One of the highest compliments you can give a book of this nature is that you feel that you have got to know the person writing it when you come to the end. Full disclosure: I’ve known Pat since the filming of Babylon 5, and for me, this is like sitting in a restaurant reminiscing about “the old days” with some extra spicy bits thrown in.
Tallman keeps the reader interested by constantly referring back to the people and the incidents that characterised Babylon 5 – in some ways, this is a love letter to J. Michael Straczynski (aka JMS), the creative powerhouse behind the show, yet it acknowledges his, and others’, faults, and Tallman doesn’t hesitate to point the blame at herself where she thinks it appropriate. It’s also a wonderful obituary for the cast members who have died – Andreas Katsulas, Rick Biggs and Jeff Conaway among them. Astute readers will spot the names that don’t get much of a mention, but Tallman doesn’t dwell on decade-old problems. She also talks about more recent events, and there are some warnings for convention organisers and convention goers in here that should make chilling reading for those involved.
Pat Tallman is a survivor – she’s very open about her past and how that’s made her who she is today (with one particular facet that perhaps won’t come as a surprise to those who know her). You don’t often see her in public without a smile, even when, as this book explains, things are at their toughest.
With a wealth of photos and other items from the Babylon 5 years (call sheets, the incredibly useless map for getting to the set etc.) as well as a CD ROM with a host of other goodies on it including a commentary by JMS and Tallman on a key episode, this is a fantastic package.
Verdict: If you loved Babylon 5 (and it was a show that really you either loved or ignored – there wasn’t much of a middle ground), then you are going to find this insightful and enjoyable. 8/10
By Patricia Tallman
Available from B5Pat.com