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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Town Has Turned to Dust
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/24/1998 6:47:00 AM  

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{original post unavailable}

"So, what do YOU think, Joe? Do you think Rod Serling would approve
of the new adaptation or his name being attached to it?"

Unfortunately, I haven't seen it, and tend to shy away from
making any kind of sweeping comments about things I haven't seen. If I
can take your description as accurate, then my answer would probably be
no. I would think that by now, we could do the story as he had
intended it to be done. Certainly every generation stories get
reinterpreted; I once saw Two Gentlemen of Verona produced in a 1920s
context, and if the Bard can be shuffled about in time, anybody can.

That is somewhat different, however, from altering the text or
the dramatic intent. Herein lay the dilemma. Do we have any copies of
Rod's original work, as he had intended it to be done? Or were they
working off the only version, the altered one? If so, then it's
altered one more iteration from something that was not the proper
version anyway, so yes, it's off course, but is it demonstrably more
off-course than the original softened version?

On the other hand, if they did have the original version, it
would have been better served to go with that...however, if they did
so, the odds are that the SciFi Channel would never have produced it,
since there's nothing SF about it.

I dunno...again, I haven't seen it, so I'm trying to be measured
in my comments.

"Also, to get this somewhat back on topic, do you agree with Harlan
Ellison's "scorched earth" policy with regard to unfinished works? If
you had suffered a fatal stroke a year or so ago, would you have
approved of someone else stepping in to finish B5 "just the way Joe
would've wanted it" or for B5 to have died with you? Would you want
your unfinished works archived, with the ever-present possibility that
someone might later acquire "rights" to produce them, or used as fuel
for your funeral pyre?"

I don't want anybody rifling through my stuff and putting it out
there after I'm gone, especially in unfinished form. I come to this
opinion by a hard road; when doing Twilight Zone, I was assigned to
write a teleplay based on one of Rod's unproduced outlines, and for me
that was one of the highlights since it let me kind of see into his
creative process a little, and the story was a good one. At the time,
the issue of posthumous literary use really hadn't occured to me.
Since then, I've had a great deal of time to think about it, and have
finally come down on the side of "no." If I had expired prior to
finishing B5, I would rather let it end at that than have someone else
finish it for me, in a way not what I would've a painter
would not generally let someone else finish his painting after his


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