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Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (March 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345427165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345427168
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #320,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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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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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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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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By Adam Bos on 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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