Apologies to Joss Whedon

Many science fiction works have affected and inspired me. Hundreds of books, of course, from fantasy like ‘The Hobbit’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, to ‘hard’ science fiction, like Asimov’s Foundation series, and books and series by authors such as Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein, Biggle, le Guin, Butler, and many more. The ‘Star Trek’ franchise is a large influence, but also ‘Battlestar Galactica’, movies like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Bladerunner’ (along with several other movies based on Philip K. Dick’s works), ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ and more recent offerings such as ‘District 9’. One series and movie I really enjoyed, however, was Joss Whedon’s adventures of Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds, and his crew on Serenity’.

Three things happen in my distant, planet terraforming, space-colonizing future. One is that people are still affected, inspired and shaped by these fictional works. Second, the series is often ‘rebooted’ multiple times. And third, when the reboot takes place, some fundamentals are changed.

Rebooting is a recent trend. We used to just call them a re-make. But as books and movies are rebooted, they’re often changed. Look at all the changes we’ve seen in the reboots and re-makes of Sherlock Holmes. They’re often updated (such as the Holmes’ series, where Watson is a vet of the war in Afghanistan), or given new skills (see Robert Downey Jr’s performance of Guy Ritchie’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’), but their sex can be changed (like Lucy Liu playing Watson on ‘Elementary’), or their race (James West in ‘Wild, Wild West’), to provide new angles.

So, in my future setting, one of the characters was inspired by Joss Whedon’s ‘Serenity’. In their future, the movie was rebooted as a series, and then more movies followed. But Mal’s character was changed from a man to a woman. Mal was a man (in my version) who took on a female sex and appearance after his wife disappeared. See where all this is going? In a way, future Mal is a Josey Wales – Richard Kimball – Robin Hood aggregate. Mal is a female, with an all-female crew. Jayne, portrayed by Adam Baldwin, is re-named Mahrk, so the character, a female, would have a pseudo male name. My character fantasized about being Mal and traveling the universe in her own ship, and thus ended up working in space for a corporation.

Stealing from reality, many people actually believe Sherlock Holmes was a real person. Groups and societies are dedicated to this premise. Likewise, my hero, Handley, was once part of a group who believe Mal Reynolds was real, and part of a secret history that has since been covered up.

So, apologies to Joss Whedon for what I’m doing to your creation in the future, but thanks for giving it to us.

And now my coffee cup is empty, and I’m finished writing for today…for the moment.

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