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Audio by JMS

You've heard rumors of the City of Dreams. It's existence has been officially denied, although unconfirmed reports have placed it beneath the ruins of Machu Pichu in South America. Others say it's in Arkham, Massachusetts, or hidden in a secret network of tunnels under Moscow.

But we're here to tell you the truth. Do you want to know where the City of Dreams is?

J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, teams with Seeing Ear Theatre to bring you an exclusive, all-new audio drama anthology series featuring tales of dreamers, madmen and fanatics.

This was originally planned to be a 13 episode series but due to time and budget constraints, the series was canceled (in fact, the whole radio series department at SciFi was canceled) after only 8 were produced. You can still find the City of Dreams web site and also purchase the episodes from Audible.com as well.

NOTE: Episodes are listed by episode number from oldest to newest.

Episode: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8   JMS Speaks
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#1: The Damned Are Playing at Godzilla's Tonight
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Dec 2000 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 32 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
The dark, ominous tale of the bigoted owner of a small nightclub in the City of Dreams who faces a new sound, and a band that just won't quit...on either side of the grave.

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring Steve Buscemi, Kevin Conway, Christopher Burns, Kevin Daniels, Beth Glover, J.R. Horne, and Ezra Knight.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
For our first story, I wanted something with teeth, something that took one of the more common supernatural tropes and used it in a way that dealt with contemporary themes. It has kind of a Lovecraftian feel, starting at the end, then finding out how we got here, and why. Where else can you get all that *and* a commentary on the state of the music industry?

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  Audible.com
#2: Rolling Thunder
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Dec 2000 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 36 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
A father offers to give up anything to regain his lost child...and a certain Someone takes him up on it.

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring Andre Braugher, Kevin Conway, Ashley Albert, Ami Brabson, Jacqueline Cuscuna, Peter Francis James, and Ramon de Ocampo.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
We all make mistakes. Big ones, small ones, mistakes that change our lives forever. There's our life before IT, and after IT, whatever your IT happens to be. This is the story of an IT: the loss of a child's life, and what one person will endure in an attempt to correct that mistake. I wanted to ask one simple question: what is one person's life really worth?
JMS AT RASTB5M SAID:
JUL.16.2000
I wanted to bring special attention to this one because, while "The Damned Are Playing at Godzilla's Tonight" was a good warmup episode, something fairly straightforward to get the radio-writing muscles geared up...this one, "Rolling Thunder," is one of the things I'm most proud of doing for radio. (Or audio.) It's a strong, emotional story and a real kick in the gut. So far it's reduced about half a dozen grown men who've heard it to tears. The performance by Andre Braugher is just terrific, very moving.

Check it out. This one's a keeper.

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  Audible.com
#3: The Friends of Jackie Clay
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Dec 2000 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 32 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Jackie Clay is the caretaker of a small cemetery in the City of Dreams who speaks to the dead and, when a crisis occurs, learns that he has friends he never knew he had.

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring Merwin Goldsmith, Jayce Bartock, Mather Zickel, Chris Burns, Ross Stoner, Ean Sheehy, Anne Bobby, Todd Cummings, and Dick Rodstein.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
Having done two strong, serious, intense stories, I kinda wanted to write something a bit lighter, more redemptive, with a touch of humor. A guy who works at a cemetery and talks to the residents brings in response a logical question: do they talk back, and if so, what do they say? It's a story about friends, polite behavior, and the anger of the dead.

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  Audible.com
#4: The Tolling of the Hour
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Nov 2000 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 28 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
The clock shows no mercy. Neither does the board of directors or the CEO, who demands more than life can give, and finds himself on the business end of the clock he worships.

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring Campbell Scott, Kevin Conway, Anne Bobby, Christopher Burns, Todd Cummings, Jane Gennaro, Dick Rodstein, and Mathew Zickel.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
We have become a society answerable to the tick of the clock, the Board of Directors, the CEO...with your average corporate employee daily crushed under the wheels of downsizing, working harder for less money so the stockholders get a ten percent per share boost. I felt there needed to be a cautionary tale about the inevitable result of grinding down people's souls, because sooner or later, the universe downsizes those who downsize unto others.

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  Audible.com
#5: Night Calls
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Dec 2000 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 28 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Something unusual is waiting for you in the intersection of a conversation between God and a man asked to build a second ark...what it will carry, and where it all goes, is not what you may be expecting.

