GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Shepherd's Tale discussion (for them that's read it only)

POSTED BY: CHRISISALL
UPDATED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 18:31
SHORT URL: http://goo.gl/Mi3pQ
VIEWED: 5096
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Saturday, November 6, 2010 5:12 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...




I liked that it didn't spell out detail by detail what he learned & how he learned it. The story was character, not detail focused. It surprised me how he got his eventual name, and saddened me some too. But then, I figured he'd have at least SOMETHING in common with The Operative to know that world so well. Now I know fully why he'd not share it with Mal.
"No I don't" will resonate more severely with me on future viewings of Serenity.

The art was suitably impressionistic for this story, and very dark as well. My only (small) complaint was how Mal was rendered in his two panels. Square jaw?

All in all, I feel the 'Verse has been fleshed out just that little bit more for me, and I thank all involved.
This was absolutely worth the coin.


The laughing Chrisisall



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Sunday, November 7, 2010 3:52 AM

GWEK


Not a bad story and my opinion may eventually change on repeated readings, but my initial feeling is largely one of disappointment. When I got to the end, my first thought was:

"Huh. That's it?"

To a certain extent, I think that the mystery of Shepherd Book has been built up so much that NOTHING could have stood up to the anticipation. Given that Book's mystery was one of the "holes" that people felt most keenly after the end of the series (and especially after the movie, when so much else WAS given some resolution), I don't think it's unfair to compare THE SHEPHERD'S TALE to, say, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM or even the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

I will address my content issues further along, but I think some of my disappointment also stemmed from structural issues. While there are obvious differences (the most notable being a change from a 5-segment episode to a 3-comic series), both BETTER DAYS and THOSE LEFT behind "feel like" episodes. They offer roughly the same amount of story and character development as a given episode, and have comparable pacing. (By the way, I'm not just speaking of my opinion here... As someone who adapted the first miniseries into an episode-style script, I can tell you that, written in script form, THOSE LEFT BEHIND has almost exactly the same amount of material as TV episode script. But I digress...)

I don't want to get too hung up with the idea that FIREFLY should ALWAYS be structured like TV, but I feel very strong that that's when it's best... and we see that very clearly here. (As another aside, I think that the structural differences, as much as--if not more than--the tonal differences are why many people aren't fans of the BUFFY and ANGEL comics, even though the stories and characters are potentially as compelling as ever.)

Now, on to the content. I could write tons, so I'll try to focus on a few things.

First, this story wasn't really a story.

At it's core, it was, in a certain sense, poorly told. One of my old co-workers once submitted a story to a magazine and it was returned to her with a comment like "More of a slice of life than a story." I think that description is very appropriate here.

Where is the conflict? Where's the character development? Certainly, there are character REVELATIONS aplenty, but meaningful conflict and evolution, the foundations of storytelling, are largely absent. Ultimately, although we are told quite a bit, NOTHING HAPPENS.

To some extent, I feel that FLOATOUT is similar and hope that this isn't a pattern for future FIREFLY comics. In both cases, it's cool to visit the 'Verse once again, and we get to fill in some blanks (and each piece even offers an important revelation or two), but are they significant stories? Nope. Because they are largely devoid of conflict and character development.

Now, to wrap up with my initial (and primary) disappointment with THE SHEPHERD'S TALE:

It just wasn't cool enough.

Shepherd Book, arguably one of the weakest characters when the series begins, develops into a very striking and mysterious character by the time we get to the compelling "That's no Shepherd" comment in OBJECTS IN SPACE.

When the series was cancelled, Book's background (along with "Inara's mystery") was one of the few topics that could be discussed based on evidence, so it garnered a fair bit of attention and "grew in legend" through discussion.

To a certain extent, the movie put the discussion to rest by implying that Book was an Operative. The the (false) belief that Inara's kit was a suicide kit, this theory seemed to match all the evidence while also serving the larger story of SERENITY. (Personally, I always hoped that the Book-as-Operative angle would prove false, because it seemed too on-the-nose and obvious).

Most compelling from the movie, though, was not the implication that Book was an Operative, but rather the promise from Book to Mal that Mal (and by extension the audience) would NEVER be told the truth. Disappointing? Perhaps. But WOW! What a moment! What a perfect resolution! What a way to NEVER give us answers, but to make us love that we're never getting answers! (And, what a perfect way to express the imperfect, gray world of FIREFLY!)

The problem with SHEPHERD'S TALE is that while it's nice to get answers, I feel like the answers that were got just weren't cool enough to makee it worth knowing the story. The comic takes away, negates, that very cool moment from the movie--and is not its equal. I feel like knowing Book's background, at least finding out as we did, DIMINISHES Book's history, his coolness, and perhaps FIREFLY as a whole.

