Farscape fiction
"House of Cards is great storytelling and reads like an adaptation of an episode you'll regret never getting to see."
---Brigid Cherry, Farscape: The Official Magazine, Vol. 1, #1, June/July 2001

Farscape: House of Cards

by Keith R.A. DeCandido
on sale now from Tor Books (and on sale in Britain from Boxtree)

Farscape: House of Cards cover

"Many a Mile to Freedom"
"Brotherly Love"

by Keith R.A. DeCandido
in Farscape: The Official Magazine Volume 1 #1 and #2, both on sale now from Titan Books

"Ten Little Aliens"

by Keith R.A. DeCandido
in the Farscape role-playing game, on sale now from Alderac Entertainment Group

It took me a while to get into Farscape. I'd periodically catch it on Sci-Fi on Friday nights, but didn't really get into it until the end of the first season -- particularly when Sci-Fi did one of their "Chain Reaction" marathons. But when I fell, I fell very hard. I loved the truly alien nature of the setting, the well-drawn characters, the humor, and the magnificent job Henson Productions' Creature Shop did in creating aliens and alien landscapes. The writing was also refreshingly sensible, if occasionally lapsing into clichéd plots -- and even then, they always did novel takes on those clichés.

So when Boxtree and Tor gained the rights to do three novels based on Farscape, I lobbied to be considered as one of the authors to write one of them (mostly through Tor's Greg Cox, with whom I have worked on a variety of projects). Boxtree, Tor, and Henson Productions all liked the pitch I sent them, and soon enough, House of Cards was born.

"Author Keith R.A. DeCandido does a good job of capturing the various voices of Farscape's protagonists ... from the calm philosophy of the priest Zotoh Zhaan to the grave impetuousness of the warrior D'Argo--and the book does possess much of the action, humor, imagination and drama (including some of the emotional-sexual tension) viewers of the television series have come to expect."
---Matthew McGowan, Science Fiction Weekly
The process of writing the book went remarkably smoothly (thanks for that must go to Greg, Guillaume Mustaars at Boxtree, and Susan Kantor at Henson Productions, noble folk, all). I love the characters on Farscape -- they're wonderfully drawn and very easy to inhabit, as it were. John Crichton is a much more layered and interesting hero than the usual Buck Rogers/Jim Kirk/John Sheridan/Duncan MacLeod square-jawed type. Aeryn Sun is the latest in a series of kickass female characters with troubled pasts they are trying to overcome that I am just a complete sucker for (see also Xena, Kira Nerys, and Susan Ivanova). D'Argo started out more or less as a Worf clone (he even uses a similar speaking style to that of Michael Dorn), but the character has evolved past that pretty quickly. Zhaan is the token exotic, and is suffering a bit from Cally syndrome -- the telepathic character on Blakes 7 whose abilities and philosophies changed when convenient to the plot -- but is still fascinating for all that, mainly due to Virginia Hey's tremendous presence. Pilot is a stunningly expressive product of Henson's Creature Shop and also a wonderful character with just the right touch of snarkiness and sarcasm to move beyond the move-the-plot-along function that his character could easily fall into. And then there's the more recent arrivals: Chiana, the avaricious young thief who has far more layers than her sexpot exterior shows; Crais, the former villain who's now a barely-trusted ally; Stark, the telepathic creature who is both matter and energy and who dances on the edge of sanity; and Jool, about whom we know little -- so far.

Farscape: House of Cards -- British edition cover And Rygel -- ah, Rygel. Dismissed by many casual viewers as "just another Muppet," Rygel is, in fact, one of the most fascinating, complex, and fun characters on the show. They sometimes take too much advantage of his status as a Muppet to overly abuse him (need to give someone an awful disease so they can put him in suspended animation? need someone to be swallowed by the icky plant thing? need someone thrown off a balcony? use Rygel!), but he's also arguably the smartest, certainly the canniest, and easily the most self-centered person on the ship. I had more fun writing him than anyone else in the book.

"DeCandido has successfully captured the feel of the show with very non-human, bird-like aliens, jokey dialogue, and good character interplay. The plot is intriguingly complicated as Netoros manoeuvres for power and Crichton and the others try to rescue Moya and solve the problem."
---Elizabeth Sourbut, Amazon.co.uk
The basic plot of the novel is simple: Rygel loses Moya in a card game and much wackiness ensues.

There's more to it than that, of course. Moya goes to a gambling planet and the Hynerian troublemaker manages to, well, get in trouble. The others all need to work to get out of that trouble. I made an effort to have the entire crew involved to some degree or other, and I also wanted to make sure that Crichton's scientific skills came into play. John Crichton is, after all, supposed to be a PhD, yet he very rarely gets a chance to seriously stretch his scientific muscles. I wanted to address that part of his character, so it gets some play here as well.

"The dialogue, especially Crichton's Erp-isms and Aeryn's caustic wit, is perfect--I don't think there's a line in there that didn't ring perfectly in the appropriate cast member's voice. The crew's inner monologues ... are spot on. And best of all are the interactions between characters. ... House of Cards is a great way to kick back with your favorite characters and remember that the Uncharted Territories, for all its insanity and danger, can be a frelling lot of fun."
---John "Elflore" Clifford, The Dominion Farscape BBoard, SciFi.com, 26 April 2001
There's also plenty of the trademark humor, character interaction, pop culture references, and culture shock that one would expect from a Farscape story. But don't take my word for it -- read this excerpt and judge for yourself.

After the success of House of Cards (it has received not only critical and fan accolades, but the praise of the show's producers), I proceeded to do a whole bunch of Farscape short fiction. There's the first-season story "Ten Little Aliens" for Alderac Entertainment Games's Farscape role-playing game, which has Crichton, D'Argo, Crais, and seven other beings from different species unwillingly engaged in a contest. I've also got stories in each of the first two issues of Farscape: The Official Magazine: "Many a Mile to Freedom" has Zhaan and Rygel captured by a vicious crimelord; "Brotherly Love" is a more intimate story getting into the head of Bialar Crais.

If you want to order the Tor edition of House of Cards, click here; if you want to order the Boxtree edition, click here. In the meantime, I've done several interviews, with scifi.ign.com, Karlsweb's Farscape e-zine, Moya's Cabin, Farscape StarBursts, Trek Nation, and Beyond Adventure -- go check them out! In addition, a transcript of the chat I did for SciFi.com is available as well.


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