I thought I’d share a humorous little anecdote that is probably indicative of what the average American knows about our legacy in space. Before I do that, though, allow me to set the scene.
On March 31, the UK Firefly and Serenity podcast Sending a Wave announced that it was coming to an end after twelve years of keeping Browncoats around the world up-to-date on all the latest conjurings in the Firefly fandom throughout the ‘verse. Sending a Wave will always be very special to all of us here at Take Back the Sky, because the podcast was the first media outlet to interview Jeff and me (way back in the 2012) about our efforts to convince Elon Musk and SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity. Not only did our interview on Sending a Wave spread the news of what we were doing to a worldwide audience, it also gave our campaign a level of legitimacy in the Browncoat community that it hadn’t had previously. This was especially crucial to the success of our first online petition to SpaceX, which ended up with thousands of signatures from every continent except Antarctica, accompanied by comments in multiple languages.
About a year later we had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Scott, co-creator and host of Sending a Wave, in person at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con in June of 2013. At the con that weekend, Wendy interviewed me again about my work as the event coordinator of Pittsburgh’s Can’t Stop the Serenity charity screenings, and together we attended the Firefly panel that featured Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Jewel Staite and Gina Torres. Wendy is a lovely woman who is tremendously knowledgeable about science-fiction and the film industry and an absolutely fascinating person to talk to. One of my favorite things about Wendy, both as a podcast host and as a friend, is that her “BS-meter” is finely-tuned, and she’s not afraid to call anyone out if their story has the odor of a fabrication or a retcon. (If you don’t believe me, you can hear her give me a much-needed history lesson upon our first meeting in Sending a Wave Episode 93: The One with Dragons!)
When I heard about the end of Sending a Wave, I contacted Wendy to ask her if it would be okay if I achieved some closure of sorts by bringing things full circle and interviewing her about what had been great run of a groundbreaking Firefly and Serenity podcast. She graciously agreed, and on April 28 we spent nearly three hours on Skype talking about everything from the podcast itself to geek culture, science-fiction of all kinds, Joss Whedon, CSTS, the current state of the film industry and even American and European politics. As you can guess, that conversation meandered in many different directions. The following is a transcript of questions Wendy answered that were specific to Sending a Wave:
Since 2012, we at Take Back the Sky have been leading a grassroots effort to convince SpaceX to name the first of its manned space capsules after Serenity, the fictional spaceship from Joss Whedon’s science-fiction television series Firefly and feature film Serenity. Despite the fact that we’ve devoted a lot of space as of late (yes, the pun is intended) to covering the many launches that SpaceX has completed so far this year, we still think it’s important that we not lose sight of our raison d’être. To that end, here are ten good reasons why we believe the first manned SpaceX Dragon should be named Serenity…
If you’re a fan of science-fiction, or one who passionately believes that mankind should continue striving to boldly go into the black, then I’m sure that like me, you’re saddened by the passing of Leonard Nimoy this weekend. Unlike so many in his profession, Nimoy never became a parody of himself. He remained relevant throughout his long career– from his early days of guest appearances on shows like The Twilight Zone to his final portrayal of the character that made him a pop culture legend.
The first time I ever walked the floor of a science-fiction and comics convention in costume (at the old Pittsburgh Comicon back in sixth grade), it was as Mr. Spock. As a kid I loved watching Star Trek re-runs, and I identified with Spock more than any other character. Sure, as the Science Officer he got to play with all the cool gadgets, and the ears were kind of neat, but I think it was because every young kid can relate to feeling like they’re different from all the other people around them and having to struggle to fit in, much like Spock did as a half-Vulcan living and working among humans. I don’t think any member of Enterprise’s crew was as complex as Spock, and in Leonard Nimoy, Gene Roddenberry found the perfect actor to show us that.
I know it’s been almost two months now since this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, and I honestly didn’t expect to be writing about it still. (I can already hear those late-summer cicadas buzzing in the trees outside as I write this. I guess I should be thankful I didn’t have a deadline!) Though they may be later than I’d like, I nonetheless want to share some final thoughts with you about one last aspect of the con before I move on to other, more current topics. Continue Reading
Prior to Wizard World Philadelphia my experience working a table at a large public gathering was mainly restricted to fundraising. I’d worked carnival-style games at community day events while raising money for the high school fencing team I used to coach, and of course I’d helped run a game at Pittsburgh’s Can’t Stop the Serenity event for the past two years. Manning the table at Wizard World Philly was really very much the same, except the object was to convince people to put pen to paper instead of handing over their cash. (They would still have plenty of other opportunities to do that at the con. I swear when I got home from Philadelphia my ATM card was still hot to the touch! Not that I’m complaining. I came home with a lot of very shiny original artwork.)
Jeff mentioned in a previous post that you shouldn’t feel like you’re “stuck behind the table” when working at a con, and that it’s actually a way to enhance your convention experience. I could not agree more. Continue Reading
We are proud to announce that Take Back the Sky will be at the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con May 30 through June 2. Special guests this year include our big damn heroes Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau and Jewel Staite. If you’re at the con, be sure to stop by our table and say hello. We’d love to chat about Firefly, the future of space exploration, or why we love ships named “Serenity…”