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BIG DAMN ZINE

A B R O W N C O A T P U B L I C A T I O N
Issue Four
October 2007

In this issue:

PJ Haarsma
Author of The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1

Also: Fan Films: Into the Black


Fan Fiction: Working for the Man part 2
BIG DAMN ZINE

Contents

PJ Haarsma 3

Browncoat Events 6

Fan Fiction - Working For The Man 8

Fan Films: Into The Black 11

Editorial 15
Fillion ‘Fills in’
Empty Library Shelves
with Help of
Friend and Author,
PJ Haarsma
By Kym Kemp (Redhead)

Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal on Firefly) and PJ Haarsma


enthusiastically tease each other in print and in per-
son. But,like the crew of Serenity, they also help each
other. Not long ago, Haarsma wrote a sci-fi novel for
young readers called The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1. As
Haarsma crossed the country promoting his book, he
discovered librarians scrambling to find money to buy
it. Unprepared for the excited reaction to The Softwire,
schools didn’t have the budget to purchase it. Haarsma
mentioned the librarian’s problem to Fillion, and, to-
gether, they decided to provide kids with brand new
copies of the book.

In order to do this, the two approached one of Fillion’s


many fan groups. Haarsma explained, “[W]e decided
to see if Nathan Nation was willing to direct their ener-
gies into a project that would buy copies of the book for
schools and libraries in need. Nathan loved the concept
and so did NN.” The group put together several treasures
for people to purchase online at Kids Need to Read.

Like pirate plunder, these packets include a variety of


schwag. Of special interest to Fillion fans is the $50 Na-
gool Master Donation Package. This includes a copy of
The Softwire personally autographed by both Fillion and
Haarsma. To boot, the fan gets a CD of Fillion reading
the first three chapters. The actor lures the listener into
the imaginative world of Orbis 1 almost effortlessly.


Adding to the bargin, the CD showcases some won- SciFi classic, Ender’s Game. In fact, Haarsma empha-
derful Orbisian art by artists, Stephan Martiniere sizes that “Ender’s Game started it all for me. I still
and Igor Knecivic. The money raised puts copies of think about that book to this day.” When Haarsma
The Softwire on under stocked library shelves. The was given a chance to meet Card (who is a huge Firefly
group hopes to eventually buy books by other authors fan), he acknowledged his respect by giving Card
also. “some of the paper money from the set of Serenity
that Nathan had signed for me. [Card] loved it.”

Like Ender, the hero of The Softwire begins as a bul-


lied outsider. “The [book] is about a group of children
who are orphaned in outer space,” says Haarsma.
“[They are] sold as slaves to the Citizens on the Rings
of Orbis – four planet-like rings around a wormhole.
When the children arrive, it is discovered that the one
boy, JT, is a softwire. He has the ability to enter any
computer with just his mind. On the rings, where the
kids are sent to work, one massive computer controls
the entire system. The fact that this slave can get
inside it at will makes him very valuable, even danger-
ous. His ability drives the Citizens crazy and they con-
nive, conspire and even kill to own JT and his sister.”

Because both Fillion and Haarsma were born Ca-


nadians, the current focus is on supplying libraries
in Canada as well as the United States. They hope
to eventually expand overseas but, because the cost
of shipping is so expensive, they are currently rely-
ing on people who buy the Kids Need to Read pack-
ages. Many people purchase the Educator’s Packet
and donate the four copies to schools and libraries
near them. This works especially well to fill the hole
overseas but works equally well for North American
localities.

Fillion is so excited about the project, he interviewed


PJ Haarsma for IGN. There he said, “Getting kids to
read makes me feel good…[ I believe in [The Soft-
wire.]” Fillion has nothing but praise for the book say-
ing, “I’ve always been amazed at a writer’s ability to
create a universe, and that’s what PJ has done. With
ease, he has created a world, an economy, a religious
faith, and an adventure not to be missed.”
The Softwire is reminiscent of Orson Scott Card’s


Not only is the book deliberately created to hook The multi media approach Haarsma espouses not
unenthusiastic readers but Haarsma built an online only includes the online game mentioned above and
game based on his universe to further engage his audi- the recording of Nathan Fillion’s reading of The Soft-
ence. The game, called Rings of Orbis, is full of vibrant wire.
art.
In addition, Haarsma
throws himself enthu-
siastically into going to
schools and promoting
his own book as well as
encouraging interest in
science. “NASA sup-
plied me with a truck-
load (literally) of infor-
mation for kids about
outer space.
During my multi-media
presentation, I illustrate
our position in the uni-
verse and demonstrate
just how big it is.”
“I then examine the
condition of the earth
and where we are
headed, using this as
the launching point to
discuss my book.

