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Al Sarrantonio; Neal Barrett Jr. Book #5 what's the deal?

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  • Al Sarrantonio; Neal Barrett Jr. Book #5 what's the deal?

    Hey, anyone know anything specifically about Book #5?

    Someone (they don't have a username) has been editing the wikipedia page for this book (Touch of Your Shadow, Whisper of Your Name) and keeps making the page say "written by Al Sarrantonio as by Neal Barrett, Jr." First, Neal Barrett, Jr. is definitely someone else, an author that has written several other books. However, Al's web-page (or at least a page that claims to be his) seems to imply that he did a re-write on Book #5. Does anyone have any information on this, because whoever keeps editing the page (is it Al himself?) doesn't ever bother to put in a source, and I had never even heard or thought about this before the wikipedia page kept getting edited. If someone cares to ask jms on the moderated newsgroup maybe we can find out for sure (although maybe Joe is trying to put his memories of the Dell books far behind lol).

    Also the explanation on the Al Sarrantonio wikipedia page makes no sense (oh, he took over and wrote it after they printed a cover with Neal Barrett, Jr.'s name on it......wtf?)
    Last edited by JoeD80; 04-03-2009, 06:12 PM.

  • #2
    Seriously, the guy who wrote "Personal Agendas" is taking claim for a decent book? Yeah, good luck with that, Al.
    "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

    The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
      Hey, anyone know anything specifically about Book #5?

      Someone (they don't have a username) has been editing the wikipedia page for this book (Touch of Your Shadow, Whisper of Your Name) and keeps making the page say "written by Al Sarrantonio as by Neal Barrett, Jr." First, Neal Barrett, Jr. is definitely someone else, an author that has written several other books. However, Al's web-page (or at least a page that claims to be his) seems to imply that he did a re-write on Book #5. Does anyone have any information on this, because whoever keeps editing the page (is it Al himself?) doesn't ever bother to put in a source, and I had never even heard or thought about this before the wikipedia page kept getting edited. If someone cares to ask jms on the moderated newsgroup maybe we can find out for sure (although maybe Joe is trying to put his memories of the Dell books far behind lol).

      Also the explanation on the Al Sarrantonio wikipedia page makes no sense (oh, he took over and wrote it after they printed a cover with Neal Barrett, Jr.'s name on it......wtf?)
      From what I've heard on Usenet over the years, Book #5 "The Touch of Your Shadow, the Whisper of Your Name" was supposed to be written by Neal Barrett, Jr., but at the time Neal didn't have time to do it, and it ended up being written by Al Sarrantonio, the author of Book #8 "Personal Agendas."

      It doesn't matter, really because both books SUCK. The best thing about Book #5 is the cover art. It's a long, long, buildup to a fizzle. It's a 100% waste of time. At least Book #8 has some humor, and is shorter.

      IMHO, Books #4 and #5 are the worst of the original Dell series of 9. Book #8 is bad, too, but it can't approach the levels of bad, boredum and being out of character for the B5 characters that #4 and #5 manage. Save yourself the pain, and pretend the following don't exist. There's a good reason why DelRey only republished #7 and #9; those are the only two good ones of the original series. It'd be fitting if all copies of 1 thru 6 & 8 were burned. If I had a fireplace, I'd be tempted to toss mine on for a little heat. Where the hell is Spring, anyway?

      Title: Book #1 Voices
      Author: Vornholt, John
      Timeframe: After Points of Departure & before A Race through Dark Places
      Isbn1: 0-440-22057-2
      Copyright1: March 1995
      Publisher1: Dell

      Title: Book #2 Accusations
      Author: Tilton, Lois
      Timeframe: After The Coming of Shadows & before All Alone in the Night.
      Isbn1: 0-440-22058-0
      Copyright1: May 1995
      Publisher1: Dell

      Title: Book #3 Blood Oath
      Author: Vornholt, John
      Timeframe: Historian's Note: This story takes place prior to the events in The Coming of Shadows.
      Isbn1: 0-440-22059-9
      Copyright1: October 1995
      Publisher1: Dell

      Title: Book #4 Clark's Law
      Author: Mortimore, Jim
      Timeframe: 11/15/2242 - 12/24/2259
      Isbn1: 0-440-22229-X
      Copyright1: February 1996
      Publisher1: Dell

      Title: Book #5 The Touch of Your Shadow, the Whisper of Your Name
      Author: Barrett, Jr., Neal
      Timeframe: Historian's Note: The events of this novel take place in early 2260, before A Day in the Strife.
      Isbn1: 0-440-22230-3
      Copyright1: April 1996
      Publisher1: Dell

      Title: Book #6 Betrayals
      Author: Stirling, S.M.
      Timeframe: Historian's Note: The year is 2259, during the Narn-Centauri War.
      Isbn1: 0-440-22234-6
      Copyright1: June 1996
      Publisher1: Dell

