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Book Review: Farscape Forever!: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets

by Nick Queen
December 29, 2005
From WorldViews

It is rare to come across a unique science fiction show these days. My feelings on the matter are that the X-Files was one most of the time, Battlestar Galactica has a unique streak, and the rest have the same bloodline as Star Trek or Star Wars. This is a shame with the amount of science fiction ideas waiting to be mined from the written veins of creativity available to Hollywood. One show that I feel broke the mold, and stands head and shoulders above the rest: Farscape. I was hooked from the first scene aboard Moya, and knew I’d continue to watch even if this was a typical show. It took a few shows to convince me it was different, and each new one I watch only convinces me even more that the show deserves the fan base it carries.

Continue...

Farscape: The Illustrated Season 4 Companion

by Paul Simpson 

Illustrated Season 4 CompanionVolume four in this series has as much inside information on season four as the first three did about their respective seasons. Although there aren't any color pictures in this one, there are enough black and whites to keep everyone happy. The format remains the same as the other volumes with chapters for each episode, as special Script to Screen on John Quixote, chapters on the characters, the Creature Shop, production design and and a lexicon. Mr. Simpson talked with everyone who's anyone on Farscape, gathering loads of information and putting it together in one concise volume. If you're a behind-the-scenes junkie, you need this book!

The Chapters:

FOREWORD: Ben Browder wrote this year's foreword. He began with his first visit to Moya, spoke a bit about mates he got during the four seasons of Farscape, told about the sadness of the cancellation and ended by saying, "In the film business you expect to say goodbye sooner rather than later. Sooner is easier."

INTO SEASON FOUR: We learn some of what happened between SciFi ordering two full seasons in October 2001 and the start of filming early in 2002.

THE EPISODES: Each has three pages with a couple of photos, a one paragraph synopsis of the episode, quotes, cast, and encounters (aliens in the episode). These chapters are full of goodies that I hadn't read before. Maybe I'm the only fan in the world who didn't know that in "Bad Timing," Ben Browder provided the voice of the Qujagan who disintegrated John and Aeryn.  

SCRIPT TO SCREEN: Lots more goodies in this eight page chapter. Originally, they were going to make the game look more like a video game with little health meters on the screen, a red heart for Crichton and a gray one for Chiana. They were going to go up and down depending on how they were doing. They dropped this very late in the process because they felt that it didn't add anything to the episode. 

THE CHARACTERS: The regulars each have their own chapter and there's another one for recurring characters. In the one on Crichton, Ben Browder tells the reader what the three things Crichton does during the year that he (Ben) considers reprehensible: snorting the laka bug juice, forming an alliance with Scorpy to save Aeryn and going to Katratzi with a nuclear bomb.

THE EFFECTS: This is actually two chapters, The Creature Shop and Production Design. Among many other things, there's quite a bit about designing Fran Buller's costume for Ahkna, including the hat.

INTO THE FUTURE: What happened after the show was cancelled.  

AFTERWORD: David Kemper talks about the journey of Farscape, thanking everyone including the fans.

THE LAST WORD: Rockne O'Bannon calls this chapter "The Last Word for now."

THE LEXICON: Exactly what the title implies, a short list of Farscape terms.   


Farscape: The Illustrated Season 3 Companion 

by Paul Simpson and Ruth Thomas

Be sure to read Karlsweb's exclusive interview with Adam Newell, Titan's editor for the Farscape books.

IC03.jpg (14383 bytes)Volume three of the Illustrated Companion was published in June of 2002 and it's one more beautiful book in the series. And this time there are pictures in color as well as black & white. 

The format is the same as the first two Companions, as you'll see in the following chapter-by-chapter breakdown.

FOREWORD: This time David Kemper does the honors with a few pages about making Season 3.

INTO SEASON THREE: A chapter about what happened between season two and season three, especially Virginia's decision to leave the show and the consequences it had on the entire season.

THE EPISODES: Loads of inside information on every episode. For example, in the chapter about Infinite Possibilities Part II: Icarus Abides, Ben Browder talks about pulling his hamstring while running across the dunes. "Browder remembers it all too well: 'They sent me to a doctor, she asked me what happened, and I explained that there was this bunker with a bunch of aliens, explosions going off everywhere, and I was carrying a gun in one hand, and a grenade in the other. I could see the doctor reaching for the psychiatrist's number - I thought the production had told her I was an actor from a science fiction show!'"

