on unfucking firefly

Originally posted on Twitter.

every once in a while, I finally make my peace with firefly again, only for some white person to say they’d reboot the franchise and my soul just starts scREAMING WITH HOW I, A CHINESE-AMERICAN, WOULD REIMAGINE FIREFLY AS A SINO DIASPORA NARRATIVE,

SPACE WESTERN? how about how chinese people once made up a quarter of idaho’s population because of the gold rush and subsequently railroad labor?? how about how we made the roads through yosemite?? how about an entirely different concept unreliant on manifest destiny???

AND SO, how would the sino peoples’ tendency to diaspore (I can make up words) inform a space diaspora?? perhaps less of a narrative of space colonization and more space expansion???? how would the governments intersect or not?????? also, u kno, MULTIPLE SINO DIASPORA GOVERNMENTS

AUUUUUGH *takes firefly fandom by the shoulders and pulls them close to make intense eye contact* WHY DO YOU ALL THINK SO SMALL

RIVER AND SIMON TAM! NOT JUST THE WESTERN SIBLING BOND, BUT THE CONCEPTS OF RESPONSIBILITY AND FILIAL PIETY IN CONFUCIANISM????? SIMON TAM PRACTICING CHINESE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE IN SPACE?????????

*clutches firefly fandom’s shoulders* SHEPHERD BOOK AS ONE WHO HAS DECIDED NOT TO EVANGELIZE CHRISTIANITY BUT LIVE IT; ALSO, SHEPHERD AS A QUAKER, simply because my grandparents were some of the only quakers in china who adopted the religion bc of contact w/ american coworkers

*climbs onto the hull of serenity and hollers* JAYNE IS A TRANS DUDE WHO GETS REAL FUCKIN MAD WHEN YOU SAY JAYNE IS A GIRL’S NAME

*HOLLERS INTO MEGAPHONE* INARA IS A COURTESAN AND MAL ISN’T A SLUT-SHAMING ANTI-SEX WORK ASSHOLE BUT A MAN WHO UNDERSTANDS THE VALUE OF A COURTESAN *cough* and employ her dominatrix services behind closed doors *cough*

*plugs in ten speakers and hollers into mic* REAVERS ARE NOT A GENOCIDE-APOLOGIST SYMBOL OF MONSTROSITY BUT RATHER THE SOULLESS POPULATION OF EXTINCTION-STAGE CAPITALISM, DRAINED TO DESPERATION, MOSTLY FROM THE GODDAMN US

NOT JUST ACCURATE MANDARIN, BUT AT LEAST FOUR OTHER DIALECTS OF CHINESE REPRESENTED

CHINESE PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT ORIGINS AS MAIN CHARACTERS

A LINGUIST’S TAKE ON CREOLIZATION OF ENGLISH AND MANDARIN

AND

MOST IMPORTANTLY

WHEN I write for this IP and make that cash off of it

I will offer it up

as

JOSS PAPER

but, on a more serious note: sure, I could write this as my own riff. but there’s far more power in taking the actual name of firefly to subvert it. also, I will laugh forever at firefly fans who complain about the ~diversity~ and hand each of them a joss stick

thanks, I hate it, I haven’t thought about firefly for eighty-four years and now I’m scripting fanfic again, THANKS TWITTER

[aboard the SERENITY]

inara: why the long face, ah? nothing is insurmountable, is it?

mal: it’s those damn reavers. 真他妈让我生气。

inara: aiyah, 当个spaceship captain就会遇到reavers嘛。亲爱的,我们需要忍住

mal: *sighs* I suppose you’re right. ALL HANDS ON DECK! LET’S GO

mal: kaylee! what’s going on with the engine?

kaylee: *muttering* 真他妈开玩笑,让我修啥破spaceship,这玩意儿哪天就会爆炸,当时别来找我

mal: what’s that?

kaylee: *shiny grin* nothing cap’n, just fixing up the last generator

(yes, kaylee speaks with THICK erhua)

zoë: for the love of god wash, can you please put your sentai figures away for TWO seconds while we get this ship in order

wash: *pew pew pew* but they’re finally facing off against sun wukong!

simon: 拜托你妹妹,you need to take your medicine

river: but it tastes AWFUL and you stank up the ENTIRE SHIP boiling it

simon: *exasperatedly* what if I give you a 大白兔奶糖 after you take it? to get rid of the taste?

river: *glares suspiciously at simon* I’ll do it for two.

jayne: —all I’m saying is that ethics and morals mean jack shit when you’re being swarmed by reavers—

book: —yes, but it’s not a question of absolute and inflexible morals—

jayne: —so, what, are you advocating moral relativism? a SHEPHERD?

mal: come on guys. philosophize later

jayne: *waving around 道德经 and 易经* LOOK, ALL I’m saying is that morality based on an “afterlife” isn’t good enough for THIS life

book: *rolls eyes while holding New Galactic Standard Version translation of bible*

[SERENITY creaks and groans into the air, then accelerates into an endless, star-spangled sky. an erhu and guqin sound together as the opening theme song plays]

🎵 取仁爱,取大陆,
取家到难国去住,
不在乎,有自由,
总会在天空漂流…… 🎵

(yes, it scans to the original. no, I don’t know how well I did the chinese translation, but hey, a future sino diaspora might not know either)

(and it rhymes!!!!!)

(but for the record I sent it along to my mom and explained what I was trying to do, and she said, “good enough,” which is high praise considering she has something to say about 80% of the emails I ask her to read real quick before I send them lol)

(FURTHER TRANSLATION NOTES bc I don’t usually do ZH to EN:


to take, but as 娶, it means for a man to take a wife

仁爱
benevolence and compassion—in a reading where “my love” is not an individual, but my ability to love

大陆
continent, but also what we call the PRC)

(取家到难国去住
“take my home and make me live in a hostile nation”

不在乎
“don’t care”

有自由
“have freedom”

总会在天空漂流……
“I’ll always drift through the sky”)

(SORRY, EN to ZH. ok, I’m done making typos, ANYWAY, I apparently put EVEN MORE THOUGHT when I’m translating english into chinese to add in 100000000 more layers of meaning to what is otherwise some white man rugged individualism thing)

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