Can you please tell us a little (or a lot <G>) about
the process of writing the novel for Farscape? For instance,
are you made aware in advance of the story line to follow?
Or are you pretty much given free reign?
At present, there are three FARSCAPE novels commissioned --
my own HOUSE OF
CARDS, Jim Mortimore's DARK SIDE OF THE SUN, and David
Bischoff's SHIP OF GHOSTS. All three of us came up with our
own plots, which were approved by Henson Productions. To say
we got "free reign" is perhaps overstating the
case -- no tie-in writer ever has completely free reign --
but we were not dictated plots, no.
you write a book that ties into another medium like this --
or like a STAR TREK novel, a STAR WARS novel, a Buffy novel,
whatever -- you're writing inside a box. Sometimes it is a
light, airy, flexible cardboard box -- sometimes it's a
tight, airless concrete box. So far, working on FARSCAPE has
been a very large and flimsy box, so I'm quite happy. The
only requirement is that the toys are put back where we
As for the
process, as with most tie-ins, it starts with a plot
outline, which, in addition to the usual editorial process
that every book undergoes, has to be approved by the
licensor -- in this case, the good folks at Henson
Productions. Once that's approved, then the manuscript is
written, which is also edited and approved. (Or not approved
as the case may be, but that hasn't happened to me yet, and
I've done a few of these....)
the Farscape novel, House of Cards, you are involved with
other projects within the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.
Were you already familiar with Farscape when you were
selected to write the book? What is your impression of it
compared to other sci fi "universes" out there?
Not only was I familiar with Farscape, but I had been
lobbying Greg Cox at Tor Books (the American publisher, but
not the ones who actually sign up the authors) to recommend
me to Boxtree as a possible FARSCAPE author from the moment
they got the license. I love the show very much, and it's
been a great thrill to be involved with it.
Farscape has done as good a job as any genre show and better
than most at world-building. It is a remarkably complex and
engrossing alien landscape they've created, far more so than
most genre shows. The character development has been
excellent, the writing has been intelligent and thoughtful,
the directing has been fantastic, the alien races have been
convincing, and in general it's one of the better genre
shows out there.
What can you tell us about House of Cards? Would it be
possible to give us a general idea of what the story is
DeCandido: The basic plot
is as follows: Rygel loses Moya in a card game and much
wackiness ensues. There's more
to it than that, of course, and everyone gets something to
Sun get drunk!
SEE Ka D'Argo in an extended chase sequence!
SEE Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan do entertaining things with plants!
SEE Dominar Rygel XVI gamble and scheme!
SEE Chiana flirt!
and SEE John Crichton actually make use of his considerable
What advice can you offer to aspiring science fiction
writers out there?
Read. Write. Read some more. Write some more. Finish what
you start. Submit what you finish. Once you finish
something, move on to the next thing. Read. Write. Don't
take criticism personally. Did I mention you should read and
write? In particular, read a broad base of work, not just
stuff in the genre. And then read some more. And write -- I
encounter more people who want to be writers who never
actually sit down and write....
DeCandido grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppet
Show, corrupting him for life in such a way that he hopes
never to recover. His other fiction has been created in the
worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Magic: the
Gathering, Marvel Comics (Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Silver
Surfer, and the X-Men), Star Trek, Xena, and Young Hercules.
His most recent work includes a Star Trek: The Next
Generation novel (Diplomatic Implausibility), a Star Trek:
Deep Space Nine novel (Demons of Air and Darkness, coming in
September 2001 as part of the "Gateways"
crossover), a Xena short story, and a Doctor Who short
story. Keith co-developed the Star Trek: S.C.E. franchise of
eBooks, and wrote the second book in the series, Fatal Error
(with more on the way). Keith is also an editor, book
packager, and musician--the latter with the acclaimed
rock/blues/country band the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Keith but
were afraid to ask at