Well, this is fun issue. Lots of variety, plus a cool interview with the author of an upcoming B5 novel featuring a whole lot of you-know-who. Special thanks to Jeanne Cavelos for her time to do the interview, and y'all go out and buy a copy of the book.
No other business to report. See you in May.
(Below is the part of an ongoing interview with Ed. It will be continued in every issue of the EWFCN.)
The interview has been moved to the end of the newsletter to accommodate a spoiler warning for those who have not seen "Into the Fire."
We will be adding to this section every issue to give you more background about Ed. (Observant readers will notice that our questions jump all over the map. These are primarily for fun and to try to do what is hard to do in a newsletter, really let you get a sense of the little things that makes a person what they are.)
Chocolate covered Fruitloops....don't you? :>)
Being at peace with yourself when dealing with all of that rejection. Walking in the light in spite of the business.
The opportunity to do projects that matter while reaching a very large audience. I look forward to doing my part in contributing positive energy to the Universe and igniting other people's desire to do the same. Being an actor and picking creative projects that have that message is thrilling. I love it!
I don't have any :>) But I'm sure Suzanne would tell you otherwise. (Grin)
...WHAT GOD PLANS FOR ME TO BE!
...Food! I haven't really had that happen but the question is so gross I instantly thought about food. What a horrible combination.....snot and food...ich! If someone was actually disgusting enough to do that to me I would of course begin to vomit........and not just anywhere.....it would be on HIS food. :>)
First, a little bio_
Jeanne Cavelos is a writer, editor, and teacher. She is the author of the upcoming Babylon 5 novel, THE SHADOW WITHIN, to be published by Dell in April. She is also the author of numerous short stories, articles, and essays and is a regular book reviewer for REALMS OF FANTASY magazine. As an editor, Jeanne runs Jeanne Cavelos Editorial Services, a full-service freelance company offering editing, revising, ghostwriting, and consulting services to publishers, book packagers, agents, and authors. Among her clients are major book publishers and best-selling and award-winning authors. She has freelance edited all the BABYLON 5 novels thus far (except her own). She is also a consulting editor for Swordsmith Productions, where she develops book projects.
In her role as teacher, Jeanne is the director and primary instructor for Odyssey, the annual six-week, summer writing workshop for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror held at New Hampshire College. She also teaches writing and literature at Saint Anselm College.
Before moving to New Hampshire two years ago, Jeanne was a senior editor at Dell Publishing. There she founded and ran the Abyss horror imprint, for which she won the World Fantasy Award, and the Cutting Edge imprint of literary fiction. She also ran the science fiction/fantasy program and started the BABYLON 5 series of novels, since she was a fan of the show. In addition, Jeanne acquired and edited a variety of fiction and nonfiction, including mysteries, thrillers, true crime, science, biography, history, women's studies, inspirational, how-to, humor, reference, and pop culture. In her eight years in New York publishing, she worked with many best-selling and award-winning writers and launched the careers of many new authors.
She has an MFA in creative writing and a BS in astrophysics and mathematics and worked for a time at NASA.
We had the honor of exchanging a few words with Jeanne Cavelos about her upcoming Babylon 5 book. The book has a lot about Morden, and there are minor spoilers about the book throughout the interview, so you use your own judgment.
When the pilot for B5 first aired, I was a senior editor at Dell Publishing. I immediately liked the show and was really intrigued by the idea that it was going to have a five-year story. That seemed like an incredible new development in television sf and got me very excited. I tracked down JMS through WB and told him I was interested in doing a series of novels based on the series. He liked the idea. Then all I had to do was convince the non-sf crowd at Dell to do the books.... After describing the unique flavor and structure of B5 to the editorial board and seeing their blank faces, I resorted to my last attempt. I said, "These books will sell just like Star Trek!" They gave the okay.
