Book Review: Farscape Forever!: Sex,
Drugs and Killer Muppets
December 29, 2005
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.
Farscape: The Illustrated Season 4 Companion
by Paul Simpson
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
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
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
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.
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.
There ar several pages on each of the main characters with shorter bits on recurring
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 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.
Dreamwatch for subscription information.
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.
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.
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 Angel. Email them to check on back
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
by Paul Simpson and Ruth Thomas
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
INTO SEASON TWO: A short
chapter on the between seasons happenings in
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.
"Dark Side of the Sun"
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
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.
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
Farscape: The Illustrated
Paul Simpson and David Hughes
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.
book is divided into seven sections.
a short bit by Rockne S. O’Bannon
several pages about the origin of the series
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
CHARACTERS: interviews, histories, and more about each
of the regular characters and recurring guests.
EFFECTS: This is divided into two self-explanatory
parts, Creature Feature and Generating Images. Both of
these sections are packed with information and
SEASON TWO: Not too much here except a wonderful
conceptual design for a female Luxan.
LEXICON: definitions of items from Altex to Zacron.
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.