Asked & Answered: Part 3
J. Michael Straczynski Answers
5,296 Questions About
Babylon 5 & Beyond
 

 
COMPLETE DETAILS ABOUT PART 3
 


Rants, religion, money, sex and Star Trek...just a few of the topics covered in the most volatile release of the entire Asked & Answered series.

Part 3 (pages 779-1,183) includes more than 1,100 missives grouped into the following – often heated – topics:

RANTS
This is JMS unplugged. He shares his thoughts – unfiltered and often exasperated – on a breadth of topics including: the sound in space issue, comparisons of Babylon 5 to Shakespeare, Lord of the Rings, Dune and every other saga of any import, atheism, language and culture, the idea that a five-year arc prohibits the organic development of a story, the perils of being the topic of an online forum, religion in Babylon 5, predictability of stories, why he almost quit the online community forever, why the tone of his online posts changed over the years, and how he really feels about people expressing an opinion that conflicts with his.

RELIGION
This section covers a wide range of religion related questions including: What are the religions of each alien species? What are the spiritual convictions of the principal human characters? Why is religion in the 23rd century a valid premise? How did Earth's religions deal with the existence of aliens? Why do B5’s alien races have more than one religion? Why did JMS showcase religion when most TV shows avoid it? What happened when the topic of Babylon 5 was raised at a multi-faith meeting of interdenominational leaders? What are JMS’s thoughts on the pagan group that makes its new members watch B5 in its entirety?

REMUNERATION AND MONEY
How much was JMS paid for Babylon 5? How much does money matters to JMS? Could JMS have gotten a better deal for the show? What does JMS spend money on? Why has he never gotten a cent of residuals on the DVD sales?

SEX
What are the hookers are like on Babylon 5? Why does prostitution still exists in the 23rd century? Can different species breed with each other? PLUS JMS’s thoughts on bi, gay and lesbian characters.

SPECIAL EFFECTS
How does CGI impact the script? Why did JMS choose CGI over models? How did B5’s space shots differ from what came before? What happened when California wildfires threatened the visual effects facility? PLUS over 30 questions and answers detailing the show’s pioneering use of computer generated imagery.

SHIPS
How did JMS design the Vorlon ships? Which ships can enter B5's space? Who can use the station's facilities? How do Starfuries launch? PLUS details of the unused Northrodyne C31-03 Patriot, details of Starfury design down to their engine parts, and the facts about White Stars and other alien spacecraft.

SOUND DESIGN
What is "walla?" How was B5’s soundtrack different from those of other shows? What was JMS's fresh approach to the sound of weaponry? Which of the unique sounds on the show were original creations (and which where not)? What are "wild tracks?" PLUS the truth about Kosh's voice.

SPECIES
Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask in 256 questions about: Centauri, Drazi, Humans, Minbari, Narn, pak'ma'ra, Shadows, Vorlons and other First Ones. PLUS detailed explanations about their characteristics and their histories (don't miss JMS's note comparing and contrasting Narn and Centauri history or his detailed list of the which races were at war or allied at the time of the pilot) as well as the theories behind the design of each race.

STAR TREK
Did the Babylon 5 crew ever socialize with any of the Star Trek crews? How did Babylon 5's budget compare to that of the various Star Trek series? How did JMS fight allegations that this concept or that idea was originated by Star Trek? Is JMS "the next Gene Roddenberry?" Does it make JMS crazy when every article compares Babylon 5 to Star Trek? Did Paramount use JMS’s concept to create Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? How did Deep Space Nine most impact Babylon 5?

TECHNOLOGY
Four categories highlight the technology of the 23rd century: GENERAL (medicine, space suits, time travel and transporters), COMMUNICATIONS (links, BabCom, ISN and Universe Today), TRANSPORTATION (hyperspace, jumpgates, the core shuttle, and the transport tubes) and WEAPONRY (mass drivers, PPGs, projectiles and stealth tech).

