New space fleet member Andrew Dahl and other new recruits, called "ensigns" start to realize that one the dreaded "away" missions, mission where teams are sent out to explore distant planets, at least one the new recruit dies.
Turns out there is something fishy going on, I'll do my best not to spoil it in the next section.
The more senior officers on the ship, specifically Lt. Kerensky, manages to be blown up, disemboweled and infected with diseases yet he returns fit as a fiddle within a week.
Yes, something is definitely wrong with the Intrepid.
It turns out the answer to Dahl's riddle is known by a mysterious figure that roams the Intrepid. One minute he's there, the next he's gone. A phantom that seems to know just when to duck out of sight.
Redshirts is a hilarious and also touching nod to Star Trek and to the other cheesy sic-fi imitators that followed. If you're a fan of Cabin in the Woods or, dare I say it, The Wizard of Oz, you'll really enjoy this novel.
It's loaded with great pop culture references, funny twists and unexpected plot points that make it a lot more than just a Spaceballs-esque parody. This was the first Scalzi novel I've read and I highly recommend it to any sic-fi or comedy fans.