This is a limited edition book. It is only available for ninety days. After January 20, 2011 this book in both the black cover and the white will never be available again. Ever.
DETAILS ABOUT “ARTIFACTS FROM BEYOND THE RIM”
JMS’s Handwritten Notes for Season One
See for yourself the ideas JMS originally planned to include…at the moment he thought of them. We include scans of his original notes along with a transcription of what he wrote. (If you’ve ever seen JMS’s handwriting, you’ll understand what a bonus this is.) These season one notes include —
* The two-part episode that was scrapped in favor of “A Voice in the Wilderness,” which includes an Earth Alliance ambassador being stationed on B5
* The plot for the unproduced episode “Blockade”
* The original notes for “Quality of Mercy,” which in his notes was called “The Resurrectionist”
Story Editor Larry DiTillio’s Character Profiles
Written as a personal reference to aid him while developing scripts, these dossiers contain fascinating bits of data such as —
* Jeffrey Sinclair’s favorite composer
* What John Sheridan’s father was named before he became David
* What Susan Ivanova liked to collect
* The name of Michael Garibaldi’s brother
* What celestial body was the birthplace of Dr. Stephen Franklin
* Talia Winters’s favorite movie
* How Vir Cotto’s mother’s maiden name linked him to a powerful Centauri family
* How Na’Toth’s religious beliefs differed from G’Kar’s
* Which ancient Earth culture interested G’Kar
* And a wealth of hitherto unknown facts about Delenn, Lennier, Keffer and Londo Mollari…and nothing at all about Kosh
* Bonus: the dossier DiTillio wrote about the teenaged telepath Alisa Beldon, who appeared in “Legacies”
“Some Basic Thoughts on Telepaths”
Another “lost” document from story editor Larry DiTillio. Again, written for his personal reference, this is a list of twenty-six telepathic abilities in the Babylon 5 universe. Included in the listing are abilities such as —
* The Six Types of Mind Scan
* Thermal Manipulation
* The “Chaos” Maneuver
* The Empathy Scan
The JMS Interview Conducted Two Months Before the Pilot Aired
Highlights include —
* The circumstances in which he’d want someone to hit him over the head with a baseball bat
* How he’d convince an SF fan to watch Babylon 5
* What it means to give a Babylon 5 writer a “blind assignment”
* How JMS wanted Babylon 5 to be like Hill Street Blues
* Which actor had the most difficult time adapting to prosthetic makeup
* JMS’s rules for designing the aliens
* The real reason he wanted diversity in the cast
“The Strange Exhibition of Sebastian D’Arque”
This was to be a season two episode featuring Sebastian, the character who later appeared in “Comes the Inquisitor.” You will get to see not one, but two outlines for the aborted episode. They explain how JMS planned to integrate an ISN reporter into the series’s regular cast, as well as how Sebastian was originally envisioned — a very different take from what he would eventually become.
The JMS Interview From the Week “The Coming of Shadows” Aired
In this detailed interview JMS reveals —
* Which season two episodes he liked
* What went wrong with the episodes that fell short of his approval
* Which guest characters he wanted to use again (and which he didn’t)
* His thoughts on sex and SF
* The origins behind the infamous “fasten-zip” conversation from “Babylon Squared”
* Why he didn’t regret losing Catherine Sakai when he wrote out Sinclair
* The amazing thing Michael O’Hare did while filming “Parliament of Dreams”
* Why sacrifice is a recurring theme in season two
* In which episode he thought he did too much “preaching”
* Why he was glad Deathwalker was female
* Why “Believers” did not violate JMS’s “no kids” rule
* Why “Survivors” required so much rewriting
* The reason “Grail” went off the rails, and why it was aired later in the season
* The complete background on why “Eyes” was written
* Which actor’s performance he thought could have been better
* The storyline that divided the fans
Never-Before-Seen Concept Art by Peter Ledger
Six pieces total —
* Ledger’s “simplified” English alphabet
* A “really alien” alphabet
* Four posters intended to decorate the walls of Babylon 5, including one promoting the “Church of the Beatles”
J. Michael Straczynski’s Journal
Hour-by-hour details of how the executive producer/creator/writer spent four days during the production of his TV series during late season two. You get to read his innermost thoughts on —
* “The Quality of Mercy” and his definition of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
* What Warner Bros. noticed (and what they didn’t)
* Getting better time slots
* What Doug Netter really does
* The importance of lunch (especially on Fridays)
* What a spotting session is
* The crew member that is “completely nuts”
* The necessary evil he agrees to that makes him think he’s a “six-foot five-inch duck”
* The conversation with cast members about “Narn butt”
* The thing most people don’t know about how television is made
* Why JMS stays up most nights until 4 a.m.
“The Mysteries of Babylon 5” Proposal
Written between season two and season three, this proposal outlined a catch-up special designed to familiarize new viewers with the first two seasons of the show. Though the special was not to be, you get to read what could have been.
