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My Own Private Ariel
February 5, 2008 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Steven Karl Zoltan Brust, one of my two or three favorite authors of all time, has written a Firefly novel, called "My Own Kind of Freedom." As Joss Wheedon has decided that he does not want novels to be written based on the series. So instead of selling it as he had hoped, SKZB has declared it to be a fanfic, and released it to the general public under a Creative Commons license.
posted by Aversion Therapy (49 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm bookmarking this and looking forward to reading it. Better not let me down.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:19 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


As Joss Wheedon has decided

Although he seems like a fun guy, his name only has one "e".
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:21 AM on February 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


Since he can't sell the damn thing, folks might want to cionsider donating a few bucks for reading it,. I should say by the way that he has NOT requested payment or donations for this, that's purely my idea.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2008


Horace:What do mushrooms have to do with anything?

On review, bugger.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:27 AM on February 5, 2008


Yay! Thanks for this, I never would have seen it otherwise.
posted by Mamapotomus at 7:33 AM on February 5, 2008


Why doesn't he want novels based on it?
posted by delmoi at 7:44 AM on February 5, 2008


Because then it turns into the canon / literary / nerd wars that is the Star Wars universe.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:46 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Um...wait. So he wrote this novel, based on a licensed property, on spec? That's...optimistic...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:52 AM on February 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


If it's not the series, with a happy zoe, then fuck it. It was awesome, it ended, let's move on cherish the memories.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 AM on February 5, 2008


Is he as good as Squirrelking?
posted by Elmore at 7:53 AM on February 5, 2008


I like Brust quite a bit (at times he reminds me of Zelazny), and he is an amusing fellow to talk to, sometime his stuff is kind of like cotton candy though. I heartily endorse Whedon's antithetical stance on novelization. As I get older and older I just don't think the two mediums (film and book) are very compatible. There are exceptions, but those are few and far between, usually when I see a well known author's name on the book from a movie I cringe more then just a little.
posted by edgeways at 7:56 AM on February 5, 2008


What kittens for breakfast said...
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on February 5, 2008


Why doesn't he want novels based on it?
Well, he's still writing comic books based in that universe, and I'm not convinced that he's entirely given up hope for some sort of sequel. (Not that it's realistic in any way.) So I think he probably wants to retain control of the story as much as possible.

I wanna know if it's good before I decide whether to read it.
posted by craichead at 7:57 AM on February 5, 2008


I'll certainly give it a chance, when I have the time to give it a chance. Thanks for the tip.

Incidentally, unless Whedon feels that there's an unbreakable relationship between the Firefly universe and a visual representation of said universe, there's really not much of a reason other than personal bias that he's happy with comic book adaptations and original stories, but not novelizations of the same.
posted by Atreides at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2008


I understand that Joss might not want to relinquish control of his universe, and let others create content using it, but isn't he more or less already doing that by allowing a game to be made? (assuming this is still going forward... I haven't been keeping up.)

I love the Firefly universe, and will gladly continue to hope that Joss can get additional things made in it. But if that isn't possible, I would like to think that he'd be willing to encourage others to keep his creation alive.
posted by quin at 8:11 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is much promise in an Escape Velocity Mod based on the Firefly universe. The two are just soooo compatible.

On that note I don't ever recall fans of a series claiming that anything that went on in a game setting to be cannon. I could be wrong though.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:18 AM on February 5, 2008


There's more than enough material in place already to do a homebrew GURPS: Firefly.
posted by Artw at 8:24 AM on February 5, 2008


Incidentally, unless Whedon feels that there's an unbreakable relationship between the Firefly universe and a visual representation of said universe, there's really not much of a reason other than personal bias that he's happy with comic book adaptations and original stories, but not novelizations of the same.
As I understand it, he's closely involved in the comic books, and they're considered more or less canon. I suspect that he doesn't want something that he hasn't supervised having any sort of official imprimatur. I don't think he has an issue with fan fiction, which isn't considered canon. My guess is that the game falls in the same category.
posted by craichead at 8:25 AM on February 5, 2008


Context.
posted by Tehanu at 8:43 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also: from what I hear from people who've heard him read parts of this, it's awesome.
posted by Tehanu at 8:46 AM on February 5, 2008


"He’s fast and funny, he plays a mean guitar, and he has a large repertoire of folk songs that are at turns sad, occasionally filthy, and usually hilarious. "

Aiiie! Filk! Filk!
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on February 5, 2008


Oh Wikipedia...
On December 12, 2007, Teresa Nielsen Hayden announced that Brust has "a recurrent and hard-to-treat infection" in "the bone behind one of his eyes" [1].
posted by smackfu at 8:59 AM on February 5, 2008


As Joss Wheedon has decided that he does not want novels to be written based on the series.

From SerenityStuff with some plot points edited out:

Back when Serenity came out, there was a deal with Pocket Books to release two original Serenity novels. Quite a few authors jumped at the chance and submitted proposals such as Keith R.A. DeCandido (author of the Serenity novelization) and Jamie Chambers and Margaret Weis (creators of the Serenity RPG). Those submissions went into a holding pattern due to Serenity’s lackluster box office and finally sat waiting for Joss’s approval.

Since then Joss has said in interviews that Serenity is special to him and he doesn’t want to relinguish control over it the way he did with the Buffy novels. So no original novels.

Steven Brust went ahead and wrote one.

