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February 05 2008

Steven Brust's Firefly novel now online. "My Own Kind of Freedom," the Firefly book Steven Brust wrote as a proposal for a tie-in Serenity novel back in 2005, has finally been released as fanfic. Really, really good fanfic.

Brust's a good guy and a good writer. Downloaded this and will have to check it out at some point soon.
Doing the dance of joy (whilst seated!) as I type! I've always wanted to check out his work, based on they hype, and now I can w/ him writing some of my favorite characters. Cool.
I've been waiting for this for so long! I understand why Joss decided not to allow tie-in novels, but from what I've heard at his readings, Brust has got the characters spot on. I just wish I didn't have a test tonight -- stupid Arabic class! And stupid me for waiting until today to study! :-(
Joss allowed them for Buffy/Angel. Why not Firefly? It's a shame to see Brust's work released under creative commons when it should have been a proper novel. Hopefully, this will lead some new readers his way.
My husband has been chomping at the bit for this for eons. I am so glad that it is finally available! Yay Steven Brust for wanting to get his story out there so much that he is willing to give it away freely. Gotta love it when a man has a story he just feels compelled to tell.
Seriously? Steven Brust? Wow. That's just awesome.
New York Times Bestselling Author Steven Brust's next book in the Vlad Taltos series is being released July 8, 2008. It is available for pre-order at Amazon.
Joss allowed them for Buffy/Angel. Why not Firefly?

I think Joss probably read a few of the Buffy & Angel tie in novels, then punched himself in the head.
Gossi - you made me giggle.

Anyways, WOOT! Fanfic joy!
Shakespeare, bearing in mind that I speak from within a vast sea of my own ignorance, I will forward a wild guess that it may have been a complication of the Firefly/Serenity license split that caused problems with tie-in novels becoming a reality.

As I understand it (see above for how much I don't), Firefly and Serenity are two separate license packages involving two separate groups of people who have no real incentive to be cooperative (it isn't, sadly, just a matter of Joss himself giving permission). That kind of complication isn't insurmountable, but I can easily imagine a scenario where a publisher might declare it more trouble (and potential long-term hassle) than it might be worth.

But again, I am guessing based on very limited info, and am probably wrong.
I think Joss probably read a few of the Buffy & Angel tie in novels, then punched himself in the head.

He's also said, at some point, that the Firefly universe still felt too close to him to turn over to other people in a form he would not be able to properly supervise and oversee.
Well, a free full-length novel? I usually only read comic apocrypha, but I think I might make an exception!

nice to read a story of the verse--interesting story-good dialog
I love SB's books. Many of them I have read multiple times. This is a big treat for me.
Good of him to put it out under Creative Commons (though I guess it's the only way to put it out at all without ending up hip deep in lawyers ;).

Not usually into media tie-ins but will definitely give this a chance, it's clearly a labour of love.
Something to think about, but there is a "donate now" button on his page. If you like the book, there is nothing wrong with sending him a few bucks, you know, to say thanks. I am headed over there now to thank him.
To say thanks for all the other stuff he's done, you mean ;).

(cos there kind of is something wrong with paying him for a work owned by someone else, as i'm sure Universal's lawyers would be happy to "explain" ;)
Okay. Let's just thank Steven Brust for being Steven Brust. You know, just a little pat on the back for waking up this morning and just being his regular cool self. Sound good?
Yep, I doubt even Fox/Universal's lawyers could object to that.

It ain't easy being green after all (if indeed he is green, i've never seen the bloke - I just wanted to up the ante a little bit since simply being Steven Brust doesn't sound that hard).
He definitely gets the dialogue and character voices, from what I've read so far.
He definitely gets the dialogue and character voices, from what I've read so far.

So I should keep reading rather than judge the dialogue and character voices based only on the prologue?
Yeah. I should add, there are times when this would benefit from some editing, in my opinion. There are some exchanges between Zoe and Mal that would be better shorter-- their banter is fun but it's usually kind of controlled. And there's a Zoe/Kaylee scene early on that seems odd. Getting the voices and getting the scene are different. But getting the voices is something kind of rare I think.

I think he writes River very well. She has a bit of Ch1.
You do have to understand that this is nothing more than maybe a second draft, no matter how much polishing he's done. Readings by friends and family are good, but nowhere near enough for a published novel. If it had been picked up, it would've been gone over by both the Joss/Universal camp and the publishing company's editors, and dialogue too close to the show's would've been reworked, transitions smoothed, etc.
Right. I didn't want to my comment about "yay, he got the voices" to give people unrealistic expectations. As far as fanfic goes, this is exceptionally good writing. As expected, because Brust is a very good writer. But it is not a polished work ready for publication, simply because it hasn't been through that process. I don't hold it to that standard, but I did notice the difference, if that makes sense.

