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Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,313 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Firefly’s early demise left fans with a deep sense of loss and plenty of unanswered questions. From what was wrong with the pilot to what was right with the Reavers, from the use of Chinese to how correspondence between Joss and network executives might have gone, from a philosopher’s perspective on “Objects in Space” to a sex therapist’s analysis of Inara, Finding Serenit ...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published March 11th 2005 by Smart Pop
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,313 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Richard Derus
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
The Book Report: Twenty-one essays on Firefly and its underlying assumptions, pre-Serenity-the-movie, by a motley crew of writers, philosophers, actors, and bon vivants, edited by Whedonesque Goddess Jane Espenson, creatrix of the fine, fine episode "Shindig."

My Review: Unless you're already familiar with "Firefly," none of this will make one whit of sense. If you've drunk the Kool-Aid, it's a balm in this age to re-immerse yourself in the 'verse. So much richness and challenging freshness were
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The essays in this book cover a wide variety of approaches, some thoughtful, some silly, and even some that are contentious.

This "something for everyone" approach is likely intentional, but I did wonder at the inclusion of a few of the essays, especially at one that even Jane Espenson (the editor) admitted made her angry.

While it is interesting to read different viewpoints, as a fan of the show, I found it frustrating to read the more critical essays. Not because they dared to criticize a Joss
Jun 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who are really into the series
Well, this was eclectic.

I have learned not to expect too much from these sorts of books, they are increasingly common and it seems that as they become so, the quality lowers. Some of the essays in this book were truly brilliant, like Mercedes Lackey's, or very interesting, the one on the Chinese languages, while others were entirely pointless attempts at humor. Also, most struck me as slightly unprofessional, intersperse with personal commentary or off-the-point jokes. Still, a good fun read.
Emily Ross
Some of these essays were pretty good, I particularly liked the essay concerning subtext and colours within the Firefly Universe and the final essay written by Jewel Staite on her favourite memories of the show. Others were deeply philosophical and were only vaguely relevant.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
A mixed bag. Kudos for the editor being brave enough to include criticism as well as praise, and it's one of the critical essays that I found most interesting (a very sensible commentary on the relative lack of Asian characters in what is essentially a well-constructed Asia-themed 'verse). It was great to read Jewel Staite's memories of the show and Jane Espenson's comments. The epistolary 'story' of how Firefly got cancelled was hilarious. However, some articles belong on personal blogs and not ...more
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
A space western accented with Chinese culture and language and peopled with solid characters had a short-lived run on Fox networks in 2002, but it spawned a crazy loyal fan base of millions, that resulted in the concept being optioned for the big screen - watch for Serenity to debut September 30 at a theatre near you. This is truly an example of the Long Tail effect in action.

Whedon's following tends to be highly educated, and this collection of scholarly essays deconstructs the 13 episodes of F
Jen from Quebec :0)
This helps fill the void in your heart after you're finished with FIREFLY on DVD for the 10th time....REALLY great, insightful essays by people who care as much about the show/movie/Whedonverse as YOU do! WORTH IT if you are a Browncoat! --Jen from Quebec :0)
Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Valerie by: Debbie
Shelves: tv-made-me-do-it
I obviously have a thing for canceled tv shows.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Firefly fans
"You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they realy are. If theres any kind of fiction better than that, I don't know what it is."
Joss Whedon

The book is made for Firefly fans, who'll love it. It discusses topics within the Firefly universe, everything from the relationships of characters to feminism to why it was cancelled.

Jane Espenson
A good introduction from the editor and an interesting inside point-of-view for the show.

The Reward, the Det
Teo 2050
4h @ 2x. Contents:
(view spoiler)
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for a very long time and have used the Chinese-to-English translations every time I watch Firefly, but I never actually read this book cover-to-cover. And that's too bad, because it's a great book!

It's an interesting read largely because it's in that in between world after the cancellation of Firefly but before any solid news about the movie Serenity. Thus there is a fair amount of speculation as to what a movie would be like, what direction certain characters should go, and s
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading the opinion pieces included in this book. There were a variety of opinions expressed about subjects ranging from the premise of the show to femininity. I did not agree with all of the authors but found their arguments well thought out and worthy of consideration.
very enjoyable read. loved the insight to characters , cast anecdotes and the explaining of the Chinese mandarin language use for swear words.
smirked in places as I closed my eyes and visualised certain scenes in my imagination.
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good collection of essays about all aspects of Firefly. The characters, sets, history etc.
For those Firefly fans out there Nancy Holder & James Lovegrove have written some Firefly fiction novels.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Essays on Firefly. Unfortunately, there wasn't really enough Firefly, so these get kind of repetitive.
Like my partner, I think I was hoping for a little more from this. A great deal of time and space was spent rehashing plots, or railing against FOX. Neither was especially neccesary, or even particularly useful in the end; but I guess that may result from each author having no idea of what the others were writing. I would suggest that many SF shows get cancelled before their time, and that Firefly is in good company. Caprica is another example that springs to mind, and yet other shows will roll ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am such a damn nerd.

I adored this. Seriously. So many of the essays were brilliant and thought-provoking and brought my attention to something that I had completely missed.
A couple favorites: the essay on the use of music in the show is beautiful. The essay about the use of setting and staging was fascinating. Discussion of the origins and nature of Reavers was haunting, the essay about the missing half of the U.S.-Asia mash-up was extremely insightful, the essay detailing the Chinese phrases
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Firefly, the cowboys-in-space TV show that was cancelled before it could find its feet, has become a cult favorite among fans of science fiction on television. The series was followed up with a movie that tied up a few loose ends left by the show's cancellation, but ultimately, there's a feeling of what-might-have-been that surrounds the show (see Nathan "Captain Malcolm Reynolds" Fillion's recent much-hyped online comments about how he'd buy the rights and restart the show if he ever won the lo ...more
Red Haircrow
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
As a deep, deep fan of the short-lived but much beloved sci-fi western TV series, Firefly...I had been avidly seeking this book for some time. Any extra insight, extras and essays into the characters I love from a DVD collection I've already almost worn out in just a few months is appreciated. Especially so when it's sci-fi or fantasy writers whose works I like otherwise.

