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Looking for spoiler free advice on B5 novels and short stories

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  • Looking for spoiler free advice on B5 novels and short stories

    After having inhaled the DVDs for the five seasons of B5, all the movies except for LOTR, and the half season of Crusade, I'm ready to embark upon the printed word of B5. I've hesitated in doing this, trying to ration out the B5 universe as there is a finite supply of it Any advice on which order to read the novels and short stories? Thus far, a search of Amazon and Ebay have come up empty on the Amazing Stories issues containing new B5 fiction. Where can I find them? Any spoiler free tips would be greatly appreciated

  • #2
    In chronological order, novels would run something like this, I'd think.

    - Psi Corps Trilogy, but just the first two books
    - Shadow Within
    - To Dream in the City of Sorrows
    - Technomage Trilogy
    - Centauri Prime Trilogy
    - Last Psi Corp book.

    But, for my money, that'd be a crappy way to read 'em.

    The two standalone novels are what I started with first, and I would recommend reading them first, as they feature our main heroes (Sinclair and Sheridan) quite prominently, and fill in quite a bit of their stories.

    I'd leave the Technomage trilogy for last, since it is by far some of the best B5 material made. Ranks with most classic episodes, in my book.
    Radhil Trebors
    Persona Under Construction

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    • #3
      Thanks, Radhill. So there are about a dozen B5 novels?

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      • #4
        About a dozen good ones, the eleven mentioned (three trilogies plus two standalone novels). There were other books (I think 7) put out of far lesser value and quality, before Joe grabbed the reins away from lesser writers. They are rare, hopefully will stay that way, and are ignored by most serious fans.

        Short stories I actually didn't know anything about. Hrm. I'll have to look 'em up.
        Radhil Trebors
        Persona Under Construction

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        • #5
          There are 3 trilogies ... Psi Corp/Bester ... Centauri Prime ... Techno-Mage ... They came out in that order. There are also novelizations of In the Beginning and ThirdSpace (by Peter David) and A Call to Arms (Robert Sheckley).

          Additionally, there were 9 novels printed before the trilogies, and 6 short stories (4 by JMS, one by Fiona Avery, one by J. Gregory Keyes). Some tie together, other's not so much.

          Unless you're a completist, you can skip 7 of the 9 original books. You should absolutely pick up "The Shadow Within" (Jeanne Cavelos) and "To Dream" (Kathryn Drennan - JMS' wife).

          Here's how it all ties together, as spoiler-free as I can make it.





          Psi Corp Trilogy - J. Gregory Keyes. 3 books dealing with the Psi Corps, and Bester in particular. Ties directly with "Nautilus Coil" (Babylon 5 magazine, issue 24) by the same author.

          Centauri Prime Trilogy - Peter David. 3 books dealing with the Centauri after season 5. Some original characters from the other Peter David books are in common. Those books are the novelizations of In the Beginning and ThirdSpace. Also ties into Crusade series.

          Techno-Mage Trilogy by Jeanne Cavelos. 3 books that deal with the Techno-Mages in general, and Galen specifically. The Shadow Within by the same author should definately be read before the trilogy, as the trilogy directly follows that book, and it sets up characters and situations for the tril.

          To Dream - Kathryn Drennan. One book, centers on Sinclair after he left the station after season 1.

          A Call to Arms - Pretty much skip unless you're a completist. It's not bad, just nothing extra. It's like the script in book form. Peter David's add things ... You'll see what I mean when you read them.

          Additionally, the short stories ...

          Shadow of His Thoughts - Amazing Stories 597 (JMS) - Spotlights Londo after season 5.

          Genius Loci - Amazing Stories 599 (JMS) - One of the adventures G'Kar and Lyta have on their travels.

          Space, Time - Amazing Stories 602 (JMS) - I can't even write a one-line description without giving the plot away, so I won't. This is a story that you will either love dearly or totally hate. Not much in between.

          Hidden Agendas - Babylon 5 Mag #22 (JMS) - Set during season 5, an old friend returns seeking help.