Having said all that, it's still cool to have some FIREFLY, and I guess as time passes, I'll be happy to have the mystery of Book solved. There are even a few intriguing elements that I wish there were some follow-up for.

For example, what implication does Book's cybernetic eye have for the greater story of FIREFLY? Who has been watching our crew in the past? Did Book's very presence cause any of the story events? Is that how Jubal tracked them, for example?

First, Simon's retina-protecting glasses, now Book's cyber-eye (not to mention Dobson). Seems like Joss has an eye thing that we didn't previously realize.



www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Sunday, November 7, 2010 7:57 AM

PLATONIST


This one was hard to get a hold of ordering on line, luckily a new comic book store opened near where I work.

My impression, love it, absolutely love this structure, to get a glimpse of the life defining moments which make a person who he is, as done in flashbacks, while someone is dying, should lead to the kind of thought provoking analysis which I would expect from house of Whedon, and it does.

The content, while not earth shattering, although Book being responsible for the destruction of the Alexander and possibly triggering the Alliance’s retribution against the Independent’s rebellion is a fairly big action for such a small verse.

Speaking of the Independents, I appreciate how they are written just as calculating and ruthless as the Alliance, killing civilians along the way; it’s a very realistic scenario, which illustrates what kind of people can be attracted or recruited to either side of the fight.

Anyway, was relieved Book wasn’t an Operative (I never bought into that theory) but I had a feeling Book had come to Christianity after being exposed to and being an active participant in a lifetime of violence, so that works well and makes for what he remembers about the crew in the first few pages more personal as we see them from Book’s POV, River is childlike innocence, Jayne wants to be a better man, he’s just not sure what that means, Kaylee is pure, like water, Wash turns a blind eye to what Zoe does with Mal, by not looking, and Mal (the arms dealer?) well, obviously triggers the more painful memories in Book’s life when he lacks belief in anything that doesn’t serve his own self, like he says on the last page.

The art is stark, but sets the book apart from the other comics which are meant to be more episodic. I have to agree the rendition of Mal is just horrible, but it’s not his story, this time around, so it can be overlooked.

All and all, it's worth the money if you love Firefly, a valid standalone.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010 12:49 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


A friend of mine put it very well, I think:
Quote:

...the suggestion of Mal and Book being alike in ways but at different stages in life.

Book is seemingly horrified by how many people ended up dead because of him, and the fundamental cause of all those people being dead is because he didn't BELIEVE in either side he was playing double agent to.

Neither side in retrospect shows themselves (at least to Book) as being particularly worthy of belief, so then he goes and finds his own, something more constructive.

This ties in nicely with the message about belief that Book gives Mal in the movie.

Also, framed as it is, it almost feels like the story is actually Book's life flashing before his eyes as he's bleeding out. If that doesn't jerk some tears, I don't know what will.



I did get a little choked there, I freely admit.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Sunday, November 7, 2010 1:18 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:


Where is the conflict? Where's the character development? Certainly, there are character REVELATIONS aplenty, but meaningful conflict and evolution, the foundations of storytelling, are largely absent. Ultimately, although we are told quite a bit, NOTHING HAPPENS.

It was character reverse-development. Uncommon, perhaps, but more than interesting enough for me.
Quote:


Now, to wrap up with my initial (and primary) disappointment with THE SHEPHERD'S TALE:

It just wasn't cool enough.


The problem with SHEPHERD'S TALE is that while it's nice to get answers, I feel like the answers that were got just weren't cool enough to make it worth knowing the story. The comic takes away, negates, that very cool moment from the movie--and is not its equal. I feel like knowing Book's background, at least finding out as we did, DIMINISHES Book's history, his coolness, and perhaps FIREFLY as a whole.



I feel that a comic is THE PERFECT venue for this type of story. It can be incorporated into the consciousness as cannonical backstory if appreciated, or ignored if it disappoints.

For ME, the coolness factor is replaced by gritty, uncomfortable realism. And it *did* make me squirm a bit.
And not for the sake of sensationalistic trauma.

I finished the book, and felt a bit sad.
And to feel ANYTHING after reading something as potentially trite as a 'comic book' is a real accomplishment IMO.

It will forever enhance the goosebumps I feel when Book tells Mal to "just believe" in Serenity.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Sunday, November 7, 2010 4:05 PM

GWEK


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
It was character reverse-development. Uncommon, perhaps, but more than interesting enough for me.
Quote:



I can appreciate that opinion. I just don't share it. :)

Character REVELATION and character DEVELOPMENT are two different things.

Yes, the onion that is (or, more accurately, is not) Derrial Book is peeled to its core, but the peeling is not motivated by any driving character need... just by the peeling itself.


I feel that a comic is THE PERFECT venue for this type of story. It can be incorporated into the consciousness as cannonical backstory if appreciated, or ignored if it disappoints.



