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Dozens of planets and hundreds of moons
September 4, 2012 11:08 AM   Subscribe

HTML5 Map of the Firefly 'Verse
posted by Artw (78 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Guess how long it took me to realize a lot of the planet names in Firefly are from The Tempest.

This long.
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


Hey ya'll I just checked the map and there is indeed no power in the Verse that can stop River.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm, can't see any controls on my fancy iDevice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2012


It's pretty; am I missing Miranda?

And boy did I miss a lot of context. I thought it was "After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. "

But it is pretty on my non-mobile device.
posted by tilde at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Second 'verse, same as the first.
posted by crunchland at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


And on the other hand we have Craigslist, which renders without issue on stone tablets and has a professional white background.
posted by tommasz at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2012


This works fine on Opera on my desktop, maybe you guys should invest in the wave of the future of non-mobile computing???
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2012


Tilde - Earth that was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance's victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of our civilization.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


miranda
posted by gauche at 11:35 AM on September 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


The science, especially space geography wise, of Firefly was never really its strong suit or terribly consistent.
posted by kmz at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Artw - I meant to hilight the A new solar system = meaning one sun. I count ... four Sol-like and one blue?
posted by tilde at 11:47 AM on September 4, 2012


HTML5 Map of the Firefly 'Verse

Thanks - I love Joss Whedon poetry.
posted by item at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2012


Probably the only way you can explain the shear number of habitable planets without bringing in some kind of FTL.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alliance is blocking this wave from work (even then my lameass IE7 probably couldn't render it), so have to wait until I get home to view. Shiny.
posted by arcticseal at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's pretty; am I missing Miranda?
It is.
You aren't.

Apparently, this is the tv-series-only 'verse.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


eh, who reads the documentation, Thorzdad? But it makes me wonder where it might be in relation to this layout. And where Mr Universe is/was, should this guy ever update it.
posted by tilde at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2012


The science, especially space geography wise, of Firefly was never really its strong suit or terribly consistent.

The space geography was never specified (as far as I could tell), so it's possible that humanity had moved to another star system, via generation ships, that suited the story. The rest of the science was pretty good: no sounds in vacuum, no faster-than-light travel. I'm happy.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:15 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's annoying that I can't click on the planet and get pages upon pages of detail.
posted by The Whelk at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2012 [16 favorites]


In my own version of the 'verse, Firefly is never cancelled.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


So that's five or six stars and at least a couple of dozen planets? There must have been some really interesting events in the history of that system. Like a collision between two triple star systems, maybe, and most of the planets somehow finding stable orbits instead of being ejected. There must be have been a horrendous epoch of impact events as all the comets and asteroids got stirred up and started flying every which way. No wonder they didn't find any native life.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:34 PM on September 4, 2012


This made my day.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2012


The space geography was never specified (as far as I could tell), so it's possible that humanity had moved to another star system, via generation ships, that suited the story. The rest of the science was pretty good: no sounds in vacuum, no faster-than-light travel. I'm happy.

It was never specified; indeed, in the series we never got a definitive answer as to whether or not it was multiple star systems and ships moved faster than light, or one big system with STL travel. You will meet many people who claim otherwise: kick them in the shins and have no more to do with them.

The show drew a lot of tropes from Westerns (duh) and Westerns in my experience didn't make of a point of stressing the exact mileage back to Chicago or New York. The point was understood that these places were a long ways away. Now, on with the story.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Try watching Empire Strikes Back and figuring out the stellar geography of that sometime...
posted by Artw at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


easy, they're a long time ago far, far away
posted by The Whelk at 12:43 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


All I know is the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

With Firefly there's an implication that all the good planets are in the centre, which means that later colonists had to settle on awful places like Higgin's Moon. Imo, it does sort of support the idea that everything is in one system, because if they could fly between stars, why not keep going until you found another system like the core worlds?
posted by Kevin Street at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2012


It's missing a lot (like all the moons).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Firefly_planets_and_moons
posted by Foosnark at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2012


All I know is the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

Click here to have nerds ruin that for you forever.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


With Firefly there's an implication that all the good planets are in the centre, which means that later colonists had to settle on awful places like Higgin's Moon.

