This ultimate insider's guide to all things Alias comprises a mission-to-mission analysis of the series complete with a color-coded
global "mission map"; a catalog of agents' personal histories and psychological profiles; Jack Briskow's own extensive coverage of
the Enemies of the State; descriptions of the high-tech gadgets used by Sydney and her team; and Project Black Hole's official report
on the shadowy figure Milo Rimbaldi. (248/1-4169-0215-5) (CAUT: 4)
SC, 7x9, 256pgs, FC..........$17.95
I had to write to you to tell you about a book titled "American Science Fiction TV", by
a Jan Johnson - Smith. I found it in a bookstore here in NY and had to have it. Even
though its subtitle is " Star Trek, Stargate,, and beyond" it is mostly about B5 with
a big chapter about it at the end of the book. It is a really good book and if you keep
following this link
http://www.upne.com/0-8195-6738-8.html you can read the synopsis given. I was so
delighted that finally someone is giving B5 its due, most exciting.
An offbeat personality, a tough-as-nails approach and a track record as one of the country's leading investigators: these are just a
few of the traits exhibited by television's next great detective, Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson. In her first lead role in a dramatic
series, Sedgwick plays the CIA-trained detective who has been brought to Los Angeles to head a special unit of the Los Angeles Police
Department that handles sensitive, high-profile murder cases. Brenda is tapped to lead the team because she is a world-class interrogator,
and when it comes to obtaining confessions, she is a closer.
For more information about the series and some clips to get you hooked, go to
The Closer Page here at The Zocalo Today.
“March of the Penguins” tells one of the most beautiful love stories on Earth.
In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship will
begin with a long journey – a journey that will take them hundreds of miles across the continent by foot, in freezing cold temperatures, in
brittle, icy winds and through deep, treacherous waters. They will risk starvation and attack by dangerous predators, under the harshest
conditions on earth, all to find true love.
The only good thing I can write about this novel is that it's not the worst
book I've ever read. Part of the plot is the same old Bruce Wayne crying to
Alfred about the murder of his parents. Get over it already!
The other part if the story is similar to a plot-line from a "Transformer"
cartoon. For you aspiring novelists, find out who at Warner Books approved
this novel. They will publish yours no matter how bad!
Rating: Zero out of ten.
WOW! I have been into role-playing games for two decades and never has a
book had such an impact on me. The dungeons, castles, under ground lairs,
etc. add a whole new twist to the adventure. With over 62 full-color maps
this book is a must have for the novice as well as the game master!
Rating: A perfect 10.
Although I have read well over one hundred Star Trek novels, this book is
the best one that I have ever read! The author has a perfect understanding
of Star Trek and its characters. The Klingon Empire has managed to place an
infiltrator aboard the Enterprise whose sole mission is to kill Captain
James Kirk. Lt. Jon Anderson is the Klingon who has been altered to appear
human, or "Earther" as the Klingons say. His Klingon name is Kell. Much of
the story is told from Kell's point of view. Kell has been indoctrinated
into believing that Earthers are weak, cowardly and without honor. Kell is
a follower of Kahless and he believes it will be an honor to kill Kirk.
What Kell doesn't expect is to fight along-side Earther crew members and
learn that what he's been taught is false-including what he's been told
about Kirk. To Kell's amazement not only does he become romantically
involved with a female Earther, but he also owes his life to Kirk when Kirk
saves Kell's life during a skirmish with the Orions. Despite this, Kell is
determined to complete his mission although it will cost him his honor.
When I first read the back cover of this novel I thought, "Oh great, another
story in a long line of stories about a Klingon trying to kill Kirk". I was
100% wrong. This book is fast-paced, believable, and has great moments of
drama and humor.
Rating: A perfect 10. A must read for fans of the original series.
With over 40 volumes the "Deathlands" series is the best post-apocalyptic
sci-fi series on the shelf. I hope to see it adapted to a TV series some
day. Unfortunately, "Way of the Wolf" is the worst of the series.
The established characters in this series are untrue to their
personalities in this book. The plot jumps around in an unbelievable and
erratic fashion and the ending is highly predictable. The only point in
reading this book is in case future volumes refer to events in it.
