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Encounters with J. Michael Straczynski Archived by the Great Machine (Synthetic Worlds Publishing, 2014)

Cover art by Brandon Klassen.

Landmark interviews with J. Michael Straczynski on the 1st, 15th and 20th anniversaries of Babylon 5 plus 50+ pages of analysis of the show written by Straczynski himself on the 5th and 10th anniversaries…all never before published by Babylon 5 Books.

1) BABYLON 5 at the TCA Press Tour
This annotated transcript offers a unique perspective on how Babylon 5 was presented to the entertainment press just prior to its series debut. It also provides a rare look at how the cast interacted early on.

The Television Critics Association, or TCA, is a group of journalists who meet to collectively interview the stars, creators and crew of the new shows. On Sunday, 9 January 1994, J. Michael Straczynski, Michael O’Hare, Claudia Christian and Peter Jurasik participated in the panel on Babylon 5.

2) “Inside the House of Dreams”
This essay, dated 28 May 1997 — written during the production of Thirdspace and only weeks after Straczynski directed “Sleeping in Light” — captures the creator’s feelings about his series on the threshold of its final season, nearly five years after the pilot went before the cameras and gave his dream form. The original essay was published over 15 years ago by a UK publisher, and never issued — to our knowledge — in the US.

3) J. Michael Straczynski’s BABYLON 5 Memoirs
In 2003, TV Zone — a now-defunct U.K. periodical devoted to cult television — celebrated Babylon 5‘s ten-year anniversary by commissioning J. Michael Straczynski to write his memoirs of the series. Ten years out from the trauma of birthing the show, and still a year from the untimely death of Richard Biggs, this selection showcases a unique moment in Straczynski’s relationship with Babylon 5 — beyond the station’s gravitational pull, but not yet overtaken by the shadows to come — and served as a preview for the approach he would take two years later when he began writing the introductions and episodic commentaries for Babylon 5: The Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski in 2005.

4) Transcript of JMS at MIT
On 22 May 2009, J. Michael Straczynski became the second writer — after Neil Gaiman — to appear at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the Julius Schwartz Memorial Lecture Series. The format for the event was a lecture by Straczynski, followed by an interview with Henry Jenkins, PhD and an out-of-the-ordinary question-and-answer session with members of the audience. The transcript contains numerous annotations, exploring the history of Babylon 5.

5) Transcript of the Babylon Podcast: J. Michael Straczynski
On 17 June 2009, three and a half-years after this fan podcast began airing, J. Michael Straczynski made his appearance, answering questions only devoted fans would even know to ask. While the show is readily available, this annotated transcript is exclusive to this book. It features explanations of all the “inside jokes,” arcane references and which of JMS’s predictions actually came true.

6) Transcript of the Archive of American Television: J. Michael Straczynski
Just before attending the Babylon 5 twentieth anniversary celebration at the Phoenix Comicon, J. Michael Straczynski gave a three and a half-hour interview that spanned the entirety of his life — from his birth through the launch of Studio JMS in 2012. It also includes his first-ever discussion of the complete circumstances surrounding the departure of Michael O’Hare from Babylon 5. Extensively annotated, this thoughtful and detailed interview marks the perimeter of JMS’s legacy and that of Babylon 5.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Synthetic Worlds Ltd. (April 9, 2014)
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 321 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1630770532

Errata: On page iv, I wrote that the TCA event was held on a Saturday, 9 January 1994, but it was 9th was a Sunday, which is correct.