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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Figure forged in the Fires of Hate
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...
Published on Aug. 2 2000 by M. H. Huggins

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars More a biography than a novel
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...
Published on July 30 2001 by Mark Baker


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3.0 out of 5 stars More a biography than a novel, July 30 2001
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (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 (Tarzana, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (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.
I'm purposefully not addressing the story line. If you're a B5 fan reading all three books is almost mandatory. It adds greatly to the saga. If you're not a fan of Babylon 5, you can definitely skip Dark Genesis. However, you may find Deadly Relations and Final Reckoning worthwhile. This isn't Nebula material, but it's fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Figure forged in the Fires of Hate, Aug. 2 2000
By 
M. H. Huggins (Bon Secour, AL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (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
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This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (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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5.0 out of 5 stars The B5 Ideal: Enjoyable on its Own yet a Part of the Whole, March 13 1999
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (Mass Market Paperback)
J. Gregory Keyes's second installment of the Psi Corp trilogy 'Deadly Relation -Bester Ascendant' is a wonderful addition the Babylon 5 tapestry. The first book of the trilogy, 'Dark Genesis -The Birth of the Psi Corps', explores the Psi Corps itself, its conception, birth and the struggles faced during its adolescence. The second installment focuses on a single character, the celebrated antihero Al Bester. We learn of Bester's childhood, education, adolescence and development into the Psi Cop Babylon 5 fans love to hate. Keyes's excellent writing provides the loyal Babylon 5 fan with a superbly convincing treatment of Al Bester offering character development and dimensions unattainable in the television show. Considering what Walter Koenig's acting and Straczynski's writing have brought to this character, this is saying a lot.
The non-Babylon 5 fan should enjoy this installment of the trilogy as much as the first. Fitting the ideal of a Babylon 5 story, the novel is thoroughly enjoyable in its own yet brilliantly connected to the larger Babylon 5 universe. The only aspect that might appear strained to the non-B5 fan is an out-of-the-blue reference to the Earth-Minbari war. For the non-fan, this war is the subject of the film and novel 'In The Beginning' and an essential part of the series Babylon 5.
The true Babylon 5 fan will appreciate the story even more. Series creator J. M. Straczynski provided the outline for the story and reviewed the final product; series editor Fiona Avery provided some assistance and control as well. Besides the mentioned reference to 'In The Beginning' there are tie-ins to the television series spanning from the first to the fifth year, a nice connection to the 7th novel 'The Shadow Within', and a nod to DC comic #11 'The Psi Corps and You' that is a real grabber. We also see the events of comic series #5 to 8 from Bester's point-of-view. The connections are not forced, strained or redundant making the story wonderfully satisfying in its own right.
Finally, some additional credit should go to Keyes's care as a writer and the assistance he received from members of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab. The Martian climate and geology are accurate (compared to one of the early B5 novels) and he does a convincing job describing Lunar and Martian colonization. The combination of science fiction, mystery and politics together with outstanding character development makes this novel a worthy addition to the Babylon 5 universe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars good follow-up to great book one of three part series, March 10 1999
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (Mass Market Paperback)
So now we know all those dirty little secrets behind Mr. Bester. he's a much more tradgic character now but I find it's still just as hard to like the guy. Which is the way it should be with all Villains. While I very much liked Deadly relations it did have one problem. it handled established charactors from the previous book half heartedly and thus I was a little disapointed for instance that Kevin vlacit wasn't seen more often or that stephen walters is reduced to just one scene where he bites the bullet in what seams a scene that wasn't the pay off it could have been. Otherwise I found Deadly relations a worthy addition to the babylon 5 universe and I'm looking forward to the last book in the series. now if only we could get a book dealing with the origional war with the shadows and with the telepath war. Ah babylon five so satisfing and yet so many questions still left unanswered.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Psi Corps Trilogy, Nov. 24 2000
By 
TAZ (Aberdeen, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (Mass Market Paperback)
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 by Psi Corps, to just before Mind War, and Psi Corps is not necessarily depicted as I expected it would be. Babylon 5 first told it's viewers that Bester was the "bad" guy, because he opposed Sinclair, then they told us that he was a "multidimetional bad guy", because there is a point to what he was doing. Deadly Relations shows us that Bester is a man who does what he feels is necessary and makes HARD choices for the good of his "family", the Corps. I really enjoyed this trilogy and hope for more Psi Corps related book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I tore through this book., March 20 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (Mass Market Paperback)
Much better than "Dark Genesis" (which in and of itself was a good book), "Deadly Relations" is a very well-crafted novel that tells the story of Al Bester from his childhood up to the 1st season B5 episode "Mind War." It also gives some back-story on Lyta (we find out why she never became a Psi Cop) and Byron. Keyes' characterization of Bester is dead-on -- the way he talked in the novel is perfect if you watched the show. The story also owes a little bit to Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" during its first third, but you realize when Keyes name-checks Card that it's meant as an hommage, not as a rip-off.
Well done, and I'm seriously looking forward to part III.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The history lesson continues., Feb. 22 2004
By 
Jason Montgomery "Journ" (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (Mass Market Paperback)
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 Alfred Bester, from his first years being raised by Psi Corps right up to before his first visit to the Babylon 5 station.
There were revelations abound in this book, including details of Bester's first love, Lyta Alexander's internship with the Psi Cops, and just how Bester's hand became crippled. Let's just say, it's a big surprise.
The book also gives a greater look into the Bester character and after reading it you start to understand his motives for the things that he does both here and during the B5 series. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling from beginning to end, March 12 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant (Mass Market Paperback)
I liked this novel even better than part one. Right from the opening page I found I couldn't put it down. The DEPTH that the author (and JMS through his outline) went into the inner workings of the Psi Corps was amazing. One could really get a sense of what it would be like to be a telepath living in the B5 universe. The way Bester was portrayed was perfect. At times you could also feel some sympathy for him but in the end he remains solidly the villain that he has been know to be. I thought the inclusion of characters such as Byron and Lyta was a nice touch. My only disappointment is the exclusion of Carolyn Sanderson, Bester's lover but of course, she may appear in part three.
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Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant
Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant by J. Gregory Keyes (Mass Market Paperback - March 1 1999)
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