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Old August 20 2013, 12:51 AM   #1
tmosler
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top babylon 5 books

sorry to make another thread so soon but I was wondering if any one has read any good babylon 5 books? Since i recently completed watching the whole series i dont have to worry about spoilors and my favorite character is Bester so is there any good books with the psi corps in it?
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Old August 20 2013, 01:06 AM   #2
Harvey
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Re: top babylon 5 books

There is a whole trilogy devoted to the Psi Corps (the first book is a prequel set long before the series, but Bester is the central character of the second and third books, which deal with the character prior to "Mind War" and after "Objects at Rest").
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Old August 20 2013, 01:08 AM   #3
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Re: top babylon 5 books

The Psi-Corp trilogy by J. Gregory Keyes is a really enjoyable story about the Psi-Corp's origins and about Bester's life. They are Dark Genesis, Deadly Relations, and Final Reckoning. There is an excellent hard cover collection of them but it takes some tracking down being out of print, I think. If you don't mind spoilers there's a good description of the books here. http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Psi_Corps_Trilogy
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Old August 20 2013, 01:31 AM   #4
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Re: top babylon 5 books

The Psi Corps books are fantastic. Definitely read them. The Technomage trilogy is good... depends if you like Technomages. The Centauri trilogy is pretty decent. a good read, finishes up storylines. 'To Dream in the City of Sorrows' and 'Shadow Within' are average. They add to the overall story, but are not the most interesting books in the world.
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Old August 20 2013, 01:34 AM   #5
DalekJim
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Re: top babylon 5 books

The Centauri Prime trilogy is vital, it ties up a lot of loose ends from the series.
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Old August 20 2013, 01:46 AM   #6
Sindatur
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Re: top babylon 5 books

flavaflav wrote: View Post
The Psi Corps books are fantastic. Definitely read them. The Technomage trilogy is good... depends if you like Technomages. The Centauri trilogy is pretty decent. a good read, finishes up storylines. 'To Dream in the City of Sorrows' and 'Shadow Within' are average. They add to the overall story, but are not the most interesting books in the world.
I'm going to say those a're all great
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Old August 20 2013, 03:26 AM   #7
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Re: top babylon 5 books

1. The Technomage Trilogy

I just re-read these. Absolutely brilliant. In addition to being a huge revelation about the mysteries of the series, and a vast improvement to directly showing the Shadow War, it's also a damn good story on it's own respects. The story of Galen is incredibly involving. Really well written.

2. Centauri Prime Trilogy

This is basically the true series finale of Babylon 5. It wraps up everything the series didn't resolve for the most part. And Peter David really nails his funny Centauri dialogue. The ending is really good and epic too. Excellent.

3. City of Sorrows

Again, fills in a lot of unexplained mysteries to the story, fills out the Minbari culture and homeworld, good story for Sinclair who I normally don't care for.

4. Shadow Within: somewhat good. it's about half filler.

5. Psi Corps Trilogy

I didn't enjoy this one as much because I really never cared for the entire telepath storyline. The first book is particularly uninteresting as it doesn't star a single B5 character and is in the past. The second book with Bester has a very interesting bits but aside from that is just alright. The third book disappointingly completely side-steps the Telepath War and is just a fugitive story, albeit a well written one.

The rest of the books are pretty bad and were done without JMS' involvement.
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Old August 20 2013, 04:52 AM   #8
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Re: top babylon 5 books

i have the Psi Corps Trilogy but i've actually never read it. i should do that when i finish re-watching the series. though, while not quite a book, i would suggest the B5 comic book mini series In Valen's Name.
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Old August 20 2013, 03:44 PM   #9
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Re: top babylon 5 books

The Technomage trilogy is my favorite. It's not just an adjunct to a TV series, it's a grand, imaginative science-fiction epic in its own right that happens to be in the B5/Crusade universe. That is, it ties in smoothly with elements from the shows, but tells a larger, independent story of its own that works as an SF novel trilogy even aside from its role as a TV tie-in.

The Psi Corps trilogy is flawed by the way it skips the actual Psi War. At the time, JMS had plans to depict that war in a later TV project, so he had Keyes avoid it. But since the war was never depicted, it just leaves a huge and arbitrary gap in the story and undermines the trilogy.

Mr Light wrote: View Post
The rest of the books are pretty bad and were done without JMS' involvement.
No, they all had his involvement, just not to the degree he wanted, since his responsibilities on the show interfered. His intention was to supervise and outline all of the novels, and to proofread and approve them all to make sure everything was consistent with the show, but he underestimated how all-consuming the demands of producing a weekly TV series are, so his oversight of the Dell books suffered and a lot of inconsistencies and errors slipped through. (The Del Rey trilogies were able to be canonical because the show was off the air by then and he had time to oversee them more carefully.) Actually a few of them aren't bad at all, but they're variant interpretations that don't quite fit. JMS has said that he considers most of them to have some "canon value," i.e. they contain some elements that are "true" although some of the specifics are wrong. Although only The Shadow Within and To Dream in the City of Sorrows were counted as "true" canon and republished by Del Rey.

Of the other Dell novels, as far as I can recall, I think the most worthwhile one is Clark's Law by Jim Mortimore. It's too big a story to fit into the canon, and kind of a variant take in some ways, but it's a very powerful tale. I also remember Accusations by Lois Tilton and Blood Oath by John Vornholt being pretty good, and reasonably close to canon.

But at all costs, avoid The Touch of Your Shadow, The Whisper of Your Name by Neal Barrett, Jr. It's a total disaster and I'm amazed it ever got published. On top of all its other stupidities, it has scenes where people are watching cosmic events unfolding light-years away from them in real time, with the naked eye. (And despite its title, it has nothing to do with the Shadows.)

