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  • B5 Fiction - Recommendations?

    Hi,

    I'm just starting to get into reading the B5 fiction out there and want some recommendations. Being in the NZ end of Grey Sector we don't have much of a selection in the stores, but I would like to know what others have found good so I can look out for them.

    I bought Peter David's "The Long Night of Centauri Prime" but am having difficulty getting into it. The beginning just doesn't build the same atmosphere of the Drakh and Londo that to me JMS portrayed in the programmes. I've liked other books by Peter David, but just having problems with this one.

    Recommendations?

    Sao
    "Not many fishes left in the sea. Not many fishes, just Londo and me."

  • #2
    The first of the three books in the Centauri trilogy gave me a bit of trouble getting into it too, saori. But I did enjoy the second and third ones quite a bit, especially Vir's part. I hope you'll be able to stick it out.

    The following eleven books tend to be the ones that most people recommend especially due to their having been canonized (more or less) by jms.

    The Legions of Fire trilogy, aka the Centauri trilogy --
    The Long Night Of Centauri Prime
    Armies Of Light And Dark
    Out Of The Darkness

    The Passing of the Techno-mages trilogy --
    Casting Shadows
    Summoning Light
    Invoking Darkness

    The PsiCorps trilogy --
    Dark Genesis: The Birth Of The Psi Corps
    Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant
    Final Reckoning: The Fate Of Bester

    Miscellaneous --
    To Dream In The City Of Sorrows
    The Shadow Within

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    • #3
      For more B5 fiction, check out the following:

      The Shadow Within by Jeanne Cavelos. This book expands further on the Icarus' journey to Z'ha'Dum.

      To Dream in the City of Sorrows by Kathryn Drennan. Focuses on what Sinclair went through on Minbar, from Ambassador to being named Entil'Zha.

      J. Gregory Keyes "Psi-Corps Trilogy", which consists of the following books- Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi-Corps, Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant, and Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester. The first book is set 100 years prior to B5, the second book ends sets the stage for the episode "Mind War", and the third is around 20 years after B5.

      Jeanne Cavelos also wrote a B5 trilogy, "The Passing of the Techno-Mages", which consists of the following books- Casting Shadows, Summoning Light, and Invoking Darkness. The setting is during B5, so it's a different perspective of events you've already seen. Plus the Techno-Mages are so damned cool.

      How far are you in The Long Night of Centauri Prime? All I can say is stick with it. It gets better, especially Book 2 and 3. If you're having trouble reading it, it can't be as bad as the first chapter of Alan Moore's novel Voice of the Fire. The entire first chapter is written in the dialect of a human who lived 6000 years ago. I think it had a vocabulary of less than 500 words, but took 45 pages to tell.

      Edit- Apologies for essentially repeating the first response. When I originally entered, there wasn't a reponse yet. I was double-checking the spelling of the author's names, book titles, and eating dinner.
      Last edited by David Panzer; 12-01-2005, 05:34 PM.
      RIP Coach Larry Finch
      Thank you Memphis Grizzlies for a great season.
      Play like your fake girlfriend died today - new Notre Dame motivational sign

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      • #4
        The reponse bears repeating anyhow. Those eleven books are varying degrees on the high end of quality but they all have something for the B5 fan. So I echo, concur, kowtow, what have you.
        Radhil Trebors
        Persona Under Construction

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WillieStealAndHow
          Edit- Apologies for essentially repeating the first response. When I originally entered, there wasn't a reponse yet. I was double-checking the spelling of the author's names, book titles, and eating dinner.
          No appologies necessary, as far as I'm concerned. I've more than once posted something only to find that once I got it posted that someone else had posted very nearly the same thing while I typed up my post. It's the nature of the beast. There's a lot of information that would be needed for such a post; I even had to go to another room and dig up my copies of the novels in the middle of writing my post out of not being able to remember the exact titles. So, it's all understandable.

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          • #6
            Thanks a lot to both of you (Vacantlook & WillieSteal) for your replies.

            I'm only a few pages into The Long Night of Centauri Prime but I usually fly through novelizations, etc. But I've got so many other sci fi books/magazines to read at the moment that it keeps being dropped to the bottom of the pile because it's not as immediately gripping as the others. Based on what you both say though I'll definitely get through it. It sounds like it's worth it.

            I've only seen a few of the ones you either of you mentioned in the shops (and none of them in the city where I live) but will pick up the ones I can. But ultimately there's always the Amazon

            Thanks so much for your help,

            :-)

            Sao
            "Not many fishes left in the sea. Not many fishes, just Londo and me."

            Comment


            • #7
              I've been reading the other, non-canonic, B5 books recently. They, uh, aren't very good. At all. Most of the writers seem to have some plot that has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING and just slaps B5 characters on top of it.

