MOSTLY HARMLESS BY DOUGLAS ADAMS

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Copyright 1992.

Arthur Dent has just lost his girlfriend Fenchurch to some random space/time abnormality that erased her from existence. He also is lost in an alternate reality and finds the Earth a very completely different and dismal place. While traveling his ship crashes and he becomes the sandwich maker for a primitive tribe. His life as sandwich maker is fulfilling when Trillian comes with her daughter Random. Random is also Arthur’s daughter because Arthur was selling his DNA and Trillian used it to conceive a daughter. Trillian has to go and leaves Random for Arthur to take care of.

Soon after a package comes from Ford that Random opens and finds is the new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A new owner of the publishing company has created this sinister new edition. Now Random takes it to another alternate Earth where that Trillian never left with Zaphod and is a reporter. This Trillian finds a race of aliens living on the tenth planet and they are suffering amnesia. Well through some convoluted process Arthur, Ford and both Trillians get together just as the Vogons are about to destroy all the alternate Earths.

The final entry in the Hitchhiker’s story. The title coming from the entry for Earth in the guide. Sadly this wasn’t very good. It had a dark tone to it . A convoluted storyline and lots of theoretical jibber-jabber that wasn’t very funny. Indeed there were many plot threads left hanging and the ending was a dismal one that saw all the Earth’s in every universe destroyed by the Vogons. Douglas Adams in an interview admitted he was not very happy with this book. That he was going though some bad personal problems that year.

This was the last book he would ever write before his untimely death in 2001. He wasn’t a very prolific writer but what he wrote was brilliant. His Hitchhiker books were something I loved and consider then to be the most funniest thing ever written. It is sad that he didn’t end with a high note. Still I am glad I finally got around to reading this. It brings some closure for me and the book did have some moments. I guess the lesson from this is don’t try to write humor when your going through some bad personal problems.

SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH BY DOUGLAS ADAMS

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Copyright 1984.

Arthur Dent after traveling the galaxy discovers that Earth still exists. He goes back to find the planet continuing on as if nothing happened. Everyone thinks the Vogon fleet was some CIA mind control experiment. There are two things though that changed. One is all the dolphins disappeared. The second is Arthur finds his house that was demolished is still standing. Along the way he meets a woman name Fenchurch. Fenchurch had a mental breakdown after the event and feels she knew something important. Their quest takes them to California and a man named Wonko the Sane who knows about the dolphins saving Earth. He decided that all of society is insane after reading the instructions posted on a toothpick box on how to use a toothpick. The two eventually meet up with Ford Prefect and hitch a ride on a passing spaceship to a planet that has God’s final message to the universe.

So the trilogy was so successful it would obviously get a fourth book. Back in the first it was established that the doIphins were the second most intelligent species on Earth. Apparently they managed to save the planet. There final message being the title. I think this is my favorite of the whole series. It takes place mostly on Earth and has some very funny observations on the planet. It also has a beautiful love story that Adams gave Dent. Well needless to say they do get off the planet and find God’s final message. Written in fiery letters on a planet that is a tourist trap. The message is pure Adams and was a very satisfying ending to the book.

LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING BY DOUGLAS ADAMS

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Copyright 1982.

Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are trapped in Earth’s past. Fortunately for them an anomaly in time/space opens a portal to the twentieth century. Only it is just three days before the Vogon constructor fleet blows up the planet. They find themselves at a cricket game in England just as a spaceship lands and takes the trophy. The two run into Slartibartfast that guy who loves designing fjords and did Norway for Earth. He takes the two off the Earth in time. Slartibartfash is on a mission. He tells how long ago a planet called Krikket was enshrouded in a dust cloud and never saw the rest of the universe. One day a spaceship crashed and this alerted the Krikketers that there must be something out there. When they build their own ship and saw the universe they decided it had to go. So they started a genocidal war against the universe. When they were defeated their planet was put in a stasis bubble where once the universe ended they would find themselves alone. Only a rogue ship of their killer robots managed to survive and are gathering the key components to release Krikket. Now the gang has to save the universe.

The final book in the trilogy that later became five books. (We’ll get to those later.) This was another wacky and funny story that was a real treat to read. There are just fun stuff like the party that goes on forever and raids a whole planet to get drinks and snacks. Or the being that is out to get Arthur Dent because Dent has killed his many reincarnations such as a fly or raw oyster. Then there is the omnipotent being who’s life goal is to insult everybody who ever lived alphabetically. A fun book that ending a trilogy at the time on a high note.

THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE BY DOUGLAS ADAMS

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Copyright 1980.

Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian and Marvin the manic depressive android have escaped from the planet Megraetha. We find out that Zaphod is working with someone to find the real ruler of the universe. Soon they are attacked by Vogons. The Vogons we find out were hired by the association of psychiatrists because they wanted Earth destroyed so the answer to the question of Life, The Universe and Everything could never be answered. Now they want to make sure the answer is never revealed by killing the last two Earthlings. Well through a whole bunch of improbable events they find themselves at Milliway’s the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. This restaurant is far in the future and caters to the rich and famous so they can watch the universe die while eating dinner.

After the show they steal a ship belonging to rock band Disaster Area. Only this ship is programed to crash into a sun as their act. They manage to get the escape transported working and Arthur and Ford wind up on a strange spaceship. It has thousands of people in cryogenic suspension. They find out that these people were the worthless people of Golgafrinchia. People like telephone sanitizers and ad executives. They are programed to crash into a planet which they do. Soon Arthur and Ford find themselves on Earth 2 million years in the past. Here they find out the most important question of Life, The Universe and Everything.

The second in the trilogy which later was expanded to five books is another brilliant work of satire. Arthur Dent and whole whacky crew have adventures. We get to find out the question to the answer 42 and it makes perfect sense. This is another story of the futility of trying to answer the question why we exist. The BBC series also adapted this book and it was a really cool series.

What’s Eating You? | The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy | BBC Studios – YouTube

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.