[B5JMS] various bounced replies from jms

b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu
Fri Feb 23 04:23:08 EST 2001

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 22 Feb 2001 07:33:44 -0700
Lines: 173

A bunch of my replies got bounced back saying that the account isn't allowed to
post...so I'm sending them back as one big message in hopes this one gets
through.  So if you're looking for a reply to anything over the last 48 hours,
it may be here...

><< Many of Byron's male telepaths have long hair, and a bunch of them
>>die.  Seeing a pattern here?>>
><<A male baldnes pattern, perhaps? 

Zathras blew joke.

Zathras meant to say, "Male pattern baldness."  Male baldness pattern not make
sense.  Very bad.  Or very bald.  Zathras can never be sure.

Zathras always screw up joke.  Zathras say, "Priest, rabbi, minister walk into
bar.  Bartender says, 'What is this, a joke?'"  Never gets laugh.  Requres too
much explainings.

Zathras humor very sad.

Zathras sad, is very funny.

Universe hates Zathras.


Subject: Re: ATTN JMS: Vanderdecker and Ahab
Message-ID: <20010222010206.04263.00000732 at ng-ck1.aol.com>

No, there was no note involved.

Subject: Re: JMS - Your love of Midnight Nation 5
Message-ID: <20010222010337.04263.00000733 at ng-ck1.aol.com>

>You've posted recently that you are really happy with Midnight Nation 5 and
>the way it turned out, which led me to thinking about how you constructed
>the story.
>>From your past work I get the impression that you construct the overall arc
>of the story so you know where you are going to end up, where you started
>from and what happens in between.  Its the inbetween bit that has me.
>Do you have a rough outline of what each issue is to be about but only
>really know whats going to happen once you sit down to write it each month -
>that way I can understand you *even impressing yourself* so to speak.  Or is
>it that the artwork and presentation of the book raised it to a level beyond
>what you had in your mind, which must be difficult as I guess the hardest
>part of writing is trying to get the particular type of media to express
>what you do have in your mind.

It's really a combination of both.  I roughly lay out the stories, but I don't
have a full picture of each issue until I actually sit down to write it.  I
knew this one came out pretty well in script, but Gary's work just elevated the
hell out of it.


Subject: Re: ATTN JMS:  Historical influence for the themes in B5...?
Message-ID: <20010222010810.04263.00000734 at ng-ck1.aol.com>

> If this has been a concern of your own; How
>much inspiration you derive from history for your stories; What are you major
>sources of inspirational interests...?

I think it's important to look to the past for (if you will) signs and portents
of the future.  You take a historical scenario and lay it into a fictional
universe and see where it takes you.  

For B5 I looked a lot to the history of Russia, Germany, Greece, ancient Rome,
and the Mid-East.

(One kind of fun aside: the story Londo tells about the guard assigned to watch
over the first flower of springtime was actually a true story, set during the
reign of the Tsars.  Everybody thought, "How alien."  Nope, that's just us.)


Subject: Re: ATTN JMS: A question about Spider Man
Message-ID: <20010222011155.04263.00000735 at ng-ck1.aol.com>

>I have a question about you're upcoming Spider Man run. You've said in the
>past that you hate it when people change your work, various times if I
>recall correctly. My question is how do you feel writing in another person's
>universe with another person's characters? I know you've said you'd like to
>introduce some new characters to Spider Man, but the majority of characters
>are already established ones. Is this harder or easier than, say, creating
>an entire cast of your own characters ala B5 or Rising Stars? Is working
>with someone else's characters a new field for you, or have you done that

No, it's stuff I've done before...whenever I've worked on a TV series like Jake
and the Fatman (I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry) or Murder, She Wrote or
written prior comics with established characters (Teen Titans, Star Trek), you
know you're dealing with somebody else's creation and you have to treat it with

In the Spiderman case, it's actually been no more difficult than the Top Cow
work because they're letting me do pretty much whatever I want, so it's a great
experience so far.

Subject: Re: ATTN:JMS Proof your work was not in vain
Message-ID: <20010222012038.04263.00000736 at ng-ck1.aol.com>

>I was debating on a message board and someone said that they were tired of
>EVERY sci-fi series constantly being compared to B5.  I replied that it
>wasn't that long ago that everything was compared to Star Trek, and to a
>lesser extent still is.  His opinion is that Voyager and DS9 were head and
>shoulders above B5 in every way.  In cast choices, effects etc.
>Well I say congratulations, that a show has at last broke the Trek curse
>that has haunted other SF shows for many years.  This isn't show bashing,
>but maybe at last other series will get a chance to flourish.

There's a certain one-sidedness to this.  When B5 came out, and before, it was
as you say compared with ST, as was any other attempt to do a futuristic space
SF series.  That seemed fine to the folks doing the comparison.  

But once B5 became the point of comparison, a lot of these same people now felt
that this was unfair.  

There are those who understand what a paradigm shift is, and those who do not.

That aside, you cannot argue taste in actors or stories.  If somebody likes a
DS9 story or a Voyager story or actor better than a B5 story or actor, that's
terrific.  Subjective taste cannot be argued or redressed or debated.  You may
like chocolate covered blueberries better than chocolate covered cherries; I
may prefer the latter.  Where here is the problem?

A lot of people line up to hit B5 for reasons based on nothing more than their
own personal tastes...they go into high dudgeon about it and carry on...it's
like dressing up in a suit of armor to attack a hot fudge sundae.

They also tend to yell about the ratings for B5 as proof that ST, which
generally rates better, is a better show and has always been such.

They tend to forget that the original ST fared so poorly in the ratings that it
was considered a failure and canceled after 3 seasons.  It was only in long
term syndication that it began to find an audience.

They try to compare B5, a new show, against a series with 25 years of history
in the cultural consciousness, and that's comparing apples and oranges.  Come
back in 25 years and compare B5 at 25 and ST and 25, and then we'll have a
valid conversation.

But that said...and I don't know why I'm going on at such length here except
that I have a few minutes to spare...the truth is that B5 will *never* be the
popular show that ST is for precisely the reason that it's a show that requires
you to really pay attention and follow threads across 110 episodes.  Most
people just don't have that kind of patience.  

Which is absolutely fine by me.  I never set OUT to make something that would
be a big popular megahit...I wanted to tell This Story.  And that was done. 
The rest is up to history.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

-*** B5JMS SUBSCRIBERS: Replies to messages go to the list maintainer,
-*** <b5jms-owner at cs.columbia.edu>.  If you want to reply elsewhere, adjust
-*** the "To" field.  See http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~ezk/b5jms/ for all
-*** other information about this list.

More information about the B5JMS mailing list