Sometimes trawling through the Internet for audio dramas brings unexpected
rewards. Novo Babylonia is the fan-fiction response to the series Babylon 5, which ran between 1994
For those who might have forgotten (or, like me, who never actually saw the original
series), Babylon 5 was a space opera television series set between the years 2257 and 2262, portraying an earth divided
into sovereign states overruled by Earthgov. The stories revolved round the conflict of cultures within each state, in a diffuse
structure reminiscent of the police series Hill Street Blues - in other words, rather than focusing on one or two
central characters, each series comprised numerous plots, often of short scenes, in which dialogue and action were equally
important. The series was also one of the first to make use of CGI technology.
As an audio drama, Novo Babylonia cannot include CGI effects:
the principal focus centres on the dialogue between individual characters as they encounter a series of difficult situations,
and try to deal with them. Sometimes the action seems somewhat static as characters talk directly to listeners, disclosing
their feelings or outlining their respective course of action. On other occasions each episode is comprised of dialogue between
two or three characters. Aural effects are kept firmly in their place.
While the series will obviously appeal to fans of the television series, Novo
Babylonia is nonetheless a great example of work produced by enthusiasts who spend much of their time producing episode
after episode on a regular basis, for no other reason than to preserve the memory of past glories. Their efforts evoke the
spirit personified by the British mountaineer George Malory, who was once asked: "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?"
He replied "Because it's there." Likewise the cast of Novo Babylonia produce episodes for the sake of doing so -
because Babylon 5 exists.