Saga of a Star World (Book)

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Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica
A book of the Berkley Books line
Book No. 1
Author(s) Robert Thurston
Adaptation of Saga of a Star World
No. of Pages 256 (reprint)
Published September 1978
ISBN 0425039587
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Saga of a Star World is a novelization of the premiere episode, "Saga of a Star World," for the Original Series.

This book was reprinted by iBooks Inc. on September 30, 2005.


"From the Adama Journals"

  • First Entry (Before Chapter 1): Adama talks about how the Cylon war began abruptly with an outright attack on the Colonials' merchant ships, resulting in the destruction of thousands of ships. He tells of the first Cylon offensive against the twelve worlds, which the Colonial Fleet repulsed, thus beginning the thousand year war. He later notes that the humans later forgot the extent of Cylon treachery, and should never have trusted the peace offering the Cylons offered "just as abruptly as they had initiated hostilities". He believes that the Cylons were able to prey upon the humans' desire for peace, and blames himself for not trusting his suspicions.[1]
  • Second Entry (between Chapters 1 and 2): Adama notes that there is often debate between the significance of individual death and mass death. Adama doesn't believe there is a difference, noting that either set of deaths—a singular individual death (like that of his son, Zac) and the mass deaths caused by the Cylons in the same act—is "no less intense, no less meaningful, no less important".[2]
  • Third Entry (between Chapters 2 and 3): Adama reflects on his withdrawal from the Battle of Cimtar to rush to the Colonies and the misconceptions that surrounded it, particularly those from his own pilots, Boomer and Starbuck. In this entry, Adama tells of the legend of Gavin and the Villain[3]; a moon miner from the solar system that contained Earth who spends his life looking for a villain after trying to best said villain in a game to prove his bravery. Adama relates to the legend, saying how his times of "apparent cowardice" made him feel like Gavin.[4]
  • Fourth Entry (between Chapters 3 and 4): Adama reflects on the assemblage of the rag-tag, fugitive fleet, astonished at the tenacity of disparate groups of survivors to assemble and coordinate efforts to evacuate, all while the Cylons were bent on exterminating any survivors. Adama tells of how Apollo improvised a camouflaging force field that made their rendezvous point invisible to Cylon patrols. He notes that many among the Fleet believe that a higher power was involved in making all these events occur; regardless of what one believes, Adama claims that the assemblage of the Fleet was a miracle.[5]
  • Fifth Entry (between Chapters 4 and 5): Adama reflects on being a benevolent tyrant, noting that if everyone were told the full truth around his plans, the Fleet and its people would succumb to ennui and fear once comprehending the full nature of the odds that they face. As he marvels at how resilient the survivors had become in repairing damages, converting ships to hyperspace ability, and dealing with the problems they faced, he notes that he remained aloof and emotionally detached so that work could be done.[6]
  • Sixth Entry (between Chapters 5 and 6): Adama discusses his first and only attempt to capture a young Ensign Starbuck in the act of illicit gambling aboard Galactica. He discovers that Starbuck and the other crew members have been betting on when Adama will die. Initially irritated at this, he discovers that all of the crew members have said "never"; Adama believes that Starbuck played him the whole time, knowing that the Commander was looking to nab him on something, and Adama never tried to catch Starbuck red handed again.[7]
  • Seventh Entry (between Chapters 6 and 7): Adama remembers a piece of advice that his father gave after transferring command of Galactica to him: to look for things that were absent when things appeared to be in place. He notes that he is odds with what he sees, or doesn't see, when it comes to the idyllic refuge of Carillon.
  • Eighth Entry (between Chapters 7 and 8): Adama notes that the idea of paradise is something contrary to what it suggests ("an expansion of human potential") and is instead the complete reverse ("usually a reduction, generally to the state of inertia"). He notes that humanity has an "unfortunate tendency to welcome traps if we can find some way to call them paradises," noting that such traps included Count Baltar's peace initiative and the "Carillon paradise," and that humanity often doesn't "pay heed to the slaves who are the rest of the population in our ideal imaginary lands [...] be[ing] content if we don't have to think of the slaves or the inertia".[8]
  • Ninth Entry (between Chapters 8 and 9): Adama tries to make sense of Baltar's betrayal of humanity, but finds more understanding in the motivations of the Cylons and Ovions than in Baltar's evil nature.[9]
  • Tenth and Final Entry (between Chapters 9 and 10): Adama recalls his meeting with Adar during a lull in the Thousand Year War; Adar had been successful in filing his petition to run for a minor political office on Sagitara, and vowed to bring the War with the Cylons to an end, blaming the corruption of the politicians that ran the war. Adama discusses the gradual changes in Adar's outlook on things as he grew more powerful, up to the point where Adar was no longer welcomed by Ila, Adama's wife, into their home. (Also included is a brief story about a then-two-year old Apollo and his own daggit, an animal with a penchant of tripping people, and some memories of Ila.)[10]

