Fans of the original Star Trek series already know the significance of wearing a red shirt on that show. For those of us who prefered girls to Vulcans, an explanation might be useful. With the exception of Scottie, wearing a red shirt on the original series was a sure-fire sign that your character was not going to live long. Redshirts, as they're affectionately referred to by Comicon attendees and the like, were always falling victim to some disaster or battle with the enemies of the United Federation of Planets. John Scalzi has taken that little bit of Trekipedia and used it to write a very entertaining book.
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Intrepid, the flagship of the Universal Union. But he quickly begins to notice that all is not right aboard the ship. Rarely does an away mission return without having lost at least one of his fellow low-ranking members of the crew to some battle with aliens. And while the key officers are often critically -- and usually in a dramatic fashion, injured on these missions, they never seem to share the same fate as their subordinates.
Dahl and his fellow ensigns begin to investigate what's really going on with the Intrepid and come to a realization that is as surprising as it is brilliant.
That secret makes the book well worth the short amount of time it will take to read it. And you don't need to be a big fan of the series to enjoy it. If you liked Galaxy Quest, you'll like this. I've never cared for the original series myself. I have seen most of The Next Generation series and I liked all of the even-numbered movies that they've made. But even with that limited interest in Star Trek, I thought the book was a lot of fun and it made me interested in reading more of what Scalzi has written.