“My Triumphs, My Mistakes” – a Publishing History

Brought to you by the BSG Fandom House Press Corp.

Fox News First Edition

The BSG Fandom House Press Corporation was the first publishing house to release a professionally bound and typeset version of Giaus Baltar’s infamous autobiography: “My Triumphs, My Mistakes.” Prior to its publication, various attempts to ban black market copies of the book by the Roslin Administration only meant that there was a lucrative publishing venture to be had for anyone willing to buck the tide of public opinion. For better or ill, Fandom House was the first bona fide publisher to step into the breach.

To avoid controversy, the first print edition of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” was completely unabridged, copied word-for-word from the original (unbound) computer printout version of the book which had been circulated anonymously throughout the fleet. However, this certainly didn’t stop the Fandom House editorial staff from attempting to imbue the cover jacket with a controversy all its own. Also known as the “ménage a trios” cover, the Fandom House graphic design department claimed that it had received a compromising picture of Dr. Baltar from the Cylon Basestar upon which he was held captive for a time.

In the grand tradition of press freedoms granted by the Colonial Constitution, the editorial staff of Fandom House refused to reveal the actual source of the photo, hence the fanciful picture of Dr. Baltar literally “lying in bed” with the enemy has never been fully authenticated. Subsequently, the first edition cover completely sold out its initial print run and was never reprinted.

Iowa PBS Frontline Edition

Also known as the “Little Blue Book,” the second Fandom House edition of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” eventually went on to out-sell all other print versions of the book, including print runs by rival publishers. The original text was still presented in unabridged from, but the chapter structure was slightly altered from the first edition so that Baltar’s various essays and musings could be grouped together thematically rather than in chronological order. While this editorial decision was not without its detractors, it should be noted that this is the only edition of the book officially endorsed by the Cult of Baltar, and the only reprinted version of the book which Dr. Baltar himself ever claimed authorship. Initially the Cult of Baltar threatened to sue Fandom House for copyright infringement until an out-of-court settlement decreed that Dr. Baltar’s estate would receive residual royalty checks from Fandom House in subsequent reprints.

The portrait on the left side of the cover jacket for this edition was derived from actual surveillance footage of Dr. Baltar during his imprisonment aboard Battlestar Galactica. The picture was taken shortly after President Roslin had confiscated Batar’s only pen, obviously hoping to forestall the book’s completion. The fact that Baltar managed to finish his book despite Roslin’s repeated attempts at interference is hailed by many of Baltar’s more religiously devout followers as a sign that the finished tome must have been the result of divine providence.

Bill Moyers Deep Thought Edition

Often derided as the “Copy-Cat” edition, this version of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” is actually a bit of a collector’s item amongst Baltar purists since it is comprised entirely of photo-copied prints of Dr. Baltar’s original hand-penned notes for the book. Notoriously difficult to read and structurally baffling, this is the only version of the book which academic scholars have come to rely on as “authentic” insofar as it’s as close to the original source material to which they can possibly aspire.

Of course, the main reason this book sold particularly well in its initial print run is due in no small part to the comprehensive afterword written by Baltar’s former legal counsel, Romo Lampkin. This is where Lampkin famously claimed that he was the primary supplier of pens to Dr. Baltar during his imprisonment. As one of the foremost legal scholars of his day, Mr. Lampkin certainly attracted a long list of strident critics, most of whom decried his sensationalistic “confession” as a cheap publicity stunt. That being said, it’s no small irony that the most often quoted portions of Mr. Lampkin’s vast body of work are usually borrowed from the afterword to a book he never actually wrote.

Oprah Book of the Month Club Edition

Fandom House attempted to market the fourth print edition of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” to a readership openly sympathetic to Dr. Baltar and his various causes (hence the subtitle: “One Man’s Journey”). It was also the first book published by Fandom House to receive an open endorsement from the Cylon Collective.

The edition itself is essentially the same unabridged version as the second printing, but the afterword by D’anna Biers does cast some of Dr. Baltar’s more extravagant behavior in a whole new light. It came as surprising news to most that Baltar was treated with suspicion and contempt even during his extended stay amongst the Cylons. Particularly moving was D’anna visceral description of Cylon invasive interrogation techniques and how she eventually came to think of Giaus Baltar as a fellow soul mate who was on a parallel track to spiritual enlightenment.

While most serious scholars are dismissive of Ms. Biers’ unusual point of view, her essay describing the short time she spent with Dr. Baltar proved extremely popular amongst certain female members of Baltar’s cult following. In fact, many cultists in Baltar’s “inner circle” claim to strongly identify with D’anna’s spiritual struggle for self knowledge and her ultimate epiphany of Baltar’s strangely benevolent presence in her life. The most hotly contested portion of D’anna’s ramblings center around her complaints that she often had to share Baltar’s bed with someone named “Caprica” (this revelation may lend credence to the sensational “ménage a trios” picture on the cover of the first edition – or not). Strangely enough, most female cultists seem to be able to identify with this peculiar aspect of D’anna’s strained relationship with Baltar as well.

CBS Dan Blather Edition

As if in response to the “One Man’s Journey” edition, the Command Staff of the Colonial Fleet insisted on a fifth reprinting of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes,” this time with an afterword from Admiral William Adama himself. Admr. Adama claimed to have a unique insight into Dr. Baltar’s frame of mind if only because he had been the senior interrogation specialist present during Baltar’s initial debriefing shortly after the Temple of Five conflagration (hence the subtitle: “A Plea From a Troubled Mind”).

Literary critics and legal scholars alike complained that Admr. Adama was attempting to retro-actively justify Blatar’s acquittal, a blatant attempt to re-argue the case with a “criminal insanity defense” long after the final verdict had already been declared. No one bought it, literally or philosophically. This is the only publication of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” upon which Fandom House ultimately lost revenue. As a historical footnote, this was also the last unabridged edition of the book to be released by Fandom House.

A&E AutoBiography Edition

Fandom House’s sixth reprinting of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” was released in conjunction with the six-part GTV documentary, the first episode of which was televised on the third anniversary of Baltar’s trial verdict. Hosted Playa Palacois, this immensely popular TV series proved to be the most highly rated documentary in the annals of GTV broadcast history, thus propelling Ms. Palacois from obscure celebrity gossip columnist to overnight news anchor sensation!

The GTV documentary consisted primarily of celebrity interviews regarding various passages from Baltar’s original manuscript, so Fandom House decided to publish only the relevant portions of the text in this first abridged edition. Since the most controversial and provocative sections of the manuscript ended up being the only ones selected for the abridgment, the Cult of Baltar created a media firestorm by attempting to purchase the book in bulk quantities so as to prevent the truncated version of their sacred texts from reaching the general public. This tactic backfired, however, not only in that it prompted those who might otherwise have been indifferent to the book to make a first-time purchase, but also in that they unintentionally drove sales of the book back onto the bestseller lists for the first time in years.

When asked whether or not sales of the book had been helped or hurt by Baltar Cultist machinations, Playa Palacois famously quipped that the sixth edition of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” was “probably the best-selling unread book of all time."

MSNBC Paranoid Rant Edition

In a direct response to GTV’s six-part documentary, President Laura Roslin allegedly misused some of her campaign finance contributions to issue a government sponsored rebuttal: “My Triumphs, My Mistakes: Confessions of a Mass Murderer.” This was a word-for-word reprint of the abridged text from the GTV edition, but with additional commentary (and occasional snide remarks) by Roslin herself interspersed throughout. When word got out that the Roslin Administration had paid a flat fee to have the book published, President Roslin tried to pin all of the blame on her undersecretary, Felix Gaeta, claiming that Gaeta had rigged the finances himself – completely unbeknownst to her!

On the same afternoon that Mr. Gaeta tendered his resignation, GTV filed a lawsuit against the Roslin Administration for copyright infringement, claiming that the picture used on the seventh edition cover jacket was merely an inverted negative of the image GTV had used for the sixth edition. While GTV and the Roslin Administration waged and all-out media war in the popular press, the copyright infringement case was quietly dismissed. The courts ultimately ruled that the copyright of the original text still belonged to Giaus Baltar, and since the cover art for both books had in fact been provided by Fandom House Press, the publisher could not be held liable for infringing itself.

VH1 CelebReality Edition

The eighth edition of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” was published with a specifically Cylon readership in mind. Often cited in Fandom House publicity literature as the “best selling” edition of the book in Cylon-controlled space, this was in fact the ONLY edition of the book ever marketed in Cylon-controlled space.

In collaboration with the Cylon Weekly World News distribution network, Fandom House was able to finesse a fairly lucrative publishing contract, the primary drawback being that the Cylons would be afforded complete editorial control. The end result was a book actually quite similar to the abridgment of the “Gaeta-gate” edition, but rather than snide political commentary scrawled in the side margins, crude attempts at comedy by a former cabinet minister in the Baltar Administration: Aaron Doral.

While much of Mr. Doral’s toiletry-obsessed humor probably rubs most (if not all) humans the wrong way, “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” was a perennial best seller for CWWN. Though it lacked the staying-power of such well-known classics as “Downloading For Dummies” or “2001 Pop-Tart Recipes,” paper-back editions of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” can still be found in almost every air-port terminal gift-shop within the Cylon Collective – though you may have to search for it in the “humor” section.

Camalla Extract Edition

In the waning years of her life, President Laura Roslin felt compelled once again to “set the record straight” concerning the Baltar presidency and the occupation of New Caprica. Once again, Roslin had to rely on third-party financing to get the book published, in this instance: a generous donation from the Pythia Foundation, a quasi-religious political action group with deep financial ties to the Roslin Administration.

Fandom House took the money and ran, basically allowing Roslin complete editorial control. But much to everyone’s disappointment, “His Mistakes, Period: The Unauthorized Biography of Gaius Baltar” was a critical and financial flop. With a lengthy preamble explaining how Oracle Selloi had helped her to obtain privileged information by ingesting huge amounts of camalla extract, even ardent Roslin supporters had to admit that none of Roslin’s fanciful hallucinations would ever be admissible in appellate court, let alone the court of public opinion.

While “His Mistakes, Period” probably didn’t sway anyone who had already made up their minds about Baltar’s culpability, in a special twist of irony, by quoting large portions of “My Triumphs, My Mistakes” in order to sate her case, Dr. Baltar’s estate actually earned royalties from sales of Roslin’s final tome.

Every Dog Has His Day Edition

Many members of the Cult of Baltar (most notably former members of the Spacehookers’ Guild) still regard Baltar’s short and troubled presidency as a “Golden Age” of peace and prosperity. A small (but growing) sect of Baltar cultists now point to “Jake the Dog” as the primary culprit behind the demise of the Baltar Administration. Dismissed by academic scholars as a pathetic attempt to scapegoat an errant pet for the ultimate undoing of one man’s presidency, leaders within the Cult of Baltar have also publicly denounced such notions as heretical, if only to stem the tide of derision from outsiders to their faith.

The heretics’ primary claim to fame is that their “Additional Testament of Baltar” was handed down to them from on high by unimpeachable Cylon sources “close to the Administration” during the Occupation of New Caprica. These records have never been made available to public scrutiny (for obvious reasons), but the heretics insist that the original data recordings were left for them to find in a Cylon database listed under the title of “Abandonment Issues: A Story of a Dog, His Dish, and His Ultimate Rise to Power - by Jake 4.0 (Transcribed by D’anna Biers).” Conveniently enough, D’anna Biers has been incommunicado for several years now still isn’t returning anyone’s calls for further comment.

The basic format of the text itself is a nigh-unreadable stream-of-consciousness type poetry which seems to have been structured by some poor benighted soul who either desperately misses their deceased pet, or someone who totally overdosed on camalla extract and has never fully recovered. The preamble intended to clarify the authorship of the book is actually one of the most confusing passages, wherein “D’anna Biers” claims to have spent a great deal of quality time with “projected versions” of a Dog named Jake, or more specifically, “Jake 4.0” – the first fully successful “downloaded” version of Jake which could fully participate in a “Cylon-projected environment” (whatever that means).

What it meant to the Fandom House Press Corp. is that they demanded a pretty hefty fee before committing these unabashedly weird heretical ramblings to print. In a move that surprised everyone (including the heretics), the Cult of Baltar took up a donation drive to have these heretical musings published, if only to demonstrate to the general public how impossibly silly they were. “Abandoment Issues” went on to sell surprisingly well considering the topical categories listed on the back cover:

- What REALLY went on outside people’s tents on New Caprica.

- The secret life of dog dishes.

- Jake's surprisingly crucial role in bringing the Baltar Administration to its knees.

– Reclaiming lost priorities: the proper feeding and grooming regimen for dogs named Jake.

- Shouting down idiots: a barking dog’s journey toward enlightenment.

- How to make the perfect ham and peanut-butter mushroom omelet.

- What to do when Baltar’s ghost invades your “projection space” and refuses to leave – or shut up!

- How to embrace the Cylon “downloading” process and enjoy the unavoidable side-trips to the Netherworld.

- Why dogs are immune to the “Jazz Hands” phenomenon and what impact this might have on the viability of human existence.

As of this writing, “Abandonment Issues” has been translated into 27 different languages and is the best selling book to which a canine companion has ever been credited authorship. Go figure.