Friday, April 6, 2012

F: The False Prince, Firefly and Freakonomics

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Genre: fantasy

I actually bought this in hardback while browsing through a store last week. I don’t remember the last time I bought fiction that way (I still buy print books, but usually nonfiction for research, sometimes from Bookins (a book swap website), but I loved the concept of The False Prince so much I was afraid I would get home and find out it wasn’t available on kindle.

First the General premise: The royal family has been murdered, and soon the nobles will no longer be able to keep it a secret. To avert a civil war, a nobleman named Conner finds four orphans who look like the younger prince (who disappeared many years before, believed to have been ambushed and killed by pirates). Connor’s plan is to train all four to impersonate the prince. Whoever does it best will gain the throne and a life far beyond what a child from an orphanage can imagine. The others won’t live long enough betray the plot.

Jennifer Nielsen didn’t disappoint, y’all. She handled her plot (and her plot twists) deftly, and the book is imbued with all the fast-paced freshness one expects of young YA. YA has gotten really dark lately. That’s fine, but that makes books like this so much more special. I highly recommend it.

And then there’s
Firefly created by Joss Whedon
Genre: Television SF

Joss Whedon is, of course, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Dollhouse. He also wrote and directed the movie adaptation of The Avengers, coming out later this year.

Firefly is the greatest television show ever, so amazing that even after it was canceled, overwhelming fan support led to Serenity, a movie based on the show. According to Wikipedia (the only place I could find all the awards listed together), “Serenity won film of the year awards from Film 2005 and FilmFocus. It also won IGN Film's Best Sci-Fi, Best Story and Best Trailer awards and was runner up for the Overall Best Movie. It also won the Nebula Award for Best Script for 2005, the 7th annual "User Tomato Awards" for best Sci-Fi movie of 2005 at Rotten Tomatoes, the 2006 viewers choice Spacey Award for favorite movie, the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form and the 2006 Prometheus Special Award.
And, IMO, Serenity wasn’t even as good as the TV show it was based on (or maybe I’m just mad at Joss Whedon for killing off my favorite character in the movie).
I would say more, but thinking about the fate of Firefly, which was canceled before its first season even ended, depresses me (for comparison, the reality TV show Jersey Shore is entering its sixth season. Sixth. Words fail me).

Besides, the very fact that Firefly couldn’t be reduced to a pithy sentence or two was the beginning of its marketing problems. So I’ll just post a picture of The Official Companion, Volume One (it has the scripts, which I reread when I’m looking for something with great dialogue) and give it a tearful moment of silence…

Yes, that's Nathan Fillion, currently starring in Castle

One more F book!
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Genre: nonfiction (economics/psychology)

Written by an economist and a journalist, it was getting lots of press when I read it a few years back. What I liked most about it was the authors’ way of looking at the same scenarios as everyone else, but seeing them from a completely different perspective. It wasn’t necessarily the conclusions they drew (which were always unconventional) but the process they went through to arrive at those conclusions that fascinated me.
Some of the questions they addressed: Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?

And that's it for F!


  1. Well, I haven't read any of those F books....

  2. I read Freakonomics when I was in hospital, and it took my mind of IV drips and assorted nonsense. Loved the book, but am wary of reading it again, because it might just remind me of antiseptic :-(
    And, thanks for stopping by.

    1. Oh, no!

      Love your daily words. Language is so rich and layered.

  3. Yeah, Firefly deserved more. Fox did not treat it well. *sigh*

    1. I'm afraid I've ranted a few times about Fox's habit of buying brilliant shows, marketing them poorly and cancelling them before people get a chance to get into them, but they really outdid themselves with Firefly.

  4. I also like Firefly (seems to be a popular post topic for "F," at least among my blogs!). I actually saw at least one episode as it orginally aired, which was amazing since Fox really messed it up big-time. I was super turned off by the opening song which I still cannot stand and refuse to listen to. Idon't think Joss is good at picking title music. BUT of course, now I love the series thanks to DVD. I only own a couple TV seasons, but Firefly is definitley worthy, it's great on a re-watch.

    My A to Z blog theme is TV shows in case you want to check it out!

    1. Yeah, I have to agree the song choice was...lacking. Oh, I'll look out for the other Firefly posts, then we can all commiserate with each other. :) I caught it entirely by mistake (on SyFy, probably), after Serenity came out, and I was hooked. I own the DVDs, too!

      I've been reading all your posts! :)

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  6. The False Prince sounds fantastic! I'll have to give it a read. And yours is the 4th Firely post I've seen today - must be an outbreak. :) It's on my "must watch" list and I can't wait to get into it.

    1. I think repressed pain about Firefly is coming out all over the internet. :)

  7. Sigh...Firefly - killed way before its time. So sad.

    False Prince sounds interesting. :D

    1. re: Firefly - too true. ~sigh~

      False Prince was a refreshing change from a lot of super-dark YA I've read recently.