I don't know. Canon is canon, regardless of the source. Ignoring it if it disappoints is like saying "I don't accept that Zoe is pregnant because it's *just* in a comic" (a comic approved by Joss Whedon himself) or "HEART OF GOLD never aired, so I don't really count it as an episode."

Quote:

I finished the book, and felt a bit sad.
And to feel ANYTHING after reading something as potentially trite as a 'comic book' is a real accomplishment IMO.



Perhaps that was my problem. I felt almost nothing when it was over. But I've been an avid comic book reader since 1977 and have read many, many excellent comics throughout the years.

This just wasn't one of them.

Quote:

It will forever enhance the goosebumps I feel when Book tells Mal to "just believe" in Serenity.


For me, unfortunately, the voice inside my head will probably follow up "Just believe" with "In what? Chicken soup?"

Perhaps the subtle story of Shepherd Book shouldn't have been handed to a relatively inexperienced writer just because he happens to be Joss's kid brother.




www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Sunday, November 7, 2010 4:34 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:

For me, unfortunately, the voice inside my head will probably follow up "Just believe" with "In what? Chicken soup?"

Chicken soup cures colds.

No, to believe in nothing makes a person empty, and leads them to do stupid, empty things. That was the point of the story of Book's life, and death.
Quote:



Perhaps the subtle story of Shepherd Book shouldn't have been handed to a relatively inexperienced writer just because he happens to be Joss's kid brother.


I found it to be well done, whoever wrote it.
Various peep's mileage will obviously vary.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Sunday, November 7, 2010 4:37 PM

GWEK


Don't get me wrong, I get the point. Just didn't think it was demonstrated in a particularly compelling way.

Different strokes.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Sunday, November 7, 2010 5:20 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
Don't get me wrong, I get the point. Just didn't think it was demonstrated in a particularly compelling way.

Different strokes.


I get what you're saying.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Monday, November 8, 2010 5:27 AM

CORTEXOVERRIDE


This comic did help me understand the speech that Book said in Those Left Behind. Even the reason why he left the ship. But one thing it didn't explain is why he never married.

(((tO sPARK tHE mOVEMENT)))

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 5:37 PM

SUCCATASH


Cool thread, guys. I just barely read it, maybe a little too fast, and my mind is still taking it all in.

My first disappointment is that we never learn why he gets such special treatment from the Alliance in Safe. Wasn't he discharged and hated, because he lost the war in a big way (on purpose)?

Also, I'm wondering if Jubal Early is the kid he left behind during the robbery.


And another question based on your above comments. Did I miss something? When is he a double agent? I thought his mission was to fuck up the big war, and he did. ?




"Gott kann dich nicht vor mir beschuetzen, weil ich nicht boese bin."

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 5:39 PM

SUCCATASH


And yeah, as others have commented: So.. he's been recording with his eye this whole time? WTF?

"Gott kann dich nicht vor mir beschuetzen, weil ich nicht boese bin."

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 5:46 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


Quote:

Originally posted by Succatash:


Also, I'm wondering if Jubal Early is the kid he left behind during the robbery.



Noooo...hmmmmm. WAIT!
Ummmm, no.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 5:49 PM

INVADERCHAT


Well I know the flashbacks through the story were a kinda 'different', 'unique' sort of deal (at least they were to me) but am I the only one who thinks it would have all been a lot smoother working as flash forwards to each segment? Probably more traditional but still, I actually went and read it backwards from each flash and I found that interesting.

I'm not a huge fan of the comic book medium. The only ones that I'm really compelled to read have been the Serenity/Firefly ones but the art seemed to fluctuate a bit between being brilliant and then being really basic.

Mal's brief appearance immediately reminded me of this guy...



While I think the content was interesting enough, I just don't get as immersed in comics as I do in other forms of media and I think that's why I didn't really get anything good from this other than 'okay, now the mystery surrounding Book is gone' which to me was actually a bit of a bad thing.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 5:50 PM

SUCCATASH


Quote:

Noooo...hmmmmm. WAIT!
Ummmm, no.



LOL, yeah I think I'd like to retract that question, thank you.

"Gott kann dich nicht vor mir beschuetzen, weil ich nicht boese bin."

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 6:10 PM

SUCCATASH


Okay, I get that his war failure was covered up, which should explain why he was still given medical treatment in Safe.

HOWEVER! His name is obviously known, and so is his face, or he wouldn't be getting beaten up by Alliance officers at bars, brother or no brother, right?

"Gott kann dich nicht vor mir beschuetzen, weil ich nicht boese bin."

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Thursday, November 11, 2010 1:54 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


Quote:

Originally posted by Succatash:
My first disappointment is that we never learn why he gets such special treatment from the Alliance in Safe. Wasn't he discharged and hated, because he lost the war in a big way (on purpose)?


