b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Thu Aug 5 03:17:08 EDT 2004

From: tyg at panix.com (Tom Galloway)
Date: 2 Aug 2004 04:47:39 -0400
Lines: 99

In article <hl1pg0lo75s1mbmcj0pd69h0s2odgseiaf at 4ax.com>,
Rob Hansen  <rob at fiawol.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>>Note the deliberate blanks in the text.  You're inferring that the 
>>original text said Gabe and Sarah were Gwen's kids, which is presumably 
>>what they'd like you to think.  But whenever you get those sorts of 
>>blanks, it's usually a device to misdirect the audience.  It'll turn out 
>>that they aren't her kids at all, and she just happened to mention them 
>>a few lines further down in the letter.  If they're even the same 
>Yep. I think there are too many people here who don't read mysteries
>and they're allowing themselves to be led up the garden path. Some

Not to mention that JMS used the gimmick of "here's a scene from the 
future that strongly implies X...but when the story gets to the point
where you see all the set up and context, it really means Y or even
not-X" several times in Babylon 5. And for all I know, something similar
when writing the mystery series Murder, She Wrote. This isn't exactly
uncharted territory for his work.

Which probably means that this time they are Gwen's kids, just to pull
a psych job on us. [insert Sicilian vs. Westley duel from The Princess Bride]

>We know Gwen was Harry's girlfriend before she was Peter's. The

Actually, I'm not sure if we do know that. I'd need to check to be 100%
sure, but while Gwen was certainly Harry's friend before she deigned to
give Peter the time of day (and I think Kurt established in Untold Tales
that Gwen and Harry went to the same high school, if it wasn't already
established in a random panel in their first appearance in Amazing), but
I don't recall them ever being a romantic item. Seem to recall Peter was
more jealous with Flash vis a vis Gwen, and Harry was jealous of Peter 
having been involved with MJ prior to him, not Peter "stealing" Gwen from

>children in question were her's and Harry's. Gwen and Harry never told
>Norman about the babies.  Gwen left New York before she started
>showing, and before becoming Peter's girlfriend, giving birth in

Nope. Barring JMS taking advantage of that Dr. Strange possible history
rewriting story, this just doesn't sync up with the known timeline at all.
The France trip is being inserted (and I'm not convinced there's enough time
there for the duration needed for Peter not to realize she was showing, but
so far Peter's not gone "Wait a minute...Gwen was never in France for *four
months*") at the time of Peter's trip to Canada circa Spider-Man #118-119,
just prior to Gwen's death. Even if Gwen had been Harry's girlfriend prior
to Peter, that'd compress 70 or so issues of Gwen dating only Peter and
definitely not Harry into a few months. While the floating 10 year timeline
may already have done that :-), it plays hob with the notion of Gwen being
the other great love of Peter's life as their relationship would now go:

1) Gwen and Peter date for 3-4 months at most, including a separation after
   her father dies that clearly lasted at least a few weeks when she moved
   to London.
2) Gwen leaves for France for 4-5 months (even if the babies came a month
   early, I'm assuming she'd need some time to recover).
3) Gwen dies within a few days of her return.

I mean, on this timeline they're barely out of the limerance stage of 
a relationship if that, and they've spent much more time apart than together.

On the other hand, it does seem that JMS is inserting a four month trip to
Europe other than the London excursion into the timeline somewhere, even
if I'm not convinced there's any place that can reasonably fit given the
stories published at the time.

Do agree with your point that the Osborns are clearly serving as Chekov
shotguns in this story [Anton, not Pavel. Old line about how if there's
a shotgun shown on stage in Act One of a play, it darn well better go off
by Act Three].

tyg   tyg at panix.com

--Yes, the .sig has changed

Lines: 42
From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 05 Aug 2004 06:52:44 GMT

To jump in here...as much as I can, I always try to do my homework, and I'd
have to be the sloppiest writer in the history of...well, really sloppy writers
to not take into account the time factor in Spidey chronology, and deal with it
straight-up in the writing.  And we do, about two issues down the road, address
this issue in absolutely straightforward terms.

The math not only works, in fact it becomes a major aspect of the story, as you
will see in about two months.

To the broader questions raised here...I don't generally believe in cheats.  In
B5, we only did one time-travel story (across two episodes, showing both sides
of that story) and I went clear around the horn to make sure that there were no
cheats in that story.

This isn't a time travel deal, it's not an alternate history story, it's not a
hoax, it's not a clone story, it's not, in short, a *cheat*.  I have too much
respect for the readers to do that.  Is it what people are assuming it is, with
only part of the information?  Yes...and no.  All the information isn't out
there yet.

All I can say is...it isn't a throw-away, reset the button story, it's the real

The amusing thing has been watching some of the online critics who, being
themselves unable to think how it could be done in a way that isn't stupid,
come to the assumption that the story is going to be as stupid as those
assumptions...and go after it as a result, not understanding that it's the
parameters they're seeing inside their own head that they're reacting to, not
what's in the story...because the story hasn't been told in full yet.

There are four more issues to go in this story, and every one of them is a real


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2004 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

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