Go Ahead — You Do Better Than This With Those Words

Battlestar Galactica is quintessential science fiction for our modern era. Science fiction is not about some future where problems are solved by technology — it is about the challenges we face in the modern world; it uses a futuristic setting or a fictional technology to highlight the contemporary issues it would have us face. Adroitly addressing contemporary social, political, and even economic issues in a challenging manner, Battlestar Galactica’s characters confront a variety of difficult and unpleasant choices. The moral dilemmas of today play out across Edward James Olmos’ crenellated face, and we can see in the penumbrae of the characters’ situations many of the same ethical problems we confront in our collective lives — the role of the military in a democracy; the morality of abortion; the challenge of living up to the virtue of religious tolerance. The writers do this without being pedantic and often enough with a light enough hand that only too late do we realize we have been hoodwinked into identifying with the side we would ordinarily consider “the enemy,” Now that the story arc has reached a point where the characters’ circuitous route to their destination is completed, and they find only a wasteland, the narrative must take a new direction, and confront an eternal sort of question: If paradise is lost, what next? Will mankind succumb to a soporific depression? Or can new meaning, new challenges, new hope for survival and even prosperity be found? We will have to wait until early 2009 for the final portion of the last season of Battlestar Galactica to find out.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.