The next novel in the Galactica series, War of the Gods, seems to have eschewed the Galactica 1980 tie-in, and simply gone back to the Adama Journals intercut with chapters detailing the action of this adaptation of the epic two-parter that gave us a hint at a deeper mythology working in the series.
After a number of patrols vanish without a trace after encountering strange, brilliantly lit orbs, Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba head out to investigate and find a massive crashed starship on a remote planet. It apparently boasts one survivor, the charming Count Iblis, who, upon his arrival on the Galactica, begins to cement his control and power over people.
Apollo begins to suspect he’s more than he appears to be, Adama is unable to confront him without causing a revolution; the people are supporting Iblis, especially when he seems to miraculously provide food, and deliver Baltar to them.
Iblis exerts control over a number of characters, especially Sheba and Boomer, and the book is a little more troubling than the episode, and hints at how horrific this episode could have been, especially when Apollo and Starbuck discover who Iblis truly is.
It’s a story of angels and demons, but they aren’t supernatural creatures, they are just advanced beings with technology that seems like magic because it is so far advanced to that of the Galacticans.
There are some interesting differences from episode to novel, the game triad is explained a little more in depth, and consequently what we see in the episode is not how the majority of the game would be played, but it’s close. I think I prefer the novel version. Also, in the television episode Baltar recognises Iblis’ voice as that of the Imperious Leader, which hints that the Cylons may just be plain evil, or were manipulated into wanting to exterminate mankind – something that was never explored, and of course, there’s the discovery of the alien, hooved body in the wrecked starship that confirms Apollo’s belief of who Iblis really is.
And then there’s the appearance of the Ship of Lights, and it’s crew, which is decidedly different from the episode; budgetary reasons. But for all that the thrust of the story is much the same, and there are a lot of variations from the pacing of the episode, and the things you would want expanded on, never are. Instead, it’s just a run of the mill adaptation that doesn’t broaden the story, or let us see things in a different way.
It does however, have a different ending, Baltar is transported by the Beings back to the Cylon basestar…
They’re still fun to read, but there’s nothing being added to the story this way. It just helped us revisit the episodes before we could watch them on repeat on blu-ray, or stream them online. They kept the stories alive, the nostalgia fired, and the quest for earth ongoing… though thanks to the beings of light, they seem to have a course.