Crusade Writer's Bible Review

The Official Babylon 5 Fan Club issued limited edition copies of several official Babylon 5 documents. The first of these was the Crusade Writer's Bible.

The Crusade Writer's Bible is written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski. It was prepared before Crusade began production to give series writers, as well as members of the cast and crew, information about the background of the universe and characters.

The document begins with a description of the setup for Crusade, including the events following the Shadow War and the Drakh attack depicted in "A Call to Arms". This introduction then goes on to describe the mission of the Excalibur.

The following sections cover the main characters. They contain many hints about the characters that would have been considered spoilers before the series aired. Surprisingly, the majority of the character details in the bible were revealed during the first 13 episodes. The one exception is a clue about Galen's true agenda... or is it just more misdirection?

By the way, you won't find out about Galen's agenda here. I will refrain from revealing spoilers in this review out of respect for both Babylonian Productions' copyright and those fans who have paid the high price to learn this information.

The next two sections cover the Excalibur and the Apocalypse Box. Some of the Apocalypse Box information did not appear on the show, but it could be pieced together from Joe Straczynski's Usenet postings.

The next section briefly describes the situations of the characters from Babylon 5 during the time of Crusade. For example, it indicates that Dr. Franklin is contaminated on Earth, but can leave secretly as he did in "Each Night I Dream of Home". The hottest inside information in the entire document is contained in this section: the whereabouts of Lennier and Lyta Alexander.

The final section of the writer's bible discusses the themes and feelings Joe Straczynski is looking for from his writers. It also discusses some of the long-term plot devices available to the writers. I'm is pleased to learn that I may not have been far off with some of the predictions I made back in February 1999.

Attached to the Crusade Writer's Bible is the Crusade Writer's Style Guide by Fiona Avery. This guide merely consists of a list of names and words that may appear in Crusade. This section is helpful for little other than verifying spellings, but even this limited utility provides some interesting clarifications. For instance, it can be verified that the name of the hyperspace jellyfish in "The Well of Forever" is spelled "Fen" supporting the theory of an inside joke. (Among science fiction fandom, fen is the plural of fan.) Also, we now know that the inconsistently spelled term "techno-mage" is hyphenated.

The Crusade Writer's Bible is a replica of the actual document circulated around Babylonian Productions. The entire package consists of 26 pages of three-hole punch paper with heavier stock front and back covers. The front cover is imprinted with an Official Babylon 5 Fan Club stamp. Discounting the pages devoted to titles, copyrights, and tables of contents, the actual meat of the writer's bible is 13 pages long, and the style guide is six pages long. It unfortunately contains a few typographical errors. The Crusade Writer's Bible sold for $20 at the fan club's Babylon 5 Emporium.

Considering the high price, small size, and scarcity of juicy secrets, I must rate the Crusade Writer's Bible "for collectors only". However, if you are a serious Babylon 5 fan, this item should be a prized addition to your collection. It is a rare opportunity to own a copy of an actual internal working document from your favorite show. The Crusade Writer's Bible is no longer available, and the number of copies in existence is limited. The Crusade Writer's Bible may become a valuable and sought-after collectible in the future.