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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and accessible
I'm a casual but loyal fan of BSG. I enjoy the show a lot, own a few seasons, but haven't watched all the episodes in a row. Jo Storm's guide "Frak You" was a great way to pick up details I'd missed along the way and understand the depth of mythology and philosophy behind BSG. Her writing style is engaging and easy to follow even when she's talking about the history of...
Published on November 14, 2007 by E. Heise

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dissapointing
Couldn't wait to get this book. I finally get it and I know more than the author! I didn't find on original idea in the whole book. I have read heard and seen all of this before-did we cut and paste?
Ron Moore himself said that many mythologies were written into the script. Yet, we are stuck on greek mythology? ie: "So Say We All" is a Masonic term dating back many...
Published on November 18, 2007 by Kelly Schittenhelm


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dissapointing, November 18, 2007
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Kelly Schittenhelm "ldympr" (Seward, Alaska United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frak You!: The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica (Paperback)
Couldn't wait to get this book. I finally get it and I know more than the author! I didn't find on original idea in the whole book. I have read heard and seen all of this before-did we cut and paste?
Ron Moore himself said that many mythologies were written into the script. Yet, we are stuck on greek mythology? ie: "So Say We All" is a Masonic term dating back many years, and not an ad-lib.
If you are a huge fan, I would not recommend this book.
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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite a disappointment, October 21, 2007
This review is from: Frak You!: The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica (Paperback)
I've been looking forward to a few things to get me past the long, long hiatus between the end of Season Three of BSG last March and its resumption this coming April. One of these is, obviously, the made for TV movie RAZOR. But the others include several new books on BSG. The Season Three official companion came out last month and was, as is typical of the books in that series, quite good. Then there was this book, an official companion. Then in December there will be two academic anthologies, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA AND PHILOSOPHY and CYLONS IN AMERICA: CRITICAL STUDIES IN BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Unfortunately, FRAK YOU!: THE ULTIMATE UNAUTHORIZED TUIDE TO BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is a serious disappointment.

I honestly believe that I could have written a better book than this one. I'm pretty sure I have a larger factual knowledge about the show than does the author and I think I could bring more actual insight into both individual episodes and to the series as a whole. I know I could be more accurate.

Let me start with accuracy. Ezra Pound once famously reviewed a scholarly book by stating that a companion volume should have been published as an errata slip. The line would apply here. The book is littered with errors. Some of these are not important; many of them are. For instance, near the beginning the author writes that Ron Moore engaged in the remake of BSG. This is profoundly misleading. In fact, NBC Universal contacted David Eick and asked him to take on the project. Eick agreed to do so and as his first move enlisted the help of Ron Moore, who wrote the screenplay for the miniseries. She also writes that Moore was involved in the casting of the series. In fact, Moore wrote the miniseries script with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell in mind, and he and the rest of the producers were delighted when they offered the roles to each of them and they accepted. But when it came time to cast the miniseries and then to make it Moore was unavailable. He was at the time show runner of CARNIVALE. The ultimate decisions for all the important roles (apart from Olmos and McDonnell) were made by David Eick and Michael Rymer. Even before this the author writes that the fans of the 1978 show were outraged at its cancellation. But there is no mention of the fact that the 1978 BSG was one of the most reviled and detested shows of all time, especially by fans of Sci-fi. For instance, in John Clute and Peter Nicholls's THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION, the most respected single-volume reference work on Sci-fi, the following is written about TOS: "Perhaps the least likable of all tv sf in its ineptness, its cynicism, its sentimentality and its contempt for and ignorance of science . . . " She also describes Ron Moore as a huge fan of TOS. In fact, he had only vague memories of it when he was asked to come on board and had to find copies of it to watch in order to familiarize himself with the show. I've never seen anything, anywhere that would indicate that he was a fan of that series. He has said that it had a great premise, but one that was undermined when the show attempted to combine an essentially tragic premise with escapism. As Moore states with some disbelief, the pilot of TOS starts with the destruction of almost all of humanity and ends with the pilots partying on the Casino planet. Moore did put in elements that he hoped would appeal to fans of the older show, but in no way was he a fan. There are big errors and little errors. She refers to Grace Park at one point as Korean American, while Park describes herself as Korean Canadian. At one point the Doral model of Cylon is identified as a Number 3, whereas any fan of the show knows that he is a Number 5 and D'anna Biers is Number 3. On p. 26 she writes that James Callis won a Peabody Award and an AFI (American Film Institute) Award for his work on BSG. What does that mean? There are no such individual awards given by either organization. Instead, BSG was awarded a Peabody and for two straight years it has been named one of the Top Ten Shows on TV by the American Film Institute. How did these get transmuted into individual awards for James Callis? In discussing the author of the Book of Revelation she writes, "Many scholars agree that it's probably not John the Apostle." I would like to know the name of a single reputable NT scholar who thinks it IS John the Apostle. Even conservative NT scholars date the book several decades following any possible death of John. Later in talking of the Christian belief in resurrection she writes, astonishingly, "For Christians, from the Book of Revelation onwards, there has been some sense that, once we die, we will be reborn in one form or another." I can make no sense of this statement. In fact, the belief was articulated most plainly and passionately by St. Paul several decades earlier and the recorded words of Jesus make multiple references to it. You could eliminate Revelation and the doctrine would be as firmly grounded as with it. I could go on and on. Unfortunately, once you lose faith that the author has command of her or his subject matter, it is impossible to trust them again.

