Galactica Discovers Earth (Book)

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Galactica Discovers Earth
Galactica Discovers Earth
A book of the Berkley Books line
Book No. 5
Author(s) Michael Resnick
Adaptation of Galactica Discovers Earth
No. of Pages 187 (2nd edition)
Published December 1980 (1st edition)
September 1981 (2nd edition)
December 1982 (3rd edition)
ISBN 0425061256
Chronology
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The Young Warriors Galactica Discovers Earth The Living Legend
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Galactica Discovers Earth was a novelization of the original three hours of Galactica 1980 that was published after the series was canceled. The storyline covers the events of what would be the first three episodes in the syndicated version of the series: "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part 1" Part 2 and Part 3.

Plot

Much of the novel is composed of entries from Adama's journals, Dr. Zee's diary tapes, "reconstructed" transcripts and even newspaper clippings to lend a contemporary and urgent air to the text.

The novel strays far from the episodes, indicating that it was based on earlier story treatments. There is additional dialogue in the book, while whole sections from the television programs are missing. The basic plotline involving the search for Doctor Donald Mortinson (named Alfred Mortinson), and the time travel sequence to 1944, and Xavier finding Mortinson are all present. Chapters 35 through 39 deviate the most from the storyline and also deal with additional events that occur between "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part III" and "The Super Scouts, Part I".

In these last chapters, we learn that Xavier has headed off into the past to several different time frames. Troy and Dillon follow him to Ancient Greece, to Europe during the Crusades, and to the time of the US Civil War. After he is intercepted—but eludes them—each time, Troy concludes that Xavier has given up time travel in favor of influencing present day Earth, since the Warriors will undoubtedly be able to stop Xaviar from making any changes to the timeline before they take hold permanently. Finally, Troy and Dillon again meet with Doctor Mortinson to make sure he is able to continue work using the formula they gave him, and Adama reflects on the promise the alliance between the Colonials and the people of Earth holds.

This novelization is an early example of writing by Mike Resnick who went on to become a Hugo Award winning science fiction author. Robert Thurston was the author originally contracted to write the book but since his wife was suffering from cancer, Resnick, a close friend of Thurston's, stepped in and wrote it in his place.

Review

If there is any way to partially redeem Galactica 1980 (aside from the outstanding Return of Starbuck episode), Michael Resnick manages to do it with this book. He is able to write a strong adaptation of a fairly silly episode and make the characters seem more real and the events more interesting overall. Troy, Dillon, Jamie, and even Dr. Zee are done far more justice in this 187 page book than the ten episodes of the TV series ever did them.

The time travel elements of the story are much more interesting as Troy, Dillon, and Jamie travel to several different eras of the past besides Nazi Germany in their search for Xaviar, although the resolution of the time travel premise turns out to be a bit lame. The Colonials realize at the end that Xaviar ultimately cannot change history because all they have to do is simply keep traveling back to any era he meddles with as many times as it takes until they finally defeat him. This sounds logical (Or does it? Time travel stories never make much sense to begin with), but it undercuts the entire story because this means that Earth's history was never really threatened.

As good as this book is, you can't deny that a major reason it comes off so well is that Galactca 1980 was so horribly bad. Considering how bad Galactica 1980 was, it it little surprise that the book seems good. Most fans' expectations going in are so low that even bare competence would have sufficed. If Galactica 1980 had never been done and this had been an original story by Resnick, it would have been viewed as horrible (Of course, there are probably a good many fans who still consider it to be horrible).

Unfortunately, this makes things a little hard for the reviewer. Do you praise Resnick for taking a poor story and making it a little better, or criticize him for not going the extra mile, throwing out the time travel premise completely and staying with the more important premise of upgrading Earth's technology? In fairness to Resnick, he may not have had the creative freedom to make such changes, but it would have been nice. Galactica 1980 did in fact have some potential if only it had been done right (although there is still no way it could ever have lived up to the original series). Still, the novelization of Galactica Discovers Earth ultimately succeeds in making the best of a show that many fans consider to be the worst science fiction series of all time.

