Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant by Greg Keyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’ve mentioned earlier on this blog that I am a big fan of the 1990’s television sci-fi show, Babylon 5. I own all the DVDs, have bought most of the behind-the-scenes series of books that have been published, and, of course, the novels. Some have been better than others, of course. I have been looking forward to the Psi Corps trilogy, since Bester was one of the most intriguing characters on the show. I just finished the second book in the trilogy, and it was a bit of a letdown.
The first book, Dark Genesis, was interesting. It told Bester’s story from his infancy. Actually, it started before he was born, with his parents. Not to give too much away, but his background is a bit surprising. This second book picks up with Alfred now in training at the Psi Corps centers. He’s an obnoxious little so-and-so even as a kid, and doesn’t make a lot of friends. He tends to have an independent streak and that gets him into trouble more than once. But he is a P12, and seems destined for greatness. The story follows his education, early days as a Psi Cop, and leads into the years when Bester has become one of the top ranking Psi Cops. It is still an interesting story, but it just didn’t engage me like some of the other novels.
One thing that worked against it was that Bester himself seemed a rather distant character. In some ways, it fits, since he does distance himself from others to a great extent. And even though the story is told from Bester’s point of view, it never felt like I was fully involved with his character. It was more like watching from a distance than being in the middle of a life. It made the whole story less engaging.
There were some nice tie-ins with the story arc as it aired on TV. Bester interacts with several of the characters that were in the show in his early days, and we get a glimpse of them along with Bester.
Even with the above, there are a lot of details revealed about Bester’s life and how he got to the point he was when the show aired. He is still one of the more interesting characters to come out of Babylon 5.
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