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring Tim Curry, Kevin Conway, Alissa Hunniutt, Dan Seckel, Ean Sheehy and Kevin Townley.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
I told Brian [Smith is the Executive Producer] that I wanted to divide CITY into three parts: 1-4 being fairly straightforward stories, and 5-8 being more experimental stories that play with the form of radio drama. Get everybody lulled into a false sense of security, and then start pulling the rug out. This is the first of the experimental episodes. Be sure to listen carefully, because not everything here is what it seems.

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  Audible.com
#6: MCSD 00121J
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Jan 2001 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 34 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
From: Manasee County Sheriff's Department, Manasee County, New Jersey

The original audiotape of which this (enclosed) file is a copy was found near the site of the Clarefield community residence 23 August 2000 by Sgt. Emile Jackson and the original copy was forwarded to the MCSD forensics lab for analysis. A second copy has been forwarded to the FBI Crime Lab in Roanoake, VA for more detailed audio study.

In light of the recent tragic events of Clarefield, we appreciate any assistance your office and listeners can provide in establishing any of the identities of the persons recorded on this tape. Needless to say, any information emerging from this investigation will be held in the strictest confidence. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Sincerely, Captain J. J. Durham, Manasee County Sheriff's Department

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  Audible.com
#7: Samuel Beckett, Your Ride is Here
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Jan 2001 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 20 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Surrealism. Existentialism. Minimalism. Stream of consciousness. Spaceships. What, you expected something ordinary in the City of Dreams?

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring John Turturro and Bill Irwin.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
When you experiment in audio, you can do only so many things with tricks. At some point you have to dive into the form of the narrative itself. So I wanted to try something that played with stream of consciousness, surrealism, minimalism and existentialism, but without losing some SF touchstones. Hence, this episode. One long and very weird conversation. And no tricks.

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More Info
  Audible.com
#8: The Alpha and Omega of David Wells
Author: J. Michael Straczynski -- Published: Jan 2001 -- Media Type: Performance -- Length: 25 minutes -- Format: Audible Speech
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
A man in search of the Truth undergoes a past-life regression that takes him further than anyone has ever gone before.

Adapted for audio by J. Michael Straczynski, with a cast featuring Peter Gallagher, Peter Francis James, Alice Barden, Jacqueline Cuscuna, Martin Carey, Tony Daniel and Laurissa James.

JMS AT SCIFI SAID:
People with no tact, noting my sometimes intemperate nature, have tended to tell me, 'Y'know, you REALLY should have a past-life regression sometime to see where all this anger is coming from.' Which finally (after smiting them, that is) got me to thinking about what I would do in a story with this device...if there was a way to go FORWARD just as well as BACKWARD through various incarnations. When I figured that one out, The Alpha and Omega of David Wells kind of wrote itself.
JMS AT RASTB5M SAID:
FEB.4.2001
Thanks. It's kind of a change from what's been done there before, some of it is almost like a tone-poem, other parts of it are very surreal. I'm glad it came out.

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JMS Speaks about Audio Dramas
JMS AT RASTB5M SAID:
APR.28.2002
The sci-fi channel pulled its financing for most of its audio dramas, so that's pretty much that, though the episodes do remain at the site (and can be downloaded via audible.com)

MAY.7.2001
Yes, since it's still going on to varying extents...my City of Dreams radio drama series was a new creation at scifi.com, so the internet may bring new life to the form.

MAR.23.2001
I actually don't know...they have 3 scripts that they haven't produced yet, and I only have 2 left to write (which admittedly have gotten shoved back a bit due to other stuff). There's certainly nothing to impede them going ahead, since they love the scripts.I've heard there are some organizational/budget things going on over there, but don't have any details.

JAN.15.2001
I've turned in 4 scripts for new City of Dreams episodes, but due to production tie-ups on other projects at Seeing Ear Theater, they won't be up at www.scifi.com/cityofdreams until around the first week of February.

JUN.22.2000
[I]t's 13 half-hour audio episodes, first on scifi.com starting July 10th, then afterward on Dove audio. I'm writing all 13 installments of The City of Dreams, and it's kind of a Twilight Zone approach, but made modern and given some new teeth.

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Episode: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8   JMS Speaks
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