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April 20 2008

William Shakespeare's Serenity. Two choice moments from Serenity, brilliantly transformed into blank verse in the style of the Bard.

Capt: A dozen years have pass'd since this took place,
And all that time hath Parliament kept hid
The secret of this world, till River here
Unearth'd it from their minds. They feared she knew.
And right they were to dread, since many more
Among the spinning worlds would know it too.
And someone has to speak for those now dead.

Via Making Light.

This is brilliant. She's captured the tone perfectly and let's Mal's voice shine through.
I really don't so.
I was honestly blown away so hard by this spectacular effort, I'm not even in the same city I usually am right now;)

To me, this definitely proves - besides Browncoats are creative mofos with imaginations to rival Joss himself - is that Joss needs to be this era's William Shakespeare! He uses all manner of truly absurd plot ideas to convey what it is to be human and I bow down to the altars of both. Now...all I need is a bust of Joss to match my bust of Shakespeare;)

And Madhatter? Were you trying to say that you actually didn't think this Firefly as Shakespeare was any good?!

I was unsure of what I thought until "We will endure a while, till it disperse." Turns out I like it. A lot.
Notice that I omitted the "think".

And no, not at all.
This made my morning.
I read another one of these earlier on for a scene from 'Pulp Fiction', are they done by the same person, or is there a trend at the moment?

ETA: sorry, the Pulp Fiction one was actually linked to on the Serenity page! Turns out it's a different author, and the Serenity one was inspired by the Pulp Fiction one.

[ edited by MattK on 2008-04-20 18:50 ]
Inara as the Ill Omened Nun... just catches me right. I'm drifting into Robin Hood farce......out of gas...hmmm...friar....flatulence... there's something here... Wait. Nope. Nothing.
Those are well done IMO. It goes to show how flexible iambic pentameter became in Shakespeare's hands.

I was hoping for the "I mean to live . . .Get to work" scene. That would be a challenge, with choppy sentences, multiple speakers and swift changes of tone.

/science geek warning/
The compass needle simile lifted my eyebrow, but it works with a little retconning. Many planets and moons in their natural states don't have magnetic fields. We have to assume that the equivalent of iron cores was added during the terraforming process, That makes sense since the magnetosphere shields the planetary or lunar surface from cosmic radiation.

"North" would be a local direction, relative to the field orientation of the planet or moon one is standing on. Compasses would still be in regular use on outer planets like the one Mal grew up on, which probably did not have the money for a good satellite navigation system. People from the inner planets would orient by GPS or an imbedded beacon system, and wouldn't know a compass from an astrolabe./geek off/
That's the problem I have with Shakespear, me, me, always me!
Joss would love this.
Those are great bits of work. I love "We will endure a while, till it disperse." as a line even though I don't think it really captures the sentiment accurately (i'm only raising it because I think "We'll pass through it soon enough" is such a simple line but it says so much about Mal and where he's at personally by the end of the film - Serenity is now just freedom to him, she's not also the trap she had been up til then. So the idea isn't really of enduring IMO, it's much more of having "slipped the surly bonds").

Nice bit of geekitude janef but personally I don't think the compass needle is much of a stretch - we all know (at least roughly) what a sextant is, does and looks like even though not many sailors use them nowadays and most of us here may not have held one or even seen one "in the flesh", right ? And we know literature from today and longer ago is still read, even by folk like Mal so I think the cultural significance of "true north" and the needle pointing there would still survive (and Mal refers to Northerly winds earlier on in the film so we know people still use the compass directions, even if only figuratively). Though of all the issues I have with their terraforming process, adding a molten iron core to their moons/planets has to be up there. That's some pretty big tech ;).
adding a molten iron core to their moons/planets

Saje, I love you with all my heart, but you kinda' lost me there. Thinking UnpluggedCrazy is right. Why wouldn't Joss love us, we give him his ideas!
Ooh, brain bulb in a drive by. What if Echo gets sent on a mission where everyone speaks as if in a Shakesperian play? Now that would be something.

To all you Browncoats, I have finally ordered a copy of Firefly. After the twitter thread, I figure I better find out what y'all are talking about.
Lovely work. Just a beautiful melding of two writers I love.

