d 2n SUE IS
special report: German science fiction then & now The Worlds of SCIENCE & SCIENCE FICTION
OCT. 2011 $9.95
bunky: Comic classic LUcianâ€™s first SF SHORT FICTION Worldly things Event Listings new perry rhodan
PLUS: sublime saturn
Complete Episode Guide to the Modern SF Classic
B A T T L E S T A R
GALACTICA weimar.ws Galaxis
“WHEN I HAVE AN
ASTHMA ATTACK I FEEL LIKE A FISH
WITH NO WATER.” –JESSE, AGE 5
ATTACK ASTHMA. ACT NOW.
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W W W. N O AT TA C K S . O R G CDDIS 10/01
Galaxis October 2011
The Worlds of Science & science fiction
10 the great starship challenge
Help plan an interstellar spaceship
12 Battlestar Galactica:
THE Complete Episode Guide
Every episode explained and examined
Unearthing lost German science fiction
A look at the race to uncover secrets of Ridley Scott’s not-really-sequel to Alien
25 The Old German future 31 proMETHEUS UNBOUND
32 Bunky’s Odd Friends
Resurrecting Lyle Lahey’s classic comic of a farm boy and his alien pal
36 perry rhodan starts over
The oldest science fiction franchise gets a 21st century reboot
39 Trips to the moon
People have been dreaming about visiting the moon for millennia. Classic short science fiction from Lucian
45 saturn’s secrets
A new photo guide to the ringed planet
50 webbed 51 compendium
When politics meets science fiction
Schwarzenegger and The Terminator, memories of Martin H. Greenberg, Trek, & more news
5 LAUNCH Tube
9 Worldly tHINGS
The finer things in life
OCTOBER 2011 Volume 1 Number 2
What to see, hear, and do
Tell us what you think
The Windup Girl, The Host, Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, superhero movies, & more 58 next issue The future in Galaxis weimar.ws Galaxis
Viewscreen To Each His Own
ore than a decade ago, my friends and I had a monthly book club in Chicago. We tried to cover as many genres as possible, and when we wanted to take on science fiction, we chose Orson Scott Card’s popular novel Ender’s Game. I loved the book, and it was my introduction to Card’s great writing. Following the book club reading, on my own I devoured the rest of the books then available in the Ender series. I already knew some things about Card, such as that he is a practicing Mormon. But years after reading those books, I read more about him, and I learned things I didn’t like. For example, his very conservative views on homosexuality troubled me, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was reading something he wrote that fit neatly in the category of climate change denial. I knew (and know) enough about climate change science to state that it’s not a plot by liberals to take over the world or undercut capitalism; it isn’t an alternate religion; and ignoring it is already costing lives and loss of property. That was the last Card for me. Was I correct to write him out of my literary life? You might understand why I’m doing this self-examination more if you read some of the comments I discovered a couple months ago. In online forums, some fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 were kvetching about the recently revealed political leanings of that show’s host, Michael J. Nelson.
Now, I’m a huge MST3K fan; it’s smart, stupid, fascinating, and almost always funny, as are its successors, Nelson’s Rifftrax and the sort-of-competing Cinematic Titanic. So I don’t care that Nelson outed himself as a National Reviewreading conservative in an interview; but those fans were going through great gyrations trying to either dispute or rationalize Nelson’s political leanings. Should we really care about the politics of our authors and TV hosts and humorists? Certainly no one would object to the statement that their ideas— informed by those beliefs—should affect how we think about them and their body of work. But do we really need to reject someone because they voted for a candidate we didn’t like? With Nelson, I was mostly amused, because I remember a conservative former boss of mine in the early 1990s who said he never watched MST3K because he “refuses to watch those communists.” He thought they were all liberals.
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS: Eric Miller, Sue Zipperer
Volume 1, Number 2 October 2011
Thanks this issue to: Sonya Abrams, The Commonwealth Club of California, Carol Lahey, Lyle Lahey, NASA, Kin Tso, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
www.weimar.ws Editor & Publisher John Zipperer email@example.com Art Director & Design John Zipperer
Is Tom Servo a political robot? Are you?
Galaxis October 2011
Printing: Issuu.com and MagCloud
ON THE COVER: Battlestar Galactica is examined in-depth in this issue’s epic episode guide. Painting by Sue Zipperer. Galaxis is published quarterly by John Zipperer. This is issue Number One, Volume Two. All content is copyright © 2011 John Zipperer, except
Other science fiction figures have also had a hard landing in the fan realm of political public opinion. Dirk Benedict, the former star of the 1978-79 Battlestar Galactica, got a similarly rough treatment from fans after he wrote an essay that made his conservative politics clear (amid his related criticism of the reimagined Galactica). How can people who love science fiction and science be so closed-minded? Do we only want to read people who agree with us? Fine; then liberals can stick to Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison, and conservatives can stick to Robert Heinlein and Jerry Pournelle. Both sides will be the poorer because of it. Science fiction readers in large part read this genre because they like to be exposed to new ideas and concepts. How will they do that if they only read people with whom they already agree? How will their own ideas ever evolve if they’re not challenged to consider how the “other” side thinks? And why should other people ever listen to them, if they never listen to the other side? Because to really listen to someone, it takes more than just being quiet while they speak and waiting for your own turn to give your views. It means considering the other person’s views as worthy of serious consideration, and being vulnerable to having your mind actually change as a result of what the other person says. Recently, while paging through an old issue of the science fiction [continued on page 50] where otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction of any part is strictly forbidden without written permission. Galaxis accepts no responsibility for unsolicited submissions, but if they are submitted, they will be considered and, if necessary, returned. All articles in this issue are written by John Zipperer, unless otherwise specified. All characters, logos, and related material represented in images—including but not limited to Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Perry Rhodan—are the property of their respective copyright owners. Please address all communications to Galaxis magazine, including letters to the editor, to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
LaunchTube News & views from today & tomorrow
Can Arnold Save Terminator?
ver since Arnold Schwarzenegger left the California governor’s office, he has been trying to reestablish himself in his lucrative role as a Hollywood box office rainmaker. The star of numerous SF films over the past three decades will make his first post-gubernatorial film appearance in a Western, The Last Stand, from Korean director Jee-woon Kim. But it is expected that the 64-year-old actor will soon return to the time traveling drama of the Terminator franchise, where he made his name in the 1980s. The rights to the sequels have been battered around Hollywood for years. The Halcyon Company, which produced the previous film, Terminator Salvation, was unable to proceed with its planned followup when it was forced into bankruptcy proceedings. Hedge fund Pacificor acquired the rights to the Terminator franchise, then tried to find a buyer for the rights. At one point, a different company announced intentions to produce an animated Terminator production, but that went nowhere and Pacificor insisted on finding a buyer who would make a live-action film. The eventual winner of the auction (for a reported $20 million or so) was a company headed by Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle software mogul Larry Ellison. At press time, the fifth Terminator film was slated to be directed by Justin Lin, known for directing several of the Fast and Furious movies. No script yet exists, and rumors are rife as fans speculate about the possible re-teaming of Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, star of the first two Terminator films. But so far, they are just rumors. Though the cyborg’s return to the big screen has been delayed, that might not be a handicap. Schwarzenegger’s public image is still recovering from a scandal involving an out-of-wedlock child he fathered. His return to this franchise might well be announced by the deep pounding sounds of the Terminator theme music.
PHOTO BY JOHN ZIPPERER
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in Hollywood following his stint as California’s governor.
HARRY POTTER NEW BOX OFFICE CHAMP Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II set records by earning the most at opening midnight showings, but the top prize was that it earned the most for a three-day opening weekend: $168.6 million domestically, according to CNN, beating The Dark Knight’s $158.4 million. The Hollywood Reporter noted that when you took in the international earnings for its opening weekend, the Potter film earned a total of $476 million, taking the top spot from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’s $394 million.
CNN reported that the final Potter film was also the best-reviewed movie of the year, judging from such review-aggregation sites as Rotten Tomatoes.
Scott will be making a Blade Runner followup. It will reportedly be his next project after Prometheus. It’s not yet clear whether this will be a sequel or, like Prometheus, a prequel to the 1982 film. Nor is it known if star Harrison Ford will be back. But Scott is slated to produce and direct this release from Alcon Entertainment, according to Deadline.com.
stage. We take that to mean that it’s not going to be a staid period piece.
Cowboys & Aliens This summer science fiction film had stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, but what really seemed to be the draw was the simple juxtaposition represented in its title: Cowboys & Aliens. So our Cowboys & Aliens haiku: Could have been no plot just hype It’s called high concept Better than Snakes on a Plane
Science Fiction TV & Movie Roundup 11/22/63 If there is any book that seems destined to be a great source for a film or miniseries, it is 11/22/63, the new Stephen King novel (out November 8, 2011) about a man who goes back in time to stop President Kennedy’s assassination. King, Kennedy, time travel. Win. Blade Runner First he makes a sorta-prequel to his 1979 classic Alien (see page 31) and now Ridley
Galaxis October 2011
Ra.One The io9.com website called this “the most insane Indian science fiction movie of all time,” but since it’s probably the first Indian SF movie you’ve ever heard about at all, there’s really nothing to which you can compare it, right? Ra.One is a new SF action film about a father who is worried about the growing distance between himself and his son. When the father invents a game that could solve their problems, “all hell breaks loose when—the game that was meant to be played with … starts playing them,“ according to the official website. The Invisible Man Dark Knight scripter David Goyer is involved in an effort to bring a new version of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man novel to the big screen. Goyer told the Los Angeles Times that his transparent hero’s story would be in the vein of the Stephen Sommers The Mummy, taking the story and expanding it on a larger
SETI SET TO RESUME ALIEN HUNT Last issue, Galaxis reported that SETI’s Allen Telescope Array was being mothballed due to budget cuts on the part of its funders. The telescopes are used to listen for signs of life elsewhere in the universe. Fear not, alien-devotees. SETI has received more than $226,000 to restart the
The Philadelphia Experiment Speaking of things invisible, the 1984 film The Philadelphia Experiment posited a World War II Navy project to make a ship completely invisible. Now, veteran genre actor Malcolm McDowell will star in a remake of Philadelphia for Syfy; he will be joined by The X-Files’ Nicholas Lea and by Michael Paré, who starred in the first Philadelphia, reports Entertainment Weekly. The new telemovie is slated to air in 2012. Robopocalypse Everything these days is so -ageddon that and -pocalypse this, that such words are losing their punch. Robopocalypse might change some of that when the Steven Spielberg film is released in 2013. Based on a 2011 book of the same name by Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse involves an artificial intelligence agent that turns mankind’s robotic helpers into killers. Also unlikely to be a staid period piece. Going Postal Fans of Terry Pratchett’s massive series of satirical fantasy novels based on Discworld (it’s a flat planet that rests on the back of four ele ... oh, forget it, just read the books) might be unaware that the bestselling books have been made into a steady stream of film, TV, and stage productions. But you won’t find these films on American screens, so you might want to check out Going Postal, a 2010 UK production of the novel of that name that is being released on Blu-ray on September 20, 2011. It involves a condemned criminal who is saved from death so that he can be given the task of reviving the city’s long-dead post office. Not likely to be a staid—well, you know.
Array, at least for now. The goal had been $200,000, so the results suggest strong support. The donors included actress Jodie Foster, who starred in the film version of Carl Sagan’s alien-hunting book Contact, and science fiction author Larry Niven. According to Setistars.org, a website that was used to attract the public’s donations, SETI will also be looking to reduce operational expenses, find new continuing sources of funding, and pursue new partnerships with other organizations to help support the project.
Remembering Martin Greenberg, Tekno Wizard ”If there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.”
Photos by Eric Miller, UW-Green Bay photographer
he man who spoke the above quote, of course, was Luke Skywalker, complaining about being stuck on Tatooine instead of being in the center of the galaxy’s excitement. The only way he found what he was looking for was to leave Tatooine. Another man in a place far from the center of the universe took a much different path. Martin H. Greenberg was able to edit, package, and publish thousands of books, working with Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, and other big names in science fiction, and Greenberg did it all from the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Greenberg died on June 25 at the age of 70, following a long fight with cancer. Galaxis magazine’s roots are in Green Bay, so we know it’s not exactly a desert planet. Though it is known worldwide for its football team, and known a bit less as a major paper products producer, Green Bay is also home to the highly regarded University of WisconsinGreen Bay, where Greenberg had worked as a professor starting in 1975.
PLUTO LOADS UP ON THE MOONS For a celestial object that isn’t even classified as a planet any longer, Pluto sure can attract attention. Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered Pluto’s fourth moon, dubbed P4. Pluto’s moons are believed to be the result of a collision with another planetsized object early in the solar system’s history, reports the Xinhua news agency. get your taste of chinese sf If you don’t understand Chinese text or speech, getting a taste of its science fiction
can be tricky for a non-Chinese. Now, all you need to do is track down a recent magazine that’ll bring you up to date on the topic. The World of Chinese, a bimonthly Englishlanguage magazine, devoted its May 2011 issue to the future and to science fiction. The issue features a retrospective on Chinese science fiction (penned by SF novelist Qiufan Chen); profiles of SF writers Han Song, Liu Cixin, and Wang Jinkang; a guide to internet slang, and a look at how Chinese people view the future. So start scouring eBay for The World of Chinese.
But northeastern Wisconsin is still far from the publishing houses of Manhattan or even Chicago, and that makes it an unlikely place to find a highly successful editor, who managed to build a reputation for professionalism and— rare as it may be—niceness in the field. Many people will remember seeing his name as a co-editor with Asimov on countless science fiction anthologies. When they learn that he was from Green Bay, Wisconsin, it is for many people their first clue that this far-away world of science fiction could also originate from out-of-the-way places like Packerland. To the many SF fans stuck in small towns across the country and around the world, that is almost as exciting a realization as the cool visions and ideas that were presented in the science fiction they were reading. Besides his editing career, Greenberg also established the Green Bay-based Tekno Books, which packaged and sold hundreds of books. In a Facebook post following the announcement of Greenberg’s death, author Mike Resnick wrote: “R.I.P. My good friend Marty Greenberg—and the short story’s best friend for the past third of a century. ... The most remarkable thing about Marty is that he sold over 2,000 anthologies and packed some 700 novels without making a single enemy along the way.” Proof of that reputation was offered by novelist Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who wrote on her blog kriswrites.com: “Marty knew everything and everyone, and everyone–everyone–respected him. I have never met anyone who disliked Marty Greenberg or said he harmed them in a negotiation. Marty did his best for writers, did his best to be fair. He was, quite simply, one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. That’s rare in life. It’s even rarer in business. It’s tough to lose a family member. And publishing has lost one of the pillars of the community, one of the centers of our little family.” In writer Max Allan Collins’ words, “This business ... this world ... is suddenly a smaller, shabbier place.”
Launch Tube Strong Star Trek Rebound
he Star Trek franchise went into semihibernation after the TV series Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005. For the first time in decades, there were no new Trek programs on television and no films in release or planned. That all changed with the smashing success of the 2009 Star Trek film reboot, and today new Trek developments and projects of all kinds are popping up. All eyes have been focused on the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 hit, but the director is signaling that he will not be rushed. With filming possibly set to begin in 2012, we’re still far away from a final release date. “There was a lot of desire [at the studio] to fast-track a new Star Trek and have it be shooting already. In theory we could have done that,” Abrams told the Los Angeles Times’ 24 Frames blog. He said that his creative team was not comfortable with having the release date dictate the movie. “Nothing is more disheartening than something going in front of the camera before it’s ready. The crew can feel it and the cast can feel it. It’s just a heart-attack machine.” Abrams is reportedly returning as director of the sequel, as will the cast. Abrams’ writers from the first film, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, have been busy on other projects, including this past summer’s Cowboys & Aliens film. Orci, meanwhile, got fans heated up when he suggested, via a Twitter response to a question, that the Trek movie creators had discussed a new Trek animated series. That might have been nothing more than idle banter, but an animated series utilizing modern computer techniques could allow the show’s writers to go places they could not go before. The previous animated Star Trek ran for two seasons on NBC, from 1973 to 1974, and was generally well received by fans and critics. The 22 episodes made use of most of the origi-
Galaxis October 2011
UPCOMING SF FILM RELEASE DATES In Time (October 28, 2011): Time is money The Thing (October 14, 2011): Prequel to John Carpenter’s classic Real Steel (November 18, 2011): Robots replace human fighters Hugo (December 9, 2011): Boy saves mechanical man; directed by Martin Scorsese Prometheus (June 2012): See page 31 John Carter (June 8, 2012): Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsoom series comes to the big screen a century after it was written Spider-Man (July 3, 2012): 3-D reboot
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20, 2012): Batman redux Star Trek II: See article below The Wolverine (January 1, 2013): Again? Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013): Can Downey Jr. keep it up for a third installment? Man of Steel (June 14, 2013): Superman rebooted yet again Justice League–Mortal (2013): If Marvel can pull together the Avengers, why can’t DC have the Justice League? Teen Titans (2013): Still “in development” The Flash (2013): Possible reboot
STAR TREK nal show’s cast as well as the writers and producers from the live-action series. George Lucas made a success out of a CGI series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which has been a ratings and critical hit in its first three seasons. That will likely lead many fans to have high expectations of any animated Trek, should it actually come about. OTHER TREK NEWS, PART I: Gay and bisexual characters have featured prominently in Babylon 5, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and other high-profile screen science fiction. It has not, notably,
ever been in any of the official Star Trek films or TV series, an omission that has not been missed by fans who have for years considered Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the Trek universe to be one in which there was no discrimination against homosexuals or other minorities. That doesn’t look set to change anytime soon, though Abrams hinted that he’s open to the idea. Abrams told AfterElton.com in August that having a gay Trek character “is something that I would love to do, but ... I would be careful doing a story that would involve any of the characters and their personal lives. … How do you get into [the] personal sexual lives of these characters? What is that going to be about? I don’t know who’s assuming characters aren’t gay or are gay.” We’re pretty sure Kirk’s straight, J. OTHER TREK NEWS, PART II: When the Arab Spring started toppling regimes across the Middle East, regional leaders got scared and cracked down on dissent. But Jordan, a kingdom whose monarch is a big Trekkie, is doing something else: creating jobs by building a Star Trek theme park. The $1.5 billion project, which is expected to begin construction in early 2012, will provide 500 jobs, according to a report in The National, a newspaper published by Abu Dhabi Media. When finished, the 74-hectare park in the Jordanian city of Aqaba will include four hotels, theaters, restaurants, shopping, and other entertainment options, including a Trek “spaceflight adventure,” notes The National. Trek-loving King Abdullah II, through his King Abdullah II Fund for Development, is G a major investor in the project.
or three and a half decades, Starlog magazine kept everyone informed about new (and classic) science fiction media—movies, television, books, and games. The magazine ceased publication in early 2009. But you can still show your science fiction allegiance with this new Starlog t-shirt, offered by Starlog’s surviving sister magazine, Fangoria (fangoria.com). With an aged look to the logo set against a jet-black background, this shirt is a simple reminder of the days when Starlog ruled the science fiction media world. A decade ago, high tech companies kept the market fed with a steady stream of stand-alone devices. Cell phones, pagers, portable game consoles, personal digital assistants, and more. If anyone were to actually have all of them, they’d need a Batman-sized tool belt. That’s why it was so smart to begin merging the devices, a trend that reached critical mass with Apple’s introduction of the iPhone, quickly followed by various Android devices and other competitors. Today, your iPhone or HTC Sensation smartphone, for example, lets you make voice calls, video calls, text, surf the web, play games, make and view videos, take photos, update your social networks, and even read digital magazines like Galaxis.
provide folks with another categorization that people either do or do not fit into. That said, we love Fanboy.com, the web site for people who love science fiction, anime, and related topics. Every day, it’s filled with short reports on costumes, new movie trailers, interesting toys, and more. It’s often the first place we learn about such things. For the science fiction lover, it’s a great place to see things you’d like to own, and, occasionally, things you’re glad you didn’t buy.
The challenges going forward include too-early obsolescence. Device makers will have to make devices that don’t either stop working after a year and a half (we’re talking from experience about you, HTC) or no longer keep up with OS updates so you can’t download the latest, coolest mobile apps (you know who you are, Apple). But, just like we knew in 2000 that eventually all of these devices would become one, we know that device makers will eventually address these problems. We’re actually not thrilled with the word “fanboy,” because it just serves to
Model making and collecting achieved a much higher level of popularity in Asia than it did in the United States. That’s fine; different strokes for different folks. But if you grew up in the United States, don’t let the limited number of good models from your favorite TV shows and movies blind you to the plethora of models available elsewhere. Check out websites such as hobbyfan.com or yesasia.com for a taste of the many, many variations of, for example, Gundam mobile suit models and action figures. For every version of Gundams that appear in each of the countless Gundam spinoff series, there is a model—oftentimes, many editions of each, ranging from highly complex (and expensive) models to cheaper but G still impressive action figure toys. weimar.ws Galaxis
PHOTO BY JOHN ZIPPERER
The Great Starship Challenge The economy’s dicey and the international situation murky, but that’s not stopping a high-profile effort to set our sites on building a real starship
By John Zipperer
all it a long-range plan. Call it a long-shot goal. And it’s definitely long-distance. It is the latest big project from NASA Ames Research Center and The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agencies have launched a study of the feasibility of funding, designing, and conducting interstellar travel. It is a “multigenerational research and development” effort that NASA and DARPA
Galaxis October 2011
hope will inspire scientific breakthroughs for many years to come. The 100 Year Starship is the name of what is hoped will be a century-long project to develop interstellar travel. In the fall of 2010, the 100 Year Starship Study began as a one-year effort to lay the groundwork for this project, and a website (www.100yss.org) has been created to focus attention on its ongoing progress. The study is looking at the technological and financial ways to achieve interstellar travel over the course of the next century.
