For many of us, Star Trek isn’t just a fantastic television series, it also represents a sacred life code for which we should all strive. To that end, it’s natural to be defensive toward any parody of the trekkie universe, and so it was that I aimed to read this book with an open mind. Ensign Andrew Dahl, recently stationed aboard the flagship of the Universal Union, the starship Intreprid, begins to see a pattern of deaths among low-ranked crew members on away missions. Once he convinces his group of friends, they go on a mission of their own to change the rules that govern their universe.

This book is snappy, clever, and often funny. Pretty soon, though, the ‘red shirts always die’ joke wears out.  You have to wait until the characters figure it all out and accept their fate Rosencrantz and Guildenstern style. The subsequent action adventure second act is fun, but the cleverness wears off and the story starts to take itself very seriously. Basically the universe is a big and strange place, and infinite parallel universes may exist where different versions of yourself live infinitely different lives. It’s all so meta… but with a cheesy happy ending that makes you feel like maybe it’s all meant to be.
The satire of Star Trek OS was accurate, funny, and non-offensive, if a bit obvious. As a parody of Star Trek, though, it failed to capture the essence of a Star Trek story.

“Well, that’s science fiction television for you, though,” Abnett said. “Someone’s got to be the red shirt.”