I thought that one day, some SF writer would take quantum probability to the ultimate extreme and come up with a book such as [b:Redshirts|13055592|Redshirts|John Scalzi|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348617890s/13055592.jpg|18130445] and win the Locus Award. Though this is never the explanation for the strange goings-on in [a:John Scalzi|4763|John Scalzi|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1236228326p2/4763.jpg]'s latest, I have held on to the idea as a kind of hard SF basis for what clearly is not a hard SF book. You see, i was trying my best to like this book.
It's a quick read embellished with Scalzi's accessible prose and dialogue. My ears rung from all the loud dialogue by the narrator, but I suppose this was the only way to interpret the wry exchanges of over-the-top, macabre humor that surfeits the book.
The first part of the book is strait forward SF mystery as the main characters try to figure out why their fellow shipmates keep dying, while trying to save themselves. Then midway, the book takes a turn for the absurd as the reason for the high death rate is revealed. It doesn't help that Scalzi cannot restrain himself from making low-brow gags along the way. And just as I am getting used to the change in atmosphere, the story ends, with still another couple of hours worth of audio time left. The rest is filled with three codas whose main reasons for inclusion appear to be: to spring more jokes and comedic routines, to retell the story from different viewpoints and to extend what could have been a Hugo-candidate short story into a quite disappointing book.
I've enjoyed almost all other Scalzi books I've had the chance to read, but this one just didn't work for me. Will give it 3 stars for the chutzpah to write it in this form. But then again Heinlein was not shy about putting to print stories such as [b:Friday|17208|Friday|Robert A. Heinlein|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1315410828s/17208.jpg|1415529], why not his heir-apparent?