ATTN JMS: Possible references [2]

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Oct 18 05:00:28 EDT 2000

From: david_a_c at
Date: 17 Oct 2000 16:55:59 -0700
Lines: 61

A follow-up to my previous message "ATTN JMS: Possible references".
Numbering continues from that message:

I should make it plain that I do not think JMS is "copying" anything! I
just suggest that he might be making some interesting *references*:

[3] I wonder if this is just a coincidence:
Morden from B5, Morbius from the forbidden planet:
* Both names begin with "Mor-"
* Morden is an archaeolinguist, Morbius a philologist - both decipher
ancient languages as part of their mission.
* Both went on expeditions to remote planets.
* Both at first appear to be the only survivors of their missions.
* In both cases, it is later found out that a woman has also survived.
* Both are in league with powerful invisible enemies.
* In both cases, that involvement leads to the person's death.

[4] The Apocalypse Box:
Some notes on this. First of all, JMS has chosen well in his name, as
usual. Greek "apocalypsis" means "revelation"; the box can be a
revealer of secrets. But "apocalypse" also has sinister "apocalyptic"

In the episode where we are introduced to the Box, we are also shown an
alien creature that lives inside a glass bubble. I was struck by a
similarity to a story by Robert Louis Stevenson called "The Bottle Imp".

In the story, the bottle was tempered in the fires of hell. It is
opaque, but contains a creature that can grant wishes. At one point in
the story, the owner asks to see the creature within, and the milky
glass clears momentarily. Their is a catch to owning the bottle; it
cannot be given away, but must be sold at a lesser price than the owner
paid for it. Whoever is stuck with the bottle last, and cannot sell it,
will go to Hell. Whoever keeps the Box too long is likely to be in
serious trouble as well, and will "lose his soul" in much the same way.

When Gideon receives the box, the previous owner seems to ask him very
deliberately whether he will accept it as part of the gambling bid, as
though it was an essential condition. The previous owner is then about
to tell Gideon about the bad side of the box, but it impels him to run
outside to a place where it can have him run over. The story reminded
me in part of the Box, and in part of the creature in the glass bubble;
even if it is just coincidence, it's worth a read anyway, as RLS was a
skilled craftsman of short stories.

Finally, Gideon keeps the Ace of Spades with his Box. As many of you
will know, this card has sinister connotations.

"It is a pack of fifty-two," whispered Mr. Malthus. "Watch for the ace
of spades, which is the sign of death, ..." (from another short story
by Robert Louis Stevenson)

"One U.S. PSYOP leaflet pictured a dead Viet Cong guerrilla and a
drawing of a skull and the "Ace of Spades" -- this brought to mind the
practice of some U.S. soldiers, who left copies of that playing card
with the bodies of their victims as a deathly omen."

Sent via
Before you buy.

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 17 Oct 2000 23:40:07 -0700
Lines: 14

None of them apply.  I ain't that lit'rary.


(jmsatb5 at
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)

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