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Book Review: Firefly: Still Flying
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The Insomniac   |  
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Firefly Still Flying
A Celebration of Joss Whedon’s Acclaimed TV Series
Paperback
Joss Whedon
Original stories by Ben Edlund, Jane Espenson, Brett Matthews, Jose Molina
Titan Books
Release date: May 25, 2010

Firefly is truly unique in the annals of television. Canceled after only a single season, Joss Whedon’s science fiction-Western mash-up has enjoyed a cult following that rivals Star Trek and Doctor Who. Known as Browncoats (after the rebel force from the show), these true blue fans have kept the show’s spirit alive by passionately devouring books, comic books, and even a full-length motion picture sequel Serenity.

Firefly: Still Flying, much like the series itself, is a mash-up of two different genres. It is at the same time a collection of short fiction and a fan guide. Titan Books assembled a crack team of former show writers to submit short fiction, including “What holds us Down” by Jane Espenson; “Fun with Dick and Jane” by Ben Edlund, “Crystal” by Brett Matthews; and “Take the Sky” by Jose Molina. Separating these stories is a collection of interviews, production notes, storyboards, prop design specs, and cast and crew histories.

The inclusion of new stories based in the Firefly universe makes Still Flying a unique guidebook for fans of the series, but anyone looking for stories that delve deeper into the mythos will be a little disappointed. The stories contributed by the four writers are very brief and don’t contribute that much to the story of Firefly. In fact, they contribute very little to the book itself as a whole. Firefly: Still Flying would have worked just as well without them.

Firefly: Still Flying, on the other hand, is an excellent fan guide. It explores Firefly as it was conceived, executed, and then passionately followed. The show was known for the camaraderie of its cast, and the book takes us backstage to a world of inside jokes and pranks. But for my money, the most fascinating chapters are at the end, when the writers turn their attention to the crazy fandom that the series enjoys. From hilarious kitsch merchandising to their appearances at comic book and science fiction conventions, the producers and actors of Firefly are enjoying a surreal celebrity status they probably never expected.

Firefly: Still Flying achieves exactly what it set out to accomplish: celebrate the series. Despite the disappointing contributions from the show’s former writers, it is still a book written by fans, for fans. While outsiders might have a hard time wrapping their heads around “cowboys in space,” the Browncoats will no doubt find the book very ‘shiny.’

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Train Jobs

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