from jms re: script book info

 Posted on 11/9/2005 by to

Now that the first books have gone out and begun to arrive at their
destinations, I thought I'd jump in with a quick update on all this.

Regarding the delay of two days on the first copies getting's
the B5 tradition. You can tell someone about B5 folks, but until they
see what follows, it's like trying to tell someone about Hurricane
Katrina coming don't really understand what that means until
it comes to your front door. So they've been hustling like crazy to
catch up on orders, with a lot of folks being upgraded to next day
shipping without charge.

Now that they know what to expect, they've said that volume two won't
be a problem.

Some have asked about the limited edition aspect of all this, so to
elaborate...over the next six months or thereabouts, we will be
releasing a new volume about every 3-4 weeks (instead of 2-3 weeks to
help ease the burden on the printers and a bit of a refractory period
for B5 folk). That will take roughly six months.

After the 14th volume goes up, we will keep the site open for an as-yet
undetermined period...most likely about 90 days, give or take, to let
folks jump in and flesh out any volumes they're missing, and put in the
info for the free 15th volume.

At the end of that period...the site comes down. No more copies will
be made. There will be no inventory, no back-orders, ONLY the ones
that have been actually bought will exist. This will help to ensure
that the books have collectible value for the fans who buy them. We
may do Crusade thereafter, or Twilight Zone, but insofar as the B5
script books...that's the end.

Others have asked why I (and the B5 scripts team) are going through
Cafe Press rather than a major publisher. The answer is very simple:
over the years, I've had many publishers approach me about publising
the B5 scripts, but they take the same timid line WB has always taken
about the show. We had to push like hell to get the DVDs released, and
they still insisted on testing the water...putting out one disc first
(same with the VHSs) to "test the waters"....and of course now the DVDs
have grossed half a billion bucks for WB.

So when the publishers approached me, it was with the same, "Well,
let's put out one book now, the 'best of' scripts, then we can think
about doing more down the road, so we can test the waters." When I
explained that i wante all of the scripts to go out, all 14 volumes,
nearly a hundred scripts...they couldn't even fathom such a thing.
It's never been done, not on this scale. But with Cafe Press, we CAN
do all 14 volumes.

This collection is really the Rosetta Stone of the Babylon 5
universe...and I wanted that to get out there in full, to kind of
finish the job properly. Here's the scripts, here are the stories
behind the scripts, the arc, the production, here are the photos and
the memos, so that when it's's really done. Again, we're
talking here over 6,300 pages of material...14 volumes, each nearly an
inch's just monumental.

A few other places came and said they could do it, but their plan was
to do even FEWER copies, limited edition stuff, hardcover, at a cost of
sixty to two HUNDRED bucks per copy, which I thought was just way, way
beyond the pale. The whole point of the exercise is to get this into
the hands of as many people who want it as possible. The way we're
doing it now, for a bit over four hundred bucks, folks can get all 14
volumes, plus the 15th free, which is a heck of a lot more affordable,
given what scripts and the like sell for on Ebay.

For me, on a personal basis, it's been an amazing process to go back in
time, through the memos, scripts and photos, and re-live those years.
Which is one of the reasons why the intros/essays have been ballooning
out in size...from 13,000 words to 15,000 to 18,000 words, not COUNTING
the other material. I'm putting it all in...all the stuff nobody ever
heard's all going in here.

And then, when it's done, the tale will at last be told in its
entirety...the show, and the show *behind* the show.

I've been very pleased that so many folks who've already received the
first volume have said some great things about the it. This was our
trial-and-error copy, and we will continue to expand and enhance and
grow from here.

Again, though, bear in mind that there is a ceiling on how long these
will be available at so if there's somebody who
doesn't know about the site, you may want to let them know in time to
get in while the Cafe Press price breaks will give them maximum

The volume 2 should be out somewhere around Thanksgiving, which has all
the cool stuff up through "Chrysalis," with volume 3 out sometime in
early December (with all the info about how Michael York almost ended
up as the captain of Babylon 5, the "final four" controversy, several
characters who were going to be in the show as regulars but weren't,
and other cool stuff) since I know a lot of folks were curious about
season two material in particular (that's the 18K intro). I've also
found a couple dozen one-paragraph to multi-page premises for episodes
that never made it to full script, which will be included starting in
volume 3, such as The Long Night of Susan Ivanova, The World Below, The
Mysterious Mr. Jones, and a bunch of others.

I have to be honest...I'm enjoying the hell out of this.


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