ALL THIS AS WELL AS SECTIONS COVERING: THE TITLE SEQUENCE (JMS offers insights and anecdotes about the show’s varied title sequences, including the concept, the visuals and the narration), THE UNIVERSE OF BABYLON 5 (Featuring detailed histories and background including the Earth/Minbari War, Earth’s first contact with alien life, and the funding of the Babylon Project despite four failures), THE SHOW’S VISUAL AESTHETIC (Including logos, graphics and cinematography), THE WARDROBE (Highlighting costumes, makeup and prosthetics)

and last but not least —

WRITING BABYLON 5
A comprehensive section with thorough discussions of the cast, the characters, the episode titles, the origins of the story, the planning of the series, the process of writing the scripts, story structure, themes, JMS’s personal dedication, the achievement and the reactions gathered along the way.


   
 
OVERVIEW OF THE ENTIRE
ASKED & ANSWERED SERIES
 


It's true. The creator of Babylon 5 answers 5,296 fan questions covering every aspect of the show in over 100 categories in this new Babylon 5 book series.

J. Michael Straczynski answered these questions as they surfaced over a period of 18 years as part of an online experiment he started in 1991 and continues to this day.

This makes Asked & Answered something that has never been done before with a television show: an oral history IN REAL TIME. No revisionism. Nothing forgotten. No detail spared.

Because this dialogue with fans starts in 1991, it pre-dates the production of the Babylon 5 pilot, so you'll discover JMS' complete vision for the series, many aspects of which never made it to the screen.

Even better, these questions and answers include interactions on AOL Bulletin Boards, GEnie Forums, the moderated usenet group, CIS Discussion threads and Chat Transcripts, some of which are not available in archives anywhere.

In addition to Babylon 5, Asked & Answered includes JMS' responses to personal questions about his life, politics, love, religion, writing and more. These responses are grouped with a related B5 topic showing fans – for the first time – the provenance of the Babylon 5 philosophy and culture. All that plus JMS' real life stories behind the stories.

To make this the ultimate source, it took 2½ years and a crew of four B5 experts – in addition to J. Michael Straczynski – to compile, categorize and edit.


"The only real document about the making of Babylon 5, from stem to stern, is the one I wanted to leave behind: this conversation...It's the only thing that really means anything to me."

J. Michael Straczynski
May 25, 2003


WHY THIS SERIES IS TECHNICALLY 5 PARTS AND NOT 5 VOLUMES?
Because Asked & Answered is essentially one very long document, we've divided it into 5 parts. Each part is one book and there are 5 books altogether, each of which will be launched separately.

Together these 5 books – the complete Asked & Answered series – will total approximately 2,000 pages. To honor the fact that Asked & Answered is one document, the pages in each volume are number sequentially starting with the next page number from the previous volume. For example, Part 1 ends on page 385 and Part 2 begins on page 386. So that you can identify each part at a glance, the text on each cover is a different color. Note that Part 1 is red, the same color as the first Babylon station, and Part 5 is blue, the same as the fifth Babylon station.

WHY SHOULD I GET THE ASKED & ANSWERED SERIES IF SOME OF THE DATA IS STILL ONLINE?
The goal of this series is simple: offer a document to fans for whom canon is everything and therefore would want a printed record of the most important JMS messages in one place, grouped into categories and presented in the order they were written. In other words, the opposite of the online experience.

DOESN'T THE TWO COLUMN LAYOUT PAD THE CONTENT WITH WHITE SPACE?
All of the books in the Asked & Answered series average 115,000 words. For context, the average novel or non-fiction book is 90,000 words or less.

WHY NO KINDLE OR EBOOK EDITION?
Contractually we can't publish electronic versions with the exception of limited length excerpts.

HOW IS ASKED & ANSWERED ORGANIZED?
All questions are organized by topic, then by category and then by date. This triple level of organization on 100+ categories aggregates the B5 canon in a way never seen before. We also include a 2 page production timeline at the end of each book to cross-reference to the message dates.

 
 




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