I would also add that, for example, the practice of not providing screenings for upcoming
movies is not about movie reviewers giving away plot points. It's usually because the
studio knows it has a stinker on its hands and doesn't want word to get out. Scholastic
Press and J.K. Rowling can both hedge their bets against such an instance.
Yes, keeping the plot under wraps does stoke curiosity. But when book reviewers are not
provided copies for review ahead of time, it means the publisher and the writer are more
interested in milking their cash cow than about giving the plot away to readers.
As it is, we got an advance copy from industry sources, not Scholastic. And it's filled
with flabby writing. Will children care? Probably more than Rowling, who seems to be
getting too big for her writing, obviously gives them credit for. Here's hoping that
children who ask things like, ''Why do they say something is a little big?'' will maybe
look up what ''amble'' means, as in when Rowling says, ''ambled slowly.'' Yes, and how
else does one amble? Or how about ''slightly panicked''?
The Harry Potter books have gotten children to read, and that's a good thing. But as for
keeping plots under wraps, there are better plots that have been published, and in books
the publisher WANTS to be reviewed.
I received my B5 2nd Season DVD Set yesterday and I so far I am very pleased. A pleasant surprise
was the special feature on the episode "Geometry of Shadows". They got Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia
Christian & Jerry Doyle in the same room to give commentary on this episode. This episode is almost
10 years old from the original air date. Right away, their genuine camaraderie showed through.
They started immediately with the opening credits making irreverent comments about themselves,
each other and the other cast members. Because "Geometry of Shadows" was filmed so long ago they
needed notes about the episode. They made fun of each other's hair (or lack of it for Garabaldi),
Bruce's continuous smiling and how thin Claudia used to be. There was some serious commentary mixed
in for this 40+ minute episode. The tidbits about how Claudia only had one line with Londo in her
four years; how they got to show up to the set at 7:30 am (and leave early also) instead of 4:30 am
everyday because they did not have to wear alien makeup; and how they used to eat lunch with each
other every day. They made fun of Lord Refa's "fake British accent" among many other comments
during this segment. Jerry Doyle even commented on something that happened in Season 5 and was
told he was out of line by Claudia who said they were supposed to stick to Season 2. I thoroughly
enjoyed their commentary and insight on the making of this episode as well as the series in general.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
by Helen Cripe
It's not difficult to see why this one keeps setting new records at the box
office: it's wonderful. An excellent adaptation of the novel, well cast and
acted, spectacular effects and breathtaking scenery. When I say breathtaking
scenery, I really mean it -- some of those shots panning up mountainsides,
towers, fortresses, whatever, are so fast they leave the eyes a little
unfocused and a funny feeling at the pit of the stomach. I particularly
enjoyed Treebeard and the Ents -- I loved them in the book and wondered how
they would be presented on the screen. Gollum was also very well done. I
don't know how they did him but they certainly got him right. The rest of
the cast really looked like they'd been living and traveling rough, and
showed plenty of grunge and dirty fingernails. No perfectly groomed,
spotlessly clean Errol Flynn in velvet tights here.
My only criticism of the movie is that it's way too long. A lot of the
battle scenes and even some of the scenery could have been cut drastically
without damaging the movie, and in fact, some judicious cutting might have
tightened the story. The plethora of Orcs never gets as boring or annoying
as all the battle droids and Jar Jars in The Phantom Menace, but let's face
it, you see one Orc, you've seen 'em all. There was also a tendency for the
camera to stay far too long on close-ups of faces. An effective technique,
but can be overdone.
Can't wait for the next one. In the meantime, I think it's time to get out
my battered paperbacks, dating all the way back to graduate school, and
reread both The Hobbit and the trilogy.
Book 3: The Passing of the Techno-mages
by Jeanne Cavelos
If you can and will publish it, I would like to make an unsolicited
recommendation for Jeanne Cavelos' Technomage books.
I've been reading Science Fiction for 38 years, and these books are
They represent a "must read" for every B5 fan.
And they are just plain excellent SF tales for those who are *not*
initiates into JMS' reality.
To provide some perspective -- I've read everything I could find re: B5.
The PsiCorps trilogy -- just okay, important for filling in the
background and the fate of Bester, but otherwise not memorable. Just
doesn't engross the reader in the tale as any good tale does.
