My Own Kind of Freedom: A Firefly Novel

My Own Kind of Freedom: A Firefly Novel

by Steven Brust

Steven Brust jumps into the universe and characters of Joss Whedon's Firefly series.

My Own Kind of Freedom: A Firefly Novel is a novel written by established fantasy novelist Steven Brust "on spec".

Read the Book "My Own Kind of Freedom: A Firefly Novel" Online

Which was also, now that I think of it, a situation in which Brust wrote a story around someone else's work (in this case Joss Whedon's Firefly/Serenity world and characters, and in the other book, the Bible). I want to know what a character is doing, and who, not just that something is being done by someone. Not half as weird as the guy is. And almost every single time there's a scene change, we're in for a good chunk of time not knowing whose POV we're reading until there's a hint or clue, or occasionally, someone else comes in the scene and gives it away. I want to be drawn into the story and have it feel effortless to read. Or worse than being irritated by them is not understanding them at all, and had I not watched Firefly and Serenity before reading this book, I really don't think I would have. But, all that being said, I DO think that Brust did a good job matching the world and the characters, and the story itself was good.

I saw the movie "Serenity" and enjoyed it very much but it was only after Netflix began streaming episodes of "Firefly" that I actually watched and fell in love with the series. Brust captures "Firefly's" tone (especially the relationship between Mal and Zoe), with minimal stumbles. The story takes place between "Objects in Space"* and "Serenity," and involves the reappearance of a figure from Mal and Zoe's time in the war.

(This coming from a nerd herself.) But Brust is an actual sci-fi author, albeit a bit strange (his Wikipedia picture needs no words) and prone to creating novels set in other authors' universes. Perhaps because he was writing fan fiction, he released this novel under a Creative Commons license allowing users to download, share and read the novel without purchasing it. Normally, I would have assumed it was crap, but because it was Brust and because I'm a monstrous fan of the doomed Firefly series, I had to give it a go.

One of my favorite fantasy writers, Steven Brust, apparently pitched this cross-over into the universe of Joss Whedon's Firefly to the appropriate people and they said "no thanks." So he wrote it as fan fiction and is distributing it for free. Every character, at one point or another, is a point-of-view character, and Brust does an excellent job getting into each character's head. If you're a fan of Firefly and Serenity or of Steven Brust, you should definitely check this out.

I was happy to spend more time with everyone (especially Wash), but the story felt a bit thin, rather like an over-long episode of the show than a full novel.

Before I get into this review, I want to mention the hard facts. That's because it's a "media tie-in novel," meaning the universe and characters were "lovingly used without permission." The 'verse here is that of the TV series Firefly and the film Serenity. Now, here's my review: If someone said, "Hey, Chy, we're thinking there should be a novel set in the Firefly world," I would say, "You damn right." And after a bit of thought, I would have added, "And you know who should write it? The plot felt like the series plots and everything fit in so well it was nothing short of miraculous. And it's actually a huge compliment that I didn't mention Mal's with my favorite point-of-views. True to how I viewed the series, Brust could have written the entire novel with the crew of Serenity playing darts and I would have been completely entertained---because it was that much about characterization, and because the characterizations were that good.

I can't speak to Brust's talents as a writer of completely original material -- I've read nothing else by him -- but with "My Own Kind of Freedom" he perfectly recreates the type of dialogue and plot twists found in any random episode of "Firefly." He's obviously studied his source material closely, and his book could easily be adapted into a "Firefly" movie or two-part episode. I can understand why Brust does this, though: He obviously doesn't want to stray too far from the source material by giving the characters internal lives that wouldn't ring true to fans of "Firefly" and the "Serenity" movie.

It's not often that I can actually include a fanfic novel in my reading, especially one released for free on the Internet by a professional author. The plot's decent enough and reads like a good idea for an episode of the show, one set after the last aired episode but before the events of Serenity, so we're down Inara and Book.