Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets
Distributed by: BenBella
Reviewed by: Justine Manzano
One of the most enjoyable articles I’ve ever written was the one I wrote about Farscape, one of my three favorite television series of all time. A show like Farscape is the kind of show that doesn’t allow you to simply watch and move on. This series is thought provoking and challenges your intelligence. I used to sit down every Friday and view the show, scream at the television, and when it was done, I would turn to my husband and we would begin to discuss plot points. We are writers, so we discussed the writing quite a lot, such as dialogue and plot development. But, despite our professionally detached view, we would refer to these characters as fully formed people. We would analyze their psychology and their strategies. Despite the fact that they didn’t exist, these characters were people we cared about. They meant a lot to us. After reading the unauthorized collection of essays about the show, Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets, I realized that we weren’t the only ones so interested in the inner workings of the Farscape Universe. I also realized that never had so apt a title been chosen for a book.
Farscape, for those of you who don’t know, was the flagship series for The Sci-Fi channel for four years. For a detailed recap of what the series is about, please visit www.g-pop.net/farscape.htm, as I wrote that article too and don’t really want to re-write it. That link will help fill you in. If you do know what Farscape is about, then you know that it was a brilliantly written show with grand special effects, strange tendencies and superb actors. You also know that a hyperactive and rabid fan base, devastated by the show’s cancellation after 4 years, bothered the Sci-Fi Channel until they scored a 4-hour mini-series fit to end the series. That same strong fan base, is the reason for this book. Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets, is a collection of essays written by fans of the show, who view the series as an intellectual text to be taken seriously. There are as many as 21 essays from 21 unique and excellent science fiction and fantasy writers included in this book, and each of these writers has a unique take on the series.
Justina Robson (Do all Justine’s and Justina’s like this show, I wonder?) comes at us with “Frelling Fantastic” an essay which discusses the series’ impact on television history. An analysis of the use of puppets to create a truly alien space is presented to us in “Theater of Faces” by Michael Marano. We journeyed into Psychology, Farscape-style in essays like “Down the Wormhole” by Jeanne Cavalos, “Looking Out For Number One,” by Patricia Bray, “Crackers Don’t Matter,” by Jim Butcher, “The Fall and Rise of Rygel XVI” by Bill Spangler, and “My Imaginary Friend” by Jody Lynn Nye.
“Flatulence, Food and Fornication” by Rick Klaw describes how the show never feared taking chances on anything. “Don’t Make Me Tongue You,” by Martha Wells describes the main dysfunctional buddy relationship of the series. The villains of the series face a detailed analysis in “Big Brother” by Amy Berner, “Superior Villainy” by Charlene Brusso and “Farscape Villains I’ve Known and Loved” by P.N. Elrod. They even look at the series from a scientific point of view, with articles like “The Hitchhiking Pilot” by Jean Rabe and “Starships Don’t Just Happen” by Thomas Easton, which explore the possible evolutionary links of Pilot and Moya. Character archetypes are explored in essays like “Zhaan” Plant, Priest, Archetype” by Josepha Sherman, “Masks of Transformation” by Kevin Andrew Murphy and “Journey To The Feminine” by Kelley Walters. The essay writers are not stuck with the traditional form of essay writing either. “Dear John,” by Tee Morris is written as a letter firing John from The Farscape Mission and details every anti-protocol action he took, “Puppets, Sentient Blue Vegetables, Body Fluids and Love,” by Doranna Durgin is written as a conversation between two network executives trying to figure out how a show this crazy worked, “Realized Unrealities” by K. Stoddard Hayes, which is told as a game manual and “Universe on a Budget” by Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, which is written like a travel brochure through the Uncharted Territories.
Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets is a creative and entertaining look at The Farscape Universe through the eyes of a scholar. It doesn’t believe that one should be either dorky or stupid to watch a television show, but that the audience of Farscape is both intelligent and well-versed in pop-culture. You had to be to watch this series. It was riddled with pop culture references. So, what’s the big deal about Farscape? If you don’t know, you should read this book. If you do know, you should read it that much quicker.
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