Redshirts by John Scalzi is a fun read. For anyone who doesn’t know, the title refers to the tendency for auxiliary characters on Star Trek to die in various fashions while supporting the main character. Often these characters wore the red colored shirts of the security detail.
The book opens with a scene involving a team from the starship Intrepid trapped in a cave by Borgovian Land Worms.
We then join the main story as Ensign Andrew Dahl joins up with the Intrepid, and meets other new members of the crew. All of them are replacing other unfortunate former crew-members. Andrew and his friends fairly quickly begin to suspect that something is amiss in their new posting as they note the very high casualty rate on the Intrepid and that none of the senior crew members seem to share in this fate no matter how badly they may be hurt.
Scalzi’s twist as to what causes the situation on the Intrepid is fun and allows for a lot of meta SF jokes. I’ll also admit that I didn’t see the particular twist coming. A number of laugh inspiring episodes ensue, mixed with some pause for thoughts on the suffering the high rates of fatality cause to the crew-members.