Chapter One


  • Although Glen Larson is given co-author credit, he actually was not involved in the writing of the book at all. In fact, he did not contribute anything to any of the 14 Berkley books. Presumably, Larson's name was put on the books to make them more marketable.
  • Robert Thurston has said the novel originally had more sex in it, but the publisher edited most of it out. There were some copies of the original unedited version released, but they are difficult to find (and the differences are fairly minor). For example, there was a special version of the novelization printed with a plain blue cover for the 1978 ABA convention. It is also possible (though not certain) that the Canadian edition of the novel may be unedited.
  • In the Adama Journals, Adama states that the Cylons attacked the humans first without provocation more than a thousand years ago (There is never any mention in the novel of Colonial units of time such as yahrens, centons, microns, etc). This was contradicted in the movie and even later in the novelization when we hear Adama say during a meeting of the Council that the Cylons did not attack the Colonies until the Colonials aided a race that the Cylons had enslaved.
  • Zac, instead of volunteering to go on patrol, was forced to go on patrol by Colonel Tigh as punishment for "that little rest and recuperation escape with Pay's chief nurse in sick bay."
  • Apollo was famous among all the battlestars in the fleet for his war achievements.
  • Adama is a much more stern, strict man than he appeared to be in the TV series, as the members of his crew were said to have feared him as much as they loved him.
  • Baltar was a self-proclaimed count; a rich trader, a dealer in rare items.
  • Adama severely disliked Baltar from the beginning and didn't trust him.
  • Adama and Adar went to the space academy together and were assigned to the same battlestar.
  • The Colonial warfleet has five battlestars, not twelve. The fleet apparently had many other kinds of warships besides battlestars.
  • The Galactica is described to be quite different from the other battlestars, having both size and speed. It seems to be much bigger than it was in the TV series.
  • Adama and his wife Ila had not seen each other in over two years. In their married life, they had spent more time apart than they had spent together, but Ila always argued that their love was intensified as a result.
  • Starbuck's gambling is so famous that his name is part of fighter-pilot slang. To be starbucked meant that you had maneuvered yourself into a position where defeat was inevitable. It was applied toward both battle and gambling.
  • Boomer, Jolly, and Greenbean are with Starbuck in the card game. Starbuck loses a big hand to some Gemons, but then he comes back and wins just as the alert is sounded.
  • When the Cylons attack the Colonial warfleet, two fleet battlecruisers explode almost immediately (evidently, there were many other ships besides the 5 battlestars). The Galactica is the only battlestar that manages to launch all its vipers. By the time the other battlestars launch their vipers, the Cylons are able to pick off most of them as soon as they clear the launch tubes. Thus, Galactica warriors are left to lead the defense of the fleet.
  • The Solaria is the last battlestar left in the fleet. It is destroyed, and then the Cylons leave the remaining vipers. Starbuck, Boomer, Jolly and the others are able to find refueling stations that were shielded from Cylon scanners.
  • Starbuck, Boomer, and other pilots angrily confront Colonel Tigh on the bridge about Galactica's withdrawal from the battle. Tigh replays the footage of the Destruction for them. This scene can be found in the Missing Scenes section.
  • The Cylons are organic underneath their armor, unlike in the TV series. The way the Cylons look is not really described, but they must look very different than in the TV series because one of the Cylons on Carillon actually laughs. The Cylons in the TV series were incapable of laughter or displaying such emotion.
  • Imperious Leader has many eyes. He has three brains. Typical Cylons have one brain, and secondary officers have two brains. Imperious Leader uses part of his brain to access the human form of thinking as a way to anticipate what his enemies will do. He dislikes using that portion of his brain, but it is invaluable in battle. Leader sees the humans' notions of good and evil as ridiculous. As far as he is concerned, such things simply do not exist. The Leader wears a helmet that allows him to personally direct the battle.
  • Every Imperious Leader holds power for roughly three-quarters of a century, and then steps down after naming a successor.
  • Serina has auburn hair and green eyes. She does not know Boxey when she helps him during the Cylon attack (unlike in the TV series where she is his mother).