The Centauri trilogy -- again, fills in and explains a lot. Unlike the
PsiCorps trilogy, actually pleasant to read and could be enjoyed by
someone unfamiliar with B5, but nothing to jump up and down about in
Jeanne's work (at least the first two books of the trilogy, I buy the
third today) is far and away superior to the other trilogies. The story
itself is intriguing, the characterizations are strong, and Jeanne
writes so well that the reading itself is wonderful.
So go out, BUY them, READ them and TELL YOUR FRIENDS, folks. Discover
the truth behind the Technomages.
Passing of the TechnoMages
Book 1: Casting Shadows
by Jeanne Cavelos
Review by Mitch Obrecht
Casting Shadows is a novel that, in my opinion, should be at the top of any
must-read book list.
As with her previous work, Shadow Within, a knowledge of the Babylon 5
universe is not required to enjoy this, but for those who have been
following the series for some time, Casting adds a new depth, new layers,
that have not been shown in any previous tie-in book.
It is the rare book that not only matches the quality of the material it is
based upon, but surpasses it.
While I would recommend reading Shadow Within before Casting, it is not
required to enjoy the novel.
The majority of the action takes place in November and December of 2258, the
end of the first season of B5, and the ending leads into the events seen in
Geometry of Shadows, which featured Elric – Galen’s mentor and teacher.
There are appearances by many people we’ve seen within the B5 and Crusade
universe, including Galen, Elric, Alwyn, Isabelle, Blaylock, Morden, Anna
Sheridan, and “Johnny” Sheridan.
Something I found highly unusual was the author’s characterizations. They
were ALL dead-on, portrayed exactly as seen on-screen, in a very
three-dimensional light. The characters were, quite simply, brought to life.
Events range from falling-out-of-your-chair laughter (just picturing Alwyn
in a probe-spitting contest was deadly for the mountain dew I’d just
swallowed!) to ripping-your-hear-out sadness.
I have heard people talk before about books they just couldn’t put down,
that they needed “just one more chapter” before bed, but I had never
experienced that feeling. Until now.
It’s almost twice as long as Shadow Within, and it leaves you waiting with
breathless anticipation for the next one, due in July. I don’t know how we
will survive the wait.
Would I recommend this to others? Without a Shadow of a doubt.
"Blood Oath" by John Vornholt
published by Boxtree Press
This book tells the story of a Blood Oath vowed against G'Kar, and how he
dealt with it's ultimate aim - his death.
Although the story line links quite well into the main story arc, and there
are some references to past events in the history of Babylon 5, it is spoiled
by bad production.
There are numerous spelling mistakes, incomplete words, and words in the
wrongplace (G'Kar suddenly takes the place of Garibaldy in a scene when he is
in fact miles away!).
If you want to get this book to complete your collection, put it straight on
the bookshelf and don't read it (unless a new edition is printed).
Legions of Fire - "Out of the Darkness" by Peter David
A DelRey book published by The Ballantine Publishing Group, New York.
This is the final book in the Legions of Fire Trilogy, and is best read after
the two previous books, rather than a standalone novel.
The misfortunes of poor old Londo continue. Things don't seem to be able to
get any worse. Meanwhile, Durla continues with his slightly insane plans to
amass a huge fleet and launch an attack on the alliance, and begins to worry
the other Centauri leaders with his extreme approach.
President Sheridans son David, is finally given the dreaded Urn...
The first part of the book describes the flow of events leading up to preparation
for attack, the opening of the Urn and the movements of the resistance, and
is reasonably calm, and then the ships exploded.
The story suddenly takes a sharp left turn and gets in sync with several threads
from the TV story arc. Sheridan changes place with the Sheridan who has slipped
through time from Babylon 4. He and Delenn are about to be executed. Londo
finishes telling the two children how it all started, from "In the beginning",
and the end of his life appears to be approaching. G'Kar's future also appears
to be moving towards realising the famous vision we saw so many times. The resistance
movement begins to make itself known, in a rather explosive way, and the leader
of the "Legions of Fire" are finally revealed to all, including the Drakh.
It ends both with exitement and happiness, combined with sadness. As SoylentTom
says in his review, reveals a lot more about the thoughts and feelings of the
characters than you could ever get from TV or film.
An excellent culmination of an excellent trilogy.
