Why they decided to adapt this horrible two-part episode of Battlestar Galactica to novel form is beyond me. It was a low point for the series that this story was made, it just makes matters worse to put it out in print as well.
On top of that Goulart doesn’t get Starbuck. He comes across as a smarmy tool, and that’s not who Starbuck is. He’s a rogue, a charmer, and underneath it all he has a heart of gold. In Goulart’s hands you have to wonder why he and Apollo even agree to work together.
The Galactica continues its journey towards Earth, for the moment, seemingly, away from the Cylons, but venturing into deeper space where they have never travelled before. Now that shouldn’t be a problem because they have the coordinates from the Ship of Light to follow to reach Earth, but instead, there’s no mention of that, and instead, the entire fleet gets super excited when they come across a sleep ship from Lunar Seven by way of Terra heading to a distant planet known as Paradeen.
Apollo and Starbuck discover the ship, and have it brought aboard the Galactica where they wrestle with the moral implications of having taken its sleeping passengers off their course, and eventually it’s decided to restore them to their course, and follow them in hopes of finding help to confront the Cylons, and perhaps learn the location of Earth, which they believe Terra is, under another name.
There is the threat of what is known as the Eastern Alliance (though none of them will probe able to best a viper, let alone a battlestar) as man continues to fight man, unaware that there are other forces out there that long for humanity’s extermination.
Instead of a dark story of exploration and war, we follow the passengers to their planet to discover their not quite a family unit, and the young woman, Sarah, has her eyes set on Apollo, and works to keep him on the planet. Starbuck goes wandering off to investigate a long emptied city in search of records, and there are two very annoying androids who should have been blasted not only from the planet, but the original writer’s mind.
While I get why the series wanted to introduce a set of human villains (it had to be cheaper than creating more Cylon suits) but they could have come up with a better story. At no point in the episode or the novel did I care anything about Sarah, Micheal, the kids, anyone that Starbuck and Apollo found on that ship, or encoutered on Paradeen.
And honestly, I hated Starbuck in this story too. The only upside is that Jolly gets a number of moments in the novel, despite the fact that he constantly messes up with a young woman who’s taken his fancy.
The search for Earth continues though, and Apollo, Starbuck and the rest will be back in Battlestar Galactica 9: Experiment in Terra. That’s the good news, the bad news is that it was also written by Ron Goulart.