Babylon Podcast #269: Chatting about Babylon 5 Novels, #1-6, 8

Welcome to Show #269!

Matt (Sayomara Vesper) joins Tim, Summer and Jeremy this week joins the show this week, as we remember Sally Ride and her contributions to the US Space Program.

And Happy Birthday, Mur Lafferty, from your old cohorts here at The Babylon Podcast!

Deep Geeking: Discussions begin with the Babylon 5 novels… the books, the books, the books! Where to begin with the commentary and the criticism?

Much of the dissatisfaction that we feel with these books likely comes from a combination of the main characters authentic voices being slightly off, plus the impression that the events of the books didn’t matter, that they fell into the trap of hitting the “reset” button after the end of the “episode”, which is one of the things that we loved about Babylon 5 that the various Star Trek series couldn’t adhere to most of the time.

The books covered in this discussion, both in detail and in general:

#1: Voices by John Vornholt
#2: Accusations by Lois Tilton
#3: Blood Oath by John Vornholt
#4: Clark’s War by Jim Mortimore
#5: Touch of Your Shadow, Whisper of Your Name by Neal Barrett Jr
#6: Betrayals by S.M. Stirling
#8: Personal Agendas by Al Sarrantonio

editor’s note: And yes, Summer made an error, the novelization that JMS rejected way back when was the one for “River of Souls”, not for “Thirdspace”

Submitting your own Feedback: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know! Call, or just email us a comment you’ve recorded yourself!

Lurker’s Guide 2.0: Summer is expanding the documentation to be covered at Lurker’s Guide 2.0, the major change being converting the episode guide into a full Wiki with cross-referenced topics, tidbits and everything you’d want in a Wiki. She’s also still searching for pictures of rare collectibles, photos of magazine covers and toys, and all sorts of other B5 goodies that didn’t get included in the original guide during the years after Crusade. Let her know if you want to lend a hand.

More Parody/Filk Songs Wanted: If you know of any more B5-related fan songs out there, definitely let us know, so we can let other B5 fans know where to buy them! And if those CDs are out of print, let’s brainstorm on ways to get those songs back out there for fans!

Babylon Podcast Social Communities:
Twitter: @babylonpodcast

Babylon 5 Information Gathering: If you know of a dead or abandoned B5 related website that may be in need of a new home, let Summer know! Maybe we can mirror it here or house it on a sister site.

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  1. Yes. I know. I made an error. An understandable mixup. I goofed. It happens. Rarely, but yes, even I can sometimes mix up book titles.

    The novelization Yvonne Navarro wrote was for “River of Souls”, and as we’ve mentioned on the show previously, it never saw the light of day because JMS was not happy with the final manuscript that was turned in, so the book, even though it had been publicized initially, never actually happened.

    I guess it was a non-book?

  2. Being from former USSR, I have to point out that Tereshkova was in no way, shape or form a “publicity stunt”. Yes, she wasn’t initially from military, but there wasn’t that many females *in* the military back then to choose from and she, too, was chosen for her qualifications or, rather, the potential of what she could be trained in. Also, she’d undergone an *extensive* training before she was allowed anywhere near the cosmonauts’ village. Dismissing her as just some sort of “PR trick” is demeaning and very offensive.

    • Dina, my apologies. I didn’t mean to offend. My remarks were based on some readings I have done regarding the early Soviet manned space program. Nikita Khrushchev looked to that program for ways to show its superiority over the American program, and “firsts” were an easy way to do this; hence Ms. Tereshkova’s flight. Sergey Korolev, Chief Engineer of the program, stated that the space program was no place for “broads” (his words, according to his widow). In fact, the next female cosmonaut didn’t fly until 1982 (Svetlana Savitskaya). To be fair, the Americans had 13 female pilots in training for the Mercury program, but none of those women ever flew as astronauts.

  3. I’d started Blood Oath when I found it at my local library, but I never got around to finishing it. Which was a shame because I like most of Vornholt’s Star Trek novels.

    • and Betrayals was written by S.M. Stirling, whose Change series is pretty much raved about by everyone who’s read them (Brian’s a huge fan)

  4. Ruth A. Faierstein says

    Anne McCaffrey wrote “Nerilka’s Story”, based on a minor character from her book “Moreta”. Nerilka tells the tale from her viewpoint, so why not do something similar in the B5 universe?

  5. There’s also a collection of McCaffrey short stories called “Get Off the Unicorn”, that have stories set on Pern, and stories about minor characters set in some of her universes, that also includes a story from her “To Ride Pegaus” world, iirc.

    Tanya Huff even spun off a short series that featured a kid who was a minor character in her original Blood Ties books, and Kelly Armstrong’s Underworld series is practically a series of spinoffs: new book features a character who was secondary in the previous book, and so on.

    I wouldn’t mind reading a story about Corwin or Zac or Garibaldi as CEO, or Franklin’s days when he was hitchhiking on star ships. We’ve got plenty to choose from, don’t we?

    So yes, there are stories to be told, we just have to find people who these days still care enough about Babylon 5 to write them well, and oh yeah, get the book rights into JMS’ hands away from Warner/Del Rey while we’re at it πŸ™‚

    • Is that last *ever* happening, you think? I mean, it’s been what–fifteen years already? Twenty?

    • Maybe. Or, it’ll happen, then 5 minutes later Hell will freeze over AND a gamma ray burst emanating from somewhere near the core of the Milky Way will both happen at the same millisecond JMS is signing his name on the documents to make the transfer official, obliterating everything and thereby preserving Warner Bros’ grip on B5 until literally the end of time.

      Do you have any idea how hard it is to be an optimistic dreamer AND a cynic at the same time? It takes a lot of hard work and extra brain cycles churning in the background, let me tell you! πŸ˜‰

      • Yes, as Mindy (from one of the Cartoon Network’s hilarious series’) once said: Hope is wasted on the hopeless. πŸ˜‰

  6. I firmly believe that jms is saving the Telepath War for a feature film–and maybe not the first, either. When a B5 feature came within hairsbreadths of happening a little bit ago, the little we heard about the plot didn’t sound compatible with what we know about the Telepath War. At the time I think he wanted to get a B5 feature out there, and if it did well do Telepath War for the second one once it was a known quantity, so he would have the money and the control to do it justice. Now, with the diminished chances of anything new happening in the B5 verse, I don’t know.

    BTW, re: B5 related filk, have I (or has anyone else) mentioned Jeff & Maya Bonhoff’s “Byron”?

  7. Forgot to mention–I think the *reason* jms is saving the Telepath War for features is because that’s the one aspect of the IP rights he got WB to cede to him in the original B5 contract. IIRC. I’m working from memory here.

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