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Book Review

Book Cover

By Your Command
The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Battlestar Galactica: Volume 1 - The Original Series and Galactica 1980


Authors: Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore
Telos Publishing
RRP: £15.99, US $34.95, Cdn $34.95
ISBN: 978 1 84583 060 1
Available 30 June 2012

Although the reimagining of Battlestar Galactic garnered greater critical and commercial success, it undoubtedly stood on the shoulders of the original show, created by Glen A. Larson in 1978. The original still has many fans, so I was surprised that it had taken so long to produce a definitive book about the show.

By Your Command (2012) by Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore, is an unofficial and unauthorised guide to Battlestar Galactica (1978). This is the first volume of a proposed two book series, with the second volume covering the modern reimagining.

The book runs to just under three hundred text dense pages, covering both the first run and the unfortunate Galactica 80 (1980). I did have some trepidation regarding the book, feeling that fans might gloss over the show's many faults. I quite liked Galactica, though there was always a feeling, at the end of each episode, that, all things considered, it was never as good as it could have been.

The hokey religion felt forced, the endless repetition of the same special effect shows started to grate after a while and the acting was variable, as were the scripts, but still I watched it. Thankfully Stevens and Moore have taken a realistic view of the show's strengths as well as it weaknesses, producing a very balanced look at the show.

Following a nice forward by Richard Hatch, the book settles down into a regular presentation pattern. The first piece is concerned about the genesis of the show, following which the book looks at each of the episodes in turn. For each story you get a detailed synopsis, before moving onto the analysis which looks at the unfolding Cylon cultural information, the characters and the religious themes.

The book remains informative and entertaining throughout, with the authors presenting a very balanced view. One glaring omission I did note, and if I missed the reference, I apologise, Richard Hatch produced a short film to promote a possible relaunching of the show which was only shown at conventions and is not legally available, but this is not mentioned anywhere, I would have like to have known something about it.

For obvious legal reasons there are no pictures in the book, but then it is intended to be dipped in and out of rather than being read like a novel. Telos has done a number of similar books and they have never been anything other than well-researched pleasures to read, well worth thumbing through, and it remains the same with this new guide. Fans of the show will certainly want to own a copy.


Charles Packer

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