Joe’s Book of the Month very first book club meeting is officially underway. So I’ll kick things off by weighing on this months selections: Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, and Excessions by Iain M. Banks.

HOGFATHER

Let me begin by saying I’m a big Terry Pratchett fan. This is the sixth book in the Discworld series I have read and while I didn’t enjoy it as much as, say, Mort or The Light Fantastic, Pratchett’s trademark wicked wit and humor are on full display here. Every page offers up, if not a giggle, then an outright laugh and, as a read, the book is great fun.

I was less enamored with some of the fantasy elements (which I found confusing). There were times when I wondered: “Why did that happen?”. The obvious answer was “Because that’s the way this particular aspect of fantasy works in this book” – and that brought to mind the science fiction vs. fantasy conversation I once had with Rob Cooper. Coop found fault with some fantasy authors’ unwillingness to operate within established parameters. In other words, whereas scifi has to be more or less grounded in the types of developments a story can take, fantasy has the freedom to go anywhere the author chooses/imagines and, as a result, the developments in the plot may seem more convenient or strange than logical progressions. I’m reminded of one of the Harry Potter books in which one of the story’s mysteries is resolved by attributing the seemingly inexplicable happening to some magical device the reader has never been privy to before. Yes, given the world Rowling has created, it is very possible for such a device to exist, and yet its late introduction (particularly as a means to solving a mystery) feels all too convenient. There’s nothing quite so egregious in Hogfather. Still, I found myself in want of an explanation for Teatime’s fall, disappearance, and then later reappearance at book‘s end. Anyone want to field that one?

As is always the case in the Discworld series, Pratchett introduces some wonderfully colorful characters, from the downright frightening assassin Mr. Teatime (pronounced The-ah-tim-eh) to the literal-minded and wholly lovable Death. The situations in which they find themselves are fun and frenetic and the story progresses at breakneck speed, but there were moments when I felt it progressed a little too quickly. For instance, after setting up the plot to off the Hogfather, we skip ahead to the fait accompli, leaving me to wonder how the hell did they do it?

Some questions, yes, and, in my opinion not, as clean a narrative as some of the other books in the series, but highly enjoyable nevertheless.

EXCESSION

I’d like to start this review by apologizing to any and all first-time readers of Iain M. Banks who decided to take the plunge with Excession. Not that it’s a bad book. Quite on the contrary, in fact. However, it’s nowhere near as accessible as some of his other works like Consider Phlebas, The Player of Games, and Use of Weapons (if you can juggle the time lines in the latter). Excession is intelligent, inventive, and, at times, very convoluted. In some ways, one can draw parallels between Pratchett and Banks in that both authors are accomplished at offering up two levels of enjoyment in their respective narratives: the story itself and the way the story is told. With Pratchett, it is the humor of the written word (the puns, dialogue, etc.) that wins me over. With Banks, it’s the ideas (the individual ships and their respective AI personalities, the gender-switching possibilities and its effects on relationships, the mind-bending cultural differences of an alien race [racquetball anyone?]). Yes, all authors present said levels in their writings, but I would argue that no one pulls it off quite as deftly as either Pratchett or Banks. In the case of Excession, the mystery surrounding the singularity, while interesting, quickly takes a back seat to the characters and even the somewhat confusing conspiracy by elements within the Culture to manipulate the Affronters into declaring war takes a back seat to wild imaginings and, well, just plain cool concepts Banks throws out at us.

A good book though a challenging one for a first-timer to the Culture series.

I’ll weigh in with more thoughts as the week progresses. Anyone else read ’em?

Oh, congratulations to Paula who was the first person to comment after the 500 000th visit to my blog. She wins an unofficial vial of sand (and if possible, one that Joe Flanigan will tread upon) from our season finale The Last Man. So include your email address in your next post, Paula, and we’ll take it from there.

In my quest to watch every new Fall show this season, I sat through the premiere of Gossip Girl. Serves me right I suppose. As Alex pointed out: “Dude, you’re not their target audience.” Too true.

