Review by C.J. Bunce
Celebrating the 15th year of the end of the Firefly series, later this month Insight Editions will release the next travel guide in its Hidden Universe series. This time writer Marc Sumerak and artist Livio Ramondelli are taking on the whole ‘Verse itself in Firefly: A Traveler’s Companion to the ‘Verse. Who knew the backstory of the 14-episode television series was filled with more than 70 worlds and nearly 150 moons? Yet all of that worldbuilding became the realism that made so many fans wish they could ride high in their own Firefly-class ship in a future beyond Earth, and it provides plenty of material to add another dimension to the Firefly experience for Browncoats everywhere.
Traveling from Hancock to Paradiso? Whether you’re paying your respects in the Serenity Valley or Du-Khang, dropping some cargo on Whitefall, attending a shindig on Persephone, rescuing friends on Jiangyin, finding any excuse not to visit Canton, breaking into a hospital on Ariel, or getting Companion training on Sihnon, the Traveler’s Companion to the ‘Verse should be your starting point. As with past volumes in the series, this guide is set up in sections by destination location, and includes the same kinds of breakdowns you’d find in any Earthbound guidebook: a little history and culture, sights and activities, etiquette, getting around, shopping and entertainment, dining and nightlife, lodging, and what to wear (Wash’s Hawaiian shirt is always an option, too).
The best sections feature “Tips for a Fun Trip,” including dos and don’ts and inside advice specific to each location. Another bonus introduced in this volume is the addition of “handwritten” commentary by Mal Reynolds and the rest of the crew of Serenity. As we previewed in our borg.com review of the new The Serenity Handbook here last month, the Traveler’s Companion to the ‘Verse is full of attitude from the crew, written in the familiar dialogue of Mal, Zoe, Wash, Inara, Kaylee, Jayne, Simon, River, and Book, and tucked into each section of the guide.
Ramondelli, artist on the first two Hidden Universe Travel Guides, is back again, this time evoking the unique look of Joss Whedon’s future world. His artwork is perfect for this kind of book, leaving in-world impressions without details. Here are some pages from the book, courtesy of Insight Editions:
The second in-universe book published for Firefly, the guide should also provide a useful roadmap for new authors writing the new tie-in novels coming from Titan Books beginning later this year, and help readers double back to cross-check where they may have heard of these locations before in the series.