JMS on Compuserve: November 2, 1995 -- FON SPOILERS!

The Green Meddler kilgalen at
Thu Nov 2 04:27:50 EST 1995






Subj:  Jack the Ripper			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Wayne D. Zimmerman	Tuesday, October 31, 1995 10:57:19 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389227

     So, in other words, if a historical, real character has been used in 
some other venue, if the use of that same character in another, 
wholly different world/series/show/universe is absolutely, totally and 
completely the right thing for that story, 
one should instead do what's *wrong* for the story and leave it out?

     Sorry.  Don't buy it.


Subj:  <Comes the Inquisitor>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Ray Pelzer,		Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:22:01 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389253

<Y'know, your "mirror" comment just made me consider something:  As much as 
Sebastian helped Delenn to realize "who she was", in that speech, she 
really made Sebastian realize who HE was as well.  
Was this both-sides-of-the-coin intentional, or just happy happenstance?>

     No, it was very much intentional; Sebastian learns quite a bit in the 
course of that encounter about himself...especially when she rubs it in his 
face as she does.


Subj:  B5 Fans Strike Again!		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Fred Miller, 		Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:22:05 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389254

     Unfortunately, no suggestions except to note that the more people in 
an area who keep after their stations, the more things gradually change.


Subj:  <spoiler: Comes the Inq>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Catherine Becic,	Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:22:06 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389255

     Sacrificing oneself happens frequently...but for just one other 
person, AND in a situation where no one else would ever know about it.  
Bear in mind that he wasn't testing people randomly; only those who felt 
that they were chosen of god, fulfillers of prophecy...people who assumed 
that they were part of some grand scheme, 
and thus to whom an anonymous death is an intolerable thought.

     Also, most probably never *got* that far, unable to stand the real 
pain of being placed in this position.  
Everybody can talk the talk; very few can walk the walk.  
Most probably just yanked off the bracelets and split, on the theory that 
they weren't being sufficiently coddled or glorified...or because being a 
potential prophet isn't as much fun as they'd thought.


Subj:  <spoiler: Comes the Inq>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Daena Hinkelman	Wednesday, November 01, 1995 7:23:13 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389981

      "It doesn't fit in with the way the Vorlons have been portrayed.  It 
bothered me."

      Good.  That was the intended result.

      Part of the reason for the story was to grey up the Vorlons a little; 
one shouldn't fall too easily for what other people *say* they are.

      (One might also say much the same of the old testament god who would 
have Job so severely tested, btw.)

       One should always be cautious of taking *anyone* at face value on B5.

      " could consider them a force for good."

      Ah, but what *is* good?  And whose *version* of good are we 


Subj:  <Fall of Night>			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Michael Beemer	Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:22:08 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389256

 <2) The scene in the bar with the aliens arguing over what
   they saw: "It was Drushalla!",  "It was <?>!", "It
   doesn't matter.  This place has been blessed!"


   Wow!!  I expected this to devolve into a bitter argument
   between different religions.  Instead, you surprised me
   by having the character have the enlightened realization
   that "the Divine" has different faces, and which face
   was seen wasn't truly important...


     Thanks.  I think that, with so many races around, you couldn't go into 
holy wars or jihads at every occasion.  In a 
way, what was seen was a validation for many...a moment they all came 
together, instead of coming apart.


Subj:  <season's end>			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Joel Hilke,		Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:22:11 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389257

<I'm sure you will have no end of congrats on a really fantastic season's 
end.  I thought the last show with Jack the Ripper's narration was the 
crowning touch of that show, and now I see this.  
Just incredible, the amount of suspense, hope, dread - no other show on TV 
puts me on the edge of my seat like B5 does.  
All I can think about is the emotional attachment you put us into for 
Keffer's character so many shows ago, when I said 
"why is jms putting in this Tom Cruise wannabe?" and now as he made the 
last great sacrifice, it hits so much harder.

You're the man.  Keep up the excellent work, and I hope the rest of the 
entertainment industry wakes up to notice.>

     Thank you.  The emotions the show stirs up are, to me, central to the 
whole point of doing it.  
We can't afford to pull any punches, or the story falls by the wayside.  
It's an *incredibly* difficult show to do, on every level, 
from writing through acting to production and everything that follows.  But 
when it works, and people notice, it's all worthwhile.  
Thanks again.


Subj:  <season's end>			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Al Mauroni		Wednesday, November 01, 1995 7:32:02 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389987

<I just wanted to tell you that I saw the season 2 closer tonight and I am 
compelled to write you. I know you probably get dozens of compliments 
following each episode, but I just had to express to _you_ how I felt 
despite all the other compliments. 
THANK YOU. I've said that before, but THANK YOU. I have NEVER been so 
moved, so enlightened, so heart-sick at a television show before, and 
certainly not a science fiction show. 
You didn't pull a punch and the sheer bravado, the gutsiness, to reveal who 
you revealed in the way you did it was far and above more than one would 
expect from television. 
That mixed with the more base, but no less tension-filled, battle sequence, 
the actual act of sabotage, Kiefer's sacrifice and error, and the 
heart-wrenching conclusion with Ivanova's narration has placed B5 where 
I've been placing it with these last four
The very BEST television out there - and this confirms it absolutely.>

     Thanks...from your lips to the ears of the TV academy....


Subj:  Fan club update?			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  John M. Kahane, 	Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:22:17 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389259

     Re: "tennis wrists," or carpal tunnel syndrome...yes, I've got it in 
I have to use the CTS gloves constantly or the arms ache badly within a 
matter of minutes; and even then they only slow down the speed with which 
they begin to hurt.  
As it is, there's a dull ache pretty much all day, and most of the night; 
and after enough writing, my ring fingers on either hand start curling in, 
and my forefingers get a bit numb.  
Toward the end of last season, the only way I could write was to write for 
30 minutes, ice down my arms for 10 minutes, write for 30, ice for 10, and 
so on.

