Firefly: The Ghost Machine is the third original Firefly novel from Titan Books, and the third by New York Times bestselling author James Lovegrove (The Age of Odin). Much like Lovegrove’s previous two novels set in the Firefly ‘verse, 2018’s Big Damn Hero and 2019’s The Magnificent Nine, this latest effort reads for the most part like a lost episode of the series. Unlike the previous two books, however, this novel takes a unique and somewhat bold approach in that the vast majority of the story takes place only in the unconscious minds of Serenity’s crew, in alternate realities of their own design.
image courtesy amazon.com
This story, which takes place after the events in Firefly but before the events of Serenity, begins as most tales of the ‘verse do. Malcolm Reynolds and his crew (minus Shepherd Book and Inara Serra, who at this point have both already left the ship) are hired by Badger to retrieve illegal cargo from Canterbury and transport it to Persephone, where a buyer is waiting. When the crew arrives at the rendezvous, Mal sees that the cargo is a flightcase stamped with the Blue Sun logo that likely contains Alliance-funded tech that was stolen from a nearby R&D facility, and decides to scrub the mission. He and his crew are desperate, but not desperate enough to risk smuggling an item this hot out of an area that’s swarming with Alliance ships that are almost as keen to regain the stolen property as they are to find the two fugitives that have been hiding aboard Serenity for several months.
Unbeknownst to Mal, Jayne Cobb isn’t willing to pass on the potential payday, and sneaks the cargo aboard Serenity in the hopes of bringing it to Badger and securing the payment for himself. When Jayne stows the case in a secret compartment in his cabin, however, its contents begin to have a strange effect on the crew.
Matt Ryan as John Constantine (Photo: CW Seed)
Back in 2014, one of my favorite characters from DC Comics, John Constantine, was given his own television series on NBC. The series, which was simply called Constantine, starred Welsh actor Matt Ryan in the title role and used many of the classic stories from the original Hellblazer comics that were published by DC’s subsidiary comics imprint Vertigo. Despite strong stories and a very good cast, NBC never quite figured out how to promote Constantine properly, and it was cancelled after just one 13-episode season due to poor ratings in its Friday night time slot, much to the disappointment of a small but loyal fan base.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I’m a huge fan of science-fiction, and my first love is Firefly, but there’s more to this geek than my coat of a brownish color. For example, I’m also an avid reader and collector of comic books. I have been since I was a little kid. My personal comics collection numbers in the thousands and I read dozens of titles regularly, both from the big publishers, DC and Marvel, and the smaller independent companies. I’ve often said that if my wife knew what my monthly comics budget really amounted to, I’d probably be in some very big trouble!
So, of course I was very interested in something that caught my eye last week online. In a January 3 post on the website Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston reported that DC Comics admitted in a late-2015 blog post that fan protests on social media had, in fact, affected DC’s decisions on how to move forward with certain characters.
My relatively lengthy palaver with Summer Glau on Sunday morning was definitely one of the highlights of my experience at Wizard World Philadelphia, but by no means did it mark the end of the memorable moments I had on the convention’s final day. After all, there were still three other cast members from Firefly and Serenity present at the con, and I was determined to get all of them to autograph the Dark Horse graphic novels I intended to auction off for Equality Now at Can’t Stop the Serenity Pittsburgh. Continue Reading