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Babylon 5 Novels and Graphic Novels - at Mongoose

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  • David Panzer
    replied
    Oh. I was going by what I read several years ago, where Lucas allowed the "expanded universe" novels to happen, but that if he decided to continue the story he wouldn't have to stick with what was said in the novels- as Ninjrk/Matt said "secondary canon".

    Now...it looks like it's gotten worse than DC did with continuity before Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    The Thrawn Trilogy and (the awful, awful) Dark Empire are no more canon than the New Jedi Order series is.

    Under the old system that is.

    In the new system SW is using, EVERYTHING is "canon" unless it contradicts something else. I have canon in quotation marks because while technically only the DVD special edition classic and prequel movies are canon, everything else is considered part of the story. Confused yet?

    There is a word that perfectly described SW continuity: clusterfuck.

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  • David Panzer
    replied
    Ninjrk, thanks for mentioning the "secondary canon". That's specifically what I had in mind when I mentioned the Star Wars novels that Lucas gave the go-ahead for, such as the Dark Empire series of comics, Timothy Zahn's "Heir to the Empire" trilogy, and others.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by ninjrk
    Apologies, I didn't expand enough. When we were asking specifically about Marines, he said EF didn't have them. We countered with some of those quotes. He was unimpressed (actually, a lot of that was Fionna at the time). End result, no EF Marines in the AoG products and, since that was the last dictate, no Marines in the Mongoose EarthForce one.
    Thanks for the added detail. IIRC, he mentioned in one of his commentaries that he depended on...John Copeland (I think) for much of the military lore.

    Trust me, it drove us crazy. One of the nice things about him backing off from the whole review process is you don't get these types of situations much anymore. When I wrote the history of the Technomages for Bruce's Technomage sourcebook, I figured there'd be some requested changes. Not a one.
    I'm sure it would be crazy-making when you're trying to be concientious. I'm not familiar with it at all so forgive me if this is a silly question but did any of you find discrepancies when the Techno-Mage trilogy came out?

    Jan

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  • ninjrk
    replied
    Originally posted by Jan
    I find I like the idea of a secondary canon. That'd never occured to me before, thanks.


    Not to contradict you, but there are plenty of references in JMS's posts to Marines which anybody could have found:

    http://jmsnews.com/search.aspx?Start...Marines&sort=1

    That said, yes, he's also been adamant that all he wants to be held to is what's been shown onscreen.

    Jan
    Apologies, I didn't expand enough. When we were asking specifically about Marines, he said EF didn't have them. We countered with some of those quotes. He was unimpressed (actually, a lot of that was Fionna at the time). End result, no EF Marines in the AoG products and, since that was the last dictate, no Marines in the Mongoose EarthForce one.

    Trust me, it drove us crazy. One of the nice things about him backing off from the whole review process is you don't get these types of situations much anymore. When I wrote the history of the Technomages for Bruce's Technomage sourcebook, I figured there'd be some requested changes. Not a one.

    Matt

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by ninjrk
    That said, the novels should have the same canon reliability as any of the gaming products from Agents of Gaming or Mongoose as I understand they will go through the same Babylon Productions approval process (which honestly means squat since JMS isn't interested and hasn't been for years and Fionna is long gone). I would consider them secondary canon (in my mind, that means part of the official Babylon 5 universe so long as it does not conflict with anything that was seen on the show or in a specifically JMS approved book).
    I find I like the idea of a secondary canon. That'd never occured to me before, thanks.

    Originally posted by ninjrk
    As a tiny example, back in the GROPOS game days he was very specific that EarthForce didn't have Marines, despite the GROPOS signing Corps cadences. Then the recently derailed movie synopsis came out with an EF Marine as a central character. There are plenty of examples like this; even in the show itself there are instances where things are described that directly contradict things seen elsewhere.
    Not to contradict you, but there are plenty of references in JMS's posts to Marines which anybody could have found:

    http://jmsnews.com/search.aspx?Start...Marines&sort=1

    That said, yes, he's also been adamant that all he wants to be held to is what's been shown onscreen.

    Jan

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  • ninjrk
    replied
    Originally posted by Jan
    Thanks for the information and for posting your thoughts, Matt. And welcome to the forum!

    Jan
    Thanks. One more comment, if I may. As one of the anal-retentive researchers for a few incarnations of the B5 game properties, canon is my life. I confess to being one of those who refuse to discard anything that appeared on the show or in a JMS approved format no matter how little internal sense it makes.

    That said, the novels should have the same canon reliability as any of the gaming products from Agents of Gaming or Mongoose as I understand they will go through the same Babylon Productions approval process (which honestly means squat since JMS isn't interested and hasn't been for years and Fionna is long gone). I would consider them secondary canon (in my mind, that means part of the official Babylon 5 universe so long as it does not conflict with anything that was seen on the show or in a specifically JMS approved book). Since JMS has expressed the unwillingness to discuss anything in his head with the license holders this means that said license holders are somewhat on their own. I'm not using that as a condemnation of JMS since I can easily understand why he doesn't want to give away interesting stories in the B5 universe that he might be able to use in an official sense. It does mean that the game guys are going to have to go their own way, using what they do have established as the framework.

    I've talked with JMS about this at a con and got a very forthright answer; he doesn't much care what is in those products and will not be constrained by them in future projects. As a tiny example, back in the GROPOS game days he was very specific that EarthForce didn't have Marines, despite the GROPOS signing Corps cadences. Then the recently derailed movie synopsis came out with an EF Marine as a central character. There are plenty of examples like this; even in the show itself there are instances where things are described that directly contradict things seen elsewhere.

