THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY BY DOUGLAS ADAMS

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Copyright 1979.

Arthur Dent is having a very bad day. He wakes up one morning to find that his house is scheduled for demolition to make way for a new bypass. His friend Ford Prefect though brings even worst news. A Vogon constructor fleet is about to destroy the Earth to make way for an interstellar bypass. Ford is actually an alien from Betelgeuse and has been stuck on Earth for fifteen years. He rescues Arthur by hitching a ride on the Vogon ship before it destroys the Earth. Arthur soon finds himself on a wild journey.

After being thrown off the Vogon ship, the two are picked up by Ford’s cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox who is the president of the galaxy. He has just stolen the new ship Heart of Gold with it’s new improbability drive. With his companions Trilliam an astrophysicist he picked up at a party on Earth and Marvin the manic depressive android they head for the legendary planet Magrathea a plant that would custom make planets for the rich. They find it isn’t deserted but the inhabitants were in suspended animation until the galaxy’s economy could afford their services. They have though awakened for a special client.

Arthur finds out that the Earth was created by a group of extradimensional beings that build it as a giant computer to give an answer to explain the answer of Life, The Universe and Everything. An advanced computer Deep Though came up with the answer 42 which didn’t satisfy anyone. So the Earth was supposed to explain the answer. Only it was destroyed at the minute the answer was about to be figured out. These beings were disguised as white mice and now they want to dissect Arthur’s brain to find the answer.

I was first introduced to this series by the excellent BBC series from the early eighties I caught on the local PBS station. This series adapted the first two books and I decided to check out the books. I thought they were the funniest books I ever read. Adams has this humor that just points out the absurdity of the universe. A true classic that I highly recommend.

The BBC did an excellent series in the eighties. There was also a big budget movie which I didn’t really care for.

Improbability Drive – The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – BBC – YouTube

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) Trailer # 1 – Martin Freeman HD – YouTube

KING DAVID’S SPACESHIP BY JERRY POURNELLE

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Copyright 1980.

It is the year 3013 and Prince Samuel’s World has been discovered by the Second Empire of Man. Samuel’s world was bombed back to medieval times hundreds of year ago during the secession wars. They have managed to bring themselves to an early twentieth century level when the newly resurgent empire finds them. The nation of Haven uses the empire to subdue the other states to bring them under the unified rule of King David. Only they also find out their planned future under the empire. They will be nothing but a colony to be exploited by the empire. To gain control over their planet they must be a space capable civilization. They hear of a temple on the primitive planet of Makassar that holds the knowledge to build a spaceship.

They hire Nathan MacKinnie a former military colonel from the defeated nation of Orleans. He will lead an expedition to this planet under the cover of being a trade mission. There in the city of Batav he finds his goal besieged by a horde of barbarians. He must form an army and train them in new techniques if he is to save the information that will ensure his planet has some sort of autonomy under the empire.

This is a Pournelle book that somehow escaped my attention. I had heard of it but only until last year did I see it in a used bookstore and decide to get it. After reading it I think this is Pournelle’s finest book. It takes place in his future universe of a Empire of Man ruling after Earth destroys itself in a nuclear war. I loved the complex intrigue and politics that was going on in the story. Pournelle also has a great grasp of military history and you get these elaborate battles from ancient times. Also the exciting ending that uses an old technique theorized back in 1899 to launch a ship into space. A great touch to a story that I wasn’t expecting to love so much. I really recommend this book.

FARSCAPE MAGAZINE #12

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THE UNCHARTED TERRITORIES

A number of story articles including the possibility of an animated series. An article by David Kemper on the season final. Also some reviews of Farscape Season Four Companion and Sci Fi president’s take on why the show was cancelled.

ASK…GIGI!

An interview with Gigi Edgley who plays Chiana on the show. What her thoughts on the show and her character. What her plans are after the series.

REFLECTIONS ON FARSCAPE

An interview with Rockne O’Bannon the series creator and how the show got started. What went right and didn’t with the series.

HORIZONS by Rockne S. O’Bannon

It is three hundred years in the future and Crichton is still alive. The translator microbes have kept him alive. He is reunited with the surviving crewmembers to attend Rygel’s funeral.

