We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A novel based on the Firefly TV series

A novel based on the Joss Whedon cult SF series, Firefly, which was one of the very best in recent years in my opinion, has been released and you can view it online, thanks to a Creative Commons platform, here.

If you have not seen the TV series, correct that ommission immediately. It beautifully blends western-style cowboy drama with its strong individualistic, screw-authority ethic with science fiction, nifty and authentically grimy spacecraft. There are plenty of dashing men and gorgeous women to please both sexes. And there are sword fights and lots of shooting. What’s not to like?

24 comments to A novel based on the Firefly TV series

  • I agree 100% Jon. However I would recommend people watch the series rather than the movie first.

  • Anomenat

    Although the film can be watched on its own, it is really an ending to the prematurely cancelled television series. It is far more enjoyable to watch having first seen the TV series.

  • Johnathan

    I agree with both comments. I also really hope – in vain probably – that they could make more programmes.

  • Kit

    “authentically grimy spaceship” – are you ready to talk about your alien abduction experiences? ;)

  • watcher in the dark

    Firefly deserves every praise given to it, and as an example of a great TV series being strangled in its early stages by a totally stupid US television station, it takes some beating.

    But while the film is pretty good too, watch the TV shows and enjoy the action and wit.

  • Sunfish

    I agree with both comments. I also really hope – in vain probably – that they could make more programmes.

    Don’t hold your breath.

    Summer Glau is in a new job. She plays the “good” terminator in a new TV series based on the Arnold Shwartz (you spell it, I can’t) movies. It’s a really stupid concept and an absolute waste of a pretty good actress, but she’s moved on from Firefly.

    A damn shame. Firefly is my absolute favorite series/movie, end of discussion. (Yes, even more than Family Guy or Reno 911, it’s that good. Heinlein with humor, maybe?)

  • BigDog

    I sent the Firefly series DVD to a friend serving in Afghanistan a couple years ago. He loved it and offered to loan the DVDs to people in his company. He was told “I don’t like sci fi” etc. He practically ordered his subordinates to watch it. When they did, word spread and his DVDs were on constant loan for a year. I wonder if he ever got them back.

  • There are so many little things for future seasons set up in the first season of Firefly that we are never going to see, too. Plus there are a whole pile of fun guest characters who we would have seen time and time again if the show had gone on. That we did not get another four seasons of the show thus makes me very sad.

  • nick g.

    The series had one major fault- it was set in another system. It should have been set in the solar system, because you could then have had the sub-plot that they were looking for a ship to take them to another star. Maybe the Earth Government even had such a ship, but didn’t want to lose it’s powers as people fled to space, so it wasn’t telling anyone! That will be something to fear in the future.

  • Actually, the Summer Glau Terminator TV series is pretty good. Sadly, it’s also owned by Fox… so it’ll probably share the same fate as Firefly.

    eg – http://www.sliceofscifi.com/2008/02/27/real-life-comics-knows-fox/#comment-1146367

  • nick

    In the same way that fan pressure got Family Guy back on the air, when do people think that computer graphics will get to the point where series such as Firefly can be continued without the continuing input of the actors? Series like Angel, Buffy, and Firefly could then reach their natural conclusions. It would also have some implications for sports and pornography…

  • nick g.

    When will a Graphic character be given a real Oscar in its’ own right? Cyberstars are real people, you know! (I can’t wait for characters to sue their creators so they can be drawn better, or be given some redeeming features! Maybe Sauron could sue the Tolkein Estate, so that someone has to add some ‘redeeming’ qualities to the book. Sauron could be portrayed as a species-diversifier- Trolls didn’t exist until he made them!)

  • ian

    I’ve only seen the film, so I may be missing something, but I don’t understand the fuss over Firefly/Serenity. While entertaining, the film is not especially innovative or groundbreaking. I have been reading and watching SF for 50 years and don’t believe there is a thing in it that hasn’t been covered already, albeit perhaps not as well.

    For example:

    Summer Glau character – Buffy in space

    Alliance - Jerry Pournelle’s Co-Dominion

    Reavers - Zombies from George Romero’s films through Buffy again to 28 Days Later.

    Outsiders fighting against an oppressive system – my first impression was Blake’s Seven (something that has real potential for a remake with the production standards now possible even in TV), but it is a constant SF theme.

    Doing evil for the good of society – hundreds of political and SF thrillers, for example the stadium massacre in David Drake’s Hammers’s Slammers – itself a rip off from Pournelle’s military SF.

    All pervading security cameras – well we live in that, but I recall numerous stories in Analog over the years around that theme, including one police procedural.

