Babylon 5: Casting Shadows: The Passing of the Techno-mages: Book I Mass Market Paperback – Feb 27 2001
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About the Author
Jeanne Cavelos began her professional life as an astrophysicist, working in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Her love of science fiction sent her into a career in publishing. She became a senior editor at Dell Publishing, where she ran the science fiction/fantasy program and created the Abyss horror line, for which she won the World Fantasy Award. A few years ago, Jeanne left New York to pursue her own writing career. She is the author of The Science of Star Wars, The Science of The X-Files, and the Babylon 5 novel The Shadow Within. Jeanne is also the director of Odyssey, an annual summer workshop for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. You can visit her Web site at www.sss.net/people/jcavelos or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Soon the war would come.
With a cry of joy Anna swooped toward the barren moon,
her sisters behind her. As her sleek body cut through the invigorating
vacuum of space, she surveyed the training site
eagerly, hungry for challenge. The Eye had specified the coordinates
to be attacked. This exercise was to be at close
range, surgical, precise.
Anna loved training, exploring her abilities, honing her
skills. She had learned the dizzying delight of movement, the
exhilarating leap to hyperspace, the grace of flexion, the joy
of the war cry. She had learned to deliver from their confinement
great balls of destruction; to calculate the most efficient
patterns of attack; to engage and never break off, not until the
enemy was utterly destroyed.
This would be the first time she uttered her war cry. As
she wheeled toward the target, Anna held her body in perfect
control. She felt tireless, invulnerable. The machine was
so beautiful, so elegant. Perfect grace, perfect control, form
and function integrated into the circuitry of the unbroken
loop, the closed universe. All systems of the machine passed
through her; she was its heart; she was its brain; she was the
machine. She kept the neurons firing in harmony. She synchronized
the cleansing and circulation in sublime synergy.
She beat out a flawless march with the complex, multileveled
systems. The skin of the machine was her skin; its bones and
blood, her bones and blood. She and the machine were one: a
great engine of chaos and destruction.
The rocky brown surface of the moon grew closer, taking
on definition, detail. She located the seven targets, boulders
within a wide, shallow crater. She and her six sisters were
each to destroy one. She narrowed her focus to her assigned
target, coordinated her speed with her course. Excitement
gathered in her throat. She plunged into the crater and
shrieked out her war cry. Her body rushed with an ecstasy of
fire. Energy blasted from her mouth in a brilliant red torrent.
The boulder was vaporized.
Around her, her sisters fell upon the targets, their mouths
Chaos through warfare, the Eye said. Evolution through
bloodshed. Perfection through victory.
One of the targets was not completely destroyed. A fragment
remained. Anna pounced on it, eager to shriek again.
She targeted it, screamed out chaos. The exhilaration shot
through her. The fragment was obliterated, a hole scorched
into the surface below.
Excited by the activity, her sisters fell upon the vanquished
target, shrieking out a cacophony of chaos. Particles of rock
flew up as they blasted a great hole into the moon, firing again
and again. Anna drew energy up into her mouth, screamed it
out in blazing red.
The greatest excitement is the thrill of battle, the Eye said.
The greatest joy is the ecstasy of victory.
Anna's greatest desire was to feel it. And she knew she
For soon the war would come.
The ship sang of the beauty of order, of perfect symmetry
and ultimate peace. It glided through the calm blackness of
space, absorbing it. Energy circulated through its petals in a
regular rhythm. The serenity of its silent passage, the unity of
its functioning, the satisfaction of service wove through its
Ahead, a blue-and-white orb glowed in the blackness, the
goal of the journey. The ship slipped through the stillness
toward it, following Kosh's direction eagerly. Obedience was
its greatest joy.
Within the song, Kosh slowed the ship's speed, directing it
to stop a safe distance from the planet, which was known to
its inhabitants as Soom. Although most of the planet's inhabitants
had little technology, two lived among them and served
as guardians, two fabulists, who would detect his presence if
he went too close.
Soon more would come as the fabulists gathered for their
assemblage. Long had Kosh watched them, for three hundred
and thirty and three such assemblages. He had watched as
different races had become dominant within the group, the
most recent being Humans. He had watched as the fabulists
gradually transformed from anarchy to order. They had
achieved some admirable goals, had created fleeting moments
of great beauty.
But now the universe was gathering itself for a great conflagration.
The forces of chaos had returned to their ancient
home and had begun to build their resources for war. The Vorlons,
Kosh among them, likewise prepared. The fabulists did
not know the danger of their position. They carried great
power. They could be the pivot on which the great war turned.
Many among the Vorlons thought the time for action was
now. They did not trust the fabulists. Yet Kosh felt they must
watch just a while longer. The fabulists faced a difficult decision,
and they should be allowed to make it. If they chose
wrongly, then they would die. But let them first choose. Great
power carried both great danger and great possibility.
Kosh altered the ship's song, directing the ship to extrude
several buoys, which would take up positions around the
planet and observe it. Then he would return to Babylon 5.
And he would watch this one, last assemblage.
Top Customer Reviews
Then I ran across this book, and this series, and realized what I had missed. Unlike the first efforts, this one has some input from JMS and not only follows, but expands the canon.
The technomages were deliberately kept indistinct in the two series. What were they? Where did they come from? Why did they exist? What happened to them? These were questions hinted at but never resolved on TV.
Then came these books. Much like the appendices on TLOTR, they reveal a great deal of information just hinted at before (like the answers to all the above questions). Unlike the appendices in TLOTR, they are fully-fleshed-out novels, though, with three dimensional charactors.
No one who liked the B5 series can rob themselves of the pleasure of seeing this story unfold in all its fascinating detail. Though the story starts slowly, building up the mystery as Galen slowly explores what the Technomage "Council" is hiding, the denouement is worth the wait. I was literally blown away by the implications it presented.
Best of all, the series is so well-written that even a non-B5 fan can get into it. Though it assumes a certain knowledge of the B5 universe (like the nature of the Shadows), all the links to the B5 story are explained well enough that as a stand alone series, it still works. If you have friends that still love trek and won't watch B5, then get them to read the books as an example of how deeply fascinating and conflicted this fictional universe can be.
Five thumbs up!
I've read a few of the Babylon 5 books and they suffer from the malady that most TV series or movie spinoff books do: Very little active characterization or plot surprises. When dealing with someone else's characters, an author not only doesn't need to introduce the reader to individuals' character traits, he usually isn't even allowed to.
Not so here. Almost all the characters are fully realized within the confines of the novel. A couple of majour characters appeared briefly in the show, but Cavelos has been given wide leeway to build upon that limited exposure to present a fully detailed novel that could easily stand alone in its own right.
This is no ordinary TV spinoff book, it's a downright good read and almost a must for any B5 fan as it explores one of the little nuances of the show's arc that most of us always wanted to know more about but, with the cancellation of Crusade, never really got to fully explore: the Technomages.
Recommended wholeheartedly for B5 fans and with little reservation for other who might find the idea of technomages intriguing.
Most recent customer reviews
Finally found the first book in this series at an acceptable price point! Yes it shows some wear and tear but is totally readable which is what I am after so that I can read this... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Michael Rice
The 3 vol. series is an excellent tie-in to and novelization of the B5 t.v. series. Based on the Mysterious characters known as Techno-Mages who "use science to create... Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by eric burgess
Any fan of Babylon 5 MUST read this series. It ties up all (ok, most) loose-ends and mystery surrounding the Technomages. And anyone new to the series (poor deprived souls! Read morePublished on Aug. 10 2003 by Nickibockers
Usually when I read television based books they come off as poorly characterized fanfiction but the opposite is true of this book. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2002
If it was possible to give 0 stars to a book, then thats what i would have given to this book
As a Babylon 5 fan, I've bought all of the Babylon 5 books i could get to... Read more
I loved this book. I loved the whole lot. Beautiful prose and an incredible story in typical Straczynski style. Read morePublished on June 14 2002 by J. Lindsay
The Techno-Mages were always a corner of the Babylon 5 Universe I found quite interesting, but not one that I ever thought was explored to its fullest potential. Read morePublished on April 25 2002 by Blake Petit
If you were intrigued by Galen in "Crusade" and would like to experience a whole new dimension to the Babylon 5 story by exploring the technomages then you will find this a... Read morePublished on March 6 2002 by G. M. Smith
Wow. This book series is one of the best series I've ever read. It's the best Babylon 5 book series, for sure. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2002 by Raven Carus