  • The rag-tag fleet is composed of 22,000 ships (not 220).
  • Apollo creates a force field that hides the fleet from the Cylons. This makes their escape from the Colonies more believable, and it shows that the early character of Apollo was much more scientifically skilled than the Apollo of the TV series.
  • Athena is a blonde and Cassiopeia is a brunette.
  • The original script has extra dialogue between Cassiopeia and Starbuck during their first meeting on the shuttle, and it survived intact in the novel. The novel has a number of scenes that were filmed but either partially or completely left out of the pilot due to length.
  • The novel makes it clear that a socialator is far more than a common prostitute. It takes years of preparation as one has to take endless courses concerning social behavior and human knowledge before a license is granted. A socialator has the ability to cure mild illnesses with intricate massage techniques.
  • In the launch bay, Cassiopeia openly tells Starbuck that she wants to make love to him.
  • When Athena sees Starbuck and Casseopeia in the launch tube, they are making love (not simply kissing as they were in the pilot).
  • In the Adama Journals, Adama talks about how a number of people even to this day still consider him to be a coward for leaving the Colonial warfleet during the surprise attack.
  • Adama once had a talk with Zac who said that he loved Apollo but he had to surpass his achievements. This reveals the rivalry between the two brothers that was never defined in the movie.
  • Imperious Leader considers Baltar to be the vilest of all humans because he is a traitor. When he orders Baltar to be executed, Baltar tries to bargain his life by offering information. Leader promises to spare him, and Baltar then tells him that he heard Galactica survives. The Leader then breaks his promise and Baltar is taken out of the chamber to be executed. A Centurion soon reports that Baltar has been beheaded and his corpse has been thrown in a garbage chute. But because we never see Baltar get executed, the continuity of the story is not disrupted when later novels reveal that Baltar survived. [11]
  • The term "year"—not "yahren"—is used throughout.
  • The names of the Colonies include: Aeriana, Caprica, Gemini, Virgon. The names of the occupants from each of the Colonies include: Aeries, Gemons, Virgos, Scorpios, Leos, Picons, and Sagitarians.[12]
  • The novel hints that many people did not want to be part of Adama's quest to find Earth. Apollo wants to fight the Cylons. Serina simply objects to the idea of looking for Earth. Adama simply tells her she will do what he says. In the Adama Journals, Adama talks about how a leader, no matter how benevolently he regards himself, has to be something of a tyrant.
  • Solium is a fuel, a derivative of the fuel source called Tylium.
  • The Sire Uri of the novel is described as "handsome."
  • Adama resigns as President of the Council due to the burdens of leading the fleet despite protests from most of the Council members. This is why Adama is unable to simply overrule the Council when they later propose destroying their weapons. This subplot was filmed for the pilot but left out, presumably due to length.
  • There is not enough fuel for the entire fleet to make it to Carillon. One third of the fleet makes the journey and will return once the fuel is found. Uri votes for the plan only after he is guaranteed that his ship, the Rising Star, is one of the ships that is selected for the trip.
  • Droids were banned on Caprica because Capricans didn't believe in using mechanical substitutes for human effort. That helps explain the lack of robots among the Colonials.
  • The Muffit of the novel looks exactly like a real daggit (dog). He actually pants and has a tongue.
  • In the Adama Journals, Adama tells a story of how he once tried to catch Starbuck and reprimand him. He followed Starbuck down several hallways one time and walked in on a card game between him and several others. When Adama asks him what he was betting on, Starbuck tells Adama that they are betting on what will be the day that Adama dies! Adama becomes enraged, and Starbuck says the game was fixed; he knows the answer. Adama then asks what will be the day he dies, and Starbuck shows him the sheet of paper he wrote the answer on. It reads, "Never." Everyone, including Adama, bursts into laughter, and that was the last time Adama ever tried to catch Starbuck.
  • The Colonials are unaware of the mine field blocking Carillon. Adama picks Apollo, Starbuck, and Boomer to clear the minefield at the last moment. Athena protests this to Adama, mostly because of her feelings for Starbuck. The hopelessness of their situation makes her want him even more.
