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Stargate SG-1
Ashley McConnell
Roc Books, 202 pages

Stargate SG-1
Ashley McConnell
Ashley McConnell is currently writing a series of novels based on Stargate SG-1. The first is a novelization, while the others are expected to be originals based on the series. Her past work has included novels based on TV series including Quantum Leap and Highlander: The Series. She has written a fantasy trilogy: The Fountains of Mirlacca, The Itinerant Exorcist and The Courts of Sorcery.

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A review by Todd Richmond


It seems that every science fiction/fantasy show spawns a series of related books: X-Files, Highlander, Babylon 5, Star Trek and now Stargate. First a major motion picture, then a weekly television series, and now a number of books based on that series.

Stargate SG-1 is the first book of six, set over a year after the events in the motion picture. For those not familiar with the movie, a brief synopsis: Dr. Daniel Jackson, an out-of-favor Egyptologist, is recruited by a secret military project to translate some hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs are the key to a stargate, an ancient artifact discovered among the Egyptian pyramids in the early 1900s. With Jackson's help, they discover how to operate the stargate and send an expedition, led by Colonel Jack O'Neill, through to investigate. O'Neill, Jackson and a small group of soldiers discover an extraordinary civilization on the other side of the stargate ( a planet called Abydos) ruled by a member of an alien race, the Goa'uld, that uses human beings as parasitic hosts.

Stargate SG-1 picks up the story sometime later. Without warning, the Earth's stargate activates and six hostile aliens step through. The soldiers guarding the gate drive them off, but not before the aliens kidnap a female soldier. O'Neill is called out of retirement to help deal with the new threat. He returns with a team to Abydos, only to discover that the Abydos gate has not been activated. Soon it becomes clear that there is a vast network of gates in place throughout the galaxy, the Goa'uld are far from extinct and they are still preying on humans. Besides posing a threat to Earth, the Goa'uld make things very personal by kidnapping Daniel's wife, Sha're and her brother, Skaara.

Stargate SG-1 does an adequate job of transcribing the television show. But, unfortunately, that's all it does. Books based on television shows can be very enjoyable, especially when they expand on the original and add depth and detail to characters and events. Sadly, that is not the case with Stargate SG-1. The book lacks sufficient detail to fully explain the events that take place here, let alone expand on the original. The details about the Goa'uld and the stargates and how they operate are all sketchy at best. The characters are one dimensional, spouting unemotional dialogue. You will not get a clear idea of what any of the characters are supposed to be like from the book -- you're expected to know what they're like from the movie (or from television show). It's easier, I think, for actors to show emotion and convey feeling with body language, than it is for writers to relate them with the written word.

Stargate SG-1 isn't up to the task. If you've seen the television show, there's no point in reading the book. If you haven't seen the show, rather than spending money on the book, you'd be better off trying to find the series on one of your local cable channels, or renting the film from your local video store.

Copyright © 1998 by Todd Richmond

Todd is a plant molecular developmental biologist who has finally finished 23 years of formal education. He recently fled Madison, WI for the warmer but damper San Francisco Bay Area and likes bad movies, good science fiction, and role-playing games. He began reading science fiction at the age of eight, starting with Heinlein, Silverberg, and Tom Swift books, and has a great fondness for tongue-in-cheek fantasy Óla Terry Pratchett, Craig Shaw Gardner and Robert Asprin.

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