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    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Normally, I don't tend to respond...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 2/1/1994 6:47:00 PM  

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Normally, I don't tend to respond to negatives, because I don't generally
want to get in the way or be perceived to be getting in the way of criticism.
I don't. But I feel I have to respond to some of this. If the show is open
to criticism, then it seems to me that some of the critiques should be open as
well. And some of these I think are quitge unfair.

1) When did they move the jump gate (re: the time required to get from
the gate by Kosh's ship, as opposed to the Hunter ship). They/we didn't.
Once again, and I wish people could remember this, Kosh's ship BEGAN TO
DECELERATE the instant it emerged from the gate, in order to dock with B5
without smashing into it. The Soul Hunter ship was out of control, careening
in at full speed. (This was a widely discussed reason why the Vorlon fleet
got to B5 so quickly as vs. Kosh's ship. They were moving fast to get into
striking position.)

2) The Hunter's ship was on autopilot, set to come out of the first gate
it came to.

3) There was still time for the station's defense grid to blow the ship.
Yes, pieces would have continued onward, but a hell of a lot of its inertia
would've been taken out by the incoming fire, and any remaining pieces
would've either been taken out as well, or would have been so small as to not
damage the hull (which is *very* thick at that point) given its blast-enforced

4) Yes, Sinclair would've gone up with it. You pays your money, you
takes your chances.

5) There was no "the Earth is going to explode" story here; you have a
ship colliding with the station, that has to be stopped. It has to be stopped
within the period between when it emerges from the gate, and the time it would
collide. You want to know how much time you have to work in. Maybe it's a
dramatic device, but it's also exactly what you would do. What would you
prefer? "Lieutenant Commander, how much longer until impact?" "Uh...I
dunno...can you hang on a second?"

6) Re: the "funny forehead" was not what I've understood the
FF syndrome to mean...a regular head with a little treatment on the front.
This was a whole-head prosthetic, covering the entire back of the head. So
wrong on that one. And re: n'grath having 6 legs rather than 4...who're you
to say that? Ever seen a praying mantis? Do all insects all over the galaxy
have to have six legs to qualify? You don't like minimal makeup, you don't
like full-body understand that this comes out as "nothing
will please me except a real alien." You tell me where to find one in Central
Casting, and I'll hire him.

7) Okay, here's my biggest gripe: the note that the soul aspect was Trek
and "katra." Let me be clear on this: I don't give a damn what Trek has or
has not done now, long ago, or will do in the future. We can't be constantly
looking over our shoulder, limiting our universe because of another show. If
your only frame of reference when it comes to discussing the soul is Star
Trek, then that's profoundly disappointing, but it's got nothing to do with
me. The basic concept goes back to the beginnings of civilization (that your
soul can be captured somehow). Further, there were no soul hunters in ST, it
was placement of one's spirit in another body. I'm getting real tired of the
notion that if Trek did something, nobody else ever can do it. Like the
person who said that Trek invented nanotechnology, and thus when we used it in
the pilot episode in the nanotech machine G'Kar swallows, we were just copying
Trek's nanites.

I refuse to surrender creative control of this series to the ghost of
Star Trek's used notions. From time to time, we'll cross into areas they have
also touched. We'll touch it differently. Deal with it. But please don't
put a Star Trek (tm) tag on the soul, and the history of the soul.

8) You say a guard's gun was taken *twice* in this episode. Where is #2
(if #1 is the medlab guard)? I see a guard being attacked from behind, but
not his gun being taken.

9) Re: the second soul hunter's makeup being "inferior" to the first:
they were essentially exactly the same...same material, same design, minus the
stone, which varied...I'm sorry, but they were made, applied and used in
exactly the same way.

10) Why drain her of blood? Why the hell not? In some countries, that
was used as a means of execution. Bleeding was also used (in theory) to
heal. Okay, let's say he used poison. "Why use poison?" you probably
would've asked. "Oh, it was the old poison gag, and they find a convenient
antidote." There's no difference.

11) How did the hunter relate his sense of death to a wall map? I ask
again...why not? If you can buy it happens at all, why not? How is that any
different than walking through a hall, or being drawn to a planet? This is
strictly a straw-man example, as is much of what you cite.

This, frankly, is what I find so offensive in your note. You take things
that as a matter of opinion you might have done differently, and then try to
hold it up as a fault. You set up straw man arguments that could be just as
easily turned around on anything, mischaracterizing something in order to take
a cheap shot.

12) Why didn't Sinclair link in when he found the hunter? Because he
only "found" the hunter when he was being SHOT AT. And at that point you
don't want to raise your voice because you'll be shot at again.

13) You complain that the soul globes seemed to wait until the moment
Sinclair freed them to act (as though it were the bag that had been holding
them in). Sure, they could've emerged...and floated. A lot of good that
would've done them. What they needed was someone who could stop him, and that
was Sinclair's task. They were able to distract the hunter long enough for
that to happen. Minus Sinclair, what were they supposed to do, bedazzle him
to death?

14) Re: shining things into the camera = NBC Mystery Movie. See point
11a above. I'm not responsible for your cultural reference points.

I don't mean to yell, but thing is, I don't mind genuine criticism, if we
specifically do something that is objectively *wrong*. If you don't like
something, that's also fine. But I'm tired of people who confuse opinion with
fact, and that if it isn't done their way, then it isn't somehow *right*...and
the notion that Star Trek has invented, patented and qualified for sole claim
on whole aspects of our history, literature, culture, theology and language,
and that anybody who touches on these areas is just doing Trek stuff.

As far as I'm concerned, the Trek-soul-katra thing treated the soul as
little more than a misplaced pair of sunglasses. Here we tried to get into
the issues *behind* the soul...where does it come from, where does it go, does
it survive the death of the body, or does it go give some mystery and
beauty to the notion. To have it dismissed as just another riff on katra is
offensive and insulting and narrow. And all of those issues just seemed to
flit by without comment.

I don't mean to get angry, but this is one I'm very proud of, and to see
it sideswiped and mischaracterized and straw-man'd to death in this fashion is
just something that I had to respond to.


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