Nasa / Space

Battlestar Galactica and the "new" sci-fi


The second season of the new Battlestar Galactica debuted

Friday, smack in the middle of the San Diego International Comic-Con,

granddaddy of all sci-fi/comic/collectible conventions. Not

suprisingly, several publications reacted to this convergence by

dusting off their canned fluff pieces about sci-fi and Galactica, which

included a plethora of almost unwavering praise. Even the New York Times got into the act, interviewing Ron Moore, the exec producer for Galactica who once worked for the Star Trek franchise and who is largely responsible for making Worf a memorable and compelling character.


Which is why it pains me to disagree with the breadth of the praise.

People are lauding Galactica for how different it is than Star Trek,

and how many sci-fi conventions the new series has broken. An all-star

panel at Comic-Con even claimed that Star Trek: Enterprise failed because it wasn't Galactica. Some have gone so far as to proclaim that Galactica has redefined science fiction.


Okay, that's a bit much.


I love the new Galactica. It's bold, relevant,

character-driven with complex characters to match, and it dares to

expect patience and intelligence from both itself and its audience. But

redefining sci-fi? Not hardly. It may be the best sci-fi television

show of its generation, but there were bold, complex, daring science

fiction novels decades before even the original Battlestar Galactica sullied the airwaves with its derivative schtick. Go read any of George Herbert's original Dune novels and then talk to me about complex. Go absorb Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and talk to me about tackling hard issues. Go digest Accelerando or Singularity Sky by Charlie Stross and talk to me about cutting edge.


SFSignal has my back on this point.


By all means, watch, love and learn from Galactica, but don't

mistake it for the first of its kind. Sci-Fi, SF, and science fiction

all have a deep and wide variety of genius to offer. Galactica

may be a vanguard to the shores of television with this level of

quality, but there are thousands of equally brilliant tomes waiting for

their chance to shine.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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