          True Seeker - Babylon 5 Mag #23 (Fiona Avery) - A certain Narn's past comes back to her, and not in a bad way. (how's THAT for a description? lol)

          Nautilus Coil - Babylon 5 Mag #24 (J. Gregory Keyes) - Post-season 5, ties into the Psi Corps trilogy.
          "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

          The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

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          • #6
            Thanks, OmahaStar It looks like I'll be busy for a while. Maybe I can stretch my reading out until we get a new B5 movie or series.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by modernmajorgeneral
              Thanks, OmahaStar It looks like I'll be busy for a while. Maybe I can stretch my reading out until we get a new B5 movie or series.
              You're welcome!

              One thing I should point out (I didn't notice if somebody already said it) ... You don't have to read the books & stories in order. There's nothing that will be gained or lost by reading the Centauri books before the Psi Corps, or the short stories before the techno-mages ... Although I would say read the subsets in order, (shadow within, TM1, TM2, TM3, for example), it doesn't matter which set you read first, as each trilogy is pretty much stand-alone.
              "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

              The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

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              • #8
                Amen to all of the Del Rey books and novelizations, but I might also point you in the direction of Clark's Law, by Jim Mortimore (Dell novel #4)...probably the best book of that run that wasn't #7 or #9, and takes place right on the cusp of "The Fall of Night," at the end of year two.

                Not a bad read at all.
                "Listen up, boy, or pornography starring your mother will be the SECOND-worst thing to happen to you today."

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                • #9
                  I'd also suggest reading "To Dream in the City of Sorrows" after you watch "Grey 17 is missing". Yes, the entire missing deck story is stupid, but the B story, at least for me, made up for it. I also found the book to be a welcome breath of relief before jumping on the B5 bullet train.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by modernmajorgeneral
                    After having inhaled the DVDs for the five seasons of B5, all the movies except for LOTR, and the half season of Crusade, I'm ready to embark upon the printed word of B5. I've hesitated in doing this, trying to ration out the B5 universe as there is a finite supply of it Any advice on which order to read the novels and short stories? Thus far, a search of Amazon and Ebay have come up empty on the Amazing Stories issues containing new B5 fiction. Where can I find them? Any spoiler free tips would be greatly appreciated
                    You can order the issues of Amazing stories here

                    http://www.paizo.com/amazing/products/issues

                    You want 597, 599 and 602
                    "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NotKosh
                      You can order the issues of Amazing stories here

                      http://www.paizo.com/amazing/products/issues

                      You want 597, 599 and 602
                      Unfortunately, all three are listed as unavailable.

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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Leto II
                        Amen to all of the Del Rey books and novelizations, but I might also point you in the direction of Clark's Law, by Jim Mortimore (Dell novel #4)...probably the best book of that run that wasn't #7 or #9, and takes place right on the cusp of "The Fall of Night," at the end of year two.

                        Not a bad read at all.
                        Boy, does THAT show how opinions differ! I thought Clarkes Law to be so awful that I would not recoomend it to the the most unlikable and least fastidious B5 fan I could imagine encountering.

                        It does have an idea that later featiured in some of the best fanfic done on B5 (the "alternate universe" thing that some Dutch guy did) but that is the most you can say for it, IMO.

                        Your milage obviously varies from mine, but I didn't want to give the book free sailing.
                        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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by grumbler
                          Boy, does THAT show how opinions differ! I thought Clarkes Law to be so awful that I would not recommend it to the the most unlikable and least fastidious B5 fan I could imagine encountering.

                          snip

                          Your mileage obviously varies from mine, but I didn't want to give the book free sailing.
                          Heh, I felt the very same way. IMHO, #4 Clark's Law and #5 The Touch of Your Shadow, the Whisper of Your Name, are by far, the worst of the bad ones (Dell 1 thru 6 & 8).
                          Last edited by KoshN; 04-09-2005, 11:14 AM.
                          Mac Breck (KoshN)
                          ------------------
                          Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                          JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                          Babylon 5 is the football.

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