Babylon 5: Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1999
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on May 6 2011 by whatever
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 morePublished on Feb. 22 2004 by Jason Montgomery
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 morePublished on Jan. 2 2004
This book offers some background information on Bester.Published on Nov. 12 2002 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on June 20 2002 by J. Lindsay
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 morePublished on Sept. 27 2001 by weinham
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 morePublished on March 5 2001 by Treckhyon 5
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 morePublished on Nov. 24 2000 by TAZ
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