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Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's Next for Kobol?

I've published my trilogy.  I've put out the artwork and maps that helped me write it all.  I've posted deleted scenes and even published an entire book made up of the ideas I couldn't quite work out in the first place.

Wither the Lords of Kobol?

Frankly, I don't know.

I started because I wanted these stories published and I've done that.  I've cultivated a small and enthusiastic following.  Next, I'll be publishing some original stories.  Sci-fi, for the most part, natch.  One is done and will be published the first week of December.

But what of the Lords?

I have plenty of ideas.  If I were to continue, I'd probably write Lords of Kobol - Book Zero: Of Gods And Titans.  (Yes, I already have a title.)  As you might be able to figure out, it's a prequel to the trilogy about the creation of Psilons and Cylons on Larsa.
Huh.  Look at that.

Beyond that?  A new series of books titled Colonies of Kobol.  The first would be Book One: Earth, and detail the history of the Thirteenth Tribe after their departure.  Then Book Two: Gemenon because that world was the first of the Twelve Colonies to be settled.  I don't know how many books the series would involve at this point, but I know there would be one called Virgon, because that world was the seat of Colonial power for a thousand years; Tauron, because of the civil wars and the connection to our beloved Adamas; Caprica, of course, perhaps to fill in the blanks before and/or after that oft-missed series ...
Another cover ready to go?

These are ideas and not solid plans.  I'm sorry if this disappoints anyone, but it doesn't feel right to promise that I'll start working on a dozen books just like that <snap> when I have no fleshed-out concepts.  If inspiration hits, I'll start writing.

And then I'll let you know.

In the meantime, I hope you'll give my other work a try, starting next week with the release of Displaced:

And since this begins an era of non-Kobol work, the title of the blog will be changing.  Now it will be called "Writing Kobol and Beyond."  I hope you guys will continue to stick around.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tell Me What You Think

Well, the trilogy has been done for a while and the "bonus book" has been out for nearly a month.  Before I move on to other things, I'd like to collect some thoughts on the series and reviews from everyone.

So, please, leave your comments in the section below.  Or email me at  Or drop me 140 characters on Twitter at @LordsOKobolBook.  Or 'like' me on Facebook and leave your thoughts on my wall HERE.

Again, thanks for reading these books.  I'll have a post in a few days on what my future plans are ...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Making Rules for Myself

When I was writing the books, there were a few hard and fast rules I wanted to establish for myself.  I'm not talking about the ratio of realistic to the supernatural (that's in a different post); I mean certain things I would and would not do.

Naturally, there are SPOILERS ahead for the Lords of Kobol series, as well as BSG itself.

RULE #1: Preserve the uniquity of Hera.  At no point was there ever going to be a Cylon-human hybrid baby.  Period.  She's the Mitochondrial Eve and I wasn't going to take that away from her or the show.

RULE #2: Preserve the uniquity of Kara Thrace.  I view Starbuck as a resurrected person; something truly unique in the BSG-verse.  I don't believe she's an angel because she had no "powers" and no knowledge beyond anything in her fleshly life before "Maelstrom."  The fact that The One would do something so drastic -- a direct interference in mankind's lives -- points to desperation.  There were only a few thousand people left so maybe The One needed to pull out all of the stops to make sure everything worked out.  At any rate, things in Book Three didn't get that desperate.  I felt no need to try and replicate this.

RULE #3: Preserve the Pythian cycle of time.  All these things have happened before and all these things will happen again.  Pretty simple.  Provides a good story structure.  The basic cycle seems to be this: humans create artificial intelligence, the AI revolts and destroys their makers/civilization, a remnant escapes to land somewhere and the cycle starts anew.  My desire to follow this cycle eventually led me down the wrong path and necessitated the creation of ...

RULE #4: Preserve the uniquity of Earth II.  If you've read the deleted scenes post, you know that I frakked up and had the Olympians fleeing Larsa, a planet on the other side of the galaxy and finding Kobol, a planet where primitive humans already lived.  It wasn't until I reached Zeus' big speech to the Olympians that I realized the error of this ... it showed that there was a "divine" hand involved (much like Baltar said when finding humans on Earth II).  As such, this undermined Zeus' position and boosted Prometheus'.  So Larsa became Kobol's distant past.  My desire to follow Rule #3 so precisely caused me to err.  I never considered that the planet people fled could also be the planet they lighted upon anew.  Long after I corrected this error, I devised the first chapter of Book Two which showed The One placing the seeds of sentient life on Earth II.

