Like many Gen Xers I’m completely imprinted on the original Star Wars trilogy and the music that accompanies it.
I decided to make this soundtrack the second entry on my list because I have no memory of when I first started listening to it. The overwhelming emotional effect that it has on me feels like something that predates language and psychological defense mechanisms! It’s almost too exciting. My parents were fans of the film and we had the album on vinyl as far back as I can remember, so it was probably playing in our house from around 1978.
The music is incredibly beautiful and stirring and is, in many ways, what makes the film brilliant. Orchestral soundtracks would never be the same
I’m sure it fueled my imagination and love of science fiction, but I don’t think I could sit down and listen to the Star Wars soundtrack now. I might have a nervous breakdown or something!
There was a meme going around twitter the other day with the question, ‘Tell us about your first crush on an animated character’.
It’s funny how things that you had completely forgotten can come back to you. I suddenly remembered my early “crush” on a cartoon character called ‘Jana of the Jungle’.
I couldn’t remember anything else about it, though, so I looked it up and found that it was produced by Hanna-Barbara from 1978 to 1979 and only lasted one season. I must have been watching re-runs around 1982.
Reading the description, the content was probably a bit …. dodgy on a number of levels.
I forgot all about Jana when I became obsessed with She-Ra a few years later.
Twitter reminded me that today is the twentieth broadcast anniversary of the final episode of Babylon 5, ‘Sleeping in Light‘. The episode is set twenty years in the future and follows John Sheridan and his friends as they prepare for his death while, at the same time, the station is being decommissioned.
I remember crying all day after watching ‘Sleeping in Light’. But I was crying in a good ‘I’m sad but satisfied’ kind of way. If I have any criticism of the episode, I feel it’s a little self-indulgent about Sheridan. I would also have very much liked to find out what happened to Lyta and Lennier, but they may have been planning to tell those stories in spin-offs and sequels that never happened. Still, it’s a beautiful finale that respects the integrity of the characters and the story and, overall, feels right.
I owe a lot to Babylon 5. It got me through some difficult times in my early twenties. At one point, I had terrible insomnia and the only way I could get to sleep was to put on an episode and watch until I dropped off.
As well as being an absolute masterpiece of character-driven arc storytelling, I think Babylon 5 proves that a strong creator can engage thoughtfully with the fans and maintain artistic integrity, without ever becoming emotionally manipulative, exploitative or even abusive.
Now that it really is twenty years later, Babylon 5 is still a story I can return to and rely on to be there for me when I need it and that’s really precious.
Ursula Le Guin’s final collaborator, David Naimon, joins LARB podcasters to talk about his new book, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, and his experience of working with Le Guin during the last years of her life.