But it is also looking at the non-technical aspects, such as the reasons why such an effort should be undertaken, how to gain political support for the project, and how to inspire citizens through entertainment media to support and participate in it. It’s fully possible that after 100 years, we will still be as stuck on earth or in nearearth orbit as we are today, if people are not inspired to see the stars as a destination for humanity and instead of as just an idle pursuit of a small elite. But even if there’s no gleaming starship construct-
gineering disciplines to advance the goal of long-distance space travel, but also to benefit mankind.”
ed in a century, the technological breakthroughs that result from a long-term investment in research and development will surely produce many spin-offs. Those breakthroughs will have use in more earth-bound applications, of course. Developments in propulsion, energy storage, computing, navigation and other areas will aid the military in its defense technologies, as well as helping NASA as it evolves over the coming decades. “The 100-Year Starship Study is about more than building a spacecraft or any one specific technology,” said the study’s DARPA coordinator, Paul Eremenko, when the project was announced in October 2010. “We endeavor to excite several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies and cross-cutting innovations across a myriad of disciplines such as physics, mathematics, biology, economics, and psychological, social, political and cultural sciences, as well as the full range of en-
Innovation Factory That might sound like a typical overselling job by the Pentagon’s research representatives, but DARPA is an organization that has an impressive track record. The most famous invention of DARPA is a little something called the internet, which was originally created to try to give the United States military a communications system that would survive a nuclear war. Luckily, that purpose has not yet been tested, but the internet is a prime example of a military technology that has been privatized and commercialized, with results beyond people’s wildest expectations. Like the internet, the 100 Year Starship program looks to leverage government resources with private investment. In fact, far from being a vision of big government spending, the study is looking for ways of using minimal or even no government dollars. Rather, the hope is to bring together private industry and investment to take part in a very long-range task. Long-range investments are pretty rare in the business world; in particular, public companies often find it difficult to defend large investments that won’t pay off in the near term. (Energy companies are an exception to the rule, having to make many billions of dollars of investments in ongoing efforts to locate and extract or generate energy.) NASA and DARPA hope that the starship program investments and research will “reinvigorate private entrepreneurs, the engineering and scientific community, and the world’s youth in a bold quest for the stars,” according to an official announcement. That effort got a start in January 2011, when DARPA and NASA Ames hosted a strategic planning workshop in Northern California. A small group of 29 visionaries ranging from engineers to authors considered a number of topics related to the long-term project. Among the findings of that small group was that human involvement in interstellar travel was a requirement for generating and retaining enough support for the idea during its long-term development. They also expect that when there is a confirmed finding of an earth-like extra-solar planet, the idea of interstellar travel will gain more supporters. And perhaps least surprising of all is their contention that quality science education is imperative for any long-term technology project. Hundreds of people are expected to
take part in the next conference, which will take place in late September and early October 2011 in Orlando, Florida. By the end of the deadline, it had already attracted submissions of more than 520 papers and other ideas. The organizers are clearly hoping to attract a broad mix of participants. “This won’t just be another space technology conference—we’re hoping that ethicists, lawyers, science fiction writers, technologists, and others will participate in the dialog to make sure we’re thinking about all the aspects of interstellar flight,” said David Neyland, director of the Tactical Technology Office for DARPA. “This is a great opportunity for people with interesting ideas to be heard, which we believe will spur further thought, dreaming and innovation.” Programming tracks at the conference will include “time-distance solutions” (propulsion and navigation at near-light or faster-than-light speeds); habitats and environmental science (self-supporting environments, gravity, space and radiation effects, optimal habitat sizing); biology and space medicine (matters of physiology and psychology in space, life suspension, medicine and medical facilities, and even spawning from genetic material); education, social, economic, and legal matters (education as a mission, who goes or stays behind, communications, political ramifications, round trip legacies); destinations (the criteria for selection, what to take, number of destinations and missions); philosophical and religious considerations (why go to the stars at all, moral and ethical issues, and implications of discoveries); communication of the vision (storytelling as inspiration, the use of movies, books, and television to popularize long-term research and journeys); and there is a panel discussion with science fiction writers, and other entertainmentrelated happenings. If that sounds like a well-spent conference to you, then you should consider attending. But don’t go expecting to sign up to pilot the starship. The agencies organizing this effort hasten to add that they are not actually building a starship, but are instead “planting seeds for an organization.” Therefore, don’t bother sending in your interstellar cosmonaut application anytime soon. But you still might want to freshen up your resume, because you never know where you might find an exciting job working with or benefiting from developments for the 100 Year Starship in the fields of physics, math, engineering, biology, economics, or political and cultural G sciences. weimar.ws Galaxis
Galaxis October 2011
The Stor y of B A T T L E S T A R
GALACTICA By John Zipperer
This has all happened before, and it will happen again. The Cylons were created by man. They rebelled. Then they vanished. Forty years later they came back. They evolved. 50,298 human survivors hunted by the Cylons. Eleven models are known. One was sacrificed. he first time it happened, science fiction television was synonymous with short-lived series, bugeyed monsters, and ultracheap budgets. Battlestar Galactica only changed part of that. In the months before and immediately after Battlestar Galactica premiered on ABC TV in late 1978, it was the talk of the country. It appeared on the covers of such non-SF magazines as Newsweek, People, and Rona Barrett’s Hollywood Super Special; it was featured in a big preview in the high-brow Smithsonian magazine, and there was high profile coverage in US, Tiger Beat, and even men’s magazine Saga.
Galactica’s main selling point was that it offered a Star Wars experience on TV (Newsweek even called it “Son of Star Wars”). Endless reports hyped the special effects by John Dykstra, the SFX wizard behind the first Star Wars film. The show debuted to spectacular ratings, and though its ratings did fall a bit from its premiere, the show was still reportedly in the top 20 when it was canceled by ABC at the end of the season in favor of less expensive fare. The show didn’t rate well with critics, and over time, though its fan base continued, the conclusion of many critics was that a great opportunity for quality televised science fiction had been squandered. Insiders of the program argued that the show had originally been intended as a number of spectacular miniseries, not an ongoing weekly series. When ABC changed its mind at the last minute and ordered up a weekly series, the producers scrambled to stretch the budget for the shows and to come up with enough scripts. The result was an uneven series, with ambitious, epic entries such as “The Living Legend” or “War of the Gods” alternating with underpowered episodes such as “Fire in Space” or “Greetings from Earth.”
After an even shorter-lived sequel series, Galactica 1980, and the release of the series repackaged into two-hour television movies, Galactica lay dormant. Flash forward to the new century, when fans were treated to the confusion of dueling attempts to bring the show back to life. Original series star Richard Hatch was pushing his own planned revival that would have taken up the original storyline two decades later. At the same time, series creator Glen A. Larson was attempting to put together a theatrical version of the show. A third option was being pursued by director Bryan Singer and the Sci Fi Channel (now Syfy) to revamp the concept for a new series. When Singer left that project, veteran Star Trek writer Ronald D. Moore and David Eick took over and came up with a complete overhaul of the concepts, characters, and storylines. The result was the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries. There had been a great deal of resistance to the reimagining of the show, from fans and from people involved in the original series, including star Richard Hatch. When details emerged about the changes in store, the internet underwent a convulsive reaction. Starbuck was going to be a female character. There weimar.ws Galaxis
PAINTING BY SUE ZIPPERER
Complete Episode Guide to Ronald D. Moore’s & David Eick’s Modern SF Classic
would be no lasers. The show would not necessarily follow the storyline of the original series. There was no 1,000-year war between man and Cylons. And so on. But minds changed pretty quickly when the show aired. It performed well enough to spawn a new series, which lasted until 2009 on Syfy. Unlike the original Glen Larson series, this new version was a critical as well as a ratings hit. Everyone from Time magazine to TV Guide to Harlan Ellison heaped praise on it; you can probably still find the online video of Ellison introducing Moore to a convention crowd with his trademark outspokenness, calling the original series the worst TV show ever but the new Galactica one of the best. In the course of its run on SyFy, the show accomplished something few sci-
ence fiction TV shows can do. Like Star Trek: The Next Generation, the new Battlestar Galactica brought in an audience of people who normally wouldn’t watch a television show about spaceships, interplanetary travel, and mythology. It helped change the view of science fiction held by the muggle public. Today, once again Moore and Eick are heading up a new Galactica series on Syfy (called Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, a sequel series starring a young William Adama), and Glen Larson and Bryan Singer are teaming up to create a new Galactica motion picture not related to the Syfy series. It’s just like a prophecy from the priestesses of Kobol: History repeats itself. This has all happened before, and it will happen again. Fans who want to catch up on what
they missed, or to get a refresher, can catch the Galactica reruns now airing on BBC America, starting back in early June 2011. For a more permanent record, viewers can also find the DVDs and Blu-rays of the series at reasonable prices. To help orient you in your viewing, and to point out things that can make your viewing more enjoyable, Galaxis presents this complete episode guide to the new Battlestar Galactica. A note before you read further: It should go without saying that this episode guide is for people who have already seen these programs. There are spoilers galore; it would be impossible to write sequential episode descriptions for a show such as Moore’s Galactica without giving away important plot developments, because each episode builds on events of the past.
Based on concepts, characters, and stories created by: Glen A. Larson Broadcaster: Sci Fi Channel (later Syfy) Studio: Universal Developed by: Ronald D. Moore Producers: David Eick, Ronald D. Moore Opening Theme by: Richard Gibbs Composer: Bear McCreary
Commander/Admiral William Adama: Edward James Olmos President Roslin: Mary McDonnell Lee “Apollo” Adama: Jamie Bamber Kara “Starbuck” Thrace: Katee Sackhoff Sharon “Boomer” Valerii: Grace Park Gaius Baltar: James Callis Colonel Tigh: Michael Hogan
Number Six: Tricia Helfer Chief Tyrol: Aaron Douglas Karl “Helo” Agathon: Tahmoh Penikett Felix Gaeta: Alessandro Juliani Samuel Anders: Michael Trucco Anastasia Dualla: Kandyse McClure Billy Keikeya: Paul Campbell Cally Henderson Tyrol: Nicki Clyne
Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries
Airdate: December 8, 2003. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Michael Rymer In the 40 years since the Cylon Wars, the robots have used their time well. For one thing, they have developed new human-appearing models, which they have kept secret. The Cylons carry out a surprise nuclear attack on the Twelve Colonies, thanks to their successful infiltration of the humans’ defense networks (itself the product of Dr. Gaius Baltar’s seduction by a humanoid Cylon). Humanity is nearly wiped out, with the old Battlestar Galactica—on the eve of its mothballing—rallying the survivors and escaping from the now Cylon-controlled 12 home worlds. Only about 50,000 humans are rescued by the Galactica and its makeshift fleet of ships. So many of the humans’ leaders have been killed that Laura Roslin, the secretary of education, is made the civilian president, setting her up for an often-tense relationship with the military, now led by the Galactica’s commander, Adama. This film shows us not only Roslin’s rocky start as president and her uncertain hold over her “constituents” and the military, but it gives us an early look at the toughness underneath the education secretary’s cover. She has to make the decision to abandon the humans who are on ships that do not have faster-than-light capabilities and can therefore not escape the Cylon attacks. After a dangerous trip to a weapons depot, where Adama finally learns about the new human-form Cylon models, the “ragtag fleet” heads for Adama’s announced goal: Finding the 14
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legendary lost planet Earth. NOTES: The events of this miniseries will be revisited numerous times in the course of the series proper and its TV movie spinoffs. In those flashbacks, we learn more about Roslin’s personal and political situations. We also will find out more about Baltar’s seduction by Number Six and how it led to the Cylon attacks. On a technical note, the attack on the human colonies is so jarring that it appears to permanently knock cameras off-kilter, making it impossible for the producer to hold an image of a spaceship steady for more than 1 second.
FIRST SEASON 33
Airdate: January 14, 2005. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Michael Rymer The Cylons are attacking the Galactica’s fleet every 33 seconds, causing the fleet to jump repeatedly to avoid being caught. The sleepdeprived crew is showing the strain of the constant tension and jumps, when they detect a link between the Cylon attacks and a civilian ship in the fleet. Adama and Roslin must make the decision whether to destroy the ship and its human civilian crew.
Airdate: January 14, 2005. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Marita Grabiak The Galactica’s water reserves are destroyed in an explosion, and Chief Tyrol and Boomer
try to keep secret some evidence implicating Boomer (who doesn’t yet know she’s a Cylon herself). She later redeems herself—sort of—by discovering a planet with available water. Meanwhile, Baltar is put in charge of creating a test to determine if someone is a Cylon, and Apollo becomes President Roslin’s military advisor, setting up a simmering conflict with the captain’s father, Commander Adama.
Airdate: January 21, 2005. Writer: Toni Graphia. Director: Allan Kroeker Following up on the events of “Water,” the Galactica tries to come up with a plan for accessing the water to refill the fleet’s stores. Apollo suggests using prison labor, which President Roslin allows—if the prisoners agree to work in return for a reduction of their sentences. But the prisoners, under the leadership of a convicted terrorist named Zarek, reject the plan and instead take Apollo hostage. When Commander Adama sends in Starbuck with a commando team, it’s up to Apollo to come up with a compromise that prevents a bloodbath and the ensuing political upheaval it would cause. NOTES: Zarek is played by veteran actor Richard Hatch, who, of course, starred as Apollo in the 1978 Galactica series. Before the announcement of the Ronald Moore Galactica remake, Hatch had vied with the show’s creator, Glen A. Larson, to develop rival new versions of the original series, and Hatch even self-funded a short demo film of his intended production, which would carry on the storyline of the
1978 version. Hatch also wrote several original Battlestar Galactica novels. But they are both beaten to the punch by Moore, and Hatch was reportedly none too thrilled with the plans to reimagine the series, though he eventually changed his mind and joined the team with the recurring character of Zarek.
Act of Contrition
Airdate: January 28, 2005. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Rod Hardy President Roslin gets bad news about her cancer and is essentially told by the doctor that her best chance is prayer. Meanwhile, Starbuck is forced to train new fighter pilots following the deaths of a group of pilots in an on-ship accident. Her duties are made more difficult by the memories the training is reviving in her: She had given Zak Adama, Commander Adama’s younger son, a passing grade in flight training despite his lack of readiness. His subsequent death is something for which she feels guilty, and Commander Adama also clearly blames her after he learns her long-held guilty secret. When Starbuck and her new recruits are attacked by a bunch of Cylon raiders, she takes on the last remaining Cylon herself, only to end up spinning out of control—along with the damaged raider—to destination unknown. NOTES: In the original Battlestar Galactica movie from 1978, Zak is “Zac” and was played by actor and singer Rick Springfield. In that show, he was the first human killed in the Cylon sneak attack on the battlestar fleet.
You Can’t Go Home Again
Airdate: February 4, 2005. Writer: Carla Robinson. Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan As much as Commander Adama might have been surprised and angered by Kara “Starbuck” Thrace’s admission in the previous episode about her possible connection to Zak’s death, he pulls out the stops to rescue Starbuck from wherever she might have ended up after the Cylon dogfight in “Act of Contrition.” Meanwhile, Starbuck is stranded on an alien planet and locates the Cylon ship she damaged in the fight. She learns how to control it and is able to rejoin the fleet after making her newly acquired Cylon raider recognizable as a “friend” to the Galactica.
Airdate: February 11, 2005. Writer: Jeff Vlaming. Director: Rod Hardy After an attempted assassination of the Galactica’s commander, Adama and President Roslin decide it is time to let the rest of the fleet know that Cylons can pass in human form. At the same time, they begin an inquest into the breaches of security—an investigation that eventually comes to criticize Adama himself before he calls an end to it. The personal impact of the security problems come to a head when Chief Tyrol breaks off his relationship with Boomer, refusing to protect her any more at the cost of defending the men under his command.
Six Degrees of Separation
Airdate: February 18, 2005. Writer: Michael
Angeli. Director: Robert M. Young What would make the vain Gaius Baltar pray to the Cylon god? Baltar stands accused of being a traitor to the Twelve Colonies, and his accuser is no less than Number Six herself in flesh-and-blood human form. Normally appearing only in his mind, courtesy of an implanted chip, she now is visible to everyone and she appears bent on making Baltar’s life a misery. She presents evidence of Baltar’s complicity, and the doctor is thrown into prison while Gaeta studies the evidence. And so, Baltar prays.
Flesh and Bone
Airdate: February 25, 2005. Writer: Toni Graphia. Director: Brad Turner Leoben Conoy, a Cylon in human form, appears in President Roslin’s dream, and a copy of Leoben appears on a ship in the fleet. Under interrogation, he says a nuclear weapon is hidden on one of the ships, and Starbuck is told to use any means necessary—read: torture—to get him to give them the location of the nuke. President Roslin stops the torture, but she ultimately decides he is a liar and too dangerous to keep alive, and she orders him expelled into space. NOTES: This episode gives us more insight into the Cylon religion, which is focused on a single god, rather than the bucket-o’-gods the humans revere. The robots’ religion is explained to us in drips throughout the course of the series, leaving us at times unsure if Number Six is just toying with Baltar when she talks to him about the one god and uses language we would recognize as Christian or at least monotheistic. In the end, it is Starbuck who prays for the Cylon Leoben after he is killed. And if you haven’t gotten the message yet, here it is: Laura Roslin is tough. Don’t mess with her.
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
Airdate: March 4, 2005. Writer: Jeff Vlaming. Director: Edward James Olmos Tigh’s estranged wife Ellen appears and immediately starts sowing distrust between Adama and Tigh (and pretty much everyone else). Meanwhile, Roslin, acting on a whispered message from the Cylon Leoben in “Flesh and Bone,” suspects Adama is a Cylon and has Baltar secretly test the commander using his new Cylon-detection system. Battlestar Galactica did not have much humor in it, but when it did, it was done beautifully. Edward James Olmos does double duty this episode, portraying the commander and directing the show. His good work comes to a head during a scene late in the episode when many plot threads all collide. The mixture of tension, humor, and secrets revealed is played perfectly by the actors, and it’s difficult to take your eyes off the scene as it unfolds: Baltar: I have started and stopped the [Cy-
lon detection]test twice already now, so I am running a little behind. Apollo and Adama: Twice?! Roslin: My fault. Long story. Adama: Your fault? Baltar: Yes, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. Roslin: No, you probably shouldn’t have. Adama: Did you tell him to stop Ellen’s test? Roslin: Yes, I did. Adama: Why? Roslin: Well, I had some concerns. Adama: About what? Roslin: In all honesty, I think it’s fair to say that your behavior recently has been … odd. Adama: My behavior? What do you think—I’m a Cylon? Me? Well, yes, she did think that. The accusations and revelations go on and on, with Ellen and Tigh joining the conversation, adding another layer of lies and conflict. A truly delicious scene.
The Hand of God
Airdate: March 11, 2005. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Jeff Woolnough The religious overtones of the series deepened in this episode, in which President Roslin sees a vision of snakes and is told by a priestess of a Pythian prophecy that the humans will be led to their new home by a dying leader. Consider that a good-news, bad-news situation for Roslin, who is battling terminal cancer. Meanwhile, Baltar is led by Number Six to believe that God is directing him when he gives advice that helps select a target on a Cylon asteroid. The fleet, dangerously low on fuel, discovers weimar.ws Galaxis
an asteroid rich with tylium but also chock full of Cylons mining that tylium for their own fuel. Starbuck helps craft a sneaky plan to trick the Cylons into leaving the base relatively unprotected, and Apollo learns to think like Starbuck in the execution of the plan, which replenishes the fleet’s supply of fuel. NOTES: “The Hand of God” was also the title of the final episode of the original Battlestar Galactica TV series, airing in April 1979. There are other similarities besides the title, though they might be coincidental. Fuel is not the driving motivation here, but still the fleet discovers a Cylon outpost and, weary of always running from their enemies, decide to attack the Cylon baseship. Starbuck and Apollo lead the daring attack, and key help is provided by none other than Baltar, who gives advice about how to destroy the ship in return for his freedom. The title of the episode is from a comment by Apollo (Richard Hatch), who is showing his friends an observation dome with a 365-degree view of space: “It’s like riding in the hand of god; at least, that’s the way I like to think of it.” The episode, written and directed by Donald Bellisario (who is, among other things, the creator of NCIS), ends with Starbuck and Apollo leaving the observation dome just before the receiver in the dome gets a video transmission of the Apollo moon landing.
Airdate: March 18, 2005. Writer: Carla Robinson. Director: Jonas Pate It’s political shenanigans and drama as only a dying ember of humanity on a fleet going nowhere can provide. Colonial Day is the annual celebration of the Twelve Colonies’ foundation, and this year, President Roslin re-establishes the Quorum of Twelve to help lead the remainder of humanity. What should provide a new spark of hope and normalcy for the fleet turns into a threat to Roslin. Zarek, the former terrorist introduced in “Bastille Day,” is nominated as one of the Quorum members and suggests an election be held for the position of vice president— for which he is also nominated. To counter Zarek’s growing popularity, Roslin teams up with Baltar, who wins the vice presidential spot.
Kobol’s Last Gleaming (Part I and II)
Airdate: March 25 & April 1, 2005. Writer: David Eick. Director: Michael Rymer What to make of a program that includes Starbuck and Baltar having sex, the discovery of mankind’s birthplace, insurrection on the fleet, betrayal of family and duty, a secret mission to Caprica, and an assassination attempt? It’s the season-ending two-parter that seems designed to leave viewers reeling with minds full of questions and implications throughout the summer until the next season starts. The fleet thinks it might have discovered the planet Kobol, the legendary place where humanity originated. Roslin, reacting to a series of visions she has been having, sends Starbuck back to Caprica in the Cylon raider she had captured earlier, in search of the Arrow of Apollo, which Roslin believes will help them discover the path to Earth. 16
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Meanwhile, Boomer is growing increasingly suicidal, learning from Baltar that she might in fact be a Cylon. Adama orders the arrest of Roslin for sending Starbuck to Earth. After Apollo supports Roslin, he ends up in prison with her. On Caprica, Starbuck discovers Helo and a copy of the Boomer Cylon and learns that the Cylon is carrying Helo’s baby. But in the fleet, the other Boomer finally succumbs to her Cylon programming by shooting Commander Adama.
SECOND SEASON Scattered
Airdate: July 15, 2005. Writers: David Weddle, Bradley Thompson. Director: Michael Rymer We have known from the outset that Col. Tigh is of questionable stability, having learned about his alcoholism and troubled history in the Colonial fleet until Adama took him under his wing. Now, with Adama in sick bay trying to recover from Boomer’s assassination attempt, Tigh is in charge, and his decision making at this critical time in the fleet’s history might be making things worse. The Galactica is separated from the rest of the fleet as the result of a mixup during a jump. Tigh makes the decision to network the ship’s computers—against Adama’s strict orders—to speed up the attempt to find the rest of the fleet. During an ensuing battle with Cylons, Felix Gaeta’s firewalls are quickly broken down by Cylon attempts to hack the now-networked systems, and a raider crashlands on the Galactica. Back on Caprica, Boomer steals Starbuck’s raider (which, in all fairness, she had stolen from the Cylons).
Valley of Darkness
Airdate: July 22, 2005. Writers: David Weddle, Bradley Thompson. Director: Michael Rymer Things go from bad to worse for the fleet in general and for Tigh specifically. The Cylons attack on two fronts: Centurions survived the crash landing on the hangar deck in “Scattered,” and they are fighting to take over the Galactica; meanwhile, a Cylon computer virus is coursing through the battlestar’s computers as a result of Tigh’s decision to network the system. Apollo and Roslin, stuck in the brig when Tigh accused them of mutiny, are trying to get out so they can defend the fleet and restore democratic rule. Down on Kobol, a stranded landing party is trying to establish itself despite injuries and inadequate supplies as a result of their crash landing. One of the party, Chief Tyrol, must decide whether to end the life of a grievously wounded comrade.
Airdate: July 25, 2009. Writers:
Dawn Prestwich, Nicole Yorkin. Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan Did we say things went from bad to worse in the last episode? Well, they hadn’t hit bottom yet. Tigh is egged on by Ellen to declare a state of martial law, but he has overstepped his mark, bringing President Roslin and the Quorum closer together. Roslin, with the help of her cancer medication, shares with the Quorum the prophecy that someone—oh, say, a cancerstricken leader like her—will lead humanity to Kobol. On Kobol, Chief Tyrol and Crashdown, the senior officer, confront each other over dueling plans to attack a small detachment of Cylons on the planet who pose a risk to any rescue team from the Galactica. When Crashdown threatens to kill Cally, who is too traumatized to follow his orders, Tyrol nearly kills Crashdown— but he is beaten to the punch (or the bullet, in this case) by Baltar, who kills the man. When they are rescued by a shuttle, the team doesn’t report the fragging, instead telling others that Crashdown fell in battle. NOTES: Part of the interest in watching Tigh mess up his chance at ultimate command is that he is not an entirely unsympathetic figure. He genuinely is trying his hardest, and he is trying to do what he thinks will hold together the fleet and save humanity. But he is undercut by his own flawed judgment and alcoholism, and by the terrible influence of his wife, Ellen.
