Saturday, 28 September 2013


The original ending of Saga of a Star World wasn't have to have been with Apollo and Starbuck returning to the Galactica after helping to destroy a Cylon Basestar above Carillon. Instead, there was to have been a finale scene where our heroes, including a sadly survived Sire Uri, gather for a celebration sing-along of their flight into the unknown, in which the dying Serina abandons Apollo and Boxey and disappears to bravely face her lonely demise from Cylon weapon poisoning. When put together, the sequence was ultimately deemed unsatisfactory and deleted-though Lorne Greene did prove that he had a very good singing voice!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Following hot on the heels of their novel success with the adaptation of the movie version of Saga of a Star World, Glen A. Larson and Robert Thurston would return to pen a second novel based on the scripts for the next planned TV movie of the series, Gun on Ice Planet Zero, which ultimately went through varied adjustments and re-filming before it eventually made the screens as a two-part episode during the end of the shows first quarter run. Book two doesn’t quite have the depth of the original, but it’s a terrific and exciting read nonetheless, featuring new and expanded material that I wish could have been in the TV version. One day, it would be interesting to compare all three versions of the story: its original scripts, its eventual shooting script and the novel (if anyone can help with the first one please get in touch…)

For the moment, though, here are some of the intriguing differences and additions within the FUTURA published novel:

The location of the Cylon pulsar weapon is Tairac, and, in a nod to the original idea, located on an unusual planetoid rather than a planet. The Diethene storms present there are a by-product of Cylon weapon technology. In charge of the Cylon pulsar and garrison, Vulpa was a lieutenant with great brainpower who had been exiled to the ice planet because he was a threat to the current Imperious Leader

The Cylons now have Ghost Fighter ships that are remote controlled, armed with a powerful missile, to attack the Colonial Fleet. They are amongst the Cylon ships attacking the Galactica and herding it into the range of the Pulsar- prior to the opening patrol discovering Tairac, the Cylons press another of their attack the Colonial Fleet, where we also get to see one of its vessels holding the in-training, up and coming viper pilots, and there’s mention of a foundry ship making new combat craft from raw materials. These newcomer vipers are a little clunkier than the original ships but are a necessity to protect the fleet…

A lot of CDM is told from newcomer Croft’s point of view, presenting his backstory, the relationship with his renegade team, and how they were captured and arrested by a younger Commander Adama (unnamed in the TV version) after raiding a Cylon platinum mine. By books end, with his success in destroying the weapon, he returns to being a Colonial Warrior. The book also some has some more history on the characters and situations in the Adama Journals.

Despite her presence in the previous book and not being killed off it, CDM has no mention of Apollo’s love, Serina, or what happened to her since the first book. The same with Cassiopeia, who wouldn’t be introduced back into the TV series until the later filmed Lost Planet of the Gods (ultimately shown before Gun).

The accompanying Galactican warriors alongside the experienced criminals are introduced during a pep talk given by Adama, as in the deleted scenes for the story on the DVD release.

Viper pilot and escort to the Galactica ground force, Killian, has a braver death than on TV (where he's destroyed by the Ravashol pulsar weapon)- here he destroys several Cylon ships and suicide rams into one of their Ghost Fighters before it can get to the shuttle.

Rogue turned medic Leda’s intentions to desert the Galacticans and the mission takes place in the book earlier than the TV version’s part two.

Starbuck, with no Cassie in the story, keeps many of the skirt-chasing characteristics of the pilot, heavily enamoured with the Tenna clones females. He is still also not the best friend to Apollo he would be by the series.

To further understand the humans and their plans, the Imperious Leader creates a simulacrum of Starbuck in order to guess their next moves. Suffice to say, this Starbuck is imbued with the original's personality and proves an irritant to the Cylon.

Five Clone Planners, looking like more youthful versions of their Father Creator, run the colony near the garrison, of which Ser 5-9 and Apollo see them in order to get permission to meet Ravashol. One of these Planners then goes on to tell the Cylons of the Colonials arrival in the village, resulting in their disruptive search beginning (as seen in the TV version). A Planner with blue stripes and white hair resembling Ravashol can be seen in the TV version’s finale (played by Liam Sullivan) but his role in the final two-parter is pretty much removed, also looking different to the way the Planners are described in the book.