THE PUPPET MASTER by Paul Simpson

An article on Dave Elsey of The Creature Shop and how he created the many aliens that appeared on the show.

THE COMPLETE EPISODE GUIDE TO FARSCAPE by Martin Eden, Paul Simpson and Joe Nazzaro

An episode guide to all four seasons on Farscape. As a brief discussion for each season with Rockne O’Bannon, David Kemper, Ricky Manning, David Prowse and Brian Henson.

ARTSCAPE by Paul Simpson

An article that talks with the head of the art department Tim Ferrier. How his department came up with all the fantastic concepts for the series.

THE COMMERCE PLANET by Jim Swallow

An article on the just released Farscape role-playing game.

THE WAKKET HOLE!

Letters from the readers.

FARSCAPE POLL RESULTS

Poll of readers for a number of questions.
Favorite Moya Crewmember: Crichton
Favorite season one episode: A Human Reaction
Favorite female and male character: Aeryn and Crichton
Favorite season two episode: The Way We Weren’t
Sexiest Character and Favorite Villain: Crichton and Scorpius.
Favorite season three episode: Green Eyed Monster
Favorite Alien race: Nebari
Favorite season four episode: John Quixote
Best Farscape Moment: Infinite Possibilities, Part II Icarus Abides- John Crichton’s death.
Favorite Season: Three

THE GRAND FINALE!

David Kemper answers questions from fans.

AND FINALLY… by Ben Browder

A final farewell from Ben Browder who played John Crichton.

I bought the final issue of the magazine because I heard that there was a short story that showed the fates of the crew. After the cliffhanger ending I wanted to read it. It was quite good. Some interesting things were Crichton had three kids. Two sons and a daughter. His first son was named DK instead of D’argo. D’argo is still alive and commands a Skellon ship. Chiana has two husbands, one real small and another that is a race very well endowed and doesn’t wear pants. Scorpius is the advisor to Rygel and his successor who is the first female Dominar. It is hinted that the crew actually went the the other side of Death which was an episode I would have loved to see.

This did nothing to lessen my disappointment in the show’s cancellation. Thankfully The Peacekeeper War mini-series gave the show the closure it needed. Also there were a series of comics that carried on after that shows what the plan was for the future. This was a good issue. It gave a good overview to the entire show. It reminds me of how much I truly loved that show and still am disappointed it was cancelled too early.

FARSCAPE SHIP OF GHOSTS BY DAVID BISCHOFF

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Copyright 2001.

Moya makes a starburst to escape Crais and the Peacekeepers. The ship is in a part of the galaxy and soon is captured by a large living ship. The ship is an exploring vessel of the Nokmadi. They have explored the universe for millennia and mapped all the galaxies. They can provide a way home for the crewmembers of Moya. The Nokmadi have transformed themselves into ethereal beings. They need a physical being to gain access to where their genetic material is stored to return to physical beings. Crichton who has equal parts longing for home and exploring fits the mental pattern of the Nokmadi and can access this place. Only the Nokmadi are split in two factions. One that want their bodies back so they can return home. The other that want to remain ghosts and continue exploring. Crichton and the crew of Moya are caught between the two factions as a Peacekeeper vessel is hot on their trail.

This was an interesting book. It had a lot of weird things like talking food and a huge mouth appearing and swallowing Crichton. Also had dragons and stuff. This actually fit in since Farscape was known for some pretty weird and off the wall stuff. The story takes place very early in the show. Chiana is not part of the crew yet. It was written by David Bischoff who is responsible for the greatest book series in the history of human civilization Mutants Amok. He also did the novelizations to the TV series Space Precinct. I enjoy this guy’s writing and his take of Farscape was enjoyable. This was a truly excellent series and reading these books reminds me of how much I loved the show. They sure don’t make them like they used to.

FARSCAPE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN BY ANDREW DYMOND

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Copyright 2000.

Moya is dying of an infectious disease caused by Crichton disposing of his infected dentics in the recycler. Unless they find a cure then Moya will die. They come on the trading fleet of Lord Jansz. The crew of Moya successfully trade for a cure. Only Rygel finds his first love is captive of Jansz. He frees her and now the crew of Moya has to battle Jansz. Aeryn and Crichton are captured while Moya crashes into an ocean planet in a system about to go supernova. A sentient creature saves Moya and they manage to defeat Jansz.

Andrew Dymond is a pen name for Jim Mortimer. Mortimer wrote my least favorite Babylon 5 book. Sadly this would be my least favorite Farscape book. The story starts out with an interesting premise. The backstory that goes into Rygel’s past gives a very believable look at his father. The story of his first love was also believable. The trader Jansz a strange gesalt type being also had great potential.

Unfortunately the story just falls apart after the first few chapters. Chiana is completely out of character. The weird subplot with Re some sentient being on a doomed ocean world that saves Moya makes little sense. Oh and Rygel’s love was not a prisoner but in love with Jansz and in on some scheme. It is very clear that the writer is not a fan of the show. He was given some info and threw together a book. A book that was a big disappointment.

FARSCAPE HOUSE OF CARDS BY KEITH R.A. DECANDIDO

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Copyright 2000.

The crew of Moya meet a Luxan trading ship with a passenger that wants to hire them to get him home. His home is the planet Liantac a Las Vegas type gambling planet. The job looks like easy money and allow them to get much needed supplies. The planet has a problem with particles in the atmosphere that only biological ships can enter. Something Moya could easily handle. Only Rygel decides to partake of the gambling and manages to gamble Moya away. Now the crew has to complete a number of challenging assignments to pay off Rygel’s debt. They soon find out that one of the leaders of the planet deliberately cheated Rygel and also plans to turn them over to the Peacekeepers. John Crichton and friends must find a way to free their ship and escape.

I really loved Farscape. It has to be in the top five of my all time favorite TV series. This book really reminded me of why I loved that show. DeCandido is obviously a fan. He lists a whole bunch of websites, books and people he consulted to get the technical aspects correct. I knew that after this he co-wrote the comic book series with the creator O’Bannon so he definitely knows his stuff. All the characters and situations just feel like the TV series. If you are a fan of the series than I highly recommend it.

BABYLON 5 THE PASSING OF THE TECHNO-MAGES BOOK III INVOKING DARKNESS BY JEANNE CAVELOS

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Copyright 2001.

The techno-mages have successfully hidden themselves away on an asteroid. Galen is responsible for monitoring the galaxy as the Shadows continue their rampage to promote chaos. One day he watches as the Shadows attack his former home planet of Soom. The renegade mage Elizar has come to get the information of Galen’s spell of destruction. He uses a telepath to get it from an old friend. She dies and soon after a revolt occurs among the mages. This is what Galen needs to convince the Circle he needs to leave their sanctuary and kill three people. Elizar his sister Razeel and Morden the chief Shadow agent. His journey takes him to Babylon 5 and eventually the Shadow homeworld of Za’Ha’Dum. There he has an epic final confrontation that will alter the course of the Shadow War.

The final book in the trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion. Galen has a confrontation with the murderer of his lover. He learns the secrets of the tech and helps Sheridan who is also on Za’Ha’Dum. We get some more background from the TV series that wasn’t shown. In this instance what happened to Anna Sheridan the wife of John Sheridan. She was joined to a Shadow ship and her personality was forever enslaved to the Shadow machine. We find out Morden was serving the Shadows on the chance they could rescue his wife and daughter who he though could be trapped in another dimension. We find out Galen was the one who managed to disable the great eye and allow Sheridan to plow his explosive laden ship into the Shadow city. Plus some insightful look into the Vorlon Kosh’s reasoning while part of his soul was inside Sheridan. Galen was not really part of the main series but a main figure in the short lived spin off Crusade. This was a great trilogy to give his story and the story of the mysterious techno-mages.

So this is also the last in the Babylon 5 book series. Except for 2 books it was a solid and enjoyable read. This is probably due to the creator J.M. Straczynski being very involved with it. In most if not all he sketched out the basic outlines to the stories. So they retain a firm basis in canon and don’t deviate all over the place like many more established series. Many of the books added more to the mythos and were enjoyable and informative. The second run under Del Rey really embraced filling in the stuff never covered in the series. If you are a fan of the series than you will probably enjoy reading these books.