  • There are three different mines. The first are regular mines. The second are jamming mines that make the vipers controls go haywire if it gets too close. And the third are mines that send out a blinding light when they explode. This is why the viper cockpits are sealed. At one point, Tigh suggests to Adama that the mission be aborted when it appears the trio won't be able to destroy the mines.
  • The Ovions are selling all of their tylium to the Cylons, but they are forced to because the Cylons rule over them. The Ovions actually despise the Cylons.
  • Monogomy is prevalent on some Cylon worlds, and the Imperious Leader considers this to be a bad thing.
  • The boss of the casino gives Starbuck and Boomer free food and drink when they first arrive. The short simian waiters are "mildly telepathic," enabling them to serve Starbuck his favorite drink, Sagitarian straight-arrow, and his favorite dessert, Aquarian ambrosia cake, without him having to ask for them.
  • Jolly is the first to be captured by the Ovions. Muffit is also captured along with Boxey.
  • The Imperious Leader recalls a conversation he had with a captured human scientist. After several days of communication, the man became lethargic. When the Leader asked why, the man explained the concept of boredom. The Leader found the concept so loathsome that he refused to accept it and became incensed with rage. The man also became angry and argued that no one liked to be bored, but it was unavoidable. The Leader commented that the man now seemed much less bored, therefore talking about boredom must not be boring. The man screamed that he was now more bored than ever, that the Imperious Leader and all the rest of the Cylons were such smug hypocrites with little personality that any sensible human could not help but be bored after a few days in their company. Although Imperious Leader did not believe boredom to be a genuine state, he resented the man's claim of boredom in Cylon company, and he banished the man from his presence forever. He probably had the man put to death, but that was a piece of information he would not have bothered to preserve in any of his brains. Ironically, Imperious Leader was now feeling bored while waiting for the Carillon trap to be sprung on the humans. When he hears news of Galactica's arrival at Carillon, he orders the Cylon task force at Borallus to be ready to travel to Carillon.
  • Adama goes with the Council to Carillon, but he refuses to eat any of the Ovions' food. The food is drugged, and that explains why the rest of the Council so stupidly wanted to destroy their weapons.
  • Athena asks Adama for permission to go to Carillon, and he says yes. She dreams of one day having her own battlestar to command.
  • The three singers on stage are from the planet Tucan. They have two mouths each instead of three.
  • Serina uses her reporter skills to try to talk to one of the Ovions named Seetol, but her attempt is mostly unsuccessful.
  • We never hear Adama discuss his secret plan with Colonel Tigh. Tigh actually does go down to the surface for the party so he can report what is happening to Galactica.
  • Sire Uri comes on to both Cassiopea and Serina. Of course, they reject him.
  • Apollo and Serina spend a night together on Carillon. It is strongly implied that they have sex.
  • When Cassiopeia storms away from Starbuck, Athena angrily hands him the room key and leaves as well. Later, Athena regrets not having stayed with Starbuck.
  • When Cassiopeia is captured by the Ovions, she is wrapped in leaves inside a pod that at first make her feel peaceful and happy. Soon it wears off and the leaves grow painfully tight, and she begins to scream.
  • The captured humans' bodies are slowly absorbed into the leaves of the pod. They are diluted into a liquid used to feed Ovion babies when they hatch.
  • The Cylon attack force is referred to as the Cylon Supreme Star Force.
  • The Cylons discover the portion of the fleet left behind when a glitch occurs in the force field, but the Cylons decide to wait to attack because they don't want to alert Galactica.
  • Seetol and the Ovion queen, Lotay, are killed during Starbuck and Apollo's escape from the mines.
  • During the mass exodus from the surface of Caprica, Starbuck and Cassiopeia pilot a shuttle filled with highly volatile Tylium. They barely evade the attacking Cylons and return to Galactica.
  • The planet Carillon does not explode at the end.
  • Once the Cylons at Carillon are routed, Galactica warps back to the rest of the fleet which is also being attacked by Cylons. The Colonials win the battle. Imperious Leader is shocked at the turn of events. He realizes in his anger and hatred he has become like the humans, and that makes him more determined than ever to destroy them all.
  • Muffit is shot by a Cylon on the surface of Carillon. Boxey is very sad because of this, and the book ends with Doctor Wilker revealing that Muffit has now been repaired. Boxey is happy again, and Serina makes a toast to Adama: "To Earth," she said.


