Well, it’s another crazy trip for the crew of Moya in the Uncharted Territories!
This book takes place earlier in the very first season of the Farscape series. Probably a good thing; don’t have to worry about all the baggage characters develop in the course of a good series, and it doesn’t have to worry about dealing with the ongoing arcs that the series does so well. The early first season episodes stood on their own with minimal interference from previous episodes.
Ship of Ghosts also opens on a scene that must have happened a number of times off-screen, but we’d never seen. Commander Crais of the Peacekeepers has caught up with Moya, with her crew of escaped prisoners, and the man he believes cold-bloodedly murdered his brother…John Crichton of Earth. However, it becomes clear that we’re seeing the tail end of their latest meeting, as Moya prepares to StarBurst away-and just before Crais fires off an experimental weapon towards Moya. As a result, a Peacekeeper ship gets carried along, although not all the way.
Later: Moya comes upon a distress signal from a ship of the Nokmadi, a race of navigators that may have maps to all of the crew’s homeworlds…possibly including Crichton’s. Upon arrival at that ship, however, they discover that reality isn’t quite as it seems aboard; in part because of the fact that the Nokmadi don’t exactly live in the “material world”, and they want nothing more than to leave that existence behind. And strangely enough, one member of Moya’s crew qualifies under their legends as the one to do the job.
Usually, I find that books are often better than movies and television; the imagination isn’t really restricted by budget, and you can really get in depth about the mindsets of each character. This was not the case with Ship of Ghosts. To be honest, I really didn’t like this book. Even for a first-season setting, I found the characters to be “off” in almost every way (with maybe-just maybe-Crichton). Events involving Rygel and the DRD’s pushed me over the edge. I’d go into detail, but I wouldn’t want to inflict that on anyone else! While I accept that a great deal of Farscape’s charm is in the casual goofiness that goes on, this book misuses it badly when it tries to imitate it.
This represents a disturbing trend for me. The first Farscape book was very good, the second mediocre, and this last one hit the area of being awful. Avoid Ship of Ghosts, and keep the fingers crossed that any future Farscape books go back into the opposite direction.