     No matter what precautions you take, when you write sometimes as much 
as 20 pages per's gonna happen.

     (General note: I've seen virtually every article on CTS, I know about 
the vitamins, the wrist-rests, the exercises, all that; 
I do what I can with those things that help.  So while advice is 
appreciated, it's not necessary in this case.)


Subj:  Fan club update?			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Esther Schindler [EXEC] Wednesday, November 01, 1995 1:26:24 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389649

     Unfortunately, for some reason my brain's hard-wired for typing.  
I've tried dictating in the past, to a tape recorder, but nothing comes out 
as crisp or as *right* unless I'm at the keyboard and my fingers are 
thinking for me.


Subj:  <Inquisitor - Bravo!>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Chad Underkoffler, 	Wednesday, November 01, 1995 1:26:14 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389647

     On the "Jack sucks" threads, phrased various ways...doesn't really 
bother me. 
 I knew going in that some folks would react well to that, and some 
wouldn't, for an assortment of reasons, some valid, some less so.


Subj:  <Comes the Inquistor>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Chad Underkoffler, 	Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:46:06 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389271

     Re: "...a Vir intensive script."

     Just finished one.  Script for episode #13, "Sic Transit Vir."  I 
think it's gonna be a hoot.


Subj:  B5 screensaver			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Steve Trease,	Tuesday, October 31, 1995 11:46:07 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389272

     It'll be out in time for Christmas from Sound Sources.


Subj:  B5 screensaver			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Steve Trease,	Wednesday, November 01, 1995 7:23:05 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389980

     Don't know yet the final release date.


Subj:  B5 screensaver			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Ruth Ballam, 100412,3457		Wednesday, November 01, 1995 1:26:00 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389651

 <Do I dare ask if it will be PC only or Mac as well ?>



Subj:  <FON - Nature of Kosh>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  John Yuen,		Wednesday, November 01, 1995 7:29:23 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389985

     That's the irony, in a sense...what's inside Kosh's biomechanical 
encounter a *perceptual* encounter suit....


Subj:  <FON Thot>			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Rae Augenstein	Wednesday, November 01, 1995 7:30:04 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389986

     From a strictly logical standpoint, a president would not lower 
himself to deal with this personally.  
When MacArthur and Patton earned the disfavor of the president, it was 
intermediaries who pulled them aside and registered this.  
Also, gradually more authority if being vested in Nightwatch and the 
Ministry of Peace, as that's his arm, and so he'd be inclined to use that 
since he's in most direct control.  
(Just to explain why what was done was done.)


Subj:  <TLTS & Stuff>			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Richard M. Perry,	Wednesday, November 01, 1995 11:19:27 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#390185

     Alas, actual history courses put me to sleep; reading is fine, 
but to teach bad would it be to see your own prof falling 
over dead asleep at his own lecture?


Subj:  CD differences			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Mark D. Smith,		Wednesday, November 01, 1995 11:20:02 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#390186

<I bought the limited edition CD (I wish I'd gotten 2) and just now got the 
general release CD.  
I was looking through the book and saw a picture that was the same yet not. 
 It's the picture with Kosh, G'Kar, Delenn and Londo standing in front of a 
large fan.  
In the LE CD, Londo looks like he's just been through a month of binge 
drinking.  His face is splotchy and his hair is a rats nest.  In the GR CD, 
he just looks pained.  
I looked VERY closely at the pictures and the best that I can tell is that 
his head alone was redone and the rest of the picture is the same.  Is this 

      You caught me.  In the limited, they used a photo that I absolutely 
*hate*, for what it does to Londo's hair.  
So when the general release was due to come out, they couldn't change the 
photo, too expensive, so I had them put a different head on it.


Subj:  <TFON - weightless>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Timothy & Lisa Mitchell,Thursday, November 02, 1995 12:39:11 AM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#390207

     Re: the starfury drop...this has come up before, and some of the 
better high-IQ types have said we got it right.  
The fighters use centrifugal force to be propelled *away* from the station; 
yes, it's at a slight tangent, but the station is also rotating behind 
them, so it isn't that severe.  
The furies don't actually fire their engines until they're a bit away from 
the station, using the force of the drop.

     The vectors actually work out accurately.


Subj:  B5 as radio			Section: Babylon 5
  To:  Sharon Foster,		Thursday, November 02, 1995 12:39:12 AM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#390208

     I used to work in radio drama a lot, for ALIEN WORLDS and the MUTUAL 
RADIO THEATER, so sometimes that aspect comes out in my writing.  I think 
it's a wonderful, and little used medium.


Subj:  <Inquisitor - Bravo!>		Section: Babylon 5
  To:  peter  stathis, 	Wednesday, November 01, 1995 1:26:28 PM
From:  J. Michael Straczynski, 71016,1644#389650

     "it just didn't pay off in the long run."  For you.  For others it 
did. Let's not start getting grandiose.  
You feel this way, that's fine, but it's not the ultimate truth.  Otherwise 
you're totally dismissing the opinions of others who liked it a lot.

     "Jack...has become a real cliche."  So because others have used that 
figure in their work, well or poorly, no one should ever use this 
historical figure ever again in the next thousand years of human history.  
One should not do what one thinks is right for a story because of what 
someone else did in a different story.

     Sorry.  I don't work that way.  By your logic, I should not be using 
starships or hyperspace or aliens, either, because they've been used a LOT 
more than Jack.


_/  Green Meddler  kilgalen at   Nathan F. Wallace _/
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