Haarsma already has over 5000 players and hopes “From there, I show how books become movies, the
to make most of those booklovers. He encourages creation of the alien art and how the game was built
reading by making aspects of his game only available - using the kids as participants. The presentation
to those who can answer questions related to the concludes with an “alien ghost story” and a real live
book. alien artifact. I bring lots of prizes and giveaways and
it’s a load of fun for everyone involved. The 50 minute
In fact, Haarsma is passionate about using a mul- event encourages children to explore their imagina-
timedia approach to attract readers. “The amount tions, dream about outer space and discover that
of free time we have is increasing … So too is the reading is supposed to be fun.”
amount of money we spend on entertainment. Yet
the publishing industry is losing ground. … In order
for publishing companies to survive in the future
…[they need to] allow readers to enter a brand from
many different levels whether it be the book, game,
movie, comic book, downloads, interactive elements
– whatever it takes. Reading is a form of entertain-
ment and should be presented that way, not like sour
medicine that’s going to make you better.”

Haarsma weaves disparate threads to attract readers.


His online site tantalizes viewers with a gripping
Book trailer—just like a movie trailer but for the
print media. He also has collector art cards. This one
was illustrated by his wife, Marisa Grieco.


An eerie avatar
(Haarsma’s wife, Marisa Grieco)
guides gamers through
The Softwire world.

The online game came out of an interest shared by Fil- much of an exotic dancer ring to it so they went with
lion and Haarsma. Many weekends, the two friends Nathan. We honored him by naming our daughter,
pit their Halo teams in bloody virtual battles against Skylar.”
each other. (Fillion’s team includes Alan Tudyk—aka
Wash on Firefly). The rivalry has Haarsma and Fillion “Skylar calls him Nashan. When we visit it’s like hav-
sniping lightheartedly at each other whenever possi- ing a babysitter. Skylar and him just go off and play.
ble. Nathan scoffs, “If only [PJ’s] Halo skills matched He draws her pictures, tells her stories… When Skylar
his imaginative writing, he would be a force to be was about 20 months old I asked her, “Who loves
reckoned with.” you?” She said, “Mommy loves me. Daddy loves me.” I
asked her, “Who else?” She goes,” Umm, Nashan loves
me… and Alan [Tudyk] loves me.” They’re still arguing
over why Nathan’s first but he takes great pride in it.”

Haarsma and Fillion may joke about the lighter side


of life but they are serious about getting books to kids
who need them. This friendship between the two in-
spires others also. Nathan Nation, Fillion’s fan club, is
determined to see more books in more libraries.
When asked about this jibe, Haarsma quickly asserts,” Haarsma is amazed by how much the group does,
It’s very difficult for Nathan to recall the numerous “[They] have formed teams with project leaders that
times I sent him home with his tail between his legs, cover everything from public relations to community
a broken man at having lost at Halo once again. But events. They even purchase books and donate them
he would go home with his team and study. And train. on their own. They’ve also gathered Firelfy collect-
And practice. In the beginning we would still beat ables that they auction and use the proceeds for more
hem, taunting them about their tactics… . I would like books.”
to stop here and relish in my glory days but I must
admit that one day they came back and cleaned our Haarsma says, “Nathan is one of my very best
clocks. We tried to practice, to train, to get better, but friends…When people get older it becomes very hard
we had awoken a beast within Nathan that was un- to make friends...With Nathan, it’s effortless. The
tamable. I don’t even remember the last time we beat way he acts with Skylar, the respect he has for other
him now.” people... I simply like myself more when I’m around
him.”
However, the virtual rivalry does not extend to their
personal relationship. In fact, Fillion claims Haarsma In fact, both Fillion and Haarsma are funny, intelli-
daughter, Skylar, was named for him. When ques- gent people that just seem to find themselves helping
tioned about this, Haarsma asserts, “You didn’t know out where ever there is a need. And, if the strength of
Nathan was originally named Skylar? I think it’s his their friendship and their desire to support each other
second middle name. His dad was worried it had too is any indication, Kids Need to Read will be a success!

Big Damn Zine provides a first look at the Paperback version
of Book 1 due out February 12th, 2008. The next book in the
series, Betrayal on Orbis 2, is due out March 25th.


