An award winning science fiction novel should do a number of things. Namely tell a good story, but the really good ones make you think as well. Redshirts is very clearly inspired by Star Trek and the many one-off characters who died in the course of those 79 episodes (most of them sporting red uniform tunics). But it takes that idea to several new levels. One, it is about a copy cat show that isn't even supposed to be very good. Second, the characters come to know they are in a show and then set about changing things.
The romp through the fictional world was fun and filled with things that made me laugh out loud. It was one of the most fun books I've read in years. It was obvious from the outset (with even the title warning you) that needless death was at hand, but the way it was handled was superb. Scalzi has crafted an epic tale that will stand the test of time. You don't need to be a fan of the original Star Trek, but it helps.
So Redshirts now takes its place with the many other Hugo Award winners and it fits right in. The nature of the story, the excellently detailed universe, the philosophical ideas covered, all lead to an excellent novel that is worth the read and deserved the Awards it was honored with.