BABYLON 5 THE PASSING OF THE TECHNO-MAGES BOOK II SUMMONING LIGHT BY JEANNE CAVELOS

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Copyright 2001.

The techno-mages are going into hiding. The Shadows have basically given them an ultimatum. Join they or be destroyed. So the mages have decide to abandon their homes and gather at a secret hideout. The plan calls for an elaborate deception. They will gather on Babylon 5. They have to use misdirection to convince the Shadows they are on one vessel that will be destroyed by them. The reality is that they escape on another and convince the Shadows they have succeeded in destroying them.

As this is going on Galen is assigned to accompany one of the Circle to a Shadow stronghold on the rim of the galaxy. It is a mission of intelligence gathering but Galen does have the hope of meeting the renegade mage Elizar who is responsible for killing the woman he loved. A confrontation does occur with Galen finding out the secret of the techno-mages. That the tech they use originated from the Shadows.

The second book is an improvement over the first. We find out that the Shadows were the ones that gave the tech they use to the race that founded their order. Only the tech enhances aggression and need to compete which destroyed the race. The whole lie is they have been dependent on the Shadows for their tech. Now the Shadows are demanding payback and they know they have to flee. Galen discovers the truth and also the destructive power he has managed to uncover. The book skillfully integrates into the events of the TV series. So we get some behind the scenes of the events that happened. The book did at some places drag a bit but was for the most part an interesting read.

BABYLON 5 THE PASSING OF THE TECHNO-MAGES BOOK I CASTING SHADOWS BY JEANNE CAVELOS

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Copyright 2001.

Galen is about to be initiated as a full Techno-mage. At the annual convocation on the planet Soom, Galen along with other apprentices will have tech fused with their bodies. Yet there are rumors of the Shadows the ancient beings that sow chaos have once again awakened. Galen who has discovered a destructive spell seriously injures a fellow apprentice. The Circle that rules the Techno-mages decide to assign him with another new mage to investigate the rumors of the Shadows return. With Isabelle they journey to Zafran 8. There they not only find that the Shadows have returned but some of the Techno-mages have joined them. Galen manages to escape but his love Isabelle is killed by the traitorous Elizar.

The final trilogy in the Babylon 5 books is another outline from the creator. This time it gives us the story of the mysterious Techno-mages and in particular Galen. Galen was prominent in the short lived spinoff Crusade so we never really got to know him well. We find out the Techno-mages were founded by an extinct race. They join the tech with their bodies. I enjoyed the book but it did seem a bit padded. The convocation took up the first third of the book and went on forever. After that the action picked up and it was quite enjoyable. I really enjoyed Cavelos last book and it wasn’t at all padded. Don’t know if that was some directive from the publisher because her books were much longer than the previous trilogies for Del Rey. Anyway an enjoyable story that tells us more about Galen and the Techno-mages.

BABYLON 5 LEGIONS OF FIRE BOOK III OUT OF THE DARKNESS BY PETER DAVID

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Copyright 2000.

The Drakh’s plan is almost coming to fruition. Their unknowing tool Prime Minister Durla has assembled a huge fleet. It is ready to attack the Interstellar Alliance. The Drakh have also managed to kidnap David the teenage son of the Alliance’s President John Sheridan and Delenn. Now using him they have both Sheridan and Delenn their prisoners. Yet all is not lost. Vir Cotto has been building up a formidable resistance group called the Legions of Fire. They launch an attack that exposes the Drakh to the Centauri. In revenge they detonate a third of the hidden fusion bombs killing millions. Emperor Londo Mollari and G’kar make the ultimate sacrifice. Vir manages to become emperor and reconcile with the Alliance. A new golden age is ushered in and as a tribute to their sacrifices giant statues of Londo and G’kar are constructed at the capital city gate.

The final book in the trilogy was the best in the series. It had plenty of excitement and action. We get to find out how Vir became emperor. A look at Sheridan and Delenn’s later life. We are introduced to their son. We find out how Londo and G’kar came to the moment where they strangled each other to death that has always been glimpsed in the TV series. It managed to weave in stuff seamlessly from the series. A very enjoyable book that makes me want to check out the series after all these years.