I first discovered Scalzi with a paperback copy of Old Man’s War. I can’t even remember how, perhaps it was boingboing that had mentioned it was similar to Ender’s Game and Starship Troopers. It was all that and more, and I found myself drawn to many of the other books that Scalzi has written, as well as his blog, Whatever.
I had originally planned on picking this book up in hardcover, as I don’t really buy many books in ebook form. I’m not really sure why, because I buy a ton of music online. It likely has to do with the fact that I have no good system yet to keep all my books organized like I do with itunes for music.
But with the announcement that Redshirts would be free of DRM, it made sense to me to buy it. Sure, I don’t yet have a way to organize all my books the way I like, but at least with this book, when I do, I will be able to with ease. Plus, I could easily share it with my brother, who I knew would like the book, but would never read it unless I put it in front of him.
In many ways, this book reminds me of some of the mid-level Philip K. Dick books. This isn’t another Old Man’s War, which I consider to be a modern classic of sci-fi. It is however, a quick read, with deeper concepts than any book that is a send up of sci-fi tv shows in the vein of Star Trek, much like a number of my favorite Philip K. Dick books which would take a simple concept and bring out deeper philosophical issues than you would have expected.
This is on the surface a “popcorn book”, a quick and entertaining read, but upon closer inspection, gives the reader something to more to think about. And in my busy life, sometimes that’s the best kind of book. I don’t have as much time to read through a book like Dahlgren, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to think and be challenged with interesting concepts. So thank you, Scalzi, for writing a fabulous book.