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-   -   New B5 Unofficial Guide to be published in October 2017 (http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47292)

Apsu 06-22-2017 01:49 AM

New B5 Unofficial Guide to be published in October 2017
 
I just saw this item suggested to me during my Amazon navigation this morning :
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1770412654...ing=UTF8&psc=1
planned to be released late September 2017 in the USA, October in the UK

Description :
Quote:

A Dream Given Form provides an accessible, comprehensive, and critical look at Babylon 5, one of the most groundbreaking series of all time. Nearly 20 years after the show ended, this indispensable companion not only covers all five seasons of Babylon 5, but also the feature-length TV movies, the spinoff series Crusade (including three non-produced episodes), The Legend of the Rangers, The Lost Tales, the canonical novels, the DC comic book series, and the short stories set in the Babylon 5 universe. Each season and text is explored thoroughly with an in-depth look at how the individual episodes, books, stories, and comics fit into larger ongoing storylines.

Carefully constructed to be enjoyed by both those who have watched the series multiple times and viewers watching for the first time, A Dream Given Form elucidates without spoiling and illuminates without nitpicking.
I'm not very sure what to think of it. Most books I looked into that were unofficial guides were not very great, pretty much rephrasing what was already known without bringing anything new. And their description of "covering all the canon universe" seem redundant with the coming B5 Encyclopedia, even though the fact the book is described has having 480 pages makes it potentially a pretty comprehensive one. Finally I really don't understand their statement, as they say at the same time to "explored thoroughly with an in-depth look" and at the same time "elucidates without spoiling and illuminates without nitpicking".

Triple F 06-22-2017 02:42 AM

I know that a couple of knowledgeable long term fans consulted the authors on a number of points. Both those fans can be pretty pedantic buggers :) and as I understand it (meaning what I read them say on facebook), they’re looking forward to the book. . . . .

Apsu 06-22-2017 06:07 AM

Yeah,

best way is always to ask the author, so I did.
I asked the two previous questions to Ensley F. Guffey, and he was kind enough to answer them and allowing me to post his answer here without changes.
So a big thank you to M. Guffey.

Quote:

Fair questions. So we both started our writing careers as academic writers, trained to critically analyse our chosen subjects, and we bring that experience and training to the table in our TV guides. What most books/websites on Babylon 5 have done is to summarize the events in an episode, maybe tie them in to the larger story or not, and call the job done. We avoid that. We're not summarizing the episode (after all, presumably you've already seen the episode, so you know what happened in it) we're digging into what happened - why are the characters acting the way they do? How does that fit in with the larger stories going on? What's the background, in the narrative, that underlies their choices? We also touch on the performances, technical aspects, etc., of course, but our main goal is to call attention to the things that aren't necessarily obvious when you're watching the show, and to draw out meaning. As to resources, with B5 that's not really a problem. You will see in the book that our source list is impressive. JMS in particular has given thousands of interviews and written millions of words on the show, and all of his online posts from when the show was being produced are archived and available. So the background research is most definitely there.

As to revealing without getting spoilery: if we're talking about Delenn's chrysalis in the season 1 sections, for example, we're not going to address her human/Minbari transformation until the episode in which it is revealed. We'll note the machine, and her intentness on building it, offer notes that it will prove to be important, but we don't want to spoil the later reveal of her new genetic make up in season 2. We always try to keep in mind that, while many people buying our guide will have already seen the show, some may be watching it for the first time, so we want to provide analysis without blowing the secrest the show still has to reveal for those readers. That's especially important for a show like B5 which has consistently attracted new viewers over its 20+ year lifespan.

b5historyman 06-22-2017 07:06 AM

New B5 Unofficial Guide to be published in October 2017
 
"I know that a couple of knowledgeable long term fans consulted the authors on a number of points. Both those fans can be pretty pedantic buggers and as I understand it (meaning what I read them say on facebook), they’re looking forward to the book. . . . ."

