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Old November 9th, 2020, 12:04 PM   #6
Eric Paddon
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Morristown, NJ
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Default Re: Revisiting The Old Novelizations

The motive for the automated Raiders made more sense in the context of the Cylons as living beings and trying to save personnel, whereas with robots the motive is less credible given the theoretical ability of the Cylons to keep constructing centurions.

#3-The Tombs of Kobol by Robert Thurston

The original title of the LPOTG script was used for the novelization. It represents a shift in tone from the first two novels because Thurston had to start finding ways of reconciling the original premises of the first two novels rooted in concepts the series abandoned and the results start to look a bit awkward which is why overall I think the quality of the book is less effective as a read compared to the first two novels.

-It opens with Baltar's "resurrection" after being written as executed in the first novelization, though Thurston had done it "off-camera" with a centurion informing Imperious Leader that Baltar had been beheaded. To introduce Lucifer to this altered universe, Lucifer is the one responsible for sparing Baltar because of his belief that Baltar can be useful to the Cylons. Lucifer is depicted as a pure machine Cylon that sets him apart from the what are still organic/living Cylons and here is where the awkwardness sets in with this attempt to merge the abandoned concept that we are "stuck" with from the first two novelizations with the fact that Lucifer, in order to exist as a character can't be credibly written as an organic Cylon, hence he is a pure machine as an example of Cylon cybernetics.

-Lucifer subjects Baltar to a physical fitness regiment before he is presented to a largely indifferent Imperious Leader (again, the same Impy who was not killed at the end of the first novel) in what marks Thurston's acknowledgment of how the series as it unfolded shifted away from Impy to Baltar as primary villain. After giving Imperious Leader all kinds of nuance about his past encounters with Adama, he is there for just the one scene submitting to Baltar's demands for a throne room "as tall as yours" and then he is gone from the scene. Thurston now transfers to Baltar, a lifelong hatred of Adama going back to their Academy days when Baltar got kicked out of the Academy for cheating. How Adama had always upstaged him at (I'm not making this up) Academy choral practice where "Adama's vibrant bass baritone" got him more attention from the young ladies than "Baltar's shaky tenor". It isn't the most effective way of suggesting a deep-seated background history between Adama and Baltar.

-Even though we had GOIPZ novelized second, Thurston, mindful of the continuity disconnect, doesn't acknowledge that tale since he has to now have Serina back. He also has to pass over as quickly as possible the first novel's conceit of Boxey being an orphaned child Serina found rather than being her real son, and he does so in an awkward line so that the original conceit isn't brought up again. Where it lingers is that you never really get the notion of a close bond between Serina and Boxey and that only underscores how the effectiveness of LPOTG as it airs is the fact that Serina is Boxey's mother for real. Without that, it loses a lot of depth. I think Thurston would have been wiser to retcon the "orphan" premise entirely out of existence.

-Thurston continues one device from the GOIPZ novelization by giving us a number of chapters from the first person perspective of one character. This time it's Serina in the form of "recording crystals" she made at various points all the way up to just before she gets shot after leaving the tomb (and Thurston establishes a heartsick Apollo listening to all of these). Whereas the first person Croft narratives worked fine in the previous book, here they don't work. Scenes like the proposal, the Apollo-Serina confrontation when she reveals she's a shuttle pilot, or scenes like those in Kobol just fall unbelievably flat in this kind of first person telling. I didn't like the approach at all. Thurston also depicts Serina more in "journalist" mode including giving her a hard-line religious skepticism later that doesn't fit with what we saw in the episode.

-Thurston also gives us a very disturbing side-plot revovling the female pilot named "Gemi" who if you recall from the episode is the one identified as getting destroyed during the later Kobol battle sequences, though we never saw an actress identified as this character. Thurston makes her an awkward looking, unattractive loner who is constantly ignored by everyone and who fantasizes endlessly about Starbuck taking notice of her. And then when she gets killed and blown away, not even Starbuck, the object of her fantasies, remembers who she was. It doesn't work.

-Much stronger is how Thurston depicts Lucifer's growing exasperation with Baltar as Baltar gains confidence in his abilities. And how when Starbuck becomes a prisoner, Lucifer finds Starbuck a breath of fresh air by contrast and more stimulating. Thurston depicts Starbuck playing Pyramid with Lucifer in a lull and I freely admit this device I lifted (but written differently) for my own adaptation of LPOTG and later for the ending of my third "Galactica 1984" story.

-Thurston I'd note was using an earlier script draft in which the initial sighting of Kobol's star takes place *before* the wedding sequence on the Bridge. If you've seen the deleted scenes of LPOTG, you'll note how this was how the scenes were initially shot and we see Adama explaining things to Apollo and Serina on the Bridge and how the wedding scene came next. Then they decided to completely reshoot the wedding scene to make it look more effective and have the initial sighting of the star take place during the wedding.

-Thurston emphasizes Tigh's skepticism more. Adama's more mystic nature comes out to the point where it might read as overly eccentric. We get a lot more background about Kobollian society and religion during the scenes on Kobol. One thing I'd note is that the novel again makes it quite clear that traditional Colonial religion is MONOTHEISTIC. Adama notes that an earlier polytheistic concept on Kobol evolved into a later monotheistic tradition. The important point is that the concept of Galacatica religion as polytheistic, which GINO chose to emphasize, is based entirely on a false understanding of the original series. The series itself had plenty of internal references on this point as it was, and it wasn't being taken in the direction Ron Moore wrongly thought it was rooted in.

-We get an epilogue of Lucifer rescuing Baltar from the wreckage afterwards.

Overall rating-2.5 stars of 5. I have to drop it a notch from the previous two because the overall tone/quality is just off slightly from the first two books.
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