Differences From The Televised Pilot

  • In an Adama Journals entry, we are told that Apollo was killed in battle with the Cylons (though we aren't given any details).
  • As the Galactica approaches Earth, many people in the fleet make bets as to how Earth will turn out: Earth is radioctive, Earth is primitive, Earth is too advanced to be bothered with them, Earth is planning to declare war on them. Dillon bets that the people of Earth already detected the Cylons and evacuated the planet in preparation for war.
  • Adama experiences a major dose of culture shock when he watches images of Earth television such as a football game and a cartoon (Road Runner?), and he believes them to be barbaric.
  • Dr. Zee is able to detect the Cylons because he notices there is an excessive amount of neutrino activity in the vicinity of Barnard's Star. He concludes that the increased neutrino activity is being caused by the power output of the Cylon fleet.
  • Zee's creation of a projected Cylon attack on Earth is much more global, including attacks on Europe and other countries.
  • The Turbines do not have flying capabilities.
  • The motivation of the Hell's Angels attack on Troy and Dillon is explained. Further, the altercation doesn't end with the Warriors flying away on their turbocycle; instead, the Warriors manage to deal with all 20+ Hell's Angels in an altercation in a schoolyard, mostly stunning them.
  • Instead of walking through the front door of the Pacific Institute of Technology and stunning the guard, Troy and Dillon enter the nearby sewer system and burn their way through the basement of the building. After burning their way to the first floor, they then decide to take the stairs after stunning two of the guards.
  • Dr. Mortinson's hand is cut by the glass from the shattered window.
  • Adama mentions to Xaviar that Troy saved the Galactica from destruction during the last Cylon attack.
  • It is established that the Colonials speak a different language than English. Troy and Dillon are able to use their advanced technology to quickly learn English, French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and a number of lesser dialects.
  • The entire sub-plot dealing with Willy Griffin and his father discovering the Vipers is gone. The Vipers, however, are detected by military personnel. However, before they are taken away to a military base, Dillon and Troy are able to retake their craft non-violently and leave. Also, the plot of Troy, Dillon, and Hamilton sneaking into Van Nuys A.N.G. Base to recover the ships—including Xaviar's—is not present here.
  • Jamie passes out during the time-warp to Nazi Germany because she has not gone through the conditioning procedures that Troy and Dillon have.
  • The German soldiers who are temporarily stunned by the Colonials' lasers wind up being transfered to the Russian front where they presumably will be killed.
  • Troy gets a knife in his stomach from a woman of the Resistance who suspects him to be a member of the S.S. Dillon then goes back to the vipers to get their advanced medicine. Unfortunately, his invisibility field runs out of energy before he can make it back, and he is forced to wait for hours before he can sneak back into the building. Troy is soon healed from the medicine.
  • The Germans eventually discover them. Only one invisibility shield is working, and there is not enough room for all of them to hide so Troy voluntarily surrenders to the Nazis. He is tortured by the S.S. until Dillon arrives to free him.
  • Jamie Hamilton quits her new job at the UBC, after Dana Anderson orders a trace on an incoming call made by Dillon—a "terrorist"—and having earlier voiced his belief that she was becoming sympathetic with these so-called "terrorists".
  • Troy and Dillon are able to go for a week without eating because of a catalyst synthesized by Dr. Zee.
  • Troy, Dillon, and Jamie travel back to 1275 B.C. because they believe Xaviar may have gone to seek out Moses. They find an old man with a cane walking along, but Troy decides it doesn't matter if this is Moses or not because Xaviar wouldn't bother to come back this far.
  • Next, they travel to Athens in 457 B.C. They find Xaviar's viper parked nearby. They then go back in time to the point where Xaviar first arrives. He spots them and quickly warps away again.
  • They then travel to 1199 and stop Xaviar from preventing the assasination of Richard the Lion-Hearted (Cour de Lion). Xaviar planned to save him so he would be rewarded with political power. After being thwarted, Xaviar manages to escape again.
  • The final stop is the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. They watch the battle in horror, but Xaviar never appears. They then head back to their own time.
  • After pursuing Xaviar throughout time, and managing to thwart him the first few times, Troy surmises that Xaviar has given up altering the past, because each time he does so, the Warriors would be able to intercept him, as so long as they have the technology and the means to do so.
  • Xaviar is still at large at the end of the story, although he has given up on trying to change Earth's past. Xaviar wants to create an empire for himself. He plans to hide somewhere in the present day and use his knowledge and superior technology to gain power. Xaviar wants the humans to live, but he is willing to bargain with the Cylons if necessary to achieve his aims.
  • Troy completes the equation he had left Alfred Mortinson earlier.
  • The book ends with an Adama Journals entry. Adama is hopeful for the future and believes they can successfully upgrade Earth's technology while leading the Cylons away from Earth. His final words are "We have begun!"

