Battlestar Galactica: Saga of a Star World (1978) – Glen Larson and Robert Thurston

“There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. They may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilisations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive far, far away, amongst the stars.

There’s been an itch that has needed to be scratched for awhile, and since I didn’t have time to go back and re-watch the original series again, I figured I would dive into the book series for the 1978 science fiction series, Battlestar Galactica. I’m looking forward to revisiting this universe that was just as much a part of my childhood universe as Star Was, and Star Trek.

It’s been forever since I read the original novel, and I watched the series back near the start of the blog, I had it as a child, I remember where I was when I picked it up,and the first time I read it. The novel has some differences from the series opener, though the main beats of the three-hour opener are there. There are changes in character, costume and designs, not to mention that the villains of the piece, the cylons, are actually organic beings under the armour they wear, and not just mechanical creatures as portrayed in the show.

The story follows what should be the end of a thousand year war between humans and cylons, but instead, the cylons use the peace conference as an opportunity to ambush the gathered fleet, and the twelve homeworlds of humanity.

A ragtag fleet survives, some twenty thousand ships (which is a lot more than shown in the series), and begins their journey, led by Commander Adama, to seek out a lost mythical world, a thirteenth colony known as Earth.

Along the way, Adama’s son, Apollo, with his friends and Starbuck and Boomer, face off against cylons, the insectoid Ovions, and deal with the loss of friends, families and loved ones, even as new bonds are forged, and the battlestar, Galactica, heads into deep space on its journey.

The cylons are aided by Baltar, and in the theatrical cut of the film, and the book, it’s implied the character is killed, in the series he survives to work with the cylons in the continuing hunt to exterminate mankind. In the book his death doesn’t happen ‘on-screen’ but is assumed to have happened.

There is also a lot more alien life in this version of Galactica, when the fleet arrives at the planet, Carrilon, there are dozens of alien life forms there, though the cylons only seem to have a problem with man.

The characters aren’t quite as television friendly, and goody-goody as they appear on the show, and you can see that this novel is based on a slightly earlier version of the script, and occasionally a little disjointed. Still, I had a lot of fun reading this book, and will continue through the series, apparently, there are some original novels in the early collection, and not just adaptations of the various episodes, and of course, there’s also the sequel series, penned by one of the show’s stars, Richard Hatch, to explore.

So with Stu Phillips’ score blaring in my earphones, I will continue…

“Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth.”

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