      Title: Book #8 Personal Agendas
      Author: Sarrantonio, Al
      Timeframe: Historian's Note: The events of this novel take place in 2261, before Falling Toward Apotheosis.
      Isbn1: 0-440-22351-2
      Copyright1: May 1997
      Publisher1: Dell
      Mac Breck (KoshN)
      ------------------
      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
      Babylon 5 is the football.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by OmahaStar View Post
        Seriously, the guy who wrote "Personal Agendas" is taking claim for a decent book? Yeah, good luck with that, Al.
        You have GOT to be kidding. #5 a decent book? <Gag!> Not one of 1 thru 6 & 8 is a decent book. Not one of them can come up to 1/1000th of the quality of #7, #9 or the three DelRey trilogies.
        Mac Breck (KoshN)
        ------------------
        Warner Brothers is Lucy.
        JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
        Babylon 5 is the football.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KoshN View Post
          From what I've heard on Usenet over the years, Book #5 "The Touch of Your Shadow, the Whisper of Your Name" was supposed to be written by Neal Barrett, Jr., but at the time Neal didn't have time to do it, and it ended up being written by Al Sarrantonio, the author of Book #8 "Personal Agendas."
          OK, so it's from musings on usenet? There are 0&#37; sources that I can find on this, which led to me asking here. Where's the source from jms or WB or Dell? There aren't any as near as I can tell, and this seems like someones attempt to explain to themselves why they didn't like book #5. Al Sarrantonio's contract for Book #8 wouldn't have even been around yet, because the contracts for the books were done in sets of 3 (#4, 5, 6 during season 3 and #7, 8, 9 during season 4), so if it is true, how did he get involved? Perhaps a question for Jeanne Cavelos (she was the editor at the time I believe)?
          Last edited by JoeD80; 04-07-2009, 04:17 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
            OK, so it's from musings on usenet? There are 0&#37; sources that I can find on this, which led to me asking here. Where's the source from jms or WB or Dell? There aren't any as near as I can tell, and this seems like someones attempt to explain to themselves why they didn't like book #5. Al Sarrantonio's contract for Book #8 wouldn't have even been around yet, because the contracts for the books were done in sets of 3 (#4, 5, 6 during season 3 and #7, 8, 9 during season 4), so if it is true, how did he get involved?
            Even if Sarrantonio didn't have his contract for Book #8 at the time Book #5 was written, that doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't ghost write Book #5 for Barrett.


            Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
            Perhaps a question for Jeanne Cavelos (she was the editor at the time I believe)?
            Wasn't Cavelos editor for all of the Dell B5 books? Can't hurt to ask her. Got her email addy? If not, PM me.


            http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1...velos%20editor

            You could ask JMS on rastb5m, on which Dell B5 novels Cavelos was the editor. If not, maybe Jan could do it.
            Last edited by KoshN; 04-07-2009, 05:57 PM.
            Mac Breck (KoshN)
            ------------------
            Warner Brothers is Lucy.
            JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
            Babylon 5 is the football.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KoshN View Post
              You have GOT to be kidding. #5 a decent book? <Gag!> Not one of 1 thru 6 & 8 is a decent book. Not one of them can come up to 1/1000th of the quality of #7, #9 or the three DelRey trilogies.
              I haven't read it. Though I have them all, I've only read the last three numbered books and then the later books - novelizations, trilogies, etc. I haven't read books 1-6, though I had read positive reviews of 4-6. The experience of reading the crapfest that is number 8, Personal Agendas, has put me off reading anything by that "writer" ... and I wonder to this day how he's won any awards, except perhaps for worst writer of the year.
              "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

              The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by OmahaStar View Post
                I haven't read it. Though I have them all, I've only read the last three numbered books and then the later books - novelizations, trilogies, etc. I haven't read books 1-6, though I had read positive reviews of 4-6. The experience of reading the crapfest that is number 8, Personal Agendas, has put me off reading anything by that "writer" ... and I wonder to this day how he's won any awards, except perhaps for worst writer of the year.
                I don't know who in their right mind could give a positive review of 4 & 5.

                I've read them all, in the following order:

                Book #5 The Touch of Your Shadow, the Whisper of Your Name [AWFUL]
                Book #7 The Shadow Within
                Book #9 To Dream in the City of Sorrows
                Dark Genesis - The Birth of the Psi Corps
                Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant
                Final Reckoning - The Fate of Bester
                Legions of Fire - Book I - The Long Night of Centauri Prime
                Legions of Fire - Book II - Armies of Light and Dark
                Legions of Fire - Book III - Out of the Darkness
                The Passing of the Techno-Mages - Book I - Casting Shadows
                The Passing of the Techno-Mages - Book II - Summoning Light
                The Passing of the Techno-Mages - Book III - Invoking Darkness
                A Call to Arms
                Thirdspace
                In the Beginning
                Book #1 Voices
                Book #2 Accusations
                Book #3 Blood Oath
                Book #4 Clark's Law [AWFUL]
                Book #6 Betrayals
                Book #8 Personal Agendas [bad, but short and relatively harmless. This is Minor League crap. 4 & 5 are MAJOR LEAGUE CRAP.]