Browncoat Events
Serenity Salute

Burbank, California (Los Angeles Area)


Oct. 27th-28th, 2007

Creation Entertainment, who have been running conventions for 35 years, is presenting this brand new
convention saluting the amazing FIREFLY series.

Events include: Celebrity Guest Appearances, Auctions, Costume Contest, Trivia Competition, Music
Video Presentations, Autographs & Photo Opportunities, Parties, Food functions & Charity Events and
Vendors Area

Guests: Nathan Filion, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, Sean Maher, Geoff Mandel, Jar-
rod Davis, Mark Shimer, Jason Palmer

Note: Creation Entertainment has signed an agreement to produce official merchandise for SERENITY
including T-shirts, fleece, hats, photos, jewelry, plates, stamps and coins

http://www.creationent.com/cal/serenity.htm

Serenity LA
Element Nightclub, Hollywood, California
Nov. 2nd - Nov. 4th, 2007

Starfury is expanding it’s convention organization to the United States. Serenity LA will feature guest
talks, autograph sessions and Parties on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, several of which will be held at
Clare Kramer’s La Cantina Restaurant. Some autographs will be included in ticket price.

Guests: Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Ron Glass, Amy Acker, Mark
Sheppard, Christina Hendricks, Jonathan Woodward, Rafael Feldman, Yan Feldman and Nectar Rose

http://starfuryusa.com/

The Browncoat Cruise


Leaves from: San Diego, California
December 1-6, 2007
The Browncoat Cruise sets sail from San Diego, California on December 1st for 5 fun-filled days and
5 exciting nights aboard the Carnival Elation. The cruise destinations include Cabo San Lucas, and
Ensenada, Mexico. Plenty of Browncoat related events are being planned, including a Masquerade Ball.

Guests: Ron Glass, Michael Fairman, Clare Cramer, The Bedlam Bards

http://www.browncoatcruise.com/


Fan Fiction
By: Wytchcroft

Official data record – serc teltex: Alliance ordered review: Trooper Trainee (non
personalised). Review: (personalised) – Commander Ivan Dolland. Deceased.
Review: transfer request, Trooper Trainee, (non personalised) record of meeting
follows:
Working For the Man
- when the Reavers hit, we just – we were so scared, escape ship couldn’t run, Reaver’s core
breach saw to that, had us fried – they say their brains aint nuthin but the black... but they
knew how to take out our base easy enough.

- “our base?”

- Yes, Sir – just astronomy, mostly. I guess you have the deatails... been there 11 months. A
good team.

- Was it not the case that you were helping the Independents, at that time?

- Well, no. We were neutral more... I guess some favoured the Indies. Anyhow – didn’t do us
no good – when we calleed for help...

- You asked them –

- Closest Unit of Action, ‘cept it turned out they was in retreat from some place, some battle
– couldn’t spare the time – or the men left running. The rest were waiting to be picked up by
you.

- But there WAS a force?

- Oh yeh – we watched it sail on by us – same time we were tryin’ not to watch the Reavers
closing in – edge of the scanner... no/one could bare to look.

- And then?

- We called the Alliance. Got Cmdr Dolland straightaway.

- And he came...

- Yes Sir. Though his ship was already wounded – sure suicide send a wounded ship near
Reavers. Still, he came. Blew the Reaver sky high. Man... the relief...

- But you were attacked again, in fact?

- That’s right. Second Reaver tacked in behind the first. Hidden in the wake. Snuck up on the
Commander’s ship – even as we were boarding.

- What happened?

- That’s between me and the darkness, Sir. You can MAKE me tell... and I am an honest man
– but you wouldn’t thank me. Things I’ve seen...


- And so – the Alliance ship was breached?

- Oh. Yes... over-run completely. Next thing I know – Commander Dolland knocks me clear
into a pod, sends me off into space. Couldn’t see too well after that but... the light – well,
pretty clear that your Commander self destructed. Took ‘em all out.

- So, his actions were not reckless – reprehensible? Negligent? Rash?

- They were – heroic. Sir.

- And after that?


Working For the Man

- Drifted for a spell, til I got picked up by an Alliance convoy finally. Coming woth prisoners.
Indies.

- There was a break out?

- Attempted. They TRIED to break out. But they was stopped.

- And you helped...

- Yes. They deserved their incarceration. Way I look at it, the Indies had figured on the Reaver
attacking the Alliance. Hoped to escape when they came for the convoy too.

