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So Say We All: An Unauthorized Collection of Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica (Smart Pop series) Paperback – September 10, 2006
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An admirable effort, but the essays were written three years too soon.
Battlestar Galactica reminds me a little bit of how The Simpsons is always saying more than you think. You watch and you know there's something metaphorical going on, but not sure what it is at all times. That's why the official Simpsons guides are so great - the point out the references and allusions you might have missed.
This supposed "unauthorized" collection of thoughts and opinions has the content I was looking for. Right out of the gate the first writer, Eric Greene, talks about terrorism, 9-11, human rights and a myriad of current events and how they're dealt with in the show. It challenges you. For example, as admirable as President Roslin is, she clearly violates her stated beliefs of supporting democracy. Just like the show, the author doesn't let you off the hook. It demands that you look at the situation in its entirety and admit that maybe what you emotionally want isn't exactly what you say you believe.
This first essay even offers a few examples of metaphor that I know I missed entirely. The assassination of Boomer on Galactica? Think 1963 in a parking garage when a man named Jack Ruby decides to take matters into his own hands.
"So Say We All" even pushes the buttons of its own audience by including an essay entitled "GINO" or "Galactica in Name Only." It's an in your face negative review of the modern BSG and praise of the original (which I personally find to be campy nonsense). I have to respect a book more when it's willing to include material that bashes the very show it's trying to praise.
That's the kind of content I wanted from the "official guides." BSG is a political show for our times. At times it's liberal, at times it's conservative, at times it's in the middle. Part of that process is not taking the easy route. It means challenging its audience to think and examine their own beliefs. And that's exactly what "So Say We All" does as a book. I highly recommend it.
A few too many of them focused on the show's relevance to current politics, which, please, I am SO tired of people on both sides of the Iraq War fussing at how some movie or TV show is so "liberal" or so "conservative," didn't anyone ever hear about classical themes?
I would have liked more humor, even given the general darkness of the show. The only "funny" essay was the one that placed characters into different jobs, which I thought was thoroughly un-funny, and the weakest essay of the book. I liked the inclusion of a negative essay, a bold move but one that made me appreciate the updated show more.
The first half of the book is very religion heavy and as someone who does not like that aspect of the show so much I found these essays really boring and skipped most of them. Some essays attempt to be humorous and are pretend addresses to congress or Cylon meeting minutes, and yet others get far too intellectual for my liking with their theorems and axioms.
The more enjoyable essays look at the moral ambiguity and things that go in to the show to make us think about the goings on in the world today.
Another couple look at the differences between the original series and the new one including what things were kept and re-imaged or taken as inspiration for events in the new series.
One details an author's hatred of the Miniseries and then his surprise liking of the new show once the seasons started.
There are also some articles where female authors finger themselves off over the wonderfully strong, intelligent, attractive, skilful and complex female characters in the new series, which of course is so true.
Yet more look at fascism and the role of the media in space, and to top it all off the book has an interesting and well written introduction and ending by Richard Hatch.
All in all a good read and I enjoyed at least half of the essays in this book. A must for all serious Battlestar Galactica fans.