I'm so impressed. (And kindof inspired.) But mostly impressed...
That made me ever so happy. My two great loves, Joss and Shakespeare together. I can hear Nathan's voice saying those lines with no difficulties. *swooooon*

Lovely. What a nice way to end my day.. Thanks for linking that!
But soft, what light through yonder porthole breaks?
'Tis Serenity, pursuéd by Blue Sun.
Demise, Blue Sun, and end the Alliance
Who is already sick and pale with theft...

Back to writing finals. Oh, but what a joyous break this was! This is even better than when Dave Barry turned a few lines from Hamlet into rap...
MysticSlug | April 20, 22:34 CET
To all you Browncoats, I have finally ordered a copy of Firefly. After the twitter thread, I figure I better find out what y'all are talking about.

Did you get a good deal because Firefly is $17.99 at Target this week. Also I have to ask, you have seen Serenity the Big Darn Screen continuation of Firefly. There is a Serenity Collector's Edition with cast commentary.
That was just lovely, thanks so much for the link. Made my day, which seriously needed making.
Lamely, the only thing I can (mis)quote from Shakespeare is the classic pick up line "'Do me, or not do me? That is the question."

So, well done to evilrooster on her work.
I hope the plug here inspires her to write from the perspectives of other characters- Zoe and Wash ala Taming of the Shrew would be a hoot!
Oh, that would make me happy! Taming of the Shrew is my favorite comedy. Plus, it's the inspiration for the great musical Kiss Me, Kate. Zoe and Wash would be hilarious...perhaps a scene from "Our Mrs. Reynolds"?

One of my favorite things on BtVS was when they'd allude to the Bard, like Cordy's perspective on Shylock, or St. Crispin's Day.

One of my favorite Shakespeare misquotes is Dave Barry's "'Romeo...Yo! Romeo! Wherethehellfore art thou?' 'I art down here! Throw me the car keys!'"
And, of course, "To be or not, I got to know, might kill myself by the end of the show."

M-Gather these bodies up-
Z- Sir, We cannot tarry for their graves...
M- Tie them up, array them on our ship.
Z- Our friends not buried but defiled?
And to defile our home...for some mad ruse?
M- This is my command, that we go on
where we can, and by what ruse, and that we sail
in cloak of blood and bone until
we find the reason for these deaths
and perhaps prevent our own.
I like the retcon about the compass needle, just for the sheer coolness value.

When I wrote this, I was more relying on the way that figures of speech get preserved long after their literal meanings are dead (how long has it been since we've even *seen* a phone with a dial? And yet we dial phones.)

Also, like the Tarantino one that got me thinking of this, I was trying to blur the line between what Mal said and what an Elizabethan Mal would have said. The Tarantino one uses a knife instead of a gun, for example.
About the "till it disperse" thing.

Two reasons I did this. The first is simple: I wanted to end with a rhymed couplet, and I wanted to preserve River's comment "The storm is getting worse", because it fit the meter and the line length. So I needed a rhyme for "worse", and "disperse" is a good one.

The second reason is that I see the turn in Mal's attitude during the film a little differently. He started out feeling that he was being rushed into actions that he really hated. He simply didn't have the resources, financial or emotional, to wait out the problems that the crew were experiencing. The ending is about his feeling that the clock has been reset; that he can endure the inevitable problems that he will encounter.

I love the images you've woven into this(we sail/in cloak of blood and bone). It's a nice condensation of the first part of the scene. How would you tackle the "my way or the highway" bit at the end?

One metrical note: Shakespeare tended to write lines with ten syllables (sometimes eleven, if the last one was unstressed and kinda dangling off the end). The challenge, of course, would be to expand your lines and shuggle the meter about without losing any of their intensity.

Because they are intense and vivid. Really good show.
Thanks, evilrooster, I was responding to the suggestion about that scene by Janef. I've never written fanfic, much less fanverse before, but the latter seems like more fun to me. And I haven't studied the meter, probably obviously.
Well, phones still had dials well within living memory (last time I checked I was still alive ;) so it's maybe not quite the same but the principle holds evilrooster, I concur - in the same way that Mal's read 'The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner' and understands the symbolic significance of an albatross even though he's unlikely to have seen one, if they even still exist (traditions, in other words, persist - it's sorta part of being a tradition ;).