That's the way I read it to. It seems to me that his discharge from Alliance military ranks would make him the last person eligible for the type of reception he got in "Safe."




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010 2:15 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:

That's the way I read it to. It seems to me that his discharge from Alliance military ranks would make him the last person eligible for the type of reception he got in "Safe."


On the surface, one cannot help but agree.
Suppose though, that Book had saved a company of men under the commander of the Alliance cruiser in 'Safe' years ago?
A personal debt of some kind?


The laughing Chrisisall


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Friday, November 12, 2010 4:33 AM

GWEK


If you look at the chronology (so, read backwards):

1) Book is appears to be a talented cadet wholly dedicated to the cause of the Alliance.

2) Betweeen the lines: Book develops a reputation as someone dedicated to the cause of the Alliance, dedicated to stamping out the Browncoats.

3) Book is the architect of a plan that will cripple the Browncoats--but the plan fails miserably and backfires on the Alliance.

4) Book's commander officer says that the high command is going to sweep it all under the rug.

This is the important part. It seems to me that the idea at the time is supposed to be that nobody knows Book is involved. To the majority of the military, he is still a very respected tactician.

5) Book is recognized and beaten by a guy whose brother died as a result of Book's actions.

While this would seem to contradict Book's continued good reputation, I don't think that's what we're supposed to take from it. I interpreted it that there are a small group of folk in the military, higher ups and those who were directly affected, who have a very different interpretation of events and who understand Book's role. The vast majority of the military, however, remain ignorant because the brass don't want it to be a topic to be discussed.

If this is the case, you can DEFINITELY feel the pain of the dude who beats up Book. Not only his is brother's killer going around unpunished, but most folk still think he's a HERO!

*****

ALTERNATIVE #2:

Joss retroactively changed details of Book's past, so things don't 100% jibe. He's done it before--most notably, perhaps, with the origin of the Reavers, and, of course, Simon's rescue of River.

Although one of the strengths of the House of Whedon is incredibly strong continuity, Joss has always placed story first, and has demonstrated a willingness, from time to time, to look the other way on a single fact from long ago to tell a better overall story.

Also, it's important to remember that when SAFE aired, Joss's agenda for revealing Book's history was probably very different, because he was planning to tell it as part of a TV series. Just as with Simon's role in River's rescue, I think that Book's background has changed in ways that no longer 100% synch with series.

We always have to remember that FIREFLY ended with OBJECTS IN SPACE (or THE MESSAGE, depending). Everything after that is SERENITY. They are close, but not quite the same universe.

*****

ALTERNATIVE #3:

Zack Whedon is a bit of weak tea as a writer.

Not terrible, mind you (he did a great job with downtime), but I personally think that THE SHEPHERD'S TALE is tricky enough that it should have been handled by a writer with more experience.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Friday, November 12, 2010 7:33 AM

CORTEXOVERRIDE


Apart from Book's past, to see the Downward Spiral of the Browncoat Movement became depressing, but realistic to note. From seeing The Alliance building warships and cruisers, The Independents became paranoied of a future of Totalitarianism. So since The Alliance is built upon the Ignore, Convert or Destroy Mentality,those Farmers and Slaves decided that their only option was to Rebel against them inorder to seek independence.
The gentleman in the Rebel meeting, The Idealist, who disagreed with the notion of sending in a mole, is reflective of the philosopher or intellectual in history whom would spark a Revolution, the overthrow of a government by its charismatic citizens. But as soon as he left out the door, that's when the ideaology left with him. Then that Revolution, turns into a War, an armed conflict between two societies. Browncoats Vs. Alliance Troopers, the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction and the torturing and murdering of millions of people. What are The Browncoats fighting for if it's not for independence? They are fighting for Power. As in the ability to acheive ends even in the face of resistance. Then that war turns into Terrorism, a pollitically motivated violent attack on civilians(Peace Enforcers)by an Extremist Group(Dust Devils). But we still have to take in mind that this Circa History is told from the Point-Of-View of The Alliance. Scary, Ain't it?

(((tO sPARK tHE mOVEMENT)))i

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Saturday, November 13, 2010 10:00 AM

MUTT999

"..you'd think you could trust a horde of Hungarian barbarians."


Got mixed feelings, but mostly good. There wasn't much that we all probably didn't already assume.

Found out what his real name was.

Found out just how deep soup can be.

Missed Inara and Simon (not vital, but would have been nice to have all nine together again, but there was 'Downtime' for that I guess).

About that fancy eyeball, I'm guessing it just stopped transmitting soon after he was booted by the Alliance.

Glad Zach mentions Ron in the epilogue.

So many adventures left in the 'Verse. Please, (to the powers that be), keep them coming!