SCRIPT TO SCREEN: In this volume Revenging Angel wins the spotlight with loads of photos and interviews with folks at Yoram Gross (the company who did the animation) about putting the ep together. This is my favorite chapter in the book. You don't realize until you read this chapter how difficult this episode was to make because it comes off so well on the screen.

THE CHARACTERS: There ar several pages on each of the main characters with shorter bits on recurring characters.

THE EFFECTS: This is actually two chapters, one on the Creature Shop and one on the Music with Guy Gross

INTO SEASON FOUR: No spoilers here - you didn't really expect them now, did you? It's more like a wrapup of the Season 3 Companion.

THE LEXICON: Definitions for words from Balliun to Zy-limbron


Magazines: A Quick Overview

Farscape: The Official Magazine

This magazine is a Farscape junkie's biggest fix. Since it's the official magazine, they have access to just about everyone involved in the show. It's published every other month and comes out in the UK about 3 weeks before it arrives in the US. Each issue has an interview with at least one regular cast member and usually with some guest stars as well. The Puppeteers have their own column as does David Kemper. There's fiction, sometimes by one of the writers for the show itself, news, merchandise, in-depth episode breakdowns, behind the scenes. You even get a poster in the centerfold. 

For subscriptions in the US & Canada, call 1-877-363-1310. In the rest of the world, call (+44)01536 764 646   

Dreamwatch 

Dreamwatch is one of those big beautiful UK magazines with loads of great pictures. They've recently been bought out by Titan, the company that publishes Farscape: The Official Magazine, and since then they've been having lots of great Farscape articles. Recent issues have contained interviews with David Kemper, Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe and the next issue will have an interview with Ben Browder.

Email Dreamwatch for subscription information. 

Visual Imagination

It almost seems as if magazines in the US are going out of their way to avoid printing articles about Farscape. Even the Sci Fi Channel’s own publication rarely mentioned it. (With policies like that, no wonder it disappeared for six months.) Fortunately, UK publisher Visual Imagination is a lot more discerning. Visimag publishes several large format beautiful issues each month and they love Farscape. In the past year or so they’ve featured Farscape on about a dozen of their covers and published great interviews and articles about the show in several more.

If you live near one of the mega-bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Borders, you may be able to find some of the titles there, but your best bet is to buy directly from Visimag. The current issues as well as most of their backissues are available on their website. You can see the covers and a brief synopsis of the contents so it's easy to decide which ones you want. They say delivery takes 4 to 6 weeks, but I've never waited more than 3 weeks for mine.

For back issues and subscription information go to Visimag's website.

Cinefantastique

They don't often have Farscape articles, but when they do, they're whoppers. They've had two issues (vol 33 #1/2 and vol 34 #3/4) that I know of totalling over 100 pages of Farscape between them. Both issues had huge articles by Anna L. Kaplan. She covered everything: interviews with the cast, costuming, makeup, puppeteers, costuming, special articles on special episodes like Green Eyed Monster and Revenging AngelEmail them to check on back issues.  

SciFi Magazine

This is the official publication of the Sci Fi Channel, but it rarely has much Farscape inside. It was off the market for quite a while due to some contractual problems, but returned about 6 months ago and has since published three new issues. The August issue, which came out in June and coincided with Farscape's season premier, had a cover, an article and some pretty good photos, but there's been very little in the other issues. 

For subscription information, go to SciFi's website.


Farscape: The Illustrated Season 2 Companion

by Paul Simpson and Ruth Thomas

IC02.jpg (15130 bytes)The second volume in the Illustrated Companion series is as jam packed with information as the first volume was. The format is about the same as the Season One version, with loads of goodies from behind the scenes at Farscape. Unfortunately, once again all of the pictures are in black and white.

 

Here’s a quick look at the book, section by section:

 

FORWARD: Brian Henson gives us a brief (one page) insight into the beginnings of the series.

 

INTO SEASON TWO: A short chapter on the between seasons happenings in Sydney.

