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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon’s Firefly Universe

Edited by: Jane Espenson
Originally Published: 2007
Publisher: BenBella Book
Source: Purchased

The Story

We all know that Firefly and Serenity has a cult following. There shouldn’t be any surprise then that people have studied what can be found in the series and movie, have taken it apart piece by piece to evaluate what made it so good and so loved. And some of these essays can be found in Serenity Found.

This is actually the second book of essays on Firefly that this publisher released. I decided to pick up the second book of essays before the first (Finding Serenity) because I knew more of the authors who contributed to it.

Included in this book are the following essays:

  • Catching Up with the Future (Orson Scott Card)
  • Mars Needs Women (Maggie Burns)
  • Girls, Guns, Gags (Natalie Haynes)
  • River Tam and the Weaponized Women of the Whedonverse (Michael Marano)
  • I, Malcolm (Nathan Fillion)
  • Freedom in an Unfree World (P. Gardner Goldsmith)
  • A Tale of Two Heroes (Shanna Swendson)
  • The Good Book (Eric Greene)
  • Mal Contents (Alex Bledsoe)
  • Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal (Lani Diane Rich)
  • Mutant Enemy U (Loni Peristere)
  • Geeks of the World, Unite! (Natasha Giardina)
  • The Alliance’s War on Science (Ken Wharton)
  • The Virtual ‘Verse (Corey Bridges)
  • Firefly and Story Structure, Advanced (Geoff Klock)
  • Cut ‘Em Off at the Horsehead Nebula! (Bruce Bethke)
  • The Bonnie Brown Flag (Evelyn Vaughn)
  • Signal to Noise (Jacob Clifton)

The Response

As with any collection of essays (or even collections of short stories, for that matter), there are some wonderful ones, some mediocre ones, and some that weren’t (for one reason or another) very interesting at all. I’m going to focus mainly on the wonderful ones, as the ones I didn’t enjoy weren’t because they weren’t GOOD, it’s because they were about stuff that didn’t interest me (such as gaming) – and I really am not qualified to say anything on subjects such as those as I don’t know anything about them.

“I, Malcolm” is the inclusion from out wonderful Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan Fillion. His essay, while short, is as humorous as you would come to expect from Fillion. (If you don’t know what his sense of humour is like, I highly recommend that you check out his Twitter account.) And he tells us what it was like to be Malcolm Reynolds.

One of my fave chicklit authors, Shanna Swendson, wrote “A Tale of Two Heroes.” In this, she takes a look at the hero myth (a favourite story type of mine), and explores how both Mal and Simon are the heroes of the show. As someone who was never particularly fond of Simon, this idea has really made me curious about watching the show again to see if I can pick up on what Swendson mentioned.

Firefly and Story Structure, Advanced” was my favourite essay in the collection. In this essay, the best episode in the series, “Out of Gas” is taken apart scene by scene and we are taken through the transitions, and how the show is, in essence, a love story between a man and his ship.

In “The Bonnie Brown Flag” Evelyn Vaughn compared Firefly and Serenity to the American Civil War, the old south, issues with slavery, etc. In fact, it even brought in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (and anything that quotes Rhett Butler is bound to be good, in my opinion). In some aspects, the war between the Alliance and the Independents is quite similar – especially in how the losing side reacts to the winning side. But one of the largest differences between the two is the slavery issue: one of the causes of the American Civil War was due to slavery in the south, and the abolishment of it, but in Firefly and Serenity, slavery had no cause in the war. In fact, after the war, the Alliance still uses what amounts to slavery in some worlds.

These were, in my opinion, the best inclusions in the collection. That’s not to say they others weren’t that great, but these are the ones that stood out the most to me. Other essays take a look at the special effects of the show and movie, various characters, how the movie is an allusion to the media, etc. There’s definitely something here for all browncoats.

The Bottom Line

Will be following this up at some point in time with the first book of essays. Definitely recommended to any browncoat.

Other Reviews

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 11:16 am December 30, 2010.
Category: Non-Fiction
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