Characters

A list of characters and their analogues to the aired episode, if applicable.

Galacticans

Character Biography
Commander Adama Commander of the Galactican fleet.
Lieutenant Dillon Colonial Warrior and friend of Troy's.
Kip Colonial Warrior assigned to contact sympathetic scientists in the United Soviet Socialist Republics.
Captain Troy Colonial Warrior, son of Serena, and the Fleet's leading Warrior.
Xaviar Former Colonial warrior and scientist who is incensed with Adama and Dr. Zee's method of accelerating Earth's technology. He believes the Galacticans fools and tries to use the time warp synthesizer to change Earth's past, but is continually thwarted by Dillon and Troy. His goal eventually turns from helping the Galacticans to power-lust, wanting to secure himself a place in history and live luxuriously.
Doctor Zee Child prodigy. A cerebral mutation born in space. His origins are unexplained in the book (as opposed to the episode "The Return of Starbuck"), however his age as of this tale is 14. He is responsible for many of the Galacticans' scientific advancements, including the time warp synthesizer, a language educator, the invisibility fields, and other technological advancements.

1944 C.E.

Allied Forces and Others

Character Analogue Biography
Ramona Brandhorst German resistance leader Old lady part of the German underground. She owns Number Three Moranstrasse and stabs Troy in the gut, fearing him to be an SS officer out to kill her.[1]
Charles de Gaulle None Leader of France's military who does not earn the respect of Col. Guidry. In his journal, Guidry notes that de Gaulle's obstructive actions almost prevent him from even leaving a French-held airfield to begin his mission of sabotage.[2]
Col. John H. Guidry Maj. Stockwell American saboteur who is assigned to take out the V2 rocket in Obersalzberg. The Galacticans manage to enlist Guidry's help, despite his severe mistrust of them.
Unnamed Jewish girl "Unnamed Jewish girl" This young girl manages to escape the concentration camp-bound boxcar at the train station, making a beeline to the Galactican's hidden position in Obersalzberg, and saved by the Galacticans.[3]

Nazis

Character Analogue Biography
Oberleutnant Branham None German officer who finds the stunned Nazis who are summarily sent to the Russian front by General Yodel. Later, Branham brutally interrogates Troy after the Warrior is captured at Number Three Morganstrasse; Dillon subsequently stuns him and frees Troy.[4]
Sgt. Josef Lammers None Nazi soldier who stops Troy out in the street, asking for Troy's papers. Troy manages to incapacitate him and deprive him of his clothing, which he uses to successfully arrive at Number Three Moranstrasse. Ironically, Troy's appearance as a soldier results in his being stabbed by Ramona Brandhorst.[5]
Schlutter None Nazi soldier who is ordered to pursue Troy.[6]
Col. Conrad Werner Colonel Werner Responsible for the V2 project in Obersalzberg and is responsible for involving Xaviar on the project.[7]
Gen. Wilhelm Yodel Gen. Yodel High ranking Nazi officer who arrives to oversee a demonstration of the V2 rocket in Obersalzberg.

