Monday, June 30


You'll Never Find It In Galaxy

Jets blasting, Bat Durston came screeching down through the atmosphere of Bbllzznaj, a tiny planet seven billion light years from Sol. He cut out his super-hyper-drive for the landing...and at that point, a tall, lean spaceman stepped out of the tail assembly, proton gun-blaster in a space-tanned hand.

"Get back from those controls, Bat Durston," the tall stranger lipped thinly. "You don't know it, but this is your last space trip."

Hoofs drumming, Bat Durston came galloping down through the narrow pass at Eagle Gulch, a tiny gold colony 400 miles north of Tombstone. He spurred hard for a low overhang of rim-rock...and at that point a tall, lean wrangler stepped out from behind a high boulder, six-shooter in a sun-tanned hand.

"Rear back and dismount, Bat Durston," the tall stranger lipped thinly. "You don't know it, but this is your last saddle-jaunt through these here parts."

Sound familiar? They should. You've been watching Firefly.*

So have I, mind you. It's not a bad show. It's also not Science Fiction. It's a Western in space.

The thing that nags at me from watching the first few episodes of Firefly is not so much what's there as what's missing. They have faster-than-light travel and artificial gravity — and revolvers and 1950s spacesuits. When someone gets shot in the stomach, the wound doesn't heal in moments as you might expect; instead it's a medical emergency. Vital medical supplies don't have RFID tags on them. People don't even have mobile phones, much less embedded communicators.

The Serenity's radar seems to have an effective range of about 300 yards. What's up with that? If you're travelling at interstellar velocities and there's something within 300 yards of you, you're already dead.

There's a gas stove on the spaceship, for crying out loud. Did Joss Whedon put this in as intentional self-mockery? Have these people lost the ancient technology of microwaves? (If so, it would explain why their radar is shot.)

Also, the Serenity itself looks like the mutant offspring of an Aibo and a camel.

In Firefly's favour, despite having spaceships, guns, and a girl in a box, it's not a ripoff of Outlaw Star. Which is something of a pity, because Aisha Clanclan would liven things up no end.

* These two pieces were run side by side as an ad in the old Galaxy magazine. It then continued:

Sound alike? They should--one is merely a western transplanted to some alien and impossible planet. If this is your idea of science fiction, you're welcome to it! YOU'LL NEVER FIND IT IN GALAXY!

What you will find in GALAXY is the finest science fiction...authentic, plausible, thoughtful...written by authors who do not automatically switch over from crime waves to Earth invasions; by people who know and love science fiction...for people who also know and love it.

And that is indeed what I found. It's said that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 13, and that's exactly how old I was when I read my Dad's collection of old Galaxies and Astoundings. Everyone should have this opportunity, to be 13 and to read some of the best SF ever written (and some real crap, too; not even Astounding was immune to Sturgeon's Law**).

** 90% of everything is crap.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:30 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 "If you take sexual advantage of her, you are going to burn in a very special level of Hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre." (From episode 3, Our Mrs Reynolds

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, June 30 2003 08:35 AM (MB7Fq)

2 And not just a western, but a horse opera in space. Nevertheless, I missed it when it was cancelled. It never occurred to me to technically pick at it, although I will nitpick at shows I don't really care for. Fickle old me.

Posted by: LeeAnn at Monday, June 30 2003 03:15 PM (avMGS)

3 I'll nitpick anything! And the writing is good... But yes, horse opera in space. Better than muppets in space, though. (Farscape.)

Posted by: PixyMisa at Monday, June 30 2003 11:04 PM (LBXBY)

4 I have watched the whole Firefly series and the Movie
and I have to say for a 50 yr old with a very skeptical eye, what a wonderfully enjoyable experience it was; to the point where I went out and bought the lot. And that is not something I do regularly at all!
Love the humour. love the quirkiness. love the originality. A Western in Space... Indeed.
We Aussies love a good Western...

Posted by: Liza G. at Tuesday, May 05 2009 12:57 PM (rjijI)

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