictional?

By making the TV show a bad one, Scalzi gives himself an excuse to write highly derivative scenes. Is this clever, or does it weaken the plot by filling it with regurgitated material you have seen better done elsewhere?

Many people use narrative metaphors to make sense of their lives. Which metaphors have been most powerful for you, in your life?

Many people work in difficult places, and create complicated methods of coping with their co-workers and workload.  What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done, or trained new employees to do?

There are little science fiction fandom Easter eggs scattered through the text. Which did you enjoy the most? Does this sort of thing limit the appeal of the book outside hard-core SF fans?

The story ends with three codas, written in first, second and third person. Why does the author do this?

 External links

Catalogue link

Author’s website