From the Galactic Archives: Revisiting an Old Friend

I’ve been home alone with McDuff, the canine nugget, for the last week. (Wife and daughter headed to Puerto Rico to work on the house. More Ponce Chronicles to follow, soon.) I gave myself a few days to crash, after they left. I decided to rewatch Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries and travel in time back to the days of writing the novelization. It was fun!

It reminded me that I never got around to posting on my website the essay I wrote for the compendium about BSG, Somewhere Beyond the Heavens. Well, there’s no time like the present!

Here’s how it starts out. Click at the end to read the whole thing.

Writing the 2003 BSG Miniseries Novelization


“So, Jeff, how would you like to write the novelization for Battlestar Galactica?”

That was what my Tor Books editor, Jim Frenkel, asked me, out of the blue, one day in 2005. Until that moment, the thought of writing anything related to Galactica had never crossed my mind.

As it happened, this was the day after I had finished writing the long overdue first draft of my novel Sunborn, a challenging project that had nearly done me in. I had let out an enormous sigh of relief at completing the rough draft. When Jim called me that next day, I assumed it was to find out how things were going with the new book. Instead, he asked if I had seen the new Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi Channel, and if I liked it.

“Well, yes,” I said. And, “Sure, talk to me about it. But you’re aware, right, that I have this unfinished book to finish? That you’re waiting for? I just wrapped up the first draft, by the way.”

“Perfect!” he said. “You need a break. You should do something different for a while, and this is right up your alley. I’m editing the Galactica tie-in books, and I think you’re just the writer to novelize the miniseries. Also, it will be fast. Can you write it in two months?”

“Uhhhh…” My mind raced. I am a notoriously slow writer. Most books take me years to complete. Could I even type a book in two months? I wasn’t sure. I had never written a novelization before; I was used to writing my own stuff. “Can you give me three?” I asked.

I did not start out as a fan of Battlestar Galactica….[more]

From the Galactic Archives: Science Fiction on “The Connection”

Over the last mumblety years, I’ve done a number of interviews in various media, or written essays for other publications or blogs. I always link to them, but mostly I’ve not gotten around to putting them on my own site (after a decent interval), as I’ve meant to do. Well, it’s never too late. I start with one of my favorites.

On November 21, 1997, I was a guest along with author Joe Haldeman on a remarkable public radio series called The Connection, hosted by Christopher Lydon on Boston’s WBUR public radio station. The Connection was a highly respected show on public affairs and the arts. It wasn’t the kind of show where you normally expected any mention of SF literature. But this time it was, and the discussion was lively, with lots of input from callers. I had a great time. I recently found a tape recording of the show, and have digitized it for the modern age. (Edit: I realized the tape reproduction was a little fast, so I have adjusted the recording to what seems to me to be the correct pitch and tempo.)

I hope the producers don’t mind my doing this, since technically I don’t own the copyright. But it’s been over twenty years, so I hope it’s all right. For the record, I’ve stored this recording on my own website, and I’m offering you a chance to plug into my headphone jack. Please don’t distribute this, but if you’ve got a little time and you want to hear our chat with an influential radio personality, just lean over and plug your headphones in right here…


Here’s a picture of Joe and me together at a book signing, a few years later. (Photo by Gay Haldeman)