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The Science of Battlestar Galactica Paperback – October 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The official guide to the science behind the Battlestar Galactica universe

"If you've ever wondered what the frak happened to the science in science fiction, then this book is for you. Clear, funny, and told from an insider's perspective, it'll make any Battlestar fan's spine glow red with joy. So say we all!" --Phil Plait, creator of Bad Astronomy and host of Bad Universe

"Finally, a guide to the science fiction—and, even more importantly, the science facts—surrounding the Battlestar Galactica saga. If you're wondering what the BSG buzz is all about, or if you're wondering about the real research into genetics, robotics, and faster-than-light travel, this is the book for you."—Alan Boyle, author of MSNBC.com's Cosmic Log and The Case for Pluto

Noteworthy for its grittiness and steadfast avoidance of flashy futuristic toys (they use wired phones, for frak's sake!), Battlestar Galactica (BSG) has been called the best show on television and as real as science fiction gets. It has dealt with issues of religious freedom, patriotism, terrorism, genetic engineering, and the ultimate science fiction question: What does it mean to be human? But the reimagined Battlestar Galactica also has a lot to say about the use of science and technology today and in the not-so-distant future.

In The Science of Battlestar Galactica, Wired magazine contributing editor Patrick Di Justo and BSG's scientific advisor Kevin Grazier answer all the questions that have puzzled you ever since Admiral Adama issued his first command. They delve into questions about the nature of life—both flesh-and-blood and silicon-based; the effects of radiation—or how the Cylons could reoccupy Caprica after a few days, but not Earth after two thousand years; black holes, planets, and colonization; the principles behind the weapons and propulsion systems of Galactica; and much more.

Best of all, the book features insights from some of the people closest to the production, including a foreword by BSG coexecutive producer Jane Espenson and an afterword by actor Richard Hatch.

Filled with surprising details and background—including never-before-published information from show creator Ron Moore's legendary BSG Series Bible—this fascinating book sheds new light on the universe of one of the most original and provocative science fiction series ever created.

About the Author

PATRICK DI JUSTO is a contributing editor for Wired and has written for Popular Science, Scientific American, New York Magazine, and the New York Times Circuits. KEVIN R. GRAZIER is the scientific advisor to Battlestar Galactica. He currently works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn; teaches astronomy, planetary science, and cosmology at UCLA and Santa Monica College.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470399090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470399095
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Science of Battlestar Galactica" was written by a Wired editor and the science consultant for the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series that aired on SciFi from 2003 to 2008.

I've read a lot of these "science of . . ." books, and this one is by far the deepest, most science-heavy one that I've come across. It's really more of an astrophysics book with references to BSG. The authors explain how stars coalesce, how black holes develop, how electronic warfare takes place, how GPS works and how it would apply in a galactic setting, and more. Nor do the authors pull any punches in terms of explaining the relevant physics -- the section on the Special Theory of Relativity, for example, goes into Lorentz contraction, which is something I didn't learn until taking physics at Caltech(!).

I should also add that there are math equations in this book. Some explain the rate at which a spaceship would have to spin to simulate gravity through centrifugal force; others explain the aforementioned Lorentz contraction (a consequence of approaching the speed of light). Other equations explain why BSG's kinetic weapons (bullets, high explosive ordnance) are actually more efficient and effective than laser or other energy beams would be.

This book would be great for anyone who liked BSG and who is interested in learning some serious science, but those who are interested more in episode guides with just a touch of science will probably find it overwhelming. On the other hand, it does explain how the Galactica was able to withstand a direct hit by a nuclear warhead and not be vaporized . . . .
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just got this yesterday and already about 1/5 through it. Digging most of it, too. The jist is that it's the actual science behind the different theories so if you're looking for a series guide, this isn't for you. Instead, it deals with gravity, religion, philosophy, where did the Cyclons come from, how they could have been created, and most other science-related theories using today's current methodologies and understanding. So far so good and I'm really liking it.
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The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series is one of the best tv shows in the history of the medium and this book only helped to reinforce this fact. I always had a feeling about this while watching the show but this book confirms that the science is as valid as possible.

Now fair warning, it does get incredibly technical at times. It does assume we're all physicists, but it does not hold back either.

If that doesn't turn you away, then enjoy! I know I did.
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The book makes you think. It's a non-biased read, so give it a shot. It will surprise you even if you don't like sci-fi!
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I have some background education in Astrophysics, and I think this book is well written and is understandable for most people with a basic knowledge in science. The explanations about the definition of life and the relativistic effects of high speed travel (near speed of light) are nice.

The images of the series that appear in the middle are unnecessary :P
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing for someone like me. Although I am not huge into the exact science from the show, the book has drawn me in and the way it breaks it all down in a realistic situation. The seller was able to get it to me in perfect unused condition and for a hugely LOW price. Very happy!
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The word "science" comes before "Battlestar Galactica" in the title of this book, and I think that placement describes this book well. The book is written by BSG science advisor Kevin Grazier and is organized around various scientific issues that arose during the course of the show.

This book is heavy on the science. This is fine and certainly enough to merit four stars as I do enjoy learning more about various fields of science. I read Popular Science quite regularly when I was younger and still enjoy books about biology. Fortunately for the reader, Grazier and Patrick di Justo do an incredible job communicating complex scientific ideas to lay audiences. If you had basic high school biology, chemistry, and physics classes, this book should

However, too often I felt like the show was a springboard to discuss the science rather than vice versa. Grazier does touch upon some of the show's scientific questions, such as how the Battlestar Galactica survived a nuclear blast. Out of the sections, I thought the one about Colonial technology did the best job providing compelling explanations for the show. Unfortunately, I felt like I had unresolved questions about Grazier's explanations for science in the show in some of the other chapters. Of the 30 or so chapters, I only felt this way about a handful, so it overall succeeds.

Grazier and di Justo sometimes walk a fine line between complaining about science on the show and appreciating the care BSG took to not violate scientific principles. They constantly refer to Ronald D. Moore's "laws," the first of which is that viewers shouldn't get too upset about scientific inaccuracies because "it's only a show.
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