    Now, since B5 seems to be pretty much dead right now outside of the game license, this isn't that big a deal. If a B5 project starts up again, all bets are off. Again, to his credit JMS has been forthright and said that he will sacrifice "facts" for story flow and plot so B5 will probably always have internal contradictions since JMS just isn't that worried about them. That's the main reason that nobody has dared flesh out the Crusade/LotR timeframe for fear of contradiction in an upcoming project. Since JMS won't give guidance in those areas, it's a bit of a bind. I haven't seen anything official from Mongoose (or unofficial, really) but I've noticed that their newer products are starting to directly discuss things like the Drakh in Crusade and the Hand, which leads me to suspect that they've decided it's highly unlikely that JMS will release a project on B5 for at least a few years and contradict them. Heck, we may never get additional information on either cancelled project, ever.

    Put another way, for the next several years at least the game properties are likely to be the only "official" expansions of the B5 universe. I will be very suprised and disappointed if Mongoose starts sacrificing existing canon (i.e., the Rangers books) in their books.

    Matt

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  • Jan
    replied
    Thanks for the information and for posting your thoughts, Matt. And welcome to the forum!

    Jan

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  • ninjrk
    replied
    Originally posted by Sigma
    You are missing Ashes of the Past

    This book sounds by far the most interesting to me. It could be interesting to read about Dilgar War (and about Sinclair father). If i remember correctly from S1, he was a war hero in Dilgar War, right?
    I can comment just a touch on this one, if you all don't mind. I've worked with Bruce a lot in the past, so I admit to being partial to him. His short fiction in some of the old AoG Babylon 5 Wars sourcebooks wasn't too bad but I haven't read anything close to this length from him. However, I can tell you that he has been scouring the existing B5 media to make sure he matches the established facts out there (you should have seen the lengths to find canon birth dates for some of the characters. . .). Bruce is a mite bit obsessive about sticking to the established facts, so that at least should be pretty reliable in the book.

    Matt

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  • ninjrk
    replied
    Originally posted by WillieStealAndHow
    Sinclair said his dad served in Earthforce during the Dilgar War.

    After reading the brief synopsis for each book, "Ashes of the Past" and "Baptism of Fire" both interested me, though I am a bit skeptical of a novel written by an actor.
    Apologies for jumping in as a newbie on this thread. However, I've done some work with Mongoose (and before that, AoG) and interacted with JMS a bit based on that relationship so I hope you don't mind a few comments.

    On this point, who knows how good CC's writing will be? OTOH, she might have some good insight into the character she played. OTOH, I haven't seen any writing of hers so she might be terrible. However, if you're willing to look at the Star Trek books both Andrew Robinson and JG Hertzler wrote some extremely well done books based on their characters so it can be done. Wheter it will be the case here is an open question.

    Matt

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  • David Panzer
    replied
    Originally posted by Z'ha'dumDweller
    Now that's creative control.
    Who knew Ms. Christian is related to Triple H?

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  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    Now that's creative control.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by manwithnoname
    I think you misunderstood my meaning.
    Apologies for misunderstanding. Funny, I did recognize a bit of close-mindedness in myself about these novels the other day. Most of them I'm simply indifferent to but I find that I sort of dislike Claudia writing about the time after she left the show. After all, if she hadn't made the choices that she did, that story thread would never have existed. Childish of me, perhaps, but there you are.

    Jan

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  • manwithnoname
    replied
    Originally posted by Jan
    One can agree or disagree with those reasons but nobody should attempt to tell another whether those reasons are appropriate or not.Jan
    I think you misunderstood my meaning. People giving their reasons for or against reading the upcoming are great. All I'm saying is that WillieSAH is keeping an open mind about the whole thing, which I appreciate. I've already stated my position: I'm not interested in reading the novels. Reasons: work, exercise (weights/cardio), reading, and characters I'm researching for my future novel. I don't have time to give.

    An open mind is a terrible thing to waste...and take for granted.

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  • David Panzer
    replied
    Sinclair said his dad served in Earthforce during the Dilgar War.

    After reading the brief synopsis for each book, "Ashes of the Past" and "Baptism of Fire" both interested me, though I am a bit skeptical of a novel written by an actor.

    The last one I read was by LeVar Burton, and I promptly returned that book to the public library 5 minutes after I started reading it. The best book I've read written by an actor: "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor" by Bruce Campbell, and if you consider pro-wrestlers actors as well, then Mick Foley's books "Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks" and "Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling".

    2 of the 4 remaining novels, "Actions of Many" and "Ranger Dawning" are essentially set during what we saw on TV or on DVD during the B5 series. Therefore I won't pick up either book, no matter if they're well-written.

    The book "Birth of Heroes" just mucks up Marcus' history, as stated earlier in the thread, so I won't pick it up.

    And the remaining book "Visions of Peace" just leaves me confused. Did the synopsis mean to say "Interstellar Alliance"? If so, we know what happened to Centauri Republic since it was the latter half of Season 5. If they did mean to say "Earth Alliance", then when could it happen? The Centauri first claimed that Humans were lost descendants of the Centauri people, though that later turned out to be false. Not enough to start a war over. The Centauri were on good terms with the EA since first contact, trading with Earth, giving access to their jumpgates, and so on. I doubt that the Centauri's non-involvement in the Earth/Minbari war or Londo's advice to the general as shown in "In the Beginning" would start a war with the Centauri. In the pilot, Londo tells how the Centauri have literally become jokes, and that they're just feeding off the leftovers from Earth. A race like that is in no position to take on the Earth Alliance. If it's set after the B5 series, well, we have the Legions of Fire trilogy by Peter David for that.

    So the books for me have a .333 batting average, 2 out of 6. In baseball, that's not too bad.

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