Anyway, I'm taking the long road to answer this question. The basic answer is I was a fan of the show. I was editing the B5 novels (first at Dell, later, after I quit Dell to escape to New Hampshire, as a freelancer). So I was very involved in B5. I'd vaguely thought about trying my hand at a B5 novel, but I was in the middle of another novel, which I'd been working on for several years, and wanted to complete that first (the main reason I left Dell was to make more time for my writing). After the first 3 books were published (Dell buys the rights to these from WB in groups of 3), Dell was discussing with JMS the direction of future books (and I threw my two cents in, too). We all wanted the books to be more a part of the arc, to fill in missing pieces of the story, to do things that episodes could not do. (We'd all wanted this from the beginning, but actually doing it was very difficult, since authors knew no more about the series than viewers did.) JMS wrote a short open letter to be sent to authors interested in writing the novels. In it, he suggested that novels might be set in the past, filling in pieces of the arc, and he mentioned three quick ideas--the Battle of the Line, the Icarus, and...can't remember the other, sorry. Anna Sheridan's experience on the Icarus had intrigued me when it had been mentioned on the show, and I started now to think about it more seriously. Before I knew it I had written a synopsis (about 20 pages) for the book.
There are really no official "guidelines" for the books. There is a series "Bible," but it is pretty useless, since it was written when the pilot was filmed. This was a tricky book to write, since I felt that JMS knew what had happened with the Icarus, but I didn't know. I studied every episode that mentioned Anna (I was writing this around 11/95, so I didn't know a lot that we all know now). I submitted the proposal and heard nothing. Until 8/96.
Then I got a call from Dell saying the book had been okayed by JMS...and they wanted it in 4 weeks! I was actually in the process of moving at the time and was living out of a Motel 6. Nervous breakdown time. I negotiated my way up to 8 weeks and made the deal. Since my previous time for completing a novel was around 8 YEARS, this was a leap of faith on my part (and on the publisher's, but they didn't have to know that). Soon after I received my synopsis back with some notes from JMS on it. He'd made probably about ten comments on it, noting things I would have to correct (I wanted the nuking of San Diego to occur around 2255, but he said it happened 40 years earlier, so I had to cut it from the book) and giving me a LITTLE additional information
I started immediately on a detailed, scene-by-scene outline of the book. Writing this was the only way I felt I could guarantee I'd finish on time. As I started, I realized I still didn't have enough info. on B5 to feel comfortable writing this. I made some calls to fans who have offered to help me in the editing of previous novels. Particularly, I called the Lurker, Steven Grimm, who said, "Hey, have you heard about this Z'ha'dum episode that's going to air later this season?" Another nervous breakdown. I called Dell to ask them to ask WB for the script. Time passed. WB was resisting releasing confidential material. Finally I faxed JMS directly and swore myself to secrecy if he'd just send me the script. It came by overnight mail. This helped a lot, but I still found myself with a few questions only JMS could answer. I wanted to make sure my book was consistent with the arc. Dell arranged a conference call. Most of the conversation actually turned out to be me asking, "Is it okay if I do this?" and JMS saying "Yes." This was immensely reassuring to me. In a few places he gave me information (JMS does not like to give out information on the show), such as that IPX headquarters is in Geneva and Anna was a freelancer for them.
My big problem came when I asked him Morden's first name. JMS said he had never given Morden a first name. He'd always thought of him just as "Morden." He said he wasn't really comfortable with the idea of him having a first name. That stopped me for a minute. Morden is a major character in my book, and he is part of a fairly small group of archaeologists on the Icarus. It would be difficult to get through the whole book without giving his first name. I found a way around it, as you'll see in the book.
The book was finished in exactly 8 weeks.
A non-spoiler overview: This story takes place between November 2256 and January 2257 (the pilot takes place later in 2257, so this is a prequel). The major plot involves Anna Sheridan's journey on the Icarus (with Morden and Dr. Chang, among others) to Z'ha'dum and her encounter with the Shadows. A secondary plot follows John Sheridan on the Agamemnon, his difficulties as the new captain, and his mission to stop a terrorist group from blowing up B5. A third, more minor plot deals with Sinclair aboard B5, preparing for its dedication ceremony, and involves Delenn and Kosh.
What intrigues me about Morden? I love him. It's funny, I never really thought about WHY before. He keeps to himself, he has a secret agenda, he manipulates people--it's all one incredibly intriguing package. I always felt Morden was leaving so much unsaid; it really caught my interest. I didn't know what he was thinking (unlike the other characters on the show, whom I feel I know pretty well), and I WANTED to know. I think a lot of my interest in Morden was also fueled by Ed Wasser's portrayal of him. I find his physical presence, controlled movements and posture quite striking. This probably more than anything drew me to Morden.
I'm sure there will be some controversy about how I portray Morden in the novel (I'd be happy to discuss this more openly after everyone's had a chance to read it). I wanted to avoid doing what people would expect, since basically with this book, you already know how it ends, so the main interest is in how the characters get to that point.
As mentioned above, I think Ed Wasser does an incredible job of portraying Morden. There was an episode recently (sorry, forgot the title) where Londo is warned to leave B5 by a Morden-like minion of the Shadows. Admittedly, that actor had only a few seconds screen time, but I found him totally un-scary and lacking that aura of power, control, and menace that Ed Wasser gives Morden. (Not to mention that sort of Game-Show-Host-Gone-Satanic feeling I love so much.) He just seemed trying too hard to be bad. Ed seems to be bad effortlessly.
If you read the book, you'll see clearly that I pictured Ed in every scene of Morden's. I actually describe Morden and his actions more than any other character in the book, since he fascinates me so. I studied episodes with Ed in them and noted the various gestures, movements, and postures he had. Again, this is what I think is most powerful about Morden, and I wanted all that to be there.
The hardest part of writing the book was convincing myself I knew enough about B5 to make it work. This happened through the feedback from JMS, through repeated viewing of videotapes, through acquisition of copies of the latest episodes (including Z'ha'dum) that aired in Britain while I was writing the book but not in the US, through phone calls to B5 trivia experts, and through consulting the Lurker's Guide and the A-Z of Babylon 5 (a British guide soon to be released in the US).
I don't think it would be possible to write a sequel to THE SHADOW WITHIN, or at least I don't think a sequel would be interesting. Recently I've come up with a few other ideas for B5 novels...JMS has said that he thinks my book is the best of the B5 books written so far, and if more of them are signed up by Dell, he would like me to do another. But I really should get back to that big novel I've been working on for years...
May 10th &11th - Marcon 97 - Columbus Ohio - for information call:(614) 475-8181 and check out their website at www.marcon.org
July 11th, 12th &13th - Wolf 359 and the UK B5 FC - Blackpool - UK- for information call England, 01753821867
August 29th, 30th &31st - StarQuest `97 - San Jose, CA. www.Starquest.org.
As a Con guest, Ed is a major hit. We often mail from people who have seen him at a convention and we welcome the "reports" we get back from them.
Rereading this right now, before I send it, I hesitate. Will it sound too corny? Will people care? Will they even bother to read it? But I proofread it anyway. I will send it in. Yes, of course I hope people read and enjoy it, but if they don't, so what? It's not the end of the world. It would be the end of _my_ world, however, if I stopped writing - or doing anything else I loved - just because it was easier to let go of it than to have some doubts.
At Stellar Occasion in Dallas, Texas, Ed Wasser unknowingly made me realize that.
As I was walking through the lobby Friday night, I noticed Wasser sitting at the bar with a few other people. I stepped over to say "hi." When I reached them, Ed stopped midsentence and greeted me. He shook my hand, listened to my name, and just generally made me feel comfortable. So I stayed for a while - over two hours - and listened.
Ed ordered some fries, shared them with us, and told the bartender repeatedly how good they were. I was running on little sleep, so I ditzed out a few times ("You know, if you tease your bangs up real high, it helps you catch some of the things that go over your head..."). But one small exchange snagged my mind and still hasn't let go. Ed asked Katie (one of the staff heads) what she wanted to be, to accomplish with her life. She responded that she wanted to be an actress. The Ed said the words that hit me: "What are you doing right now to get there?" Katie was able to give an answer. I wouldn't have been.
In my plodding attempt to try and finish college, I've let a lot of things slide. Two of those have been my dancing and my acting. I've been to plays and ballets and felt something collapsing within me: the ache of seeing a stage only from the audience. I missed the theater, but wouldn't let myself admit it. Admitting it would mean I would have to change things and do something.
Ed's words kept nagging at me, reminding me that I was ignoring a part of myself. I had let go of something I loved. And unless I at least tried to get it back, I would be lessened.
So finally I'm trying. In January, I went to an audition at a local theater - and got the part! :) We open in three weeks. I'm also working on a short dance for the costume contest at A-Kon 8, and hope to resume ballet lessons this summer.
