Babylon 5: Signs And Portents

Babylon 5: Signs And PortentsOrder this bookStory: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the pilot movie and first season of Babylon 5, with lengthy interviews with cast members, behind-the-scenes crew and series creator J. Michael Straczynski.

Review: This is the first volume of Del Rey’s series of books covering the making of Babylon 5, season by season. It’s a nice little series of brief pieces on the making of each episode, with lots of insight from the actors, JMS, and various directors, though much of this information can be found with a little bit of hunting on the Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5 web site – and sooner or later, the book’s behind-the-scenes stories will probably wind up there anyway.

Between the overpriced Babylon 5 toys, the ongoing series of expensive and short CD soundtrack releases, and now this book, I fear that Babylon 5 is entering the phase that Star Trek entered around the time Deep Space Nine was announced: lots of merchandise, and lots of it costing way too much. For example, “Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series” has a page count over twice as high as this book, at a cover cost of only four dollars more. Alarmingly, the previous Babylon 5 behind-the-scenes book, “Creating Babylon 5”, had fewer pages than this and cost even more than the aforementioned Trek book. As someone who is most assuredly on a tight budget, I watch these things carefully, and I resent licensees who think they’ve got a collectibles market cornered and jack up their prices astronomically.

However, Killick’s book is far more insightful than Bassom’s “Creating Babylon 5”, and a great deal of attention is focused on individual episodes – something which made books such as “Doctor Who: The Eighties” exceptional, and something which books like “Blake’s 7: The Inside Story” lacked. It will be interesting to see how this series of books progresses in terms of size, content and price.

Year: 1998
Author: Jane Killick / foreword by Michael O’Hare
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 176 pages