The Babylon 5 story will live on for many years to come.
by Bruce Boxleitner
Whenever I see a novel, autobiography, or other highly advertised publication by a celebrity I usually avoid it
like the plague, having seen too much junk that would never have been published without a celebrity name. Therefore,
I was a little surprised at myself for including Mr. Boxleitner's novel in a stack I bought for a cold, snowy weekend
that was only fit for cuddling up with the cats, some good music, a little trash TV and a lot of reading.
Frontier Earth is set in the American West in 1881, specifically the few days centered around the famous gunfight
at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. But this is no ordinary shoot-'em-up and the hero is no ordinary cowboy -
he's an extraterrestrial who has crash-landed on Earth and lost his memory. He has to try to fit into an alien
environment and culture, and at the same time figure out who he is, what his mission is, and how to stay alive
in the midst of an assortment of human gunfighters and savage alien hunters.
It's obvious that Mr. Boxleitner is fascinated with the history of the American West and has done plenty of
research as background for his novel. He deftly combines real people and events with his fictional characters
and plot, and keeps the suspense heightened and the action moving as the gunfight draws near and the enemy
aliens stalk their prey. Although there is plenty of alien technology around, the book doesn't depend upon it
to solve all the problems. The main focus is on the characters, what they think and how they meet various perils
and challenges. You'll laugh at some of the challenges - our poor alien hero has a hard time with 19th-century
male-female relationships and an even worse time trying to ride a horse!
Bruce Boxleitner has given us a rousing good story that just might make me take back some of the unflattering
generalizations I've made previously about celebrity books. In fact, I'll go so far as to say I recommend the
book highly and I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Date: 11/19/2000 6:41:49 PM EST
A nearly seamless tie-in to what we had seen on the show. I only say "nearly" because I assume someone else may
have noticed something I didn't. Personally, I thought it was handled amazingly well. While not War and Peace,
it had me jumping up and down many times. I was on edge waiting for each new book. It is everything a series
like that could be. A magnificent answer to the questions we had once the show was over. I was very satisfied.
And truth be told, some things are better in book form. There was so much going on in the characters' heads to
really put on screen.
Star Trek Deep Space Nine Companion
by Terry J. Erdman, with Paula M. Block
Review by Helen Cripe
In the words of Vic Fontaine, this one's from the heart - a gift to all Star Trek fans and a special gift to those of us
who think Star Trek's "middle child" is the best show the Star Trek universe ever produced. TV Guide rightly called Deep
Space Nine "the best acted, written, produced, and altogether finest…Star Trek series." This official guide to all 176
episodes lets the reader trek again and again to that grungy gyroscope in the middle of nowhere with its intriguing mix
of lifeforms. On this space station life is as real as it gets - multifaceted characters engrossed in learning how to
live with each other while coping with internal and external conflict, cultural differences, and bizarre situations.
Here no prissy-perfect Star Fleet solves everyone's problems.
One of the best things about this book is that the authors waited until the series was complete before they finished it -
you won't have to keep buying updates and revisions. The narrative is structured by season, each having a general
introduction followed by episode synopses with guest cast and production lists and behind-the-scenes information about
the making of each episode. Groups of episodes that form arcs have one information summary covering the entire group.
The production team chose, rightly in my opinion, to be lavish with black-and-white illustrations rather than spend
money to have only few in color. Many fascinating sidebars provide information that didn't fit neatly into the text.
Several nifty original maps of Bajor are also included.
For all its completeness, the book lacks a couple of indexes that would greatly aid the reader. First of all, it needs
a listing of the episodes in the order in which they were shown, done either as part of the table of contents or as an
appendix. An alphabetical list of actors from the guest cast lists with the episodes or pages where they appear would
also have been helpful.
All things considered, this book is a standout among companions, guides and the like to television shows. There's nothing
cute or slick here, just great reading - a good solid well-researched, well-written and edited account of one of the
best science fiction shows ever made. You'll soon wear the covers limp with the number of times you dip into it to
verify a plot detail, hunt up your favorite guest actors, or check out information such as what Nana Visitor and
Rene Auberjoinois really thought about the Kira-Odo romance or whether the Sidney Opera House design was the inspiration
for one of Kai Winn's hats.
