In December 2003, the Sci-Fi Channel presented Ronald Moore’s re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica to fans with a three-hour miniseries. A weekly series followed, first airing in the United States in early 2005. The series received wide acclaim from science fiction fans and garnered positive reviews from mainstream publications including Time and Rolling Stone magazines.
As with most popular television series, a portion of Battlestar Galactica‘s fans expressed their love for the show by writing fanfiction. On the website fanfiction.net there are over 5,200 stories classified as Battlestar Galactica: 2003. Many of these stories are shipper tales, and the BSG series provided plenty of ammunition for relationship stories.
A significant number of fan writers, though, found the concept of surviving a genocide to be compelling and chose to answer the question “What if there were other groups of survivors?” One such tale was spun in the discussion forums hosted by the SciFi channel and followed another battlestar named Gemicon. The Gemicon tale was the product of a group of writers and followed a role-play format where a scene would be posted by one writer and others would then react.
As a result of creative differences, the majority of the Gemicon writers departed in early 2006. One of these writers, Hazend, started the site BattlestarCentral.com on May 3rd 2006 and many of the core Gemicon writers joined shortly after. On May 8th, with the words “Radiological Alarm!”, the first episode of Battlestar Libra began. Eleven days and 169 posts later, “From the Ashes” reached its conclusion. By the end of 2006, the Libra tale had completed its twentieth episode.
Battlestar Libra maintained the same post-by-post style of its predecessor, although the writers refined the method. They often held meetings via instant messaging software, and the planning that occurred in those meetings was reflected in Libra’s story arcs. There was also a significant amount of behind-the-camera discussion carried on in the private forums of Battlestar Central, primarily in what was dubbed the Libra Watercooler. Beginning in January of 2007, another private forum was begun where Libra writers could craft posts which required more intensive collaboration.
Libra underwent other changes as well. Episodes were growing in complexity, fueled by Libra’s own history and the writers’ depth of planning. The Real World was affecting the amount of time Libra’s core writers could devote to the project. Episodes were taking longer to write, with just nine more being completed during 2007 and only two each in 2008 and 2009.
The year 2009 also marked the end of the Battlestar Galactica series on the SciFi channel. Battlestar Libra now faced the challenge of continuing on while the show upon which it was based was over. One thing that worked to their advantage was their timeline – by the in-story calendar Libra had only progressed to a point concurrent with Battlestar Galactica‘s second season. They also hoped that with BSG now completed, some fans might turn to Libra to get their BSG fix.
The years since have presented quite a few challenges to the Libra team. Real Life has usurped more and more time from the writers, especially Hazend whose law enforcement career is extremely demanding. Marriage, divorce, job changes and death have touched their lives. Writers who were long-time members of the team have departed. The time required to complete an episode has stretched to a point that would have been unimaginable in 2006.
Yet here we are. It is 2016 and the Libra is still fighting. Episode 37 is underway, and while each of us involved in the project is aware of the challenges we face, we are all still committed to continuing the story. If you were ever a Battlestar fan, or if you just enjoy science fiction in general, come visit BattlestarCentral. Our early episodes may be a bit rough around the edges, but I sincerely believe you’ll enjoy our tale.