Babylon Podcast #30: Listener Feedback

Welcome to Show #30!

Jeff’s amusement at how we warm up pre-taping leads to the throwing open of the live feed doors. So the question now goes out to the fans: do you want to listen to us live, as we record the shows?

If you want to listen to us record live, you can find instructions here, including instructions on how to join the IRC chatroom for live interactive feedback from the studio.

This week’s episode discussion: There is no episode discussion. We ran really long with the listener feedback, so this week is pretty much an All-Feedback show.

Listener Feedback: Tim, Summer and Jeff address a few listener emails and comments: First, Edmund throws out some guesses on upcoming Lost Tales subjects, which leads Tim and Summer on a merry chase on related tangents in B5 and Crusade; Chris adds his thoughts on what he’d like to see in the new stories; varied stories connected by a common theme. Tim also reads some blog posts from Beth about the stories being about the Telepath War; Nan votes for a David Sheridan tale, Jake wants a tale about Morden, and Shellock wants to see a Technomage tale.

For voicemails, Jonathan in CA comments on the “Babylon Squared” discussion, expanding on the time travel paradox, which leads to a convoluted discussion about what happened when, and where certain objects caught up in the time loop appeared the first time; Jonathan in CA comments on the Great Machine in “Voice in the Wilderness”, and a guess about what the machine’s purpose might have been, which leads to another geek discussion between Tim and Summer about time travel and multiple possibilities; Michael from Charlotte asks Jeffrey about joint character portrayals in TV shows and gets a rather detailed response from Jeffrey; Jarsto from Netherlands with many comments from previous shows, and a question about Vorlon behavior leads Tim and Summer into another long tangent.

Now you know why there’s no episode discussion this week!

Your feedback does matter, and is welcome! You can call, or email us and tell us what you think… and likely hear it played or read on the show. Please try to keep the voicemail comments as brief as possible.

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  1. Love the sausage making experience I for one can’t wait for the live feeds ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’ve managed to solve one of the unsolvable questions!

    On the origin of the Triluminaries:

    From: (Jms at B5)
    Subject: Re: Triluminary WAS NEVER CREATED??!? (JMS, what have you done?)
    Date: 12/10/1996 8:16:00 AM
    No Thread

    As will be noted in an upcoming episode, the Triluminaries originally came
    from Epsilon 3 with the other equipment brought aboard by Zathras.



    It never really got explained all that well, but I always taken from this that Draal gave them to Zathras, who brought it aboard B4 (or gave it to Delenn to give to Sinclair).

  3. While that could answer the one question, it opens up the door for many more.

    As in, where did Draal get them? Did he have the machine make them, or did the previous caretaker have them made? Why were they made and given to the Minbari, specifically?

    Where did Zathras put the operating manual for it? Given that language changes over time, did the ancient Minbari understand the manual, or did Sinclair just memorize it and tell them what it did? Did Sinclair leave anything out in passing on those instructions?

    Or, looking at it from the time loop angle, does this mean that the one Delenn used in Chrysalis is the same one that Zathras brings from onboard B4, or a different one? I know I’m not the only one who thought that Delenn gave Sinclair the one she’d used… so how does it exist in two places at the same time? And exactly how many of those things are there? For some reason, I thought there were 3 of them total.

    Now I’m going to have to search out where it was actually explained where they came from, even if it wasn’t explained well. I see all sorts of posts saying the Minbari found it on a vessel they stumbled across a thousand years ago, but nothing yet about the Epsilon 3 details.

  4. Andrew Swallow says

    Valen tried to prevent the Earth-Minbari War by sending a message to Delenn via the bloodthirsty Tak’Cha but the Vorlons prevented it. See near the end of the third comic in the “In Valen’s Name” graphic novel by Straczynski, David, Collins published by Titan Books.

    The Vorlons were the puppet masters who ensured that the war happened. This war lead to the creation of both Babylon stations, Valen, half human Delenn, super Lyta, the Rangers, Sheridan becoming a hero and the Whitestars.

    The Vorlons may not have believed in evolution through war but they were locked into the Shadow’s cycle and would have had to plan on that assumption. You do not have to like war to plan on winning it.

    Andrew Swallow

  5. Great points, Summer

    We’ll have to discuss this further at Dragon*Con!

  6. Chris Lester says

    In regard to your conversation on time travel, prophecy, and Summer wondering who started the whole chain of events with Valen and the Minbari: I think you’re overthinking it a bit. There isn’t a “first pass” through history in which Valen didn’t bring back Babylon 4; as Sinclair said, he “always” brings it back. The brilliant thing about the way this story is handled is that you have one, single loop in linear time: A leads to B leads to C leads to D, which goes back in time and causes A. From a physics standpoint there is no problem with this, because there are no paradoxes involved: the things that happen earlier in the timeline facilitate what happens later rather than contradicting it.

    As for the triluminaries, it’s likely that the one Delenn has is the same one that Sinclair had, but at a different point in its temporal loop. Picture this: Zathras takes the triluminary from wherever it was stored by its creators on Epsilon 3. He gives it to Sinclair, who then takes it back into the past. At this point there are two copies of the same triluminary in the timeline: the younger version in storage on Epsilon 3, and the older version in Sinclair’s hands. This older version is then passed down to Delenn, and is not the one given to Sinclair; either she keeps it for religious/sentimental reasons, or she has it deposited somewhere for safekeeping. After Zathras takes the younger version out of storage and gives it to Sinclair, it disappears from the timeline, so that there is once again only one copy of it in existence.

    The only thing in this whole chain of events that has to happen independently of the “loop” in time is the creation of the Great Machine itself, which makes the loop possible. I think we can attribute this to the Vorlons or one of the other races of First Ones. Vorlons seem to perceive time differently from humans: Kosh was shown to be at least mildly prophetic, and the Vorlons knew that Valen was coming before he arrived. I think that the Vorlons, or one of their allies, foresaw that the temporal loop would happen and built the machine that would make it possible, then let the loop form as it needed to. After Valen arrived they probably didn’t concern themselves too much with working out the details of how the loop would form, since they knew in advance that it had formed already (otherwise Valen would never have appeared in the first place). You don’t have to presuppose the existence of some grand puppet-master pulling the strings to make sure that the time-loop happens just right; everything in the loop happens as a result of people making choices of their own free will. This is the really brilliant thing about the way Babylon 5 handles time travel, and it’s one of the things that sets the show apart from any other sci-fi TV show.

  7. I may be overthinking a few aspects of the time loop, but I think some of my questions could have been more clearly addressed in the series somewhere. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But even if discussion never resolves all the questions, points and counterpoints, doesn’t it say quite a bit about the story and the storyline that we care so much about what’s going on that we will try to demand clarity on the issue?

  8. Feedback about the show length discussion:

    Whether it’s an hour or 1 1/4 is fine, just please don’t go over 79 minutes.

    While I can listen to it on my mp3 player, I also burn every episode to cd for a friend who doesn’t have net access. If it goes over 79 minutes, I can’t burn it to cd.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one doing this (whether for someone else, or themselves).


  9. While I can easily understand the idea of the “time-loop” and no ‘first pass’. But if it happens, because ‘it always has happened’, then what is the deal when they get the video feed of the Babylon 5 destruction in the future that does not happen? If it didn’t happen, then it never happens if you follow the rules above. If it never happens, then how do they ‘catch it’?

    Looks like there are two different ‘rules’ of time travel going on here.

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