Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. I’m starting off my Waiting on Wednesday articles for the year strong by looking at the very next Firefly tie-in novel, Firefly: Life Signs, which is sure to be an epic and enjoyable read.
Over the last few years, Titan Books have been leading the way with tie-in fiction for Joss Whedon’s wildly popular Firefly franchise, by creating a series of fantastic Firefly novels that imagine new adventures for the various crewmembers of the spaceship Serenity. Being the massive fan of the franchise that I am, I have gone out of my way to read all four previous Firefly novels they have released (consisting of Big Damn Hero, The Magnificent Nine, Generations and The Ghost Machine). Each of these books have been extremely clever and exciting reads that did an amazing job of bringing the iconic characters from the television show to life, and I have deeply enjoyed all of them. As a result, I was very happy when I found out that there was a brand new Firefly novel coming out in a few short months and instantly considered it a must-have book for the year.
This latest upcoming Firefly novel, Life Signs, is currently set for release in mid-March and is written by bestselling science fiction and fantasy author James Lovegrove, with Joss Whedon credited as a consulting editor. Lovegrove has been the absolute star of this current run of Firefly tie-in novels, having written three of the four books. All of these Lovegrove Firefly novels have been amazing and compelling reads, although my favourite is probably last year’s The Ghost Machine, which saw the protagonists become entrapped by beguiling visions and terrifying nightmares. However, I have particularly high hopes for Lovegrove’s next entry in the series, as Life Signs has a really cool and intriguing plot.
Some months after Inara leaves Serenity, Mal and the crew learn the reason for her sudden departure: she is dying of a terminal illness. It is Kiehl’s Myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer that’s supposedly incurable.
Through their shock and despair, they learn that there are rumors of a scientist believed to have developed a cure for her condition, but he has been disgraced: incarcerated for life on notorious Alliance prison planet Atata. Here, terraforming did not take properly, so the world is a frozen wasteland. Inmates are abandoned there with no guards and left to survive as best they can.
To save Inara, the Serenity crew must infiltrate the prison…
Ooh, now this is a very interesting synopsis that opens up a lot of great storylines for this book. Fans of the Firefly franchise will probably know that the Inara terminal illness story element mentioned above was actually a real plotline that was going to be explored in future seasons of the television show, if it hadn’t been cancelled so soon (damn you, Fox executives, damn you to hell!). Several inclusions in the show hinted at Inara’s condition, and there were apparently plans to do a big episode about it, although some of the revealed details about this potential episode are a tad disturbing (let’s just say that Inara was apparently going to have a very bad encounter with some Reavers). I have to say that I am really excited to see that someone is finally going to explore this abandoned story arc in some detail, and it should result in some emotional and dramatic moments for the characters, as well as provide some addition backstory for Inara. I also really like how, in order to solve this problem, the crew are going to embark on a reverse prison break to find and exfiltrate a disgraced mad scientist who may potentially have a cure. Attempting to break into a desolate ice prison that is completely controlled by the inmates has so much potential for excitement and disaster and I am sure it is going to be quite a fun and enjoyable story.
As a result, I am really looking forward to checking out this new Firefly novel in March. Based on how cool and significant the plot sounds, and due to how much I have enjoyed Lovegrove’s excellent writing in the past, I have some major expectations for Life Signs and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.