By John Kenneth Muir
Review by Ken Parker
The next Space: 1999 book published by Powys Media covers a time span of the show that it has not been normally looked at, in between two episodes of the second season, namely after the opener, “The Metamorph.” With the threat of the power hungry alien, Mentor and his planet Psychon gone Moonbase Alpha face another challenge, an alien living amongst them. Maya, a survivor taken in by Commander John Koenig, tries to get used to living with humans and it won't be easy. There have been casualties but the horror of Psychon is behind the men and women of Moonbase Alpha, or is it? Their next planet to explore is the nearby Ekimmu and the Psychon influence might be there in the form of ghosts.
I have been fairly critical of Powys Media's take on continuing the adventures of Space: 1999. While on one end they have done a good job fleshing out some characters and creating an epic 'finale' of sorts with “Alpha” and “Omega” they have, in my opinion, spent too much time creating a continuity for a series that never had one. They have not only explained so much that the series never did, they have also steered things back to the way they were by bringing back so many dead characters and erasing much that is not liked about the season 2 of the series. I don't believe this was the correct way to go but along with that they have done a pretty good job delivering good sequels and ongoing stories.
“The Whispering Sea” is exactly what I hoped to see with this book series. The story is not trying to repair anything or bring back popular characters. It is bridging a gap by tackling one of the glossed over areas of the series, the inclusion of the alien, Maya, into the world of Moonbase Alpha. Author John Kenneth Muir has done an excellent job extending the episode “Metamorph” to the most logical progression possible for that story. It would make all the sense in the world that Maya would have trouble adjusting just as many Alphans would distrust the Psychon. The head of security, Tony Verdeshi would have much to learn as he has to keep an eye on this alien for the sake of security.
Muir also bridges the gap between Moonbase Alpha's science officers by having Maya move into Professor Bergman's quarters. There she learns about Victor and the humans she now lives with by reading his journals. This is a great way to contrast these two characters and give each of them more character time.
Unlike most of the novels of the past, this one is not all about the big picture and doesn't explain or fix lots of things. It is a logical continuation that also gives us more insight into the world of Psychon and gives us Maya's first mission with the Alphans.
The story settles down into a more familiar reconnaissance format as Maya joins a landing party to investigate a world covered with water in hopes of finding a home for the Alphans. Something is down on the planet and it wants the Alphans. Maya must use her local knowledge of the planet and her own to save them all.
Frankly I was more interested in the first part of the story as Maya adapts to Alpha, being rejected at first and trying too hard to fit in. The second half of the book is your standard fair that works well with character development although Tony falling in love with Maya so quickly was a let down of sorts. I like how he is suspicious and virtually hateful toward her at first be gets to know her slowly. By the time the story is over its as if she is one of the Alphans which makes sense in context with the rest of the series.
Other characters are handled well, including Sue Crawford (Jackie Crawford's mother). Safe to say that Space: 1999 has been ruthless toward the Crawfords since day one. Jack Crawford is killed off screen and mentioned in the episode “The Alpha Child”. Sue gives birth to Jackie who are then both taken over by aliens. All is well by episode's end but the Powys Media book series has no mercy with them, a mistake in my mind. Still, it is good to see her character and others fleshed out a bit.
I think this is my favorite novel to date from this series by Powys Media. The novel doesn't do too much and stays honest to the series while really fitting in nicely to existing stories.