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Old July 28 2015, 06:24 AM   #1
Wingsley
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Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Just tonight, I discovered that the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series creator, Glen Larson, wrote a series of novels based on the original series, which were published throughout the 1980s. I stumbled upon these books on the Amazon site. I also discovered that Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo in the original BSG; Tom Zarek in the 2004 BSG remake) wrote some of his own BSG original series-derived novels.

Has anyone here ever read any of these novels?

I understand that Larson wrote a total of 14 novels, with 11, 12, 13 and 14 being stories that did not appear in the series. (They would be post-series novels.)

Also, Hatch's novels seem to be based on his "Second Coming" revival of the original series, set some 20 "yahrens" after the original BSG.

From the Amazon pages, Larson's novels seem to get good reviews. Hatch's novels seem to vary from good to mixed to poor.

Does anyone know how all of this came about? I had heard that Hatch wrote some books, but I did not know about them in any detail until now. His web-site seems defunct, with broken links and little information. I believe Larson passed away in recent years.
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Old July 28 2015, 08:48 AM   #2
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

I have a few of the Glen Larson (and co-writer) novels.

Saga of a Star World (the pilot episode)
The Living Legend (a good read)
The Young Warriors
The Cylon Death Machine (Gun On Ice Planet Zero adaptation)
Galactica Discovers Earth (Galactica 1980 pilot episode)

In some ways, the novels read better than the shows played out.

There are some hardcore old school TOSser's for Galactica that hated the new series....many of them saying that they could watch the original series with their kids, and that they could not watch the new series with them....for some reasons including stronger language.

"Oh, they never used strong language in the original Galactica!" some would say.

Clearly, they've never read the novel adaptations, which, in my opinion, were the way that Larson would've had the shows turn out if he'd had his way.

I have never read any of the Richard Hatch novels, so I cannot offer a qualified opinion.
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Old July 28 2015, 10:52 AM   #3
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

I'm just guessing but I bet the Hatch novels would be "Apollo Sue" material, probably entertainingly so (if for the wrong reasons).
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Old July 28 2015, 11:11 AM   #4
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

I have a handful of the original books, including the novelisation of the pilot, and they are quite fun. As for the Richard Hatch books, I have the first three. They predate the Second Coming pilot by about 10 years, and follow a different story, with the Galactica still searching for Earth, still pursued by the Cylons. Set around 20 years after the TV series, Apollo now commands the fleet after Adama's death. The books start off as fun, interesting and enjoyable reads, with the second one, Warhawk even featuring the return of Cain. But only the first two were good. The third, Resurrection took a real nosedive in quality, and I stopped reading them at that point.
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Old July 28 2015, 11:46 AM   #5
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

martok2112 wrote: View Post
"Oh, they never used strong language in the original Galactica!" some would say.

Clearly, they've never read the novel adaptations, which, in my opinion, were the way that Larson would've had the shows turn out if he'd had his way.
I'm curious what the text is actually like?

Starbuck turned 'holy f&&k it's the Cylons
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Old July 28 2015, 03:18 PM   #6
Marsden
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Now I would really like to get those! I didn't know about the Larson books. I saw Richard Hatch when his first book came out and he seemed like he was trying to get Battlestar Galactica back on the air, that obviously didn't happen, but I think the books were an attempt to get "out there" again. Unfortunately, despite what I said I didn't get any of them.
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Old July 28 2015, 03:34 PM   #7
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

I've only read "Saga," but remember likeing it lot,espcially the depiction of the Cylons as living creature, some with implanted multiple brains.
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Old July 28 2015, 05:10 PM   #8
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

It's quite likely that all of the books were actually ghostwritten by their credited co-authors, with Larson just taking credit as the series creator. I gather the Hatch books were also ghostwritten.
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Old July 28 2015, 05:26 PM   #9
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

T'Girl wrote: View Post
I've only read "Saga," but remember likeing it lot,espcially the depiction of the Cylons as living creature, some with implanted multiple brains.
Only the novel of the pilot and the Gun Of Ice Planet Zero, called in novel form The Cylon Death Machine were written before the Cylons were turned into machines. The novels were just novel versions of the TV stories, until the final two which were original stories.
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Old July 28 2015, 05:33 PM   #10
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Christopher wrote: View Post
It's quite likely that all of the books were actually ghostwritten by their credited co-authors, with Larson just taking credit as the series creator. I gather the Hatch books were also ghostwritten.
Armageddon and Warhawk have Richard Hatch and Christopher Golden as authors, Resurrection has Richard Hatch and Stan Timmons listed as authors. I don't know about the rest.

Edit: Here we go, Galactica Wiki article
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Old July 28 2015, 06:21 PM   #11
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Is there any connection between Hatch's stillborn "Second Coming" project and his novels? Are they directly related, or just conceptually connected?

One problem that I have with the "Second Coming" trailer is that Apollo looks like an older version of his 1978 series character, and acts like it's still 1978. If you look at the first three STAR WARS movies, you notice a definite evolution in Luke Skywalker's character. It's really striking by RETURN OF THE JEDI. I would expect the same of Apollo if he were a commander.

If I understood the "Second Coming" concept correctly, the Colonial fugitives settled on a distant world, rebuilding their civilization to a degree. I saw this as a positive way to "restart" BSG, and give it new dimension. Keeping the Colonial Fleet in space indefinitely would be like VOYAGER from Hell... or maybe GILIGAN'S ISLAND.

There are loads of critics out there that seem to have it in for Glen Larson, and have apparently expressed hostility for him for many years. Harlan Ellison called Larson "Glen Larceny" because of his reputation for ripping off concepts and story ideas. I guess the beef over GALACTICA was that it was (allegedly) a STAR WARS knock-off. I do see some similarities, but many other differences.

With STAR TREK fan films sprouting up all over the place, and Hatch involved in AXANAR, I'm surprised nobody's tried a BSG revival fan-film. If the right people think it has merit, and if they can shake the "Larceny" stigma, maybe there's a possibility there...
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Old July 28 2015, 06:39 PM   #12
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Wingsley wrote: View Post
There are loads of critics out there that seem to have it in for Glen Larson, and have apparently expressed hostility for him for many years.
I've never had anything against him personally, since that would be silly, but the fact is, he was not a very good writer. I mean, this is the guy who brought us Manimal and Sheriff Lobo. He specialized in a rather schlocky, lowbrow style of television. Galactica was his one attempt to do something classier and more substantial, but his ambition surpassed his talent. The BSG scripts credited to him tend to have really poorly written dialogue. There is potential in the concept and there are moments in the series that actually manage to be good, and I'd say it's the one time that Larson managed to rise even slightly above his usual level of mediocrity. I actually find the series as a whole more watchable and entertaining than the self-consciously grim and dismal Moore reboot, but it's objectively nowhere near as intelligent or well-written as the reboot, and as vintage SFTV goes it's closer to the Lost in Space/Space: 1999 end of the spectrum than the Star Trek end. That's not being hostile toward Larson, it's just recognizing what level he operated on.
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Old July 28 2015, 07:58 PM   #13
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Were the episode based novels more fleshed out and/or based on original scripts like, say, the Star Trek movie novels?
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Old July 28 2015, 08:07 PM   #14
martok2112
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
martok2112 wrote: View Post
"Oh, they never used strong language in the original Galactica!" some would say.

Clearly, they've never read the novel adaptations, which, in my opinion, were the way that Larson would've had the shows turn out if he'd had his way.
I'm curious what the text is actually like?

Starbuck turned 'holy f&&k it's the Cylons
Well, in the original series, and books, the word "frak" was not used with the emphasis of the more earthborne "F" bomb that the new series implied.