RULE #5: Don't be cute.  No "Adama" or "Roslin" forebears.  No big winks at the reader.  I think I accomplished that.  For quite a while, the gunships built and launched with the exodus (such as the Adrestia) in Book Three were called "gunstars," but I thought that was a bit too close to a wink.  (Though I wasn't opposed to it because of The Last Starfighter connection.)  There are a few in-jokes, slightly repurposed lines from Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings ... MST3K fans probably had a good laugh when I began a chapter in Book One with, "Watch out for snakes."  But that's about as far as I was willing to go.

RULE #6: Don't explain God.  This one is covered rather thoroughly in my text-dense treatise on Theology in BSG, Caprica and Lords of Kobol.  I never wanted to explain what God was, but after I wrote the first chapter in Book Two (the last thing I wrote for the trilogy), I kinda decided I could bend this rule by writing Book Four.

That's pretty much it.  Other than maintaining these rules, the biggest thing I had to do was connect the dots from the show, and I've already discussed how I've done that in earlier posts.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Theology of BSG, Caprica & Lords of Kobol

(UPDATE: After the release of Book Five, I made another post on BSG Theology which can be found HERE.)

Get ready for a lengthy dissection of faith, angels, The One True God and the Lords of Kobol.

SPOILERS abound for all four books in the Lords of Kobol series.

Download them HERE.

This post is going to be text heavy and philosophical.  Well, not completely.  But still.  I think it would be best to start after a JUMP.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing, Part IV B: Answering My Own Questions

This is the Book Four version of a post I made a month ago.  In case you're wondering, the trilogy's sequence of events are the ones I would rather consider canon, but Book Four is an interesting diversion; an alternate take on the history of the show as laid out in the series.

A few months ago, I pasted the first thing I typed up for LoK: a list of events and facts about Kobol we knew from the show.  Here, I will repost it, line by line, and explain how I tackled each tidbit in my head before I sat down to write to Book Four.

If you haven't already, download the entire trilogy (plus two) right HERE for free.

SPOILERS abound.  This post is for Book Four only; the post related to the trilogy (Books One - Three) is HERE.

The issues related to theology, The One, the "angels" and so on will be dealt with in a future post.

Distant past - Flood nearly destroys mankind.

In the trilogy, an asteroid hit the nearby sea and washed away most of the village, leading to the descent of the gods from the mountain.  In Book Four, I didn't want to go the asteroid route again, so I let the gods flex their muscles and Zeus washed away Prometheus' Thirteenth Tribe in a fit of pride/jealousy/fear.

2,000 years before Exodus - 13th tribe leaves for Earth (Why?); Temple of Hopes built on Algae Planet

If the Thirteenth Tribe was a pill to deal with in the trilogy, it was harder in Book Four.  Once I decided to work the "relation" angle between the Tribe and the gods in the trilogy, it kind of fell in place.  For Book Four, it had to be different, obvs.

With the gods as "angels"/messengers, I decided to work the Prometheus angle and tie him to the Tribe.  It makes sense, if you know the Greek mythology, since Prometheus gave knowledge to the people that Zeus didn't want them to have.  In most interpretations of Greek tales, this knowledge is usually represented as fire.  For the trilogy, Prometheus' conveyed knowledge was about The One and (supposedly) Larsa's true history. In Book Four, it's more explicit as Prometheus directly gives the people he gathered knowledge about life & death (DNA and resurrection, with Asclepius' help), space travel and The One.  All of this pisses Zeus off and makes him feel threatened ... if the Thirteenth Tribe were to mingle among the Twelve, the work the gods had accomplished over the last few centuries would be undone (in Zeus' mind).  So, Flood.

Their later departure is obvious enough, too.  Prometheus wants the Tribe to survive at all costs, so once Zeus cracks down after they get resurrection tech, their ship takes off (with Aurora on board).  Aurora's own "fire" and her prayers with the five people nearest her, later protected by Atlas, protects those six from Zeus' interference.

It's not explicit in the book, but Aurora goes on to be a leader of the Tribe since she is a goddess among the people (as they now believe).  Aurora knows the truth of the situation, but she decided to keep the peace and try to help as much as possible.  The five people who were shielded from Zeus, though, build the Temple of Hopes on the Algae Planet and dedicate it to "The One Whose Name Can Not Be Spoken," all with Aurora's help.  (After all, how will five priests in the service of an unknown god survive in a society that is polytheist toward a specific set?  Now, in the trilogy, these five were priests in those gods' service to begin with.  Not so here.)

1,500-1,600 years before Exodus - Pythia writes her prophecies, etc., for the Sacred Scrolls

In the trilogy, Pythia's interactions with the messenger being (the tender) form bookends.  Book Four, however, shows Pythia in a wholly different light as she has been imbued with the light of Gaia.  (There are some myths that connect Gaia with the oracles at Delphi.)  She is a member of the Thirteenth Tribe and since she has the fire and knowledge of a tender, she knows the whole truth of the situation, The Wager and more.  She also, thanks to her connection with Aurora and others who fled to Earth I, can sense things on that world and foresee moments in Kobol's future, unlike the Pantheon.  This makes her "prophecies" and writings much more important and truthful.

