Firefly Encyclopedia – A book review

Perhaps one of the most tragic of all series is Firefly. The masterpiece of sci-fi western by Joss Whedon was a phenomenon in the amount of praise it has received and yet the series only ran for 14 episodes and was cancelled on the 11th.

I was a late arrival to Firefly, it had been cancelled before it reached UK shores and so I was cautious about investing time in something that was so obviously not going anywhere. I waited until the DVD came out for the series, a point when word of mouth had reached its peak creating a massive wave of purchases.

I watched the first episode and I was hooked. The music, the light touch, the narrative thread, the cast, all worked and had created a unique programme. Such was Firefly’s appeal a feature film was created to draw a close to the main story but even that doesn’t feel enough. There is a current resurgence of activity in this IP, with new novels being released and this Encyclopedia.

The Encyclopedia is a hefty tome, befitting the £22 price tag. Written by Monica Valentinielli the book is a marvel of knowledge and detail. It is divided into 4 books.

Book 1 tells the story of the series in universe. It interweaves the history and facts in the story to tell a cohesive narrative of the universe from Earth that Was up until the end of Serenity. Its fascinating to see how much can be gleaned from the shows and no doubt the official roleplaying game.

Book 2 is a comprehensive look at each character, friend, ally and villain. In this section the style is less in universe and has biopics of the actors and images of possible costume designs. This is an interesting section, very much like some of the DK books, with clear bold images and heavily labelled details.

The third book is amongst the most interesting detailing the universe in which Firefly is set. Each settlement on each planet in each system is explored as are the different spaceships seen alongside some explanations of technology. There is also a fun section on the use of the Chinese language used in the series, something that elevated the series above many by giving a richness and feeling to it.

Book 4 is an interesting addition to the encyclopedia and contains excerpts from scripts. It allows you to look at how a series is developed.

For any fan of the series and perhaps for fans of sci-fi series as a while this book is a must buy. It reeks quality and it readable for page after page. Given how short the series was this book squeezes out every fact and immerses you completely into Whedons universe.

It is available from all good bookshops.

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