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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment