Today, legendary songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, an award that usually goes to people who write books. But Dylan won it anyway, and we’re pretty sure he can thank the Cylons for that.
According to the statement from Swedish Academy, Bob Dylan was given the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” On Battlestar Galactica that poetic expression, specifcally, Dylan’s song “All Along the Watchtower” creates awareness in certain Cylons that they are not humans, but instead, highly evolved artificial lifeforms. In the Season 3 episode “Crossroads” Col. Tigh, Galen Tyrol, Tory Foster, and Samuel Anders all discover they are — previously unbeknownst to themselves — Cylons. And they know this for a fact because they all know the lyrics to “All Along the Watchtower” even though the song hasn’t been written yet in their timeline.
The final scenes of this episode even feature an alternate-universe cover of the song sung by Brendan McCreary and composed by his brother, Bear McCreary. Meanwhile, the final episode of Battlestar Galactica ever “Daybreak” featured the Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along the Watchtower” playing over a vision of a “future” Earth, which was actually our present-day incarnation of the planet. (There are multiple “Earths” in the Battlestar mythos.)
Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore previously explained that “All Along the Watchtower” was used in the narrative of the show because “things that happened on Galactica were tied into our reality here on Earth in some way, in the past or the future, or some other connection.” In the reality of Battlestar, the remnants of a human society don’t come from Earth, but are instead, searching for Earth. This gave Battlestar a Star Wars-esque “galaxy far, far away” conceit, albeit with an attempt to actually connect “our” humanity with the outer-space humans struggling to survive, somewhere beyond the heavens.
If “All Along the Watchtower” is a Cylon composition on Battlestar Galactica, then you could argue Bob Dylan didn’t write it. Unless of course, Bob Dylan is a Cylon. His real name isn’t Bob Dylan, you know, but instead, Robert Zimmerman. As John Lennon sang in his song “God”: don’t believe in Zimmerman! Was Lennon trying to warn us of a Cylon plot? Because if that’s the case, then the news of a songwriter getting a literary award — instead of a writer of prose or poetry — is hardly the big news here. Instead, this is the first time a robot has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Well, at least that we’re aware of.