"The Shadow of His Thoughts" Review

"The Shadow of His Thoughts" is the first of three Babylon 5 short stories written by J. Michael Straczynski for Amazing Stories. It is printed in issue 597.

The story focuses on Emperor Londo Mollari six days after he takes office in "The Fall of Centauri Prime". While the Centauri people struggle to rebuild their shattered world, Londo must deal with a distraction. As Emperor, he is bound by tradition to journey by carriage to the river Tuwain and install a new prophetess supreme to replace the one killed in the bombings.

This story succeeds on several fronts. First, it gives us a glimpse of life on Centauri Prime after it was last seen on the show. We follow Londo's adaptation to his Keeper and Drakh masters. Londo gets to apply his resourcefulness to a more personal conflict rather than one of galactic consequences. He tries to help someone escape tradition in order to lead a happy life, something he has done for others in the past even though he knows he will never escape the fate tradition demands of him. Straczynski adds in doses of Centauri history and politics to complete the story.

Londo spends the story under the heavy weight of his predicament, but we do get to see him grow as a result of his visit to Tuwain. While this story may not appeal to all Babylon 5 fans, those interested in Londo and the Centauri should enjoy it. Dave Dorman provides the illustration.