Airdate: August 5, 2005. Writer: Toni Graphia. Director: Allan Kroeker It seems that the battlestar’s brig is nothing more than a hotel. Everyone apparently gets to spend some time in there, and much of this episode centers on the brig, leaving it, being in
it, or going to it. Apollo and Zarek help Roslin escape from prison, but Tyrol is thrown into the brig after he returns to the Galactica and is accused of working with Adama’s attempted assassin, the Cylon Boomer. While Boomer is being led through the Galactica on her way to a new prison, she is shot and killed by Cally. On other fronts, ships in the fleet are refusing to provide supplies to the battlestar as a way of protesting martial law, so Tigh—Mr. Neverback-down—attempts to use commandos to take the supplies from the recalcitrant ships.
Airdate: August 12, 2005. Writer: Carla Robinson. Director: Rod Hardy At long last, Adama has recovered sufficiently to resume command, but he finds a huge mess to clean up. Mutiny. The fleet split in its loyalty between the Galactica’s military command and the civilian leadership of President Roslin, who is on the lam. Roslin sends out a message telling her supporters to join her on a visit to Kobol to look for the location of Earth, and one-third of the fleet goes with her. On Caprica, Starbuck is hospitalized after a Cylon battle. She learns that the Cylons have been conducting experiments on humans so they can learn how to reproduce like them, but they haven’t had success. She finds one of the women from Anders’ human resistance group connected to a machine with a roomful of other women, and she destroys the machine. After escaping from the hospital with the help of Boomer, who uses the Cylon raider she took from Starbuck a while ago, the two of them take Helo and head back to the Galactica.
Home (Parts I and II)
Airdate: August 19 and 26, 2005. Writers: David Eick, Ronald D. Moore. Directors: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, Jeff Woolnough The high-tension plotlines of the season so far all come together and establish a new equilibrium in this episode, which also pushes forward the Earth mythology subplot. With the fleet split between Roslin’s followers around Kobol and Adama’s followers out in space, and with the commander nursing hurt feelings of betrayal by his son Apollo, the Galactica’s leader will have to decide if and how to bring the humans all back together again. He is eventually convinced to reunite with the breakaway faction, and the remaining fleet jumps to Kobol. Apollo’s on the bad side of someone else, too: Zarek. The former terrorist plans to end Lee Adama’s life. Zarek attempts to enlist Sharon— the Boomer Cylon version that returned from Caprica with Helo and Starbuck aboard the
raider. She has saved her own skin from Roslin’s wrath by promising to lead the landing party to the Tomb of Athena; she later saves Apollo’s skin by taking out Zarek’s accomplices. When Adama and his Galactica team catch up with Roslin’s landing party, he completes the reunion of the fleet, but he also has to overcome the surprise of seeing another Boomer, his attempted assassin. She tells him she is different from the Boomer who shot him; she’s rewarded by not being killed, but she is taken prisoner. They find the Tomb and enter it. When the Arrow is placed in the bow of a statue, Adama, Apollo, Roslin, and Starbuck are instantly transported from the old stone cave-like tomb to a nighttime meadow, surrounded by stone pillars with the constellations visible on them. Apollo: Where are we? Roslin: I don’t know. The Tomb of Athena, I think. Adama: I thought we were already in the Tomb? Starbuck: I think that was the lobby. The constellations help the landing party identify the location of Earth. NOTES: There are a number of echoes in “Home” of a two-part episode of the original Battlestar Galactica,“Lost Planet of the Gods,” in which the Galacticans find Kobol and try to glean the secret of the location of the 13th tribe: Earth. “Lost Planet of the Gods” was the second installment of that series, which had originally been planned as a number of expensive miniseries; when the show was turned into a weekly program, the producers scrambled to write stand-alone shows and to bring down the $1 million per episode budget, which was enormous by the standards of the late 1970s. But the money spent on this episode shows; it includes actual footage shot around Egypt’s pyramids, which stand in for the ruins of Kobol. As with “Lost Planet of the Gods,” the humans in “Home” and the preceding Kobol episodes find that Kobol is not exactly what they imagined it would be.
Airdate: September 9, 2005. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: Robert M. Young A fight between Galactican troops and civilians forces Adama and Roslin to look for ways to ease the tensions and distrust among the fleet, so they bring aboard the battlestar a reporter, D’Anna Biers. Looking to explain the Galactica to the rest of the fleet, the journalist uncovers such uncomfortable secrets as the pregnant Cylon in the brig (Boomer, fresh from
Kobol) and a plan to kill Col. Tigh. Though her eventual documentary is complimentary to Adama and his military, we learn that she is just another Cylon model and that her compatriots back among the Cylons on Caprica have big plans for Boomer’s Cylon-human hybrid baby. NOTES: The reporter Biers is played by New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless, the former star of Xena: Princess Warrior.
Flight of the Phoenix
Airdate: September 16, 2005. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Nankin Boomer begins to work her way out of the web of hatred and suspicion that many people, including Commander Adama, in the fleet feel for her. As a Cylon “logic bomb,” a computer virus, threatens the Galactica, it is Boomer who not only helps defeat the virus but who arranges for a little cyber-payback when she transmits a virus of her own to cripple the Cylon ships that have jumped into the fleet to attack what they expected would be an undefended humanity. In the background, Chief Tyrol and others decide to build a brand new Viper, the blackbird (though they name it Laura in honor of President Roslin). Faced with a shortage of spare parts with which to construct the new fighter ship, they use carbon composites, which gives it stealth capabilities for avoiding detection.
Airdate: September 23, 2005. Writer: Anne Cofell Saunders. Director: Michael Rymer Among the best Galactica episodes, “Pegasus” introduces us to the Pegasus, another battlestar that everyone had believed to have been destroyed in the attacks on the colonies. Its appearance gives the fleet new hope, but it quickly becomes clear that the Pegasus’ Admiral Cain is going to come to loggerheads with Commander Adama and President Roslin. On board the Pegasus, a Cylon prisoner has been tortured, and when Cain orders the same for Boomer, Tyrol and Helo rescue her, killing the Pegasus’ interrogator in the process. For these actions, Cain sentences Helo and Tyrol to death. Adama is determined to stop the sentences from being carried out, and the two battlestars prepare to battle one another. NOTES: The tale of the Pegasus is, of course, a re-imagining of one of the better episodes of the original Galactica of the 1970s, “The Living Legend.” In that episode, Cain (a commander and not an admiral) is portrayed by Lloyd Bridges. Pegasus was rumored to be a likely candidate to return for another go-around with the Galactica if that series had been picked up weimar.ws Galaxis
Adama: What the hell are you talking about? Roslin: Like she said, let’s cut through it. The two of you were willing to go to war today. Do you think she’s going to step down from that? She’s going to bide her time and hit you the first chance she gets. That’s a given. I hate to lay this on you, Bill, but she is dangerous, and the only thing you can do is hit her before she hits you. Adama: I’m not an assassin. Roslin: No. You are not an assassin. You are a colonial officer who has taken an oath to protect this fleet. What do you think that she is going to do with this civilian fleet once she has eliminated you? [In a whisper:] You know I’m right. You just don’t want to face it. Adama: [Getting up to leave] So, we’re all going mad.
for a second season. Like the Lloyd Bridges version, Cain and Adama take up similar positions in “Pegasus.” Cain is the hard-charging warrior hell-bent on attacking Cylons at all costs and running her ship with iron discipline; Adama is no weakling, but he carries the burden of protecting a fleet of civilians.
Resurrection Ship (Parts I and II)
Airdate: January 6 and January 13, 2006. Writers: Michael Rymer, Ronald D. Moore, Ann Cofell Saunders. Director: Michael Rymer Both battlestars have launched their vipers as the struggle between Adama and Cain escalates, but the attack is called off when an unexpected ship appears. When the Galactica CIC realizes that the inter-human firefight was prevented by the appearance of Starbuck in the Blackbird, Tigh mutters, “Another one of her crazy-ass stunts. Thank the gods!” Starbuck’s private mission to the Cylon outpost that Cain wants to attack has resulted in closeup photos of the two basestars and a giant odd ship they haven’t seen before. Baltar finds out from Gina, the Cylon prisoner who has been tortured aboard the Pegasus, that the strange vessel is a resurrection ship, where Cylons can be given new bodies after their old bodies have been killed. Roslin, Adama, and Cain meet in Roslin’s office, and the president manages to get the two military leaders to work together to destroy the Cylon ships. Following that testy confrontation, there is one of the greatest scenes of the entire series, in which Roslin and Adama sit alone and calmly in the president’s office: Roslin: I’m afraid this can only end one way. We’ve gotta kill her. 18
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Tigh and other Galacticans learn from their Pegasus counterparts that Cain’s ship used to have a civilian fleet of its own, but she stripped the ships for parts for her battlestar, press-ganged the valuable civilians into her military, and murdered the families of any civilians who refused to serve. Adama asks Starbuck to assassinate Cain after the resurrection ship is destroyed, and Cain sends a group of soldiers to the Galactica to do the same thing to Adama. But after the successful mission to the resurrection ship, it is Gina— who was helped in her escape from the brig by Baltar—who surprises Cain in her quarters and shoots her dead. NOTES: Now that his command includes two battlestars, Adama is promoted to the rank of admiral by President Roslin. No science fiction fan can ever hear that title without also hearing Ricardo Montalban’s voice: “Ad-mir-al Kirk?”
Airdate: January 20, 2006. Writer: Joel Anderson Thompson. Director: Rod Hardy The Cylon Gina, freed from her Pegasus cell, takes a leadership position with Demand Peace, a group urging a negotiated settlement with the Cylons. The group conducts acts of sabotage and terrorism to get its way, and its members are given a nuclear warhead by Vice President Baltar after he falls out of favor with Roslin. President Roslin orders Boomer’s unborn baby to be killed as a threat to the human fleet, but when Baltar discovers incredible healing properties in the baby’s blood cells, Roslin is given a new lease on life, as is the baby.
Airdate: January 27, 2006. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: James Head Apollo is still getting over injuries he received during the attack on the resurrection ship. He is put in charge of investigating the murder of Jack Fisk, who took over command of the Pegasus after Admiral Cain’s murder. Apollo learns
that Fisk (and others, possibly including Baltar and the former terrorist Zarek) are involved in a big black market operation. After Zarek saves his life and points him in the direction of the black market’s leader, Apollo finds that the illegal trading operation is much darker than he had thought.
Airdate: February 3, 2006. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Nankin Just like the humanoid Cylons, Cylon raiders are sentient beings filled with gooey insides, as we learned in “You Can’t Go Home Again.” One raider that has been killed in battle and resurrected numerous times, becoming more vengeful each time, is called Scar for the mark on its front. Starbuck and another Viper pilot, Louanne Katraine (known as Kat) vie for the privilege and the glory of destroying Scar, who has been eliminating a lot of vipers. But first Starbuck must deal with the demons of her unresolved feelings for Anders. When Scar is finally destroyed, it is because Starbuck makes a particularly unusual decision.
Airdate: February 10, 2006. Writer: Anne Cofell Saunders. Director: Rey Villalobos Apollo and Anastasia Dualla are on a date aboard the Cloud 9 ship when a group of gunmen take them and others hostage. They are demanding that Adama turn over the Cylon Boomer, but Adama refuses. Roslin and Adama struggle to formulate a response to the hostage situation that won’t blow the lid off the already volatile situation in the fleet, with terrorists demanding peace with the Cylons and news of the existence of a pregnant Cylon (Boomer) causing suspicion. When Adama tricks the hostagetakers by sending them the body of the murdered Boomer (the one who had shot Adama), the situation ends with bloodshed in the bar.
The Captain’s Hand
Airdate: February 17, 2006. Writer: Jeff Vlaming. Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan Lee Adama, like his admiral father, gets a promotion. Major Adama (Apollo) now serves on the Pegasus, working with its Commander Garner. But when Garner recklessly jumps the Pegasus to the location of a supposed human distress signal, the battlestar comes under attack by several Cylon basestars. Garner, the ship’s former chief engineer, dies while successfully fixing the ship’s FTL drive. Apollo repels the Cylon attack and returns the ship safely to the fleet. As a result, he gets yet another promotion: Commander of the Pegasus. The fleet is also preparing for elections, and abortion finds a central role after President Roslin reverses her earlier support for abortion and bans it, agreeing with Admiral Adama that the human race needs all of the babies it can get. But Roslin gives a pregnant teenage girl asylum from her family, and Vice President Baltar— nursing a grudge since he discovered that Roslin never trusted him—latches on to the issue and announces that he is a candidate to replace
Roslin as president of the humans.
Airdate: February 24, 2006. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Jeff Woolnough Turnabout is fair play, perhaps. Just as Baltar has visions of Number Six, it turns out that a copy of Number Six has visions of Baltar. On Caprica, downloaded Cylons Number Six and Boomer are coming to terms with life on Caprica after their last assignments, and they are starting to change their views of humans. When a terrorist attack by Anders’ resistance fighters traps another Cylon, Number Three (the Lucy Lawless model), Number Six and Boomer agree to try to change the way Cylons think of humans. On Galactica, the Cylon Boomer (who used to be on Caprica; yes, it is probably supposed to be complicated) gives birth to her child with Helo. Roslin initiates a plan to pretend the child died, and instead they secretly give the baby to a human mother to raise.
Lay Down Your Burdens (Parts I and II)
Airdates: March 3 and 10, 2006. Writers: Anne Cofell-Saunders, Ronald D. Moore, Mark Verheiden. Director: Michael Rymer When a jump goes wrong, a Raptor pilot discovers a planet that supports life and is hidden inside a nebula, offering the alluring prospect of a new home for the humans. Baltar and Zarek seize on the new planet as an issue that will help defeat Roslin in the presidential election. Roslin, however, argues that the fleet should only make a resupply stop at the planet, fearing that it is not as hidden from the Cylons as many people believe. Starbuck leads a rescue team to bring back
the survivors on Caprica. She and Anders become involved, and Apollo and Dualla deepen their relationship. In the process, Apollo and Starbuck become estranged from each other. However, it is the election that has the biggest impact. Roslin’s re-election is rigged to give her a victory, but Adama forces her to acknowledge Baltar as the true winner of the campaign, despite her claims that the vice president is a Cylon collaborator. Once in office, President Baltar orders the colonization of New Caprica, as they have dubbed the newly discovered planet. The episode then shifts ahead in time one year, with the fleet in orbit around the nowcolonized planet, Anders and Starbuck have married, and Roslin has returned to teaching. But when the Cylons show up in force, the Adamas jump the battlestars away from the planet, unable to protect the humans. After Baltar capitulates, the Cylons take over New Caprica unopposed.
THIRD SEASON Occupation
Airdate: October 6, 2006. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan Leading into this third season, the Sci Fi Channel posted 10 webisodes called “The Resistance,” which told in short entries of five minutes or less the tales of events on New Caprica after the Cylons took over. In “Occupation,” it is four months since the Cylons occupied the planet. Col. Tigh is leading the resistance against the occupation, working with Anders, Chief Tyrol, and others to disrupt Cylon operations wherever and whenever possible, often violently. Off in space, Adama and Apollo, leaders of the Galactica and Pegasus respectively, disagree about how to deal with the situation. Eventually, contact is made with the resistance forces on the planet, thanks to some double-agenting work by Felix Gaeta, Adama’s former bridge officer who is now working closely with President Baltar. NOTES: Real-life politics played a major role in a number of episodes, plots, and subplots of Battlestar Galactica, sometimes obviously and sometimes subtly. “Occupation” is one of the most political episodes in the series’ run, and its commentary on the occupation of Iraq by the United States, the terrorist suicide bombings, and resistance activities is about as thinly veiled as can be.
Airdate: October 6, 2006. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan The Cylons try to win over Starbuck, giving her a baby they tell her she bore when she was in “The Farm” near the beginning of Season Two. The Cylons are trying to track
down the perpetrators of a devastating suicide bombing that took place in “Occupation,” and they are following twin paths: Trying to win over more collaborators and trying to harshly punish perpetrators. Ellen Tigh is forced to tell the Cylons about the location of the next resistance planning meeting in an attempt to save her husband’s life. Back on the Galactica, Boomer finally is released from her imprisonment and is made a Colonial officer by Adama. He then sends her to New Caprica to make contact with the resistance there.
Exodus (Parts I and II)
Airdate: October 13 and 20, 2006. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Felix Enriquez Alcala The humans’ plans for escaping the Cylon occupation on New Caprica all come together in “Exodus.” Tyrol and his resistance fighters manage to save a couple hundred humans who were about to be massacred by the Cylons. Boomer lets the resistance leaders in on Admiral Adama’s plans for the evacuation of the planet; she also is told by Cylons that Hera, the baby she had with Helo, is still alive. In another revelation of a hot-button secret, Tigh learns that his wife had shared resistance information with the Cylons, and he reluctantly kills her with a poison drink in retaliation. When the Cylons decide to destroy the settlement on New Caprica with a nuclear bomb, President Baltar must decide if he is going to escape with the toasters or help the humans. When the Galactica jumps into the atmosphere, launching fighters to attack the Cylons on the planet, it sustains damage in the unusual maneuver. Jumping back to a higher orbit, it is taken on by four Cylon basestars. The old ship’s skin (so to speak) is saved when the Pegasus jumps into the battle, despite Adama’s orders to Apollo. Commander Apollo sends the Pegasus on a suicide collision course that takes out two of the basestars and lets the humans get away.
Airdate: October 27, 2006. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: Michael Rymer Tom Zarek, who became president following Baltar’s escape with the Cylons, authorizes a secret group called the Circle to be judge, jury, and executioner of suspected collaborators. The punishment is expulsion out an airlock. When Felix Gaeta is brought before the group, he must try to prove that he was feeding the resistance Cylon information during the occupation. The one collaborator the Circle might most have liked to judge, Dr. Gaius Baltar, is beyond their reach, with a council of Cylons voting on the life of their prisoner. Zarek, who is smart enough to know that he won’t be accepted as president by many in the fleet, arranges with Laura Roslin to re-create the Quorum of Twelve, nominate her as his successor, and then he will become her vice president.
Airdate: November 3, 2006. Writer: Anne Cofell Saunders. Director: Jean de Segonzac weimar.ws Galaxis
Boomer – or Sharon – is hailed as a hero for her work with the escape from the Cylons, and she is rewarded with a new flight handle, Athena. Elsewhere on the Galactica, though, things are not so full of harmony. Adama gets so fed up with complaining by Tigh and Starbuck that he reads them the riot act, leading Tigh to quit his post. Baltar manages to uncover some secrets of the Cylons when a basestar’s crew becomes infected with some strange virus. Baltar discovers an unidentified box that the Cylons say originated with the 13th colony. NOTES: In the 1978-79 Battlestar Galactica, Athena was the name of Commander Adama’s daughter, portrayed by Maren Jensen. In that series, Athena was a part of the Galactica’s bridge crew and she was Cassiopeia’s rival for the fleeting affections of the male Starbuck.
A Measure of Salvation
Airdate: November 10, 2006. Writer: Michael Angeli. Director: Bill Eagles The Galactica discovers the basestar and its crew, most of whom are dead. Taking the few survivors away with them, the humans concoct a plan to kill the surviving Cylons within reach of a resurrection ship, which would result in them being downloaded—presumably with the virus that killed their compatriots. Adama and Roslin argue over the plan, with the president making the final decision. But Helo steps in to prevent a genocide of the Cylons.
Airdate: November 17, 2006. Writer: David Eick. Director: Michael Rymer When a crew member of Adama’s previous ship shows up in a stolen Cylon Raider, the admiral is pleased to see his old friend, Novacek. But Adama also grows rueful, remembering that it was he—Adama—who had actually shot down Novacek’s ship while they were on a secret mission to spy on the Cylons a year before the attack on the Colonies. Novacek was subsequently imprisoned by the Cylons for three years before he was able to steal a raider and escape. He had thought all this time that he had been captured after being shot down by a Cylon, but when he learns the truth, he wants revenge.
Airdate: December 1, 2006. Writer: Michael Taylor. Director: Robert Young An Adama-sanctioned boxing tournament is taking place aboard the battlestar, serving as an outlet for the crew’s tensions, especially those resulting from the disastrous attempt to colonize New Caprica. Rank holds no privilege in the ring, and Tyrol gets to deck Admiral Adama 20
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with gusto. But the big matchup is between old friends Apollo and Starbuck, who have a lot to work through—not the least of which is their respective spouses.
Airdate: December 8, 2006. Writer: Jane Espenson. Director: Michael Nankin In desperate need of food supplies, the fleet must reach a planet rich in food on the other side of a nebula. The nebula is too large to go around or jump through using FTL drives. Instead, ships must be escorted through by shielded Raptors. But it’s a dangerous exercise, and it particularly tests the skills of pilot Kat. On the basestar, Baltar tries to find out if he is a Cylon, one of the remaining five with secret identities. NOTES: The echoes of original Galactica plots in past episodes dealing with the planet Kobol and Pegasus were too obvious to have been accidental. But sharp-eyed—or bored—viewers of “The Passage” might note a resemblance to a subplot in “Saga of a Star World,” the first Battlestar Galactica movie in 1978, in which Apollo, Boomer, and Starbuck must guide the fleet through a nebula by taking on a risky mission to shoot up Cylon space mines blocking the way This echo of an idea from the previous series was likely unintentional. Nebulae are, after all, irresistible to science fiction characters. Just ask Khan Noonien Singh.
The Eye of Jupiter
Airdate: December 15, 2006. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: Michael Rymer On the planet where the fleet has gone to gather food, the humans discover the mythical Eye of Jupiter in the Temple of Five. Cylon basestars jump into orbit around the planet, and Baltar tells the Galactica that they need to talk. Baltar and the Cylons say they want the Eye of Jupiter and will leave the humans alone if they are allowed to have it. Adama refuses and threatens to nuke the Temple of Five if the Cylons try to take the Eye. With Starbuck’s Raptor shot down by a Cylon and the local star about to go supernova, the basestars and the Galactica gear up for battle. Athena learns from another Boomer-model Cylon that her child Hera is indeed alive on the Cylon basestar, not dead as Roslin had led her to believe. NOTES: Once again showing that the new Galactica takes its ancient cues from Greek myth as opposed to the Egyptian myth of the 1978-79 series, this episode really lays the foundation for the endgame of the Moore-Eick series. We see the beginning of the teamup between humans and a Cylon faction.
Airdate: January 21, 2007. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Rymer As the humans and Cylons skirmish on the planet’s surface, the toasters come up the winners, gaining control of the Temple of Five. As the sun starts to go supernova, everyone flees the system, jumping away just as the star lets loose its fury. As people exit their shuttles in the Galactica’s hangar deck, Helo is reunited with Athena, who escaped with her baby thanks to help from a Number Six model, who is also aboard the shuttle. And Baltar is aboard another shuttlecraft, having been captured by Tyrol on the planet.
Taking a Break from All Your Worries
Airdate: January 28, 2007. Writer: Michael Taylor. Director: Edward James Olmos Baltar is interrogated aboard the Galactica. The humans try everything from threatened execution to drugging their prisoner in an attempt to get him to tell them secrets about the Cylons. Baltar demands a trial, his right as a citizen of the Twelve Colonies. Gaeta is sent in to try to get him to talk, and Baltar whispers something to Gaeta that leads the younger man to stab Baltar in the neck. Elsewhere, Starbuck and Apollo’s marriages to Anders and Dualla, respectively, are disintegrating. NOTES: In “The Face of the Enemy,” a series of webisodes for Battlestar Galactica’s fourth season, Baltar’s whispered words to Gaeta are revealed: Baltar accused Gaeta of being a double agent during the Cylon occupation of New Caprica.