Unrestricted once again by the TV censors as the weekly series had been, this is another tougher, novelization. An about to escape Thane almost tries to force himself on to Leda and almost kills her, but she grabs his throat and almost kills him in response.

Originally, Ravashol was part of a research team on the planet. The Cylons arrived and killed the others but spared him, recognizing his potential usefulness with the pulsar weapon. Ravashol then used some of the genetic material from his dead friends to research and create the evolving clones over the years.

Their hiding place discovered, Boxey and Muffey lead an escape with the clone children from the Cylons and go outside into the garrison airfield containing Cylon fighters, which they then stow away on.

Going upwards on their dangerous mission, the book has believable passages about mountain climbing for the Galactican party, especially from the viewpoint of Croft- obviously some major research into the field has been done here by the writers.

The ending of the book has some notably different scenes than the TV version. Ser 5-9 and the main Tenna are with the party all the way to the end of the mission with Apollo’s party. Wolf doesn't make a run for it- instead he and Leda are forced by Croft into helping to attack the pulsar. Taking on a Cylon gunner commander lieutenant in physical combat, Wolf is killed- his neck broken and thrown to the floor like a rag doll. Leda survives the battle and helps lay the charges to destroy the weapon. After the top of the mountain is destroyed, the group, having escaped in the elevator shaft, finds that their journey is cut short through power and mechanical failure, resulting in their having to rappel down to the bottom of the shaft. Sadly, Leda is killed here, falling to her death, with Croft, guilty with her loss, unable to save her.

With the weapon destroyed, Athena leads a rescue shuttle with full Viper escort, and soon gets to show off her piloting skills. Vulpa, having survived the garrison attacks, takes command of a fighter and several Ghost Fighters to attack them, one of which contains a trapped Boxey. As Athena tries to avoid destroying Boxey’s ship, and with the vipers unable to do further battle, Apollo and Croft take a Cylon fighter and perform a risky mid-air rescue of Boxey, with Croft descending on a ladder in mid-air motion to get him. Then the remaining Cylons are shot down by the eager Vipers.

The book ends with Vulpa’s ship crash-landed, the warrior damaged but not destroyed, going into a hibernation state in order to conserve power, though likely soon to die in the icy wastelands around the destroyed gun mountain. 

Monday, 23 September 2013


The Cylons shocking kamikaze attack on the Galactica reaches its zenith with their destructive shockwave hitting the bridge, and critically injuring Commander Adama. A spectacular action sequence, well-staged and remembered by cast and crew, from the popular episode Fire in Space.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Celebrating the 35th Anniversary, I'm presenting the third and final Classic Battlestar Galactica adventure that I wrote waaayyy back in the late late-nineties. It was originally published in the much-missed UK BG fan club magazine: The Thirteenth Tribe, and, I believe, it proved quite popular.

Only this original draft remains, so sorry for the spelling mistakes and grammar of the time, but I think the tale, titled Message in a Bottle, is a worthy tribute and celebration of the classic series and its characters. It's humbly dedicated to Glen A. Larson and all the cast and crew who worked on the original series and helped to make it such an enduring, worldwide success...

I and other members of that shiny planet known as Earth raise a chalice of vintage ambrosia to you!

Happy 35th Birthday, Battlestar Galactica!

With thanks to the By Your Command website for the main image.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Out amongst the cosmos, Humanity's battle against their pursuant Cylon enemies sees some new twists and turns emerge within Richard Hatch's enjoyable original novel series continuation of the Classic GALACTICA series. Paradis, one of his later books, co-written with Brad Linaweaver, is another enjoyable romp for our older heroes, alongside their equally brave next generation of warrior children, and features this great cover composite art.

One of the old and modern series greatest ambassadors, plus an all-round nice guy, check out Mister Hatch's website here: Actor, Director, W

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


With Classic Galactica's imminent 35th Anniversary, I thought I'd re-read Glen A. Larson and Robert Thurston's original novel adaptation based on the 1978 feature film release, published in the UK by FUTURA. It's still a terrific book, as important and enjoyable a read as that other great sci-fi/fantasy film adaptation done for STAR WARS the previous year by Alan Dean Foster (ghost-writing for George Lucas). This copies that one's same sense of scale, even grander than the already ambitious, costliest TV enterprise of all-time, and contains a wealth of character material and story depth that the three-hour mini series wasn't able to cram in or didn't quite have the budget to achieve, alongside historical backgrounds of the colonial fleet, its civilisations and their conflict with the Cylons, and descriptions of even more epic in scope land and space action. The book, which is also quite adult-themed in place (away from the restrictive environs of ABC TV bosses and programme censors), boasts some scenes that were filmed but deleted from both the pilot and film versions, later appearing on the shows eventual UNIVERSAL DVD release in the early 2000's. It's clear that Ronald D. Moore, in his 2003 re-imagining of Galactica, as well as its its spin-off: CAPRICA, had this book as one of his influences for his darker and more post-9/11 interpretation, particularly using a part of the books slightly different ending for part two of his launch pilot.

