Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Berkley's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Paperback Novels

More books from my collection - the first four Battlestar Galactica novelizations by Robert Thurston ("and Glen Larson" - sure....) from Berkley Books. The first Galactica novel adapted the pilot, and sported the familiar Robert Tannenbaum poster artwork on its cover. I must have read this book a couple dozen times in Junior High....

I read book 2, Cylon Death Machine, (based on the two-part epic, "Gun On Ice Planet Zero") even more times. Thurston's adaptation is a terrific space adventure story that improves on the teleplay somewhat, and employs a truly neat narrative device that switches around between the viewpoints of various characters - including the hardboiled convicts that the Galactica crew conscripted from the Prison Ship for this "Dirty Dozen Against the Guns of Navarone at Ice Station Zebra" mission. Berkley chose to use Frazetta's TV advertising art for this cover - which I'm sure was a very wise commercial decision.

I remember that I received books 3 & 4 for Christmas, 1980. The Tombs Of Kobol adapted the two-part "Lost Planet of the Gods," while The Young Warriors adapted and slightly expanded upon the episode of the same name. Both of these books sported rather nice (and TV-accurate) wrap-around cover paintings by sci-fi artist David Shleinkofer.

Amazingly, this series outlived the television show by almost a decade - running all the way to 1988, and totaling 14 titles, the last few of which were original stories, and not adaptations of TV episodes. Somehow, I missed all of the later volumes (written by Thurston, Mike Resnick, Ron Goulart, and others), except for #13 - a Thurston original called Apollo's War. (Cover art by James Warhola.)

Oddly, I don't recall actually reading that one - I think I'll pull it out and add it to my "To Be Read" pile....

In the meantime, I think I'll start scouring online used booksellers for the volumes I'm missing. I'm especially interested in reading the later "originals" by Thurston.

ADDENDUM 2/5/12: I found a few of the ones I'm missing at some reasonable prices, and ordered four books from various online dealers: #7 War Of The Gods, #9 Experiment In Terra, #11 The Nightmare Machine, #12 Die, Chameleon!

Die, Chameleon arrived on Saturday in good shape. Hopefully, the others will also show up in decent condition. Turns out that I also already have a beat up copy of #5, Galactica Discovers Earth, though it's in such bad shape I may want to try and find a replacement copy. Then I think I'll only need the following books: #6 The Living Legend, #8 Greetings From Earth, #10 The Long Patrol, and the final volume, #14 Surrender The Galactica.


  1. I was book shopping a few weeks ago, and much to my surprise, I learned that iBooks are also available as print. The store where I was (New England Mobile Book Fair) is organized by publisher and they had an entire section of iBooks.

    Double my surprise when I saw these Battlestar Galactica novels has been reprinted under the iBooks banner! They didn't have all, but I definitely remember they had 'The Cylon Death Machine' and some other old ones along with the later revamp novels by Richard Hatch.

    I don't know how many of the original titles are available via iBooks, though.

  2. These are cool

    I have somewhere the photo-novel of the first episode for BSG, the novelization of War of the Gods and Galactica 1980: Galactica Finds Earth

  3. Holy shit! Alibris dealers want HUNDREDS of dollars for the later books in the series. Screw that!

    Anybody want to pay $500 for MY copy of Apollo's War?

  4. Too bad they want to gouge people on the prices.. that seems typical these days. I guess the owners think that it's better to keep the perceived "value" up than actually sell the things.

    Please let us know how Apollo's War is though, once you've read it.

  5. I actually bought these as they came out ... definitely not worth $500. I don't remember much other than they were maybe "okay" reads. I enjoyed the adaptations because at the time they came out, I didn't have Galactica on tape, so this was the only way to experience Galactica until I got to college and we picked up the Sci Fi channel, back when they aired space shows instead of reality shows and horror ...

  6. Ah, so it appears "IBooks, Inc" are not (?) related to Apple iBooks. One wonders when there will be a buyout?

    So, many of the BG reprints are out-of-print again. But, at least, they were reprinted recently enough that you might find them more readily.

    Current catalog only lists two titles, from the Richard Hatch novels.


  7. I had a nice boxed set of the first 5 books in this series as well as 6 - 9 as a kid. I may still have them in the last bit of my things remaining at my mom's house. I'll have to look for them the next time I'm there.

    My memory is a little fuzzy (since we're going back almost 30 years), but I believe one of the books was "Galactica Discovers Earth," the pilot episodes of Galactica:1980.

  8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/38157193@N05/tags/battlestargalactica/

    There you go.



  9. I read all of these as they came out and enjoyed them all. I can't recall the source, but rumor was the later novels came from un filmed scripts.

  10. I think I was one of the few that actually bought EVERY one of these during the '80s. That must mean I'm sitting on a small fortune, right? But seriously, the quality of the later adaptations varies from book to book. And for some strange reason (probably because it was relatively new at the time), the fifth book adapted the pilot for Galactica 1980, while the sixth (The Living Legend) was the first of many "flashbacks" to the original series. And in book seven (The War of the Gods), Baltar is mysteriously taken from his cell aboard the prison barge by the beings of light and returned to the Cylons at the book's conclusion, unlike in the actual episode, only to be made a prisoner again aboard the prison barge without explaination in book ten (Baltar's Escape/Experiment in Terra).

    Btw, ever wonder why was Apollo depicted on the cover of book four when the sory was actually about Starbuck?

  11. I found a few of the ones I'm missing at radically more reasonable prices, and ordered four books:

    #7 War Of The Gods
    #9 Experiment In Terra
    #11 The Nightmare Machine
    #12 Die, Chameleon!

    Hopefully, they'll arrive in decent condition....

  12. A blast from the past for sure... I only had one of these books as a kid, it was #10 The Long Patrol. I dont think I ever even read it though I remember the cover vividly.

  13. Very nice. Only the first two made it to the UK. Shame because they look like nice editions.
    How about covering some of the episodes in more depth for a future blog entry? Personally, I always had a soft spot for 'Gun on Ice Planet Zero'

  14. Great books still have most of mine from when I was a kid.

  15. ...Christopher, IIRC Glen Larson confirmed that the last four books in this series were based on script ideas he had for the 2nd season. "Die, Chamelion" was also one that Fred Astaire agreed to come back and reprise his role as Starbuck's father. Where this fits in relation to that supposed "radical change" for the 2nd season that Chris Larson was passing around about ten years ago is anyone's guess: