Tag Archives: meta

Redshirts by John Scalzi – Book Review

I recently finished reading Redshirts, by John Scalzi. It’s actually the first Scalzi I’ve read, but I kept hearing how good he is. As a Star Trek fan, the premise of Redshirts just seemed too good to pass up, so it seemed like the perfect place to start.

Redshirts is the story of those nameless crew members on a spaceship who, on away missions down to planets or space stations, die. It’s a parody of this phenomenon that happened a lot in Star Trek – especially the original series. It’s also a much larger meta tale, but I can get into that more below…

The long and short of it is, I’m glad I read this! Is it the best parody of Star Trek ever? No, Galaxy Quest still takes that cake. Is its commentary on lazy storytelling biting and awesome? Yes, yes it is. Hidden in this story about the hapless, no-name characters doomed to die to add a bit of drama to a scene is a commentary on how relying heavily on this trope is not good storytelling, is not fair to your characters or your audience. You should have to earn character deaths, make those characters real and meaningful. Because in real life, that’s what people are.

The book closes beautifully with, as the cover says, three codas. After arguing that in storytelling you should have to earn your emotional payoffs, and that your characters should be more than bit players, he goes back and gives us a perspective from three characters, telling us what happened to them because of the plot. This is Scalzi, after telling us about earning an emotional payoff, showing us how it’s done. These, in many ways, take this story from a fun comedy parody with a bit of a message into a deep, impactful story that’s worth far more to the reader.

So that’s my spoiler-free review and thoughts on the book. As a writer, or reader, or TV viewer, or TV criticizer, or a Star Trek fan… I would say for sure read this book. And if you somehow read the novel and skipped the codas, my goodness, go back and read the codas. Go now, I’ll wait. Oh, and if you’re curious still or want to move on to some spoilers… let’s do that below!

redshirts-cover

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Catching Up on Supernatural

I know it might be surprising to know, but neither David or I had ever really watched Supernatural. I tried to start watching it when it first aired, but it was at a time that I did not have good access to television in general so never really had the time to get in to into it.

Now time has passed the show is past its tenth season and one of the more popular memes is SuperWhoLock. Now I love Doctor Who and I love Sherlock so the next step seemed to me to try and see what this whole Supernatural thing is about. So I started from the beginning and slowly worked my way through all of the seasons on Netflix. So here are some of my impressions about watching Supernatural. (Minor spoilers for Supernatural after the jump.)

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Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is the issue that will never die. Lately we have been hearing a lot about what has been going on with Net Neutrality with the recent decisions to allow ISPs to charge companies that deliver online services extra money to be able to deliver those services to customers who are paying the ISPs to provide Internet services that they can choose how to use. Today I saw a video posted by Felicia Day created by YouTuber ViHart explaining the history of Net Neutrality and what they see as the problem with what is being presented.

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To Link or Not to Link

There are often times where we want to comment on an article, video, comment, etc, but we do not want to give more value to the creator. This is where we will often find comments discussing an issue followed by, but I don’t want to link to it because I don’t want to give them more views. It is an interesting struggle when discussing posts that we might find reprehensible, racist, misogynistic, sexist, etc. I want to emphasize this is not just information that we disagree with, but media that takes an idea beyond the line that most would consider reasonable. The best example would be an comments that you read by trolls, but even those are not necessarily as bad.

The problem with linking to these ideas is the question of do we just give them more views and potentially give value to their voice by spreading it. At the same time by not linking to it, how do we allow others to understand what we are discussing if we do not link to it.  Continue reading