Here are some choice highlights of the book's changes/additions:

Character-wise, Athena, who has much more to do in the book, is blond, whilst Cassie is dark haired and a little more strong-willed than she is in the series. Boxey is not Serina's child (as edited in the movie version)-she rescues him during the Cylon attack on Caprica - the destroyed event taking place as the Presidium being the Festival of Paradise. Serina doesn't die in the book, as the deleted scenes from Saga were originally shot.Adama took control of the Galactica from his father, whilst his journals, sprinkled throughout the book, reveal much about his family, being in the colonial service with Tigh, and his relationship with Adar, who starts his political road to Presidency. A raw recruit to the Galactica, the late Zac, youngest son of Adama, had the highest entrance exams of all the students in the Academy.

Before aiding the Cylons, Count Baltar was an on the rise trader-as in the film version he is killed, but taken away from the Imperious Leader for execution- his body thrown in the waste disposal. Imperious Leader is totally different from the way he is portrayed in the series, and wears a special helmet for the use of his three brains and access to the Cylon technological mainframe. The Cylons in general, as referred to in the original three-hour pilot, were reptilian creatures who have evolved to become androids. Several Cylon warriors have reptilian faces that can be seen behind their helmets, and they talk in a more human way.

The Colonial Vipers are also referred to as "Starhounds", and launch from the Galactica bays via special cribs, in a way that's different from the film/TV series. Starbuck's viper deck officer is a lady named Jenny. 

Following bigger descriptions of the destruction of the human Twelve Colonies, the Galactica survivors convoy comprises 220, 000 vessels, far more than the 220 seen in the movie and series. They are partially protected from Cylon scanners by a special camouflage net set-up by Apollo. The Galactica and the lightspeed capable ships travel to Carillon but have to leave half the lightspeed incapable fleet behind in the process, planning to return to them with food and Tylium. 

The Ovions were an enslaved race sent by the Cylons to work the mines for them on Carillon. The book shows that the Ovions are all female and that they kill their males. Seetol has a clear affection and love for Queen Lotay. In the mine, the duo kidnap Boxey and threaten to kill him in front of Srtarbuck, who fights them whilst also rescuing Cassie. Muffit is shot by a Cylon during the underground mine battle, but is later repaired on the Galactica.

In the Ovion Casino, the female singers are called Tucanas, from Tucan, whilst the Ovions have been gradually poisoning the Council of Twelve's drinks to make them, especially Sire Uri and Councillor Anton, susceptible to their influences. Uri seemingly survives the Cylon sneak attack, of which a planet-side Colonel Tigh takes part in the counter-attack, alongside his fellow warriors.

As the Cylon task force from Borallus attacks the Galactica, Starbuck and Cassie, whose father was a merchant ship pilot, fly a rickety Ovion fuel ship to their home vessel. Livery and agriculture ships would also land on Carillon and grow/beef-up on supplies and food stocks.

The book's ending sees the Galactica and the lightspeed capable ships having to travel once more through the Nova Madagon mine field, which isn't totally cleared of Cylon mines, and take on re-grouped Cylon fighter squadrons. The Galactica and vipers acts as a shield whilst the rest of the ships escape -a sequence that would be adapted for the Ronald D. Moore mini-series re-imagining. They then return to the rest of the fleet and stop another sneak Cylon fighter attack. After the Cylon forces have been beaten, our heroes gather for a celebration event and toast their journey to the fabled lands of Earth. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Little Boxey discovers the joys of having a new pet daggit, even if it is a robot one, in a classic moment from Saga of a Star World.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Another excellent art cover (any ideas who did it?) - this time for the BG music by Stu Phillips, in a third volume released by the Intrada label. Hard to get, I bet these compilations sound terrific!