In addition to the problem with accuracy, a huge percentage of the text is simply irrelevant. Again, I could give a vast number of examples. Take names. In the ongoing sections called "What's in a name?" there are . . . oh, I don't know . . . attempts? . . . to link a character's name with famous people in history with the same name. What is the point of mentioning William the Conqueror in talking of William Adama? Or mentioning Samuels when talking of Samuel T. Anders. And some of the connections are impossible stretches. For instance, Leoben does not remind me of the Leibowitz in A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ and I certainly see no connections between his character and that novel. One gets the sense that she is simply trying to pad out the text, trying to take a very thin book and make it not so thin by adding pages. Then there are the constant references to mythology. Not all of these are a waste of time, but most of them are. For instance, when talking of Tigh after he has lost his eye during the resistance, why bring in a discussion of Odin? There are absolutely no connections between Tigh and the Norse god except that each had only one eye. You could just as easily talk of Sammy Davis Jr. Tigh's was taken from him against his will. Odin gave his up in order to purchase wisdom. Why even bring Odin up? Unfortunately, there are dozens of such instances in the book.

Over and over again things the author speculates in the oddest ways about characters. Sometimes she is certain things are there that I, at least, am equally certain are not there. One example is her discussion of "Home, Pt. 2," in which she imagines that Head Six goes from being naked to imitating Starbuck both in appearance and in words. I was flabbergasted when I read that and went and rewatched the episode (one of my favorite episodes) and I have to disagree in the strongest possible terms. There is simply no resemblance in any way between Head Six in that episode and Starbuck in any episode at all. Yet she imagines that it is obvious. In her discussions of many aspects of the show I just feel that she misses the point. For instance, she writes about one mythology after another, but fails to address the one story that structures the entire series. BSG is patterned explicitly on the exodus of the Children of Israel to the Promised Land. Perhaps she found this too obvious to bring up. But with Roslin as the Moses figure (Mary McDonnell has acknowledged that she believes that she will die before reaching earth, just as Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land) and Adama as her Joshua, she is leading the twelve colonies to Earth just as Moses led the Children of Israel to Palestine. But only tangentially related myths and stories receive significant discussion, while this highly pertinent one receives short schrift.

And sometimes inaccuracy and speculation are combined with odd results. A good example is when she speculates over the significance of Six being Six. The speculation is unfruitful, but it is also unneeded, since Ron Moore has acknowledged that he made what he knew would be one of the most important Cylons Number Six in homage to the great sixties TV series THE PRISONER, on which show creator and star Patrick McGoohan portrayed a character known as Number Six. This homage was further hinted at in Season Three when Caprica Six and Baltar were talking on a Cylon Basestar. After he asks her a question she replies, "That would be telling." This was, of course, one of the famous phrases used in the opening credits of THE PRISONER as that Number Six interrogated that week's Number Two.