Farscape The Illustrated Companion
by Paul Simpson and David Hughes
Titan Books, London, 160pp large(ish)-size paperback,
£9.99, ISBN 1 84023 178 5
Reviewed by Dave Brown
This is the first Farscape book (as far as I know), and very nice
it is too. There are lots of illustrations - mainly screen shots, but
with some behind the scenes pictures and conceptual art - all,
unfortunately, in black and white.
The book is divided into several sections: a foreward by
Farscape's creator Rockne S O'Bannon, ten pages on the
genesis of the show, 68 pages on the episodes, 30 pages on the main
and recurring characters, and 26 pages on the special effects. The
book is primarily concerned with the first season, but there are few
pages on plans for season two, and the book ends with a glossary of
Farscape terms - and why the frell shouldn't it?
In the genesis section, we learn that O'Bannon had initial
discussions with Brian Henson in 1993 about what was to become
Farscape, but was then known as Space Chase. They
pitched it to Fox, ABC and Fox again (to the top man, Rupert
Murdoch, no less!), before getting the SCI FI channel to show an
interest. However, it took a great deal of persistence on Brian
Henson's part, before SCI FI finally bought the show in January 1998.
This section also includes some of the preliminary design sketches for
various characters, including D'Argo, and for Moya's cargo
The episode section takes each season one episode in turn and
gives a brief synopsis, followed by some background, several screen
shots, and a quote.
Sample: Rygel to Aeryn: "I've suffered many assassination
attempts on Hyneria, but..."
"Nobody knows you here. It's only people who know you who want
to kill you."
(from Thank God It's Friday Again)
and Crichton to Chiana: "We have rules."
"Yeah. Well when I see any of you following them, so will I."
(from Durka Returns)
The character section gives the back-stories of all the main
characters and some of the recurring ones, how they changed from the
original concepts, and how they were cast.
The effects section is divided into two parts, the first dealing
the puppets and prosthetics produced by Jim Henson's Creature
Shop, and the second with the CGI effects produced by the Australian
company Garner McLellan Design - there were more CGI shots in
Farscape's 48 minute premiere episode than in the movie
Independence Day! In order to meet time and financial constraints of
episodic television, the effects are graded as A, B or C, depending on
their complexity, with one A being worth so many Bs, and so many
more Cs. Directors can then juggle the As, Bs and Cs as they wish, as
long as they stay within budget.
Puppets are an important part of Farscape, and they are initially
made by the Creature Shop in London, and then flown out to
Australia, where the show is made, but the makeup and prosthetics
obviously have to be applied locally in Sydney. In order to make the
prosthetics for D'Argo, actor Anthony Simcoe had to fly to London to
have a complete body-cast made: "I was basically naked, surrounded
by six strangers, and covered in plaster, thinking 'What have I gotten
This is a fascinating book, and if you are interested in finding out
some of the background to the show, I can heartily recommend it.
by Dan Johnson
MIDNIGHT NATION #1 Review: It Looks Like This Comic is Going to be a Long, Strange Trip and I Can't Wait to be a Passenger
by Dan Johnson
A few days ago, a good friend of mine gave me a black and white preview issue of J Michael Straczynski's
new comic book, MIDNIGHT NATION. Ever since I had heard that MIDNIGHT NATION was coming out, I have been
eagerly awaiting its release. (Imagine my surprise when I got a sneak peak at this comic.) I have long been
a fan of Straczynski's, ever since his REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and CAPTAIN POWER days. I have always admired him for
his strong story telling ability and his attention to characters and their motivations. More than that, there
is usually a pattern to the way that Straczynski goes about telling his stories. Judging from what I read so far,
I think that pattern is already forming in this new series.
Straczynski likes to build up his stories. Sometimes his beginnings look slow, but what some
readers and some television viewers have taken to be slow beginnings are really well crafted
and carefully thought out foundations. These foundations are what support the stronger stories
that usually follow. (Case in point, BABYLON 5. Some of the show's harshest critics thought the
first year of the show was weak and had no direction, but in reality the stories from that season
set the stage for the story arcs that followed in Seasons Three and Four.)
