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Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe (Smart Pop series) Paperback – September 10, 2007
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"Lots of fun, lots of new insights, even some new facts a diehard Browncoat like me hadn’t heard yet." SerenityStuff.com
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Wait, that sounds way too stuffy.
I like to sit around with my friends and talk (and podcast) about my favorite shows. Firefly and Serenity are at the top of that list. It's fun, it's a cheap way to pass the time, and we get some surprisingly profound analysis out of our little ramblings.
Serenity Found is a book that is a lot like sitting around with your friends nitpicking, for good and bad, your favorite show. Several individuals, who all love Serenity--science-fiction authors, actors from the show, journalists and others--all write about a certain aspect of the show Firefly and the follow-up movie Serenity.
My absolute favorite essay in the book is "I, Nathan," written by Nathan Fillion, who played Capt. Mal Reynolds on the show and in the movie. It's funny, poignant, and it's clear that he's as much a fan of the show as anybody else. And make sure you read the bit after the essay, at the very end, in italics.
This is not the first book of witty and informative essays written about Firefly. This is a sequel to Finding Serenity, which came out a couple years ago. If you haven't picked that one up, I highly suggest it as well.
You might be a touch lost in the book if you've never seen Firefly before, but, then again, maybe not. Orson Scott Card's essay reads pretty well even if you haven't seen a minute of Firefly. He compares Firefly and Serenity to other sci-fi movies out there, like Star Wars, Star Trek, and others, and he does a good job showing how Firefly is different, and in his opinion, better, to somebody who hasn't watched it yet.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out the book, then come back and write a review! (I can't believe I'm the first person to review this...)
This second volume is better for following the movie, for one thing, giving the authors more of the full story to work with, whereas the first book had only the series with its unanswered questions to consider. There are still some weak points, such as the too-personal-to-be-terribly-interesting "Things my spouse and I argue about while watching Firefly" piece; and the script outline of 'Out of Gas' by a guy who thinks the structure should be laid out scene-by-scene to demonstrate how cool it is...that one really lacked a thesis; and the "admittedly I have a huge chip on my shoulder" exhortation to geeks to be proud of their geeky selves, in which it was actually suggested that David Krumholtz could be plausibly seen as other than hot....
But there were really insightful essays outnumbering the ones that had me rolling my eyes and mouthing, "Blah blah blah," as I read. Jacob's was great, of course (I refer to him by his first name because I am a huge fan of his work and knew him only as Jacob of TWOP long before I learned his surname). There was a really thorough examination of the Libertarian ethics portrayed in Firefly; a thoughtful discussion of the Unification War in terms of its deliberate reflection of the American Civil War and even more carefully depicted differences from it; an in-depth look at many of Joss Whedon's female characters who have been essentially weaponized by meddlesome men; and several other really interesting takes on the Firefly 'verse that aren't for whatever reason leaping to mind right now.
Both books could easily have been trimmed, and one big book might have included only the best of these essays rather than a hit-and-miss double collection. On the other hand, it's great to have new Firefly-related stuff to devour at intervals with the show and film in the past and no likely sequels on the horizon.
-Curse your sudden but inevital betrayal; its about a firefly fan's reactions to the show and arguments with her husband (not really arguments, though. He says something and she quips). Its pretty funny.
-I, Malcolm; by Nathan Fillion himself. Its funny, witty, but short.
-Catching up with the Future by Orson Scott Card. Insightful essay on sci-fi in general and how much it sucks compared to Firefly. Yay.
-Girls, Guns, Gags; response to first book's feminist essay. She's funny, makes a few good points, but half of it is off topic/point.
-Mutant Enemy U; written by a guy who did special fx for the show/movie. Discusses the ship design.
-The virtual 'verse; about the firefly video game coming soon. double yay.
Be warned, though. the rest of the essays aren't good in my opinion. They over analyze, make no valid arguments, or are just plain boring.
I'm walking away from this book with a little more knowledge, but burned out on analyzing firefly.