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Saturday, November 13, 2010 10:40 AM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


There's Buffy & Angel series, really now, whynot Firefly?????


The laughing Chrisisall


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Monday, November 15, 2010 2:33 AM

BORIS


Kudos to Zack Whedon for a story brilliantly told. I loved it. Particularly the twist. Perfectly explains how Shepherd Book knew so much about how the alliance operated. Also explained why he didn't really take sides and accepted everyone flaws and all. hope Zack writes some more back story.

Rose S

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Monday, November 15, 2010 5:51 AM

PENNAUSAMIKE


I'm going to throw in my two-cents worth, as well.
I really don't like the comic books.
For me, a HUGE part of what made Firefly...Firefly, was the creative efforts of the creators and actors of the filmed medium.
The comics would have to be superior story-telling to even come close.
And thus far, I haven't been drawn into the comic adventures.
There have been little bits that felt right,
but none of the stories grew the 'verse for me.
Until now.

I was prepared to dislike "The Shepherd's Tale".
I bought it and read it three times over the first three days.
And it kinda grew on me.
I think Zack Whedon did a fine job capturing the "feel" of the 'verse.
The dialogue felt right and the revelations mostly fit the type and scope of what I found reasonable.

The only flaw I sensed is the timeline.
I think "Shepherd's Tale puts the Unification War as going back further than the events of Miranda allows.
This isn't a first for Joss, tho'.
He confused the timeline in his pre-production notes for the BDM "Serenity", as reproduced in the Serenity Companion volume.

Here are the two most accepted timelines in the fandom:
http://signal.serenityfirefly.com/mmx/timeline/view.php
http://www.mts.net/~arphaxad/firefly.html

Counting backwards: BDM Serenity to TV pilot Serenity-less than two years, TV pilot Serenity to defeat at Serenity Valley-six years, length of Unification War-five years; total-thirteen years.
Book's wartime "experience" is twenty years in the past in "Shepherd's Tale".
In a number of ways, the comic timeline is horribly flawed.
"Canon" in the 'verse, in everything from timelines to wardrobe errors, has been very sloppy.

But, the story itself was worthy of inclusion in 'verse canon, and I hope Zack convinces Joss to help him play in the 'verse a little more.

Mike

PS:
The "Downtime" supplement in USA Today was a nice complement to "The Shepherd's Tale", and cements my desire to see Zack write further adventures in the 'verse.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 7:06 AM

PLATONIST


Book’s time with the Alliance is during the antebellum period of the timeline, otherwise there wouldn't have been that many civilians on a war ship when it was destroyed, which I read as an analogy for the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI, turning worldwide sentiment against the Germans.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 8:08 AM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
Book’s time with the Alliance is during the antebellum period of the timeline, otherwise there wouldn't have been that many civilians on a war ship when it was destroyed, which I read as an analogy for the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI, turning worldwide sentiment against the Germans.



I don't agree based on the fact that the goal of Book's operation was to destroy the Independents in one, multi-pronged attack.
The fact that there were non-combat personnel on the Alliance ships is more a reflection of the Alliance's hubris than a parallel to the passenger steamer Lusitania POSSIBLY carrying military supplies.
The Alliance vessels were attack vessels going after targets,
not cargo vessels on a run.

Book's Alliance command appeared to me to be in the early to middle of the Unification War.
The Independents' early success is what led to the war taking as long as it did.
Once again, an American Civil War parallel.

Mike

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Monday, November 15, 2010 8:21 AM

PLATONIST


The "Independents" don't exist yet, as they are referred to as rebel forces, by both Book and his CO.

This synchronized attack was staged to prove the rebel forces were able to organize and unify creating the Independents, which triggered the Unification War.

The actual US Civil War only lasted 4 years, and remember the US had a standing army before the war, like the Alliance… during the antebellum period.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 2:43 PM

KALEL


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
The "Independents" don't exist yet, as they are referred to as rebel forces, by both Book and his CO.

This synchronized attack was staged to prove the rebel forces were able to organize and unify creating the Independents, which triggered the Unification War.

The actual US Civil War only lasted 4 years, and remember the US had a standing army before the war, like the Alliance… during the antebellum period.



But the Independents did exist. To quote Book "it's a war, prople die." and a couple of panels later when Book's superior says "I knew this operation was a disaster waiting to happen.", Book responds "It would've ended the war in one day." Based on that, I get the sense that the Unification War was well under way at that point.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 2:57 PM

KALEL


On thing that I noticed in the comic that I really liked was the flier Book was given inviting him to JOIN THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT. What I liked is that the flier had the Browncoat patch symbol on it (the striped triangle with the star) and the symbol was represented triangle point down, star point up. There is a debate amongst Browncoats as to how the patch should be displayed. I for one am a member of the triangle point down, star point up camp. I also believe that when flying the Browncoat flag, the star should be right side up and not upside down. I think the orientation of the patch on the flier was a way of letting us know the way it is supposed to be displayed. The story is that that is how Joss originally intended it to look, but it was sewn incorrectly onto Mal's coat for the series premier.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 3:13 PM

PLATONIST


If they were at war already, why were the soldiers being transported surprised at a ground attack when they landed? That doesn’t make any sense.