Finally, so many important things get left out. She frequently fails to call attention to important narrative details. For instance, one of the most striking things in the three-episode sequence "The Farm" and "Home, Pts. 1 and 2" are two events that show Adama striving to deal with the pain and the sense of betrayal he feels at discovering that Boomer was a Cylon. The first event was his trip to the morgue where he first looks at and then falls sobbing on the body of Boomer. The second event is when he first sees Sharon, grabs her, flings her to the ground, and finaly falls on her (just as he fell on Boomer) trying to kill her with his bare hands ("I want you to die"). In the first event he asks Boomer's dead body, "Why?" In the second event Sharon prevents him from killing her by gently tapping his chest wound. As he grimaces in agony on top of her she says, "And you ask 'why?'." Now, the writer here talks of a tiny proportion of this, but the enormous parallels between the two are scarcely hinted at.

I do not recommend this book. Anyone who knows the show well will find most of it simply beside the point and much of the rest flatly wrong. I definitely recommend instead the "official" guides instead. Interestingly, the official guides are more frank about when the show does things badly. In this book there is no mention of the fact that "Black Market" is simply a terrible episode. In the official companions this is admitted bluntly not merely by the author but by Ron Moore and Jamie Bamber. I will end that I did learn a couple of things from this book (though only a couple). I was not aware that the little boy in the picture at the beginning of the miniseries was Boxey. Nor was I aware that the crib into which Maya placed Hera in "Lay Down Your Burdens, Pt. 2" was the same crib that appeared in "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Pt. 2." Though with all the errors in the book, perhaps I should go back and confirm this on my own.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and accessible, November 14, 2007
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This review is from: Frak You!: The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica (Paperback)
I'm a casual but loyal fan of BSG. I enjoy the show a lot, own a few seasons, but haven't watched all the episodes in a row. Jo Storm's guide "Frak You" was a great way to pick up details I'd missed along the way and understand the depth of mythology and philosophy behind BSG. Her writing style is engaging and easy to follow even when she's talking about the history of deep concepts.

This book quickly picks up on and goes into depth on the very topics that drew me to BSG in the first place: its history among Science Fiction shows, the religious and philosophical issues it explores, and the character-driven stories. The author seems to have a good sense for the kinds of questions fans like me have about the show. I found a lot of the questions I'd been left with after watching the show were answered here.

I'd definitely recommend this book for other fans like myself who enjoy the show and have questions or want to know more about its background. In particular, if you want to learn more about the mythological, philosophical and religious underpinings, this book does a great job of exploring those without getting overly academic or dense.

Considering that I enjoyed watching BSG, it's great to have a book about the series that's also an enjoyable read. Plus the pictures are a lot of fun!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!, November 16, 2007
By 
K. Albee (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frak You!: The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica (Paperback)
A friend of mine recommended this and she was right on! While Frak You is about BSG, it's not just about the show. The author writes about everything from the oracle at Delphi to the idea of a social contract. Since what I liked about the show in the first place was its mystical leanings and its willingness to take on unflinchingly issues of religion and faith, I was really glad to see a guide that did the same.

I especially liked the end of the first season where the author talks about how the finale puts us in "the framework of the unknowable" and then goes on to examine how many of the characters are forced to confront the fragility of their attempts to control their lives. She points out that only Adama and Roslin, "seem the most competent at planning, while letting go of how they want things to be."

She concludes that this episode, "shows that only by losing control, by
going down avenues other than rigidly defined reason, military training, and brute force, can people ... become the kind of leaders that are needed." That's not just good analysis, that's wisdom.

My favorite element of science fiction is its ability to be startlingly true to our lives today and this book does a great job of tying together the themes of BSG with ideas that are very relevant in our world now.
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Frak You!: The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica
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