- Series: Smart Pop series
- Paperback: 217 pages
- Publisher: Smart Pop; 1st edition (September 10, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781933771212
- ISBN-13: 978-1933771212
- ASIN: 1933771216
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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These essays will appeal to fans of the show but readers outside that sub-group should not bother with it. There are some interesting pieces from fans of the show and crew members who worked on it. There is a fun essay by actor Nathan Fillion who played the role of the lead character. Orson Scott Card, an excellent sci-fi novelist, offers his musings on the show with a few funny but gratuitous jabs at Star Wars and Star Trek that seemed a little out of place--especially coming from the author who penned a novel based on the James Cameron film "The Abyss." There are some excellent essays, including one by Evelyn Vaughn, comparing the frontier setting in "Firefly" to life in America after the Civil War.
A solid collection of essays to be sure--but not one that will appeal to readers outside of die-hard "Firefly" fans. While I am a fan of the show, I found a certain assumption in some of the essays to be grating. They were preaching to the converted and bemoaning the show's and the movie's fate and made no effort to reach out to new viewers. Instead of being inspired to watch once again one of the great shows in television history, these essays made me feel like I was at a funeral as writer after writer returned to the wailing wall. Even the most passionate of "Firefly" fans might find this off putting. This book needed a bit more of a tone indicating the fondness of disappointed love--what I hope I have for the show--instead of more eulogies to entomb the show. Still, the most devout fans of the show will profit from this work and perhaps even enjoy it.
Personally, I thought the essays that explored the characters were the most interesting. They provide interesting insights about the crew of the Serenity. Of those, the essay about Shepherd Book and faith is fascinating and even provides hints about Shepherd's past.
That said, I think the collection would have benefitted from a bit more editorial control. Some of the essays are sloppy. Orson Scott Card's essay is particularly bad, all praise without any sort of analysis or insight. Card trashes all other sci-fi but doesn't really explain why Serenity/Firefly is better. As I tell my students, it's crucial to address strong counterarguments and make a focused point. Some of the other essays seem like they were written hastily without much thought (the Libertarian essay goes to such absurd extremes I laughed out loud).
Overall, this book is definitely worthwhile for Serenity/Firefly fans who want to think more about the series. Especially for the current Kindle price, which is less than a bag of chips at an airport.
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.