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"The Battlestars formed the backbone of the human defense against the Cylons during the last 500 yahren of the Great War. They are deep space craft, assembled in planetary orbit. Unable to land, they depend on shuttles for contact with planetary surfaces. Their maximum range before refueling is 500 light-yahren, although evasive maneuvers, especially high speeds and use of weapons can shorten the range considerably. A Battlestar's major armament consists of four to eight squadrons of Vipers, one pilot fighters of fantastic speed and attack power (See Vipers)."

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One year after George Lucas set the world on fire with Star Wars, writer/producer Glen Larson helped fill the new and voracious appetite of millions of newly formed sci-fi nut-balls like myself with the weekly TV series, Battlestar Galactica. Actually, it was an old script that was deemed too expensive until Universal saw how much money 20th Century Fox was making and quickly gave Larson the green-light. Basically boiled down to nothing more than Wagon Train in outer space, the show had fast ships, turbo thrusters, running laser battles, roguish heroes and some of the coolest robotic villains ever conceived.

Lord Lucas wasn't real happy with this and sued, saying they were stealing his ideas -- which was a load of bull. Well, they did steal one of his F/X men ... John Dykstra had helped revolutionize the spaceships and miniature special-effects for Star Wars, and after helping with Battlestar Galactica, he was banished from ILM forever. And since Galactica was one the most expensive network shows ever produced, it was only inevitable that corners would be cut, F/X-shots reused ad-nauseum, and scripts that looked awfully familiar and got really preachy towards the end meant the end was soon nigh -- and the show officially "Jumped the Shark" way too soon after the treacherous Baltar capitulated, meaning no more Cylons.

At the time I didn't care. I loved the show -- I don't know, maybe the Cylon's scanning-eye and monolithic drone put the hypno-whammy on me ... Nah, I tuned in weekly of my own free will -- and I was one of those genetic freaks who wanted to be Apollo instead of Starbuck whenever we reenacted the show on the playground; but most of the time I wound up stuck being Jolly. And how come I always had to be Jolly?!? One thing we all agreed on, though, was that Galactica 1980 sucked ass.

If you were a fan of the show, too, I highly recommend this relic from those halcyon days. Don't let the picture of the author, Bruce Kraus -- in his own, home-made Galactica gear, claiming to be a historian from the planet Tauron, and that he got this record from the Galactica library itself, scare you off. His entries are adequate; if not disappointingly brief in most cases. And as a warning, hardcore Galactica-files will probably be disappointed as the book barely breaks thirty pages. Still, it's all we got, and it's all broken down for you: colonials, aliens, ships, and planets; also technical and religious jargon, and other stuff that you probably ever cared or needed to know about:

Ever wondered where the Cylons came from? It's all here. Don't know the difference between a Boray and a Ovion? Ovions got four arms. Der! Want to know more about CORA, the Colonial Viper's navigational system? Check. Heck you can even find out how they Force Nitron Field-Farm on the Agro ships with all the excess felgercarb lying around because in space, no one can hear you flush.

Alas, there is no explanation for the faulty programming that causes the Cylons to constantly veer their Raiders into the same Viper firing pattern and explode; or why the Cylons always attack whenever Starbuck is about to win a big pot of cubits at the Pyramid table.

At first glance, Encyclopedia Galactica appears to be a hastily thrown together compendium to cash in on the shows waning success, and close scrutiny isn't required to see that several photos are inserted upside down. But it more than makes up for that with the sheer volume of photos included. The book is also marred with some blaring typos and several contradictions in the exact same paragraph.

I only say these things as a warning to those who try to track this down to not expect too much (-- or pay too much!), but it's still a fun read for all my fellow Galactica fans. I bought mine back in 1979; it's battered, ear marked, worn and doodled on, but after all these years I still cherish it and break it out whenever the Sci-Fi Channel unleashes an all day Galactica marathon. A nice memento and a touchstone to my younger days.

Originally Posted: 02/05/03 :: Rehashed: 05/20/09

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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