- You are aware of the complaints made – about the treatment of the Prisoners – the conduct
of the guard force?

- Just Indie propaganda Sir.

- And you don’t allow your feelings...

- You mean Hate? I got Loyalty too, Sir. Not just hate. Loyalty to the man who saved me. I do
the things he’s not here to do...

- Duty?

- Of course Sir.

- And you became an official Alliance trooper trainee because of that?

- Yes Sir.

- And you specifically requested prison duty?

- Yes, Sir. Go where I can do the job that’s right. Do the right job – do the job right.

- Very well. This review is ended. Trainee trooper transfer request to detail, Prison ship
C.Alpha 181, accepted.

END OF DATA LOG.

Working For the Man is a collaborative project that will feature several different authors.
Each issue we will be running a chapter of this story.

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Fan Films:
Into The
Black
By: Wytchcroft

The Writer and Critic Dorothy Parker – known for her jority change channels and forget – some few popu-
unruly life and acid wit – nevertheless called herself late the sites just mentioned – some fewer keep the
‘the greatest little hoper going’. Good attitude. flames alive as best they can – writing stories, articles,
She was not, however, much of a doer. creating images, to contribute. The template of the
Star Trek New Voyages back in the 1970s is an inspir-
Those that hope and those that do can be divided by ing one.
many things; fluke, circumstance, resources, opportu-
nity, money… But it’s mostly attitude. And so, far from television studios, movie distribu-
So it is in the world – so it is in cyber-space. tors, channel programmers, far from everyone – ex-
cept a potential audience – can be found fragmentary
… take me out – into the black independent entertainments, animations, short films,
tell them I’m not coming back… trailers, music videos and edits, fresh, new and avail-
able now.
Television fans have been spoilt and spoiled over
recent years… a quick trawl of the Net reveals many These can range from brief clips on a MySpace or You-
exciting places – websites… worlds, havens of creativ- Tube site – to more ambitious collaborative projects
ity – reflecting the passions and imaginations of the – of which INTO THE BLACK is one.
fans and of the shows themselves.
They are also shrines to the cancelled - Angel, Firefly, ‘Into the Black’ aims to give us the adventures of the
Drive, Carnivale, Tru-Calling and on and on, a list too Samsara and its misfit crew. Inspired by their favou-
long for these pages, (fortunately), a role-call of the rite show (one known well to all us Browncoats). The
televisually deceased. production is ongoing and trailers have toured con-
ventions – earning shut outs from no lesser Hero than
What happens when a show is disappeared? The ma- Nathan Fillion himself.
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Into the Black’s faithful ship Samsara at the forest location in Langley.

We were lucky enough to catch an interview with one which does change things somewhat, as we can’t
of them - and to learn a little of their story…. always do what we would like.
Into the Black is all out of pocket. No one is getting
Please introduce yourself - for those just tun- paid for this, so we scrounge what we can, and ev-
ing in! What is Into the Black* - how did it eryone volunteers their time.
start?
Where does your show fall chronologically...
My name is Laura Sutherland, and I’m one of the co-
producers / co-creators of the show. The whole proj- During the run of Firefly and before Serenity. I don’t
ect started a few years ago with someone making the know if we ever pinned an actual date on the episode.
comment “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we did a Firefly We haven’t mentioned any concrete dates or events
fanfilm” (or something to that effect). And then we to tie us down (at least not at this point in the game),
(Damien and myself) rounded people up to support so there is always room to manouver.
the cause. I think I initially had a teensy little proj-
ect in mind when this whole thing started- but that What is your role?
quickly blossomed beyond what I had envisioned!
Browncoats don’t do “small”. I play Kitty, in addition to being one of the producers
and creators. We all wore many hats on this produc-
Does Into the Black aim for the style of the TV tion.
FireFly - or are you developing a ‘house style’ It’s kinda hard to sum up Kitty. Her two mottos in
as you go? life seem to be “Any fight you can walk away from
obviously wasn’t violent enough” and “Oooh! That’s
Little bit of both I guess. We’re obviously basing ev- CUTE!”. Yeah, I don’t want to go into too much detail
erything on the show, but adding our own “flair” so other than what is in the public profile, because that
to speak. Plus, we’re working with limited resources, would be considered spoiler territory! But Kitty’s
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Trailing – Vcon 13. 30th nov 2006.

