Frakking Cylons!
November 30, 2007 11:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested in coming to a more academic understanding of Battlestar Galactica (particularly Cylons). Are there any resources or texts out there which can help me?

I've scoured the library, but haven't found much. The show is relatively new, so mostly, I've just been reading about more general topics: cyborgs, post-apocalyptic literature, etc.
posted by matkline to Education (19 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
The original BSG was produced in the late 70's, when there was a lot of new technology being developed (computers, AI, etc). So, a lot of the science fiction from that time reflects the anxiety that comes with big social change. You should check out stuff like Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Logan's Run, Soylent Green, etc.

I'm sure that there will be academic texts out there, too, but I'll leave that up to someone with specific references.
posted by lhall at 11:26 AM on November 30, 2007


"The Cylons were created by man ... they rebelled."

So that being said ... start with an academic understanding of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the ur-work where man tries to play God and create another man.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:27 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Start with analysing concepts of "the Other"
posted by Wilder at 11:28 AM on November 30, 2007


The original BSG was produced in the late 70's [...] big social change

Post-Vietnam-war, too.
posted by Leon at 11:28 AM on November 30, 2007


Google Scholar has some stuff.
posted by exogenous at 11:28 AM on November 30, 2007


Starbuck "How did you come to crash?"

Cylon: "We were taking a vote on a course change when the planet come up and hit us"
posted by Freedomboy at 11:29 AM on November 30, 2007


I am sure there are a lot of blogs out there but you can read books on history to see the parallel in the story. Particularly any history that involves occupation, especially in India by the Brits, Africa starting with Portugese, and Korea by Japan and Chinese, and etc. Literature wise, you can start with Shakespeare's The Tempest.
posted by icollectpurses at 11:30 AM on November 30, 2007




Wow! Great answers, Everyone. There are more BSG fans out there than I expected.
posted by matkline at 11:39 AM on November 30, 2007


There are more BSG fans out there than I expected.

Canada's Globe and Mail ran a large piece on the new BSG last weekend in the Review section. It may still be available online. It has a serious following.
posted by GuyZero at 11:49 AM on November 30, 2007


The bit about Cylons altering their reality at whim to skin the sharper-image-esque base stars could be a reference to phenomenology.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:53 AM on November 30, 2007


Don't miss the Battlestar Wiki.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:04 PM on November 30, 2007


Wow, I'm surprised that there are academic books out there already. I found two more (searching "cylons battlestar galactica" on that giant online bookseller) that sound like they could fit what you're looking for, but they don't seem to be released yet: Cylons in America and Knowledge Here Begins Out There.
posted by onoclea at 12:16 PM on November 30, 2007


I was part of a forum on BSG at the site In Media Res (scroll down). My piece was titled "The Human Rights of Cylons 'as a race'." Fun to do, even if there was not as much discussion as one would like.
posted by Mngo at 12:25 PM on November 30, 2007


So that being said ... start with an academic understanding of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the ur-work where man tries to play God and create another man.

Not quite the ur-Text, I'm afriad. Shelley was drawing on the legends of the Golem.
posted by felix betachat at 1:48 PM on November 30, 2007


It's not out yet, but David Lavery's Unlocking Battlestar Galactica may be of some use. Lavery has a history of examining television series from an academic viewpoint. He's done Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Files, Sopranos, Deadwood, and a ton of others.

Quite a nice guy as well, not that I'm biased just because he used to teach at my university.
posted by teleri025 at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2007


Felgerkarb!
posted by kookoobirdz at 5:18 PM on November 30, 2007


I would also suggest any analysis of Issac Azimov's robot books, especially I Robot, and the book Blade Runner was based on, Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep?

The reason I suggest this is that many of the questions posed about Cylons are also posed in these stories and they have been around long enough to get a ton of critical analysis.
posted by slavlin at 8:28 PM on November 30, 2007


No-one seems to have mentioned the Bible, it seems like Exodus would be relevant.
posted by biffa at 1:18 AM on December 4, 2007


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