Ray Bradbury: Last of the Grandmasters


I’m a serious fan of classic science fiction writing.  For we old school types, the title of “Grandmaster” has some meaning.  While it used to apply to any of the Golden Age‘s most prolific producers, in the 1970s it took on official status with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America officially honouring Robert Heinlein with the title of first Grandmaster.  This list of recognized Grandmasters is quite exhaustive.  But, for my money, there were only ever four true Grandmasters of SF:  Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and Ray Bradbury.  And with Bradbury’s passing last week, the last surviving Golden Age Grandmaster left this mortal life.

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Remembering Babylon 5

This past week, for reasons even I’m not sure about, I re-watched the entire Babylon 5 saga. It was quite a reflective experience, not only for re-experiencing one of the most unique televised expressions of American SF, but also for the introspective effect that B5 unwaveringly has on its watchers. The show ran for five seasons, with four full-length TV movies, one spin-off series that was cancelled mid-season (Crusade), one abysmal spin-off pilot (Legend of the Rangers) and one rather good attempt at a made-for-tv movie-length miniseries spin-off (The Lost Tales). The movies were touch-and-go, ranging from vomit-inducingly bad to timelessly inspiring. But it’s the main series, the five year tale of the “last of the Babylon stations” that I’d like to take some time to think about today. Continue reading Remembering Babylon 5