Today’s pics: Lulu models her Winter gear. The dogs laze about. This month’s book club selections.

Today’s video: Click on the date to check out the Trio set. What have they gotten themselves into?

Today’s mailbag:

Chocolaj writes: “Why do you think Scifi (and whomever else calls the shots on whether you guys have a season 5) does not take into consideration the online communities, convention attendees, DVD/iTunes sales and other craziness exuded by fans everywhere?”

Answer: SciFi makes its money from advertisers, and advertisers are only interested in the number of eyeballs on their commercials. DVD/iTunes and convention attendance records don’t interest them much.

Rosie writes: “Why wouldn’t he, being from a parallel universe, be in the same situation as that other Carter in SG-1’s Point of View?”

Answer: The varying effects of Entropic Cascade Failure are dependent on the proximity of the parallel universe and the time crossover elements exist in an AU.

Anonymous #1 writes: “ Let me rephrase it: How do you like Dean Koontz’s writing?”

Answer: I read Phantoms some 20 years ago and enjoyed it.

Vikitty writes: “Regarding the ratings, it doesn’t matter if us Canadians watch it or not right? Because we don’t get SciFi?”

Answer: Even though they don’t influence the SciFi ratings, international fans play a major role in convincing MGM to produce more episodes.

WingedPegasus writes: “(1)Will we find out more about Michael’s bug army in season 4?
(2)Are there any “light” episodes in season 4? I think Harmony might be one, are there others? (3) Will Teyla’s baby be born before, during, or after “The Last Man?” (You could just say no comment if it’s a spoiler. I don’t want to ruin anything.”

Answers: 1) Oh yeah. 2) Harmony is the only one that comes to mind. 3) No comment.

67 thoughts on “September 24, 2007

  1. Hey Joe,
    can you post any pics of Emma Lahana from outcast????please!!!!!!i’ll do anything
    thanks

    BN

  2. Cute dogs!

    Is Stargate Continuum set after season four of Atlantis?

    Season four starts in 4 days! I can’t wait!

  3. It was really interesting reading the dialogue of machines with distinct personalities. It felt like a little of what the Matrix might have incorporated into the movies, had the sequels been written better.

  4. Hi Joe,

    First time commenter, so hi! Always enjoy your daily blog postings, so thank you for your daily effort. 🙂

    I’m a big Terry Pratchett reader also and like you say, the wit and humour is always the big draw card. I do have to comment though that I hope you’re reading them in some kind of order. I don’t know which ones you’ve read before, but pratchett tends to develop certain story lines book by book. This wiki guide
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_reading_order
    is quite a good one for a guide of the kind of story arcs that go on and is a fair guide for a reading order. Hogfather is a little way down the line of the publishing order, and perhaps skipping back a few would help alleviate some confusion. But I remember not enjoying Hogfather as much as some of his other books, though any books with Death is always a treat.

    Excuse my New Zealand spelling. Hope you continue to read TP’s books and have a ball. You remind me to reread those Death books – they really are the best.

  5. Lulu looks adorable wearing her little tuque! So the collar has finally come off. I take it that means that her eye has healed nicely. I bet she was happy to get rid of the collar, although she does not look too happy about wearing the tuque.

  6. 1)So, Michael is definitely in Kindred 1 and 2, yes?
    And, wouldn’t Teyla’s baby have to be born after The Last Man?
    Unless Rachel Luttrell has already given birth.

    you mentioned also that Teyla’s pregnancy would be a character arc for her character this season. 2)How much focus is given to this arc in the second half of Season 4? 3)Is it a big thing overall or just specific to Teyla?

    About The Last Man: You mentioned that it would be not only big, but different than previous finales. 4)Is this because it focuses on something other than Atlantis being in danger? 5)does The Last Man center around one character?

  7. Hi Joe –

    Love your pics of Lulu – is she cone-free for good, or just for today’s pic’s? By the way, what made you choose a french bulldog to plop into your pack of pugs?

    Just started reading your blog recently – – please say you are not going to stop when production finishes on SG-A4!

    aussiedog

  8. Hi Joe
    Still wading through Excession quite a few times during the last few weeks I have felt like throwing the book through the window. Banks does have an amazing imagination and the Affronters are at the same time likeable and disturbing.
    The ships conversations took a lot of getting used to. At first he gives us the ships messages verbatim then thank god they get filtered so only the salient points get through.
    I am up to the bit where Sleeper Service closes down or un-geomorphologising (great word) and found myself almost there watching her reality folding away.
    It was at this point that I decided that this book was in fact worth reading so my journey continues.

    Being a midwife I hear some unusual names how about this one I heard recently for Teyla’s baby

    Nevaeh (Heaven spelt backwards)

    Pauline

  9. Oh for the love of all thing Elvish, I am actually first to comment today!!

    I agree with your comments on the Hogfather. I was (and still am) confused as to how the Hogfather disappeared. When I asked a friend who has read EVERY Discworld book, she said “He just does!” How’s that for an answer?

    Back to the economics and statistics textbook!!

  10. I cannot believe that the spam letters are still going back and forth. It’s amazing that you actually have so much patience. And it’s even more amazing how they don’t give up yet.
    How long are you planning on keeping it up?

  11. Will Jodelle ferland ever come back to the Stargate Francise if you have a place for her?

    cough provided she isn’t too expensive

    and congrats on the 500,000th hit, i think most are gateworld posters that come here LOL

  12. Lulu looks absolutely adorable with her ‘woolly bunnet’ on.
    So cute and innocent.

    I hope that there will be a series 5 of Atlantis, it still has a lot of mileage in it. And it employs a lot of people who also want a series 5 to happen.

    What is the pack hierarchy? Are you and Fondy the ‘alpha members’?
    Have any of them done anything so bad/amusing that you laugh over it when telling doggy stories – after the event, it is never amusing at the time.

  13. Which HP book are you referring to? Seems there were a lot of mysterious things popping up at critical moments to become relevant plot devices. Mirror of Erised (I still can’t figure out how that all worked out), the veil, the whole sword-out-of-the-hat thing which was awfully convenient…

  14. Hi Joe:

    I just discovered that my colleague is afraid of dogs, no matter what size they are. Any suggestions?

    Patricia

  15. I love the photos of Lulu!

    Joe, I’m a cat person through and through…but that little face is just too precious.

    Hope Lulu is recovering from her surgery.

    Hope YOU are recovering from Lulu’s surgery!

    Looking forward to Friday!

    Best wishes, Morjana

  16. Hey Joe, I’m sorry if you didn’t get my gift. My friend didn’t call me back before she left…so i couldn’t give her your gift!! I’m so sorry!
    Quick Questions:
    1)Did Amanda and Jewel already shot the scene where Carter reveals about her personal life?
    2)How come Carter is more “open” with Dr. Keller than she was with Dr. Fraiser?

  17. I watched Gossip girl on the YT and i really loved it!! even if Alex said you were not “the target audience”, did you like the show?Are you gonna watch Bionic Woman this wednesday?It’s the premiere!!

  18. Thanks again for all your work on this blog for us poor fans, Mr. M.

    Question: Would it behoove us fans without ratings boxes and/or living in other countries to write letters to the advertisers who support the show and tell them all about how we’re going to go out and buy their product because they advertise on Atlantis?

    Question 2: I don’t have either of your books and thus can’t join the book club this month, but I’m wondering if you’d ever read anything by Gene Wolfe? Especially the New Sun and Long Sun series? (the latest I’ve read of his haven’t impressed me as much, though still far better than I could do!). I highly recommend this author if you haven’t read his work yet, especially if you love words.