Stamping out a rebel uprising could be considered at “war”

The war on drugs.
The war on poverty.


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Monday, November 15, 2010 3:14 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by KalEl:
But the Independents did exist. To quote Book "it's a war, prople die." and a couple of panels later when Book's superior says "I knew this operation was a disaster waiting to happen.", Book responds "It would've ended the war in one day."



Yeppers!
Also, when Book is beating the girl for information as an up-and-coming officer, she is a rebel and the two observing officers note that Book works so hard to end the War, not because he is put off by the violence of the War, but because he hates the thought of losing.

Even if the whole Unification War timeline wasn't off, the time Book was on Serenity is ALSO wrong.
The "Shepherd's Tale" timeline has Book embarking on Serenity four years earlier than his death on Haven.
This is plainly wrong and, when combined with the Unification War errors, is not capable of being rationalized to fit the timeline already established by the Firefly TV series and the BDM Serenity.

This is just sloppy work by the Whedons, and is consistant with other Joss timeline errors.
("Eight months she's been on my boat...")
("The World of 2507" pre-production memo, etc.)

Thing is, I'm not focusing on the timeline errors.
I can't speak to Joss' other works, but the Firefly 'verse suffers from a number of incongruities that make it tough to establish reliable canon.
It's not exactly nit-picking to note such author and creator inconsistancies,
but it also doesn't need to take away from the effectiveness of how the tale was told.

I still feel "The Shepherd's Tale is a worthy part of the Firefly 'verse.
And tho' I'd like to see a little more attention paid to some of the details, I'll also echo my own sentiments that I'd like to see Joss and Zack collaborate further to grow the 'verse with tales well told.

Mike

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Monday, November 15, 2010 3:18 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
If they were at war already, why were the soldiers being transported surprised at a ground attack when they landed? That doesn’t make any sense.

SNIP



They were surprised that the enemy was waiting in overwhelming numbers for their "sneak" attack.
They were surprised that most of their transports were destroyed in response to an "unexpected" assault that was supposed to end the war.

This was certainly a Unification War event, not something from a pre-war period seven years prior.

Mike

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Monday, November 15, 2010 3:40 PM

PLATONIST


Exactly, the Alliance doesn't recognize the rebels as a unified army with numbers, because politically they are not at war with them, obviously, if they were, they would have expected an army.

It’s a coordinated uprising.

By my calculations the difference is four years, not seven.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 4:29 PM

PLATONIST


And, it's not the Whedons who have trouble with time, it is Mal,

In Serenity, Mal inquires about the entry couplings, arguing with Kaylee that she said they would "hold for another week"

Her response, "that was 6 months ago Captain"

Also, your argument assumes that there were no wars before the Unification War, which is clearly contrary to what Joss writes on page 55 of the Serenity Companion. There were wars and uprisings which the Alliance countered with amassing a huge military to contain fractional separatists.

These rebel uprisings could have been occuring for years before the actual, Unification War.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 5:17 PM

KALEL


Quote:


This synchronized attack was staged to prove the rebel forces were able to organize and unify creating the Independents, which triggered the Unification War.



Book was working for the Independents. Why would he mastermind an operation that would begin the war? Why not try and subvert from inside to prevent the war?

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Monday, November 15, 2010 5:18 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

SNIP

Also, your argument assumes that there were no wars before the Unification War, which is clearly contrary to what Joss writes on page 55 of the Serenity Companion. There were wars and uprisings which the Alliance countered with amassing a huge military to contain fractional separatists.

These rebel uprisings could have been occuring for years before the actual, Unification War.



I certainly wouldn't expect ANY human history to be free of war.
And your view of the uprisings might explain the period when Book was rising through the ranks.

But, I still feel that continuity errors abound in the 'verse and the big assault to end "the War"
sounds like a part of the Unification War to me.
I don't try to rationalize the inconsistancies in the 'verse; too much mental gymnastics for me.

If a new timeline comes out of Camp Whedon that reconciles the inconstancies, that's fine.
But fan generated explanations are purely for the benefit of the person proposing them.
And I'm not busting on that.
My "Wash Lives" scenario is what it takes to keep my interest in the 'verse.
I just accept that others are often unimpressed.

The Shepherd's Tale is still a worthy part of the 'verse,
and that's the part that counts.

Mike

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Monday, November 15, 2010 5:26 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by KalEl:
Quote:


This synchronized attack was staged to prove the rebel forces were able to organize and unify creating the Independents, which triggered the Unification War.



