Battlestar Galactica 4: The Young Warriors (1980) – Robert Thurston and Glen A. Larson

Robert Thurston delivers a full length novel based on a single episode of Battlestar Galactica. His previous novels had encompassed double episodes, but despite that, Thurston delivers a strong story, that takes the episode The Young Lords, and layers out and tells almost a completely different story, while still giving us the same basic tale.

A battle-fatigued Starbuck (who at the story’s beginning even seeks out some therapy for his condition) is shot down and crash lands on the humid, forest covered world of Antila. There he comes across an army of children that are waging a war against the cylon installation there that has captured or killed their parents.

Led by Kyle and Miri the children ride telepathic unicorns and recover the crashed viper pilot before the cylons can get their hands on him. But Kyle is desperate for the release of one of the cylon’s prisoners, his and Miri’s mother, Megan, and Starbuck may be offered up as trade.

There are some interesting changes from the episode, and some interesting similarities. In the novel, the group of children was much smaller, a single family group, and they weren’t trying to get their mother back, but their father. The similarity? The fact that this base is run by a Lucifer style sentient cylon computer (who appears alongside Baltar throughout the tale), but apparently an earlier model, named Spectre and because of the conditions of the planet, the biological cylons inside the shiny armour have all succumbed to illness and been replaced with mechanical creations – just like in the series – and if you’re going to have a story with children fighting a war, it’s easier to have them taking on evil machines rather than actual living beings.

Kyle is jealous of Starbuck and is afraid he’s going to take over leadership of his child army, and Miri, of course, develops a bit of a crush on the fighter pilot., as we get looks into her mind with her first person notes that pop up through the novel.

As the story progresses Starbuck finds a different way to take on the cylons with the help of children, and not using laser weapons to do it. And while he finds a moment or two of rest on Antila, and knows he could find a sense of contentment and peace there, he knows that he has a duty to the Galactica, and his friends.

It’s an interesting story, and one I can appreciate now more than I could when I was a kid (this was the other Galactica book I owned when I was a kid because it was a Starbuck story, despite the fact that it looks like Apollo on the cover).

There are more adaptations to come, but for some reason, the book series jumps ahead a bit with the adaptation of the thee hour premier of Galactica 1980 with Galactica Discovers Earth.

“Fleeing from the Cylon Tyranny, the last battlestar Galactica leads a ragtag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest: a shining planet known as Earth.”

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