The Firefly Self-Help Books

If you have been a follower of this blog, you know that I, on occasion, like to imagine what characters of a certain TV show or movie might have to say if given the opportunity to pen a self-help book. Some of these have been serious, some more satirical, but, if I am being honest, all books I would love to write myself. These characters have been such an amazing part of my life. Today, I am finally able to dedicate myself to a show called Firefly. Firefly was a science fiction, space western that originally aired on Fox, but was cancelled before completing their first season. There was such a fan base, Joss Whedon (the executive producer) was able to negotiate making a film (Serenity) to appease those who knew the network had given up on the series way too quickly. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the series and movie (watch them in that order), you should immediately download it, purchase it, or whatever you need to do to watch it.

I’m off my soap box now – here is my take on what the characters would have to say:

  1. Captain “Mal” Malcolm Reynolds: Mal is the owner of the Serenity (the ship). He is a former fighter in the Independent Army. He is cunning, a skilled fighter, and can rationalize his sometimes questionable morals with an “end justifies the means” approach to life. He is fiercely loyal to those in his inner circle. Mal would have a lot to say about maintaining his moral “flexibility” and that failure is not necessarily the end. Suggested title: Firefly – the end is never the end..


  1. Zoe Washburne: Mal’s right hand “man”, she is a friend from his war days and is his second in command on the Serenity. She is married to Wash. Zoe brings a lot to her shipmates beyond her battle skills – she is able to stay calm no matter the situation and always seems to be able to think clearly. She could offer such insight into the importance of maintaining focus in stressful situations. Suggested title: Calm – the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.



  1. Hoban “Wash” Washburne: The pilot of the Serenity and Zoe’s husband. He often expresses jealous over the closeness between Zoe and Mal though there is never an indication of a romantic component to their relationship. He is perhaps best known for his humorous take on situations and tendency to always have a quip at the ready. Learning about his use of humor in the face of adversity would benefit many. Suggested title: Laughing in the face of (repeated) impending death.


  1. Inara Serra: a Companion – the series version of an escort or mistress (higher standing than a prostitute). She displays great civility, compassion, and dignity. She shares many character traits with Mal which only complicates the romantic tension between them. Both have difficulty accepting each other’s choice of occupation. She seems to struggle with the idea of becoming vulnerable to someone she cares for. Suggested title: Caring for others, caring for myself.


  1. Jayne Cobb: Oh, Jayne and his adorable hat. Jayne is a mercenary which is supposed to mean he will do anything if the money is right, though Jayne sticks with this crew even when he should be tempted to travel elsewhere. He often asks the questions no one is willing to ask (with good reason) and complains about helping others – especially if it puts him at risk. There is likely a lot more to this man than meets the eye, but he’d punch you in the nose if you ever called him on it. Suggested title: Survival: You can’t get paid if you’re dead.


  1. Kaylee Frye: the ship’s mechanic who is also known as the heart of the ship. She loves all of her shipmates with her whole heart and only wants the best for them all. She has fallen in love with Dr. Simon Tam, but struggles to share those feelings, instead hinting and hoping he will figure it out. Likely, she did not believe she was worthy of him and was terrified of possible rejection. Suggested title: Great risk can bring even greater rewards.


  1. Simon Tam: a trauma surgeon who is on the run after breaking his sister, River, out of a government research facility. His sister’s care is his primary focus and he sacrificed his own future and career to rescue her. His feelings for Kaylee complicated his situation as he often found himself being pulled in multiple directions. Unfortunately for Kaylee, River typically wins his internal battle. Suggested title: Even in space, blood is thicker than water.


  1. River Tam: smuggled onto the ship by her brother, Simon. She is a gifted child prodigy who was operated and experimented on by a government agency hoping to use her skills for evil. As a result, she has psychic powers and extraordinary combat skills. Due to her time in the research facility she suffers debilitating anxiety and PTSD. Her erratic behavior frequently worries those around her. Suggested Title: When special doesn’t feel good


  1. Shepherd Derrial Book: a type of pastor – he functioned as a sort of moral compass for Mal. Mal didn’t always follow his recommendations, but he did always listen and consider them. He got along well with everyone though was not eager to engage in battle alongside them, feeling killing was against his religious beliefs. His religious beliefs were often stretched through his time with the crew of the Serenity. Suggested title: Doing wrong for the right reasons.


I was tempted to include The Operative, a character who played a central role with the cast during the movie Serenity, but somehow it felt like cheating. I wanted to focus on those who started in Firefly and then continued on in Serenity. What do you think? Am I being too picky? What do you think his book would be about? Whose story would you most be interested in reading?

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