That makes sense to me, especially the idea that these colonists arrived via generational or sleeper vessels, rather than FTL. If the earliest colonists arrived to settle on the core worlds, not only did they have the advantage of those richer environments, they also had the time advantage of rebooting civilization to the advanced technological level we see in the show. Once the later arrivals showed up, the core systems not only refused to expand their technical society out to the periphery, they have imposed their power on the periphery to restrain them from self-improvement and challenge their authority.
posted by insert.witticism.here at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2012


Maybe the planets were reached using FTL5.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 1:00 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like the idea that there was a steady stream of generation ships from Earth to this place, whatever it is (five nearby systems, one really complicated system, or whatever). The first arrivals got the best planets, and later arrivals had to settle for what was left. It explains why they've terraformed every planet that can sustain life: because they knew there were more colonists coming and they'd need places to live.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:07 PM on September 4, 2012


Note that people who want more detail can buy this very pretty map, which I have examined and I can confirm it is very pretty.

And it is double-sided. Better buy two.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Click here to have nerds ruin that for you forever.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:17 PM on September 4, 2012 [27 favorites]


Ohhhhhh, ricochet biscuit! I used to have a lovely interior picture window on my office wall ... I'd need two maps now. :| Or a very thin, sharp paper cutter.

Okay, so it's a star cluster. Boggles, but ... why not!??!
posted by tilde at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2012


It's pretty; am I missing Miranda?

This map was made with proper Alliance certification. One of our Operatives will be contacting you shortly about this planet you write of.
posted by Ber at 1:39 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just relax and have a Fruity Oaty Bar.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to make sure you understand that the next 100 pages (no, really, 100 pages) represent the most painstakingly-researched and thoughtful effort to make sense of a bunch of hooey that I've encountered, and I am speaking as somewhat of an expert on hooey. J. Chris Bourdier is an insane genius and the most dedicated fan of any show/movie with whom it has been my pleasure to work. And I humbly bow my head to his Awesomeness and the singular achievement that this document represents.

Consider yourself warned.
also,
Astrogation Charts.
Huh. Has it really been 10 years? Dang.
posted by tilde at 1:42 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm reading that now, tilde! 100 pages!
posted by Kevin Street at 1:53 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the earliest colonists arrived to settle on the core worlds, not only did they have the advantage of those richer environments, they also had the time advantage of rebooting civilization to the advanced technological level we see in the show. Once the later arrivals showed up, the core systems not only refused to expand their technical society out to the periphery, they have imposed their power on the periphery to restrain them from self-improvement and challenge their authority.

I just spent way too much time reading Firefly backstory material. The word of god seems to say that original colonists settled the core worlds, setup a society that was pretty enlightened (in a friendly but authoritarian way), and then spread out from there in an anarchic, wild-west fashion. The core worlds think they know what's best for everyone, but the outer liked their independence, so they had a war to settle their differences.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:00 PM on September 4, 2012


And then there was The Serenity MMO That Never Was. But it almost was! And... it would have been glorious...
posted by emmet at 2:42 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Strontium Dog is owned by a games company at the moment... That's where I have my Space Western game hopes... That or Cowboy Bebop.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The word of god seems to say that original colonists settled the core worlds, setup a society that was pretty enlightened (in a friendly but authoritarian way), and then spread out from there in an anarchic, wild-west fashion."

