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Old December 10th, 2020, 01:38 PM   #18
Eric Paddon
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Morristown, NJ
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Default Re: Revisiting The Old Novelizations

#5-Galactica Discovers Earth by Michael Resnick

1.5 stars of 5

-Incredibly, it was decided to adapt the G80 pilot next as this came out around or just after G80 actually went off the air. Robert Thurston was unable to do the adaptation, so a friend of his Michael Resnick, did it as a favor. Resnick had never seen an episode of Galactica before and the end result shows big time, even as he tries to make something out of the nothing that was the G80 pilot script.

-To be fair, it's not that Resnick is a bad writer per se. It's just that his lack of any frame of reference to understanding the series makes what we read seem even more alien than G80 itself did even though it's written "better". Had Thurston done it, we might have seen some greater effort to link the script to the previous continuity of the novelizations. As it is, there's none. It's interesting that not once I think in this novelization does the word "Thirteenth Tribe" ever appear and that brings up another point about how stupid the time travel plot conceit was. People have noted that the obvious question should be "Why not travel back and prevent the Destruction?" But for purposes of Earth, the question that never gets asked is, "What happened to the Thirteenth Tribe when they arrived on Earth?" Indeed, there is NEVER so much as a single reference to the fact that Earth was settled by a brother tribe of humans. It's as if Resnick (and who knows, maybe Larson had to eliminate references to it because the educational hour couldn't be about Von Daniken theories!) wanted to instead give us an impression of Earth being unique and another group of humans who sprang up elsewhere are now just arriving.

-Like Thurston, Resnick carries over the gimmick of having many chapters in the form of first person narrations from their diaires, debriefings etc. By this point, the gimmick has gone to absurd lengths. We are treated to "Dr. Zee's diary tapes", "Xaviar's secret journal" (which is done in third person though!). At one point, we are given "Crumpled note found in Xaviar's quarters" that simply reads "FOOLS, FOOLS, FOOLS!" (now why would anyone take time to write just that????). Other times we get transcripts of conversations.......it ends up being a mess and it reveals just how bored with the material Resnick really was.

-Resnick's novelization is responsible for why when I did G80 fanfic, I kept referring to Dr. Mortinson as "Alfred Mortinson" when in the episode proper it's Donald. But because I had no desire to watch the episode again, I figured the novelization had told me what I needed to know!

-A few other things different from the episode that I remember. Jamie Hamilton quits her job with the network at the end to become the permanent sidekick of Troy and Dillon (not because she's crazy about Dillon like the re-edited "Conquest of The Earth" has it) because she can provide all the "historical expertise" they need whenever they have to track Xaviar down. As a result we end up getting a LOT of moments where Jamie starts talking like a PhD when she has to give everyone a background primer on World War I and World War II!

-The time travel stuff is given greater prominence overall as I mentioned, because this was going to be the show's original "educational" hook for a 7 PM slot which got nixed by the network ultimately. I won't bother to ask why Dr. Zee comes up with this gimmick if even HE is wise and all-knowing enough to know the dangers time-travel poses. A journal entry of Adama's acknowledges that good people in the Fleet think its a good idea and that can be a problem (that would be a hook worthy of the original series). In the final part of the book we get more time travel hopping by Troy, Dillon and Jamie in search of Xaviar to the time of Moses, ancient Greece, the Crusades and Gettysburg (I'll give Resnick credit in that when he has Jamie go into one of her improbable historical lectures, she at least doesn't dispense history according to the PC standards of today's academic elites! She explains Biblical history, the birth of Christianity and the Crusades with a surprising amount of fairness that is rare for most sci-fi) until finally Troy figures it all out and how Xaviar has no chance of succeeding at all (it's a convoluted explanation that defies most of what we normally think about time travel paradoxes). The book ends on a hopeful note from Adama, even though Xaviar is still on the loose in the present.

-While what we get is again better written than the G80 script, it's still unsatisfying because it's 100% disconnected from Galactica as we know it and the fault there is a writer whose lack of familiarity with the show makes it impossible for him to do what good writers of G80 stories try to do which is hunt high and low for ways to reconcile it to the original. Doing it can be like brain surgery at times, but it can be and has been done. This is not an example of it and thankfully after a transitioning open in the next novel, the series went back to the classic episodes.
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