The Woman King
Airdate: February 11, 2007. Writer: Michael Angeli. Director: Michael Rymer While Roslin and Zarek try to come up with a plan to hold the trial of Baltar without introducing more chaos into the fleet, the Galactica has hundreds of sick Sagittarons aboard, quarantined in an unused hangar bay. They are being treated by Dr. Robert, but many of them are refusing treatment, accusing the doctor of atrocities against them back on Caprica. It’s up to Helo to try to convince Adama and Tigh that something is wrong, but they dismiss his complaints and let Robert continue his work with the Sagittarons.
A Day in the Life
Airdate: February 18, 2007. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: Rod hardy Adama is coming to terms with how his devotion to work had led to the dissolution of his marriage, and he finds himself paying more at-
buck continues having visions about the Eye of Jupiter, and her senior officers begin to wonder if she’s mentally stable. On a subsequent mission, the Galacticans are shocked when Starbuck’s viper is destroyed.
The Son also Rises
Airdate: March 11, 2007. Writer: Michael Angeli. Director: Robert Young Baltar’s lawyer is killed by a terrorist bomb as preparation for the trial gets into high gear. His new lawyer, Lamkin, is a former protege of Apollo’s lawyer grandfather. Through clues found in the quirky lawyer’s possession, Apollo tracks down the person who has been setting the bombs.
Crossroads (Parts I and II)
tention to his relationship with his son, Apollo. Roslin and Adama agree that Apollo should lead an effort to organize Baltar’s upcoming trial, but Apollo turns down the request. Tyrol and Cally, another married couple juggling work and family pressures, are stuck in an airlock that has a leak, and the Galactica crew decides to use a risky rescue by opening the outside door and capturing them in a Raptor.
Airdate: February 25, 2007. Writers: Jane Espenson, Anne Cofell. Director: Wayne Rose Strike! Workers in some of the fleet’s grungier jobs are protesting not only the unrelenting labor of their positions, but the fact that many of them have been doing the same jobs their parents did. The conflict is fueled by a secretly written book by the imprisoned Baltar, which argues that the old aristocracy of the Colonies is being continued in the fleet, with certain tribes getting the high-quality white collar jobs while others get stuck in dangerous blue collar jobs. Chief Tyrol is sent to find a way to get the workers back in line, but he eventually agrees with their side of the argument, and he leads a strike that threatens to bring a ruthless response from Adama.
Airdate: March 4, 2007. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Nankin Starbuck is struggling to come to terms with strange dreams she has been having regarding the Eye of Jupiter, so she goes to see Yolanda Brenn, an oracle. Brenn already knows about her dreams and connects it to a message from Starbuck’s mother. On a patrol flight around a gas giant planet and later on the Galactica, Star-
Airdates: March 18 and 25, 2007. Writers: Michael Taylor, Mark Verheiden. Director: Michael Rymer As Baltar’s long-awaited trial finally gets underway, it’s visions galore, as Roslin and Athena share a dream, and Tigh and Anders both hear music that is audible to no one else. Strange as Baltar’s attorney, Lamkin, is, he is successful at getting the trial moving in his client’s favor, especially by discrediting key prosecution witnesses such as Tigh and Roslin. When the trail ends with Baltar’s acquittal, the fleet’s leaders must move on, despite increasing visions by Roslin and others. The musical tune leads four Galacticans to get together and realize that they are Cylons. And as the fleet prepares for battle with the enemy, Apollo discovers an unexpected ship: It’s Starbuck, who announces that she has found Earth. NOTES: In other words, a lot happens in this two-part season-ending episode. We finally learn the identities of many of the Final Five Cylons, and we get the return of Starbuck, but we are left with new questions about her: Is she a Cylon? Is she dead? Did she ever die or was she just lost? The lead-up to the production of the earlier episode “Maelstrom,” in which Starbuck’s viper is destroyed, included an attempt by the producers to keep that plot point secret even from the rest of the cast and crew. But, according to the Los Angeles Times, the secret became un-secret during the production of the episode.
FOURTH SEASON He That Believeth in Me
Airdate: April 4, 2008. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Rymer Baltar is beginning to build of a following as some sort of a spiritual leader in the fleet. He seemingly cures a sick child, praying that God should take his—Baltar’s—life instead of the child’s. But Starbuck is being met with disbelief and distrust upon her return to the fleet. She
claims to know where Earth is and warns that the Eye of Jupiter should not be the focus of their searching; she comes to loggerheads with President Roslin. And the four recently revealed Cylons—Anders, Foster, Tigh, and Tyrol—worry that they will harm the fleet as they continue to perform their regular jobs. NOTES: “He That Believeth in Me” was nominated for two Emmy awards, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series. The title is a quote from the Christian Bible: John 11: 25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Well, do you?
Six of One
Airdate: April 11, 2008. Writer: Michael Angeli. Director: Anthony Hemingway Starbuck holds President Roslin at gunpoint in a disagreement about the direction to planet Earth. When security officers show up, Starbuck is arrested and thrown in the brig. She loses her sense of the direction to Earth when the fleet makes another FTL jump. Eventually, Adama relents and gives her a ship and some colleagues to use to locate Earth. There’s a different kind of dissension taking place among the Cylons, who are voting on whether to use raiders to destroy the fleet, even though it contains the Final Five humanoid Cylons. But their disagreement turns to murder when one of the Cylons alters the Centurions, enabling them to make their own decisions— and they use that freedom to kill the humanoid Cylons in the room.
The Ties that Bind
Airdate: April 18, 2008. Writer: Michael Taylor. Director: Michael Nankin Civil war is breaking out among the Cylons, as different factions struggle over what to do about the Final Five. While Starbuck and her little crew are having no luck finding Earth on their mission, Apollo is busy establishing himself in his new career as a politician. He is the new delegate for Caprica to the Quorum of Twelve. And the ties that bind Tyrol and Cally finally break, as she learns her husband is a Cylon. She is stopped from killing herself and her child by Tory Foster, one of the Final Five, who saves the child but shoots Cally into space.
Airdate: April 25, 2008. Writer: Jane Espenson. Director: Edward James Olmos The religious content of Battlestar Galactica continues to grow apace as the series heads toward its denouement. Baltar’s spiritual status rises, even as attempts to harm him and disrupt his activities continue. The opposition is made up of a sect of believers in the traditional pantheon of gods, while Baltar begins preaching a monotheistic gospel. Meanwhile, Apollo takes on Roslin’s manner of ruling by decree, and she tells Baltar that her impending death from cancer has made her more willing to act outside of the law; then she releases him from prison. weimar.ws Galaxis
The Road Less Traveled
Airdate: May 2, 2008. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: Michael Rymer. On the mission aboard the Demetrius to find Earth, Starbuck resists turning back despite having no luck so far in their search. But when a raider shows up, with a Leoben Conoy Cylon model aboard, the humans are told the Cylons can help. When a protective Anders confronts Leoben, he learns of the civil war among the Cylons and Leoben suggests the humans and Leoben’s Cylon faction should team up together. Leoben tells Starbuck that it is her destiny to lead the humans forward. But when Starbuck orders the Demetrius to jump to the location of Leoben’s basestar, her small crew mutinies. Faith Airdate: May 9, 2008. Writer: Seamus Kevin Fahay. Director: Michael Nankin When her crew refuses to take the Demetrius to the Cylon basestar, Starbuck takes a raptor instead. She finds a damaged basestar and Cylons unable to decide on a path forward. Starbuck and her team get control of the basestar and join up with the Demetrius. Back in the fleet, Roslin deals with the steadily growing attraction of Baltar’s monotheistic message among the people. Guess What’s Coming to Dinner? Airdate: May 16, 2008. Writer: Michael Angeli. Director: Wayne Rose The unlikely alliance that will see the series through to its completion takes shape. Starbuck’s team succeeds in getting the Demetrius and the Cylon basestar back to the fleet. The Galactica sends soldiers to take over the basestar, and the rest of the Galactica leaders learn about the civil war among the Cylons. Starbuck and Roslin try to unravel the mysterious dreams the president has been having. And Roslin and Adama agree to team up with their new Cylon compatriots in a mission to go to the “hub” where they can destroy the whole resurrection system of the Cylons, turning them into mortal beings unable to rebirth after being killed, and getting one of the Number Three models who supposedly holds the secret of the identities of the Final Five among the fleet.
Sine Qua Non Airdate: May 27, 2008. Writer: Michael Taylor. Director: Rod Hardy Aboard the basestar, the hybrid has been “plugged in” again, and tells the ship to immediately jump— which it does, with Roslin and others aboard. Adama sends a scouting mission to try to track the basestar, but it finds a destroyed basestar instead. Believing that Roslin is lost, the Quorum searches for a new president, and signs point to Quorum member Apollo taking on the role; Lee becomes the acting president of the humans. Accused of endangering the fleet in his search for Roslin, Adama puts Tigh in charge of the Galactica and heads out on a Raptor in his own search.
Airdate: June 6, 2008. Writer: Jane Espenson. Director: Paul Edwards Baltar, one of the humans aboard the Cylon basestar with Roslin, tries to calm the hybrid, whom he believes to be in a state of panic as the ship jumps and jumps again toward the Cylon hub. During each jump, Roslin has visions, in which she meets with the dead priestess Elosha and sees visions of her fate. The other humans on the basestar decide to use the vipers they took with them to destroy the hub when they find it. Finally, the ship gets to the hub, and after a fierce battle, the vipers destroy the hub with nuclear weapons. When the victorious basestar returns to the Galactican fleet’s last known coordinates, there is Admiral Adama in his raptor, awaiting his love: Roslin. NOTES: Sharper-eyed viewers than this reporter have noted that in the starscapes of the past few episodes and continuing through to the end of the series have been visible well-known constellations, implying that the ragtag fleet is getting closer to its goal of our home planet.
Airdate: June 13, 2008. Writers: Bradley
Webisodes “The Resistance” appeared in 10 installments of between two and five minutes in September and October 2006. The web series chronicled the growing resistance to the Cylons after they have occupied the planet of New Caprica. “Razor Flashbacks” appeared in seven installments of about three minutes each in October and November 2007. They show a young William Adama in the first Cylon war as he discovers what the Cylons secretly have been working on in the background. “The Face of the Enemy” appeared in 10 installments of between three and six minutes in December 2008 and January 2009. The series centers on Lt. Gaeta’s increasing dislike of the alliance with the Cylons, and it also shows his past relationships with one of the Number Eight Cylon models on New Caprica (who betrays him) and his current relationship with Lt. Louis Hoshi, a former officer on the Pegasus. Despite his romantic relationship with Gaeta, Hoshi does not support Gaeta’s eventual mutiny. 22
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Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Rymer The Cylon-human alliance is off to a rocky start as D’Anna Biers takes human hostages on the basestar in return for the Final Five Cylons in the fleet. But, in another example of why you shouldn’t mess with Laura Roslin, who is one of the hostages, she orders Adama to destroy the basestar if the hostage negotiations fail. When one of the Final Five, Col. Tigh, finally reveals to Adama that he is a Cylon, the admiral has his old friend arrested. On the basestar and aboard the Galactica, the two sides play brinksmanship, threatening to kill hostages. But a possible resolution to the standoff pops up when Starbuck finds a signal that she believes comes from Earth. The Cylons and humans join up again for the trip to Earth, but when the landing party goes down to the planet’s surface, they find nothing but the radioactive remains of a destroyed city. NOTES: Though this is the middle of the fourth season, it is still a bit of a cliffhanger, because the second half is not aired until six months later. Sometimes a Great Notion Airdate: January 16, 2009. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Nankin The Cylons and humans are struck by despair at finding the planet a burned-out ruin. The remains of the bodies found on the planet turn out to be Cylon, not human. The landing party concludes that the planet was colonized by the Thirteenth Tribe, which was Cylon, not human, and was destroyed in a nuclear war 2,000 years ago. Anders, Tyrol, Tory, and Tigh all experience memories of their former Cylon selves on the planet and its destruction, and Tigh realizes that the Fifth of the Final Five Cylons was his
wife, Ellen. When Starbuck tracks the source of the signal she received in “Revelations,” it leads her to a crashed Viper with her corpse in it. Back on the fleet, Tigh and Adama reestablish their friendship and trust, and Adama decides to partner with the Cylons in finding a new home for the fleet. NOTES: The planet, called Earth, will turn out to be the first of two planets with that name, as we’ll find out in the final episodes when they find a planet to colonize and give it the name of Earth, which turns out to be the Earth we all know and love.
A Disquiet Follows My Soul
Airdate: January 23, 2009. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Ronald D. Moore Tigh and a Number Six model are having a baby, the first all-Cylon baby to be created, offering the Cylons a way of continuing without the resurrection technology that was destroyed in the attack on the Cylon hub. Meanwhile, acting President Tom Zarek argues with Apollo and Adama about the alliance with the Cylons, which he opposes strongly. When the Cylons offer their help in improving the fleet’s jump capabilities in return for becoming citizens of the fleet, opposition to the alliance grows. Following the attempted secession from the fleet by a fuel ship, Gaeta and Zarek make a pact to try to change things more to their liking. The Oath Airdate: January 30, 2009. Writer: Mark Verheiden. Director: John Dahl The long-simmering tensions in the fleet come to a boil in this story of score-settling, rebellion, and betrayal. Zarek is sprung from prison by Gaeta and takes over the president’s ship, Colonial One; Gaeta lights the fuse of mutiny aboard the Galactica and succeeds in taking over the CIC. Adama, Roslin, and other loyalists flee and try to rally their supporters in the fleet, and Roslin and Baltar have a rapprochement of sorts, at long last.
Blood on the Scales
Airdate: February 6, 2009. Writer: Michael Angeli. Director: Wayne Rose Zarek puts Admiral Adama on trial and condemns him to death. The former terrorist (and one-time acting president) goes all-out for the mutiny, ordering the murder of the Quorum of Twelve when its members refuse to join his side. On the battlestar, Starbuck and Apollo build up a counter-force to the mutineers, managing to save Adama before he could be executed, and also rescuing other prisoners. Despite all of Zarek’s actions, Gaeta understands that the rebellion is losing its steam, and he gives up when Adama’s forces retake the CIC. For their role in the mutiny, Gaeta and Zarek are executed. No Exit Airdate: February 13, 2009. Writer: Ryan Mottesheard. Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton Tigh and Adama consider what to do about the physical state of the battlestar Galactica, which is disintegrating and might not survive more jumps. Tyrol suggests using a Cylon soweimar.ws Galaxis
lution to fix the fractures, but Adama rejects it and even insists that the repair crew be entirely human. The admiral only changes his mind when he sees the extent of the damage to his ship. Meanwhile, Roslin and Apollo create a new Quorum to replace the one assassinated by the mutineers. NOTES: In this episode, we learn more about the Final Five when Anders remembers their back stories. They were scientists on the Cylon earth who were trying to recreate the resurrection technology, which had been lost over time. They created a resurrection ship, and they were able to save themselves when Earth was destroyed in nuclear war. They then traveled in the ship to the Twelve Colonies to warn the humans there not to provoke a war with the Cylons, but they arrived too late. The Five’s interaction with the Cylon Centurions that had been battling the humans leads to a mess of problems that explains much about how the entire Galactica series came to be.
Airdate: February 20, 2009. Writer: Jane Espenson. Director: Robert M. Young The resurrected Ellen—the final Final Five Cylon—arrives on the Galactica and has a typically testy reunion with her eternal husband, Tigh. She is less than thrilled that Tigh has gotten a Number Six Cylon pregnant; but that pregnancy is leading other Cylons to suggest leaving
the humans because they no longer need them to procreate. Their plans become more complicated when Six suffers a miscarriage. Elsewhere onboard, Baltar gets Adama’s help in using his religious sect as an armed force to counter simmering tension among the civilian population.
Someone to Watch Over Me
Airdate: February 27, 2009. Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle. Director: Michael Nankin Starbuck, feeling out of sorts after seeing her corpse in the Viper on Earth and awaiting improvement in her husband Anders’ health, heads to the bar where she befriends a fatherly piano player. The two of them collaborate on a song, and Starbuck remembers a song her father used to play for her. The song is the same one that Tigh, Tyrol, Foster, and Anders all heard in “Crossroads.” Starbuck also realizes that a drawing that Hera had given her isn’t what she thought it was—a starscape—but is the written form of the music in the song she just played. Meanwhile, Boomer escapes from the Galactica by tricking Tyrol and Helo, kidnaps Hera, and attacking Athena.
Islanded in a Stream of Stars
Airdate: March 6, 2009. Writer: Michael Taylor. Director: Edward James Olmos Boomer brings Hera to the Colony, a Cylon base. Adama sends a heavy raider—a souped
ORIGINAL Video movies Razor
Airdate: November 24, 2007. Writer: Michael Taylor. Director: Felix Enriquez Alcala Jumping between events that happened to William Adama and Helena Cain in battles with the Cylons when they were younger, and events on the Pegasus when Apollo commanded it following Cain’s murder, “Razor” gives us a lot of backstory on how Cain came to be the person she is and how she runs her ship. We learn of her relationship with Gina, who turns out to be a humanoid Cylon and ends up in the brig, where she will be beaten and violated by the Pegasus’ crew. In the “present,” Apollo leads the ship on a mission to retrieve a science team that has been abducted by the Cylons, who are using them for experiments. NOTES: This movie aired right before the beginning of the fourth season of the series, and can be considered to constitute the first two of 22 episodes in that final season. With Gina and Cain being shown to have had a relationship, the producers introduced the topic of homosexuality into Battlestar Galactica for the first time. The Plan DVD release date: October 27, 2009. Writer: Jane Espenson. Director: Edward James Olmos The Cylon plan for dealing with the humans is unveiled through the retelling of many events earlier in the series, though this time with more input from the Cylon side. From their initial plans to destroy the human race to the budding movement among the Cylons to recognize that the holocaust was in error, we learn both of the initial successes of the plan and the reasons it started to unravel. 24
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up Cylon fighter—to try to find the Colony and bring back the baby. But is Boomer starting to connect with the child? Baltar analyzes the dog tags that Starbuck brought back from her corpse on Earth and declares that the DNA matches Starbuck’s. He publicly announces that Starbuck is an angel. Her husband, Anders, is moved into a hybrid tank like the one used on the Cylon basestars, and he begins to speak like a hybrid about past and future events, and he gains access to the Galactica’s systems. With the rapidly deteriorating state of the ship, Adama decides to strip the ship and abandon it.
Daybreak (Parts I and II)
Airdate: March 13 and 20, 2009. Writer: Ronald D. Moore. Director: Michael Rymer The Galacticans decide on a plan to rescue Hera from her Cylon captors, and Admiral Adama offers an amnesty to everyone in the recent mutiny. A rescue team is put together, and the Galactica jumps to the Colony, which is located next to a black hole. Anders, who is still essentially connected to the battlestar’s programming, is able to disable the hybrids. The Galactica rams the Colony and Starbuck leads a commando team to find and rescue Hera. With the child back on board, the Galacticans still have to contend with Cylon boarding parties, and ultimately they must defeat Cavil, the leader of the Colony Cylons. But when the Final Five join together to transmit the knowledge Cavil demands for the resurrection technology, the situation heats up again as old secrets are revealed. Starbuck uses the musical tune to guide her in setting new coordinates for the Galactica to jump to. The jump is successful, but the ship is damaged beyond repair, unable to jump further. But it won’t need to; it has jumped into our system, near the third planet. They call the rest of the fleet to join them, and they go down to Earth, where they see primitive humans. The Galactica and its fleet are sent into the Sun to their destruction, and the Cylons give their Centurions their freedom and control of the basestar, in which the Centurions leave. The new colonists give up their technology and each make up their minds about where they want to settle on the peaceful planet. While Roslin and Adama select their new home, she finally passes away—finally fulfilling the prophecy about the terminally sick leader who would bring her people to a new home. NOTES: The series ends with this episode, the very last minutes of which jump ahead 150,000 years to our current time, with Baltar and Six walking the streets of New York City and discussing whether history will repeat itself or if enough has changed this time. It is a bittersweet ending for a series that was based in tragedy and never went far away from warfare, strife, genocide, murder, betrayal, terrorism, and dashed hopes. With Hera playing the role of “Eve” on the new planet, we are left to assume that the humans of today are all human-Cylon hybrids of one sort, a harmonious ending to the Cylonhuman holocaust that set the series in motion. The final population of survivors from the Twelve Colonies is said to be only 38,000. G
BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PLUS ONE BY WIKIPEDIA
The Old German Future The world has missed a lot by not paying attention to Germany’s rich tradition of science fiction.
