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  Bookends: Dan Davidson


Reviewed: May 14, 2006
By: a novel by R.A. DeCandido / based on the script by Joss Whedon
Publisher: Pocket Books
260 pages, $10.50

I don't read a lot of novelizations, but there are some creators who keep enough control over their work to make it worth while. Whedon has worked with a lot of other writers on tv scripts and on books based on his shows, and he's good at keeping the flavor of his work intact.

More to the point, his script for "Serenity" won this year's Nebula Award, given by the SF Writers or America annually, for the best SF screenplay. So I decided I wanted to read this one.

DeCandido has done a great job with this story, keeping the tone of the series by moving the viewpoint around the members of the crew, and writing like he was inside their heads watching the action.

The novel begins with a bit of material from the series' pilot, in which the bond between Mal and Zo‘ (his first mate) is firmly established. It recaps the series in about 18 pages, focussing on the events fromn Simon's (he's the doctor) viewpoint while also including some of the opening sequences of the film.

Then it tells the rather pointed story of how a big government who thought it knew best interfered in the internal development and politics of another world, how its plans went wrong and created a terrible terrorist scourge, and how  those responsible were willing to do anything to cover up their mistakes.

If, after the movie or the book, you don't realize that science fiction is often a device used by writers and creators to make only slightly veiled comments about the state of the world in the hear and now, youj just haven't been paying attention.

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