July 10, 2013

Green light on Redshirts

I've finished about 1/3 of John Scalzi's Redshirts, as recommended on this very blog by the Sum of All Monkeys.  It is not for everybody, but it is certainly for me, and probably you too.  It is a romp, and a hoot (a homp, perhaps?).

So far it's Star Trek meets Catch-22, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet on some Matrix influence in the chapters to come, as well.  Three excerpts:
“I understand you spent several years on Forshan, and that you speak the language,” Q’eeng said. “All four dialects.”

“Yes, sir,” Dahl said.
“I studied it briefly at the Academy,” Q’eeng said, and then cleared his throat. “Aaachka faaachklalhach ghalall chkalalal.”
Dahl kept his face very still. Q’eeng had just attempted in the third dialect the traditional rightward schism greeting of “I offer you the bread of life,” but his phrasing and accent had transmuted the statement into“Let us violate cakes together.”  Leaving aside the fact it would be highly unusual for a member of the rightward schism to voluntarily speak the third dialect, it being the native dialect of the founder of the leftward schism and therefore traditionally eschewed, mutual cake violating was not an accepted practice anywhere on Forshan.
“Aaachkla faaachklalhalu faadalalu chkalalal,” Dahl said, returning the correct traditional response of “I break the bread of life with you” in the third dialect.
“Did I say that correctly?” Q’eeng asked.

“Your accent is very unusual, sir,” Dahl said.
“Indeed,” Q’eeng said. “Then perhaps I will leave any necessary Forshan speaking to you.” 

Dahl weaved through the trees, screaming for Q’eeng and Taylor. Some part of his brain wanted to know if he was running in the right direction; another part wanted to know why he wasn’t using his phone to contact Q’eeng. A third part reminded him that he had a pulse gun of his own, which might be effective against whatever was currently eating Cassaway and Mbeke.  
A fourth part of his brain was saying, This is the part where you run and scream a lot. He was listening to the fourth part.

(Dahl really should know by now that the pulse guns never work.)


“How is he?” Abernathy asked, as Dahl lifted him.  
“Banged up,” Dahl said. “But I think he’ll live.”  
“Well, good,” Abernathy said. “That’s more than I can say for the last weapons specialist. Or the one before that.


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