Firefly and Western Literature
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Hope to See You In Boulder

At the upcoming 2008 Western Literature Association Conference in Boulder, we will be participating in a discussion-oriented panel on the western/sci-fi television show Firefly (created by Joss Whedon). Part of the fun of Firefly is the way it explicitly explores the western roots that many sci-fi films and television series share: through the use of western character types, the use of multiple western visual and aural motifs (space as wide open plains, individual planets with western topographies, guns, clothing, colloquial speech), and the use of various western plot devices, train robberies, cattle rustling, etc.

 

We have been using this blog over the past few months for a conversation about the western elements of Firefly. We probably won’t have much chance to post to the blog over the next week or so as we get ready for the conference (our panel is scheduled for Friday, October 3). If you’re attending the conference, we hope to see you at the panel!

  

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2 Responses to “Hope to See You In Boulder”

  1. I’ll second Michael’s comments. We hope you can get to the Boulder Panel on Firefly where many of the issues raised on this Blog will be discussed further.

  2. Just seen ‘Appalosa’ the new Ed Harris Western which shows many of the problems with the continuation of a genre. It’s a good film, but struggles to do anything new with the genre. It resorts to the slowing-down process of so many recent westerns – translating ‘realism’ through pace into a presumed intensity. If it’s slow it must be significant and meaningful; if the speeches are drawn out, if must be ‘like life’. OK, but problematic as drama. There is a sense in these westerns that we are watching in all through a microscope, looking for the details, the buttons on the shirt-front, the whiskers, the attention to language. What gets lost here? Well, the intoxication, the cinematic, the beauty. I liked the film, but thought it highlighted the Western’s problems. Sitting in an audience of 6 watching a film made by a Hollywood actor trying to capture something of the past … This is perhaps why the studio worried so much about Firefly, about Whedon’s Dreamof the West-in-Space.


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