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Books : reviews

J. Michael Straczynski.
The Complete Book of Scriptwriting.
Titan. 1996

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 15 January 1999

Straczynski had a successful career as a TV scriptwriter long before the triumph of Babylon 5. Here he gives lots of USA-centric, but eminently practical, advice on his art -- on how to plot, how to market the script, and even how to lay the script out on the page -- with lots of concrete examples. He covers TV shows, films, animation, radio, and stage plays. A must-read if you are a budding scriptwriter; a fascinating glimpse at how part of the industry works even if you aren't (although you will then want to skip some of the repetition).

J. Michael Straczynski.
Tribulations.
ibooks. 2000

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 23 August 2009

Susan Randall is a crime reporter with the LA News-Tribune. Recovering in hospital from a gunshot wound, she sees a strange man. Following up on a serial killer, she comes across the same strange man. Further investigation leads her deeper into the case, and draws the killer's attention to her. Is the killer really possessed by evil? Is the stranger trying really to exorcise a demon, or is he the real killer? Finding the answers could cost Susan her life, or maybe worse.

This is a good page turner, keeping you guessing until the end, with a lot of people behaving exactly as you would expect if confronted with ambiguous evidence of demonic possession: that is, skeptically. Nothing deep, and nothing too horrific for a spot of bedtime reading.

J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Moretti.
Babylon 5.
Titan. 1995

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 7 May 1999

B5's Commander Jeffrey Sinclair dissappeared rather abruptly at the end of Season One, sent off to Minbar, and replaced by Captain Sheridan at the start of Season Two. This graphic novel fills in the gaps between the two seasons, with a tale of conspiracy as Sinclair is framed for an attempted assassination, threatening to reignite the Earth-Minbari war.

The story is fine, but the artwork leaves a little to be desired in places.

J. Michael Straczynski, Tim DeHaas, John Ridgway.
Shadows Past and Present: DC Comics B5 5-8.
Titan. 1996

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 26 June 2002

[Comprises DC Comics series Babylon 5, issues 5--8. The story takes place prior to the events in the episode The Coming of the Shadows]

A dual story -- of Garibaldi trying to catch out Londo and having a Shadow encounter, and a parallel event when he first met Sinclair, and had a Shadow encounter.

Again, the story is fine, but the artwork leaves something to be desired -- Garibaldi is virtually unrecognisable in places.

J. Michael Straczynski.
In Valen's Name, part 1.
DC comics. 1998

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 19 September 1998

J. Michael Straczynski, Peter David.
In Valen's Name, part2.
DC comics. 1998

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 19 September 1998

J. Michael Straczynski, Peter David.
In Valen's Name, part3.
DC comics. 1998

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 19 September 1998

J. Michael Straczynski.
The Coming of Shadows.
Boxtree. 1997

(read but not reviewed)

Introduction, and the script of the Hugo Award-winning episode of Babylon 5.