That's it, then. But it's kind of interesting that the core worlds of the Alliance seemed to learn nothing from the fall of Earth. They inherited this vast star system full of resources and living space and immediately set about filling every nook and cranny with people. If their civilization was sustainable it wouldn't need to grow so fast.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:23 PM on September 4, 2012


That could be what they fought a war about, I guess.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on September 4, 2012


Yeah, maybe the people who lived in places like Hera and Shadow didn't want their planets to forever be nothing but plantations and factory farms, serving the endlessly growing masses of the core worlds.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:50 PM on September 4, 2012


Yeah, Joss did a lot of great stuff with Firefly, and I've talked at some length here about how the Western tropes make a ton of sense, when you look at the real world and how much animal power is still in use, in 2012.

But astrophysics? Astrophysics does not appear to be a strong suit of his.

I've run under the assumption that there was no FTL, because they were shown as traveling slowly past a bunch of Reaver ships. But then again, they were past the halfway point, so if they were using any kind of conventional propulsion, they should have flipped the ship and been decelerating when they went past, and should have been at such high relative velocity that the bad guys would be no more than a flash out the viewports, there and instantly gone.

Hmm. I probably need to explain that a little better. With any kind of constant-acceleration propulsion, you want to accelerate until you get to the halfway point, flip, and then decelerate until you're at the destination. This allows you to move around very quickly, relatively speaking; two weeks would be enough to get anywhere in our Solar system, with sufficiently strong propulsion. If you can maintain constant, 24x7 acceleration, you can get places in normal space really fast. But that also means you're MOVING really fast, so everything but the last few thousand miles on both ends of your trip are going to be at fairly insane velocities, meaning things are going to be passing outside your portholes way, way, WAY WAY WAY faster than bullets travel on Earth. On a long trip, with a long acceleration period, things could be going by outside at a couple hundred million miles per hour. (light speed is ~670 million miles/hour.) You wouldn't even see a ship the size of a Reaver, just looking out a porthole. It would be there and gone so fast your eye would never register it.

So I can imagine the argument of, "Well, maybe they happened to be at similar speeds." But they were going opposite directions, so that's not possible. But even if they'd been going the same direction, even a tiny difference in propulsion velocity would mean that the ships would be at wildly different speeds at each point on their course lines. They'd have to be starting and stopping in precisely the same spots, with almost exactly the same amount of acceleration, to move anything like the relative speeds we saw in Serenity. The chance of that actually ever happening are probably too low to even reliably speculate about.

In Firefly, propulsion and the layout of space make absolutely no sense whatsoever. The physics don't even seem to be self-consistent, much less consistent with the real world. It's probably the most glaring thing about the show that says 'not actually possible', even though they did so many things better than other SF-type shows.
posted by Malor at 3:59 PM on September 4, 2012


Whedon should totally use the filthy lucre in his money bin for more Firefly. Perhaps midquels or retconning "rocks fall, you die" "a spike gets you out of nowhere".

Actually the best thing about Firefly is that it's self-contained greatness. Yeah, I'd like more stories and more exposition and more camaraderie, but Star Wars imparted a lesson there, so why risk it. Especially when the characterisation in Serenity was a bit off.
posted by ersatz at 4:00 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"a spike gets you out of nowhere"

It works because you hate it.
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The science, especially space geography wise, of Firefly was never really its strong suit or terribly consistent.

As I've said before, I never cared about this -- I classified it as space fantasy, quite a bit like Star Wars, which it resembles in certain broad ways. Even if, as Malor says, they did certain things "better" than other shows, that still doesn't mean that they were in any way creating a truly consistent hard-sf universe with rationalized physics -- or politics.
posted by dhartung at 4:07 PM on September 4, 2012


Part of what makes the link in the fpp (and that "Verse In Numbers" guide tilde linked to) so cool is that people are trying to make Firefly into a consistent 'verse. Sort of a colonization of the imagination.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:17 PM on September 4, 2012


Has any film or TV show shown Spaceships as anything other than pointy bit first, all of the time? I don't think even in 2001 there was any kind of flipping over to decelerate.
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on September 4, 2012


