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Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's "Firefly" Universe (Smart Pop) [Paperback]

Jane Espenson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Sep 2007 Smart Pop
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Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's "Firefly" Universe (Smart Pop) + Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers In Joss Whedon's Firefly (Smart Pop) + Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Joss Whedon's Worlds Beyond: Science Fiction on the Frontier (Investigating Cult TV Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ben Bella; TELE edition (10 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933771216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933771212
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 16.1 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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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3.0 out of 5 stars Meh 20 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
S'alrite. The interesting bits were way outweighed by the, shall we say, not so much. A must for completists, but that's about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for fans of the Firefly 5 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have finding serenity and enjoyed it buy this book. If you don't go look at that book first. Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers In Joss Whedon's Firefly (Smart Pop Series) This book however is more essays on the characters of firefly and serenity. This book was written after the film was made as evidenced by the title. Buy this book it's definitely worth the money.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of essays, like the show it's based on, gets a sequel 30 Oct 2007
By gobluegirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm a big fan of critical analysis of popular media.

Wait, that sounds way too stuffy.

I like to sit around with my friends and talk (and podcast) about my favorite shows. Firefly and Serenity are at the top of that list. It's fun, it's a cheap way to pass the time, and we get some surprisingly profound analysis out of our little ramblings.

Serenity Found is a book that is a lot like sitting around with your friends nitpicking, for good and bad, your favorite show. Several individuals, who all love Serenity--science-fiction authors, actors from the show, journalists and others--all write about a certain aspect of the show Firefly and the follow-up movie Serenity.

My absolute favorite essay in the book is "I, Nathan," written by Nathan Fillion, who played Capt. Mal Reynolds on the show and in the movie. It's funny, poignant, and it's clear that he's as much a fan of the show as anybody else. And make sure you read the bit after the essay, at the very end, in italics.

This is not the first book of witty and informative essays written about Firefly. This is a sequel to Finding Serenity, which came out a couple years ago. If you haven't picked that one up, I highly suggest it as well.

You might be a touch lost in the book if you've never seen Firefly before, but, then again, maybe not. Orson Scott Card's essay reads pretty well even if you haven't seen a minute of Firefly. He compares Firefly and Serenity to other sci-fi movies out there, like Star Wars, Star Trek, and others, and he does a good job showing how Firefly is different, and in his opinion, better, to somebody who hasn't watched it yet.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the book, then come back and write a review! (I can't believe I'm the first person to review this...)
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serenity Found findings 12 May 2008
By Dana Sweeney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jacob Clifton's work alone would have been enough to get me to buy this, but I ended up enjoying nearly the entire book, even more so than its predecessor, Finding Serenity, which contained the silly "Firefly is like the Tick" essay, the ludicrous "Joss Whedon isn't feminist enough because Zoe loves her husband and respects her boss" essay, and the offensive as hell "Joss Whedon can't possibly be a feminist, because no thinking man would be" essay.
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a half decent read 12 Dec 2007
By Josh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of firefly and this book is decent. About half of the essays are great. Well written, clear points, funny (like firefly).
I recommend:
-Curse your sudden but inevital betrayal; its about a firefly fan's reactions to the show and arguments with her husband (not really arguments, though. He says something and she quips). Its pretty funny.
-I, Malcolm; by Nathan Fillion himself. Its funny, witty, but short.
-Catching up with the Future by Orson Scott Card. Insightful essay on sci-fi in general and how much it sucks compared to Firefly. Yay.
-Girls, Guns, Gags; response to first book's feminist essay. She's funny, makes a few good points, but half of it is off topic/point.
-Mutant Enemy U; written by a guy who did special fx for the show/movie. Discusses the ship design.
-The virtual 'verse; about the firefly video game coming soon. double yay.

