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Bill McCay's Stargate Novels


aaron2310
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I'm revisiting Bill McCay's Stargate novels for the first time in a while. I read them through a few times about 10+ years back. I'm a sucker for alternate takes on things so I've always really enjoyed the experience of reading these. I'm about a third of the way through the first book, Rebellion.

Any other fans on here?

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On 1/30/2020 at 4:54 AM, aaron2310 said:

I'm revisiting Bill McCay's Stargate novels for the first time in a while. I read them through a few times about 10+ years back. I'm a sucker for alternate takes on things so I've always really enjoyed the experience of reading these. I'm about a third of the way through the first book, Rebellion.

Any other fans on here?

It is perhaps a little bit ironic that it could be perceived that the Stargate TV shows are the actual alternate takes on things, while the McCay novels could have been a matching-continuity continuation from the original movie. I don't remember where I read it or if it was even from a legitimate source - Dean or Roland - but I thought there was mention somewhere at some point, way back in the day, that the McCay novels were intended to serve as the continuation of the original story. That may not make much sense if the creators also wanted the original Stargate to turn into a trilogy. Although, the making a trilogy - at least as a reboot - may have been a more recent idea, while prior to that they may have wanted to continue the story in McCay's books after the original Stargate movie was, in itself, adapted into a book.

I would take all of that with a grain of salt, just chalk it up to being gossip.

Technically, everything that follows in the footsteps of the original Stargate movie is an alternate take, at least until or if ever Dean and Roland jump back in.

Anyway, I have the complete McCay series, although the books are collecting dust, I have not yet gotten around to reading them. I've considered it from time to time, just haven't really had a great interest in it. I mainly own them for the sake of owning something else Stargate. Same idea with the (cough) animated series that shall not be named (cough), I own it but haven't actually seen it. 🤪

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On 5/12/2020 at 1:25 AM, StargateSean said:

It is perhaps a little bit ironic that it could be perceived that the Stargate TV shows are the actual alternate takes on things, while the McCay novels could have been a matching-continuity continuation from the original movie. I don't remember where I read it or if it was even from a legitimate source - Dean or Roland - but I thought there was mention somewhere at some point, way back in the day, that the McCay novels were intended to serve as the continuation of the original story. That may not make much sense if the creators also wanted the original Stargate to turn into a trilogy. Although, the making a trilogy - at least as a reboot - may have been a more recent idea, while prior to that they may have wanted to continue the story in McCay's books after the original Stargate movie was, in itself, adapted into a book.

I would take all of that with a grain of salt, just chalk it up to being gossip.

It's gossip that gets around, though. I've heard it before that the books took in Devlin and Emmerich's notes for sequels, but I've never seen the source myself. Same sort of gossip that ID4 is a Stargate sequel because of some of the similarities between the third book and ID4, I guess. Speaking of, I'm now onto Book 3 of my rereads! I try not to binge read series these days, so I always take breaks between series and franchises, and started Retribution last week. I'd forgot all about the Setim's defence system on Earth! 

On 5/14/2020 at 5:19 AM, 1001100x02 said:

Is there room for Bill McCay sourcebook on the schedule perhaps?

Probably not. It's so far removed from SG1. 

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More importantly it's probably not covered by the licence. But it's been my anecdotal experience people feel free to throw out established canon or at least give it a bit of DIY love because they disagree with what the writers did -- or didn't -- do, or they want their PCs to be the primary plot movers instead of canon SG-1.

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I've read all of the McKay novels. Hated the last two as they didn't have any resolution.

The best part was in my copy of the movie novelization, which I ordered off of Amazon, I found a Stargate ticket stub...

You better believe THAT's staying in there!

Really wish we could have seen those energy rifles and whatever the stargate was originally supposed to look like. I can't quite picture it the way it's described.

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On 7/22/2021 at 1:21 PM, Jake Conhale said:

I've read all of the McKay novels. Hated the last two as they didn't have any resolution.

The best part was in my copy of the movie novelization, which I ordered off of Amazon, I found a Stargate ticket stub...

You better believe THAT's staying in there!

Really wish we could have seen those energy rifles and whatever the stargate was originally supposed to look like. I can't quite picture it the way it's described.

Any chance of typing up the descriptions for those of us without the books please?

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I loved the McKay books. They're really different from SG-1. There are aspects I like better in McKay's and some I like better in the SG-1 universe.

As a short summary without spoiling any of the interesting plot details, it helps to remember that the Goa'uld as symbiotes were an invention of the TV show. The original was just an alien's mind somehow inhabiting a human's body (which was apparently a last-minute addition to the canon to account for Jaye Davison's odd portrayal of the character - Devlin stated in a recent interview that originally Ra was just supposed to be a human collaborator). Similarly, Daniel and Jack never lie about Abydos still existing.

Given all that, the main difference in the McKay books is that there are no aliens. Ra is dead, so all that's left are planets full of Ra's human slaves, some of whom are now angry at Earth. The story is also a little more serious and adult (like the movie, and of course none of the humor and self-irony of the TV show).

In addition, McKay is aware he is writing a novel, where you can go into more depth, and where action doesn't work as well as in an Emmerich movie, so he took a lot of time with politics. The Earth government doesn't know what to do with the people of Abydos, and he plays that out quite interestingly.

The unfinished second trilogy then brings in a completely new opponent, outside Ra's empire, and would probably have been interesting.

For those who have read the first McKay trilogy of books, I think the whole Hathor plot would have worked really well if transferred to SG-1, and might make for a fun source book for this RPG. Maybe even with Hathor, because you can take advantage of a lot of series aspects to make it hit home even harder.

Edited by uliwitness
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On 5/19/2020 at 1:39 PM, aaron2310 said:

It's gossip that gets around, though. I've heard it before that the books took in Devlin and Emmerich's notes for sequels, but I've never seen the source myself.

I'm pretty sure they were advertised as "based on Emmerich and Devlin's notes" somehow, and I could have sworn the foreword of one of the books (or a cover sticker or so) said so, but I couldn't find it just now in the first book. Maybe I'll check all of them later. It definitely reads as if this could be true.

Given how long books take to write, and how much a script changes on its way to screen, you often see differences between the novelization and the actual movie. Sometimes just additional scenes that were cut for length, additional background that changes the meaning of a scene.

Heck, you see that in theatrical vs. director's cuts of the 1994 movie: The cut scene that shows O'Neil knows that there are dog-headed aliens coming out of the gate, before our heroes ever decide to pass through it, makes O'Neil's arc much darker than in the theatrical cut, where you can kind of say "he was depressed and West may have used him because he'd leave nobody behind", but that scene basically turns it into a guaranteed suicide mission for O'Neil.

Knowing what we know today about how Jaye Davison didn't want to play the role, and how that affected the story, if you take that out, the way McKay's story continues feels a lot more like a vague idea Devlin and Emmerich might have had at this point for a continuation, fleshed out by a skilled novelist and adapted to a different form (nobody can tell me Emmerich would have made a scifi movie with this much politics and social commentary in it, pretty sure that's all McKay).

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