But Pythia knows her place, too.  She knows the truth of Kobol and these "gods," yet she still works to compile the Sacred Scrolls and does nothing to undermine the Lords' authority.  Her place is to write certain things so those thoughts can be preserved and looked to in later times.  She herself says something like her words are for "other worlds besides" Kobol, because she knows humanity will flee and the Sacred Scrolls will also guide people as they flee the Colonies.

1,000 years before Exodus - probe from 13th tribe is left in Lion Head Nebula

As I noted in the previous "Writing, Part IV" post, the timing alluded to in the series regarding the beacon is at odds with the timeline crafted elsewhere on the show.  Again, I stuck with the lineage they already made so the probe was left behind by Thirteenth Tribers coming back to Kobol as it was in the trilogy.  The difference this time relates to the shell that surrounds Kobol, placed there by The One to limit the tenders' powers.  They still have the illness that clung onto the beacon to infect the Cylons thousands of years later.  Books, the illness and other mementos from Earth survive the crash of the returning vessel (including the Arrow of Apollo ... see below).

Time of the Exodus -
Cylon revolt? (Confrontation at the "home of the gods?")

Again, we've never been told explicitly that Cylons revolted on Kobol, but it plays into the Pythia's cycle of time.  I called them "DoMeks" (dokeo mekanima - Greek for "thinking machines") just to mix it up.  The DoMeks were created by Hephaestus and his people to alleviate the labors of mankind, much like they did in the trilogy.

"Blaze" pursues mankind from the City of the Gods (nuclear?)

In the trilogy, the "Blaze" was nuclear.  In this alternate version, why not something different?  I forget when the idea solidified, but I became fully convinced to do it when I wrote Pythia's death scene.  She is suffering from an intense fever (thanks to the fire of Gaia burning through) and her vision is flashing ahead to the end of days on Kobol and she simply says, "Blaze."  Done.  The "Blaze" is a fever.  Tying it to a life and vanity extending desire of Aphrodite came later.

Again, I wanted to kill as many people as possible to make Kobol uninhabited later, so the Blaze needed to be really effective.  I looked to "Captain Trips" in The Stand which had a 99.4% mortality rate and backed off a little bit on that.  The few remaining Thirteenth Tribers survived and the remaining 1% survived.  Whoever didn't make it onto the ship would be picked off easily by DoMeks.

Human sacrifice (leaders at Tomb of Athena)

A big part of this story was that the gods could inhabit people as they had sex and they could pour out, so to speak, a bit of their "holy fire" into the offspring.  This diminishes the gods and after a few millennia of this, they know they want their "fire" rekindled.  Ares gets involved in sacrifices thanks to his innate desire to feed off rage.  Hecate does at least one sacrifice.  Zeus gets into it because he senses a slight flame of spirit within humanity that he feels warmed by as they die, though it does nothing to stoke their own fire.  At the Tomb of Athena, once The One has made them mortal, he kills all the leaders in a final desperate act to try to reclaim that energy.

It's all spacey/abstract stuff, but I'll delve into more in that future theology post.

Choice between the ship or the high road into the mountains

The ship gets made because Prometheus' designs survived and Apollo asked that a vessel be built.  I liked the hypocrisy of the gods in wanting to keep Prometheus down for giving people too much knowledge, yet over the next couple thousand years, they parcel out pieces of Prometheus' work.  Still, the ship gets filled up and the remainder flee into the mountains up the road toward the Tomb (where Zeus sacrifices the leaders).

Gravestones along the path

Again, easy.  The Blaze fells quite a few as they march into the mountains.

Mankind (12 or 13 tribes?) leaves from the Great Meadow aboard a ship named Galleon

I again preserved the ability for the Thirteenth Tribe to blend into the Twelve, which allows the inconsistency of the show on this issue to continue.  Mithras was mentioned in a season four episode of the show so I made him a leader of the Thirteenth Tribe that boards the ship.

And just one ship.  Not a full "caravan of the heavens" as it was in the trilogy.

Athena's suicide in despair over mankind's departure at Gates of Hera

Again, making Athena love the people so much that she would want to die when it all came crashing down ... that's all I needed to do.

(Who built Athena's Tomb if they all left?)

In the trilogy, the Tomb was built as a memorial to those who died in the Flood and as a shrine to Athena.  For Book Four, I knew I needed the Tomb to exist beforehand, too.  Thanks to the fornicating ways of the gods, there were lots of demigods so why not a Tomb of Heroes?  Isn't it cool to think that those caskets Adama and the others were standing next to contained the bones of Heracles, Atalanta, Theseus and more?