                ...and then reread the following:
                Book #7 The Shadow Within
                The Passing of the Techno-Mages - Book I - Casting Shadows
                The Passing of the Techno-Mages - Book II - Summoning Light
                The Passing of the Techno-Mages - Book III - Invoking Darkness
                Mac Breck (KoshN)
                ------------------
                Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                Babylon 5 is the football.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KoshN View Post
                  Book #5 The Touch of Your Shadow, the Whisper of Your Name [AWFUL]
                  I second that. None of the B5 books I've read are truly great (which is a shame, because I think there is space in the B5 universe for great writing), but that one was dreadful.
                  Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    At that time Dell didn't really know how to handle franchise books. Their SW books sucked until they started taking it seriously. Now, they have a timeline for the stories and have really improved. Would be nice to see them try again using the experience they have gained with the SW line.
                    There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against such power, governments, and kingdoms, and conquerors cannot stand.
                    WE WILL BE FREE!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jonas View Post
                      I second that. None of the B5 books I've read are truly great (which is a shame, because I think there is space in the B5 universe for great writing), but that one was dreadful.

                      Well, that begs the question:

                      "Which ones have you read?"

                      I would say that Dell #7, Dell #9 and the three Del Rey trilogies approach greatness, but are not without flaw. Of the novelizations, "A Call to Arms" was the worst, but even it added some worthwhile bits to the movie or clarified bits that were in the movie. The Peter David novelizations, "Thirdspace" and "In the Beginning" were good and very good, respectively.
                      Mac Breck (KoshN)
                      ------------------
                      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                      Babylon 5 is the football.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ranger 6 and 7/8 View Post
                        At that time Dell didn't really know how to handle franchise books. Their SW books sucked until they started taking it seriously. Now, they have a timeline for the stories and have really improved. Would be nice to see them try again using the experience they have gained with the SW line.


                        I'd like to see Crusade books (novels) to finish that story but JMS says nooooooo.


                        ....well, maybe he's got nothing, and would have been making it up as he went along.
                        Mac Breck (KoshN)
                        ------------------
                        Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                        JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                        Babylon 5 is the football.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KoshN View Post
                          Well, that begs the question:

                          "Which ones have you read?"

                          I would say that Dell #7, Dell #9 and the three Del Rey trilogies approach greatness, but are not without flaw. Of the novelizations, "A Call to Arms" was the worst, but even it added some worthwhile bits to the movie or clarified bits that were in the movie. The Peter David novelizations, "Thirdspace" and "In the Beginning" were good and very good, respectively.
                          "To Dream In The City of Sorrows" was the best of the lot, but it was still far from great literature. (And yes, that's my standard. Literature. That's what they are, right? I don't think I should judge these books by comparing them to other novelizations.) I read the first Peter David book and thought it had some good bits, including a couple of very funny lines. I recently got the second one, but couldn't stomach reading it after reading his comments about the murder of Palestinian children being justified because they'll all turn into terrorists anyway. (I don't want to derail the discussion, but how can someone write about the Centauri and the Narn and still say things like that? It's beyond me. End of digression.)

                          Anyway, my main thought is that these books just set the standards too low. The good ones are quite readable and contain some interesting thoughts, but they are far from great. And I really think that the B5 universe has space for greatness...
                          Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Psi-corp trilogy are probably the best. The technomages trilogy is better than the Centauri trilogy but the psi-corp books are a cut above the rest.

                            To Dream in a City of Sorrows is good but is really lacking in having any kind of climax or resolution to build to, since the story really ends in either the show itself or the In Valen's Name comics, depending on how you look at it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by raw_bean View Post
                              The Psi-corp trilogy are probably the best. The technomages trilogy is better than the Centauri trilogy but the psi-corp books are a cut above the rest.

                              To Dream in a City of Sorrows is good but is really lacking in having any kind of climax or resolution to build to, since the story really ends in either the show itself or the In Valen's Name comics, depending on how you look at it.
                              The Psi Corps books were well-written *books* as well as tying in to the story, at least IMO. I enjoyed them the most of all the B5 books.

                              I did get that same feeling that To Dream in the City of Sorrows just kind of stopped. I was reading along, enjoying it immensely, and then suddenly there were no more chapters left to read and I wondered where the end of the story got to. Still worth reading though I think.

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