By John Zipperer
he average person today likely would not be able to name any German science fiction, even if you offered to pay them $10 for each book or movie title they uttered. After a moment’s reflection, they might suddenly remember the film Metropolis, and you’ll have to pony up $10, but your payout should end there. However, 100 years ago, the future
looked more Germanic. The leading creators of the ideas and dreams that fuel science fiction (and science) were often from this central European country that would prove to be so troublesome to the rest of Europe. But before Germany and Europe descended into war and chaos, there existed many German-born dreams of futures that were positive, exciting, peaceful, and rational. That they were followed by future visions of every sort, including the darkest
imaginable, is part of the German tragedy. Following Germany’s final defeat and occupation in 1945, the country was reduced to playing a secondary role in the SF world. Though science fiction films, books, and television programs would continue to be created there, and some would prove to be wildly popular, they had to compete with an unabated inflow of American and British SF, which became the accepted leaders of the genre. In fact, some people weimar.ws Galaxis
argue that American and British SF writers and editors created the actual science fiction genre and fandom itself. But what gems of literature have been forgotten and left behind in this reorientation? What books are out there even now waiting to be rediscovered by Western audiences looking for something different? It is appropriate that a magazine that takes its name from the German word for galaxy should spread the word about the forgotten foundations of science fiction and direct your attention to some classics about which you might never have heard. Auf Deutsch, Bitte The roots of German science fiction stretch back centuries, depending on how flexible on chooses to be with definitions of the genre. Johannes Kepler produced the posthumously published The Somnium (1634), a tale of a trip to the moon. In 1744, Eberhard Christian Kindermann’s Geschwinde Reise auf dem Luftschiff nach der oberen Welt took interplanetary visitation a step further, this time taking us to Mars, a topic also explored in 1790 in Carl Ignaz Geiger’s Reise eines Erdbewohners in den Mars. But following such early efforts, there are three distinct periods of modern German science fiction: Wilhelmine, inter-war, and post-war. These periods take us from a time of top-of-the-world German hubris to a troubled era of German fever dreams to a time of German acceptance of modernity—a greater distance for a nation to travel in a few decades than most countries pass through in a century. From the vantage point of the early 21st century, it is perhaps difficult to see how Germany’s role and the way people have viewed it have changed so dramatically. In the late 19th century, when a writer named Kurd Lasswitz was writing, Germany was at the pinnacle of military, scientific, cultural, and political power, having reunified under the militaristic regime of the Prussian king, who became Emperor Wilhelm I. It had a European empire of states that stretched from the borders of France all the way to the Baltics, and it had overseas imperial holdings as well, though they were a poorly managed attempt to keep up with French and British imperial expansion rather than serving as a positive contribution to Germany’s economy. If Germany suffered from too much militarism as it began the 20th century, it nonetheless was nothing like the caricature it became under Nazism. Wilhelmine Germany also had a flowering of arts and sciences that were widely admired at home and abroad. Germany was the country that most exploited the exciting new airship, 26
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popularized by the Zeppelin company. As a cultural and economic powerhouse, therefore, Germany was seen to be on the upswing; meanwhile, the British were also at the pinnacle of their power, but they were debating the inevitable decline of their globe-encircling empire, and the Americans were yet to take over the world stage. Historians have talked about the expectation that the 20th century was going to be the German Century, when the country’s power and reach would replace pax Britannica as the most influential player on the world stage. But it was a prediction that failed to come true, as German governments made misstep after barbarous misstep, which paved the way instead for the American Century. But it is the undercurrents of the time that interest anyone who is looking for the significance of German science fiction in this period. If we don’t understand what the Germans were talking about and dreaming about in their SF of the 1920s and 1930s, then we fail to understand the true tragedy that is demonstrated by how those books were so different from the German science fiction output of earlier decades. In novels, science fiction didn’t fare as well as other German literature of the late 19th and early 20th century. Instead, works by Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, and many others were massively successful at capturing the conflict within individuals and within society regarding the transition from agricultural life to modern, mechanized, scientific life. It was in film that German science fiction and fantasy really was a global trend-setter during that time. Just take a look at The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Frau im Mond (1929), and Metropolis (1927), to only name a few. The internationally successful books and films were often downbeat mediations on modern murder, alienation, and industrial conflict. For a more optimistic vision, we need to look back to a different time. Since 1981, the top prize for Germanlanguage science fiction has been something called der Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis, or the Kurd Lasswitz Prize. It is named after the German writer who arguably most represents a Teutonic Jules Verne, mixing scientific understanding with adventure and prediction. Kurd Lasswitz was a liberal-minded science fiction writer born in 1848. Though he only lived 62 years, in 1897 Lasswitz published one of the seminal science fiction novels of any country: Auf Zwei Planeten, translated into English in 1970 as Two Planets. Working most of his career as a teacher in the central German town of Gotha, Lasswitz used this book to tell the tale of the encounter between Earth
Clockwise from top left: Kurd Lasswitz’s best-known book, Zwei Planeten, wasn’t translated into English until 1970. Pre-war Germany was known for cutting-edge inventions, such as the spy camera this man is holding. Kaiser Wilhelm II inherited the Second Reich—and ran it into the morass. In his book Fantasy and Politics, Peter S. Fisher looked at the political nightmares reflected in interwar German science fiction. By far the most exciting German passion in the first few decades of the 20th century was the airship, which would ultimately prove a failure in warfare, and in peacetime it would lose out to the airplane. In just a few decades, Germans were represented by a handful of different official flags, from traditional imperial leadership to a republic to a fascist dictatorship to Allied occupation to communist dictatorship to a republic; atop the Reichstag building—the German parliament—a huge glass dome (not visible from this angle) was constructed to let the nation’s citizens literally watch their representatives in action.
and Mars in a story that is full of futuristic touches, such as Martian buildings that travel the countryside on tracks. But most important is the enlightened view taken of the different planets and peoples. Xenophobia loses out to understanding and connection. Auf Zwei Planeten tells the tale of German and Austrian Arctic explorers who discover a Martian base at the North Pole. They make contact with the Martians, who need Earth resources for their planet. The Martians attempt to help humans develop faster in return for the Earth energy and air that they need, but attempts to arrange an agreement between human and Martian governments is a rocky affair, with the British bungling into a military confrontation that leads to a Martian “protectorate” being established over Europe. But interplanetary understanding carries the day when the aliens take back to Mars a small group of humans, who marvel at the advanced civilization they find on the red planet, and love even blossoms between one humanMartian pair. The book was hugely popular—in Germany. It only reached the English-speaking world by translation some seven decades after its German publication. Walter Hohmann and Werner von Braun are just two of the scientists who were inspired by Auf Zwei Planeten. Lasswitz’s work, however, did not became world famous alongside works by Mann, Hesse, or Fritz Lang. Lasswitz’s writings reflect “the German liberalism associated with his birth year, the history of Wilhelmine Germany, the humanism of his cultural heritage, and his profound interest in science,” writes William B. Fischer in his 1984 book The Empire Strikes Out: Kurd Lasswitz, Hans Dominik, and the Development of German Science Fiction. “Lasswitz published his masterpiece, Auf zwei Planeten, in 1897, when the Second Reich had reached its political and cultural culmination, and when positivism had attained a similar intellectual dominance. The novel, which still ranks as one of the best works of German SF, is rich in Lasswitz’ descriptions of extra-terrestrial settings and of Martian society and history.” But whether it was Lasswitz’s own intentions or because of the constraints of the time, his works failed to reach the broad audience they deserved, Fischer notes, so “he wrote for a limited audience composed of readers who shared his liberal ideology, humanistic intellectual orientation, and at least some of his understanding of science. The failure of most contemporary readers to comprehend the nature of his fiction as SF, the lack of a more popular medium of weimar.ws Galaxis
publication, and the suppression of Auf zwei Planeten between 1933 and 1945 have all contributed to Lasswitz’ obscurity.” Lasswitz may have written some classic works, but he was by no means incapable of torturing the language—any language. In his 1871 short story “To the Absolute Zero of Existence,” a character is consoling his female friend Aromasia, who has just been insulted by their mutual friend: “Don’t cry, Aromasia. He is not worth the secretions from your lachrymal glands that the capillary attraction of your eyelashes can only with difficulty hold back from the earth’s gravitational pull.” Readers who are considering giving Lasswitz’s works a try should not be put off by that awkward (and awful) text; Two Planets show him to be a clear and entertaining writer. Genre historians can argue over the degree to which Lasswitz’s influence even extended to the next generation of German SF writers. One of his students in Gotha was Hans Dominik, who would go on to write some of the most popular books of the post-Lasswitz era. Born in 1872, Dominik was an engineer and writer of science fiction and scientific articles. In a 1962 article in Britain’s New Scientist magazine on “How nuclear energy was foretold,” Dr. Anthony R. Michaelis credited Dominik with being one of the earliest serious authors to predict atomic energy. Dominik’s 1927 novel Der Brand der Cheopspyramide describes the invention of nuclear energy by German and British colleagues. Michaelis writes that Dominik followed that up in 1935 with Atomgewicht 500; this novel involved the invention of an element with the atomic weight of 500 (and thus the book’s title), which could be used to heat water to tremendous temperatures and thereby produce power. Fischer credits—or discredits, perhaps— Dominik with being more nationalist in his writing than his teacher, Lasswitz. But Western observers are often quick to point to “nationalism” when German writers do things that are not even considered noteworthy from American or British writers. Fischer notes that the heroes in most American and British science fiction “are American; much of the action, when it does not occur away from Earth, takes place in America. Since the time of Mary Shelley, however, a common stereotype in Anglo-American SF has been the German scientist, who is frequently caricatured as a mysterious savant, a villain, or an unimaginative and authoritarian technician.” By contrast, he finds a different approach in the works of Lasswitz and Dominik, “although the latter pictures ... more than a few enigmatic sages and superbly efficient, 28
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strong-willed technicians. More rewarding here, however, are the observations that each indeed employs national stereotypes and that in analyzing them one must take into consideration the nationality of author and reader.” He finds Lasswitz’s attitude to be “good-natured, cosmopolitan, and ideologically liberal,” while Dominik proves himself to be “crudely and stridently nationalistic.” Fischer writes that Dominik “viciously attacks what he viewed as the crass materialism, the cultural crudity, and the social irresponsibility of American society, especially its dominant capitalists and technologists.” Of course, there are plenty of American leftist SF writers who have written much the same criticism. War and Its Consequences The Wilhelmine era ended completely with Germany’s defeat in World War I. So, too, did much of the liberal strain of German culture which, if not extinguished, went underground for a couple decades. The problem wasn’t just military defeat, though the country suffered a complete route and was forced to accept humiliating armistice terms by the allies. The problem was that the country would lurch from crisis to crisis after the first world war, with civil war followed by an ongoing economic catastrophe that would see the country’s middle class—the guarantor of stability in pretty much any country—wiped out and the ranks of the poor swollen. Assassination took many of the country’s political leaders out of action and paved the way for increasingly strident and violent leaders from the Left and the Right. And all this time, the country nursed a grudge against the powers that defeated it. As Peter S. Fisher notes in Fantasy and Politics: Visions of the Future in the Weimar Republic, German science fiction of the period was filled with dark fantasies of racial jihads and the destruction of France. Alfred Reifenberg was one such nationalist writer who lived out his revenge fantasies in books such as 1925’s Des Götzen Moloch Ende (The Demise of the Moloch Monster), in which Germany is inspired by Japan’s authoritarian revival as a regional power to help reconstitute itself along fascistic patterns. In 1922, another writer, Werner Grassegger, wrote in Der zweite Weltkrieg (The Second World War) of a new confrontation between Germany and France, sparked by a German Anschluss of Austria; Fisher writes that Grassegger has Germany quickly win the war against France, which “is forever removed from the ranks of the world powers.” In many such books of the time, there is the racist theme of Germany being corrupted by Jewish or dark-skinned
Clockwise from top left: Hans Dominik was Kurd Lasswitz’s student and one of the bestknown German SF authors of the post-Lasswitz era. When airships ruled the German skies and imagination, they came in many shapes and sizes. Perry Rhodan is the most popular German SF story. Lasswitz was also a teacher. William B. Fischer’s The Empire Strikes Out examined the problems of German genre writers. German society during the time of Kaiser Wilhelm (and his wife, the Kaiserin) was heavily militarized and structured, but its science and education systems were arguably the best in the world.
peoples. It does not take a leap of imagination to see that Hitler’s attempt to blame Germany’s post-World War I weakness on Jewish and liberal treason had a built-in audience. When the Nazis finally came to power in 1933, they sought to subsume every corner of German culture under their fascist control and make it reflect a nationally chauvinist, racial supremacist ideology. Many writers, filmmakers, and scientists fled the country; those who remained were forced to toe the party line or face persecution. Before Americans get to feeling too superior about the rampant racism and blood lust present in popular inter-war German science fiction, we should direct your attention to one of the most popular science fiction tales in American history: Buck Rogers. Today’s audiences might know him most as a campy, wise-cracking Buck from the late 1970s television series. But go back to the original stories that captured the nation’s imagination and were collected in the novel Armageddon 2419 A.D., and Americans might be shifting uncomfortably in their seats. The last few pages of the book even includes the hunting down and killing of ethnic Chinese Han, who had taken over the planet. Describing Wilma Deering’s alleged feelings of affection for all races except the Han Chinese, “Buck” writes, “But that monstrosity among the races of men which originated as a hybrid somewhere in the dark fastnesses of interior Asia, and spread itself like an inhuman blight over the face of the globe—for that race, like all of us, [Wilma] felt nothing but horror and the irresistible urge to extermination.” She gets her sick wish; the second-to-last paragraph of the book celebrates the extermination of that race, whether it was human or human-alien hybrid. One need not look further for a popular example of virulently racist science fiction. Not even all Weimar-era German SF was right-wing. With the centrists increasingly squeezed out of the national scene and shrinking in numbers, the country’s politics and culture was increasingly the scene of a battle to the death between hard-core right-wingers and hard-core left-wingers. In Fantasy and Politics, Fisher recounts the socialist science fiction of Konrad Loele in the 1920 story Züllinger und seine Zucht. It, too, envisions a future of racial purity and German revival (the country has been renamed Oberdeutschland, or Super Germany), and revenge plays a role here, too. But in Loele’s tale, the ruling classes of Germany are oppressive, the world they’ve created is depressing, and the hero, Züllinger, seeks to overthrow the powers that be. As weimar.ws Galaxis
Fisher explains: “Assigned to a government-sponsored project in biological engineering, the leadership is delighted when [Züllinger] manages to create a type of humanlike being. The state immediately plans to replace workers with Züllinger’s creatures. Super Germany’s long-range aims are to use them as soldiers in new wars of conquest. To ensure their docility, the scientist is ordered to inject them with a mind-stunning drug. The rebellious Züllinger, however, has his own goals for the slave-creatures. He sees them as a new class of helots untainted by the defeats of the real proletariat and plans to give them an intelligencerestoring antidote when the time for revolution is ripe.” Other leftist futuristic fiction came from Johannes R. Becher, a communist who wrote the 1926 book CHC1CH)3As(Levisite) oder Der einzig gerechte Krieg (an unwieldy title roughly translated as Levisite, or The Only Just War). Becher was prosecuted for his pro-communist work, but he escaped jail thanks to public opposition to the prosecution. Fisher notes though that Becher proclaimed the book was a pacifist attempt to prevent a devastating war, in reality he and his KPD colleagues were just as determined to start a war as were the right wingers. Throughout the more than two years of prosecution, “Becher and his supporters repeatedly underlined Levisite’s pacifism and the writer’s intention to help forestall an approaching war. This posture, however, was misleading since the Communist writer explicitly described pacifism as a capitalist diversion merely meant to give the imperialist states a breathing spell,” writers Fisher. “What Becher really hoped for was a preemptive class war that would spread Communism.” After the Nazis assumed power in Germany, Becher fled the country and ended up in the Soviet Union, Sonja Fritzsche notes in her 2006 book Science Fiction Literature in East Germany. After the war, he returned to Germany to head up the culture ministry in the communist-run eastern part of the country. From the Rubble: Post-War German SF Though German science fiction continued to be nearly invisible on the world stage following World War II, it did join the mainstream in some ways, and a recognizable domestic fan scene began to emerge. German editor and writer Franz Rottensteiner argues that Germany’s do[continued on page 38] 30
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Prometheus Unbound A look at the race to uncover secrets of Ridley Scott’s Alien sorta-sequel
By John Zipperer
n Ridley Scott’s 1979 science-fiction horror classic Alien, the successful ad campaign featured an alien egg cracking open and the words, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” That intriguing message helped the film surprise audiences with its atmospheric tale of deep space terror. In the case of Prometheus, widely believed to be a prequel of some sort to Alien, it seems that everyone will be able to hear the screams of the producers frustrated by the public’s insatiable desire to publicize secrets of their movie. The film, due for release in early June 2012, is directed by Scott and was written by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts. The film reportedly was going to be a direct Alien prequel originally. Later it was recategorized as a stand-alone film, but Scott said it had “Alien DNA” in it. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba and others in a story in which a team of explorers and scientists are stranded on a faraway planet, where they make important discoveries. That’s about all we know of the movie officially, but that has not stopped hungry fans from trying to discover plot twists, links to other Alien films, photos, and even entire scripts. Britain’s Starburst magazine trumpeted some leaked pictures of the Prometheus sets. The photos, which look grainy, as if taken with someone’s cell phone (probably an unavoidable hazard on film sets from now on), show film
sets that look very reminiscent of the Alien spacecraft designs by Swiss artist H.R. Giger. Joblo.com posted some images of the movie from a Comic Con presentation, but those images were removed at the request of Fox. The person who posted the images seemed to know they were unlikely to be blessed by the studio, because when they were posted, he wrote, “Check out the shots below while they’re still up.” A website called AlienPrequelNews. com reported in August 2011 that a fake script called Alien Harvest had been making the rounds for many months, confusing some fans as to whether or not it was
an official script. The script was finally disavowed by Prometheus screenwriter Jon Spaihts in a tweet on July 30: “I have neither written nor read ‘Alien Harvest,’ despite the charming addition of my name to the cover page.” Insatiable Curiosity The io9.com website reported in June 2011 an alleged plot outline of the movie, provided by “somebody close to the production.” That plot involved the discovery of “alien gods” who had created life on earth and who the humans aboard the spaceship Prometheus engage on their home world. Conflict and retribution ensue, leading to one of the aliens—the famous “space jockey” from the original film— to set off on a mission of vengeance against humans. io9 then reported that a representative of Twentieth Century Fox contacted the site and said the plot they described was not at all accurate. They provided what io9 calls the “official synopsis”: “Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define, creating an original science fiction epic set in the most dangerous corners of the universe. The film takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery.” Sky.com said that its sources pooh-poohed Ridley Scott’s claim that Prometheus wasn’t a direct lead-in to the Alien series. Sky’s [continued on page 37] weimar.ws Galaxis Galaxis 3131 weimar.ws
Bunky’s Odd Frien FARM BOY MEETS ALIEN
Three decades ago, Wisconsin newspaper readers were charmed by the quirky adventures of a boy, his alien friend, and a cast of thousands.
hen the rural Wisconsin readers of the Farmer’s Friend picked up their paper in early April 1975, they got more than they were used to in this weekly newspaper. The farm reports and the classified ads and all of the usual features were still there, but this week the paper included something new: the first installment
of Bunky, a new comic strip that would bend the reality of northeastern Wisconsin rural life over the next few years. Bunky began innocuously enough. In the first strip, young Bunky’s father complains about the nonstop work and spiralling costs of the farm life. But things would very quickly get more complicated and fantastic, and it would continue at a fast pace before the strip’s finale four and
a half years later. Bunky was the creation of Lyle Lahey, an award-winning political cartoonist for the daily Green Bay News-Chronicle, which was produced by the same company that put out the Farmer’s Friend. “I was doing editorial cartoons for our company, but from the time I became interested in cartooning, I wanted to do a comic strip,” Lahey remembers. “The editor of one of our publications, ALL BUNKY CHARACTERS AND ART COPYRIGHT © LYLE LAHEY
By John Zipperer
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nds The Farmer’s Friend, was kind enough to run it. The owner/publisher immediately hated it, but he let it stay.” The strip stayed for the rest of the 1970s before Lahey had to bring it to an end. His work at the News-Chronicle, where he was both a daily political cartoonist and the editor of the editorial pages, took up an increasing amount of his time. “There was no time left for
Bunky,” he says. But during that short run, Bunky went far beyond the confines of his farm. He had a range of wild and humorous adventures that involved rocketships, the People’s Republic of China, a giant ape, and space aliens. The lead character of the strip was the titular Bunky, a farm boy who combined innocence with a deadpan dry humor.
He was accompanied by his loyal dog as they searched for neighbor Osgood Mulch, a character—a real character, we should say—who gets himself into one mess after another, including being captured by natives before a giant bird snatches him away. Other players in the strip include the put-upon Mrs. Mulch (who is put through a frumpy-to-fabulous makeover decades before reality
TV would accomplish the same thing), a Japanese spy, a giant gorilla, and a bespectacled space alien who crash lands his saucer on earth. That’s the core of the Bunky brigade. The strip’s long story arcs were not the result of a heavily scripted plan by the creator. When asked how far ahead of time he planned the story—monthly, annually—Lahey quips, “How about minute by minute? You could say it was loosely scripted.” Reaction to the strip ranged from the publisher’s disdain to perhaps puzzlement among the paper’s readers. “I think Farmer’s Friend subscribers may not have been the ideal reader group,” says
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Lahey. “But I like to believe there were more like this one reader, a loan officer with a Green Bay Chevrolet dealer. He loved the strip rabidly, as did his children. He liked baking, and would occasionally bring me a freshly baked loaf of bread. He also was a wood carver, and he gave me a carving of a donkey who had appeared in an editorial cartoon I’d done about then-Packer Bart Starr. Every cartoonist should have fans like him.” The Art of Comics As creative and involved a project as Bunky was, it was still a task undertaken in addition to Lahey’s regular comics work, creating six to seven political
cartoons each week (the NFL season sometimes saw him doing an additional post-game one for the expanded Monday sports section). The News-Chronicle was the smallest daily newspaper in the country to have its own political cartoonist, and it was not unusual to find families that subscribed to the newspaper primarily for Lahey’s cartoons. Lahey is not the only cartoonist to bridge the political/strip divide. For example, the late Jeff MacNelly was an award winning editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune who also created two strips, Pluggers and Shoe. But having a foot in both worlds is still a rare feat. Political cartoonists specialize in one-
shot comments on the news of the day. If there are any continuing “characters,” it’s usually just the regular appearance of politicians and other public figures who play a part in the sometimes absurd news. “A political cartoon has to focus on whatever is the big story that day,” says Lahey, who is still actively producing political cartoons more than 40 years after he began. Even in political cartoons, he notes, there is room for “characters”: “I sometimes use my little mental ward escapee, the Napoleon wannabe, and most days, the mouse with added commentary. That’s the similarity between the two. The strip is more character-driven.” The Bunky brigade has remained unseen for more than three decades, ever since they signed off in their final strip just before Christmas 1979. Their black-andwhite misadventures joined the countless other comic strips that have appeared and disappeared over the years. Late this fall, Galaxis magazine is publishing a complete collection of Bunky, available in one magazine-sized format. Like Galaxis itself, Bunky will be available in free digital form, or readers can purchase a print-on-demand copy. In the meantime, readers can still find new Lahey comics in the non-print world. The Green Bay News-Chronicle ceased
publication several years ago, but Lahey continues producing new political cartoons and distributing them online. More than 600 of them have been posted at his web site weimar.ws/lahey and can also be found on his blog at lylelahey.blogspot. com. It’s just the latest place that Lyle Lahey has found to distribute his creative work. “Doing a continued strip in a weekly paper specializing in farm information is probably not the key to success,” says Lahey. “But I had fun doing it. Happy endings are always nice, and we had one.” G
Far left: Lahey’s “inconsequential” gift from an avid reader. “Every cartoonist should have fans like him,” quips Lahey. Bunky’s cast of characters (left to right): Bunky, the unlucky spaceman, Osgood Mulch, the Chinese spy, and Bunky’s faithful dog.
Perry Rhodan Starts Over The world’s oldest science fiction series gets a makeover for the 21st century.