Brust, author of the popular Dragaeran Series, “Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille,” and many others, also submitted a proposal, but he did so in the form of an entire 55,000-word book because, as he said, ”I couldn’t help myself” and this was the only way he’d get to read one. Since finishing it last year he has been reading the first chapter at conventions to riotous reactions and now, as promised, after exhausting every possible way of publishing it, he’s posted it online as fanfic.

“My Own Kind of Freedom” is a Brust book so it has 17 chapters... It occurs between the end of the show and the movie (he finished the first draft before seeing Serenity).

Now, I judge fan fiction (and “media tie-in novels,” which is fan fiction someone got paid for) by how well the author captures the characters. It’s an especially tricky thing to do here because each of Serenity’s crew has his or her own very distinctive voice and a different way of relating to every other character. I am pleased to say that in what I’ve read so far, Brust nailed them all.

posted by Tehanu at 9:01 AM on February 5, 2008


Oh noes, Brust writing Firefly! I think I just had a nerdgasm right here in my cubicle.
posted by Ber at 9:12 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the copy write stuff:

"Firefly and the Firefly universe are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Inc. and 20th Century Fox. They are lovingly used without permission."

Hmmmm well I'm not sure how happy they are going to be lumped into a Creative Commons thing... is this going to be another Ursula K LeGuin / Cory Doctorow tiff with added suing shenanigans?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:16 AM on February 5, 2008


Aiiie! Filk! Filk!

Heh, but technically Firefly is one of the few sf shows with a filk for it's title... altogether now. "Take my love. Take my land...."
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:19 AM on February 5, 2008


context :P

whedon 8, fanfic 20!
posted by kliuless at 9:24 AM on February 5, 2008


It's not much cop.
posted by biffa at 9:25 AM on February 5, 2008


Brust's last Vlad book was tepid at best. I'm not entirely sure he isn't past his prime as an author (and I say this owning every book he's ever written), but all the same I'll probably get around to reading this as soon as I get done with all of cstross' books. He's my new authorcrush.
posted by TypographicalError at 9:29 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Things that are good that could be said about the Firefly opening song: It's not the Enterprise opening song.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on February 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


So this is not about the little mermaid then?
posted by Mister_A at 9:33 AM on February 5, 2008


Two great tastes that taste great together.
posted by Billegible at 9:33 AM on February 5, 2008


is this going to be another Ursula K LeGuin / Cory Doctorow tiff with added suing shenanigans?

It would only be similar if Whedon had published the story and Brust was posting it on his own website without permission from Whedon. There could be a dispute here, but it would be on entirely different grounds than the one over Le Guin's story. Brust seems to be legally safe posting this as fanfic with the usual "these are not my characters" type disclaimers.

Serenity: Better Days comes out in March, Buffy and Angel are continuing in comics, and Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run is about to wrap up. It's like nerd Christmas this spring.

And tomorrow we find out who Twilight is. Not that I'm counting down. 23 hours 25 minutes.
posted by Tehanu at 9:37 AM on February 5, 2008


and “media tie-in novels,” which is fan fiction someone got paid for

I bet these guys would disagree.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on February 5, 2008


Brust wrote a Firefly novel?

I'll be in my bunk.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:01 AM on February 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


Things that are good that could be said about the Firefly opening song: It's not the Enterprise opening song.

- It ends at some point.
- The "mute" button works on it.
- A man puts a theme song like that on a series, you know he's not afraid of anything.

Thank you, I will read this, I am a Firefly fangirl. But is there Wash? Because...*sniffle*...
posted by biscotti at 10:27 AM on February 5, 2008


Brust seems to be legally safe posting this as fanfic

The fact that fanfic is generally tolerated and not prosecuted by copyright holders does not necessarily make it legal.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:33 AM on February 5, 2008


Yes, biscotti, there is Wash - the book is set before the movie.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:39 AM on February 5, 2008


The fact that fanfic is generally tolerated and not prosecuted by copyright holders does not necessarily make it legal.

This is of course a defect of copyright law, not of fanfic.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:41 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Talking about copyright law, isn't Firefly a rip-off of Andromeda anyways.

I know that may cause a nerd uproar, but have at it...
posted by P.o.B. at 11:05 AM on February 5, 2008


Um...wait. So he wrote this novel, based on a licensed property, on spec? That's...optimistic...

Turn on your heartlight...
posted by XMLicious at 11:07 AM on February 5, 2008


Define "rip-off".
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on February 5, 2008


The fact that fanfic is generally tolerated and not prosecuted by copyright holders does not necessarily make it legal.

Yeah, that's why I said "seems."
posted by Tehanu at 11:11 AM on February 5, 2008


yay!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:14 AM on February 5, 2008


Eponysterical.
posted by tehloki at 11:19 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't pay anybody in advance. And don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:35 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


They fall right out of the sky.
posted by cgc373 at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2008


DRAGON CHICKS HAVE HUGE BOOBIES!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:10 PM on February 5, 2008


“My Own Kind of Freedom” is a Brust book so it has 17 chapters... It occurs between the end of the show and the movie (he finished the first draft before seeing Serenity).

I'm finishing it up now. And while he may not have seen the movie prior to writing the story, he must have made some revisions to the second draft after watching it, have seen the script, or have a prescience better even than River herself.

(There is a lot that ties nicely into the movie is what I'm saying)

I liked it. He really manages to capture the voices of the characters in a way that I wouldn't have expected. I fully plan on checking out his other work now.
posted by quin at 3:46 PM on February 8, 2008


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