I don't remember any offhand, Artw.... but then again, that's only an issue with constant acceleration, and I don't think 2001 had that. I think it was a big boost, coasting, and then presumably another burn on the other end, but I don't remember the movie well enough to say whether they showed that part. Don't remember whether it was in the book, either.
posted by Malor at 4:27 PM on September 4, 2012


I don't know why Serenity would need to turn around to decelerate, given the fact that it's not a rocket—the main drive seems to be some sort of reactionless system, given the fact that there's no reservoir of reaction mass or space for such in what is a relatively small ship, and it may just not be a big deal to add a reverse gear to that sort of drive. Still better than the cosmological silliness of FTL.
posted by sonascope at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2012


It's probably some kind of gravity based propulsion. We know they have artificial gravity, since they use it on Serenity and it's apparently the key to terraforming all these hundreds of little moons.

Calculating the centre of mass in a system as complicated as the 'Verse would be incredibly difficult, but presumably they can accelerate towards a star or planet by increasing their gravitational attraction to it, and accelerate away by creating a gravitational vector pointed in the other direction.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:36 PM on September 4, 2012


Or, y'know, it looks good onscreen and makes sense to the audience.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:51 PM on September 4, 2012


The later, I'd think. Onscreen spaceships handling like boats or planes is traditional whereas something else would look "weird" - I'd like to see it tried though.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I'm the rare Firefly fan who doesn't want new stuff - at least not the same characters, I feel like too much time has passed, no matter how deep my affection.

Something in the same universe, maybe? But then you're just making a new premise and slapping a Firefly bumper sticker on it. Eh. It's okay when things end.
posted by The Whelk at 4:58 PM on September 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


It works because you hate it.

Are you saying I gave in to my anger?

I think it works because it is understood the film was a swan song anyway.
posted by ersatz at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]



I've run under the assumption that there was no FTL, because they were shown as traveling slowly past a bunch of Reaver ships....In Firefly, propulsion and the layout of space make absolutely no sense whatsoever. The physics don't even seem to be self-consistent, much less consistent with the real world.


The ships travel at the speed of plot.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Still reading the Verse In Numbers... I love that there's a protostar named Heinlein, with a planet named Lazarus.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like planet Paquin (heh).
posted by The Whelk at 5:13 PM on September 4, 2012


But astrophysics? Astrophysics does not appear to be a strong suit of his.

More to the point, astrophysics does not appear to be a concern of his, while it is a matter of major concern to sci-fi geeks. As someone wiser than I once observed (and got pilloried for it), geeks use their own knowledge to spoil their own fun.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Has any film or TV show shown Spaceships as anything other than pointy bit first, all of the time? I don't think even in 2001 there was any kind of flipping over to decelerate.

Babylon 5 was pretty good for this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:21 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has any film or TV show shown Spaceships as anything other than pointy bit first, all of the time?

In Valen's name, B5!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:25 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


(also NuGalactica did this a fair bit)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:29 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Six seasons and an hour long holiday on ice special just to slow down.

with special guest Bea Arthur
posted by hal9k at 5:32 PM on September 4, 2012


I think I'm the rare Firefly fan who doesn't want new stuff - at least not the same characters, I feel like too much time has passed, no matter how deep my affection.

I wouldn't mind seeing another season, movie or mini series that looks at where the crew ended up 10 or 20 years later. We'll pretend the Serenity movie never happened.

Wash and Zoe are still aboard, but with a kid, who's comfortable with guns and helping Kaylee in the engine room. River is no longer aboard, but does provide tech/computer and intel support. Book is busy looking over a community, which provides a rest stop and home/repair station of sorts to Serenity. Simon is not longer aboard, he's a doctor traveling among a lot of the outer planets, providing him. He and Kaylee were married, but everything went bad a while back when Simon wanted to put down roots and Kaylee wanted to stay on the ship.