The complete, unedited, uncensored text of J. Michael Straczynski’s eighteen-page article written for the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York. In this candid piece, JMS details his childhood love of science fiction, what inspired him to create Babylon 5 and what his hopes and fears were for the series as it entered its third season.
The Mind-Wipe Story Notes
See for yourself “Passing Through Gethsemane’s” tortuous journey from script to screen. Yes, this is the episode that nearly had be to aborted after a fan posted a similar storyline in an online forum. In addition to the notarized release from the fan allowing JMS to resume work on the episode, we’ve also included two gems: the scratch paper featuring a very different plot and additional notes for a version of the story featuring Alfred Bester.
The JMS Interview During Early Season Three
This brief one-on-one tells us —
* What he considers the most “intense” episode to date
* The real-life reason behind Vir becoming the Centauri envoy to Minbar
* The season three episodes he considers “self-contained” that don’t move the arc story forward
* Why he planned to write all the scripts for the season
* The contingency plan if he ever got sick while writing every episode
* The four words he uses to describe season three
The Patches of Babylon 5
For the first time ever, detailed scans of an array of uniform patches — thirty-one to be exact — that were seen on the costumes in Babylon 5. Each one is identified along with where they were shown on each uniform. The inventory includes most Earthforce insignia (Command, Security, Medical, Engineering, Mars Command, etc.), as well as patches from the Earth/Minbari War, Earthforce vessels, Starfury squadrons stationed on Babylon 5 and the EAS Excalibur.
TNT’s “Babylon 5 Lives” Proposal
This proposal, structured as a memo, outlines three concepts —
* A Babylon 5 prequel set during the Earth/Minbari War
* A re-edited version of the pilot movie that would form the basis for Babylon 5’s TNT premiere
* A way to reinvigorate each cycle of re-runs on the network. Includes several intriguing Straczynskian hypotheses.
“Ancillary B5 Material”
This is a page of notes that details the plot of yet another unmade Babylon 5 TV movie titled “The Trial of John Sheridan.” You’ll also learn the medium in which JMS originally planned to tell the story of Sheridan’s death. (Hint: it wasn’t an episode of the TV series.)
The JMS Interview During Early Season Four
A concise interview in which J. Michael Straczynski discusses —
* How Stephen Furst became a director on the show
* JMS’s strategy to compensate for PTEN’s peculiar predilection for airing the season finale immediately before the following season’s premiere
* Why JMS wrote all twenty-two season four episodes after nearly killing himself by writing all of season three
The TNT Promo Speeches
Remember those fifteen- to sixty-second spots that aired on TNT around the clock leading up to Babylon 5’s January 1998 premiere? You know, the ones that had Ivanova and G’Kar speaking directly to the audience and which ended with, “And that’s why I am on Babylon 5.” Guess what? There were actually four total. The ones featuring Sheridan and Londo were never used. For the first time you’ll get to read the ones that didn’t air and the two that did.
The Psi Corps Manual Proposal
The premise of this proposal, written for Del Rey books, was that this would resemble an actual manual (thin, bound in a soft cover similar to those used for accountant’s journals) and that it had been “smuggled out of the Psi Corps.” We don’t want to spoil the contents, but we will tell you that this proposal is written so vividly you’ll probably be able to picture the unwritten final product. And that is what makes it so much fun.
The JMS Interview After Directing “Sleeping in Light”
Lots of insights in this one such as —
* Which season four episode might have been a two-part story
* How he kept Kosh and the other First Ones mysterious
* His thoughts on how he got around people thinking they knew what the ending was
* Why he wanted to direct this episode, his directing debut
* Why none of the actors were moving when they started shooting the first scene
* Why he appeared in the finale, though he said previously he would never do so
* The reason he wasn’t surprised how the “Sleeping in Light” scenes turned out
* The scenes he was most pleased with
* Why he instructed Bruce not to touch Mira until the very end of their farewell scene
Revised Season Five Storylines & Index Cards
As many fans will recall from previously released books, J. Michael Straczynski’s notes for B5’s fifth season were discarded by a hotel housekeeping staff, despite the fact that they were sitting on a table, not in a trash bin. After the loss of these vital notes, along with the departure of Claudia Christian from the series, JMS began revising the season five storylines. Copies of these handwritten notes are reprinted here. You’ll see —
* How JMS structured the fifth season, starting with five pages of character-specific notes
* How he developed those notes into individual episodes
* The plots that were abandoned:
o The three-part story in which an amnesiac stirred up trouble for President Sheridan
o The two-part plot in which a central character was kidnapped
o An episode featuring Londo Mollari’s replacement as the Centauri ambassador to Babylon 5 (it wasn’t originally Vir)
Andreas Katsulas’s Last Interview During Babylon 5’s Production
Conducted on 22 Jan 1998 by journalist Joe Nazarro, Katsulas shares —
* What he believes JMS was really trying communicate by G’Kar becoming a religious icon
* What he enjoyed about season five and why he calls it the G’Kar crop
* Why he wasn’t bothered by the fact that we was featured less in season four
* How long it took for Tracy Scoggins to settle into the cast
* His favorite aspect of G’Kar and what type of scripts are his favorite
* The difficulties of adding a spiritual element to G’Kar
* His thoughts on G’Kar becoming Londo’s bodyguard
* Why he would have been open to starring in a cowboy-based series
* What he thinks when he sees fans wearing G’Kar t-shirts
The River of Souls Treatment
While most — but not all — of what was written made it to the screen, the footnote may haunt you for the rest of your lives.