    Does making Mal a Southerner have a significance for US audiences that I am missing?

    I’m not saying that reworking of old themes is wrong – just that to make something really special that way is particularly hard and I don’t think the film has achieved that.

  • Anomenat

    Ian,

    Summer Glau character – Buffy in space

    If that was the conclusion you came to having seen the film and not the TV series, then I consider the thesis that you should watch the TV series first to be proven.

    The problem is that the whole thing is really about the characters, like most of Joss Whedon’s better work, with the Sci-Fi or Fantasy elements at times providing a fun background and at times providing a context in which to explore ideas without the hang-ups and associations that entangle real historical settings. In fact, I think that’s pretty much the point of a lot of Sci-Fi really.

    But that doesn’t come across particularly well in the film. I don’t know if it’s simply a case of Whedon being better at TV than he is at films (I suspect that is at least part of it) or whether he made compromises in an attempt to satisfy both fans of the show – who already know the characters – and people who hadn’t seen anything about it before.

    It certainly seems like people who hadn’t seen the TV series missed out on the characterisations.

  • Ian,

    You obviously missed it. I’ve been reading and watching SF for nearly 50 years too.

    Explicitly stated in Mal’s speech at the end of the movie.

    The movie is named for the ship.

    The series is named for the class of the ship

    The ships are mostly background in SF. “Muddlehead” was conscious, “The Ship Who Sang” had a human brain.

    These are the closest I can think of but, if for nothing else, Joss Whedon’s claim to fame in SF is secure for creating the most *loved* spaceship ever.

    You really, really need to see the series.

  • Midwesterner

    And when you watch the TV show DVDs, watch them in the director’s order, not the order of broadcast. It really is about the characters and their moral values, not the technoglitz. And while the episodes each have their own plot, the first season was building the characters a little more in each episode. It definitely needs to be watched in order the first time.

    I’ve heard so much negative about the movie that I haven’t bothered to watch it.

  • Anomenat

    Midwesterner,

    The movie is good, especially if you’ve seen the TV series. I’m told by a friend who saw the movie before he saw the TV series that the movie was enjoyable but that he liked it a lot more when he watched it again after having watched the TV series.

    If you enjoyed Firefly, I’d recommend watching Serenity. But I can see how someone who didn’t see Firefly might not think much of Serenity.

  • Sunfish

    Does making Mal a Southerner have a significance for US audiences that I am missing?

    I didn’t get that he was a southerner. He mentioned being raised by his mother and a bunch of ranch hands. That suggests to me that his home culture was from the western US. That, along with some of his speech patterns. He sounded a lot like a few of my more rural neighbors from longer-established families.

    The conventional wisdom is that Westerners have a cranky sort of independent streak absent from much of the rest of the US. Actually, you’ll sometimes hear the same thing about Alberta and Saskatchewan from other Canadians. How true that is may have faded a bit when the cancer on the body politic that is California started throwing off baby cancers, but that’s still the story.

    Mid: See the movie. IMHO, its only fault is that Whedon tried to cram about four seasons worth of story arc into a single movie, but he really had no choice thanks to the clownshoes at Fox.

  • ian

    I may be wrong about him being a Southerner – just to this Brit he and one of the other crew members seemed to have Southern accents and speech patterns.

    Mike Borgelt: I’m afraid I don’t understand your point.

  • ian

    …oh – and the series DVDs are on their way.

  • I saw the film first, and loved it, so bought the DVD. That then provided the desire to get my hand on the series, which is simply the best series of anything ever to have appeared on television.

  • Sunfish

    I may be wrong about him being a Southerner – just to this Brit he and one of the other crew members seemed to have Southern accents and speech patterns.

    That’s legitimate. A lot of the settlers in the west actually came from the south, after the civil war. I think what happened was a lot of people (predominantly landless croppers) realized that the South held little left for them. That was easily our worst war: we’re better at killing each other than Kaiser Bill, Tojo, Hitler, or Ho Chi Minh ever hoped for. After that, some folks just wanted out.

    We might also be reading a lot into an accident of casting.

    FWIW, I’ve noticed that Brits tend to be better-informed about us than most Americans are about you guys. I couldn’t tell a Mancunian accent from Cockney, but God knows plenty of people here couldn’t tell either from a brogue. I don’t get it, there’s a huge world out there and some of it is really neat, but there you go.

  • FWIW, I’ve noticed that Brits tend to be better-informed about us than most Americans are about you guys.

    That’s because most movies are made in America.

    I am curious about the southern accent. Isn’t it supposed to be a descendant of the Scottish accent