Battlestar Galactica 5: Galactica Discovers Earth (1980) – Micheal Resnick and Glen A. Larson

The Battlestar Galactica jumps forward a ways, passing over a number of episodes (that will be visited in later books) to give us an adaptation of the three hour series opener for the ill-fated, Galactica 1980, which just didn’t have the oomph, mythos, production value or stories of the original, equally ill-fated, series, though it definitely had more episodes than its successor.

Apollo is dead.

Starbuck isn’t mentioned, nor Tigh, Athena or Casseiopia.

Boomer pops up now and then.

Adama still leads, and after much searching, with some guidance from a young fourteen year old genius named Dr. Zee, the fleet has arrived at Earth. But to keep it hidden from the Cylons who are still pacing them, the Galactica moves to other systems while they send probes and teams down to Earth to investigate.

Heading to North America, specifically, Los Angeles are Troy (the adult Boxey), and his friend, Dillon. With invisibility screens they can hide their vipers, and motor around on turbo bikes, but it isn’t enough for them, as they don’t quite understand the culture, and are troubled to learn that the humans of Earth are in no condition to fight, or survive, a Cylon conquest.

Adama authorises tentative contact with select minds, in an attempt to guide the species, prepare them, and perhaps help them advance technically and socially until they are ready to join the fight to save mankind.

During their mission, Troy and Dillon meet a young would be journalist, Jamie, who gets pulled into their adventure which sees the introduction of time travel to the series. Because, it seems, one of the leading minds of the fleet, Xavier, doesn’t want to wait for Earth to catch up to their level. It’s easier to go back in time, and manipulate events, and make advancements from there.

This would disrupt the timeline, and cause who knows how much grief. It doesn’t help that Xavier travels to 1944 to aid some of the genius rocket scientists of the time, all of whom are working for the Nazis.

Troy, Dillon and Jamie head after him, but Xavier escapes through time, and is still out there. And the threat of the Cylons draw closer.

With just a little tweaking Xavier could have been a very interesting villain, doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, but instead the story (and the series) make him a baddie now interested in manipulating time and those around him for his own purposes. He even considers an alliance with the Cylons, if it means he can have more power.

The story is a little too black and white, with the lines of good and bad drawn very brightly, and its storytelling is even simpler than the original series, positioning itself as a little more family friendly, and that doesn’t translate too well to a novel.

It’s a short, quick read, that plays it a little too safe with the situations and characters, and doesn’t open it up like fans would have liked. I will say that the opening paragraph was pretty jarring with the matter of fact statement that Apollo was dead.

Now that they’ve reached Earth, they find not a home, but a civilisation in need of protection and nurturing; a people to be saved from the Cylon forces, and whatever threat Xavier will provide next.

Next time, Troy digs through some of Adama’s journals, and gives us the story of The Living Legend!


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