12 February 2007

Foiled Again

Interestingly enough, I was chatting with some co-workers who'd read my book and they hinted that it seemed very similar to a sci-fi series that was on Fox (briefly) a while back...named Firefly (the TV show spawned a movie, so it seems)

And so I've been watching a few episodes (and the movie).
Good stuff, and yes, I can see where it resembles my novels.
Too bad I never heard of this series before I came up with my concept back in the late 90s.
(and I'm certain Joss Whedon, who also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, never saw my work)

As with all things, there are some similarities and some differences...

The main difference is that while I keep the focus on one character and his transport ship, Firefly brings a cast of nine characters aboard a transport ship.

The premise is similar...pirate-type character (or characters, with the show) who do odd jobs to make ends meet and end up getting themselves into the wrong situations most of the time.

The main character in the series has a lot in common with my own...tries not to show his compassionate, do-right side while he's at the same time committing what most would consider criminal behavior.

At least they don't have a talking computer...ha.

One big thing I've discovered is that the name of their "ruling authority" is the Alliance, which was what I'd planned to use for an organization in my upcoming novel. Now, I could probably still use it and be fine. But now that I've seen the show (and how similar it is to my novel series), I almost feel obligated to change the name...argh!!!!

(Going through, chapter by chapter, on a search-and-replace mission is going to be a pain in the...)

Another similarity is the group of ruthless beasts who plunder and such...the Gohr in my novels, Reavers in the series. Thankfully, I decided to keep the Gohr somewhat civilized, to the point where they don't resort to cannibalism.

Always fun and excitement to find these things out...makes one wonder how one person (Mr. Whedon) could take basically a similar concept and turn it into a TV series and movie, while I'm still waiting for a real publisher.


  1. hi! so sorry i haven't had a chance to write back - school teamed up with work to kick my ass this last week - well, if your book reminds people of firefly, then you're in the BEST of company! it was considered one of sci-fi's best series....(i'm assuming that was before battlestar galactica)...and they went on to make a movie to wrap up the series - check it out if ya get a chance, it's called "serenity"...can't wait to read your work someday...

    take care,

  2. It is very strange, watching the wheels of fate turn in favor of one person and against another. There is no explanation for it. Wish I could cherry pick a few people to catch the gold ring. You and your fine little book would be at the top of the list.

  3. Actually, I watched the movie before I began watching the series (have both on DVD), which I was told later was the wrong way to watch them...

    One of the funny things is that I've had other people tell me how much better my books would be if I had more than one person on the ship (not counting the talking computer)...

  4. I found that I really like space westerns. "Firefly/Serenity" comes to mind. Also a manga/anime called "Cowboy Bebop" is another one.

    Sounds like your novel is in the same vein. Looking forward to seeing it published.

  5. I wouldn't worry too much about the similarities between your work and Firefly, since it sounds like they are mainly superficial. A story with a MC alone with his computer is going to be a lot different than a team of characters. As for the Alliance - I have to admit I'm not really partial to the generic-sounding government structures that are so commonly used in science fiction (Alliance, Union, Empire, Federation). I always thought it was clever that LeGuin called hers the Ecumen. Maybe you could give it a unique modifier the Aardvark Alliance (no I'm not clever) or similar.

  6. So am I, rosemerry, so am I.

    I have to admit, though, that the new name I came up with for the organization wasn't altogether mind-blowing, but it did seem to fit with the characters who formed it.

  7. I wouldn't worry too much about the similarities -- "pirate captain picking up odd jobs" is not a new motif in SF. I can think of several examples in novels over the years, plus one animated film, and the previously mentioned Cowboy Bebop.

    It's a cool idea that many writers have run with. Have fun with it and tell your own tale.

    And Joss Whedon's work all builds on past pop culture itself. Buffy was a response to girls-as-victims in horror novels, and Toy Story -- which he wrote -- probably has its roots in children's novels like the Velveteen Rabbit. Nothing wrong with that, he puts his own spin on things.

    For that matter, Whedon also wrote Titan A.E. which, if memory serves, is also a pirates-in-space story.


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