It's a fun read, and nice to catch some lines and moments here and there that so coulda been.
Brust has done a bang-up job with River in particular. One of my favourite choices Whedon made with the show was to allow River more and more lucidity as time went on; here, Brust gives her strangeness a strong logic, and her internal monologue rings true. And there's a moment where River talks about Mal, the connection between them, that's worthy of the best moments of Firefly itself. The whole affair is paced like a big Firefly episode, so kudos there.

My only medium-sized complaint (among a few small ones) is: this is an awfully talky story. As much pleasure as Brust obviously took in the characters' voices, and as strong as Brust's sense of the onboard relationships is, some of the conversations go on a bit too long, and the space-jockey terseness of the dialogue can be a little tiring. If I didn't love these characters already, I might have grown impatient with the style of the story, which is quippy but not light. One thing you can say for Joss Whedon is that he has an extraordinary knack for making Big Macho Declarations that allow for human weakness and complexity; his colleagues tend to miss either his poetry or his empathy. Brust displays a good helping of both, but you kind of need The Genius In The Writers' Room to add that final spit-n-polish.

I loved the story though. Unsurprisingly, this is head and shoulders above the usual fanfic tripe, and Brust is to be commended for giving it away (and for taking the time to write it on spec in the first place). He really caught the spirit of the work and the world. Indeed this version of Firefly captures the original concept's bleakness, as well as the familial texture of the show. Plus, without Book and Inara around, it gets the film's streamlined half-ensemble feel, less of a wagon train, more a single wagon. Different sort of story from the show, in a way.

(In my ideal world I'd also have wanted more texture to the town itself, a stronger sense that there's some kind of community there, even a perverse one, for Mal to be pleasantly out of place in. But then in my ideal world Firefly fanfic wouldn't exist, as there would be an army of Joss Whedons turning out seemingly limitless quantities of their own original work. And I would ride around visiting them on my new pony.)
Well I started to read it but sadly couldn't get past the acknowledgements. Fucking emacs ??!!?? Death to the unbeliever !


Read the first chapter so far and I really like Wash's satisfaction with his entry to atmo, nicely described and it quite succinctly shows why, despite what some may think, even River will never be able to fly the old bucket quite the way he could. Wash had the stuff.

(and I agree about the characterisation of River waxbanks, I love that she believes Kaylee's bothered by her facility with maths, that's very River-esque. It's just geometry, it doesn't mean what you think ;)

I'll finish this when i'm done with my current read (also fiction, if it was non-fiction I could read them both together but two the same doesn't work for me. It's like crossing the streams ;).
Loved the characterizations, thought he nailed all of them brilliantly. His insights on River, and on Wash's and Kaylee's attitudes towards their jobs, were amazing. And I laughed out loud more than a few times.

I did think the POV shifting got excessive at times and we never really got into Mal's head - and some of Jayne's actions seemed remarkably stupid -- but overall this was a fantastic read. I'd love to hear it performed, cough cough. BDHs? You guys busy right now?
Does anyone know a solid point in/post-series when this is set? Love the story, but part of it didn't work with 'Objects in Space'. I won't say what and spoil it!

Someone said they thought it was set before that ep, which would explain some.
Judging just from what i've read (chapter 1), it's set before 'Objects in Space'. Kaylee and River put 'War Stories' (and River's creative use of fractal geometry ;) behind them in OiS whereas when this book's set, Kaylee is still uncomfortable around River.

I think the continuity may be flawed though because (again, just from chapter 1 so may well be wrong) .
I am a bit mixed about this.

I certainly understand, appreciate and encourage Joss' desire to maintain ownership and control of the Firefly/Serenity universe. I really always want every incarnation and every story to maintain the quality and integrity of the original productions.

On the other hand, I am so desperate to hear/read/absorb more tales of these characters. They have become real in my mind like no other fictional characters have, and I long whistfully to hear how they are and what else they've done. So part of me is sad that there is nothing more available or being produced. And this is coming from someone who had purchased copies of every DVD iteration, plus multiple copies for friends, plus every book related to the series and the comics in both soft-back and hardcover versions. So, yeah ... to me it's like my best friend stopped writing to me a few years back and I haven't heard anything from him and have no idea how he is. Frustrating.

Not blaming anyone, just trying to express my emotions on the subject in some wholly inadequate words.

So Steven Brust's unpolished distribution of this work is much appreciated in this little corner of the Whedonverse.

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