Who on Epsilon 3 could you mean? ;)

Triple F 06-24-2017 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b5historyman (Post 141382)
Who on Epsilon 3 could you mean? ;)

Oh, it’s just a couple of mad buggers I sometimes chat with while we stand in line for our meds. ;)

BTW, I just remembered I wanted to ask you something. You up for a bit of contributing to B5Scrolls. The update is all but finished – and I’m just working on the bit highlighting *some* of the cooler, larger and sometimes lesser well known stuff which fans create. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix, and what you did fits the bill. . . . . Would mean a couple of questions to get the details right though.

b5historyman 06-28-2017 07:32 AM

No problem, we're on FB so fire off a pm. Glad to help!:D

Looney 06-28-2017 08:53 AM

Inside conversations aside you better not be talking about ME. LOL :p (I don't really participate in anything on Facebook, so it isn't this "mad bugger".) ;)

So I was looking at this product. I feel that dust jacket is just awful. I am guessing they were trying to capture the flavor of B5 graphics without being accused of infringing on anything, but WOW is that not to my taste. There is just something that puts me off about it. It might be what I just said, that they tried to capture something that seems similar, but isn't. :rolleyes:

Apsu 06-28-2017 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 141637)
Inside conversations aside you better not be talking about ME. LOL :p (I don't really participate in anything on Facebook, so it isn't this "mad bugger".) ;)

Well, if he was talking about you, that would make you the second user on this forum that wear a totally appropriate username :p

Looney 06-28-2017 09:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apsu (Post 141638)
Well, if he was talking about you, that would make you the second user on this forum that wear a totally appropriate username :p

Well he wasn't, but I will take that as an earned compliment!!!!! :D :eek: :D :rolleyes: :cool: ;)

Ubik 06-29-2017 06:59 AM

Yeah, not too keen on the cover design either. It does try to evoke that classic vibe without any copyright infringement! Hahaha, but yes, they could have gone with something more slick and modern.

The book itself, I am curious at the very least. Could be fun and it's a good deal cheaper than some of the B5 Books offerings, which are always good but sometimes a tad heavy on the wallet.

Looney 06-29-2017 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ubik (Post 141671)
Could be fun and it's a good deal cheaper than some of the B5 Books offerings, which are always good but sometimes a tad heavy on the wallet.

See I always look at the B5 Books as more like self-published books. I would like to know their numbers as far as number of units produced per each release. I would bet they are not getting rich off those high prices when it comes to cost to produce vs sales. Yeah I wish they were cheaper, but I also feel like there is a LOT of effort and love from a small group of individuals that goes into every release. I also wonder if the encyclopedia will be their final installment, other than finishing the Crusade stuff and/or a Stephen Furst tribute item. We'll see. JMS is going to have to get a reboot done so they can come up with future releases that don't rehash material from the scripts or encyclopedia. :D

Ubik 06-29-2017 07:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 141672)
See I always look at the B5 Books as more like self-published books. I would like to know their numbers as far as number of units produced per each release. I would bet they are not getting rich off those high prices when it comes to cost to produce vs sales. Yeah I wish they were cheaper, but I also feel like there is a LOT of effort and love from a small group of individuals that goes into every release. I also wonder if the encyclopedia will be their final installment, other than finishing the Crusade stuff and/or a Stephen Furst tribute item. We'll see. JMS is going to have to get a reboot done so they can come up with future releases that don't rehash material from the scripts or encyclopedia. :D

Oh yeah, totally agree. But nice to see someone else doing B5 related stuff that may have worth.

Triple F 06-29-2017 09:32 AM

Might find this of interest. A USA Today article, written back in 2006, about self publishing and included some stuff on jms and the script books. Seems to indicate the first 7 issues were selling around two and half thousand copies each. Though that might have grown over time. I vaguely recall someone mention the mailing list for B5books is five figures these days.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money...n-demand_x.htm

Quote:

At about $40 apiece ($30 in the first week of release), Straczynski expects $1.5 million in total sales from the 14 planned volumes.