Jane is still Jane of course, but has an ongoing relationship with the ship's current Companion, who's Alex. Inara left a long time ago, after a relationship with Mal, but did hook the crew up with another Companion. New crew members include a pal for Jane to provide more muscle (more on this below) and a new doctor, who served in the Alliance before being thrown out for...something.

Mal is still Mal. Still trying to stay ahead the Alliance (with the new doctor's help), who have grown even larger and seem to be close to taking over the Outer Planets, which have grown a bit stronger and cohesive and aren't keen on being taken over.

Yep, the Civil War is threatening to happen again, but this time, there will be no other place to run if the rebels lose. So the question is does Mal, and his crew, choose to fight this time or succumb to the Alliance? Make it into an ongoing story arc as the crew completes jobs. What Mal and the individual members decide will be answered in the 2 hour series finale!

Naturally, Mrs. Reynolds is still around, chasing after the only guy who treated her decently aka Mal. But in between her various schemes, of course.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but Book and Wash are dead.

Let it go.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, they were too pretty to die.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 PM on September 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


They're dead in the comics and everything.
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah, Simon is a very good doctor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:57 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


They're not dead. They are merely resting.
posted by arcticseal at 7:12 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Artw writes "Has any film or TV show shown Spaceships as anything other than pointy bit first, all of the time? I don't think even in 2001 there was any kind of flipping over to decelerate."

Averted in Firefly with the Alliance cruisers which look more like a collection of sky scrapers in space than any sort of conventional space ship. The pointy bits are actually shown as orthogonal to the direction of travel in space (though they point up when landing on a planet).
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 PM on September 4, 2012


They had actual holo gravestones, Brandon. I don't think you get much deader.
posted by Malor at 9:46 PM on September 4, 2012


Leaf on the wind...
posted by Artw at 10:09 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shutup. Serenity was just a fever dream and Wash and Book are just fine.

I can't rewatch Serenty anymore. It's embarassing how I tear up even knowing what's coming.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:00 AM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


The action in Serenity is pretty cool but the really serious tone just doesn't work for me. That universe should be fairly pulpy. It works best when it's serious moments breaking into a serialized pulpy world, not the other way around.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:22 AM on September 5, 2012


I would be up for a reboot. I have some improvements for Whedon, though. The characters on the ship should be paired down to Mal, Zoe, Simon, and River. The other characters are not dead, they just run into them sometimes. There is an unstated "tension" between Mal and Simon, who are both adept swordsmen and end up swordfighting with the Katanas that both always have on their backs. At least once per episode there is a shot of Mal's bare ass. Simon will have melancholic interludes where he will break into a sexy jazzy saxophone solo. Those last two things are never explained or even mentioned as happening by other characters. No matter how many times Mal tries to kill Jubal Early, he keeps coming back. Jubal is basically Lobo, and is responsible for killing his whole planet and thus spawning the Reavers. River has a dog, or a cute robot that makes unintelligible sounds. Rivers true abilities rely on a souped up neuro system that allow her all the same abilities she had before. The Alliance employs Jubal and is still after River. Of course the whole civil war/cowboy aesthetic stays, but the terrible attempts at ol' timey southern speak GOES.

Some of that might be a bit Lynchian, but I think Whedon can pull it off.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 7:29 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rocket Surgeon (why did I typo that to Sturgeon?) - No Jayne?

I dunno about the accents. Maybe less overall American/Canadian.
posted by tilde at 10:41 AM on September 5, 2012


Jayne is around, but he's doing his own merc and bounty hunter work. He has his own ship that he's proud of, him and Mal constantly have to tell each other whose is better. He is useful as a deus ex machina, saving the crew like Solo did for Skywalker.
Inara part of a super assassin group that regularly hire themselves out for robbing and killing. She does what she wants.
Kaylee owns the Gas 'N Go on some outworld desert planet that Mal regularly visits to have the Firefly fixed up.
Wash is a stay at home dad and makes regular appearances.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:22 AM on September 5, 2012


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