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January 20 2009

Bruce Bethke posts essay from Serenity found on his blog. On his blog, author Bruce Bethke posts the essay originally published in Jane Espenson's Serenity Found, titled Cut 'em Off at the Horsehead Nebula!.

The essay has been split into three parts, here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Jane Espenson would often mentioned this essay in particular when interviewed regarding Serenity Found (one example can be found here).

Tangentially, Bethke recently posted an essay by Guy Stewart regarding Michael Shaara and his book The Killer Angels. In the essay, Stewart describes how Shaara started off writing Science Fiction, but went mainstream after his stories were rejected by the Science Fiction publications of the day.

This is interesting since Joss has said that the idea for Firefly came after reading Shaara's The Killer Angels.

Say, that's a fascinating piece of information... (nope, no "if" coming. ;)

A great read, I never knew there was such a clear, schizophrenic anti-Western policy in the history of American SF. Which only enhances my Firefly-fandom, of course. :)
Thanks for this post. I long ago had to accept the fact that I just don't have time for all the shinies that distract my attention. Serenity Found has been in that pile. So... if I hadn't read this blog I would have completely missed out on Bruce Bethke's beautiful writing. It's a true island of quality amidst the flotsam of the blogverse. I'll have to check out his fiction now.

Yeah, I've never gotten the whole anti-western thing either. All I care about is:

1. Tell me a good story and...
2. ...there is no number two.

Just make me believe, make me care, make me think, and make my brain go squeeee!

I also enjoyed the Guy Stewart essay, especially the bit where he contrasted Michael Shaara's earlier writing to that in The Killer Angels. Man did he improve. I always find such examples so heartening. So much so, that I collect them. Louisa May Alcott's first story, for example, is so god awful bad (generic, cliched, and just all around boring) that the best that can be said for it is that she finished it... and then went on to write more. Which puts her one up on me.
This was a fascinating piece of writing. I've known the prejudice
was there for a long time but I knew only some of the details.

I wish he would have mentioned the one author that I know of who
was able to violate the taboo; Robert A. Heinlein. The one thing
that RAH did that Joss did not do was explain himself.

Sci-Fi is in general a niche market. A lot of its fans are
notorious nit-pickers, techno-snobs, and are not all that
interested in all of the sub-genre's. By not explaining certain
things like horses in space Joss may have turned off some of the
sci-fi types. Too bad.

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