I'm not going to give a play-by-play on each chapter and topic, but I especially enjoyed the background ideas on the reavers
Ryan Mishap
May 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
One of the things about punk rock that I like the best is the general belief that being "fans" isn't enough, or even the antithesis of how one should be punk (or live in the world). Beyond just DIY, the anti-fan ideology tells us we are participants. Given this background, I refuse to let people call my zine a "fanzine" or to reduce myself to a punk rock "fan" as so many columnists for the big punk mags seem to wind up as.
I am a fan, however, of Firefly, probably the best TV show ever created. I
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english
21 people sharing their informed an surprisingly intelligent opinion on Firefly.

About half the essays in Finding Serenity are feminist drivel (a particular kind of drivel that Joss Whedon tends to attract), but even those are quite interesting to a Firefly fan such as myself: Every essayist contributes their own unique point of view; Everyone notices different things.

The other half are much less annoying, although some are completely wrong -- which ones depends on the reader, I guess. I read the
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Firefly & Joss Whedon fans
Recommended to Trish by: I'm a fan
I tend not to buy fan books of any kind but I made an exception with this one. I had just finished listening to Jane Espenson's keynote address at the Surrey International Writers Conference. She's a great speaker and after participating in a boisterous "So say we all" with hundreds of attendees, I just couldn't resist buying this one. I am glad I did.

Although this book was published before the movie was released, it is still a fun and insightful trip down memory lane for the fans of the Firefly
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, essays, non-fiction
Who writes essays about a short-lived television series that hardly anyone ever watched? Who reads these essays? Answer to both questions: people who "get it".

That is, people who understand that there was more to Joss Whedon's Firefly than "Gunsmoke in Space". Well, maybe not Gunsmoke; the law was black and white in Gunsmoke, and Firefly contains multiple shades of gray. More like, um, maybe "The Wild Wild West in Space"? Jim West saw shades of gray -- utilized shades of gray in his apprehensio
Whereas I was late to the awesomeness that was "Firefly' (had to watch it on dvd-late), I considered myself a fan. I loved the show, was excited about the movie and to be honest...I'll watch anything with Nathan Fillion in it, (including season 7 of "Buffy"). That said... I've had this book in my collection for about 4 years now and in thaat 4 years, I have attempted to read it about 4 times. This last time was the final attempt. I struggled to get through the "Seven Seasons of Buffy" last night ...more
Natalia L
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
I wish I could give Finding Serenity a 2.5.

It's not that I didn't enjoy reading this book; it's just that there were far too many essays that I found boring, tedious, unnecessarily lengthy, and/or irritating to read. That sounds worse than I mean it to.

I almost gave it a 3 due to Jewel Staite's essay on her favorite moments of each episode. I wish there were more essays that--like her's and a handful of others--made me want to re-watch the series immediately. I think that should be the aim of a
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
There was little in this book that any astute viewer couldn't have come up with, though a few of the essays were interesting. A couple of them flat out contradicted each other (on facts, no less, which should have been fairly easy to corroborate) while others made arguments I thought were patently ridiculous: After three essays on how feminist and pro-women the show was, I found it a bit tedious to read a diatribe on how sexist it was forced to be as a Western. I'm about as feminist as they come ...more
Leah (Jane Speare)
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So cool!!! A must-read for any fan of Firefly.

It's a collection from a surprising amount of familiar authors (to me) like Mercedes Lackey and Nancy Holder. Made a few of these authors go up on my awesome-list to know they're Firefly fans!!! Those two do write science-fiction though, so maybe it's not surprising to everyone.

A great portion of the essays are devoted to strong feministic topics, how Whedon is a hero in that area, and there's even one essay where someone says he completely screwed i
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of essays about the Joss Whedon series Firefly. The essays range from being slightly weird (comparison's with Firefly and other sci-fi series) to the very academic (and somewhat over my head - existentialism?). They are written by people who are attached in some way to the series (one of the actors) or by people who are experts in some way in their field. All of them claim to be fans, and there are a few mentions of how awful it was that the series was cancelled. The di ...more
May 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Browncoats
Shelves: own, loved-movie-also
I quite enjoyed reading this book. It was recommended to me by the person who first showed me Firefly, and while I was bad and read it sitting in the aisles of Barns & Noble, I did go back and buy it a month or two later.

Some of the essays hit topics I wasn't enthusiastic about myself, but I could see how fans of the other subjects that Firefly and it's colorful 'verse were being compared to would enjoy them.

There was only one essay I didn't like, and I felt was off base, the one by Nancy Ho
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
I don't think I've ever read a book about a television series (wait, do Simpsons guides count?), okay an analytical book about a tv series... but a Whedon-fan housemate lent it to me and the book stared at me from my dresser. Some of the essays were genuinely interesting, typically those addressing the show's strengths such as characters and camerawork. Other essays were dumb, or trite, and at least one makes such outlandish claims (masquerading as a balance to the positive reviews) it sets the ...more
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Jane Espenson is an American television writer and producer who has worked on both situation comedies and serial dramas. She had a five-year stint as a writer and producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shared a Hugo Award for her writing on Conversations with Dead People. Between 2009-2010 she served on Caprica, as co-executive and executive producer for the series. In 2010 she wrote an episode ...more