by John Scalzi
Reviewed date: 2013 Sep 23
Rating: 3
320 pages
cover art

Strange, unexplainable things are happening on the starship Intrepid. Ensign Andrew Dahl notices that junior crewmembers--those with red shirts--tend to die on away missions. They die horrific, painful deaths, at an astonishing rate. And what's more, the senior officers on these away missions are never killed. Occasionally injured, yes, but only temporarily, never permanently, and never, ever killed.

Dahl digs deeper into the oddness and realizes that he and his entire universe are the product of a badly written knockoff of Star Trek. Somehow, a show produced in Hollywood in 2012 is Dahl's entire reality of 2456. In a desperate bid to save their own lives, Dahl and his friends steal a shuttlecraft, kidnap a senior officer (necessary to ensure their survival--the shuttlecraft can't explode with a cast member on board!), and fly towards a black hole. The gravity-warping effects transport them backwards in time to 2012.

Now all they have to do is find the show's director, convince him that his fictional Chronicles of the Intrepid is creating a future reality, and then convince the show's writers to stop killing off redshirt extras for dramatic purposes. Easy, right?

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