MIDNIGHT NATION's first issue isn't what you would call a big, flashy event. The main plot doesn't
really kick in until the last few pages of the comic, but its worth waiting for. Until then, the
comic looks like it will be a book set in the mode of something like NYPD BLUE. Don't be turned off
by that. I think that is part of the plan of this story, at least the first issue. One big plus that
MIDNIGHT NATION has going for it, and that is evident from page one, is some of the strongest dialogue
and caption naratives I've seen in a comic book in a good long while. There is no arguing that Straczynski
still knows how to turn a phrase better than anyone currently working in the comic industry, with the possible
exception of Alan Moore.
The comic begins at a murder scene that is being overseen by the main character, Lt. David Grey.
In this issue we get a few glimpses into Grey's life. He is recently divorced and he is also
saddled with a partner who denies being a racist in words, but not in deeds. Sounds like typical
police show stuff, huh? It appears to be just that until Grey starts to get the hint that the murder
of the drug dealer is tied to something bigger and badder than he is used to dealing with. For example,
a friend of the murder victim tells Grey that he knows who killed his friend: The Men. The drug dealer
died because he was making trouble for a thug named Jaeker, who has protection from these Men. From there,
Grey's informant winds up dead himself, the victim of a killer who likes to play word games using the body
parts of his victims. The killer leaves the head of this young man in the refrigerator (giving you a head
cold, get it?), minus the eyes, with a simple message that explains the motive for his death and also serves
as a warning, "Talks too much."
With no other leads, Grey decides to concentrate on the aforementioned Jaeker. Jaeker turns out
to be a career criminal who Grey hopes will lead to The Men. Grey gets lucky when he learns
that there is a warrent for Jaeker's arrest on a prior crime from out of state. Grey leads a team
of policemen to take Jaeker in on the prior and hopes that while they hold him for that crime,
something will surface to link him to the two murders. All "by the numbers" as Grey himself
says. It is only when Grey's men start getting picked off one by one as they storm Jaeker's
apartment building that the homicide detective starts to realize he might be in over his head.
The action with Grey and the attempt to bring in Jaeker is sandwiched between scenes of a young
woman holding a conversation with some unseen force that calls to her. It's easy to tell from
what is happening to Grey that their conversation is about him. The unseen force tells the
girl that Grey doesn't know what he is facing and that he is alone. The force also tells her
that she must go to Grey, but she is afraid. She speaks of pain and how if she stays where she
is, there is no pain. Also, she is afraid to leave because she is afraid she'll die. All the
time, Grey comes face to face with Jaeker and beings that can only be described as supernatural
demons (the way they are drawn reminds me a bit of Darth Maul from THE PHANTOM MENACE with smiles
taken straight from arch enemy of Batman, the Joker). Although he puts up a good fight, Grey goes
down and we get scenes of him that indicate the detective is dying and that by the end of the
first issue may be dead. That is where things really start to get interesting.
The first issue ends with Grey regaining his conscious in a hospital room. At first Grey is
thankful just to be alive. After several minutes pass, he realizes that no one has come to
check on him. He notices too that there are no sounds, which is strange in any hopsital.
After calling for a nurse with no one coming to answer him, Grey gets up from his bed. In
the hallway of the hopsital, he is startled to find everyone around him is transparent and
they all look to Grey like ghosts. Everyone that is but the young woman who has been sent
to him. We learn this young woman's name is Laurel. She explains a few things to Grey. She
tells him, "You're in the place between. And it looks like I'm your Guide. Until they find you.
Until they kill you. Or until you turn. Which is when I'll kill you." (Yeah, right away I can
tell this chick is going to be a barrel of monkeys.)
And that my friends is how the first issue concludes. Like I said, not too flashy. But then
again, Straczynski never is in the beginning. I will admit that there is more than enough here
to hold my interest and I will certainly be adding MIDNIGHT NATION to my must read list each
Like so many of Straczynski's characters, we don't get to know Grey right off the bat. On the
surface, until his brush with the supernatural, Grey is presented as just like a few dozen cop
characters we've all seen before. But Straczynski has a real talent for unveiling his characters
one level at a time and even when you think you know the whole man or woman, you suspect there
is a little more you aren't being shown. Grey is certainly being set up in the grand tradition
of characters like Poet from RISING STARS and John Sheridan from BABYLON 5. They too looked all
too familiar in the beginning, but then Straczynski revealed the real man inside each of those
characters. I think the same can be said for Grey.
