These 8 images are depictions of the Elorg
War.  I basically used the cut-and-paste
method to create them.  They look fine at
this resolution, but... up close, they're not
too pretty.  There are some nice starship
designs, though.  I really wish I knew who
made them.  And it should be noted, I still
use SOME of those explosions to this very
day...
Click Here to Continue!
1998: JMS





The Final Frontier was our last, best hope for good fan fiction.

It failed.  Miserably.

But in the year that followed, it became something greater… our last, best hope for victory.

The year is 1998.

The place… CompuServe’s Babylon 5 forum.


Anyone who has watched “Babylon 5” knows who JMS is… He is J. Michael Straczynski, the man behind almost every aspect of
Babylon 5.  He wrote 88 of the show’s 110 episodes.  He directed “Sleeping in Light,” the very last episode of Babylon 5.  He
also made a handful of Babylon 5 movies.  And he is also the man who single-handedly changed Star Trek: The Final Frontier.

Back in 1998, when The Final Frontier was beginning to falter, I at long last realized that the Internet was more than the Star
Trek forum on CompuServe.  There was also a Babylon 5 forum.  It would take me a few additional months to realize that there
was an entire wealth of wonders beyond CompuServe, but… I’m slow at times.  Anyway, Babylon 5 was in the midst of its final
year.  I had watched Babylon 5 since its Fourth Season, so I hadn’t seen too much… but I knew there were a HELL of a lot of
great space battles!  There was action around almost every corner.  It was freaking awesome.  

But then came the Fifth Season, and we hit a snag.  The Shadow War was over.  The Civil War on Earth was over.  And… and…
where were the battles?  I was stuck watching this show that was all about… characters?  Characters!?  What the hell?  I want
explosions, damn it!

So, having recently found the Babylon 5 forum on CompuServe, I decided to find out what happened.  At the time, J. Michael
Straczynski visited those forums with frequency… And I went straight to the top.  I contacted THE MAN himself.  In my email, I
told him how much I liked Babylon 5, but… I was a little concerned about Season Five.

He replied.

You have NO idea what it is like to check your email and have a message from J. Michael Straczynski sitting in your inbox, but
there it was.  I nearly shit myself.  I wish that I have saved his reply, but I didn’t.  I eagerly opened it, and read through his
message, and… deleted it.  Yep.  [sigh]

In his reply, JMS kindly explained that before we could have big action pieces, we first needed to understand the characters
and their relationships and WHY we were having big action pieces to begin with.  If we don’t understand the characters… if we
don’t know who they are… we don’t really care about them.  And if we don’t care about the characters in the midst of that big
action piece, what then DO we care about?  The explosions?  Explosions aren’t the story.  It’s the characters…  (I was
paraphrasing, by the way.  I can’t remember everything JMS said, but it was definitely along those lines).  Anyway, he told me
that good things come to those who wait, and that I would get my explosions.  When the time was right.

JMS was right.  I went back and watched every single episode of Babylon 5.  I learned to appreciate the characters, and by the
time those Season Five action pieces came around… I was floored.  When Londo became the Emperor in “The Fall of Centauri
Prime,” I had a freaking lump in my throat.  I’m not even going to mention the number of Kleenex I went through during the
final episode, but… I was crying like a baby.

And I was thusly hit with a revelation—The Final Frontier needed better characters.




I went back to The Final Frontier.  And I tried again.

The script format was the first thing to go.  If I wanted to create a lush, living world, I needed a little something more than a
few pages of crappy dialogue.  So I went with a more traditional means of writing an epic—in the standard “novel” format.  

I also got rid of the Stardust.  Too many people made jokes about the Stardust turning into dust, so… I came up with the similar-
sounding STARLIGHT, registry NCC-72080 (my birthday).  The crew more-or-less stayed the same, though I made a considerable
attempt to augment their bland personalities…  It worked—to an extent.  The writing was surprisingly decent; the plot, while
similar to the script-based “Emergence,” was improved, and the characters were passable.  I felt that I could get away with this
level of quality for seven years, but… I didn’t just want to squeak by with “barely passable.”  When I finally posted TFF to the
Internet, I wanted it to be THE undisputed legend among legends.  My new story, while decent… was not legendary.

Should you wish to peruse the story, here it is:  
"THE EMERGENCE"
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