Babylon 5: The Motion Picture
This is one of our favorite finds. In 1998 JMS attempted to bring Babylon 5 to the big screen with the original characters. (Note: this is neither the one about the Telepath War that JMS started to develop in 1996 nor The Memory of Shadows from 2004.) What makes this premise extra special is how true it remains to the series by presenting a story in keeping with the show’s philosophical and dramatic underpinnings, though writ on an epic canvas.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE
Yes, there are more goodies that aren’t even listed, including another “last interview,” several more with JMS conducted in real-time while the show was in production and a few more goodies. We decided to save a few surprises so that you can have the same “wow” response that we got when we uncovered these artifacts.
“Where Did All this Stuff Come From?”
by B5 Books, Captain Jaclyn
Internally the B5 Book Team originally referred to this book as “Lost & Found,” because that title basically tells the story of how it came to be.
That said, the details are a bit embarrassing and go back to when we were putting together Volume 15 more than two years ago.
Knowing Volume 15 was the last volume, the last chance ever for any B5 material to be included in the definitive black script book series, we turned our offices inside out to make sure it was complete. Every scrap of paper was revisited, the contents of every drawer dumped out, each three-ring binder exhumed, opened and re-checked.
“Yes,” I personally assured J. Michael Straczynski. “That’s everything!”
Cut to Summer 2010. It’s now more than two years since the release of the final volume, and the entire B5 books team has pilgrimaged back to the remote storage facility to retrieve the archives needed for the Crusade book series.
By now you’ve figured out what happened. Buried under boxes of writer-supply catalogs and Super-VHS VCRs were two boxes labeled “file folders.”
Yes, there were file folders inside, but inside those folders were a complete Babylon 5 theatrical film treatment, JMS’s notes for Babylon 5 episodes that were never made, a proposal describing a Psi Corps manual to be written by Straczynski himself…and a ton more — a book’s worth of treasures, each one more fascinating than the next, as you can see in the details listed above.
Knowing we had only a sliver of time before our five-year anniversary, and wanting to put together something really special, we worked around the clock compiling this volume.
Since the black-series books hit the cusp of our allowed page counts, even if we had known about this material years ago, it probably would have had to become a separate volume.
Even though it’s a little late to the party, you can think of this volume as Volume 14B.
To make this release extra special, all orders during the first seven days (until October 27, aka the $10 debut discount period) will include TWO commemorative, collectible postcards.
These postcards are a special thank you from the folks at CafePress who join us in celebrating the most successful book series in print-on-demand history…all because of you.
I can’t seem to find the link to buy this.
Same Cafe Press link as all of the other scriptbooks: http://www.b5books.com
But I’ve added it to the post, just for clarity’s sake. And you have until Wednesday to order a copy and still get the postcards!
Gary The Great says
The link is : http://www.cafepress.com/b5books
I got my books last night. I was concerned it would be a hodge podge of left over material, and I am wrong. There is alot of information and alternate takes on things that anyone listening to this podcast would be interested in.
I’ll have to pass on the postcards sadly, but, being available til January gives me more than enough time. I don’t have any of the other books (being a broke-ass clerk and all) but I’ve had a few good weeks in a row now, and with the next paycheck (or the one after that; we’ll see how this week goes) I’m going to treat myself.
One of the most interesting qualities of the book is that, IMHO, it seriously demystifies the JMS creative process. This is not a bad thing.
This seems to be a great book. Ordered my copy right away, and now its time for the waiting buissness as it makes its way across the Atlantic…
Satai, I honestly think you will not be disappointed. I haven’t read through cover-to-cover, but rather have been opening at random points – and there’s always a jewel waiting to be discovered.
Umm… I do hope they ship to Germany. That’ll make a fine Christmas present for myself.
Just reading the summary made me jump with joy 😀
John from Jersey says
Indeed, Tim…I’m a good way through it, and there are some fascinating tidbits, and some real revelations. Definitely worth it!
Julia, they do ship to Sweden so Germany will probably not be a problem. Only the waiting is, but this time they had a surprisingly fast delivery. I got my copy last friday and cant wait to sink my teeth into it 🙂
Neil Ottenstein says
Just read page 17 – it is part of the interview with JMS before The Gathering aired. On this page JMS tells how Peter J. was “so enamored” with the Centauri hair that he left it as is. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. We’ve heard Peter tell the other side of the story that he was just joking with JMS about how he felt about the hair.
You know, Neil, understanding is a three-edged sword…