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Book Review: Firefly: Still Flying: A Celebration of Joss Whedon’s Acclaimed TV Series by Joss Whedon

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Written by Pirata Hermosa

On the heels of his incredibly successful Buffy the Vampire television series, Joss Whedon introduced another creation called Firefly. With everyone expecting another smash hit from the mastermind, it was a complete shock to many that his new show, which was a cross between a western and science fiction, was not only canceled in its first season, but before all of the episodes had even aired. And it’s even more shocking because it has such a rabid fan base that has not only kept the stories alive for the last eight years, but it also pressured the film industry to make a major motion picture based on the show called Serenity.

But if you’re reading this review, you should already know that. And if you’re even considering reading this book, then you must be a fan of the show. If you haven’t even heard of the television show, then this book is not for you.

There have been two previous companion books released dealing with more specific details of the show, while this is more along the lines of what you might learn if you went to a science-fiction convention. There are a lot of comments about on-set hi-jinks, how much the fans have meant to them, and what it was like to be part of something that has had such longevity.

A number of the sections are broken down by the specific characters on the show. Each character has several stills from the show along with quotes from the actors about their character. All of these are taken from either website interviews or transcribed from what they said during any number of sci-fi conventions. Having been to a number of conventions myself, it was easy to picture them on stage and even imagine myself being at one of the Firefly conventions. It does make for an interesting read for that reason, but a lot of the uniqueness would probably be lost on someone who can’t pull from that similar experience.

The book is filled with photos from the show. Not only are the actors featured in these photos, but a lot of the props, sets and CG animation as well. There is a section showing various hand-held weapons, what they are really made of, and where the ideas came from. There is a section on the wardrobe of the cast showing various photos as well as the preliminary drawings. And of course, you can’t forget the drawings, models and animations of the space ships themselves.

There are also four new pieces of fiction from former writers of the show in the book:

“What Holds Us Down” is a very short story about Kaylee and Wash as they try to steal parts from a junkyard to fix Serenity, but find themselves being hunted down as Kaylee tries frantically to fix another ship and escape.

“Fun with Dick and Jayne” is two cartoons comparing the old Dick and Jane books we all read as children but substituted with a sick and violent Jayne from the show.

"Crystal” is another short story about River as she walks around Serenity telling the crew members what will happen to them in the future, but mostly how each will die.

“Take the Sky” is a look into the far future when Mal is old and he receives a message from Zoe that Jayne has died. It also gives a brief and sad look of what happened to the crew and where they are, just before Mal decides to do something that will once again alter the course of his life.

There is a lot of interesting material to read and experience in the book, but with a lot of the comments coming directly from conventions and entire sections dealing with the convention experience and what endeavors the current fan base is still involved in today, this is obviously a book dedicated to the fans. Certainly not a difficult book to read, but one that only true fans will understand and enjoy.

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  • Doug Glass

    “Take my love; take my land; take me where I cannot stand. I don’t care, I’m still free; you can’t take the sky from me.”

    “Take me out to the black; tell them I ain’t comin’ back. I don’t care; I’m still free since I found Serenity.”

    Because here I sit thinking of the current political and economic situation in the USA and wishing I had their “the black” to go to.

  • SD

    SWEET ! ! !

  • http://writer.fitzhome.com Fitz

    I was a huge fan of the series and liked most of the movie, but have to admit I love the world Firefly was set in. I have this book sitting here waiting to be read – now I’ll have to get to it quicker. :)