In a report from General Yodel, the following Nazi soldiers who are dispatched by Troy and Dillon were transferred to the Russian front: J. Huber, W. Blumenstritt, L. Steinhardt, W. Kappstadt, J. Streck, T. Straunning, L. Blaumann, and P. Plaga. Their commanding officer, J. Gansz, was recommended for immediate court martial.[8]

1980 C.E.

Character Analogue Biography
Dana Anderson Mr. Brooks Jamie Hamilton's boss, and West Coast News Director of United Broadcasting Corporation, who tries to make a story out of Dr. Mortinson and his escapades with the Colonial Warriors.
Billjac the Crusher Biker A bearded Hell's Angel who is quickly dispatched by Troy and Dillon.[9]
Stuart Brownstein None Professor at the UCLA Department of Astronomy, who points out in a news article that the UFOs (the Vipers) sighted could not be explained in any rationalized way, given their distinct flying patterns.[10]
James William Cavin Moran The delusional lush that Troy and Dillon are locked in with; they use their invisibility fields and manage to fool the sergeant into opening the cell to investigate. Using this window of opportunity, the Warriors escape.[11]
Ms. Davenport Anne Dana Anderson's uptight, abrasive secretary.[12]
Col. Henry Becksworth Davies Davies General Wilson's aide, who denies reports of UFOs (Dillon and Troy's Vipers) to the press.[13]
Donzo Gates Donzo Hell's Angel biker who tries to take Troy and Dillon's turbocycles.
Jamie Hamilton Self An up-and-coming reporter who encounters Troy and Dillon, only to be embroiled in their plans for Earth, and an asset to the Galacticans.
Professor Khalinov None Soviet scientist, possibly recruited by Kip, to help the Galacticans develop Earth's technology.[14]
Sgt. Michael Lalor Cop at Police Station Police sergeant that discredits Jimmy the Lush's stories; he later discovers that the two Warriors have disappeared from police custody while still inside a locked cell.</ref>
Lizard Charlie Biker A Hell's Angel. Donzo Gates' "old lady" has been making eyes at him, hence Gates' decision to challenge Troy and Dillon.
Scott Miles Jack Archer Security guard at the Pacific Institute of Technology who tells Carlyle Tabakow about the intruders (Troy and Dillon) who are looking for Mortinson.
Chief Modzelewski Police chief Dana Anderson asks his secretary to get him in touch with this police officer.[15]
Dr. Alfred Mortinson, Ph.D. Dr. Donald Mortinson, Ph.D. Nobel prize laureate and scientist looking for a safe way to deal with nuclear power. Recruited by Troy and Dillon to help the Galacticans accelerate Earth's technology.
Carlyle Tabakow Dorothy Carlyle Mortinson's secretary. Her journal entry notes her concern over Mortinson's sanity, as well as her own future job security.[16]
Professor Rashid Tarid None Pakistani scientist recruited to help the Galacticans develop Earth's technology.[17]
Gen. Tucker Wilson General Cushing Head of Strategic Air Command.[13]

Analysis

  • As with the episode, Mortinson apparently doesn't back up his computer files, since any work that Troy and Dillon would've done could be reverted with such a computerized data backup.

Notes

  • Troy and Dillon are equipped with climbing equipment in the form of suction devices for their hands and feet, and consider using it to gain access to the fourth floor (where Alfred Mortinson's office is), but determine that they may be easily found and gunned down before they knew what struck them.
  • Rather than being published under the Galactica 1980 series title, the novelisation was published as part of the ongoing Battlestar Galactica book series. This would prove appropriate, given that the episodes of 1980 would later be rolled into the syndicated package of the original series.

Alternate covers

References

  1. Ibid., pgs. 109-111
  2. Ibid., p. 94
  3. Ibid., pgs. 105-106
  4. Ibid., pgs. 102, 123-124
  5. Ibid., pgs. 108-109
  6. Ibid., p. 107
  7. Ibid., pgs. 127-134
  8. Ibid., p. 102
  9. Ibid., pgs. 20-24
  10. Ibid., p. 74
  11. Ibid., pgs. 57-59
  12. Ibid., p. 157
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ibid, p. 20
  14. Ibid., p. 186
  15. Ibid., p. 157
  16. Ibid., p. 43-46
  17. Ibid., p. 186