‘Firefly: A Celebration’ book review

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It’s hard to think of a television series that has attracted more devotion from its fans than Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly, which was cancelled ten years ago after only fourteen episodes.

Firefly’s success derived from its perfect alchemy – the combination of the writing, the crew, the cast and the production values made for a series that felt near flawless from the word go. It was small and it was perfect, like a diamond in the rough.

Titan’s new companion book is, on the other hand, more like a giant boulder. With its thick, faux leather binding and clocking in at an impressive 541 pages, Firefly: A Celebration is a seriously weighty book. Make no mistake, this isn’t reading for the morning commute.

So why exactly is it so hefty? Well, the clue’s in the title. This book truly is a celebration, and each of its 541 pages is designed to extract every last morsel of delight from those fourteen episodes. Essentially, it’s an acknowledgement of all the hard work that went into this series – from the nuts and bolts design of the ship to the fans’ ongoing devotion and campaign to get it back on the air.

Bearing all this in mind, it’s easy to see why the book is so very large. It’s just crammed full of stuff: interviews, scripts, photos, drawings, fan art – there’s even a selection of loose posters tucked into the back envelope. Unsurprisingly, as with most coffee table books, the large glossy pages lend themselves best to the images. Photos of the cast, the ship, Jayne’s knives; sketches of Inara’s dresses; models of Serenity – all these are great fun to look at, making it the sort of the book that you can happily flick through, if not focus your full attention on.

The one major flaw is that it isn’t more readable. The weight, and the fact that the font is fairly small mean that it’s just not the sort of book you can sit down with and read for an hour. Which is a shame because the amount of information on show is truly impressive.

From full transcripts of the fourteen episodes (“Well my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle” – Mal, “Our Mrs Reynolds”), to interviews with the cast (“I’ve pulled at least one very close friend from every project I’ve done with the exception of Firefly… they’re all my friends” – Nathan Fillion), to words from the man himself, Joss Whedon (“It was a really concentrated effort by a lot of extraordinary artists to make something and I’m just swimmingly proud of it”), there’s enough in here to keep you reading for a month.

There’s sometimes a danger with this sort of behind-the-scenes project that some of the magic will be lost. But by illustrating all the hard work and, more importantly, the love that went into this series, Firefly: A Celebration only serves to remind you of the unique brilliance of this show.

Don’t get me wrong, this book is definitely for the huge fans. But if you are a Browncoat, you will gorram love it.

Published on 28 September 2012 by Titan Books.

> Buy the book on Amazon.