I’ve been reading Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Science Fiction on the Frontier edited by Rhonda Wilcox and Tanya Cochran on the train in the past week or so. Some really interesting essays on different aspects of the Firefly universe and well worth a look if you’re interested in looking how people from different disciplines might engage critically with a TV show like this.
I’ve also been reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale edited by James South and William Irwin. Again, some interesting material in there.
One thing that comes through from time to time though, is the sense that the occasional author is so caught up in the constructed world that they engage more with the characters as ‘real people’ rather than with the people (directors, writers, actors etc.) who shape that world. A problem perhaps for anyone writing about something they care about deeply.
That said, I’ve asked the library to order Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon’s Firefly Universe.
Fernando’s post Fernando’s Desk » Why Joss Whedon Is a Better Theologian than Most Bloggers and Preachers linked through to Ryan Torma’s blog (ryan torma: Firefly & Faith) which in turn linked through to Cowgirl Jazz‘s blog with lots of Firefly material and to Ryan’s own article “Seeking Serenity: Creating spaces for theological dialogue between churches and young adults through the Joss Whedon television series Firefly and film Serenity“.
Further chasing of links lead to:
Which in turn reminded me of:
And I’ve gone through the blog and now put everything Firefly and Serenity related into a new “Firefly” category with links to resources relating to Firefly, reviews, comics etc.
After listening to Steve’s presentation on River as a Christ-figure in the movie Serenity, I felt inspired to walk up to Heroes for Sale and grab the last two parts of the latest Serenity mini-series “Better Days” from Dark Horse comics.
Suffice to say I was disappointed. The story seemed to drag, some of the characterisation and language seemed “off”, and it didn’t really grab me like the first mini-series “Those Left Behind” did. Plus, there’s the sense of “dead men walking” if you’ve seen the film. Still, it is Serenity (and walking up the hill to the shop did clear my head of conference ‘fug’ and stretch my legs after a day sitting listing to stuff).
I also picked up the next issue in Image Comics “Transhuman” series – which deals with venture capital funding in this issue. It’s okay, but again the previous issue was much better.
Greenflame · Serenity: Better Days
Greenflame · Transhuman – The comic mini-series
Very busy this week juggling SBL + work stuff in the gaps – always a problem when a conference is happening on your own campus.
Good to catch up with lots of different people over the week.
Various random highlights included:
Going to a presentation in an ecological stream and in the question time finding out about Transition Towns (see also Transition Towns New Zealand Aotearoa)
Having Steve (the emergentkiwi) to stay for a couple of nights and enjoying his paper/presentation on female Christic figures in cinema (especially in “Whale Rider”, “The Fifth Element” and “Serenity”).
Seeing a new crop of postgrads (and a few undergrads) from around the country front up and present their research. Some really good presentations today which bodes well for new people coming through in biblical studies in this part of the world.
Doing my paper on “Broadening the application of the co-creator metaphor”, getting some good feedback, and surviving getting into my talk before realizing I was using the version of the paper without the last minute changes I’d made to it the night before. (Luckily I had the new version on me and could grab it without breaking stride too much).
Listening to an intriguing paper after mine on Melanesian perceptions of the world (especially time) and how that shapes the enculturation of the the gospel and teaching theology. Some good material there that would intersect with developing an Oceanian theology of technology.
It’s been a long week so I’m now looking forward to a lazy weekend.
Great little article by Sam J. Miller over at mental_floss Blog Â» Battlestar Galactica vs. Star Trek looking at the difference in anthropologies underlying Star Trek (pretty positive) and the new Battlestar Galactica (pretty negative). Worth a quick read.
Miller argues that Galactica doesn’t hide the warts or flaws in human nature and relationships, or paint a rosy picture of some kind of trajectory towards perfection achievable through the myth of progress. He says of that,
Galactica is sci-fi without that BS. Sci-fi with all the anger and stupidity and sadness that real people experience. Sci-fi without the conviction that we will conquer our own ugliness. Sci-fi for the age of peak oil and 9/11 and natural disasters compounded by climate change to the point where they can completely destroy major cities. Galacticaâ€™s message is that unless we come to terms with our own history, we are doomed. Mankind created the Cylons to fight our wars and to do our grunt work for us. Eventually they rose up and wiped out 99.999% of us. This basic lesson is one we still havenâ€™t learned: that exploitation leads to exploitation, that if you oppress someone you sow the seeds of your own oppression. â€œYou canâ€™t play God and then wash your hands of the things youâ€™ve created,â€ says the Galacticaâ€™s commander, William Adama. â€œSooner or later, the day comes when you canâ€™t hide from the things that youâ€™ve done anymore.â€
It’s similar to the flaws in humanity that Joss Whedon brought out in Firefly or J. Michael Straczynski kept in Babylon 5.
Hat tip to Exploring Our Matrix: Around the Blogosphere (The End of the Banana Argument)
Related link: Greenflame Â· Science fiction as safe(?) space to explore unpleasant questions
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away Darren wrote in an email â€œi’ll do serenity asap…â€. That was June 2006.
Now, however, he’s started the great Firefly Study Series and you can find the first parts at:
He’s also noted the link (via Tensegrities) to a series of Firefly clips over at Cowgirl Jazz.
For those of you who are suffering from needing a Serenity or Firefly fix, then Dark Horse’s Firefly/Serenity mini-series “Better Days” is now out. I picked up issue 1 the other day, and it’s a good read if you’re a fan-boy or girl. Actually, it’s a good read for a comic in general – I’ve read some not so good comics recently from the library’s trade paperback/graphic novel selection. If you can do the character’s voices in your head while reading then it really rocks.
More details over at Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Serenity: Better Days #1 (of 3).
Oh, and I see the “Star Gate: The Ark of Truth” is already out on DVD in NZ. Seeing as I’m still finishing off Season 9 of Stargate SG-1 it’ll be a while before I get there, but it’s nice to know it’s waiting for me. Just like I’ll get to “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” when I’ve knocked the last few episodes of Season 3 off. I must admit I’m struggling to be enthralled with the end of BSG season 3 maybe it’s better watched one episode per week rather than three episodes at a time. Currently, I’m trying to avoid Season 4 spoilers – which seems to be harder than it should be – people keep putting them in their blog posts without spoiler warnings!
Frantic here at the moment. Old job stuff to finish, new job stuff to think about, last week of the school holidays, conference abstract due tomorrow, and going to Dunedin early tomorrow for the bioethics conference (so packing now).
However, still time to note that Dark Horse are finally going to release their next Firefly/Serenity comic book mini-series. Excellent, I can’t wait. See Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Serenity: Better Days #1 (of 3).
I’m the only one in my household without a dedicated lunchbox. These look so cool that my situation could soon be a thing of the past.
Dark Horse Comics : Serenity Lunch Box
Dark Horse Comics : Serenity Lunch Box: Fruity Oaty Bar
Now, if only I could get one of these to go with it.
Links to a two-part post on the creation of immersive story worlds that span soaps, wrestling, and superhero comics. Interestingly, another post on the blog connects the worlds of soaps with comic books more explicitly using the example of DC’s recent 52 and Marvel’s Civil War. Not too surprising really, given that Star Trek and Firefly are probably better classified as ‘space opera‘ rather than hard science fiction. People watch as much for the interplay of the characters as for the speculative devices.
Related link: Greenflame » Dylan Horrocks on comics, games and world-building.