A large chunk will go to CafePress, the company that prints and ships each book. Still, Straczynski says he'll have a terrific return on the $500 he spent to set up www.babylon5scripts.com, the website for his sales.

b5historyman 06-30-2017 05:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 141672)
See I always look at the B5 Books as more like self-published books. I would like to know their numbers as far as number of units produced per each release. I would bet they are not getting rich off those high prices when it comes to cost to produce vs sales. Yeah I wish they were cheaper, but I also feel like there is a LOT of effort and love from a small group of individuals that goes into every release. I also wonder if the encyclopedia will be their final installment, other than finishing the Crusade stuff and/or a Stephen Furst tribute item. We'll see. JMS is going to have to get a reboot done so they can come up with future releases that don't rehash material from the scripts or encyclopedia. :D

I hope not, as I would like to see my fully revised and updated Babylon 5 Historical Database published!!! :eek:

b5historyman 06-30-2017 05:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 141637)
Inside conversations aside you better not be talking about ME. LOL :p (I don't really participate in anything on Facebook, so it isn't this "mad bugger".) ;)

So I was looking at this product. I feel that dust jacket is just awful. I am guessing they were trying to capture the flavor of B5 graphics without being accused of infringing on anything, but WOW is that not to my taste. There is just something that puts me off about it. It might be what I just said, that they tried to capture something that seems similar, but isn't. :rolleyes:

As one of the people Triple F refers to, I can guarantee a quality piece of work. Disclaimer: This poster cannot be held responsible for any failings if you don't like it.:p

Triple F 06-30-2017 10:36 AM

There was talk of an image heavy book focusing on the Art Department at one point which John Iacovelli announced during a recorded panel a few years back – was going to be in much the same style as the B5 at 20 book - but that doesn’t appear to have moved forward much, or at least nothing more has been said.

I’m more than a little surprised that B5 books have never approached the likes of Steve Burg or anyone from Foundation Imaging as there’s a genuine wealth of material that could fill a book or two right there. Same for the prosthetic make up – the two areas of the show which won an Emmy and there’s no official books?! Wardrobe is another obvious area. . . There's plenty of potential as far as new printed material is concerned.

As for the revised and updated Babylon 5 Historical Database, I really thought that would have been part of this new in-universe encyclopaedia. Seems like an obvious thing to include as they would dovetail pretty nicely.

Looney 06-30-2017 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b5historyman (Post 141723)
I hope not, as I would like to see my fully revised and updated Babylon 5 Historical Database published!!! :eek:

I'd like to see it revised and published based on new material being released in the Babylon 5 Universe. ;) :D

b5historyman 07-02-2017 04:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Looney (Post 141746)
I'd like to see it revised and published based on new material being released in the Babylon 5 Universe. ;) :D

I always encourage people to email help@b5books.com and ask. The more the interest the more I hope they will.

Ubik 07-02-2017 07:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple F
There was talk of an image heavy book focusing on the Art Department at one point which John Iacovelli announced during a recorded panel a few years back – was going to be in much the same style as the B5 at 20 book - but that doesn’t appear to have moved forward much, or at least nothing more has been said.

I’m more than a little surprised that B5 books have never approached the likes of Steve Burg or anyone from Foundation Imaging as there’s a genuine wealth of material that could fill a book or two right there. Same for the prosthetic make up – the two areas of the show which won an Emmy and there’s no official books?! Wardrobe is another obvious area. . . There's plenty of potential as far as new printed material is concerned.

As for the revised and updated Babylon 5 Historical Database, I really thought that would have been part of this new in-universe encyclopaedia. Seems like an obvious thing to include as they would dovetail pretty nicely.