 

THE EPISODES: Each Season Two episode has its own chapter with a brief synopsis of the episode and a lot of behind the scenes comments from actors, directors, producers, make-up and Creature Shop folks, sound and special effects.

 

SCRIPT TO SCREEN: Die Me, Dichotomy actually has two chapters: the regular synopsis chapter and another one called “Script to Screen”, which takes the episode from script to screen (I’ll bet you already had that figured out). There are over ten pages of information here that will give you an idea of the huge amount of work involved in bringing an episode to life

 

THE CHARACTERS: All of the regular cast members talk about the characters they play: where they are and how they got there. There’s even a little bit about several of the recurring guests, including a short interview with my all-time favorite guest Peacekeeper, David Franklin (Lieutenant Braca).

 

THE EFFECTS: To me, the heart of the book comes in the three chapters under The Effects: The Creature Shop, Creating Pilot, and Costume Design. These chapters contain an incredible amount of data about the workings of Farscape.

 

INTO SEASON THREE: A little bit about the between-seasons goings on, including the first Burbank convention, merchandise releases, and some insights into Season Three.

 

THE LEXICON: Definitions from Adraxan vapour to Zelka.


Farscape Novel: "Dark Side of the Sun"

by Andrew Dymond

I've read a huge amount of fan fiction for Farscape and some of it is excellent (click on the link at the top of the page to read some of it for yourself), so when I heard that there were some Farscape novels coming out I was really excited. I mean, these people actually got published! These books are gonna rock. The minute the mail ma'am dropped it off, I made myself a huge cup of cappuccino in my Farscape cup, lit a fire in the fireplace and sat down to an enjoyable afternoon reading the best Farscape story yet. At least that's how it started.
 
I began with the prologue. Hmm, that was a bit dull, but prologues tend to be that way. He's just introducing his own character and it was only three pages long. Ah…Chapter One…now we're cookin'. Okay, here's John and he's taking out his MiniDisc recorder to talk to his fath…wait a minute! John doesn't have a MiniDisc recorder. Okay, one mistake. Maybe Mr. Dymond is using one to dictate the book and he just slipped up.
 
Here comes Aeryn down the access artery and knocking at the skinsteel door to John's quarters. Huh? Um, did this guy ever actually watch Farscape? Well, these are mechanics. So far the story's not bad - pretty good premise - and he might get into some pretty good characterizations as it goes along. Wrong again. Who are these people? They have the same names as the Farscape crew but I think they're from an alternate universe or something. Maybe this is really a Sliders novel. Look at the cover…nope, it says Farscape in big letters right across the top, and there's a picture of John and Aeryn, too.

I fell asleep on about page 23, right after the lumoweed that Moya uses for lighting began to fail. I hate to admit it, but I think PK Barb wasted her money. If you want to read a great Farscape story, save your money and just click on that link at the top, the one that says "
Fiction in Technicolor".

Farscape: The Illustrated Companion

by Paul Simpson and David Hughes

If you’re a behind-the-scenes junkie, this is the book for you – it’s just loaded with information. Composer Chris Neal (Subvision) tells us about writing the main theme and other music, Dave Elsey talks about the Creature Shop, Paul Butterworth (Garner McLellan Design) gives comments about the CG, the directors talk about directing and the actors about acting.

The book is divided into seven sections.

FOREWORD: a short bit by Rockne S. O’Bannon

GENESIS: several pages about the origin of the series

THE EPISODES: Each episode has three pages devoted to it. There are bits about everything from the music to the makeup, pictures of the regular cast and some of the guest aliens, quotes, credits, and a little blurb about each new alien encountered in the show

THE CHARACTERS: interviews, histories, and more about each of the regular characters and recurring guests.

THE EFFECTS: This is divided into two self-explanatory parts, Creature Feature and Generating Images. Both of these sections are packed with information and pictures.

INTO SEASON TWO: Not too much here except a wonderful conceptual design for a female Luxan.

THE LEXICON: definitions of items from Altex to Zacron.

I hate to sound like a cheerleader here, but I’ve only had this little (159 pages) paperback for a week or so and already its spine is creased from repeated readings. I do have two small quibbles though: one, all the photos are in black and white (no color except on the covers); and two, there is no index at the back of the book.



Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network (Australia) and the Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended and no financial gain has been made by any of the staff of this web site.