    Cheers!
    Susan in SK

  19. Huh – yeah right MGM gives a toss about the Antipodean fans! Which is why we can’t enter the ‘Get in the Gate” (even tho we’d probably PAY our way over there if we got the nod!) and we can’t even join ‘Team Stargate’….SURE we count…*grumble gritch moan whinge*

    Joe, is there anything you can do to get MGM to pull their collective fingers out and give us “INTERNATIONALS” a more distinct voice in the matter?

    – Dana

  20. I’m sorry to confess that while I have purchased both Hogfather and Excession, I have not read them yet.

    I’ll try to read them presently and find something about which to argue with you. That is always fun.

  21. You know, I could have told you Pratchett totally rocks. =9.

    As cute as Lulu looks in her hat, I have found forcing cats to wear hats and other pet-clothing items is even more entertaining than dressing dogs. Cats make it quite clear that clothing is not an acceptable form of cat torchure unlike super hard petting and grabbing their leg when they stick it up in the air while cleaning nether regions.

  22. Joe, I’m so excited for season four it’s embarrassing. Thanks for all the pics and video! Random question for you: I just rewatched The Runner and noted that Lorne said something happened at 26:30 Atlantis Standard Time. How many hours are in an Atlantean day?

  23. I read Excession and Hogfather both at your suggestion (first time reader for both authors). They were exceedingly entertaining, although I take your point about Excession. I was thoroughly confused through about the first thirty pages (and periodically thereafter, maybe a second reading will make things clearer). But the ideas in Iain M. Banks’ head are breathtaking. I know next to nothing about physics, so I don’t know how much of his description of the different levels of space and the “energy grid” are based on actual quantum theory and how much he just made up. I’m a visual person, and I had trouble visualizing a lot of it.

    I didn’t like Genar-Hofoen very much. He was an amiable enough character who was also completely selfish, too coldly hedonistic, obtuse, and too forgiving of cruelty. But I didn’t like his girlfriend Dajeil much either (really, hanging onto a pregnancy for forty years in a snit because her boy/girlfriend slept with somebody else?)

    The AI Minds were fascinating, but so very formal, almost Victorian in their interactions with each other. And what a universe, where nearly everything that moves is at least partially sentient, and “meat” species like human beings are almost irrelevant. I expect I’ll be reading more Banks, if only for the challenge.

  24. Hi Joe,

    So has MGM kicked in some extra money with advertising for SGA this season? I’m currently watching Monday Night Football on ESPN and there was an ad for SGA S4 starting Friday night at 10:00pm on SciFi – but at the end of the commercial they had the web address for MGMs stargate site on the screen.

    It is nice to see SGA advertised on a station other than SciFi.

  25. Now for Hogfather: That’s the first book I’ve read in a long, long time that actually made laugh out loud. After only one book I’m a Pratchett fan, because the man twists and plays with language in a way I totally love. I’m not generally a fan of magic and fantasy (and frankly, Harry Potter bores me to tears), but this was so much fun I’m going to try and read the Discworld series in order.

    Some things were a bit of a stretch, if you can say that about this story. The boar chase didn’t do much for me because even in the realm of magical boars, some laws of physics (and snow and ice) have to be obeyed. Teatime’s disappearance and reappearance had something … missing, I don’t know, there should have been more information about where he went and how he got there. I finally had to put it down to magical transport powers, sort of like Banks’ Displacement.

    I found myself wondering what the Hogfather thought about his own replacement. We’re not given any insight into him at all, even though he’s one of the most important characters by his very absence.

    I totally fell in love with Death. He made me laugh hardest of all. And Susan is my kind of heroine.

    Thanks for the suggestions, they were great.

  26. I just got the Season 3 dvds. And, as usual, they are Awesome! I’m just wondering why the lack of actor commentaries. I love getting their perspective on production, characters, etc. especially when they’re in conjunction with the production personnel. It’s always an interesting dichotomy.

  27. “Arctic Goddess said…
    Hi Joe:

    I just discovered that my colleague is afraid of dogs, no matter what size they are. Any suggestions?”

    Life. Size. Posters.

    suse

  28. How do you pronounce Iain? It’s something that has me baffled! I thought it was Ian for a while there…

    Also, which order do the books of the Culture series go in? I’m halfway into Consider Phlebas and Horza’s little antics 🙂 I must say Banks is a great writer. I didn’t realise that there was a series of Culture books.

    Take it easy!

  29. Wow, a vial of sand! That sounds so incredibly lame… How about Teyla’s bra or a photo of her without it?

  30. I just watched “Chuck” and had quite a few ‘chuck’les out of it!
    Yeah…I know…bad pun. I’ll give it a few more look-see’s.

    I can’t wait to see SGA this Friday

  31. Thanks for your initiative with the Joe Mallozzi Online Book Club. Unfortuantely I only had time to read The Hogfather between reading text books and contemporary plays.
    I have to say I’m glad I’ve read some other Discworld novels before this one, particularly Soul Music because it deals with Susan and Death in more depth. If I had read this book without previously knowing what Pratchett’s style was like, I probably would have been a bit more critical.
    In general I quite liked the plot and the characters and the way it all seems to be such relevant social critique. But I found the asides quite distracting at times. How do you feel about footnotes like that?
    I suppose they could be a way of satirising the convention of footnotes, but I tend to prefer asides that weave their way in to stories (Stephen Kings Dark Tower series comes to mind).
    Otherwise a very funny read, and a nice way to avoid the collection of Sarah Kane plays I need to get through.
    Now then, any idea what books we might get next time?

  32. I have read both Excession and Hogfather, several times for both, though neither recently and I agree mostly with your comments about them. Hogfather is breakneck in some places and first time reading felt like I was tumbling head over heels. However it does improve with re-reading if you’re into that. Excession might not be an easy read but it is a brilliant culture novel. Both Pratchett and Banks’s characters are so wonderfully thought up and described that a confusing and convoluted (Excession) or breakneck and a little random (Hogfather) storyline can be excused because the storyline is somewhat secondary to the characters. Hogfather remains one of my most favourite Discworld novels and while Excession is good I do prefer Against a Dark Background and The Algerbraist (sp?) over Excession.

  33. Ooh…I forgot to ask…do you have Pratchetts newest one yet? I’m half way through and enjoying it more than I thought I would.

  34. Hi Joe,

    I tried reading Excession, got about fifty pages in, decided I wasn’t having fun, and set it aside in favour of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. I do intend to go back and finish it, but I think I’m going to follow a fellow reader’s advice, and read Look to Windward first. 🙂

    I loved Hogfather, mostly because Death is my favourite character in Pratchett’s universe, and this book featured a lot of Death.

    JM: For instance, after setting up the plot to off the Hogfather, we skip ahead to the fait accompli, leaving me to wonder how the hell did they do it?

    I thought that was explained by the whole tooth fairy subplot. Teatime kidnapped the tooth fairy, got hold of all the teeth, took control of all the children to whom the teeth had once belonged, and made them stop believing in the Hogfather, thus, er, offing him.

  35. Hi Joe! I loved hearing from Cookie Monster yesterday. He’s my favorite. My birthday is today. Could I get the blog dedicated to me? Pleeeaaase!

  36. Trying to read Excession and Hogfather both at your suggestion (first time reader for both). I’ll admit not the first books I’d pick up and read but hey why not try something new?

    Read more of Hogfather though. Funny. And I think I’m actually getting the “world” its set in. Overall going better than I thought.

    Excession, I haven’t made to much progress but that probably more to due to me just not picking up the book. Trying to understand the scene and having a bit trouble. But with that I’m still going to read till the end.

    And I’d watch S4 live but darn I have to leave for work after the first 15 minutes! Or I would. Can’t wait for it though!

  37. Bonjour,

    Dans l’hypothèse qu’il y ait une saison 5, pourriez-vous nous promettre qu’Elizabeth sera présente ?
    Qu’il ne lui arrivera pas la même chose qu’à Ford (4 episodes et puis plur rien) !