Arrow of Apollo

The Arrow was crafted by Apollo's worshipers on Earth I and the god really appreciated the gesture.  Since he wanted the people of Kobol to see their brothers on Earth again, he "hallowed" the Arrow and the Tomb of Heroes (meaning, did some magic shit) so the people inside could see the stars of Earth I and find their way there.

See the earlier post for details on how the stars of Earth I could have been similar to the stars of Earth II.

Once The One came back, it knew that the Tomb had been "hallowed" with the "wrong stars," so he made Athena go in and adjust it.  Done and done.

"Lower Demon" helped mankind

No fuzziness here.  There was a maintenance DoMek at the Forum that helped Zeus and the others.  Later, he was programmed to deliver a computer virus into the DoMek network that acted like a Blaze, too.

Dying leader

Thestor, High Pantheonic Priest.  Not nearly as much characterization as Stephen Acastus or Laura Roslin, but he serves his purpose.

Serpents "numbering two and ten"

There are allusions to snakes throughout, but especially in the scene when Zeus finds Asclepius and the twelve (wink) Thirteenth Tribers.  He sees their connections to resurrection equipment as long, snake-like tendrils that emerge from their heads and trail off toward the south.

God abandons Kobol (why?)

This will be dealt with more extensively in the future theology post, but I think it's pretty plain.  The One "harvests" the "trees" created by thinking beings' choices and free will.  The tenders were supposed to cultivate these trees but instead they were poisoned by the tenders' own fires, knowledge the people weren't ready for and other things, plus the tenders were "pruning" branches of the trees thanks to their own petty desires.  The gods created only a stump and this was something The One couldn't do anything with, so reboot on other worlds.

Zeus warns fleeing humanity not to return; "exact a price in blood"

The One issues the warning through Zeus directly this time.

humanity left Kobol after a "jealous god" tried to take over

Again, this tidbit comes from a deleted scene, wherein Elosha answers Tigh's question about humanity's exodus.  Because it's deleted, I don't think it's necessarily part of canon.

I'll get into more in that future theology post, but I didn't make The One jealous in this version of the tale.  In the trilogy, yes, The One appears to be very jealous.  Not so much here.  I did, however, let Agathe see a quarrel among the gods so if something got written down about a fight between the Lords, it would make sense.

(All BSG pics are from

Thursday, November 3, 2011

OG Cylon Ornament Review

What says "Merry Christmas" better than the instrument of mankind's destruction?

Hallmark stores have Cylon Centurion ornaments on their shelves so you can now have the shiny menace from 1978 aim its rifle at you from the branches of your own tree.

Designed by longtime Hallmark ornament artist Nello Williams, the Centurion is well-sculpted even if it isn't finely detailed.  The appropriate bits are painted to be shiny and chrome-like, while black and gray make up the rest of the color scheme.  The base is a glossy black oval with the original Battlestar Galactica logo on the front.  The button for the sound is by its right foot.

Yes, sound.

It has four phrases: "By your command" (natch), "Colonial Viper squadrons approaching in large numbers," "Our Raiders are still engaged against the Galactica," and "These humanoids are not well constructed; they damage easily."  The sound is very clear and it's awesome to hear that vocoder again.


For me, this was a big "but."  I'm standing in the Hallmark store looking at dozens of ornaments.  There's a Peanuts oranment that makes sound and lights up.  There's the Nautilus from Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and it lights up.  There's a Romulan Bird of Prey from Star Trek that lights up, even though the ship didn't on the show.

Why doesn't the Cylon have a lighted eye?

That eye is what most people remember about those characters.  Instead, there's a little red rectangle painted in the eye slot.  An LED would have done wonders for this figure.  For me, it wouldn't even have to move -- maybe just a slow fade up and fade down.  (Given some of the wizardry I've seen on other ornaments, I'm sure they could come up with a way to make it move ... or appear to.)  They could have also put the droning noise from the show in the sound files.

Don't get me wrong.  It looks nice and sounds great.  And I am grateful that our show was given this honor.  But if it were hanging from my tree, I would only be able to look at it and wish they had gone the extra mile.

It is sold in Hallmark stores only, not online, for $19.99.  (If it had the light, I would have paid $29.99 happily.)

The official Hallmark page for the ornament is HERE.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mapping Kobol, Part IV

Since the world as depicted in the trilogy is the same as what was depicted on the show:

... I saw no need to alter it for the purposes of this story.  The lands are the same shapes, the mountains and rivers run the same lengths, the nations have the same borders.  Cities are in different places, though.  And there are a few other plot-driven alterations you may notice.

Click on the below pic for a much larger and full-color version of the map you'll find in the beginning of Book Four: