I know I'm not quite in the right generation, but I have read the old Battlestar Galactica book adaptations of the TV series (thank you, public library!) and have grown rather fond of them. I was a little perturbed about the new Battlestar (particularly how Starbuck is now a woman), but I am open to new ideas, so I bought this one with my birthday gift card.
PLEASE NOTE: I have never seen the actual miniseries, so this is just a review on the book, not on how the novelization compares to the miniseries.
Many years ago, the Twelve Colonies created the Cylons to make life easier. They even made Cylons to fight their wars for them. Eventually, the Cylons got wise enough to wonder why they were taking orders from humans and revolted. For many years, the two fought until the humans drove the Cylons away, not to be seen again.
Or so the Twelve Colonies thought. Forty years have passed, and the Cylons are back, badder, slicker, and ready for human blood--and lots of it. They nearly wipe out civilization with the exception of the select few. Commander Adama of the last battlestar, Galactica, Captain Apollo Adama, Lieutenant Kara Thrace, Laura Roslin, the new President of the Twelve Colonies, and others must now battle their way across the galaxy searching for respite from the Cylons' attack.
Well, I must admit I was scared that they would wreck Battlestar Galactica. What with the onslaught of bad remakes, such as The Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched, and Starsky & Hutch, I feared the worst.
Fortunately, these fears were unfounded. Although several events have changed (namely, that several characters have gender changes, names such as "Starbuck" and "Boomer" are now pilot call-signs, and Zee is killed in an accident some time ago instead of during the battle), the changes for the most part are good. Obviously, the TV series of the 70's was dated. It is nice to see women in positions of power instead of the ubiquitous "companions" (Cassiopeia in old Battlestar or Inara of Firefly fame) or relations of the big boys.
The events in the new Battlestar are most definitely edge-of-your-seat material. I mean, it was easy to whip through thirty or more pages of the fast paced action in one sitting. Seeing how people react to Armageddon, the tough choices they have to make, and how people band together is awesome but what is even more awesome is how the book handles these subjects. Well done, realistic, and, most importantly, interesting.
Over the course of the novel, three characters have found a place in my heart: Commander Adama, President Roslin, and Colonel Tigh. Commander William Adama is a perfect leader but really not that awesome as a dad. His tough demeanor makes him appear to be unemotional, but we, as the audience, can see the inner turmoil he hides inside. President Laura Roslin in some ways is similar to Commander Adama but in other ways not much. She also is a good leader (given that she started out being the Secretary of Education) and hides her emotions deep inside. Unlike Adama, Laura is comforting, willing to divulger her condition to her aide, and more likely to kill herself saving another's life. Colonel Saul Tigh is completely different than the other two. Tigh drowns his sorrows in alcohol, starts fights so he can retaliate against another officer, and isn't afraid to make the tough choices about who lives and who dies.
Besides the sexual situations (the beginning one with Gaius and Natasi was too much for me), there really isn't a whole lot to pick on with this book. There are so many characters that I wish the author had included a Dramatis Personae in the beginning. At one point, Adama refuses to leave until Starbuck and Lee return to the Galactica. Ordinarily, this would be no problem, but several times in the book, characters (including Adama) leave doomed survivors behind to favor the ones that could be saved. This seemed to me to be contradictory. Furthermore, the beginning was a little kiddy, a little slow, and a little boring.
While the f-word is replaced with "frak" (may be too much for some people), other words such as da**, he**, and sh** do not have their "Twelve Colonies" equivalent.
I was rather shocked at the copious sexual references in the book and at such an early stage. Within the first 50 pages, three separate situations are detailed. Some are merely "grope" fests, while others are definitely R-rated.
Violence is typical fare. Lots of space battles, nuclear bombings, etc. Several people (most unknown or vaguely sketched) are killed.
I am pleased to say that my worst fears were quickly dissipated with a reading of this book. Battlestar Galactica is not the way it was in the 70's and that's great. What "they" have done with Galactica is great: new, exciting, updated, yet still a tribute to its namesake. While I wish the sexual situations could have been toned down and a few characters nixed, I would greatly recommend this book to anyone.
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