Aurum, out October 23
A highly visual account of the Galactica legend.
This lavish tome is subtitled “The Complete History of the Series, 1978-2012” on its cover which, frankly, is a bit of an overstatement. It’s a shame, because promoting it as a pictorial history of the series would definitely be accurate. A “Complete History” implies considerably more than we get here.
Paul Ruditis and the editorial team have done a great job in putting together many beautifully-reprinted photos, concept art and other illustrative material from three incarnations of Galactica – Battlestar (1978), Battlestar (2003) and Caprica. Within the text, it’s noted that series creator Glen A. Larson didn’t think much of Galactica 1980, and it’s treated with equal disdain here.
The text that accompanies the artwork is far from a complete telling of the story. There’s considerably more to be told about the creation and demise of the original series – stars Richard Hatch, Anne Lockhart, Dirk Benedict and others are still around and could have been interviewed – and the problems with Galactica 1980 should have been addressed (again, Kent McCord has spoken about this). The spin-off books, which helped maintain the legend, are mentioned briefly but not in any detail; the various comic books are even less well served.
As far as the more recent Galactica is concerned, the book relies heavily on new interviews with David Eick and Ron Moore, and to an extent with visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel. Inevitably a decade later, there’s a certain amount of revisionism going on (were the leads always as supportive of the show as is indicated here, for example). The material on Caprica is fascinating – perhaps because there wasn’t a separate making-of book for that show – but far more space could have been devoted to Blood & Chrome, or The Plan.
Some of this space could have come from the admittedly interesting material on the mythology of the series which accounts for nearly a quarter of the book’s total length – in a book that’s relating the history of the show, this sort of essay is more suited to sidebar or short chapter length. When there’s no room for any form of episode guide to any of the show’s incarnations contained within a “complete” book, then something has gone wrong.
Verdict: As a Vault, providing snapshots of elements of the Battlestar mythos, this is a fascinating piece of work; as a History, it isn’t what it needs to be. 9/10 if you’re after the former; 5/10 if the latter.