              If you see a B5 book that is not a part of a trilogy, put it down and back away slowly. Except for To Dream in the City of Sorrows. That one was cool. I didn't care too much for The Shadow Within, but a lot of people like it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jcbatz
                I've been reading the other, non-canonic, B5 books recently. They, uh, aren't very good. At all. Most of the writers seem to have some plot that has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING and just slaps B5 characters on top of it.
                One thing you may not be aware of, re: the first six Dell novels --

                The novels were written with JMS's full canonical support and input; slightly less than what he would later exert, but input nonetheless. The writers developed their story outlines with Straczynski's full vetting, running everything past him, and he gave as much reciprocal feedback and wholesale changes as he was able to manage.

                After these first half-dozen went into production, Joe decided to tie the novels directly into the greater backstory of the B5 saga, as opposed to the original stories devised for the earlier books. One has to bear in mind that these novels were, in fact, the Del Rey trilogies of their time, and as canonically-regarded as the later ones are today...probably since these were about the ONLY other B5 fiction out there, apart from the DC Comics series.

                Thus, whilst the Dell books are not as wholly canonical as the Del Rey tomes, they contain canon elements throughout (there's a great Sci-Fi Universe interview with Joe wherein he expounds on the Dell canonicity at good length).


                Originally posted by jcbatz
                If you see a B5 book that is not a part of a trilogy, put it down and back away slowly. Except for To Dream in the City of Sorrows. That one was cool. I didn't care too much for The Shadow Within, but a lot of people like it.
                Not quite -- despite a blatant glaring scientific howler right on the very first page, John Vornholt's Voices is quite worth the read, involving Psi Corps and Talia and Bester in an off-station storyline. Clark's Law is also recommended, telling a rather compelling tale set between "Comes the Inquisitor" and "The Fall of Night" at the end of Season 2.
                "Listen up, boy, or pornography starring your mother will be the SECOND-worst thing to happen to you today."

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                • #9
                  Actually, iirc, JMS only did the outlines for the trilogies, not the original Dell books. His involvement was much less back then than it was for the trilogies where he decided to incorportate them into canon. Up to then, the novels were only canon in the broad strokes.

                  My main issue with the Dell books is that the characters seldom 'sounded' right to me.

                  Jan
                  "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                  • #10
                    Right, remember I said that "[The] writers developed their story outlines with Straczynski's full vetting," meaning they came up with their own stuff, then submitted them to him for review (as you mention, a lesser level of involvement than what we'd later get).

                    A couple of them are rather underrated (the first Vornholt and Mortimore's book), and I forgot to stump slightly for S.M. Stirling's effort, too -- which wasn't a waste of forest after all was said and done, and also nicely ties into the Narn/Centauri War arc of the second year.
                    "Listen up, boy, or pornography starring your mother will be the SECOND-worst thing to happen to you today."

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                    • #11
                      I need to dig out my Dell books and reread them one of these days. I remember being disappointed by them but no real details.

                      Jan
                      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                      • #12
                        They are extremely fluffy books. Some of the stories are decent, but I never found any of them (other than To Dream in the City of Sorrows) to be on the same level as an actual episode. No additional insights to characters come from these books.

                        There are moments that go against EVERYTHING we already know about these characters. The resolution of #2 - Accusations, is something that Ivonava wouldn't do. I agree that #1 - Voices, was okay, but I really think the Kosh/Talia relationship was implausible. The worst of them, by far, is #5 - The Touch of Your Shadow, The Whisper of Your Name. In the whole book, NOTHING happens. I don't need to read a book about how nothing happened on B5.

                        It surprises me greatly to find out that JMS was involved with these. They really don't add anything to the story of B5. If the stories were stronger, I'd say you should read them and enjoy them. Like Thirdspace, which is episodic and never spoken of again, they could be entertaining stories. But, when compared with the excellent trilogies (am I the only one who wasn't so thrilled with the Technomage trilogy?), these books are meaningless pap.

                        And remember, this is opinion. By no means should you substitute my opinion for your own. Take lots of salt. Consult a physician before any attempt to do so.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Leto II
                          .... Clark's Law is also recommended, telling a rather compelling tale set between "Comes the Inquisitor" and "The Fall of Night" at the end of Season 2.
                          Saoory, but your post loses a lot of cred with me right there!

                          Clarke's Law was flat-out awful. It has offenses against canon throughout (and mostly for no reason whatever, like the howler that Lyta is in fact deaf and only hears through the ears of others) and has Sheridan deliberately fomenting a riot in which something like 50 people are killed, just to make a point (Mortimer's point, not Sheridan's) about capital punishment.

                          Pure dreck, and not a single redeeming virtue. Even the aliens are highly implausable.

                          All IMO, of course. No offense intended. Your milage may vary.
                          I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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