Sagittarius is Bleeding

May 19, 2009

Novel by Peter David.  Review by spacepug.

I’m already missing Battlestar Galactica, so I thought I would try to fill the void by finally getting a hold of the novels, starting with Sagittarius is Bleeding by Peter David.  Below is a brief (but spoiler-free) summary of the book and my thoughts.

sagbleedAs the story begins, Laura Roslin has been miraculously cured of cancer thanks to a transfusion from the unborn child of Sharon Valerii, but now she is haunted by dreams of blood and death.  She wonders if the cure had a nasty side effect, or is she just going mad?

Battlestar Galactica was one of my favourite TV shows.  Laura Roslin was my favourite character on the show.  Peter David is one of my favourite writers.  I should have liked this book much more than I did.

One of my usual criteria for judging any novelization is how well the writer captures the essence of the characters we’ve seen on TV.  David is certainly adept at that, as his many Star Trek novels will attest.  He does an admirable job of portraying both Laura’s vulnerabilities and inner strength.  He even gets inside Sharon’s head in a way that I found more compelling than her TV portrayal.  There isn’t a false note to any of them.

Perhaps the biggest drawback with this novel is that so much of the plot is driven by characters who aren’t in the TV series, namely Boxey and newcomer Freya Gunnerson.  The plot is well constructed and unfolds in an unexpected and exciting confrontation at the end of the book.  Almost until the end however, it seemed the plot wasn’t going anywhere.  There was no sense of imminent danger.  One of the biggest challenges in writing a TV show novelization must be that you have to create a sense of threat and intrigue, and yet are unable to truly alter the path or mindset of any of the characters in order to preserve the “canon.”   This novel was first published in 2006, and unfortunately the ending makes little sense, as events on the TV series have since overtaken these and resolved in a very different way.

It was a quick and moderately enjoyable read.  If you want to experience some of the true genius of Peter David, find one of the Star Trek: New Frontier novels.  His Captain Mackenzie Calhoun is one of my favourite creations in the entire Trek universe.  For a really satisfying BSG novel, I’m going to have to keep reading.  Next up in my sights: Unity by Steven Harper.

One comment

  1. I work at a library and I’ve been wanting to read these books especially by Peter David. When he writes in a particular series, he gets it for the fans like seeing the planet killer character in the original trek versus the borg from TNG.
    As you mentioned Boxey, that’s exactly what David does with these elements and then he gives us a great story. I’m looking forward now to reading this book over the summer until The Plan is aired in September. While David is a masterful writer, Imzadi II was the worst book I ever read by him.

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