It's worth mentioning that, in contrast to the Dell novels, all of the DC Comics are canonical. Overseeing comics is less of an investment of time than overseeing novels, so JMS was able to supervise and co-plot the comics more directly than the novels. The opening 4-parter, the first issue of which was scripted by JMS and the rest outlined by him, tells what happens to Sinclair between the end of the first season and To Dream in the City of Sorrows, and its events are referenced in that novel. The second 4-parter is outlined by JMS and tells a story about a Shadow base on Mars which leads into "The Coming of Shadows" and events on the show. After that is an offbeat 2-parter by David Gerrold, and the final issue of the monthly run is a "Psi Corps And You!" promotional pamphlet (again from a JMS outline) -- canonical in that the pamphlet exists in-universe, though it contains many falsehoods. This was followed by a 3-part miniseries, In Valen's Name, written by JMS and Peter David.
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Old August 20 2013, 11:20 PM   #10
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Re: top babylon 5 books

There need to be more. Hasn't it been 12 years since the Techno-Mage trilogy came out?
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Old August 21 2013, 12:04 AM   #11
Christopher
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Re: top babylon 5 books

I'd like to see Keyes do a "Book 2.5" of the Psi Corps trilogy and show us the Psi War, since it's unlikely we'd ever see it onscreen now. But I doubt there's much of a market for more B5 novels. It's rare for any tie-in line to outlive its source series by very long -- that generally only happens with really big franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who.
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Old August 21 2013, 01:16 AM   #12
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Re: top babylon 5 books

RandyS wrote: View Post
There need to be more. Hasn't it been 12 years since the Techno-Mage trilogy came out?
Someone did get the license several years back, I believe, and wanted JMS to work with them approving, submitting, outlining, or whatever, the books, and they were only able to offer him like $500 a book, so he passed. Did those ever get written? I thought Claudia Christian wrote, or was supposed to write, one of them
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Old August 21 2013, 01:26 AM   #13
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Re: top babylon 5 books

I'd say start with either 'Shadow Within' or 'To Dream in the City of Sorrows'. Both feature familiar characters and expand upon events mentioned in the show.

The former is about the voyage of the Icarus and features some insight into Anna, Morden. There's a filler B-story as well featuring Sheridan on the Aggie and some terrorist plot to attack B5 before it went online but I'm pretty sure it's non-canon. Honestly I wish the author hadn't have bothered with it and just stuck with the Icarus crew.

The latter, basically tells what happened to Sinclair, Marcus & Catherine Sakai during season 2. Lots of stuff on Minbari history & culture, some strange stuff going on out on the rim, some Vorlon intrigue and lots and lots of Neroon being a git.

After those, it's a case of pick your trilogy based on whatever takes your interest.

The first novel int he Psi Corps trilogy is a multi-generational account of the discovery of human telepaths, the resultant backlash, the founding of the Corps and the early successes and failures of the resistance with some Vorlon & Shadow stuff thrown into the mix. The second book is basically Bester's life story from infancy right up to his chasing Ironheart to B5 with many threads picked up and built on from the previous book. The third and final book is a pretty insular tale of an elderly Bester on the run as a wanted war criminal in Paris. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying the story concludes with his eventual death...but I'm not saying how or when that happens!
There's also a short story from the same author called 'The Nautilus Coil' that fills in a few holes about the Vorlons.

The Centauri Trilogy is meant to be an in-universe document taken from Vir & Londo's memoirs, covering the period from Londo's coronation up until...well, that'd be telling.

I actually haven't read the technomage trilogy yet, but I gather it's essentially the story of Galen from an initiate/apprentice to becoming the man we saw in Crusade. I think there's some direct crossovers with the show, but I'm not 100% clear on the details.

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RandyS wrote: View Post
There need to be more. Hasn't it been 12 years since the Techno-Mage trilogy came out?
Someone did get the license several years back, I believe, and wanted JMS to work with them approving, submitting, outlining, or whatever, the books, and they were only able to offer him like $500 a book, so he passed. Did those ever get written? I thought Claudia Christian wrote, or was supposed to write, one of them
Jan probably knows the details better than be, but I think that was the RPG company (Mongoose Publishing?) and IIRC what they essentially tried to publish was damn near unreadable fan fiction. I think there was a bit of a ho-har over their claims of JMS's involvement/endorsement. I forget the details, but I think the gist of it is that they had no experience as a publisher of long form novels (dealing mostly with licensed pen & paper RPGs) and it showed. I think they meant well, but made a total pig's ear of it.
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Old August 21 2013, 01:45 AM   #14
Christopher
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Re: top babylon 5 books

Sindatur wrote: View Post
Someone did get the license several years back, I believe, and wanted JMS to work with them approving, submitting, outlining, or whatever, the books, and they were only able to offer him like $500 a book, so he passed. Did those ever get written? I thought Claudia Christian wrote, or was supposed to write, one of them
http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Novel_list
Mongoose Publishing, which until 2009 produced the Babylon 5 Roleplaying Game, announced a series of six novels. However, when JMS refused to endorse them, these books were shelved. Before ending its license, Mongoose released the first three, by Richard Ford, Claudia Christian and Matthew Sprange, in a PDF entitled Deconstruction of Falling Stars that can be freely downloaded here. They are not considered to be canon.
(There's a link to the download page there, but I didn't include it in my quote, since I'm not sure how that fits with board rules.)

Oh, and here's a site with detailed synopses and analyses of most of the books:

http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/novels/index.html
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Old August 21 2013, 01:52 AM   #15
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Re: top babylon 5 books

There's also an interesting alternate universe series one fan put together a while back.

http://www.b5-dark-mirror.co.uk/
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