By John Zipperer
n August 2011, Elke Rohwer, an editor at Perry Rhodan publisher PabelMoewig Verlag in Germany, unveiled the “secret project” on which her company has been working for years: a new series of novels that reboot the entire Perry Rhodan series, to be known as Perry Rhodan Neo. If it is a success, the reboot will give an entry point to new fans of the world’s oldest continuing science fiction series, one that has become so complicated that it can be confusing even for some of the writers. Reboots of franchises are nothing new. Superheroes get a total revamping every so often as their movies or comic book series are rebooted, started with new origin stories or just different retellings of the same stories. Star Trek did the same thing when director J.J. Abrams released his spectacularly successful relaunch of the film series. And Planet of the Apes has been rebooted in the 21st century to big box office numbers. But Trek and the Apes films are newbies compared to German space opera Perry Rhodan. The titular character is an American astronaut whose adventures started with a trip to the moon. The first Rhodan story, Stardust, was published in 1961, and the moon landing was said to take place in 1971. No one would plausibly claim that Rhodan is in the business of making realistic predictions about future history, but 1971 wasn’t too far off from when the first moon landing actually happened. In the fictional telling, leader Perry Rhodan and three other astronauts discover on the moon a craft belonging to an advanced, space-faring civilization. That part actually didn’t happen in real life. It is an encounter that would change the
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world and spark the still-continuing space opera series. Rhodan uses technology from the aliens, the Arkonides, to prevent a third world war and unite the countries of earth. Soon, the planet is sending its own starships out into the depths of space, there to meet other aliens, acquire immortality, and witness more than their share of space battles. The Immortal Because of a little incident in his travels when Perry Rhodan is given the gift of immortality, he’s referred to as “Der Unsterbliche,” the immortal. We might as well call the entire Perry Rhodan series der unsterbliche. Rhodan was created by writers Walter Ernsting (a.k.a. Clark Darlton) and KarlHerbert Scheer. German newsweekly Der Spiegel reported recently that the series had its genesis in 1961 when the two sat together in the Bavarian town of Irschenberg and cooked up the story over a bottle of whiskey. U.S. President John F. Kennedy had just declared his intention of landing people on the moon, so they extrapolated from that. What if the astronauts found aliens? How would that affect humanity’s development? As the Spiegel article notes, the Rhodan series evolved over the years, eventually losing some of the “military fetish” of co-creator Scheer. As Germany moved through the politically chaotic late 1960s, it attracted left-wing criticism. Rhodan himself was eventually humanized from his wooden administrative role, with even a suggestion of sex (or at least a presumption that sex had taken place, because he has children). In the Perry Rhodan series’ 50 years of life so far, there have been nearly 2,600 issues of its weekly magazine, plus hundreds of paperbacks and hardcover books, comics, computer games, audio books, toys, and a movie. It is estimated that more than one billion Rhodan books have been sold in German-speaking countries alone. The stories have been translated into Czech, French, Japanese, and Dutch; an English-
Prometheus [continued from page 31]
language series ran for a number of years in the 1970s when Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J. Ackerman issued them in paperback book format, with translations by his wife, Wendayne. Over so many books, with vast story arks that can last for hundreds of the series’ weekly magazine installments, matters of continuity and backstory have become so complicated that editor Klaus Frick told Der Spiegel that most of the new writers to the series come from the franchise’s fan base and are therefore already familiar with its details. Naturally, even before Neo, new readers could still discover Perry Rhodan. Kent G. Hare, a professor of early European history at a small university in Louisiana and author of the engaging blog The Perry Rhodan Reading Project (perryrhodanreadingproject.blogspot.com), puts some of the blame for the series’ reputation on the odd character of Gucky, a one meter tall hybrid mouse and beaver (mausbiber in German). Hare noted that the character made an impact right away upon his introduction and “goes on to save the day innumerable times ... and generally contribute to the perception that Perry Rhodan is juvenile literature. I mean, come on, a talking mouse-beaver?” Rewriting History The reboot will rework history a bit to make it more accessible. Perry Rhodan Neo will place the start of the story once again in the future, but further off than the series originally placed it. Neo will begin in AD 2036 with a trip to the moon by Rhodan and his crew. The new series will reportedly retell many of the stories of the original series, though—just like we saw in Abrams’ Star Trek reboot—characters might differ somewhat in the new series. The first edition of the new series was slated to go on sale on Friday, September 30, 2011, following a presentation by Rohwer and fellow editor Klaus Frick at Perry Rhodan WeltCon in Mannheim, Germany. The original series will continue to be pubG lished in its original continuity.
“exclusive source” revealed alleged story developments that arguably could fit into the debunked io9 outline. By no means is this the first film to suffer leaked script details. From Star Trek–The Motion Picture to Avatar, filmmakers have struggled to keep under wraps important plot points and details. The 1982 production of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi went so far as to film scenes on location using a fake horror film, Blue Harvest, to try to throw fans off the trail. (It didn’t work; but the title does remind one of Alien Harvest.) This type of game can often degenerate into plot leaks, denials by the studio, possibly false plot leaks to sow confusion, and on and on. Films change during the course of preproduction, and sometimes during production. For example, Alien3 was originally going to take place on a space station or even a wooden planetoid housing a monastery(!). But voluminous changes in details and in writers and directors ended up resulting in the final prison planet setting for the film. Learning about such possibilities after a film has been released and enjoyed (or not) can add a lot of great flavor to that enjoyment. But we’re not sure anything is gained from disseminating such ideas before the film’s release, except for some bloggers who get more readers and therefore happier blog advertisers. (And we have kept the alleged leaked plots above quite vague, just in case some of the details are in fact real.) Changing Technology The art of publicity for the movie industry has itself changed numerous times over the decades. The studios manufactured a lot of their own publicity during their golden years before television. But by the 1970s, it was possible for independent journalists to get candid conversations with people at all levels of a production. During the next couple decades, that system calcified into heavily structured interviews on press tours, as several journalists at a time would “interview” a star or filmmaker for a brief period, then be shuttled out of the room in favor of the next batch of scribes. But even that system became tighter, as the topics of permissible discussion in such interviews became more and more restricted. That system is now changing again, and for better or worse, there’s no stopping it. Studios and filmmakers have valid commercial and artistic reasons for wanting to keep storylines and other film details under wraps until a film opens. Most fans
probably respect that, even if they happily read most details about upcoming movies they anticipate seeing. But there is a small subset of people who don’t respect a film’s secrets and who eagerly uncover secrets by any means, distributing them over the internet; this practice will not end. Ever. In times past, a major focus of film secrecy was making sure no one walked off with a copy of a script, so studios adopted such methods as printing scripts on colored paper that made photocopying difficult, or they only distributed incomplete scripts to people on the set, and sometimes even then actors would get scripts with incorrect information in them so that if they shared the script details with anyone else, they wouldn’t give away the real secrets. (David Prowse reportedly was completely in the dark that his character Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father, even after he filmed the famous revelatory Empire Strikes Back scene.) But today, it is too easy for anyone on a film set to surreptitiously take even high-resolution photos with cell phones. People can even take pretty good videos with their phones. And anyone who gets hold of a script can spread it on the internet faster than you can say “OCR scanner.” Auteur Publicity Theory We’re on the side of filmmakers. We like to glean information about upcoming science fiction films, but we are not collaborators in the production or publicizing of a film. Studios have highly paid individuals who do those things. But filmmakers are going to have to come up with a new way of operating that takes into account the impossibility of suppressing all leaks. For his part, Scott has been reluctant to say too much when given the chance to actually talk about Prometheus. He stayed pretty general in his comments to ComicCon International, which he addressed by satellite video in late July 2011. “I realized that there was something in the original Alien that no one has asked a question about,” the Los Angeles Times quotes him as saying, “and I thought, well, that could be the centerpiece.” Scott also reiterated his statement that Prometheus and Alien are linked by the first film’s “original DNA … but we’ve gone in a completely different direction.” If Scott’s career is any indication, then we think it is safe to conclude that the man who brought us the original Alien, Blade Runner, TV’s The Good Wife, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, Legend, and more, will deliver quite a few surprises, no matter how much familiar DNA we detect in the coming attractions. G weimar.ws Galaxis
German[continued Future from page 30]
mestic SF audience didn’t really gel until the 1960s. It was in that decade that science fiction fandom finally began to coalesce in the Federal Republic of Germany (a.k.a. West Germany) as writers there got regular outlets in the popular hefte, Rottensteiner writes in his introduction to The Black Mirror and Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Germany and Austria. Hefte are weekly digest-size magazines of about 48 pages that often feature installments of ongoing tales. These publications are still going strong in Germany, and a visit to just about any German-language bookstore in the United States will include some science fiction or romance hefte among the magazine selections. The best known of these postwar tales is the Perry Rhodan series, featuring the titular American astronaut in a galaxy- and time-spanning series of tales that has so far resulted in thousands of hefte editions, as well as countless books, comics, a movie, and more (see page 36). They have been translated into other languages, including a long-running series of American paperbacks produced by Forrest J. Ackerman and his wife, Wendayne. The Rhodan series
Books by East German SF writers could get readerships over 100,000 fairly easily, thanks to repeated reprinting and limited competition. is often derided by critics such as Rottensteiner as being little more than space opera hack work, but its enduring popularity has lasted longer than such American sagas as Star Trek or the British Doctor Who, both of which feature their shares of hack work. But Rhodan is also interesting because its hero is not German but American, despite the German nationality of the series’ creators. Perhaps this reflects an uncertain new modesty in a chastened Germany following its crushing defeat, or perhaps its creators simply thought that at a time when American power around the world was un-
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assailable, readers wouldn’t find a German astronaut to be believable. East German science fiction writers had some built-in advantages over their West German counterparts during the Cold War, according to Rottensteiner. If they could work with or around the stifling ideological restrictions of the communist government, books by East German SF writers could get readerships over 100,000 fairly easily, thanks to repeated reprinting and limited competition. When the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was subsumed into the Federal Republic in 1990, those writers found themselves having to sink or swim in the choppier waters of the market publishing world. Through wars and peace, emperors and chancellors, fascism and communism and republicanism, German science fiction writers have left a legacy that is still awaiting discovery by many western audiences. Why is this worth discovering? Because science fiction is a reflection of a society’s eagerness for the future, its inquisitiveness about science, its self-confidence, and its readiness to play a role in building the future. Some things persist today. Germany remains surprisingly powerful in its economic reach, having adapted to the globalized economy to be one of the top exporting nations on the planet. It is also a leader in science, even if its scientific awards and patents pail in comparison to those of the United States. (Just an example: Shortly before we went to press, German scientists announced a chip that could be inserted near a cancerous tumor that would alert people of the tumor’s growth.) Its publishing and movie-making industries remain robust, even if English-speaking audiences are slow to sample them. American audiences looking for an introduction to German science fiction might want to sample several generations. First, they can hunt down a copy on eBay or Amazon of Southern Illinois University Press’ 1970 English translation of Lasswitz’s Two Planets. For a taste of other early German SF, pick up a copy of The Black Mirror and Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Germany and Austria, edited by Franz Rottensteiner. Rottensteiner also put together 2001’s The Best of Austrian Science Fiction. If they can read German, they might want to visit Phantastik-News (phantastiknews.de). Wherever they search for these stories, they should be prepared to think outside the parameters of the American and British science fiction with which they’ve grown accustomed. After all, isn’t being open to new ideas a critical element of science fiction? G
TRIPS TO THE MOON FICTION By lucian of samosata Born in AD 125, Lucian of Samosata was a satirist and rhetorician in the Roman Empire. Writing in Greek, his works include the work excerpted here, which might be the first science fiction story ever written; it is definitely the first SF story we’ve printed. This excerpt is from Chapter 1 of Trips to the Moon.
O PHOTO: NASA/LOIRP
nce upon a time, I set sail from the Pillars of Hercules, and getting into the Western Ocean, set off with a favourable wind; the cause of my peregrination was no more than a certain impatience of mind and thirst after novelty, with a desire of knowing where the sea ended, and what kind of men inhabited the several shores of it; for this purpose I laid in a large stock of provisions, and as much water as I thought necessary, taking along with me 50 companions of the same mind as myself. I prepared withal, a number of arms, with a skillful pilot, whom we hired at a considerable expense, and made our ship (for it was a pinnace), as tight as we could in case of a long and
dangerous voyage. We sailed on with a prosperous gale for a day and a night, but being still in sight of land, did not make any great way; the next day, however, at sun-rising, the wind springing up, the waves ran high, it grew dark, and we could not unfurl a sail; we gave ourselves up to the winds and waves, and were tossed about in a storm, which raged with great fury for threescore and 19 days, but on the 80th the sun shone bright, and we saw not far from us an island, high and woody, with the sea round it quite calm and placid, for the storm was over: we landed, got out, and happy to escape from our troubles, laid ourselves down on the ground for some time, after which we arose, and choosing out 30 of our company to take care of the vessel, I remained on shore with the other 20, in order to take a view of the interior part of the island. About three stadia from the sea, as we passed through a wood, we found a pillar of brass, with a Greek inscription on it, the characters almost effaced; we could make out however these words, “thus far came Hercules and Bacchus:” near it were the marks of two footsteps on a rock, one of them measured about an acre, the other something less; the smaller one appeared to me to be that of Bacchus, the larger that of Hercules; we paid our adorations to the
deities and proceeded. We had not got far before we met with a river, which seemed exactly to resemble wine, particularly that of Chios; it was of a vast extent, and in many places navigable; this circumstance induced us to give more credit to the inscription on the pillar, when we perceived such visible marks of Bacchus’ presence here. As I had a mind to know whence this river sprung, I went back to the place from which it seemed to arise, but could not trace the spring; I found, however, several large vines full of grapes, at the root of every one the wine flowed in great abundance, and from them I suppose the river was collected. We saw a great quantity of fish in it which were extremely like wine, both in taste and colour, and after we had taken and eaten a good many of them we found ourselves intoxicated; and when we cut them up, observed that they were full of grape stones; it occurred to us afterwards that we should have mixed them with some water fish, as by themselves they tasted rather too strong of the wine. We passed the river in a part of it which was fordable, and a little farther on met with a most wonderful species of vine, the bottoms of them that touched the earth were green and thick, and all the upper part most beautiful women, with the limbs perfect from the waist, only that from the tops of the fingers branches sprung out full of grapes, just as Daphne is represented as turned into a tree when Apollo laid hold on her; on the head, likewise, instead of hair they had leaves and tendrils; when we came up to them they addressed us, some in the Lydian tongue, some in the Indian, but most of them in Greek; they would not suffer us to taste their grapes, but when anybody attempted it, cried out as if they were hurt. We left them and returned to our companions in the ship. We then took our casks, filled some of them with water, and some with wine from the river, slept one night on shore, and the next morning set sail, the wind being very moderate. About noon, the island being now out of sight, on a sudden a most violent whirlwind arose, and carried the ship above three thousand stadia, lifting it up above the water, from whence it did not let us down again into the seas but kept us suspended in mid air, in this manner we hung for seven days and nights, and on the eighth beheld a large tract of land, like an island, round, shining, and remarkably full of light; we got on shore, and found on examination that it was cultivated and full of inhabitants, though we could not then 40
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see any of them. As night came on, other islands appeared, some large, others small, and of a fiery colour; there was also below these another land with seas, woods, mountains, and cities in it, and this we took to be our native country: as we were advancing forwards, we were seized on a sudden by the Hippogypi, for so it seems they were called by the inhabitants; these Hippogypi are men carried upon vultures, which they ride as we do horses. These vultures have each three heads, and are immensely large; you may judge of their size when I tell you that one of their feathers is bigger than the mast of a ship. The Hippogypi have orders, it seems, to fly round the kingdom, and if they find any stranger, to bring him to the king: they took us therefore, and carried us before him. As soon as he saw us, he guessed by our garb what we were. “You are Grecians,” said he, “are you not?” We told him we were. “And how,” added he, “got ye hither through the air?” We told him everything that had happened to us; and he, in return, related to us his own history, and informed us that he also was a man, that his name was Endymion, that he had been taken away from our earth in his sleep, and brought to this place where he reigned as sovereign. That spot, he told us, which now looked like a moon to us, was the earth. We Join the Fight He desired us withal not to make ourselves uneasy, for that we should soon have everything we wanted. “If I succeed,” says he, “in the war which I am now engaged in against the inhabitants of the sun, you will be very happy here.” We asked him then what enemies he had, and what the quarrel was about? “Phaëton,” he replied, “who is king of the sun”—for that is inhabited as well as the moon—“has been at war with us for some time past. The foundation of it was this: I had formerly an intention of sending some of the poorest of my subjects to establish a colony in Lucifer, which was uninhabited: but Phaëton, out of envy, put a stop to it, by opposing me in the midway with his Hippomyrmices; we were overcome and desisted, our forces at that time being unequal to theirs. I have now, however, resolved to renew the war and fix my colony; if you have a mind, you shall accompany us in the expedition; I will furnish you everyone with a royal vulture and other accoutrements; we shall set out tomorrow.” “With all my heart,” said I, “whenever you please.”
These vultures have each three heads, and are immensely large; you may judge of their size when I tell you that one of their feathers is bigger than the mast of a ship.
We stayed, however, and supped with him; and rising early the next day, proceeded with the army, when the spies gave us notice that the enemy was approaching. The army consisted of 100,000, besides the scouts and engineers, together with the auxiliaries, amongst whom were 80,000 Hippogypi, and 20,000 who were mounted on the Lachanopteri; these are very large birds, whose feathers are of a kind of herb, and whose wings look like lettuces. Next to these stood the Cinchroboli, and the Schorodomachi. Our allies from the north were 3,000 Psyllotoxotæ and 5,000 Anemodromi; the former take their names from the fleas which they ride upon, every flea being as big as 12 elephants; the latter are foot-soldiers, and are carried about in the air without wings, in this manner: they have large gowns hanging down to their feet, these they tuck up and spread in a form of a sail, and the wind drives them about like so many boats: in the battle they generally wear targets. It was reported that 70,000 Strathobalani from the stars over Cappadocia were to be there, together with 5,000 Hippogerani; these I did not see, for they never came: I shall not attempt, therefore, to describe them; of these, however, most wonderful things were related. Such were the forces of Endymion; their arms were all alike; their helmets were made of beans, for they have beans there of a prodigious size and strength, and
Many were taken prisoners and many slain; the blood flowed in such abundance that the clouds were tinged with it and looked red, just as they appear to us at sunset.
their scaly breast-plates of lupines sewed together, for the skins of their lupines are like a horn, and impenetrable; their shields and swords the same as our own. The army ranged themselves in this manner: the right wing was formed by the Hippogypi, with the king, and round him his chosen band to protect him, amongst which we were admitted; on the left were the Lachanopteri; the auxiliaries in the middle, the foot were in all about 60,000 myriads. They have spiders, you must know, in this country, in infinite numbers, and of pretty large dimensions, each of them being as big as one of the islands of the Cyclades; these were ordered to cover the air from the moon quite to the morning star; this being immediately done, and the field of battle prepared, the infantry was drawn up under the command of Nycterion, the son of Eudianax. The left wing of the enemy, which was commanded by Phaëton himself, consisted of the Hippomyrmices; these are large birds, and resemble our ants, except with regard to size, the largest of them covering two acres; these fight with their horns and were in number about 50,000. In the right wing were the Aeroconopes, about 5,000, all archers, and riding upon large gnats. To these succeeded the Aerocoraces, light infantry, but remarkably brave and useful warriors, for they threw out of slings exceeding large radishes, which whoever
was struck by, died immediately, a most horrid stench exhaling from the wound; they are said, indeed, to dip their arrows in a poisonous kind of mallow. Behind these stood 10,000 Caulomycetes, heavy-armed soldiers, who fight hand to hand; so called because they use shields made of mushrooms, and spears of the stalks of asparagus. Near them were placed the Cynobalani, about 5,000, who were sent by the inhabitants of Sirius; these were men with dog’s heads, and mounted upon winged acorns: some of their forces did not arrive in time; amongst whom there were to have been some slingers from the Milky Way, together with the Nephelocentauri; they indeed came when the first battle was over, and I wish they had never come at all: the slingers did not appear, which, they say, so enraged Phaëton that he set their city on fire. Thus prepared, the enemy began the attack: the signal being given, and the asses braying on each side, for such are the trumpeters they make use of on these occasions, the left wing of the Heliots, unable to sustain the onset of our Hippogypi, soon gave way, and we pursued them with great slaughter: their right wing, however, overcame our left. The Aeroconopes falling upon us with astonishing force, and advancing even to our infantry, by their assistance we recovered; and they now began to retreat, when they found the left wing had been beaten. The defeat then becoming general, many of them were taken prisoners and many slain; the blood flowed in such abundance that the clouds were tinged with it and looked red, just as they appear to us at sunset; from thence it distilled through upon the earth. Some such thing, I suppose, happened formerly amongst the gods, which made Homer believe that Jove rained blood at the death of Sarpedon. When we returned from our pursuit of the enemy we set up two trophies; one, on account of the infantry engagement in the spider’s web, and another in the clouds, for our battle in the air. Thus prosperously everything went on, when our spies informed us that the Nephelocentaurs, who should have been with Phaëton before the battle, were just arrived: they made, indeed, as they approached toward us, a most formidable appearance, being half winged horses and half men; the men from the waist upward, about as big as the Rhodian Colossus, and the horses of the size of a common ship of burthen. I have not mentioned the number of them, which was really so great, that it would appear incredible: they were commanded by Sagittarius, from the Zodiac.
The Tide Turns As soon as they learned that their friends had been defeated, they sent a message to Phaëton to call him back, whilst they put their forces into order of battle, and immediately fell upon the Selenites, who were unprepared to resist them, being all employed in the division of the spoil; they soon put them to flight, pursued the king quite to his own city, and slew the greatest part of his birds; they then tore down the trophies, ran over all the field woven by the spiders, and seized me and two of my companions. Phaëton at length coming up, they raised other trophies for themselves; as for us, we were carried that very day to the palace of the Sun, our hands bound behind us by a cord of the spider’s web. The conquerors determined not to besiege the city of the Moon, but when they returned home, resolved to build a wall between them and the Sun, that his rays might not shine upon it; this wall was double and made of thick clouds, so that the moon was always eclipsed, and in perpetual darkness. Endymion, sorely distressed at these calamities, sent an embassy, humbly beseeching them to pull down the wall, and not to leave him in utter darkness, promising to pay them tribute, to assist them with his forces, and never more to rebel; he sent hostages withal. Phaëton called two councils on the affair, at the first of which they were all inexorable, but at the second changed their opinion; a treaty at length was agreed to on these conditions:— The Heliots and their allies on one part, make the following agreement with the Selenites and their allies on the other:— “That the Heliots shall demolish the wall now erected between them, that they shall make no irruptions into the territories of the Moon; and restore the prisoners according to certain articles of ransom to be stipulated concerning them; that the Selenites shall permit all the other stars to enjoy their rights and privileges; that they shall never wage war with the Heliots, but assist them whenever they shall be invaded; that the king of the Selenites shall pay to the king of the Heliots an annual tribute of 10,000 casks of dew, for the insurance of which, he shall send 10,000 hostages; that they shall mutually send out a colony to the Morning-star, in which, whoever of either nation shall think proper, may become a member; that the treaty shall be inscribed on a column of amber, in the midst of the air, and on the borders of the two kingdoms. This treaty was sworn to on the part of the Heliots, by Pyronides, and Therites, and Phlogius; weimar.ws Galaxis
and on the part of the Selenites, by Nyctor, and Menarus, and Polylampus.” Such was the peace made between them; the wall was immediately pulled down, and we were set at liberty. When we returned to the Moon, our companions met and embraced us, shedding tears of joy, as did Endymion also. He intreated us to remain there, or to go along with the new colony; this I could by no means be persuaded to, but begged he would let us down into the sea. As he found I could not be prevailed on to stay, after feasting us most nobly for seven days, he dismissed us. I will now tell you every thing which I met with in the Moon that was new and extraordinary. Amongst them, when a man grows old he does not die, but dissolves into smoke and turns to air. They all eat the same food, which is frogs roasted on the ashes from a large fire; of these they have plenty which fly about in the air, they get together over the coals, snuff up the scent of them, and this serves them for victuals. Their drink is air squeezed into a cup, which produces a kind of dew. He who is quite bald is esteemed a beauty amongst them, for they abominate long hair; whereas, in the comets, it is looked upon as a perfection at least; so we heard from some strangers who were speaking of them; they have, notwithstanding, small beards a little above the knee; no nails to their feet, and only one great toe. They have honey here which is extremely sharp, and when they exercise themselves, wash their bodies with milk; this, mixed with a little of their honey, makes excellent cheese. Their oil is extracted from onions, is very rich, and smells like ointment. Their wines, which are in great abundance, yield water, and the grape stones are like hail; I imagine, indeed, that whenever the wind shakes their vines and bursts the grape, then comes down amongst us what we call hail. They make use of their belly, which they can open and shut as they please, as a kind of bag, or pouch, to put anything in they want; it has no liver or intestines, but is hairy and warm within, insomuch, that new-born children, when they are cold, frequently creep into it. The garments of the rich amongst them are made of glass, but very soft: the poor have woven brass, which they have here in great abundance, and by pouring a little water over it, so manage as to card it like wool. I am afraid to mention their eyes, lest, from the incredibility of the thing, you should not believe me. I must, however, inform you that they have eyes which they take in and out whenever they please: so 42
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that they can preserve them anywhere till occasion serves, and then make use of them; many who have lost their own, borrow from others; and there are several rich men who keep a stock of eyes by them. Their ears are made of the leaves of plane-trees, except of those who spring, as I observed to you, from acorns, these alone have wooden ones. I saw likewise another very extraordinary thing in the king’s palace, which was a looking-glass that is placed in a well not very deep; whoever goes down into the well hears everything that is said upon earth, and if he looks into the glass, beholds all the cities and nations of the world as plain as if he was close to them. I myself saw several of my friends there, and my whole native country; whether they saw me also I will not pretend to affirm. He who does not believe these things, whenever he goes there will know that I have said nothing but what is true. To return to our voyage. We took our leave of the king and his friends, got on board our ship, and set sail. Endymion made me a present of two glass robes, two brass ones, and a whole coat of armour made of lupines. He likewise sent with us a thousand Hippogypi, who escorted us 500 stadia. We sailed by several places, and at length reached the new colony of the Morning-star, where we landed and took in water; from thence we steered into the Zodiac; leaving the Sun on our left, we passed close by his territory, and would have gone ashore, many of our companions being very desirous of it, but the wind would not permit us; we had a view, however, of that region, and perceived that it was green, fertile, and well-watered, and abounding in everything necessary and agreeable. The Nephelocentaurs, who are mercenaries in the service of Phaëton, saw us and flew aboard our ship, but, recollecting that we were included into the treaty, soon departed; the Hippogypi likewise took their leave of us. All the next night and day we continued our course downward, and toward evening came upon Lycnopolis: this city lies between the Pleiades and the Hyades, and a little below the Zodiac: we landed, but saw no men, only a number of lamps running to and fro in the marketplace and round the port: some little ones, the poor, I suppose, of the place; others the rich and great among them, very large, light, and splendid: every one had its habitation or candlestick to itself, and its own proper name, as men have. We heard them speak: they offered us no injury, but invited us in the most hospitable manner; we were
Whoever goes down into the well hears everything that is said upon earth, and if he looks into the glass, beholds all the cities and nations of the world as plain as if he was close to them.