I know you have mixed feelings on B5 Books in general, but you'd be the person to consult on this and provide some links to key people if it were to happen. Might be worth reaching out to Jaclyn. I know you've stated before you have little to no interest in working on a book that coverse the visual FX side, but B5 Scrolls has documented this area so well, it'd be almost criminal for you not to be involved. Just my 2p on the matter.

Triple F 07-02-2017 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ubik (Post 141901)
I know you have mixed feelings on B5 Books in general, but you'd be the person to consult on this and provide some links to key people if it were to happen. Might be worth reaching out to Jaclyn. I know you've stated before you have little to no interest in working on a book that coverse the visual FX side, but B5 Scrolls has documented this area so well, it'd be almost criminal for you not to be involved. Just my 2p on the matter.

Funnily enough Ron was pushing me to do an unofficial book a while back, and was adamant that Warner wouldn’t give a toss if it was full of previously unreleased artwork. What’s on B5Scrolls, unsurprisingly, is only a small taster in many respects (there's a fair bit of stunning full colour concept art which fans have never seen). jms, of course, has very different views about even the stuff on the website being there.

I know for a fact B5 Books isn’t interested in the material I put together. A while ago someone was asking why there wasn’t a book, and then – without asking me – they contacted B5 Books. It was a while ago but it boiled down to they didn’t consider the interviews to be official or something like that. . . . Which is more than fine – back in 2014/5 the site had already been downloaded over 60,000 times and that was the last time I checked (since the move to the new server no software was in place to track the numbers).

It’s difficult to accurately explain why I don’t want to do one – especially as I could really use the money : ) –but because of what it would contain, it’s like making money off the back of others work, and for me that just doesn’t sit right on some level – if that makes any kind of sense. I just asked some questions ffs. The artists themselves should do the books, and if I could help then great – probably makes me dumb as a post, but there you are. : )

Posting occasionally on here or over on facebook is one thing, but I’m no expert – don’t want to come across as one and certainly don’t want anyone to consider me one. It’s also why, in the past, I’ve turned down interview requests from podcasts and even a print magazine. As Jan can confirm, I even turned down the invite to be one of those running the urban myth facebook group when it was first being discussed and set up. Just last month, someone was trying to line me up with those who run the Trek Yards video thing over on Youtube . . . . again, I’m trying to firmly but politely say no thanks.

As for contacting the artists, these days most of them are on facebook so are only a few keystrokes and one message away - and besides, B5 Books will have a much larger and more comprehensive contact list than I ever did. :)

Jan 07-03-2017 05:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple F (Post 141920)
As Jan can confirm, I even turned down the invite to be one of those running the urban myth facebook group when it was first being discussed and set up.

True. We appreciate that you've allowed some links, though.

Jan 10-29-2017 10:30 AM

So...I bought the book. And I may or may not finish it, to be honest, because it's getting on my nerves even though I've read less than 10% of it.

Granted, in some ways I *know* I'm nitpicking and I'll try to take that into account but...

I *am* glad to have read the interview with Peter Jurasik. It was interesting to look at Londo through the eyes of the actor who created the character. And the interviewer asked some interesting questions.

First thing that got on my nerves is the formatting which might or might not be an aspect of creating the file for the Kindle. But the heading for each episode

Air order (NOT production number) / Title
Writer
Director
Air Date
(or some variation of this order judging from the first few episodes)

...are all in small type with a section 'STATION DIAGNOSTICS' (yes, all caps) after the episode synopsis in a larger and heavier font.

Secondly but related is what looks like a production number is nothing of the sort. 1.01 should have been the number of the production but it's actually the number of the episode that aired - season 1, episode 1. So 1.01 is "Midnight on the Firing Line" in this book when the actual production number is 103.

Fact/spelling issues. Like I said, I've read less than 10% of the book but in the Peter Jurasik interview there were two errors that didn't bode well in my mind. Lord Refa's name was spelled 'Rifa' in one of Jurasik's responses. Which may have been how he spelled it but it should have been caught. And the interviewer said that JMS wrote 96 out of 110 episodes rather than 92, the correct number.

