The Racetrack Chronicle spans a period of approximately nine years. It begins six years before the events of the Battlestar Galactica Miniseries and concludes a few weeks after the end of the series finale, Daybreak, which aired nine years ago today. But the continuity in which all my BSG writing takes place, I think, embraces a particular vision of the entire post-exodus history of the twelve colonies. Let’s call it the “Maggieverse” to remind us who in all this is the central, animating figure.
In addition to the Chronicle itself, that continuity now sprawls over thirteen published shorts (one-shots, deleted-scenes, and lacunae) with at least three more to come, a second novel in the works (Evaded Cadence), and a whole legendarium’s worth of ancillary materials which may or may not ever see the light of day (an anthology of short-stories, tables, charts, production-materials, essays, concept-art, and the like entitled The Racetrack Apocrypha, anyone?).
The backstory between Edward T. Yeatts’ Lords of Kobol trilogy —embraced as canon in the Carillon one-shot—and Caprica, and thence down to “the present day” is outlined in the Enchiridion, found in Appendix 4 of the Chronicle. Excerpts from the in-universe author Claude Bentinck’s magisterial histories of Virgon show up here and there in the shorts to flesh out details. (Bentinck is a thinly-veiled Edward Gibbon figure.)
I scare-quote “present-day” only to observe that for narrative purposes, it is almost always “now,” flashbacks, premonitions, and plot-devices aside. Generally-speaking, “now” means the Twelve Colonies on the cusp of the Fall or wherever we are relative to the “narrative cursor” in the Chronicle. (Pro-tip: In the Chronicle, you can tell whether it’s “now” or “then” based on whether the chirons are italicized.)
More broadly, the general timeframe for our “present-day” is two thousand Caprican (Gemenese, technically) years “A.E.”—after the exodus from Kobol under Stephen Acastus, the event with which volume three of Yeatts’ Kobol trilogy concludes. That’s because “Caprica” take place 58 years before the Fall (a chiron during the opening scene of that show tells us) and 1,942 years after the exodus (the Serge Graystone twitter account that was maintained by the showrunners during the show’s run told us). While different worlds have different years (and so calendars: Several fan organizations use “Military Date,” which I have assigned to the year of Canceron and Aerilon), it seemed reasonable to use “x [years] AE” as an in-universe dating system. Thus, for example, Maggie Edmondson is born on March 18, 1,973 AE.
Against that backdrop we can organize the published shorts in time:
- 1892 AE: Carillon (one-shot)
- 1948 AE: Atalanta (one-shot)
- 0 minus 25 months: Sovremennyy (one-shot)
- 0 minus 18 months: Lacuna #1
- 0 minus 17 months: Dry-Dock (one-shot)
- 0 minus 16 months (December 16, 1998): Chalk (lacuna)
- Zero-hour (0700, April 15, 2000 AE: Dustman Down (one-shot), and Aftermath: Aquaria (one-shot)
- Approximately day 175 (October 2000): Two Lowell shorts here and here.
- Day 1,139 (May 29, 2003): In the Eye of the Storm (ch. 1) (lacuna)
- Day 1,161 (June 20, 2003): Crossroads deleted scene (lacuna)
- Daybreak: The Last Rites (lacuna)
In The Racetrack Chronicle itself, “Poseidon” (excepting a flashback to 1983 and very brief coda in December 1998) takes place between 1994 and 1997. “Galactica” takes place between December 1998 and June 2000, i.e. sixteen months before the Fall to just over two months after it. “Vespers” takes place during the last three weeks before the Fall with a brief coda on Day 1,116, i.e. the timeframe of “The Son Also Rises,” shortly before In The Eye of the Storm. And “Rubicon” starts on Day 1,189, i.e. “Escape Velocity,” and spans the remainder of Season Four. (Evaded Cadence jumps around a little, but is bookended by a funeral in mid-1998 and the Fall.)
I’ll mention a few of the shorts with which I’m particularly happy:
- Aftermath: Aquaria and Dustman Down take place on the morning of the Fall, and capture ground-level glimpses of the the attacks that we hadn’t seen in the show (or The Plan). The former gives us some information about Aquaria and shows us what happens there, and the latter I think is probably one of my strongest bits of work, despite playing to none of my strengths and being wholly outside of my usual character-focused approach.
- The Crossroads deleted scene, which weaves through Racetrack’s appearances in that episode, is our chronologically-first alarm-bell that Maggie, after a brief period of being relatively happy (as you’ll see in the Vespers coda and In The Eye of the Storm) is plunging back into depression as we go into season four.
- Sovremennyy, Dry-Dock, Lacuna 1, and City of Lights (forthcoming) are worth mentioning because they’re close to the original “adventures of Racetrack & Spitfire” concept that I had for a preview take place during the ensign year on the Triton. They’re just fun-—a relatively happy Maggie and an ebullient but more seasoned Abigail running around various interesting sights in the world of the Fleet.
- Atalanta was the first canonical appearance of Margaret Cavendish (always played in my head by Rekha Sharma), of Picon, the first President of the Colonies for whom Maggie will later be named, and Adm. Bethany Page, of Canceron. (I was gratified to be given the opportunity to work with Chris Dykes at CMOD to include Cavendish in an article on the founding of Colonial Day.) Carillon is not especially strong, to be honest, but it stands out as an attempt to do some straight-up worldbuilding, to show us a lot about the worlds through the vehicle of a little story about some of the humans who are living in them.