Not sure how much it's worth paying $55 bucks for a limited amount of B5 material, there already about a year behind on bringing out the Crusade script books, and this will likely only delay things even firther.
(Text of e-mail from B5 script mailing list quoted below)
A LETTER TO BABYLON 5 FANS
FROM J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
I don’t have to tell you who Harlan Ellison is, about his involvement in Babylon 5 or that he wrote some of the most seminal episodes of science fiction television in the history of the form. His scripts for THE OUTER LIMITS, STAR TREK, TWILIGHT ZONE and others have won countless awards and are considered landmarks of the genre.
A while back, I got wind of a top-secret project being developed by Publishing 180, the company that publishes the BABYLON 5 script books, involving Harlan’s scripts for these series. (Important note: I do not own any part of P180 nor do I receive any financial remuneration of any kind from this project. My involvement here is strictly as a fan and admirer.)
When I heard that Harlan was going to include the B5 manifesto (entitled “A Terrifying List of Things Not to Do When Writing For BABYLON 5”), I offered to write an introduction to the volume, entitled “Touching Magic.” That introduction is now also in the book.
Maybe coolest of all, because of the presence of B5 material, they are doing a limited number of books that are DUAL AUTOGRAPHED by both myself and Harlan. With only one prior exception, this is the ONLY time that Harlan and I have autographed something together, and never before for a published book. Once those signed editions are gone...they’re gone.
The book, entitled BRAIN MOVIES, contains Harlan’s scripts for “Soldier” and “Demon With a Glass Hand” from THE OUTER LIMITS, “Paladin of the Lost Hour” and “Crazy as a Soup Sandwich” from THE TWILIGHT ZONE, “Memos from Purgatory” from THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR, “The Face of Helene Bournouw” and Harlan’s near-legendary manifesto on how to write good science fiction, written exclusively for incoming writers on BABYLON 5. (The scripts for “Paladin” and “Demon” received the prestigious Writers Guild Award.)
In many cases, the book contains both the script and the treatment, something almost never seen outside the studio. Most amazing of all, the book contains not just the shooting script for Harlan’s HITCHCOCK episode, it contains an earlier draft filled with his handwritten annotations and changes.
When an episode is broadcast, you don’t get to see the writer’s mind at work, don’t have the opportunity to experience the moment he decided to make a line of dialogue or a scene go this way instead of that way, how a turn of phrase was altered in just the right way at the last moment, you see only the end product. By including the draft with the handwritten annotations, you can see the creative process being enacted right before your eyes. The opportunity to see inside the writer’s mind is unspeakably rare.
Best of all, these are not re-typeset versions of the script, they are painstakingly scanned reproductions of the ORIGINAL SCRIPTS, exactly as they were written.
And for the budding science fiction writers out there, what better than having Harlan Ellison break down in his manifesto how to write effectively in the genre, how to avoid various kinds of traps and make your writing better?
The value of this book to up-and-coming writers, academics, collectors, fans, and just plain folks who love science fiction television is inestimable. This isn’t just a book of scripts, it’s an important piece of history.
FRONT AND BACK COVER
($20 off good through July 31 -
this book will NEVER be discounted again)
Brain Movies: The Original Teleplays of Harlan Ellison, Volume One
Limited Babylonian Edition
Introduction by J. Michael Straczynski
Signed by both Harlan Ellison & J. Michael Straczynski
For the first time ever, six of Harlan Ellison’s teleplays are presented in one book, reproduced from the author’s own file copies. See the scripts as Ellison originally typed them on his Olympia manual typewriter. All his handwritten deletions and emendations are included, illustrating the writing process.
BUT WHAT MAKES THIS LIMITED-EDITION VOLUME EXTRAORDINARY -- in addition to each copy being hand-signed by BOTH Harlan Ellison and J. Michael Straczynski -- is that it features three documents Straczynski commissioned Ellison to write at the outset of Babylon 5:
1) A detailed manifesto explaining to potential writers for the series what not to do in science fiction television.
2) The UNABRIDGED opening narration to be read by Michael O’Hare as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair over the beginning of each episode, written in collaboration with Straczynski and never featured in its entirety in the finished episodes.
3) Thirteen never-heard humorous voice overs written to be spoken over the Warner Bros. logo that ended each episode. What you heard spoken was, “Babylon 5 was produced by Babylonian Productions Inc. and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.” But Ellison had other ideas.
Of course, with all this special Babylon 5 material appearing for the first time in this book, it was an obvious choice to ask the show’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski, to say a few words about Ellison, one of the central influences of his own career, so JMS did just that in his introduction titled “Touching Magic,” the first time Ellison and Straczynski have appeared together between the same book covers.
Note: An unlimited edition of BRAIN MOVIES Volume One will be released this Fall at the regular price of $39.95. This edition will not include the seventeen pages of Babylon 5 material and will not be signed by either Ellison or Straczynski.
IN ADDITION TO THE BABYLON 5 MATERIAL, THIS SPECIAL EDITION INCLUDES --
“Memos From Purgatory,” Ellison’s adaptation of his memoir about life in a Brooklyn gang. Produced for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, this harrowing tale of juvenile delinquency is presented in TWO different drafts, illustrating the author’s creative process.
The Outer Limits' “Soldier,”the story that inspired The Terminator as well as the Writers Guild Award-winning "Demon With a Glass Hand," one of the most iconic segments of the 1960s science fiction anthology.
Ellison won yet another Writers Guild Award for “Paladin of the Lost Hour,” an episode of the 1985 Twilight Zone revival written simultaneously with the Hugo Award-winning short story of the same name, but this particular script differs from the story in one key respect: it features the original ending Ellison originally planned for the story. This ending only appeared with the very first publication of the short story in the 1985 anthology UNIVERSE 15; it has never been reprinted and the ending of the episode was re-written before the show was filmed. See how Ellison originally planned to end his classic story before his colleagues in the Zone convinced him to write the conclusion that has since become famous. The original outline for the story—remarkably reminiscent of the short story in its execution—is included as well.
After leaving his post as creative consultant on The Twilight Zone, Ellison penned one more episode at the behest of the series’ new script editor, J. Michael Straczynski, and that was “Crazy as a Soup Sandwich,” presented here for the first time with the treatment from which the teleplay was developed.
The final script is “The Face of Helene Bournouw,” and if you’ve only seen the episode of Showtime’s anthology series The Hunger that bears that title, you’ve merely seen the vulture-picked bones of Ellison’s adaptation of his own chilling short story. See why Harlan had the TV episode credited to his pseudonym, Cordwainer Bird, in a script that—effectively—will be seen for the first time in this volume.
($20 off good through July 31 -
this book will NEVER be discounted again)