As for the episode commentaries, I can't really say yet. A couple of times it seemed like they ignored the 'B' story but I don't know yet if this is a trend.

Anybody else have this yet?

b5historyman 10-30-2017 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan (Post 158358)
So...I bought the book. And I may or may not finish it, to be honest, because it's getting on my nerves even though I've read less than 10% of it.

Granted, in some ways I *know* I'm nitpicking and I'll try to take that into account but...

I *am* glad to have read the interview with Peter Jurasik. It was interesting to look at Londo through the eyes of the actor who created the character. And the interviewer asked some interesting questions.

First thing that got on my nerves is the formatting which might or might not be an aspect of creating the file for the Kindle. But the heading for each episode

Air order (NOT production number) / Title
Writer
Director
Air Date
(or some variation of this order judging from the first few episodes)

...are all in small type with a section 'STATION DIAGNOSTICS' (yes, all caps) after the episode synopsis in a larger and heavier font.

Secondly but related is what looks like a production number is nothing of the sort. 1.01 should have been the number of the production but it's actually the number of the episode that aired - season 1, episode 1. So 1.01 is "Midnight on the Firing Line" in this book when the actual production number is 103.

Fact/spelling issues. Like I said, I've read less than 10% of the book but in the Peter Jurasik interview there were two errors that didn't bode well in my mind. Lord Refa's name was spelled 'Rifa' in one of Jurasik's responses. Which may have been how he spelled it but it should have been caught. And the interviewer said that JMS wrote 96 out of 110 episodes rather than 92, the correct number.

As for the episode commentaries, I can't really say yet. A couple of times it seemed like they ignored the 'B' story but I don't know yet if this is a trend.

Anybody else have this yet?

Given that Ensley and Dale had only been on this for about a year, I think they have done a sterling job in such a short time. Ensley did have an issue with one of the drafts with the publishing company but that was sorted. While I was consulted and (along with John Joshua) provided material, as the author, Ensley was free to choose how he used that material.

Yes there are a few spelling mistakes and other small niggly things (I never proof read it) but I've gone through and pointed them out along with corrections and improvements to be made for the second edition. Ensley has thanked me for my assitance on this.

As for the story synopses by all accounts Ensley looks to have taken a similar approach to me when I first did the Historical Database and encourage people to watch the episodes and get some interaction between the two media.

You have only read 10% (about 42 pages) I think you are being a little harsh in rushing to judgement aren't you?

Jan 10-30-2017 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b5historyman (Post 158498)
You have only read 10% (about 42 pages) I think you are being a little harsh in rushing to judgement aren't you?

Am I? My comments were almost entirely about fact & formatting which might be forgiven if this was supposed to be a self-publishing project. Since there's a publisher attached, however small, this should be much better done. It really doesn't matter how long the writers have been at it, the publisher should have made them look a lot better. They failed in that.

As for "small niggly things", remember you said that the first time you have to correct a 'production number' that somebody takes from this book. :p ;) There was no need at all for them to use the production number format but they did. Plus, I bought the book on October 25. The book came out on Sept. 19 according to Amazon. Any errors that had been pointed out between those dates could and should have been corrected by a new file upload for Kindle even if the print version couldn't be corrected.

b5historyman 10-30-2017 09:42 AM

From what I understand from Ensley there will be updates done for the electronic/Kindle version.

I did point out that there were issues with the draft that was sent to the publishers. I can't say anything about them as I have personally not heard of ECW. Again If I could have proof read a copy I would have picked out stuff that did slip through the net.

But in the end people take from it what they want. I came to it with an open mind and the offer of help as I wanted it to be as officially unofficial as possible.

Jan 10-30-2017 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b5historyman (Post 158528)
I came to it with an open mind and the offer of help as I wanted it to be as officially unofficial as possible.

Never said you didn't. And since I'm assuming you're not saying that I didn't, it's rather a moot point.


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