Review by C.J. Bunce
It’s an event to make a Browncoat teary-eyed. Firefly fans have not seen a story that rivaled the original series episodes, until now. Tomorrow a new era in the Firefly universe begins as the first novel arrives in bookstores, carrying on from those revered 14 original episodes. Firefly: Big Damn Hero is the big, bold story fans have been waiting for, and it’s even better than the Serenity movie or any other tie-in since the last episode first aired 15 years ago. Fans will find here a story that would make a great roadmap for a movie, a great radio drama, or a new episode. That’s probably not going to happen, but put on the soundtrack as you read it and you’ll feel like you’re right back with the crew again.
In Firefly: Big Damn Hero, author James Lovegrove found his way into the core of each character, their motivations, and most importantly their voice, to create a novel set in the years the series takes place, well before the movie Serenity killed off two key characters. Joss Whedon served as consulting editor of the book, which was written from a story concept by Nancy Holder. Lovegrove brings readers back to what made the series great–the interaction of the crew of the Serenity–and then he splits them off on a couple of missions that go sideways. One by one he focuses on each of the nine as Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Book, River, Simon, Inara, and Wash each get a focal subplot that hits the spot for fans who have their favorite or love them all. But best of all is Lovegrove’s treatment of River, the erratic and seemingly confused young genius who always seems a step ahead of everyone. Here she practically speaks through the story and across the other characters directly to the reader. We know what she’s up to even if her friends don’t.
The story itself is part science fiction, part war novel, part Louis L’Amour Western, all rolled up together as one rip-roaring space Western story, just like the series was known for. Fans who know the ‘verse well, particularly its warring factions that were fleshed out in the series and tie-in comic books, will feel right at home in this story that spans the era before the series, with callbacks to events in the series, and right afterward as if it were a 15th episode.
And it’s not only the Serenity crew that return in Big Damn Hero. The novel is full of villains and villainy, mostly newcomers to the series.
More Mal getting in too deep, more Zoe proving she’s a lot tougher than you think (Inara, too), more revelations about Book, more doting on Simon by Kaylee, more bumbling by Simon, more flirting with Zoe by Wash, and some surprises from Jayne and River–There’s something for every reader here.
You can still pre-order Firefly: Big Damn Hero today at a discount off the cover price here at Amazon. It arrives in hardcover tomorrow, November 20, with intentional rice-paper styled distressing, and a handy, shiny, gold ribbon bookmark from Titan Books. It’s this year’s biggest news for the franchise and the perfect gift for your favorite Firefly fan.
And keep an eye out at borg.com next year as we’ll be reviewing the next two novels in the series, Magnificent Nine, scheduled for release March 19, 2019 (already available for pre-order here), and Firefly: Generations in October 2019.