Book was working for the Independents.
Why would he mastermind an operation that would begin the war?
Why not try and subvert from inside to prevent the war?



Agreed, and once again, the big operation to end the war that failed feels like something undertaken early in the Unification War.
The attack wasn't staged to prove the Independents' abilities;
it was launched to eliminate the Independents.
The Independents, in the alternative, viewed it as a chance to make squelching the Independence movement prohibitivly costly for the Alliance.

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Monday, November 15, 2010 5:49 PM

PLATONIST


Book wasn't working for the "Independents" he was working for insurgents who believe in independence, as they at no time refer to themselves as the “Independents”.

Book thought one or the other would surrender, keeping a war from starting, a one day war, he fails, as we can assume the Alliance returns with a vengeance.

Book doesn’t care about or believe in either side, or the loss of human life from his actions. He’s essentially without belief, it creates a moral vacuum, which is replaced by power and hubris, and that’s why his message to Mal while he’s dying is to believe in something, anything. The comic comes around full circle to the scene in the movie, where Mal finds him dying.

Agree, it’s a good addition to the verse whether or not it reflects the timeline.

PM, Wash is dead; let him rest in peace, he lives on in his, I’m sure, beautiful daughter.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 4:39 AM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

SNIP
Book thought one or the other would surrender, keeping a war from starting, a one day war, he fails, as we can assume the Alliance returns with a vengeance.



Don't Agree...


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

Book doesn’t care about or believe in either side, or the loss of human life from his actions. He’s essentially without belief, it creates a moral vacuum, which is replaced by power and hubris, and that’s why his message to Mal while he’s dying is to believe in something, anything. The comic comes around full circle to the scene in the movie, where Mal finds him dying.



Agree...


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

Agree, it’s a good addition to the verse whether or not it reflects the timeline.



Thanks...


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:

PM, Wash is dead; let him rest in peace, he lives on in his, I’m sure, beautiful daughter.



But no thanks...

With the publication of "The Shepherd's Tale",
Book's death has even more meaning in the Firefly/Serenity story arc.
Wash's death is just an insult.

River's cryo-transport-box; million-credit meat like Tracy smuggled; bring back Dobson who was shot in the HEAD?!
Yeah, Wash Lives!

Mike

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 8:49 AM

KALEL


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
Book wasn't working for the "Independents" he was working for insurgents who believe in independence, as they at no time refer to themselves as the “Independents”.



Book was invited to JOIN THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT, and that movement had the Browncoat patch as their symbol for independence. This means they were organized unified group that were recruiting. It was the beginnings of the Independents.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 8:54 AM

KALEL


Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:

Wash's death is just an insult.




Wash's death was a necessary means to an end.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 1:07 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by KalEl:
Quote:

Originally posted by pennausamike:
Wash's death is just an insult.


Wash's death was a necessary means to an end.



As a fictional character, Wash's death wasn't "necessary", and the "end" wasn't necessary or even useful.

But that discussion,
(about which I've posted pages)
belongs in another thread.

My main point was that I see trying to rationalize the "Shepherd's Tale" timeline
as pure fan wank,
as is my "Wash Lives" BDM outcome.
Every fan has the right to enjoy the object of our fandom as we see fit,
but we won't always agree on how to play that out.

I would also say, I liked the way Book found faith in a bowl of soup,
in part because such an existentialist observation led to a Christian walk.

Mike

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:34 PM

GWEK


Oh, for the love of--

Why does any thread that goes over a certain number of posts have to eventually devolve into lamenting poor lamentable Wash?

Wash is dead. Dead.

Joss said Wash is dead. He said Wash was always slated to die (likely fairly early in the TV series). Alan Tudyk has said the same thing.

Just because some folk don't understand (or agree with) what Joss was trying to accomplish with his writing doesn't negate it.

Sorry for the rant and diversion.





www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 5:08 PM

PENNAUSAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
Oh, for the love of--

Why does any thread that goes over a certain number of posts
have to eventually devolve into lamenting poor lamentable Wash?



Because killing Wash was a bad idea.
Because killing Wash was bad writing.
Because killing Wash was bad for Firefly.
Because many fans prefered FOX's input for more upbeat Firefly,
and downer Serenity/dead Wash took away from that.
Because killing Wash (arguably) hurt Serenity's box office.

Hey, don't get mad at me...
...you asked!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 5:22 PM

CHRISISALL

Down the centuries you have slurred the meaning of the words, WE THE PEOPLE...


Wash's senseless death saddened me. But so did Joyce's on Buffy, and my Mom's in real life.

