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Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant [Mass Market Paperback]

J. Gregory Keyes
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 1999 Babylon 5 (Paperback Ballantine) (Book 2)
The child of their greatest heroes--
he was destined to become their darkest enemy . . .

In the twenty-second century, the discovery of human telepaths led to terror and bloodshed, and to the creation of the Psi Corps--a government agency of elite telepaths who were used to control their own kind. Under the command of a power-mad politician, the Corps became a ruthless tool of oppression, and the telepath underground was formed.

Matthew and Fiona Dexter led the resistance to its greatest victories. But when they were martyred for the cause, their only child was claimed by the very forces they had died opposing.

Raised from infancy within the Psi Corps, Alfred Bester was a telepath of exceptional ability, determined to make his mark by transforming himself into a master of deceit. Schooled in hate but tormented by shards of conscience, he wrestled with the seductiveness of the sinister cause he served. But slowly stripped of humanity by the war between decency and betrayal, he surrendered his soul--and rose to become the most dreaded figure of his time . . .

Book Two in the gripping new epic trilogy that uncovers the secret history of the Psi Corps.

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From Amazon

Babylon 5 is a rarity among SF TV series in having a thoroughly worked out future history, even if parts of that history are only hinted at on TV. Which is where this novel comes in. Based on an original outline by series creator J. Michael Straczynski and following Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi Corps, it is the second novel of a trilogy detailing the history of the Psi Corps. Yet it is sufficiently self-contained to be accessible to readers unfamiliar with B5.

The book chronicles the life of the Psi Corps Alfred Bester from boyhood to the dramatic events that will first take him to the eponymous space station. As befits the show, Deadly Relations is complex and well characterized, aware of SF history, and filled with fascinating background detail. J. Gregory Keyes portrays Bester's paradoxical nature: a man haunted and lonely, able to read the thoughts of others, and capable of betraying those closest to him out of a sense of duty to the greater good. A sinister, ruthless figure becomes a sympathetic, almost tragic antihero as the book ranges from Earth to the Beta Colony and Mars.

The fictional Alfred Bester had a real-life namesake who authored several major SF novels. These include the still extraordinary 1953 thriller of murder and psychic detection, to which Deadly Relations pays due homage. If you enjoy B5, try The Demolished Man by the original Alfred Bester. It's a genuine SF classic. --Gary S. Dalkin, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1963, J. Gregory Keyes spent his early years roaming the forests of his native state and the red rock cliffs of the Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona. He earned a B.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University and a master's degree from the University of Georgia, where he did course work for a Ph.D. He and his wife, Nell, live in Seattle, where, in addition to full-time writing, he practices ethnic cooking--particularly Central American, Szechuan, Malaysian, and Turkish cuisine. Since moving to the Northwest, he can no longer participate in his favorite sport--Kapucha Toli, a Choctaw game involving heavy sticks and few rules--so he has taken up fencing. Greg is the author of The Waterborn, The Blackgod, and Newton's Cannon.