We aren't given too much detail about Laurel, his guide, in this first issue. All we know for
sure is that she is very nicely drawn by artist Gary Frank as a twenty-something modern girl
and she is there because of Grey. We're left with very a very cryptic introduction that is based
on undisclosed missions and first impressions that are largely visual. Again, its another
hallmark of some of Straczynski's best characters, like the Vorlon Kosh and Morden from
The artwork is very nicely done by Gary Frank. This first issue is primarily shot from the
original pencil art. When the book is released later in September, it will be fully inked and
color added, just like RISING STARS. I like Frank's style better than what I've seen so far on
RISING STARS. The art is very solid with a lot of good detail to characters' faces. Unlike a
lot of young artist these days, he knows how to draw realistically. Grey isn't a musclebound
superman, nor is Laurel a buxom bimbo. These two look like realistic human beings, which I
think is going to be a big plus for this series later on. My only concern for this series is
that when color is added to this book it will be handled right. Personally, I think the original
black and white artwork is always better without color.
My final word is so far, so good. I think if Straczynski follows his normal pattern of
storytelling, he is going to have another winner on his hands and I think MIDNIGHT NATION is
going to be a treat for his fans. This looks like a great graphic novel in the making and worthy
of being picked up.
AMAZING STORIES #602
Date: 7/2/2000 12:46:35 AM EDT
Hi! I know I don't write to you much (I think I've written only once before). But I thought I'd put in
my two cents worth...
For the past week I've been on vacation, and while I was on vacation I saw a copy of the latest issue at
a bookstore and just had to buy it even though I had a subscription to it and knew a copy would be waiting
for me when I got back home. I read the "Space, Time, and the Incurable Romantic" story as soon as I got
the chance. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Marcus, Susan, the Susan/Marcus relationship,
or anyone else who is an "incurable romantic." The story's very good and quite a shocker. I just wanted
to suggest to you that you should emphasize the story's worth to those on the Zocalo Today list.
BABYLON 5: ARMIES OF LIGHT AND DARK -- BY PETER
Reviewed by Dave Brown
Babylon 5: Legions of Fire, Book 2: Armies of Light and Dark,
by Peter David, based on an original outline by J Michael Straczynski.
Published by The Ballantine Publishing Group, New York & Random House of
Canada Ltd, Toronto, 2000. A Del Rey Book. $6.50 US, $8.99 Canada. ISBN
This is the second book in Peter David's Legion of Fire trilogy,
which tells the story of what happened to the
Centauri after Londo acceded as emperor. Vir Cotto takes centre-stage
in this volume, which covers the period from the
end of 2267, where the previous book stopped, to the spring of 2273, as
he discovers why Londo has been acting so
strangely, and, with the help of the Technomages, finds out some of the
Along the way we meet again some old "friends" from the TV
series, including Galen, Londo's ex-wife Mariel,
Garibaldi, G'Kar and Lou Welch (one of Garibaldi's security team in
seasons 1 and 2), as well as characters introduced in
the previous book, such as Shiv'kala, Senna and Durla, and, of course
some new ones. We get some of the
background to the unleashing of the Drakh plague on Earth, and the
Centauri reaction to it (they're not exactly
heartbroken!), and we see some of what Galen does when he's not on the
The Technomages take Vir to the secret installation on K0643, which was
featured throughout the previous book, and we
finally find out why the Drakh were so keen for the Centauri to
excavate there. In the light of all he sees, Vir becomes
more ruthless, realising that, if he is ever going to free his home
planet from the Drakh, he can't afford to be too fastidious
and handle things with kid gloves.
I thought this was a cracking book, which keeps you turning the pages
to see what happens next. It inevitably suffers
from the usual problem with the middle book in a trilogy - no real
beginning and no final resolution, but it's a good read
for all that. Yes, you really should read The Long Night of Centauri
Prime before reading this book, and you'll
certainly want to read the concluding volume after you've finished it.
And remember, book publishers are in business to make money, so if
this trilogy doesn't sell in sufficient quantities, Del Rey may very
decide not to publish any more Babylon 5 books, so if you want the
Babylon 5 story to continue, buy this book! It should be available in
book stores throughout North America - they'll order it for you if they
don't have it in stock. In the UK, copies should be available in
specialist shops such as Forbidden Planet - Boxtree seem to have
stopped publishing these books in the UK, so W H Smith, etc, won't
have it. If you can't get a copy locally, you can order it over the
internet from suppliers such as Amazon (www.amazon.com). Or you can
drop Sandy a line.