personality was written to be somewhat akin to my I do watch what I can. I think “New Voyages” is well
own, albeit with far more violence and guns. done. “Mosquito” was also quite enjoyable. “Star
Wreck: In the Pirkinning” is bloody brilliant.
What’s the next phase for the show?
For me, one of the great things about Into The Black
Finish the first episode! Then maybe shoot another and sister productions such as Belltower, is the jour-
one. If people like us. ney to completion itself - the real adventure. As an
Heck, maybe even if they don’t! audience we can share directly the pleasures, pains,
setbacks and victories of the cast and crew. Every
And for you personally? Ambitions? interest is catered for - the website contains technical
Are they shared by the crew? information and updates on everything from finances
to set building – forums with barnstorming and
I think we’d all like to see the project do well, and cheerleading – character bios and back-stories – spe-
maybe haul it around to some conventions. If we cial effects and images - it’s all there. Everything the
could be as successful as “New Voyages”, I think we’d redoubtable crew DO.
all be very happy. We’d love to be able to do more
than one episode. And the rest of us?
Hopers, every damn one.
Are there Bloopers? Give us Bloopers! ................................................
Watch the trailer:
Of course there are bloopers! Expect a full blooper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QB9rrIdTbE
reel to be forthcoming once the first episode is com-
pleted. Visit the website:
http://www.intotheblack.ca/
Are there other fan flicks you’d recommend?
Do you watch any? Many thanks to Laura Sutherland
aka Kitty Tsang.
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Serenity Collector’s Edition
Release Date: August 21, 2007

Features:
Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Joss
Whedon
Extended Scenes
Outtakes
Take a Walk on Serenity
The Green Clan
Joss Whedon Intro
We’ll Have a Fruity Oaty Good Time!
Feature Commentary with Director Joss Whedon and
Cast Members Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Sum-
mer Glau and Ron Glass
Feature Commenary with Director Joss Whedon
A Filmmaker’s Journey
Future History - The Story of Earth That Was
Re-lighting the Firefly
What’s In a Firefly?
Session 416
Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity

There are over 30 minutes of Special Features in the 2 Disc set as well as all new commentary by Joss Whedon,
Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau and Ron Glass. Many of the Special Features available on this
version of the movie have not been available to North American customers before.

The DVD can be pre-ordered through the Universal site at:


http://homevideo.universalstudios.com/details.php?childId=36897
or through several other online stores like:
www.amazon.com
www.barnesandnoble.com
www.bestbuy.com

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Editorial
By Mike Johnson (Mycroft)

So the Browncoat corner of the the Internet was abuzz lately due to a comment made by Alan Tudyk on the
website Moviehole.

“They had to put [the new DVD] out because they’ve been selling out of the other one [the DVD that isn’t the
‘Collectors Edition’] and so Universal’s like ‘So, let’s do another one’”, he says, adding “And now… there’s now
a chance there’s going to be another movie”.

I’m not going to discuss the accuracy of his statement or the probability of a sequel in this editorial, as one can
find any number of discussions like that on the internet. I, like all Browncoats, would love to see more of our
favorite crew on the big screen. Or the small screen. Heck, I’ll take them on any screen any time.

I wanted to remind Browncoats that some of the best things that we as fans can do to encourage a continuation
of Firefly or Serenity are the things we do best.

Spread The Word

This is probably the one thing that all Browncoats due by nature. When we find out that someone hasn’t seen
Firefly or Serenity, we show them the series and the movie. Or we loan it to them. Or we give them as presents.

One thing I like to do is wear Firefly and Serenity merchandise. Invariably, people ask me what Firefly or Se-
renity is, which gives me a chance to talk about my favorite subject. We also hope to have printed copies of Big
Damn Zine available at conventions to help promote it as well.

For other good ideas on spreading the word, check out www.fireflymovie.com or 11th Hour’s site.

The more fans of Firefly and Serenity there are, the more interest there will be in doing a sequel.

Keep The Fandom Active

There are always projects happening in the Browncoat Fandom.

Some raise money for charity like the Can’t Stop The Serenity or the auctions that the California Browncoats
run, just to name a few.

There are creative projects like Into The Black and Bellflower that are huge undertakings.

Some groups hold events like The Browncoat Ball, The Browncoat Cruise or the upcoming Browncoat Day at
Disneyland.

Other projects Browncoats do for fun like Con Suites and Fan Tables at Conventions.

There is the 76th Battalion, which truly deserves a category all of it’s own.

These projects bring Browncoats together, promote Firefly and Serenity and many of them bring good press to
our fandom.

We are not affiliated with Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox or Universal Pictures
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