Item description for Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly (Smart Pop series) by Jane Espenson & Glenn Yeffeth...
** COMPLETELY UNAUTHORIZED ** In this eclectic anthology of essays, former cast member Jewel Staite, "Kaylee," philosopher Lyle Zynda, sex therapist Joy Davidson, and noted science fiction and fantasy authors Mercedes Lackey, David Gerrold, and Lawrence Watt-Evans contribute to a clever and insightful analysis of the short-lived cult hit Firefly. From What went wrong with the pilot? to What's right about Reavers? and how the correspondence between the show's creator Joss Whedon and the network executives might have actually played out, the writers interrogate the show's complexity and speculate about what might have been if the show Firefly had not been cancelled.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2005
Publisher Benbella Books
ISBN 1932100431 ISBN13 9781932100433
Availability 0 units.
More About Jane Espenson & Glenn Yeffeth
Jane Espensen is a veteran Mutant Enemy script writer who was responsible for the Firefly episode "Shindig." She has also written for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Deep Space Nine, Ellen, Gilmore Girls, and Star Trek. She lives in Los Angeles. Glenn Yeffeth is the editor of Seven Seasons of Buffy and Taking the Red Pill. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly (Smart Pop series)?
Enjoyable Aug 14, 2008
You may not agree with everything that the various authors have written, in fact they do not always agree with each other, but every essay is thought out and well written. Most will make you think, a few may make you argue. You do have to keep in mind that this was written between Firefly and Serenity, so a few of the guesses and suppositions have already been aswered by the movie.
Firefly Fans - a must read! Apr 10, 2008
A collections of essays for Firefly fans. I enjoyed reading each one. "Finding Serenity" brings a new prespectives to this short lived TV series.
A solid group of essays on a no longer underrated show Mar 29, 2008
There are, broadly speaking, three kinds of anthologies about television shows. There are those by academics within the fields of media or cultural studies. There are those by philosophers, primarily the result of a couple of book series collection philosophical essays on a wide range of cultural phenomena from THE SIMPSONS to THE MATRIX to Harry Potter. Then there are collections by people with less academic qualifications, but are instead writers or artists. I've enjoyed all three types, though those by philosophers considerably less than the other two. This is not an anti-philosophy bias on my part; my academic background is philosophy, having studied philosophy at two of America's delightful institutions of higher learning. It is simply that while I find philosophers from Kant to Henry Sidgwick to Anthony Kwame Appiah helpful in understanding ethical dilemmas, I don't find them especially helpful in analyzing BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER or ALIAS. I do find many essays by those in media/cultural studies helpful, though those that get in the grips of theory (especially psychological theories or queer studies) seem to me more about the theory being espoused than the television series occasioning the essay.
On the other hand, anthologies of essays by artists I frequently find instructive. This is certain true of this collection. Like all collections it has its weak essays and its stronger essays. There are also those that I was unequipped to enjoy or understand because I didn't have the requisite background. For instance, there was one essay that imagined switching the crews of FIREFLY and ENTERPRISE. Since I haven't seen ENTERPRISE, there was simply no point in reading it. I very much enjoyed articles detailing some of the aspects of the show from the standpoint of its music or its art design. In rewatching the series recently I found that I was paying attention to things on the show that I hadn't previously.
There is one overall weakness in the book and that is that these essays were all written before the film SERENITY was released. So much of what various writers say is speculative and as usual speculation tends to be wrong. Still, it is interesting to have a snapshot of pre-SERENITY musings on what the show was about, even if they turned out to be incorrect.
There were also some very bizarre essays. The most disappointing may have been Nancy Holder's, simply because I've read other things by her on the Whedonverse that were, I thought, insightful. Her essay finds FIREFLY disappointing because she believes it provides less than empowering images of women (a sentiment not shared by other essayists in the volume, and certainly one that I can't agree with). She believes that FIREFLY was doomed to this fate because she views it primarily as a Western. This all baffled me because even without the film SERENITY it was clear that River was being set up to be this show's Buffy. FIREFLY was a work in progress, but it was obvious (to me, at least) that the central story arcs were going to be driven by River and the resolution of the mystery of who and what she was, and why the Alliance was so intent on capturing her. But the article also bothered me because it didn't seem to understand the historic connection between American SF television and the Western. Whedon was absolutely not the first person to mesh SF and the Western. In fact, almost all America SF series are indebted to the Western genre. This is what distinguishes American TV SF so sharply from British TV SF. If you line up all the major (and even minor) British and American series, you can easily contrast them. American TV SF series are concerned with the frontier, with exploration, of going -- in those famous words -- where no one has gone before. British SF is not nearly so focused on this. Even Dr. Who is more a tourist doing the Grand Tour than an explorer of the wilderness. Jan Johnson-Smith does a great job of documenting all this in her book AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION TV: STAR TREK, STARGATE AND BEYOND. Interestingly, one of the writers she cites in talking about the Western and American ideas of wilderness and Western expansion and exploration is Richard Slotkin. At Wesleyan he has often taught courses on the Western and integrated it with American culture at large. I bring this up because one of his best-known students was Joss Whedon. If one understands Whedon's academic lineage, it is not the slightest bit surprising that he conceived FIREFLY as a SF Western. He was merely making obvious something that had been a part of STAR TREK (with the Enterprise exploring the wilderness) and the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (essentially a wagon train in space -- an aspect that the vastly superior reimagining retained) and BABYLON 5 (basically a wide-open town of the Wild West, with Sheridan as Wyatt Earp).
All in all, I definitely recommend this collection. Most of the essays -- even the ones that I want to get in an argument with (like Holder's) -- are at least interesting. And many will definitely enhance one's enjoyment of FIREFLY.
Amazing how far you can get ripping off someone else. Dec 3, 2007
A scholarly work on the content of Firefly? Amazing how far you can get from just ripping off with very few minor changes the concepts behind an anime called Outlaw Star.
Some good, some better, some... not so good. Nov 1, 2007
The cancellation of Firefly left many questions unanswered, and many theories on character back-story and motivation are expounded upon in this collection. The essays, edited by series writer and long-time Joss Whedon co-conspirator Jane Espenson, were all written in the period of time between the end of the series and the release of Serenity, which gives the book a quaintly episodic feel in an I-know-something-you-don't-know sort of way.
The essays themselves are something of a mixed bag - if you're a fan of the show, at least one of them is pretty much guaranteed to piss you off. But fans will appreciate contributions from other long-time Whedon co-conspirator Marti Noxon, and a sweetly nostalgic accounting of favorite moments from actress Jewel Staite.