    Merci

    PS : Lulu est adorable avec son petit bonnet !!

  38. Hi Joe,
    Do you have any idea whether MGM is planning on releasing Ark of Truth, Continuum or Atlantis on Blu-ray?
    Cheers mate

  39. “I read Phantoms some 20 years ago and enjoyed it”

    Read ‘Dark Rivers of The Heart’ sometime. An amazing book. I don’t read much but once i started reading it i couldnt stop. lol

  40. Your dog is…really cute !

    1)Do you have some Spoilers about Daniel in continuum ?
    2)Quels vont être les personnages mis en avant dans Continuum ?
    3)Did you go back to Bistrot Bistro ? (crèpe suzette…grrr)
    4)Avez vous déjà essayé de toucher votre langue avec votre coude ?

    Have a bonne journée 🙂

  41. Coucou Joe,

    Voilà j’avais une petite question à vous poser:

    Dans la série Stargate SG1, nous avons pu voir plusieurs fois que les Sam alternatives sortaient avec les Jack alternatifs, et elles avaient toutes les cheveux longs. Maintenant que la Sam de notre réalité a les cheveux longs, cela veut-il dire qu’elle va enfin être avec Jack?

    Merci

  42. Hi Joe

    Lula looks so cute.. She could be the Naomi Campbell of the Pug world.. Great idea re the book club. I have already used some of your suggestions for reading material, although I lean more to the fantasy than the scif fi.. I like the warmer more magical aspects of fantasy. Sci fi can be sterile sometimes..

    Take Care

    Dori

  43. Yeah I’m a fan of “The Player of Games” too, as well “The Algebraist”… must be that Reboot and Tron upbringing of mine 🙂 Haven’t read Excession though, thanks for introducing me to it.

    Say, have you read Marianne de Pierre’s new book called “Dark Space – Sentients of Orion”?

  44. Hi Joe

    I’m so excited to talk about your book selections. I’m just wraping up Hogfather so I’ll really pay attention as the story progress to the ending.

    I agree with everyone so far. I’d like to make mention of a couple of my fav characters Ridcully and the Oh God of hangovers. They were well written and I found their placements thoughout the plot was a great narrative instead of just exposition.

    I would have liked more deffinition between the differnt points in the story I found myself enjoying Death’s “sceens” then being forced to read about the wizards at UU. I enjoyed Pratchett’s use of modern religon and traditions but just tweaking them to suit the story.

    I highly enjoyed the book. I haven’t managed to grab a copy of Ian’s book. The libary’s copies were all in use (perhaps other members of this club??) and when I was at the bookstore I couldn’t seem to locate a copy of that one… Will make another run this week.

    ~P~

  45. Wow…I’m a late commenter this time. *chuckles* I didn’t have access to my bookmarks last night, so hence no blogging to be done anywhere.

    On a completely different topic, O Chocolate Guru…what about coffee? Any amazing flavors/brands you’d recommend (along with their websites)?

  46. Well Joe, now that everyone is going to know what Joe Flanigan’s salary is…….
    All those years of stargate and I don’t know of any fans that know what AT, MS, RDA, Chris etc. earn per season. I doubt that they even know how much each other makes.

    I just read it in the news section on Gateworld – Uhm Yea.

  47. Hi Joe,

    May I have a blog dedicated to me? I am a Saints fan and I was in the Superdome last night. It wasn’t pretty…

  48. WHOO-HOO! I’ve got the latest Pratchett, Making Money.
    I see you’ve gone for the AAAHHH! factor with todays photos, I’m just sitting here whilst my eldest son constructs my new computer desk, see if you get them tools for christmas they want to use them at every opportunity which paves the way for all KINDS of projects.

    I often wondered if writers, when reading other people’s writing, were hyper-critical and now I see I have my answer. Sometimes Joe you have to take stuff on faith because its such an enjoyable read.

    As for Dean Koontz, I personally love his earlier stuff but am not too keen on a lot of his more recent works, I especially enjoyed Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, the whole Mystery Train concept put me somewhat in mind of Stephen Kings From a Buick Eight which was another fantastic read. Phantoms was immensely enjoyable and so was Twilight Eyes….*note to self…get a life..*

  49. 1)Will any alliances shift this season?

    2)Will this season be full of hard decisions and tribulations?

  50. Have you read any of David Weber’s books like “Off Armageddon Reef” or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy. They are one of my favorite authors.

  51. When does Season 4 air for us Canadian Fans who DO NOT get Sci Fi Channel nor have the TMN? If the show is shot in Vancouver then why don’t we Canadians get to see it when everyone else does?

  52. Prepare yourself…I just saw a commercial for SGA on…wait for it…ESPN! What? Not only is SciFi actually promoting the show, they’re advertising it on a channel that ISN’T SciFi?! The world’s gone mad! How does that make you feel?

  53. Salut joseph =) <3

    Trop adorable ces photos^^!!
    Merci pour la video =)

    Waou elle a de chance Paula=D!
    Si sa aura été moi, j’aurais tout fait pour gagner vos chausettes!! pourquoi??…
    Je ne sais pas lol XD

    pas de questions aujourd’hui^^!!

    je vous aime!!!!!<3<3
    Merci!!!
    Enorme bisou!!!
    A demain!!
    Passer une bonne journée!!
    Je pensse fort a vous!!!
    =)

  54. I had a sci-fi vs. fantasy discussion a couple years back with one of my philosophy profs. He is from Eastern Europe and regards North American sci-fi as fantasy.

    How much bending of science do you think there can there be before a story moves from sci-fi to fantasy? Give Harry Potter a spaceship instead of a broom, and a ray gun instead of a wand and voila, we have sci-fi no?

    When a problem in a sci-fi show is resolved by an ancient race who are far more technologically advanced than us and we just can’t understand their thinking, isn’t that fantastical thinking as well?

    In the end, I am easy to please and am happy with spaceships and imaginative adventures. In fact, I just bought the first 3 episodes of Stargate Infinity from Wal-Mart (VHS).

  55. I’d recommend Night Watch from Pratchett. Actually, all the watch books (Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Jingo and Thud – but especially Night Watch.) These are lovely. 😉

  56. First, Lulu looks so sweet on those pics. Love them.

    Second, Excession. The book was good, I really enjoyed reading it. But I, to be honest, excepted more. A well written book.

    Baba

  57. Thanks for answering my questions!

    Can you give us a rough idea how many episodes Teyla will be in?

  58. => petit message pour joe flanigan

    Je suis de tout coeur avec lui! jespert que son probléme avec ” l’United Talent Agency” va vite se résoudre!!

    Aller courage 😉

  59. Hi Joe. Did you watch Chuck last night? I really enjoyed it. Loved the nerd humor and the premise. The lead is great, although his teeth are rather unnaturally white. 🙂

    Journeyman I enjoyed but for some reason I found my attention wandering a bit. I’m not sure the premise seems big enough for a show, but I’ll give it a chance.

    And of course, loved the Heroes premiere after catching up on all the S1 DVDs over the weekend. I love NBC just for putting up 3 1-hour dramas in a row without a pitiful reality show in sight.

  60. -wave- Just checking in after two days with a non-functioning PC. I’ll enjoy the book club vicariously, as I have reading and video assignments from both classes. -wonders how she ever got through undergrad reading 30 years ago-

    Gilder

  61. *waves*

    A message from the GW SHEP WHUMPING CREW!

    *cough*

    Oh Mr M, i’m feeling so squee,
    after seeing the promo for the whumpy DG,
    We saw Shep on the bed, attached to some wires,
    and it has filled the whumpers with squee,
    and fulfilled our desires.

    We saw butt kicking galore,
    of the whumpiest kind,
    and I think that the Shep whumpers,
    have just lost their mind!!

