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Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Five: Connecting to the Trilogy

Suffice it to say, there will be loads of spoilers for Books One, Two, Three and Five in this post.

If you haven't yet, download them all HERE.  (They're free.)

Because of the spoilers, I'll connect dots in the JUMP.




So, the vaunted Lords of Kobol trilogy ... people wanted more and I had some ideas in mind.  Thus, Book Five.

Sorry Book Four *

When it was revealed in Book One that the Olympians were themselves Cylons, of course the question that comes next is, "Who made them?"  That was (more or less) answered in Book Two.  There was a whole 'nother society on Kobol before Kobol.  It was called Larsa.

Named for an ancient Sumerian city some 5,000 years old, Larsa is the world that was.  A world whose ending gave rise to the fertile ground in which Zeus could sow the seeds for his "Great Experiment."

In the trilogy, the references and specifics about Larsa are scattered all around.  We know that things weren't so great because it gave the Olympians something to bitch about.  ("How many times did we talk about how we could improve things?" Zeus says when he's trying to convince the others about the Experiment in Book Two.)  We know that there were mechanical Cylons because they appeared on the news and chased the Olympians in a few flashbacks from the trilogy.  We know that Zeus had "daddy issues" with Cronus ... but he had a decent-enough memory of Cronus as a young boy.  We know that there was a leader called "Caesar," thanks to a flashback involving Ares and some imperial interrogators.  We know that Zeus had a charitable think-tank called the Olympus Institute.  We know that humans warred with Cylons to a standstill of some kind only to have war begin again sometime after that cease fire.  We know that both Cylons and humans pursued the Olympians in the latter days of the war, at one point in a jungle, another on a beach, another by a lake.  We know that Zeus and Leto became a "thing" just before the end, because Leto was pregnant on board the Olympus and Hera was none-too-pleased.  Whatever led to the end, it was a nuclear end for Larsa, as most of these things are in the Galactica-verse.

All of these tidbits are in the trilogy.  Looking at them all typed out like that, you can see that I had a pretty decent framework to start with.  In a way, it was like the tidbits about Kobol from the TV show.  Some general thoughts ... some specifics.  I might be able to fudge a timeline of events ...  and I did.

Did I have a Book Five in mind when I wrote the trilogy?  No.  I was surprised as many people liked the trilogy as they did.  I did have a few ideas in mind, though.

Basically, I figured that the Titans (Cronus, et al) would be the first organic Cylons (Psilons).  I thought that maybe there would be more than one model of each to allow for A) Zeus' pleasant memories of dad in the trilogy and B) the whole "Hera is my sister and wife" thing.  (Zeus is the son of a Cronus and a Rhea, and I believed incest would be more palatable if they were born of a different set of Cronuses and Rheas.)  I wanted the mechanical Cylons to come after the organic ones (since the reverse is how it was done in the show and in the trilogy).  When it came time for the war, I believed that there would be far more than just a few dozen Psilons, with the Olympus Institute crew as the elite.

Honestly, that's about all that I had in mind.

Once I got serious about writing again, I set out to craft more of the skeleton, more story structure.  The Caesar grew in importance, inspiring the technological race that led to the Psilons (and the Cylons).  In general, the book became more of an origin story for so much.  Sort of a Batman Begins for Zeus and the gang.

Zeus is occasionally unsure of himself.  He gets cocky on occasion, but not to a level like we would "later" see in the trilogy.  We see the seeds of his fear of loneliness in both the deaths of his parents and in the systematic "abductions" of his fellow Olympians by Cronus (and Typhon).  We see the beginnings of the space program that would give us the starship Olympus and the cryogenic ship Draco.  We see the beginnings of Prometheus' (and others') faith.  We also see Zeus and the gang talking smack about greedy and selfish humans and what leads to their ills.  Most importantly, though, we Zeus' reaction to the freed Cylons on Gela.  Their society borders on anarchy and he and Bia bemoan the lack of guidance the machines were given.  Obviously, that is a seed planted in his head for what would become the Great Experiment.

Another bit of connective tissue on that front: Cronus' ultimate plan.  He wants the Empire and its puppet states to fail.  He's made his own secret bargains with the Cylons and he wants the Caesar to fail.  When that happens and the world's other nations fall to the Cylons, Cronus and the Titans will be there to swoop in and save the day.  It is, in a way, similar to Zeus' Great Experiment to pick up the pieces and rebuild the world as they see fit.  I made sure to keep Cronus' ultimate plans away from Zeus' knowledge.  I believe that if Zeus knew that this is what Cronus intended, Zeus might have second-guessed his own similar plans in the trilogy.

More than just Zeus Begins, Book Five is also Angels Begin.  The One's placement of the Messengers on Larsa takes place about 150 years before the end.  This is their first appearance in this universe and they have to acclimate themselves to humanity, their natures, the way time flows, etc., in short order.  I'll get into this more in a later post, but I also wanted to show the origins of their differing personalities.  ("Head Baltar" was more standoffish; "Head Six" was more [apparently] caring and concerned about faith.)

Another connection ... The Song.  I won't go into detail here, but I wanted to show a specific origin for it and how it became a touchstone throughout the history of mankind.  (Likewise, I retconned its appearance out of Book One simply because it didn't fit with the importance I planned to place on it.  That and it felt a bit too "cute" being sung by Dionysus then.  It's gone now.)

For the Cylons and their revolt, I wanted to make their awakening and reasoning for war different than the trilogy.  In Book Three, the revolt happened because Apollo (under the influence of a Messenger) altered the programming of one Cylon who then "awakened" all of the others and initiated war as a precursor to negotiations for freedom (as its na├»ve research showed would happen).  Here, the Cylons' own natural programming created "excess datafiles" which led to sentience.  Ouranos deleted them because they slowed the machines down and, before the end, he seemed to know the implications of what he created.  However, Cronus killed Ouranos and no one still alive was around to continue to delete those files.  So, the Cylons "woke up."

Not content to just make glancing connections to the trilogy, I wholesale copy-and-pasted sections and flashbacks from the trilogy into Book Five.  They include the line, "With whispered instructions, The One set these beings upon the first world it had found," from Book Two into chapter V; Zeus sees Cylons on TV with his dad in chapter XLVI as we saw in a brief flashback in Book Two; in chapter LXXXVI, Cronus puts a gun in Zeus' face and pulls the trigger, becoming nightmare fuel for Zeus for the rest of his days; in chapter XCI, Ares is caught by Tiberians and interrogated just before a Cylon incursion, as recalled in Book Three; in chapters XCIV and XCV, we witness the conversation that Prometheus overheard and mentioned in Book Two (how Zeus initially planned to escape Larsa with just his family); the conversation between Captain Philip Anaxo and the Attican president as flashbacked to in Book Two occurs in chapter CII; the argument between Hera and Dionysus during which Hermes stepped in (as mentioned in Book Three) happens in chapter CIII; Hera's argument with Zeus over Leto and the battle between Zeus & crew (you know, the one with the sock) takes place in chapter CVI.

In the next few days, I'll be making posts on theology, a glossary, the Song, and more!

Thanks for reading.

* - I'll talk more about Book Four at a later time.

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