Did Wasser's question hit me so hard because it was from someone I admire? Very possibly. Was it because he's a celebrity? I hope not. But whatever the reason, I am fortunate it happened. And I am grateful to Ed Wasser, even though he had no idea how his conversation with Katie would affect this bystander.
(Astute readers might remember Dawn's report about Ed's appearance at a Dallas con. Dull readers probably won't remember, which is why I am typing this.)
I had some business in the East this past weekend and decided to pay a visit to "SWILCON". Needless to say I surprised a certain someone. It was pretty comical! I was surprised as well to see that Ed got his hair cut. I would like to share it with you and feel free to print it if you and Ed choose.
I didn't tell him that I was coming, but sat in the second row for his first appearance. After about 10 minutes he put his hand up to his eyebrows and said "Oh my god...is that Dawn from Dallas!!!" Of course I answered with the obvious, "yes".
He was his normal, caring self and what a treat to be able to meet his wonderful parents! They came to the Con to watch him entertain the group. Its easy to see where he gets all his wonderful caring qualities, and sense of humor.
SWILCON was at the Swarthmore College Campus, put on by a group of students. It was very warm and beautiful surroundings. The students had worked hard to make their first con a memorable one and should enjoy success in the future.
Ed gracefully answered questions that have probably been asked a thousand times, with the same enthusiasm as if they were new ones. And shared with us some of his future hopes and plans.
He never did tell us what happened to Morden's body tho!!!!
If you live near a place where Ed is appearing, take the time to go listen to him. He has a message for everyone that is worth hearing.
Ed receives a fair amount of email at his address (email@example.com). He regards it as personal and private, and generally does not share it with us. However, he received a letter and forwarded it to us (after receiving the permission of the author.) We would like to share it with you_
Just thought you should know what an impression you made on everybody this weekend. I know I'll never forget it. In particular, I thought I should explain that card I gave you to pass on to Joe. You seem to be in touch with a spiritual aspect that few people appreciate fully, and may understand....
A while back, somebody online asked Joe "Do you know if B5 has ever changed anybody's life?" He said that he had met a young man in Dallas who, because of B5's inspiration, left a lucrative career in the software industry to go into social work.
Well, that was me. I used to be a fairly successful computer game producer, but eventually realized that we were just creating high-tech addictions (or at best, meaningless diversions) and were not changing anybody's lives for the better. I felt a calling to go and do something more meaningful, and it was B5 that gave me the courage to follow that calling. I went back to school to get a Masters degree in Human Services (which I just completed last month) and am now doing career counseling. I see it as helping people figure out "Who am I?", "What do I want?", and "How do I get it?" (familiar questions, eh?) I'm not as financially rich as before, but making progress on other fronts.
I sent Joe a video tape of a speech I gave recently on the subject of heroes. For all I know, he's lost it by now, or it's buried under a stack of books, but you may want to ask to see it if you ever get a chance. I feel that speech was one that I didn't really write, but "channeled" from some higher source.
I truly appreciated how much you shared of your more spiritual side. It reminds me that others are doing more with their lives than just trying to get rich and famous. Thanks again.
Well it was my birthday recently and boy was it great! I woke up and went to the gym to get my 33-year-old body going. I was pleased to see that I didn't get old over night and that my body was still working. That's a good start...right? I came home, did my voice warm-up, answered the phone for some business. Rented a movie called The Seventh Sign, with Demi Moore. I loved it by the way and recommend everyone to see it. It has a very important message. It was getting late in the day when I received a call from my manager. He informed me that the official offer for "The Heretic" came in and that negotiations were now underway. For those of you who don't know, I have been asked to star in a 2-hour pilot with 6 episodes to follow and the project is called "The Heretic" and it's going to start shooting in September of `97. After receiving that great news I spoke to some of my family members and received Happy Birthday wishes from them. Of course I was now on my way to my girlfriend's house. When I walked in, Suzanne and her two children Sydnee and Ashlee, and their little friend Alexis were standing there with a beautiful chocolate cake full of candles. They then proceeded to sing happy birthday to me. I felt like I was in a really good movie. I then said, "Ok...no one is allowed to have any cake until your mom and I get back from dinner." They were bummed, but agreed. Suzanne then took me to a really romantic dinner. It was one of the best dinning experiences I ever had...WOW...the food was great, and the service impeccable and of course the company was unbeatable. Back at the house..."Ok kids, it's cake time. But you have to sing happy birthday to me again, or you don't get any cake." Boy did they sing out loud and strong. What a fun evening! It was now bed time for the kids and for our private party to begin. The rest I will leave up to your imagination! :>)
"If one is praying every day, as he should, for enlightenment and guidance, the one certain thing is that he will not go on holding to the same ideas as he grows older, but that he will be continually revising, enlarging, and expanding them. He will die daily, as the man he is, to be reborn bigger and wiser and better on the morrow."
Now, I always say this is a no spoiler newsletter. But I am assuming everyone here as seen "Into the Fire." If you have not, then stop reading here, as the newsletter is over for you.
Well I feel great about it! The character really made an impact on the arc of B5 and it was time to get rid of him. It would be nice to do some flashback work, or even discover that Morden was cloned by the Shadows for other purposes. But shooting the last scene was a blast. I would have to say that it was my most fun day yet.
When I read the script it became pretty clear that Morden was doomed. I guess that's when I started begging JMS for another job. :>)
Yes actually he did. Before I could even ask for more work, he was kind enough to let me know that he's already looking for another character for me to play. I suppose that took some of the sting out of knowing that Morden was going to die.
I actually have been following up on that, the prosthetics department is working on that for me. It cost B5 over $3000 to make it, so it might be a little more complicated than I had hoped. I still have my own head, so no matter what...I'm OK! :>)
They put me in a big cast with a couple of straws in my nose, something like that. I don't really remember. It was a lot of fun, though.
With how what was handled...the death of Morden or the head? I rather enjoyed the making of the head, and it was handled with such care. As for Morden's death? I thought it was done well, but I did think why all that trouble to make a head and just show a fraction of it. A lot of people missed the head on the pike.
It was just an actor choice to hold it when Morden realizes that it's all over. He felt the presence of the Shadows through that crystal, his purpose and even his family. The crystal represented his power, his hope, his future. When Morden realizes that that's all gone, it makes all the sense in the universe to hold on to it as if he could wish it all back.
Celebrated! :>) It was a fun day in the set!
His mother didn't breast feed him! :o( I don't know. :o) (laughter), I suppose his life would have been better if he had never met the Shadows.
Episode: "Into the Fire"
Scene: The scene where they pull me off to my death.
Line: "What do you want?" of course!
Well I really don't know. I'd enjoy coming back! Like I said earlier, I would love to see some flashbacks of Morden or maybe even a clone. And JMS did say that he is working on a character for me. So maybe with the fans support by writing to JMS via e-mail and letters to the production office directly to him requesting my return, it could happen. Sometimes I'm not sure that the fans realize how much impact they really have. I always appreciate their support, it's needed!
First, last issue's contest results:
In 25 words or less, describe something useful you have learned from Morden.
A couple of runners up:
"When you invite an advisory to your home, be prepared to get burned. If you can not take the heat, stay off the planet."
"Never mess around with the wife of a man with a technologically advanced starship, armed to the hilt with several megatons of thermo-nuclear devices."
I think there's a moral in there for us all...
And our winner is Wendy Battle with the submission:
"Always insist on a *written* contract."
Congrats Wendy - you win the autographed 8 x 10.
Contest number eight:
The contest you have all been waiting for: Drum roll_. Top Ten Things to do with Morden's Head. That should say it all_ Usual prize: Our accolades plus an autographed 8 x 10 of Morden, with head attached. Email those entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or just hit the handy ole reply button. It really makes us very little difference.
Contrary to the rumors you may hear, we are not on the lam from the law. You can contact us. To subscribe, email to email@example.com. Conversely, when you have had enough, firstname.lastname@example.org will do the trick. If you want to contribute anything, we will most likely print it, assuming it pertains to Ed, Morden, Shadows, B5 (i.e. doesn't ramble on about how Voyager and DS9 continue to battle it out as to which one can reuse the most TNG plots. BTW - does anyone read this far? I spend a great deal of effort changing this every month, and I wonder why.). Email to email@example.com. Letters to Ed are also welcome, and they are all read and answered by him. Ed's email is, you guessed it, firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a web page for us at: http://www.catalog.com/wasser. It is growing, so be patient. Contest submissions are sent to email@example.com.
|Volume III, Issue 3|