caveat: As can be inferred from the date of publication, this article may no longer represent my current views and style. It remains here for archival purposes to provide a sense of documentation and should be treated as such.
1. B5 Technology
The problem of fiction in our time is that it seems that everything has been told already in one way or the other, but that on the other hand variation can
create new aspects and also something entirely new. It is said that there are just a few basic story lines, and that might be true.
Same can be true for sf technology: The dominating Star Trek influence could make it difficult to write space tales that are not trying to use warp drive or tractor beams or things like that.
B5 has done a good job of inventing some image of future technology of its own. It might be less advanced than its Trek counterpart, but it is not less interesting: Maybe B5 might be a look into our direct future, maybe B5 tech would become available during our next century.
But in general the scientific development of the B5 Earth Alliance seems much too slow for me, that would implicate that the political situation would have
to have been different. It could also be a matter of first contact -- besides, Trek Earth made first contact with the Vulcans, B5 Earth had to face the Centauri instead -- any further explanation necessary? Besides, Starfleet hadnít had a major enemy like the Minbari at its beginning, the Klingons and Romulans would not count.
But then, B5 seems to be less sf than Star Trek is. There is certainly less technobabble, but also less explanation of the scientific background. That leads to the fact that B5 might be a futuristic show with some sf effects and background, but that doesnít really make it an sf show in the strictest
sense. I could even say the same for DS9, although the sf quotient there seems to be slightly higher than in B5. But those discussions arenít worth a dime. Letís accept that each show has its own characteristics. IDIC.
May 7th, 1998