I can imagine, for instance, compasses being given as antiquarian gifts to flyers in the same way sextants are to sailors today i.e. symbolically and as an acknowledgement of tradition rather than for practical use.

The ending is about his feeling that the clock has been reset; that he can endure the inevitable problems that he will encounter.

Yep, I like that way of reading the change in Mal. I don't agree but I like it (or rather, I think we're saying similar things a bit differently ;).
I want to read the whole movie in Shakespeare-style!
Pretty pleeeaaase!
I'm a complete sucker for words and wordplay. This stuff just gives me the squees all over. and dreamlogic?
verily i say to thee,
thou doest rock
and mightily.

(yeah, that was lame...but i had to try)

I write a lot of sonnets, so let me give you a quick and dirty lesson on Shakespeare's meter.

His lines generally had 10 syllables, alternating between stressed and unstressed ones:

daDA daDA daDA daDA daDA (oh, SHE doth TEACH the TORCHes TO burn BRIGHT, as Romeo said on seeing Juliet)

Sometimes he'd add an extra unstressed syllable at the end:

daDa daDA daDA daDA daDA da (to BE or NOT to BE, that IS the QUEStion, as Hamlet said.)

Shakespeare did swap his stressed and unstressed syllables around, so you don't have to be too rigid about them if the line sounds right doing it otherwise. The meter should serve the language, not vice versa.

The best way to get the ear for this stuff is to write a bunch of it. Try things out, and see what works. You have the intensity, and a real gift for turn of phrase, judging by what you've written above.

And you have an audience here. I say you should do more!

(The other thing to remember is that Shakespeare ended his scenes with rhymed couplets: the last two lines generally rhymed to give a feeling of closure. If you're stuck for rhymes, I use
dreamlogic - wonderful.

Just wonderful.

This has become a whole new school of lit, and one I liketh much.

Yay. Verily. Yay.
This is off the front page and off recent comments, but if anyone is still checking,

dreamlogic, I like your rendition of that scene a lot.

/more geek tech/

Saje saith,

Though of all the issues I have with their terraforming process, adding a molten iron core to their moons/planets has to be up there. That's some pretty big tech ;)."

Me, too, that's why I said "the equivalent of". A really big supercooled electromagnet might take care of it. We can justabout do that now. Access to large amounts of power doesn't seem to be a problem for them. Serenity's power plant appears to be a fusion reactor and it's an old design.

A more brute force approach would be to take whatever materials are already at the core of the planet and somehow dope them or realign their molecular structure so that they become magnetic. How would this be done? I dunno. Has a materials scientist ever tried to make magnets out of any element but iron?

Finally, if the terraformers knew how to make artificial gravity fields five centuries before our story starts (which isn't clear; that technology may have been invented later), they were subatomic wizards and probably would have no trouble turning the core of a moon into a magnet.
Yeah agreed janef, gravity control/generation is already very big tech, disproportionately so i've always thought (even a small ship like Serenity can generate highly localised Earth normal fields literally at the flick of a switch). Course, it's obviously just a bodge to avoid the narrative and production headaches involved in faking micro-gravity environments every week but in 'verse context it's still big ;).

(wouldn't a superconducting electromagnet actually draw a proportionately quite small amount of power anyway ? Thought once you started them off they pretty much did their thing because of the low/zero resistivity ? Though I guess on that scale it'd still be a whopping amount - that's the SI "whopping" BTW ;)

Re: doping etc. I dunno either ;). But if their gravity control is through advanced manipulation of elementary particles (e.g. gravitons) then the sky's the limit in principle, they could literally change the moons' core atoms into any element they wanted. I doubt that though, seems difficult to reconcile widespread subatomic manipulation and plentiful power with any sort of scarcity based economy (which the 'verse seems to have).

(even if they can only specifically control gravity though, you could still imagine them using that technology to maybe create some sort of artificial dynamo effect to generate the magnetic field - and handily, the dynamo effect just needs a moving conductor, it doesn't need to be iron)

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