BABYLON 5: LEGIONS OF FIRE -- BY PETER DAVID
Reviewed by Dave Brown
Babylon 5: Legions of Fire, Book 1: The Long Night of Centauri Prime, by Peter David, based on an original outline by J Michael Straczynski. Published by The Ballantine Publishing Group, New York & Random House of Canada Ltd, Toronto, 1999. A Del Rey Book. $6.50 US, $9.99 Canada. ISBN 0-345-42718-1. To be published in the UK by Boxtree.
This is the first in a trilogy of novels telling the fate of the Centauris in general, and Londo Mollari in
particular, following the bombardment of Centauri Prime by the Alliance in 2262, as shown in The Fall of
Centauri Prime. This book takes us from 2262 to 2267, starting with Londo getting his keeper, and we see
how it, and the Drakh, ensure that Londo does exactly what they want.
The first part of the book shows us the slow reconstruction of Centauri Prime and the gradual suppression of
civil liberties under the invisible guidance of the Drakh, seen mainly through the eyes of Lord Refa's orphan
daughter Senna, who Londo takes under his wing. The Drakhs' control of Londo is not absolute, and he can exercise
free will, although the penalties for going against their wishes can be severe, both for himself and for others
near him. In order to try and protect Senna, he has to agree to the Drakh's appointee, Durla, a person he
dislikes and mistrusts, being installed as Minister of Internal Security. I didn't realise, until I read one
of JMS's newsgroup postings, that Senna was the children's nurse in In the Beginning (she'd be about 30
We see how Londo is forced to give Delenn and Sheridan the urn containing the dormant keeper, as a coming-of-age
present for their son, seen in Objects at Rest. There seems to be a continuity glitch here, as the scene
describing Senna finding Londo's account of the meeting is at the beginning of the 2265-2267 section, and the
meeting is said to have taken place about five months earlier, which would put it in July 2264 at the earliest.
However, the television episode implied that these events took place towards the end of 2262.
While on the subject of continuity glitches, it has been pointed out in the newsgroups that Vir meets Garibaldi
on B5, with Garibaldi claiming to be head of Alliance covert security at a time after he had given up that
post and was resident on Mars. I don't think that necessarily need be a problem - we don't know when Garibaldi
was formally replaced as head of security, and he could have referred to himself as such for some time,
especially when talking to the representative of an "enemy" power.
Also, at one point Vir recalls his first meeting with Captain (rather than Commander) Sinclair - presumably
this was originally Captain Sheridan, until someone realised Sinclair was in command when Vir first arrived
on Babylon 5, and the name got changed but not the rank!
Still, I don't think two or three minor, easily corrected, glitches really detract from the book's worth or
the reader's enjoyment.
As you will have gathered, we meet a number of old B5 friends. As well as Garibaldi, Sheridan, Delenn and Vir - Vir
even gets a love interest (doubtless Stephen Furst wished it could have happened on-screen!) - and we also see
two of Londo's wives, or rather one wife and one ex-wife. Peter David wrote Soul Mates, the second season
episode where Timov, Daggair and Mariel appeared, of course. In that episode Londo divorced Daggair and Mariel,
and we see how this affected Mariel, and what happens to her subsequently. We also see how Timov reacts to Londo's
change of behaviour, now he's under the control of the Drakh, and how he reacts to her.
Peter David draws a convincing picture of Centauri society as it tries to recover from a devastating war and
of Londo as he comes to terms with never being alone, and explores the boundaries of what he is and is not allowed
to do. The first part of the book is rather introspective and slow-moving, dealing in the main with Londo's
feelings and inner thoughts, but the pace picks up later in the book, and the account of Vir's experiences with
his lady friend (I don't want to give too much away) is very enjoyable. There's a nice contrast between the
lighter episodes with Vir on B5, and the much darker tone of what's happening back on Centauri Prime.
I liked this book, and I hope you do too.
If you want a taste of the book, the prologue appears in US editions of J Gregory Keyes' book "The Fate
of Bester", and the first half of chapter one is in issue #19 of the Official Magazine.