  • The book contradicts itself over how the Thousand Yahren War with the Cylons began. In the first entry of Adama's journals, Adama claims that the "war with the Cylons began abruptly—without warning, without even a formal declaration that war was to be". Adama explains that the Cylons first opened fire on Colonial merchant ships, destroying their ships by "the thousands," and, following this, the Cylons sent a fleet of basestar to the The Twelve Colonies. However, this attack was repulsed by the Colonial military, who had the military might to do so.[13] Later, in a discussion with the Quorum of Twelve over the issue of disarmament, Adama points out to the Quorum that the Colonials did not come into direct conflict with the Cylons (and thus start the conflict) until they defended their neighbors, the Hasaris, from the Cylons who sought to enslave them.[14] (This contradiction can likely be interpreted by the fact that Robert Thurston was given many rewrites of the pilot script, which radically changed from its origins, as noted here.)


  • One of the jarring concepts of the Original Series was the fact that a large caravan of ships were able to successfully elude Cylon pursuit on mere sublight speed—its maximum speed being restricted to the maximum speed of the slowest ship in the Fleet. The book explains that the Colonials were able to construct camouflaging force fields to hide the Fleet. While mostly effective, the Cylons were able to periodically determine the Fleet's location whenever the field weakened, so as to get a general location of the Fleet.
  • While faster-than-light travel was rarely broached in the Original Series, the book mentions that that the ships in the Fleet underwent conversion to hyperspace capability.[12] Presumably, this term is neither inferred nor used because "hyperspace" is a term used in Star Wars for FTL travel, and was likely on the list of the various things that George Lucas and Glen A. Larson agreed not to use in Battlestar Galactica.

Official statements

  • Robert Thurston explains the differences between the novelisation and the episode:
"There were many changes done in the novelization as the film script changed. Each week or so I would recieve new script pages (new pages were in different colors), which presented new writing and indicated material cut out, and I diligently tried to incorporate each change into the novelization. Actually, this was one of the more exciting things about this particular novelization. Features of it were always changing in the way one alters a clay figure. However, the book was done several months ahead of the TV premiere, which explains some of the major differences between the film and the novelization. The most important one, as I’m sure you already know, was the nature of the Cylons. In the script they were always aliens. When I finally saw the film in a theatre in Canada, they were still aliens. But of course, apparently due to some network stricture about how many could be killed, they were changed to robots. The gambling planet section was extensively revised and was, I thought at the time, better in its original than in its reworking. I wish I could remember why."[15]
  • The back-cover description from the first edition:
Zac and Apollo are brothers—and rivals—in the ultimate adventure, as humankind's heroic star-fighter crews battle the alien Cylon for control of the known galaxy! BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is an epic multi-media event: the triumphant ABC-TV spectacular with the most expensive special effects ever produced, designed by Oscar-winning genius John Dykstra... and a powerful science fiction novel, a gripping space-war saga of interstellar adventure!
  • "Preview given on the first page of the first edition:"
Flagship of the 12 Worlds fleet, she was as large as a planet, yet as swift as the Starhound fighters she launched from her bays. For generations the vast ship led the thousand-year war against the Cylons for control of the known Galaxy. Now that war was in its final phase, and Galactica had one final mission, win or lose: blast through the deadly grid of the Cylon Starfleet and dash for deep space in a desperate attempt to find the legendary "Stonehenge" of the universe - the lost planet the ancient microfilms call "Earth."
  • The back-cover description from the iBooks Inc. reprint:
At the end of a bloody thousand-year war against an invincible enemy, an uneasy peace has finally between been achieved between humans and the dreaded cyborg warriors of the Cylon Empire. But peace soon turns to bloodshed when the Cylons launch an unexpected attack against humanity's twelve Colonial worlds, wiping out most of the inhabitants. Pursued by Cylon forces, the survivors gather together a ragtag fleet of ships, their only protection the valiant warriors of Galactica, the sole battlestar able to escape the sneak attack. Led by Commander Adama and his son, Captain Apollo, the Colonials begin a desperate search for a new home: a planet called Earth, where legend says the long-missing Thirteenth Colony of Mankind will be found. Unfortunately, no one knows where, exactly, Earth might be, and the journey may be a long one-with the Cylons drawing closer with every passing moment.[16]

Alternate covers


  1. Thurston, Robert (September 1978). Battlestar Galactica. Berkley Books, p. 1-2.
  2. Ibid., p. 31
  3. This is a Battlestar Wiki descriptive term.
  4. Thurston, Robert (September 1978). Battlestar Galactica. Berkley Books, p. 53.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 75-76
  6. Ibid., p. 87
  7. Ibid., p. 121-123
  8. Ibid., pgs. 169-170
  9. Ibid., p. 187
  10. Ibid., pgs. 210-211
  11. Thurston, Robert (September 1978). Battlestar Galactica. Berkley Books, p. 80-81.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ibid., p. 73
  13. Ibid., pgs. 1-2
  14. Ibid., p. 193.
  15. Paxton, Susan J. Battlestar Zone Interview: Robert Thurston (backup available on . Retrieved on 26 February 2008.
  16. Battlestar Wiki/ US Store: Battlestar Galactica Classic: The Saga of A Star World (Battlestar Galactica) (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 2007 October 14.