However.... I couldn't immediately find my Saga of a Star World (pilot) novel, but one exchange went something like this: (Note: My quotes might not be exact, but certain words of curse are spoken in the text of the novel. For Living Legend, I am simply going to quote dialogue, not recite narrative....so, sorry that this reads more like a hashed up screenplay rather than actual novel narrative. )


TELEVISED VERSION: Apollo, Starbuck, and Boomer are leaving the Colonial Movers ship in a shuttle, originally bound for the Galactica with passengers in medical need. Apollo inquires about the food shortage to Galactica Core Command.

Corporal Rigel: I'm sorry, Core Command has no information at this time.

Apollo: No information?! What are you talking about? I just left a ship filled with starving people!


NOVEL VERSION:

Corporal Rigel: I'm sorry, Core Command has no information at this time.

Apollo: God damn it, I just left a ship filled with starving people, and you have no information?!


THE LIVING LEGEND:
TELEVISION VERSION:
Commander Cain signals the Galactica for the first time, using Fleet Comm Line Alpha. Adama is in disbelief that the line is being used, but he does not realize who is about to contact him.

Cain: Greetings, Adama!
Adama: Cain!
Cain: Well, you old wardaggit! I might have known I'd catch you and your fleet sitting on its astrums.


NOVEL VERSION:
Cain: Well, Adama, you old wardaggit! I might have known I'd find you and your fleet sitting dead on its ass.


After an attack run on Gammoray, Sgt. Jolly reports to Commander Cain:

Cain: Jolly, did you see who was pulled out of there?
Jolly: A Cylon, I assume. He appeared to be wounded, but I couldn't get any closer to get a better look. But they lost almost half their ships to get him out of there.
Cain: I'll be Goddamned! There's only one Cylon who's that irreplaceable. Congratulations, Jolly. You just had yourself a glimpse of the Imperious Leader, himself.


Also, there is a scene in the novel where Starbuck, Apollo, and Silver Spar squadron are about to launch from the Pegasus to spearhead for the battlestar.

Colonel Tolen: Stand by to launch.
Starbuck: Oh, shit!
Colonel Tolen: Launch!
Starbuck: Shhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt!!!!!!!!!! !!!!
Apollo: Starbuck, are you alright?
Starbuck: Yeah, yeah! I'm fine. I just said "this is it!"
Apollo: It sounded more like--
Starbuck: Never mind what it sounded like. Just fly, will ya? I've got enough to worry about without you droning in my ear.



There are other examples, but I don't have time to comb through all the books. Suffice it to say, such expletives would not have flown in 1978 family oriented television.
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Old July 28 2015, 08:11 PM   #15
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Re: Glen Larson's BSG novels from the 80s

Christopher wrote: View Post
Wingsley wrote: View Post
There are loads of critics out there that seem to have it in for Glen Larson, and have apparently expressed hostility for him for many years.
I've never had anything against him personally, since that would be silly, but the fact is, he was not a very good writer. I mean, this is the guy who brought us Manimal and Sheriff Lobo. He specialized in a rather schlocky, lowbrow style of television. Galactica was his one attempt to do something classier and more substantial, but his ambition surpassed his talent. The BSG scripts credited to him tend to have really poorly written dialogue. There is potential in the concept and there are moments in the series that actually manage to be good, and I'd say it's the one time that Larson managed to rise even slightly above his usual level of mediocrity. I actually find the series as a whole more watchable and entertaining than the self-consciously grim and dismal Moore reboot, but it's objectively nowhere near as intelligent or well-written as the reboot, and as vintage SFTV goes it's closer to the Lost in Space/Space: 1999 end of the spectrum than the Star Trek end. That's not being hostile toward Larson, it's just recognizing what level he operated on.
Larson also gae us Quincy ME, so you're still not being completely fair to him as a creator. And really his Galactica storylines had to rewritten to be the show into whatever ABC and Universal wanted it to be, which was little more than a light Star Wars clone, which was not what LArson wanted out of the show. It'd be nice one day if could uncover just Adam's Ark was going to be about, but for now we'll never know for sure.
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