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Tag Archive: Monica Valentinelli


Review by C.J. Bunce

A new encyclopedic view of Firefly rounds out a big year for Firefly fans.  First there was the release of two in-universe books, The Serenity Handbook followed by the Hidden Universe Travel Guide, then more recently we saw the first novel in the series, Big Damn Hero Rounding out a year of great books for Browncoats is Firefly Encyclopedia, by Monica Valentinelli.  Fans of past books for Firefly and the Firefly Loot Crate magazine will be familiar with the tone and design of this series overview.  From the cover to the layout of Polaroid-inspired snips, the book is part scrapbook, part in-depth look into the story in an in-universe style, part behind the scenes photographic essay.  You’re likely to find new images of the ship and crew, even if you’ve amassed all the previous Firefly books.

If this isn’t the biggest assemblage of ships, weapons, props, and sets, it comes close, plus the large photographs makes this the best designed look at the production so far.  The concept artwork for several characters is something we haven’t seen before, and here many designs for each character are showcased.  And at long last, fans have a Chinese-English translator tailored to the extensive use of the Chinese language in the series.

Part one of Firefly Encyclopedia presents the Firefly story, the complete in-world tale seen in the series, as you may find in an encyclopedia.  Next is a look at the characters, each crew member–both in-universe and the actors behind the character, followed by a brief look at secondary characters.  The next section is a geography of the ‘verse, comparative looks at planets, tables, astronomy, and ships along with an interview with artist Ben Mund.  A table looks at the technobabble of the show, followed by a treatment of futuristic medicine in the series.  A wider chapter looks at even more costume designs.  A final chapter digs into the scripts for the series, including analysis and commentary.

Here is a brief view inside the Firefly Encyclopedia:

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Firefly Dictionary

One of the most popular subjects for readers here at borg.com, Firefly is a franchise we always watch out for.  We try to jump on anything new that springs from Joss Whedon’s unique world.  One of the ironies of the short-lived series is that the producers, studios, and creators really don’t license many books or collectables compared to the volume released from the big science fiction franchises.  Star Wars and Star Trek continue to flood the market with new content and products.  What that usually means is as a consumer you must pick through a lot to find something truly new and interesting.  Not so with Firefly.  Each of the books we’ve reviewed have all been something any Firefly fan should go for.

Same goes for the newest book published this month for Firefly fans: Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse.  Without a doubt the earlier published deluxe hardcover Firefly: A Celebration, Anniversary Edition is a Firefly fan’s best friend.  A Celebration had it all, from scripts to interviews and photos of every detail of the show including blueprints of ships, concept art, props, and costumes.  Check out our review here published previously at borg.com.  But Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse makes a worthy companion to that book, honing in on the use of language in the ‘Verse and not in a merely trifling way.

Browncoat S dictionary

This book is intelligently written for both a cosplayer wanting to emulate characters and language from the show, to those interested in understanding how the series writers, including Whedon himself, used word choices to build backstories for characters, to show their wealth, their roots, and how the characters reveal their own needs, both subtlely and overtly, to others.  How do you create a language for a society 500 years in our future that is true to the past and appropriately modern?

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