    There’s so much squeeing you see,
    and hyperventilating too,
    but it’s still 38 days,
    so what can we do?

    Can you share some lovely spoilers,
    until the eps due to air,
    or throw us some more teasers,
    as we know you really care.

    We’re still feeling a little woozy,
    From the good stuff that we saw.
    But at times we feel like Oliver Twist,
    So Mr M, can we have more.

    😀

    *hugs and lotsa luff for the promo*

    Oh and from me, Lulu looks adorable in her bonnet. 😀

  62. So, sometimes chance is highly amusing. I’ve been looking for Banks books and not finding them in the B&N’s I was going to until just the other day when I had to buy books before leaving on a trip. Of what they had, Excession was the only one that sounded interesting (sadly, they didn’t have the ones you rave about). I bought it, completely forgetting it was this month’s book club book!

    I didn’t realize that the Culture was actually a series, which, in retrospect, explains some things.

    Now, I am not done (having started just yesterday), but I must say, I started out disappointed. The prologue was exceedingly wordy and frankly, I was afraid to go on, thinking the whole book might be like that (ala Tolkien). Fortunately, after the initial battle scene aboard the ship, the writing became more stream-lined and less adjective-abused. I’m always up for a good conspiracy and hidden political designs in my sci-fi, so the plot is very promising. I look forward to hearing additional commentary you may have.

  63. Joe, Jewell is saying Dr. Keller has a “thing” for Ronon. Is this true? Why do you guys feel you need to be romancing everyone to make this show interesting?

  64. I actually had quite similar thoughts on Hogfather. What saddens me is that I inadvertently saw the Sky dramatization of it before reading the book… I hate to see a show/film interpretation before I read the book itself, I feel it colours my judegement.

    While Mort remains the most enjoyable book I have read in quite some time, I didn’t feel that Hogfather offered up quite the same quirky style that has led me to adore Pratchett as I do. I found it markedly less humorous than his other books.

    Undeniably, the brilliance of his writing shone out in certain moments, making this book a cut above the average, but had it been my first Pratchett I’m not sure that I’d be coming back for more.

    Happily it’s not, and I’m waiting for Soul Music to arrive at the shop 🙂

    I never got to Iain Banks, but I’ve ordered a load for the shop because we’ve decided to bully my manager into providing a sci fi and fantasy section, so I’ll be able to borrow and read those soon. I’m thinking of starting with Consider Phlebas, do you recommend that I start with that or something else?

    Your Harry Potter comment sounds exactly like my rection to the timeturner in Prisoner of Azkaban. There’s convenient, and then there’s convenient…

    Pauline said…

    Being a midwife…

    Hey, I’m a student midwife!!!! 🙂

    I’m aware that you’re probably writing another entry as we speak, so this comment will probably be rendered pointless… apologies for the comment in general; I can’t punctuate after midnight.

    Mary

  65. Hey! It’s a coneless Lulu! 🙂 She looks too cute in her hat.

    I’ve been hoping for cooler weather here in the Midwest and it finally seems that on Tuesday night, it’s breaking – thunder, lightning and rain. Yes! 🙂

  66. Miss Piggy here once more. I was going to remain silent after berating you, dear Cookie Monster, for saying such terrible things about my beloved, James Williams.

    But then, tragically, I see you have chosen to torture me by posting photos of my little Lulu. My missing love child. The child that James and I produced as a result of a romantic night of passion after I promised him that I really would happily give him $25,000 to help him get the $1 million out of Nigeria.

    But yes, there Lulu is, in her little red striped hat, her adorable little highly conditioned coat shining under the glare of your camera flash.

    Shame on you Cookie Monster. Stealer of other people’s children.

    Love, Miss Piggy.

    PS Kermie continues to ask after you. Said if you didn’t visit he’d tell the tabloids you’re a compulsive overeater of cookies. I said that since your name is Cookie Monster, this was hardly a revelation.

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