Like the Predator said, SHITT APPENZZ.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Friday, January 7, 2011 9:38 AM

BLACKROBEDBOOK


Sorry I'm late to this thread, but I just recently read the comic. And after reading it, I developed a question for you guys:

Comparing Shepherd's life story here with Anakin Skywalker's or Captain Kirk's in the '09 Star Trek Flick,How do you think Book's story adds up? Do you think this is the format that all life stories should be told in Sci-Fi OR Do you think it needs a couple of tweaks?

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:04 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
Don't get me wrong, I get the point. Just didn't think it was demonstrated in a particularly compelling way.

Different strokes.




Finally read it. I have to say, every time I get to return to the Firefly universe (short stories, comics, whatever) it is an almost spiritual experience. Maybe because I was only 16 when the show first aired and when it disappeared, I didn't find the browncoats right away and just felt like I'd lost something great with zero explanation.

That said, I have to agree with GWEK. Good backstory but poor execution. Zack claims to have written this based on an outline from Joss, but it seems to be that he took that outline, turned it in reverse and said, "done." It was great to finally learn what happened with Book and it had all the unexpected turns that I've come to expect from Joss, but I can't help but think that this would have been executed better as an episode of the show where we see the flashbacks Lost style: integrated into a current conflict and shown to the audience without Book sitting down for story time with the crew. If you're not familiar with Lost, think Out of Gas.

-----------------------------
I pray for one last landing,
on the globe that gave me birth.
Let me rest my eyes on the fleecy skies
and the cool, green hills of Earth.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:07 AM

DMI

Expired, forgotten, spoiled rotten.


Quote:

Originally posted by BlackRobedBook:
Sorry I'm late to this thread, but I just recently read the comic. And after reading it, I developed a question for you guys:

Comparing Shepherd's life story here with Anakin Skywalker's or Captain Kirk's in the '09 Star Trek Flick,How do you think Book's story adds up? Do you think this is the format that all life stories should be told in Sci-Fi OR Do you think it needs a couple of tweaks?



Not sure what you're getting at here. How do Anakin Skywalker and Captain Kirk relate? Book's story was where he went from being an evil man to a good man. Anakin did the opposite with a touch (or a throw rather) of good at the very end. And Kirk is just... Kirk. The only things I see in common are troubled childhoods, though Anakin's wasn't that bad.

-----------------------------
I pray for one last landing,
on the globe that gave me birth.
Let me rest my eyes on the fleecy skies
and the cool, green hills of Earth.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 9:23 AM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by DMI:
Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
Don't get me wrong, I get the point. Just didn't think it was demonstrated in a particularly compelling way.

Different strokes.






That said, I have to agree with GWEK. Good backstory but poor execution. Zack claims to have written this based on an outline from Joss, but it seems to be that he took that outline, turned it in reverse and said, "done." It was great to finally learn what happened with Book and it had all the unexpected turns that I've come to expect from Joss, but I can't help but think that this would have been executed better as an episode of the show where we see the flashbacks Lost style: integrated into a current conflict and shown to the audience without Book sitting down for story time with the crew. If you're not familiar with Lost, think Out of Gas.




I kind of agree with you. Zach's short that he did for USA Today online channeled the show and characters a lot better IMO. But it was nice to get some closure with Book anyway.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 12:31 PM

BYTEMITE


I'm going to get in on this now, might as well.

Quote:

Book was working for the Independents.
Why would he mastermind an operation that would begin the war?
Why not try and subvert from inside to prevent the war?



Agreed, and once again, the big operation to end the war that failed feels like something undertaken early in the Unification War.
The attack wasn't staged to prove the Independents' abilities;
it was launched to eliminate the Independents.
The Independents, in the alternative, viewed it as a chance to make squelching the Independence movement prohibitivly costly for the Alliance.



He was working for the Independents, but he was also working for the Alliance, considering he was part of an Alliance operation launched to eliminate the Independents.

He looks pretty shocked and horrified by the destruction he caused, suggesting that wasn't what he intended to happen. We don't know what he intended to happen. He may have expected a stalemate and a withdrawal. He may have forgotten about his eyepiece and unwittingly revealed the operation to the Independents (resulting in beat down). He may have switched allegiances completely and not expected the Independents to muster enough forces to fight them back, even with any information or misinformation he fed them.

He was playing both sides, and we don't know his true allegiance. What his motivations were we don't know. He may not have even had motivations, and was mostly scrabbling to stay above water the whole time. When confronted by the consequences of his own actions, which later, when being chewed out by his Alliance superior, he could not justify what he had done.

We can all agree on two things, Book regretted the outcome of his actions, and whether the fight was before the war or during it, the only outcome of the operation, intended to crush the Independents, was to pour more fuel on the fire.

So interpreting it as an escalation that might have led to the start of the war, or an escalation during the war are both equally valid possibilities, especially with the given unknowns or inconsistencies in the timeline.

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