Be warned, though. the rest of the essays aren't good in my opinion. They over analyze, make no valid arguments, or are just plain boring.
I'm walking away from this book with a little more knowledge, but burned out on analyzing firefly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great show/film filtered through perceptions. 1 Jun 2011
By C. R. Collins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't geek out on television shows or movies to the point that I read critical essays about them. This is the exception. It was interesting to read people's perceptions and personal experiences and see what they took away from Firefly/Serenity. Some I agreed with, some I did not. Some were insightful, some a bit too "uhm, yeah, *page advance* and a few were a product of the time (2007), in that it was difficult to miss the BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) the authors were suffering from. I'd be curious to see what those authors feel now. Hopefully, their conceit that governments run by so-called "liberals" never, ever, suffer from paternalistic hangups that cause them to believe they're better suited at running your life than you are has been disabused with a healthy dose of reality, if not history. But then again, as my filter had me perceiving Firefly/Serenity as libertarian porn, I'm prone to picking up this bit of, shall we say, hypocrisy. Landi Diane Rich's piece was touching. Maggie Burns' (feminist characters aren't men who pee sitting down or are unrelatable uber-beings, who knew?), Bruce Bethke's (I had no idea about the history of Bat Durston) and Evelyn Vaughn's (the post-Civil War west setting was obvious in the show, but an interesting examination) pieces were informative. Orson Scott Card's post-Star Wars experience was a hoot. And, of course, the best essay was Nathan Fillion's (and the best bit in the book is at the end of his essay). All in all, a decent read. well worth the time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfyin' the itch of curiousness 30 May 2011
By Richard Derus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Book Report: Eighteen more essays about the moral, political, and ethical underpinnings, implications, and effects of the late, lamented "Firefly" TV series.

My Review: Last collection had yummy-yummy Jewel Staite, aka Kaylee, writing about her favorite things in each episode; this collection has the slurpsome Nathan Fillion reflecting on being the Captain! For that alone, it's worth the price of admission!

But wait! There's more! Loni Peristere (also a beauteous hunk of man-flesh, maybe Joss is a switch-hitter? All the men in the 'verse are so toothsome!), the f/x wizard behind the whole Whedonesque world, talks about the amazing and exacting Creator in terms of inspiring the best work from Loni and his minions, an essay that made me even angrier at the business-sound-but-aesthetically-idiotic cancellation of "Firefly". Then one Geoff Klock pulls apart and analyzes the brilliant, brilliant episode "Out of Gas", in search of storytelling genius and its telltale markers; there are many, and they are important for anyone interested in storytelling craft to study in depth. This essay makes that process almost easy, which is in itself a feat of storytelling.

Bruce Bethke's essay, "Cut 'Em Off At The Horsehead Nebula!", goes into the whys and wherefores of the SFnal aversion to Western tropes invading "its" territory, rooted in the pulp origins of SF, and its early competition with Western pulps for writers and readers. One can still hear nasty, condescending echoes of the war, which SF **won** and could and should drop, in the covert critical reception of "Firefly" as a damned Bat Durston story. Read the essay, I ain't explainin' that one. Too long, and also it pisses me the hell off.

My personal favorite essay is "The Bonnie Brown Flag", relating the "Firefly" underpinnings to the American Civil War's myth of the Noble Losers, the Gentleman Planters following the Bonnie Blue Flag. It's poignant, it's well crafted, and it's quite nicely argued.

The only essay that's a real flop is "The Virtual 'Verse", which was a waaay premature ad for the dead-in-the-water MMORPG of "Firefly" that was, at that time, being touted as forthcoming. Well, it never forthcame, and the essay looks like what it was: Blatant product placement. Ptui.

But then comes what I think is the most important essay: "The Alliance's War on Science" by Ken Wharton. Ten pages of keen observation on the nature of political propaganda masquerading as science. Again, if all you read is this one essay, your purchase price will be fully amortized. The subject is ever-more important, and this essay will sensitize you to the issue like never before.

Just like "Firefly" would have, had it survived intact to this good day. Next best thing is buying BenBella Books's essay collections. And, of course, reading them with the starved passion of a jilted lover. Or is it just me...?
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