J. Michael Straczynski is one of the most prolific and highly regarded writers currently working in the television industry. In 1995, he was selected by Newsweek magazine as one of their Fifty for the Future, described as innovators who will shape our lives as we move into the twenty-first century. His work spans every conceivable genre--from historical dramas and adaptations of famous works of literature (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) to mystery series (Murder, She Wrote), cop shows (Jake and the Fatman), anthology series (The Twilight Zone), and science fiction (Babylon 5). He writes ten hours a day, seven days a week, except for his birthday, New Year's, and Christmas.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars More a biography than a novel July 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Deadly Relations opens as Bester is 6 years old, growing up in the Psi Corps center in Switzerland. The book follows his life as he struggles with his ambition and his desire to be loved. Interestingly for fans of the Babylon 5 TV show, Lyta and Byron have cameos and this book ends with Bester about to leave for his first trip to the station.
Fans of the series will enjoy this book. J. Gregory Keyes has done a good job of capturing Bester and making him sympathetic. Bester truly becomes a well-rounded character whose motives we can understand, even if we don't agree with them. This is something I enjoyed about the show itself, and I'm glad to see it continued here.
However, this book suffers from the same problem as the first in the trilogy - no real plot. It follows Bester for 68 years, and as such reads more like a biography. There is no real climax; it just ends. The other characters just serve the purpose of helping us understand Bester and are not super interesting on their own.
Any fan of Babylon 5 will enjoy this novel because of the information on Bester. New comers to the series will be more interested once they've viewed the show.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Must for B5 Fans. A Good Read for All. Jan. 15 2001
By Baycity
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Spin-offs from television series usually leave a lot to be desired. But Babylon 5 was no ordinary series. And while the five year series was complete unto itself, questions were left unanswered and fascinating side trips were unexplored. This isn't a complaint, it's part of what made the series so unique and special.
The Psi Corp trilogy (made up of: 1) Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi Corp; 2) Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant; and 3) Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester) provides critical background B5 fans will relish and entertaining insight into what made Al Bester one of Babylon 5's most fascinating characters. The fact that they're based on an outline by J. Michael Straczynski makes all three books "authorized" B5 history.
The first book, Dark Genesis, is the weakest of the three. While the topic will be of interest to Babylon 5 fans (and of little interest to anyone else), it can't help but come off as anything more than a travelogue populated by cardboard characters. Too much needs to be explained to allow much focus on plot or character development. Instead, the book often comes off less like a novel and more like a "script bible" for the television series, painting the back story for episodes featuring the Psi Corp.
In the final two books of the trilogy, however, Keyes does a fine job of capturing Bester, one of the series most intriguing characters. He not only relates his life, but he even makes him likeable - at times. Deadly Relations takes place before most of the events covered by the television series; while the majority of Final Reckoning occurs subsequent to the series' timeline. And, as is a prerequisite in books of this genre, he weaves in events and characters from the series. But Keyes does it very well without the cameos seeming out of place at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Figure forged in the Fires of Hate Aug. 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Alfred Bester reminds me so much of how G.Gordon Liddy wrote of himself in his formative years I almost have a real figure to ponder! All that aside (if you haven't read WILL by Mr. Liddy)this is a fascinating look into the rhyme and reason of Bester. He seems to be another over-achiving runt until a fateful trip with the Grins (great characters, by the way) to meet the Director.. an old shadowy shade of a man from the past, a man who knows Bester as Stephen Dexter, son of a teep renegade couple villified in PsiCorp history. Changes are coming to the Corps, and Bester had just as well have a target painted on his back if he cannot become the Super-Psi cop he strives to be. In typical fashion he manages to be alienated, humiliated and finally vindicated in the Corps. Remember, this is his life and ambition. His confrontation with his prime quarry and the ensuing dialoge near the end of this book is priceless. Don't miss it. Alfred Bester is too complicated to review in these few words. He is an experience more than a character. Our man we love to hate does not disappoint here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars wheres my war! May 3 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
first of all, ill try and keep it short. 1 this is by far the best of the 3 books, this one, and the second made pushing thru the 1st one worth wile. the main reasons i was interested in these books is that im a diehard b5 fan, and thrue season 4, and at the end of season 5 i there was a lot of build up for the teep war, and i was realiy interested in knowing how that would go, i know from b5 what lead up to it, and from crusade what haponed as a resalt. but i would still like to know about the war itsself, i find my self in much the same situation as when i was fits waching B5 and there were several referals the the 'earth - minbari war' and was verryt happy when 'in the begining' come out, not to mention satisfied by the way they pulled it off. not only did i have my war, but they revaled a great mystery and made it a good movie experiance. most of the time when u long for something and finaly get it you are disapointed, because it is not what u expected, not so with 'in the begining', i just hope that if/when some one finaly wrights something about the teep war it is as good, and not disapointing like most mysterys revaled... other than that, i recon this is a great book on its own, better if read as part of the trilagy, but best enjoyd if you know what haponed between book 2, and book 3. when book2 ends it says he has never been to B5 before, and that is where most of us met him, and there is almost a nother book or 2 in that alown that need to be seen for full effect... well that is my bit.. cya btw i had to travel over 3500K to get the dam books, and im glad i did, now i have to wait upto 8 weeks for the 'legions of fire' books,. i hope there atleast half as good as the psi corps books. i do warn one thing, you will feal sorry for Bester, if you dont i think you have less hart than evan he did
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good 2nd part of trilogy
this is the 2nd part of the trilogy and while it's very good I dissaprove and disagree with the authors decision regarding the full extent of virtual omnipotence granted... Read more
Published on May 6 2011 by whatever
5.0 out of 5 stars The history lesson continues.
This book, based on an outline from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski (so you know it's official), covers the period in B5's history detailing the early life of Psi Cop... Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2004 by Jason Montgomery
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Bester
After reading this book, now I have a better insight "why Bester is who he is". The book explained the motives of BEster, give me a better understanding of the great... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad. Interesting storyline.
This book offers some background information on Bester.
Published on Nov. 12 2002 by Debra Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars good follow up to a great book.
This book travels over 60 years telling of the rise of bester. It starts gradually by telling bester's story as a student at the psi corps and then it ties up the events that... Read more
Published on June 20 2002 by J. Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars Babylon Nior
This was my favorite book of the three. This is a great book even on its own, the author has courtiously included all pertinent information to allow the reader to feel the anger... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2001 by weinham
5.0 out of 5 stars Character-building. At last...
This second, and best book of a wonderfull trilogy that deals with the aspects of the Psi-Corps, and telepaths in usual is centered around the intriquing character of bester. Read more
Published on March 5 2001 by Treckhyon 5
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Psi Corps Trilogy
As Alfred Bester once said, "not everything is about Babylon 5". Deadly Relations tracks the life of Bester from the time he is a young child who was raised from infancy... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2000 by TAZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't like Mr. Bester....
Read this, you might change your mind. As others have noted, Bester is a complicated man, and that is the best part of this trilogy. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2000 by Amazon Customer
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