afraid, notwithstanding: neither would any of us venture to take any food or sleep. The king’s court is in the middle of the city; here he sits all night, calls every one by name, and if they do not appear, condemns them to death for deserting their post; their death is, to be put out; we stood by and heard several of them plead their excuses for non-attendance. Here I found my own lamp, talked to him, and asked him how things went on at home; he told me everything that had happened. We stayed there one night, and next day loosing our anchor, sailed off very near the clouds; where we saw and greatly admired the city of Nephelo-coccygia, but the wind would not permit us to land. Coronus, the son of Cottiphion, is king there. I remember Aristophanes, the poet, speaks of him, a man of wisdom and veracity, the truth of whose writings nobody can call in question. About three days after this, we saw the ocean very plainly, but no land, except those regions which hang in the air, and which appeared to us all bright and fiery. The fourth day about noon, the wind subsiding, we got safe down into the sea. No sooner did we touch the water, but we were beyond measure rejoiced. We immediately gave every man his supper, as much as we could afford, and afterward jumped into the sea and swam, for it was quite calm and serene.
The whale came up to us with his mouth wide open, disturbing the sea for a long way before him, the waves dashing round on every side. He whetted his teeth, which looked like so many long spears.
The Whale It often happens that prosperity is the forerunner of the greatest misfortunes. We had sailed but two days in the sea, when early in the morning of the third, at sun-rise, we beheld on a sudden several whales, and one amongst them, of a most enormous size, being not less than 1,500 stadia in length, he came up to us with his mouth wide open, disturbing the sea for a long way before him, the waves dashing round on every side; he whetted his teeth, which looked like so many long spears, and were white as ivory; we embraced and took leave of one another, expecting him every moment; he came near, and swallowed us up at once, ship and all; he did not, however, crush us with his teeth, for the vessel luckily slipped through one of the interstices; when we were got in, for some time it was dark, and we could see nothing; but the whale happening to gape, we beheld a large space big enough to hold a city with 10,000 men in it; in the middle were a great number of small fish, several animals cut in pieces, sails and anchors of ships, men’s bones, and all kinds of merchandise; there was likewise a good quantity of land and hills, which seemed to have been formed of the mud which he had swallowed; there was also a wood, with all sorts of trees in it, herbs of every kind; everything, in short, seemed to vegetate; the extent of this might be about 240 stadia.
We saw also several sea-birds, gulls, and kingfishers, making their nests in the branches. At our first arrival in these regions, we could not help shedding tears; in a little time, however, I roused my companions, and we repaired our vessel; after which, we sat down to supper on what the place afforded. Fish of all kinds we had here in plenty, and the remainder of the water which we brought with us from the Morning-star. When we got up the next day, as often as the whale gaped, we could see mountains and islands, sometimes only the sky, and plainly perceived by our motion that he travelled through the sea at a great rate, and seemed to visit every part of it. At length, when our abode become familiar to us, I took with me seven of my companions, and advanced into the wood in order to see everything I could possibly; we had not gone above five stadia, before we met with a temple dedicated to Neptune, as we learned by the inscription on it, and a little farther on, several sepulchres, monumental stones, and a fountain of clear water; we heard the barking of a dog, and seeing smoke at some distance from us, concluded there must be some habitation not far off; we got on as fast as we could, and saw an old man and a boy very busy in cultivating a little garden, and watering it from a fountain; we were both pleased and terrified at the sight, and they, as you may suppose, on their part not less affected, stood fixed in astonishment and could not speak: after some time, however, “Who are you?” said the old man; “and whence come ye? Are you daemons of the sea, or unfortunate men, like ourselves? For such we are, born and bred on land, though now inhabitants of another element; swimming along with this great creature, who carries us about with him, not knowing what is to become of us, or whether we are alive or dead.” To which I replied, “We, father, are men as you are, and but just arrived here, being swallowed up, together with our ship, but three days ago; we came this way to see what the wood produced, for it seemed large and full of trees; some good genius led us toward you, and we have the happiness to find we are not the only poor creatures shut up in this great monster; but give us an account of your adventures, let us know who you are, and how you came here.” He would not, however, tell us anything himself, or ask us any questions, till he had performed the rites of hospitality; he took us into his house, therefore, where he had got beds, and made everything very commodious; here he presented us with
herbs, fruit, fish, and wine: and when we were satisfied, began to inquire into our history; when I acquainted him with everything that had happened to us; the storm we met with; our adventures in the island; our sailing through the air, the war, etc., from our first setting out, even to our descent into the whale’s belly. He expressed his astonishment at what had befallen us, and then told us his own story, which was as follows:—“Strangers,” said he, “I am a Cyprian by birth, and left my country to merchandise with this youth, who is my son, and several servants. We sailed to Italy with goods of various kinds, some of which you may, perhaps, have seen in the mouth of the whale; we came as far as Sicily with a prosperous gale, when a violent tempest arose, and we were tossed about in the ocean for three days, where we were swallowed up, men, ship and all, by the whale, only we two remaining alive; after burying our companions we built a temple to Neptune, and here we have lived ever since, cultivating our little garden, raising herbs, and eating fish or fruit. The wood, as you see, is very large, and produces many vines, from which we have excellent wine; there is likewise a fountain, which perhaps you have observed, of fresh and very cold water. We make our bed of leaves, have fuel sufficient, and catch a great many birds and live fish. “Getting out upon the gills of the whale, there we wash ourselves when we please. There is a salt lake, about twenty stadia round, which produces fish of all kinds, and where we row about in a little boat which we built on purpose. It is now seven-and-twenty years since we were swallowed up. Everything here, indeed, is very tolerable, except our neighbours, who are disagreeable, troublesome, savage, and unsociable.” “And are there more,” replied I, “besides ourselves in the whale?” “A great many,” said he, “and those very unhospitable, and of a most horrible appearance: towards the tail, on the western parts of the wood, live the Tarichanes, a people with eel’s eyes, and faces like crabs, bold, warlike, and that live upon raw flesh. On the other side, at the right hand wall, are the Tritonomendetes, in their upper parts men, and in the lower resembling weasels. On the left are the Carcinochires, and the Thynnocephali, who have entered into a league offensive and defensive with each other. The middle part is occupied by the Paguradæ, and the Psittopodes, a warlike nation, and remarkably swift-footed. The eastern parts, near the whale’s mouth, being washed by the sea, are most of them weimar.ws Galaxis
uninhabited. I have some of these, however, on condition of paying an annual tribute to the Psittopodes of 500 oysters. Such is the situation of this country; our difficulty is how to oppose so many people, and find sustenance for ourselves.” “How many may there be?” said I. “More than a thousand,” said he. “And what are their arms?” “Nothing,” replied he, “but fish-bones.” “Then,” said I, “we had best go to war with them, for we have arms and they none; if we conquer them we shall live without fear for the future.” Joining Another Fight This was immediately agreed upon, and, as soon as we returned to our ship, we began to prepare. The cause of the war was to be the non-payment of the tribute, which was just now becoming due: they sent to demand it; he returned a contemptuous answer to the messengers: the Psittopodes and Paguradæ were both highly enraged, and immediately fell upon Scintharus (for that was the old man’s name), in a most violent manner. We, expecting to be attacked, sent out a detachment of five-and-twenty men, with orders to lie concealed till the enemy was past, and then to rise upon them, which they did, and cut off their rear. We, in the meantime, being likewise five-and-twenty in number, with the old man and his son, waited their coming up, met, and engaged them with no little danger, till at length they fled, and we pursued them even into their trenches. Of the enemy there fell 120; we lost only one, our pilot, who was run through by the rib of a mullet. That day, and the night after it, we remained on the field of battle, and erected the dried backbone of a dolphin as a trophy. Next day some other forces, who had heard of the engagement, arrived, and made head against us; the Tarichanes; under the command of Pelamus, in the right wing, the Thynnocephali on the left, and the Carcinochires in the middle; the Tritonomendetes remained neutral, not choosing to assist either party: we came round upon all the rest by the temple of Neptune, and with a hideous cry, rushed upon them. As they were unarmed, we soon put them to flight, pursued them into the wood, and took possession of their territory. They sent ambassadors a little while after to take away their dead, and propose terms of peace; but we would hear of no treaty, and attacking them the next day, obtained a complete victory, and cut them all off, except the Tritonomendetes, who, informed of what had passed, ran away 44
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up to the whale’s gills, and from thence threw themselves into the sea. The country being now cleared of all enemies, we rambled through it, and from that time remained without fear, used what exercise we pleased, went a-hunting, pruned our vines, gathered our fruit, and lived, in short, in every respect like men put together in a large prison, which there was no escaping from, but where they enjoy everything they can wish for in ease and freedom; such was our way of life for a year and eight months. On the 15th day of the ninth month, about the second opening of the whale’s mouth (for this he did once every hour, and by that we calculated our time), we were surprised by a sudden noise, like the clash of oars; being greatly alarmed, we crept up into the whale’s mouth, where, standing between his teeth, we beheld one of the most astonishing spectacles that was ever seen; men of an immense size, each of them not less than half a stadium in length, sailing on islands like boats. I know what I am saying is incredible, I shall proceed, notwithstanding: these islands were long, but not very high, and about a hundred stadia in circumference; there were about eight-and-twenty of these men in each of them, besides the
The country being now cleared of all enemies, we rambled through it, and from that time remained without fear, used what exercise we pleased, and lived in every respect like men put together in a large prison, which there was no escaping from.
rowers on the sides, who rowed with large cypresses, with their branches and leaves on; in the stern stood a pilot raised on an eminence and guiding a brazen helm; on the forecastle were forty immense creatures resembling men, except in their hair, which was all a flame of fire, so that they had no occasion for helmets; these were armed, and fought most furiously; the wind rushing in upon the wood, which was in every one of them, swelled it like a sail and drove them on, according to the pilot’s direction; and thus, like so many long ships, the islands, by the assistance of the oars, also moved with great velocity. At first we saw only two or three, but afterward there appeared above 600 of them, which immediately engaged; many were knocked to pieces by running against each other, and many sunk; others were wedged in close together and, not able to get asunder, fought desperately; those who were near the prows showed the greatest alacrity, boarding each other’s ships, and making terrible havoc; none, however, were taken prisoners. For grappling-irons they made use of large sharks chained together, who laid hold of the wood and kept the island from moving: they threw oysters at one another, one of which would have filled a wagon, and sponges of an acre long. Æolocentaurus was admiral of one of the fleets, and Thalassopotes of the other: they had quarrelled, it seems, about some booty; Thalassopotes, as it was reported, having driven away a large tribe of dolphins belonging to Æolocentaurus: this we picked up from their own discourse, when we heard them mention the names of their commanders. At length the forces of Æolocentaurus prevailed, and sunk about a 150 of the islands of the enemy, and taking three more with the men in them: the rest took to their oars and fled. The conquerors pursued them a little way, and in the evening returned to the wreck, seizing the remainder of the enemy’s vessels, and getting back some of their own, for they had themselves lost no less than fourscore islands in the engagement. They erected a trophy for this victory, hanging one of the conquered islands on the head of the whale, which they fastened their hawsers to, and casting anchor close to him, for they had anchors immensely large and strong, spent the night there: in the morning, after they had returned thanks, and sacrificed on the back of the whale, they buried their dead, sung their Io Pæans, and sailed off. Such was the battle of the islands. G
Saturn’s Secrets PHOTO: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
NASA’s Cassini space probe has a rendezvous with the ringed planet
n Roman mythology, Saturn was one of the greatest gods, acting—as gods do—both brutally and wisely. Before he was supplanted by his son Zeus (in Roman mythology, Zeus was known as Jupiter), Saturn reigned at the top of the pantheon in what Roman mythology claims to have been a golden age of peace and plenty. Trying to get details of Greco-Roman mythology can be headache-inducing, but modern scientists are taking a more exacting approach to unlocking the mysteries of the planet Saturn. In space, the god’s namesake does not rule; Saturn is only the second largest planet in the solar system, following Jupiter. Since 2004, the Cassini-Huygens probe has been studying Saturn and
its moons. This collaborative project between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency has produced a great deal of images and data, all of which remind us that while it is nice to muse about stellar bodies from the Earth’s surface, it’s even better to send a probe to get first-hand experience. The image above of Saturn by Cassini shows the results of a powerful atmospheric storm that has pulled ammonia gas about 30 miles upward, where it condensed into large crystals in the colder altitudes. For a treasure trove of Cassini’s Saturn revelations, visit NASA’s mission page: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.govng spacecraft. weimar.ws Galaxis
PHOTO: NASA/JPL/SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE
t the southern pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, plumes of water ice shoot out from furnace fissures known as the “tiger stripes.”
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NASA reports that scientists are still studying the question of whether there are liquid water reservoirs underneath the surface of the moon.
PHOTO: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/Space science institute
n June of 2011, Cassini took this image of another of Saturnâ€™s moons, Helene, a more uneven surface than her fellow moon Enceladus. Helene was discovered only in 1980, thanks to the Voyager craft, but Cassini allowed us to get much better images of the odd-shaped moon.
PHOTO: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
here is a reason so many companies have used Saturn as their logos: The rings. Theyâ€™re beautiful and dramatic, as seen here in this image of Saturn in the shade of its famed
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rings. NASA says that the colors of Saturn itself are possibly a result of the temperature differences on the planet, specifically the cold temperatures of the northern hemisphere.
PHOTO: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado/Central Arizona College
PHOTO: NASA/JPL/SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE
assini created images above of a “glowing patch of ultraviolet light near Saturn’s north pole that marks the presence of an electrical circuit that connects Saturn with its moon Enceladus,” reports NASA. The glowing is caused by energetic electrons zooming down into the planet’s atmosphere. The colors in the image above represent the brightness of the extreme ultraviolet emissions. Black/blue are the lowest-emission areas, and yellow/ white are the highest emission areas. The size of this patch of light is about the size of California.
n 2010, Cassini took this picture at right of Saturn’s moon Dione, showing a region’s fractured surface known as “wispy terrain.” Dione is the 15th largest moon in the solar system and is composed mostly of water ice. Dione had to be on the go-to list for the Cassini probe; the moon was discovered by the Italian/French astronomer G Giovanni Domenico Cassini in 1684. weimar.ws Galaxis
In-Depth, Fun, and Informative Review of the World of Magazines!
Special publication: If you’re anything like us, you love magazines—the good, the bad, and the downright outrageous. So read Magma, the “magazine industry review,” and learn about the inner workings of Condé Nast, what Bob Guccione left behind, an interview with Carr D’Angelo, a post-mortem on Starlog, plus opinionated reviews, complaints, and ideas.
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magazine Starlog (for my Starlog Project; see more at www.weimar.ws), I saw an interview with Orson Scott Card in the October 1990 issue. In it, Card at one point shares a piece of criticism of some other SF writers: “I’m talking about books by 35-year-old novelists writing about 35-year-old characters who nevertheless approach the world as an adolescent: that life is all about getting free of people that dominate you. That’s a 15-year-old’s viewpoint. There should be fiction that tells you about growing up, about being an adult who’s responsible, who can’t just walk away when he gets tired, who doesn’t just go and get a divorce, who doesn’t have a mid-life crisis, but instead, sticks it out and deals with what goes wrong. There aren’t many adult heroes in fiction.” Those are mature and interesting words, and, whether you agree with them or not, they are the words of a wise man. A man with whom I profoundly disagree on a number of topics, but a man who deserves to be heard. It made me realize I had closed my mind to what he might have to say. Now, I’ve met evangelical Christians who were fervent, costume-wearing fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ve met dyed-in-the-wool liberals who go out of their way to listen respectfully to conservatives. Muslims working at Roman Catholic universities. Those fascinating mixtures of ideas, backgrounds, and views shouldn’t be glossed over; in fact, they are the starting points of conversations, not the ending points. Whenever a science fiction writer or filmmaker tries to sell you a vision of the world that doesn’t include people who think differently than they do, you will always know that they’re a fool. Worse, they think you are one, too. The future will include all of us, liberal, conservative, moderate, Christian, Muslim, atheist, Jewish, Buddhist, gay, straight, and every race and religious and political category you can imagine. We should be pleased with that, not out of some simple-minded political urge simply to “celebrate difference,” but rather out of a recognition that in the real world of mixed ideas and experiences, even greater and more complex ideas and inventions and solutions can come about. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go watch a Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD. John Zipperer/Editor & Publisher
Galaxis October 2011
Webbed If you would like your website to be considered for inclusion in upcoming Webbed listings, send information—including URL—to jzipperer@gmail. com. There is no cost to be listed in Webbed. Websites are listed solely at the discretion of Galaxis.
China National Space Administration cnsa. gov.cn/n615709/cindex.html English-language portal for China’s space agency. Cinematic Titanic cinematictitanic.com Movie riffing from MST3K veterans: Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein. European Space Agency esa.int Features lots of news, multimedia, and up-to-the-minute reports on spacecraft and experiments. Fanboy.com fanboy.com The place to go for retro anime commercials, brand new action figure releases, and more. Chinese SciFi chinesescifi.org English-language news of authors, books, awards, and other happenings in Chinese SF. Cinefantastique cinefantastiqueonline.com Breaking news and reviews. Comics 411 comics.gearlive.com News and views about comics and related media. David Gerrold gerrold.com Personal site of the award-winning author. DoorQ.com doorq.com Science fiction, fantasy, and horror news and views from a gay perspective. Howard Cruse howardcruse.com The awardwinning cartoonist features lots of his artwork plus a well-illustrated blog on his website. Monster Brains monsterbrains.blogspot.com A brilliant collection of classic and rare images from the worlds of SF, fantasy, and horror. National Aeronautics and Space Administration nasa.gov America’s legendary space agency provides lots of resources. Phantastik News phantastiknews.de Germanlanguage news and reviews of science-fiction books, films, and other media. Probert Designs probertdesigns.com Personal site of veteran film designer (Star Trek, Back to the Future, etc.), features many illustration examples. Rifftrax rifftrax.com Movie riffing from MST3K’s Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Michael J. Nelson, plus occasional “guest riffers.” Mystery Science Theater 3000 mst3kinfo.com The official fan site for the late, great movieriffing show. A great place to stay up to date on all the doings of the show’s creators and performers. The Space Review thespacereview.com News and commentary about space science, technology, and exploration. Space View space-view.de German-language science-fiction media magazine. G
Compendium Compendium is our catalog of things to do, see, and hear related to the worlds of science and science fiction. Please note: Events can change dates, times, prices, and locations. Therefore, we strongly recommend you contact each organization directly before making plans to participate in any activity listed here. If you would like your event to be considered for inclusion in these listings, send information—including contact information—to jzipperer@gmail. com. There is no cost to be listed in Compendium. Events are listed solely at the discretion of Galaxis.
Current through October 2, 2011 Super Cells: The Wonder of Stem Cells Exhibit The 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells is the occasion for this Canadian exhibit of art and designs inspired by stem cells. Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Phone: 416-696-1000 http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/ Current through December 31, 2011 1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization Exhibit Discover the scientific contributions made by men and women during the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization. Through interactive displays, explore basic science principles that are often taken for granted in fields such as optics, time-keeping, hydraulics, navigation, architecture and math. This international touring exhibition highlights the contributions of scholars from a diverse region, stretching from Spain through China, during the 7th to 17th centuries. Learn how scholars from this region, of various faiths and cultures, preserved, nurtured, and advanced the world’s knowledge in science and technology. California Science Center, Exposition Park, 39th Street & Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037. Phone: (323) 724-3623 http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/ http://www.1001inventions.com/exhibition Current through June 17, 2012 Of Dragons and Heroes Exhibit This children’s exhibit features “a host of dragon-slayers, proud knights and women saints, just waiting to be discovered.” An opportunity for hands-on learning, featuring games, painting, puzzle making, and the ability to build up a dragon’s skeleton. Bode Museum, Children’s Gallery, Am Kupfergraben 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany http://www.smb.museum/smb/kalender/de-
tails.php?objID=28272&typeId=10 October 1, 2011–January 31, 2013 Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes from Film and Television Exhibit The Experience Learning Community Museum organized this original exhibition of costumes from Blade Runner, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Terminator, and other popular films and television programs “to tell the story how costumes play a crucial role in defining characters for visual storytelling in media.” This traveling exhibit will visit several U.S. cities. See the website for cities and dates. http://www.empmuseum.org/exhibitions/index.asp?categoryID=21&ccID=197 September 22–25, 2011 Wisconsin Science Festival Science exploration A festival held across the city of Madison featuring workshops, lectures, exhibits, demonstrations, and more. Madison, Wisconsin http://wiscifest.wordpress.com/ October 8, 2011 Animania Festival 2011 Convention Anime and cosplay gathering. Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay Brisbane QLD, Australia http://www.animania.net.au/2011/brisbaneoctober October 21-23, 2011 The Browncoat Ball Convention A gathering for fans of Firefly and Serenity. Providence/Warwick, RI http://www.browncoatball.com/ September 18–December 10, 2011 The White City ... Then and Now Exhibit This fascinating virtual simulation tour of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition takes you back in time to the Museum’s origins as the Palace of Fine Arts. A Museum host presents the computer reconstruction of the White City, created by Dr. Lisa Snyder of UCLA’s Urban Simulation Team. With highly detailed views and showing a variety of altitudes and angles, the simulation is narrated with facts and anecdotes about the expo. A 25-minute walking architectural tour of the inside and outside of the Museum follows. http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/tours/ the-white-citythen-and-now/
Are You a
THEN FEAST ON Lyle Lahey’s AWARD-WINNING Political Cartoons For four decades, Wisconsin original Lyle Lahey has commented on issues of the day in his own creative way. Now you can keep up to date on the latest Lahey—and the latest doings of the odd people who make the news.
