Somewhere Beyond the Heavens: Exploring Battlestar Galactica
edited by Rich Handley and Lou Tambone.
Publisher: Sequart Organization (December 18, 2018)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Free on Kindle Unlimited
Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton
Back in 1978, I considered a new TV series I dubbed Battlestar: Ponderosa (due to the presence of actor Loren Green as Commander Adama), along with sister production, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as two disposable, diverting attempts by producer Glen A. Larson to capitalize on the success of Star Wars for the small screen. As both series had short lives, I didn't expect to see much more of either of them. Little did I know.
In the case of Battlestar: Galactica, forty years have gone by with many repeated attempts to reinvigorate the franchise. We got novelizations, original novels, comics, films, webisodes, board and video games, unproduced attempts at revivals, and, most impressing of all, Ronald D. Moore's extraordinary 2003 re-imagining of the concept for the SyFy channel and elsewhere that earned considerable praise for a remarkable reboot.
Now, the Sequart Organization has published the fifth, yes, fifth, serious book-length academic analysis of all things Galactica by forty comic historians, novelists, bloggers, subject-matter experts, and franchise insiders including Jim Beard, Joseph F. Berenato, Joe Bongiorno, Jeffrey Carver, and October Crifasi.
Sequart is touting the fact their new title runs 572 pages, making it the longest book in their history. This is rather surprising considering their past essay collections on popular culture subjects included Batman, The X-Men, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes, to scratch the surface of their catalogue. As with all their tomes, Somewhere Beyond the Heavens touches every conceivable base you can think of regarding Battlestar: Galactica including close scrutiny of the creative processes, analyses of key episodes and characters, not to mention deep dives into the ephemera associated with the franchise.
Clearly, Somewhere Beyond the Heavens is not a useful introduction for the uninitiated and not a simple overview for the mildly interested or simply curious. It's intended for serious devotees who might not need to explore every essay, especially if you're a fan of only the Glen A. Larson version or the Ronald Moore revision. For example, do you care about the background of the mysterious Count Iblis as portrayed by Patrick Macnee in a two-part episode in the original series? If so, this collection is for you.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on March 13, 2019: