While I don’t consider myself a Trek fan, I can appreciate the wealth of pop culture that’s sprung up from the series as a whole. (My favorite Futurama episode, for example, is “Where No Fan Has Gone Before.”) So, I was very much excited for Redshirts, if only in honor of those poor bastards who get fatally hit right before the commercial break.What Scalzi does best in his work (that I’ve read thus far) is really bringing the human element to his characters. This is definitely not an exception. I’ve seen this concept done before, largely as a running gag, but Scalzi makes you care about his characters. And I care about these people. Aside from two of the three ‘main’ characters (the Captain and the Chief Science Officer), you really get to know Dahl and his reasons for taking a position on the Intrepid and that you don’t really want him to die, or any of the other ill-fated crew members. And this really isn’t just a satire fixated on just Star Trek or bad sci-fi; it feels like it could be aimed at any media that uses cheap deaths to get a somewhat emotional reaction. The whole second half of the book isn’t so much breaking the fourth wall as Scalzi taking a hammer and gleefully smashing it and then dancing over the broken bits. I like that the surviving redshirts aren’t even trying to stop their deaths anymore, but feel like that they have more to contribute than just being a poor bastard who gets hit. I even like the three codas that deal with the show’s creators trying to grapple with the fact that what they write is real, in a sense. It’s delightfully meta, and there’s a few decent jokes with the actors. My only real…problem, I guess is that the main parody is very much focused on spoofing classic Trek—the really bad science, the overdramatics, the cheap death—and then you find out that the show everyone’s stuck on is being produced in 2012. It feels like I’m nitpicking, but I would have preferred the present day parts being closer to the original Trek production, if only because there’s been some fantastic sci-fi television in the last few years. It just seems like Scalzi wanted to move it to the present day to get in one not-very-funny Comi-Con joke. This isn’t the strongest out of Scalzi’s work that I’ve encountered so far, but it’s still entertaining and a fun little jab at television plotting. It’s a must for Trekkers, and I’d even give a check-it-out for all around sci-fi fans.