They’re free! New & old Lahey cartoons:
lylelahey.blogspot.com weimar.ws Galaxis
September 27, 2011 Professor Frank H. Shu: Nuclear Energy After Fukushima Lecture/discussion The media and public reaction to the nuclear accident at Fukushima threaten to cripple the nuclear renaissance that is humanity’s best hope for mitigating climate disruption, according to Shu. He will assess options for the future. The Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market St., San Francisco, CA. Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program. Cost: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with ID) http://www.commonwealthclub.org September 30–November 2, 2011 Scheibenwelt Convention Convention A German gathering of Discworld fans. Special guest: Terry Pratchett (health permitting). Lennestadt, Germany http://www.scheibenwelt-convention.de/ November 5, 2011 Carl Sagan Day Public event Davie, Florida, USA http://www.carlsaganday.com/ November 7, 2011 A More Perfect Heaven Lecture/discussion Dava Sobel, Author, Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter; Science Writer The bestselling author of Longitude tells the story of Nicolaus Copernicus and the revolution he inspired. By 1514, the reclusive cleric Copernicus had written an initial outline of his heliocentric theory—in which he placed the sun, not the Earth, at the center of our universe. Over the next two decades Copernicus expanded his theory through hundreds of observations, while compiling in secret a book-length manuscript that tantalized mathematicians and scientists throughout Europe. Fearing ridicule, he refused to publish. More than 20 years later, a young German mathematician unleashed Copernicus’ ideas on the world. Sobel will chronicle the personalities and extraordinary discoveries that shaped the Copernican revolution, giving us an unforgettable portrait of scientific achievement and the persistent tensions between science and faith. The Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market St., San Francisco, CA. Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program. Cost: $20 standard, MEMBERS FREE, $7 students (with valid ID) http://www.commonwealthclub.org November 11–13, 2011 WindyCon 38 Convention Guests of honor include Catherine Asaro, Joe Bergeron, Frank Hayes, Hugh Daniel, Mike Brotherton, and Christian Ready Weston Lombard Yorktown Center Lombard, Illinois http://www.windycon.org/windy38/ 52
Galaxis October 2011
November 18–20, 2011 Philcon 2011 Convention Guests of honor include Cory Doctorow, Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell, and S.J. Tucker. Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill NJ http://2011.philcon.org/ November 18–20, 2011 SFContario 2 Canvention 31 Convention Guests include Gardner Dozois, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder, Toyboat. Ramada Plaza hotel, 300 Javis Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada http://2011.sfcontario.ca/ November 25, 2011 Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity Rover Space launch The Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life and to determine the planet’s habitability. The laboratory will be launched by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida Time: 10:21 a.m. http://www.patrick.af.mil November 25–27, 2011 Loscon 38 Convention Guest of honor at this science fiction and space convention include John DeChancie, John Hertz, Rick Searfoss, and Aldo Spadoni. LAX Marriott, 5855 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90045 http://loscon.org/38/ December 2–4, 2011 SMOFcon29 Convention Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands http://smofcon29.org December 8–10, 2011 IADIS International Conference on Internet Technologies & Society 2011 Conference Internet technologies, business, society, and government come together for this international conference. Shanghai, China http://expopromoter.com/goto/event/129953/ January 17, 2012 Scott, Amundsen and Science: The 100th Anniversary of Robert Falcon Scott Reaching the South Pole Lecture/discussion Edward J. Larson, Visiting Professor of Law, Stanford University; University Professor of History, Pepperdine University Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Larson is a master of the history of science and exploration. He now delves into the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, which culminated 100 years ago when Roald Amundsen and Rob-
ert F. Scott reached the South Pole within five weeks of each other. Amundsen’s polar party returned safely and quickly; Scott and his men died on their long struggle back. Initially lionized as a tragic hero, Scott is now widely portrayed as a bungler whose vanity and poor planning doomed his party. Larson looks at the role of science in his polar expeditions and compares it with the single-minded focus of Amundsen’s pursuit of the pole. The Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market St., San Francisco, CA. Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing. http://commonwealthclub.org January 20–22, 2012 GenghisCon Convention Besides having an awesome name, GenghisCon is a “student-priced” convention of science fiction and gaming. St. George’s College, Mounts Bay Road, Crawley, WA 2009, Australia http://genghiscon.org January 28 or February 4, 2012 Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival Film Festival EMP and the Seattle International Film Festival co-sponsor this program of live and animated short SF and fantasy films. Final date TBA. Cinerama Theatre, 2100 4th Avenue, Seattle, Washington http://empmuseum.org/programs/index. asp?categoryID=216 February 27, 2012 Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers Lecture/discussion William J. Clancey, Chief Scientist, HumanCentered Computing Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center & Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition For more than seven years, scientists have been doing fieldwork on Mars, the first overland investigation of another planet. Working through the Mars Exploration Rovers, they have a virtual experience of being on Mars. The Spirit and Opportunity teams have driven more than 22 miles, taken thousands of photographs, analyzed the chemistry of the terrain, and inspected rocks by grinding them and taking microscopic images. Clancey explains that the “robotic geologists” are not the rovers, but the scientists who have imaginatively projected themselves into the body of the machine. The Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market St., San Francisco, CA. Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program. http://commonwealthclub.org May 17–20, 2012 Fedcon Convention Hotel Maritim Düsseldorf, Germany http://fedcon.de
Mail Galaxis welcomes feedback on the magazine and the ideas presented within. Send information—including your name, city, and state—to firstname.lastname@example.org. Galaxis reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity.
New Kid on the Block
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your first issue of Galaxis. I received the printed version in the post on Friday night. Well done. It’s made me miss the long-gone Starlog even more. I’ve been reading your blog [weimarworld.blogspot.com] for some time, and it’s made me realize how lucky we were having Starlog, Starburst, Voyager, Cinemagic to grow up with. The U.K’s SFX is good in its way, but I would love to see Starlog come back in a print format one day.... Maybe you are the bloke to do it. Enjoyed your interview [on the blog] with Carr D’Angelo, too. I didn’t realize they were paid such peanuts. Mark Perry Wingfield, SA, Australia Editor’s response: Thanks, Mark. We think there is a dearth of good science fiction magazines in this day and age. Of course, many magazines are having a tough time of it these days, as are many businesses of all types. So that’s why we have focused Galaxis less on the immediate news of current and upcoming science fiction movies and television—that’s easily available online—and more on longer-term looks at these projects and the ideas included in them. Readers who want to read more of our thoughts on the state of SF magazines, check out our magazine Magma: The Magazine Industry Review, which you can find at our weimar.ws home. G
Hear science. Talk science. Think science. Whether you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area or around the world, The Commonwealth Club of California presents the best minds of science. Attend live events with leading scientists and thinkers on the most timely discoveries, controversies, and mysteries in the world of science. On our website, click on the “media” tab and find hundreds of free podcasts and videos. http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/filter/171
Reviewscreen The New, the Classic—and Some Undiscovered Gems
Summer of the Superheroes: The B Team
he summer of 2011 saw a coordinated onslaught of comics-based superhero films that shows no sign of letting up. Long gone are the days when fans would have to wait several years for a top-level superhero production to hit the big screen. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man. This current onslaught is occurring all at once, and even more important, it is being led by the lesser-known comics superheroes and is aided by the stellar performance of those A-listers as well as some great execution by the filmmakers of the B-listers. Green Lantern (starring Ryan Reynolds), The Green Hornet (Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz), Thor (Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman), Captain America (Chris Evans), and X-Men: First Class (James McAvoy, Keven Bacon) took different approaches to their subject matter, whether it was by going retro like in X-Men, camp in Green Hornet, or some other route. You won’t find us niggling over inconsistencies or changes from the original source materials. Frankly, we don’t care about that. Superheroes are, let’s admit it, kind of ri-
Galaxis October 2011
diculous to begin with. Their strength lies in their ability to be retooled for each new generation and to allow viewers to identify with them based on the issues and zeitgeist of the day, so that a superpowerless crime victim who dresses up as a bat can be relevant in the 1940s, be reenvisioned as a camp TV hero in the swinging 1960s, be reborn as a big-screen menace in the roaring 1990s, and change once more for the new century as the very dark dark knight. So, though some comics purists will no doubt be disappointed in our refusal to be disappointed by the current crop of superhero films, we must still say that we found much to enjoy in each of these films, some more than others. Long gone are the days when superhero films were created with zero budgets, bad actors, and no original thoughts. In a sense, it must be harder to make a movie out of a B-list superhero than out of one of the top tier heroes. The audience goes into the theater already liking Superman and knowing his story. But with Thor, for example, the general audience has likely
never even heard of him. So to be able to do what director Kenneth Branagh does with Thor and make the lead character understandable, plausible, and likable is no mean feat. Viewers of The Green Hornet, on the other hand, might have thought the film had totally spoofed a serious superhero story if they didn’t know earlier productions. Rogen might have taken it a bit farther than his predecessors (almost to the point of making it look like a 1980s comedy), and the film would have benefited from more Jay Chou, but it is an entertaining film, nonetheless. Marvel has been putting some of its Blisters on the big screen as it prepares its superhero mashup, The Avengers. Then we will likely see many of them together on a team of B-listers. Three years ago, before Iron Man showed us how good a lesser-known superhero film could be and could please audiences (and its star Robert Downey Jr. remains the best lead of the lot), the prospect of a film full of B-list heroes would have filled general audiences with trepidation. Now, audiences will be entering theaters with high expectations.
The 23rd Century: An Inconvenient Future The Windup Girl By Paolo Bacigalupi Night Shade Books, 2009 361 pages • $14.95 (trade paperback)
he Windup Girl is a startling debut novel that plays with ideas of politics, identity, and environmental disaster in realistic ways that are nonetheless sure to upset many people. The Windup Girl won Nebula and Hugo awards, as well as being recognized by Time, Locus, and other folks as a stellar novel. You might be surprised to see photos of author Bacigalupi online showing him smiling broadly. The Whindup Girl is not a happy book. It takes us to a grim future of desperate shortages and failures on grand scales, of race riots, semi-slavery, and violence and corruption everywhere. Bacigalupi’s 2010 follow-up novel, Ship Breaker, is set in a post-apocalyptic future. We can probably be safe in assuming he’s not likely to write a novel set in Star Trek’s shiny happy future. But Windup is worth reading for reasons other than happy prognostications. It is worth experiencing for the power of its imagined world of the future, one that has a lot of plausibility to it if humans fail to solve problems ranging from food scarcity to outof-control business empires. As rich with details and atmosphere as this book is, Bacigalupi does not explain everything. Readers are left to slowly put together the pieces. The book is set in the 23rd century, after waves of plagues and environmental catastrophe have reduced the world’s population, set country against country and ethnic group against ethnic group in a life-or-death struggle for resources. The woman of the title is Emiko, a genetically designed humanoid from Japan, where such artificially created people are common. Unfortunately for her, she is stuck in Thailand—where windups are illegal—after she is abandoned by her Japanese master, who
found it easier to leave her beh i n d after a business trip than to ship her back home. She is reduced to working in a Thai sex club, where she is humiliated every night for the entertainment of the customers. Into her world comes Anderson Lake, the representative in Thailand of an Iowabased company called AgriGen. More accurately, he’s called an “economic hitman,” and he pursues every means possible to win the Thai market for his corporation. Payoffs, business skullduggery, and even fomenting revolutions are all part of his toolkit, which he employs in an attempt to gain access to the Thai seed bank. To the chagrin of Lake and his fellow economic hitmen, the Thai kingdom has somehow managed to develop its own seed bank for foodstuffs, which has allowed the country to remain independent of the agricultural giants. Everyone is living uneasily in this world. Emiko is trying to survive while also staying under the radar of the Thai police, who are paid off by her employer to not arrest her. (If they did, she would likely be killed.) The competing Thai environmental and trade ministries struggle for near-paramilitary superiority in that kingdom, which is governed
by a child queen, too young yet to take the reigns of power herself. And Chinese refugees who fled to Thailand after an ethnic cleansing in Malaysia are trying to rebuild their lives and avoid inciting Thai nationalists to similar attacks. Everyone also works like crazy to stay ahead of the biological time bombs in the form of rapidly mutating diseases that wipe out crops. The goal for some massive agro companies is to totally control food production, putting countries on lifelines of neverending addictions to their seeds, which have been engineered to be sterile, thus forcing their customers to continue to buy more and more from the companies. As you can see, not a squeaky clean Starfleet future. But Bacigalupi has created an engrossing world. If Emiko and Lake at times are more ciphers than fully accessible characters, the reader can rest assured that the rest of the story will not stay static for very long. In this world, everything changes, and usually for the worse. weimar.ws Galaxis
Reviewscreen Monster Hit The Host Directed by Bong Joon-Ho Magnolia Home Entertainment DVD release July 2007 120 minutes • $14.98
young girl is swept up by a giant monster, her father rallies their dysfunctional family to try to track down the monster, and the authorities do little more than get in the way. At times horrific and others comedic, The Host is an allaround delight. Park Gang-du runs a snack bar along the Han River in Seoul, where he is hard at work—well, at work—when the titular creature attacks the people in the park. Flopping around and causing mayhem, the monster snatches Hyun-seo, Park’s daughter, before it leaves. When the government tries to quarantine everyone involved in the attack, Park and his family—father, buttoned-up brother and failed archery star sister—break out and try to find the missing girl. All of this is set against the backdrop of a South Korean government that is ham-handed and hardly sympathetic, while the American military (which, with more than 30,000 troops, has a massive presence in South Korea) is shown to be as unconcerned about its possible harm to the South Korean people. Don’t worry: This isn’t a political or polemical film; those elements are neatly woven into the background of the story. But they help make this a film that is truly rooted in its time and country, just as the first Godzilla film was a far more adult and
Galaxis October 2011
politically tinged movie than the sanitized and juvenile version cut for American audiences. What could have been a boring by-thenumbers monster hunt instead becomes a tense and at times funny drama as this family of misfits does its best to save Hyun-seo. The squabbling family members are treated not as farcical characters but as real people, which is what makes the tension greater, and the drama deeper, because we can see them as people who really care about their
daughter/niece/granddaughter. The ending is exciting and sad, and—we can say without giving away anything— oddly hopeful and redemptive at the same time. This is the sort of movie that you see on your own, think you’ve discovered a hidden gem, and then find out that several people in your office also saw it and are just waiting for an opportunity to rave about it. The Host, known as Gwoemul or “Creature” in Korea, became the highest grossing South Korean film ever in 2006, and it gained a quick following in the United States despite its limited release. This is a good time to track down a copy of the Host DVD and watch it before the summer 2012 release of its sequel. More accurately, the 3-D film will reportedly be a prequel to The Host. Other monster film writers and directors would do well to regard this film as a how-to manual for their jobs. But we mean that they should note the emphasis on character and smart writing, not that they should ape this original. We fear that Hollywood is taking exactly the wrong approach with its American remake of The Host. If the fantastic success of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon taught us anything, it is that there is no reason American audiences can’t enjoy the South Korean original; the idea that it has to be changed for American audiences is insulting, just as insulting as most of the pablum U.S. audiences already get served on the big screen. See the original film before you see any of the others. And count yourself lucky for it.
Execution, Execution, Execution The Magician King By Lev Grossman Viking, August 2011 400 pages • $26.95
ev Grossman’s 2009 novel The Magicians was greeted with justified acclaim, and, like a high-concept story pitch to movie producers, critics repeated the line that the story was like “Harry Potter with sex and swearing.” That’s unfair, because, though it is more grown-up than Potter, it can stand on its own as a modern classic of fantasy storytelling. It’s not alone. Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord were both compared to Potter; in both cases it helped direct people to great books they might have missed. The Magicians concerns young Quentin Coldwater as he first learns that magic exists and then is drawn into Brakebills, a mysterious school for magicians. Okay, think of it as a very dark, more adult Hogwarts, and you won’t be too far off. If you thought the adults and other authority figures were annoyingly absent-minded in Potter, then be prepared to find them largely absent in Magicians, and often ineffective when they are present. As he goes through his schooling, Quentin learns of dangerous currents in the magical world; he also learns that Fillory, an alternate world that mirrors a series of Narnia-like novels he has devoured, is a real place. The Magician King starts in Fillory,
where Quentin, friend Julia, and two other young magicians govern as co-kings and queens. It is an easy existence, and being a “king” mostly means being pampered and tolerated by your subjects. But while on an improvised quest to find a key to Fillory, Quentin and Julia are suddenly dropped back into the “real” world that they both despised so much and couldn’t wait to escape. They have trouble finding their way back to their magical kingdom; the grand quest for the key becomes a quest just to get back to Fillory. And when they do get back, another quest awaits them. The Magician King, like The Magicians, features interesting if not always likeable characters. Even Quentin is often petty, short-sighted, and plain wrong. But that lack of a traditional fantasy hero is part of what makes these books unpredictable and doubly enjoyable. They also are well done. Grossman has written a handful of books so far, including Codex and Warp. If you do what many readers did after they read The Magicians, you’ll go back and read his earlier books. What you’ll see is a talent maturing before your eyes, with each book getting better and better in terms of their execution. (The Magician King is full of great lines like: “Julia picked at her food, managing a bite every few minutes, like her body was an unloved pet that she was being forced to babysit.”)Grossman’s set a high bar with The Magicians and The Magician King, but all signs are that his talent is still on the rise.
Issue #1, July 2011
Premiere issue! Interview with Michio Kaku; author David Gerrold on Star Hunt; Mobile Suit Gundam; Lathe of Heaven on TV; space photos; Virgin Galactic report; remembering Star Wars magazines; Q&As with Mary Doria Russell, Deepak Srivastava, & Michael Medved; news & reviews; & more!
TWO WAYS TO ORDER 1: Free digital download at issuu.com/weimarworldservice or 2: Purchase print edition at magcloud.com/user/jzipperer
Get caught up on the best new science & SCIENCE fiction magazine!
Galaxis weimar.ws Galaxis
Reviewscreen Super 8 Directed by J.J. Abrams Paramount Pictures, DVD TBA 112 minutes • Price TBA n 1979, a group of tweeners are struggling to make a movie when they witness the escape from a train of a rather violent monster. As the military plays its usual Hollywood role as belligerent cover-up agency, the kids realize they’ve got film of the monster, and they have to navigate not only the military but also the interpersonal antagonisms of their parents. This movie, directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, is something of an understated love letter to young science fiction fans. Covers from old Warren SF magazines make appearances on the walls of the young stars. Super 8 is not a home run, but it is a very fine movie. The monster is interesting, the young actors are fun and are treated sensitively and mostly realistically, while older characters (such as parent and local deputy sheriff played by Kyle Chandler) at first seem like one-notes but develop in pleasing ways. Not a perfect film, but close to being a guaranteed pleaser, and a nostalgia trip for anyone who ran around in 1979 carrying his amateur film camera.
The Black Mirror & Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Germany & Austria Edited by Franz Rottensteiner Wesleyan University Press, 2008 377 pages • $28.95 f you were interested in learning more about German science fiction after reading this issue’s article on the topic, you could do a lot worse than picking up this anthology of short stories from German writers
Galaxis October 2011
Space Battleship Yamato Directed by Takashi Yamazaki Toho Studios, Blu-ray out now 139 minutes • $45.99 (import) mericans knew the Yamato story first as a film adaptation of a popular Japanese anime series; later U.S. audiences got the series itself, redubbed Star Blazers. Now, after many animated film sequels, a long time sitting fallow, and an epic legal battle over rights ownership, stateside audiences can finally see Toho studio’s new Space Battleship Yamato live-action film. If you already know the basic story of the deep space mission to get anti-radiation technology to revive earth after its radiation bombing by the Gamilas, then you will recognize much that is going on here. Susumu Kodai (U.S. audiences remember this character as Derek Wildstar) re-enlists in the Earth Defence Force after his brother sacrifices himself to allow a ship piloted by future Yamato Captain Okita to escape. The story focuses tightly on Kodai, and character development is brief and fleeting, fitted in between copious action sequences. It’s an exciting and well-done adventure story. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a character study. The CGI effects are mostly breathtaking, with only a few weak points. The alien Gamilas, for example, are barely good enough to be in a video game. But the Yamato scenes are often amazing. The Blu-ray extras were underwhelming; there is no need to show us the pre-visualizations of every effects sequence, for example. Considering the great history of this Yamato story, the legal controversy, and the decision to make a live-action production of an animated tale, a making-of documentary G would have been greatly appreciated.
over the past couple centuries. You’ll get a few examples of awkward plots here and there, but you’ll also get something we like to think we deliver with Galaxis: something different; not the same old stories, plots, pacing, and viewpoints that we get all the time from our domestic writers. Though the book includes multiple contributions from such heavyweights as Kurd Lasswitz or Herbert W. Franke, it’s works by lesser-known writers—again, the unknown— that make this book worth finding and reading. For example, Carl Grunert’s short story “The Martian Spy” won’t surprise you with its revelation of the titular spy’s identity, but it is a well-told tale that, when read in 2011, is almost like reading what we now call steampunk. The biggest enjoyment of this book comes when you play a dual role, trying to read it both as a modern reader and as someone encountering the stories for the first time in 1871 or 1929 or 1961.
e figure the third issue of a magazine is a lucky three. Now that we’ve got our sea legs, expect smooth sailing. We’re looking forward to presenting our feature look at the mythic origins of the Star Wars films. It just might not be what you thought it was. We’ll profile a unique artist and designer whose work echoes the great
Moebius. Also look for our newest regular department, in which we examine in detail one episode of a genre production. PLUS: Reviews of new works by Terry Pratchett, the new Battlestar Galactica spinoff, Blood and Chrome, & much more. Look for it all in the third exciting issue of Galaxis mag: Coming Christmas 2011
NOW IN ONE VOLUME
Bunky The adventures of a farm boy, his dog, & his alien friend COMING SOON For four years in the late 1970s, Bunky entertained readers with increasingly offbeat tales of life in rural Wisconsinâ€”with the occasional side trip in a spaceship.
Now, for the first time, every Bunky cartoon is being collected in one magazine-format volume, complete with a new introduction, and comments by Lyle Lahey.
Available early 2012 at www.weimar.ws NEW from the publisher of
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galaxis At Galaxis: The Worlds of Science & Science Fiction, our goal is to provide you with things you don’t know already. We try to cover SF and science from a new angle, so you don’t read what you have already read 60
Galaxis October 2011
everywhere else. Get the international scoop. Learn something new. What a concept!
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New! Complete episode guide to the new Battlestar Galactica series, plus a look at the lost worlds of German science fiction, a Cassini visi...
Published on Sep 6, 2011
New! Complete episode guide to the new Battlestar Galactica series, plus a look at the lost worlds of German science fiction, a Cassini visi...