So Alex White’s A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe is not a Firefly tie-in novel. Okay, sure, it mostly takes place on a ship whose captain is one of the last survivors of a losing war, with a ragtag crew of outcasts and misfits who engage in semi-criminal (but fundamentally decent) activities; and sure it starts with a rich girl with almost superhuman abilities going on the run from powerful forces that control the highest levels of galactic society and ending up on that ship; and okay, maybe it’s doing the same found-family-has-an-adventure thing that Whedon’s show was doing. And if it comes to that, it’s even sort of paced like a TV show (or maybe like a movie): It’s very fast-paced and action-filled, with this sense of a headlong flight away from pursuit and into ever-deepening danger, with a constant drumbeat of tension.
But it’s not just a serial-numbers-filed-off pastiche, thankfully. The world-building fixes a couple of problems that the TV show had (the losing side of the war isn’t quite so reminiscent of the Confederacy here, for instance), while also providing the book with an interesting technomage science-fantasy setting.
It’s a quick read and enjoyable. There’s apparently a sequel coming out, and it’s easy enough to see what it’ll be about, but this does wrap up its own story enough to feel complete on its own. Recommended.