When I got into work this morning, I was informed that a package had arrived and was awaiting me in my office. Delighted, I hurried down the hall, unlocked my door, stepped inside to claim the prize and found …nothing. WTF?! Had I been lied to? Robbed? Did the fine folks at Canada Post come back to reclaim their delivery out of spite because it turns out they‘re Sheppard-Weir shippers? Then suddenly, I was struck by a thought. I stepped out of into the hallway and peered into Paul’s neighboring office. Sure enough, there sat MY package on HIS coffee table. Well, either someone gotten our offices confused or, more than likely, gotten US confused.
It happens a lot more than you’d think. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in conversation with a co-worker and had them say something like “Well, you should run this by Joe.” or “What do you think Joe will say?” to which I inevitably reply “I am Joe.” Paul and I are a writing-producing team and people tend to think of us as a duo (Sort of a less athletic Batman and Robin more concerned with dialogue runs and plot holes than, say, threats to City Hall or the Joker‘s plot to turn the water supply into Jello). Not so much Joe AND Paul as the all-encompassing Joepaul. It’s understandable, I suppose. I, for instance, could never differentiate between Milli and Vanilli back in the day. On the other hand, we have been working on Stargate 8+ years and we look, dress, and sound nothing alike. So you’d think any potential confusion would have been cleared up by now.
At the end of the day, not a big deal. Just as long as our wives can tell us apart.
And, oh yeah, that package – another shipment from Amazon.com (pictured). Just in time too as I just finished Against A Dark Background. Next up – a little superhero fiction: Soon I Will Be Invincible, by Austin Grossman.
Speaking of books, today is the day we begin discussion on The Crooked Letter, by Sean Williams. I was inclined to simply turn the discussion over to you, my brave band of bibliophiles. But, after some careful consideration, I thought it best that I be the one to get the ball rolling. And so…
Okay, as most of you know I’m not a huge fan of fantasy. There are exceptions. Abercrombie, Lynch, and Martin are authors who produce novels that, while certainly representative of the genre, tend to be less “magical” and more grounded than their counterparts. And, as much as I love the worlds these three have created and the wonderfully intricate stories they tell, what really draws me to their work is their gift for creating believable characters. At the end of the day, be they bastard sons of royalty, double-dealing rogues, or crippled torturers, love ’em or hate ’em, they command my interest because they’re realistic characters (in, admittedly, often highly unrealistic situations). If I have a difficult time connecting with a character (and that doesn’t mean I have to like them necessarily), it’s more than likely I’ll have a hard time connecting to the story. And this was the case with The Crooked Letter.
The novel hits the ground running, and rarely lets up its break-neck pace. On the one hand, this is great because it tosses the reader right into the action and forces him/her to play catch up alongside the book’s equally bewildered protagonists. On the other hand, however, it’s hard to care about characters you don’t know all that much about and, despite Williams’ use of flashbacks to convey their backstory, the characters remain fairly thin and decidedly secondary to the story itself.
But quite a story it is. Give Williams credit. He demonstrates remarkable creativity, mixing myth and magic in creating an extraordinarily rich and complex world (or, more appropriately, worlds) peopled by a mind-boggling array of demons, gods, and aliens.
I have a feeling this is the type of highly-imaginative read that many fantasy-enthusiasts would enjoy. A truly wild, magical ride. But therein lies the problem, perhaps only insofar as I’m concerned. With the majority of the action taking place in one of two surreal other-worlds, the novel’s fairytale-like quality lend it an inaccessibility that can’t be bridged with these protagonists.
I’d love to hear what the more fervent fantasy fans have to say.
And while you’re offering feedback on the book, feel free to weigh in on this blog’s new look.
Today’s blog is dedicated to Lt. Errand Boy who will be M.I.A. for the next 10 days.
Today’s pics: Lulu models her new sweater, my new books.
Emily writes: “I hate to think that I’m this stupid, but I can’t figure out how to get to your profile on this site.” Answer/Joe: Hmmm. Come to think of it, neither can I.
Umm…you hate to think that I’m this stupid, or you also can’t figure out how to get to your profile?”
Answer: I responded to you in the comments section but just in case you didn’t see it – Oops, sorry. I didn’t realize that coud be read two different ways. I meant that even though I am able to edit my profile, for some reason I don’t know how to access it either.
Jean writes: “In This Mortal Coil, would the duplicate Sheppard/Weir have known the new location of Atlantis, since the new planet was picked AFTER Weir was lost to the Replicators?”
Answer: No, she would not have known the new location.
Eddy writes: “Got questions about SoW: Were we supposed to infer/know there was only one queen in the breeding complex at the time?”
Stacy writes: “ Loved the moment of the team in the “ready room” putting on their gear and then the “soo typical Rodney” just hanging out not realizing he should leave to let Teyla and Sheppard talk alone. Did you happen to write that scene?”
Answer: Nope. Kudos to both Alan McCullough and Paul Mullie for that scene.
Angry JackFan writes: “At Avalon convention in November 2006 RDA was asked if he had been invited to return for any future “Stargate” episodes or movies. Richard confessed that he had not yet been approached. He said he would like to return for an appearance, but he added that his relationship with the “Stargate” producers is “very Scandinavian. We don’t talk a lot.” What does that mean? Don’t you want him back? Or is it all in the past and things have mended since then (November 2006)?”
Answer: You’re reading too much into the comment. We don’t talk a lot for the simple reason that he no longer works on the show. I don’t really talk to Don Davis that much and I love the guy. It’s nothing personal.
Cyn writes: “Will SG-1 or SGA ever find it’s way on Blu-Ray or HD DVD?”
Answer: Holy crap, I hope so. If there was ever a show that should be enjoyed in HD, Atlantis is it. I have no idea why the hold up.
VDuchess writes: “My question isnt Stargate related, it has to do with GRRM and his SOIAF series. I was wondering which male and female character you enjoyed the most and if there was any character you couldn’t stand?”
Answer: Like you, I’m a big Tyrion fan.
Squall78 writes: “Do you have any word on “Spoils of War”.”
Answer: The early numbers for Spoils of War had it doing slightly better than our season premiere, Adrift.
Astrumporta writes: “So how did the bloopers DVD extra come out? How about the Save Carson featurette? We at SCB are both proud and scared to be so honored.”
Answer: Both pieces turned out great and I’m sure you’ll be pleased. The bloopers were a little long – but we figured the fans wouldn’t complain. Now, it’s just a matter of getting the actors to sign off on them.
Deena writes: “Speaking of football, who are you rooting for out of the final four?”
Answer: I’m rooting for NotThePatriots.
Trekkiegirl writes: “Let’s discuss some Stephen R. Donaldson on the book reviews, what do you think?”
Answer: I think we discussed Lord Foul’s Bane (a BOTM club selection) a few months ago.
Anne Teldy writes: “Am I the only person who hates the “Snap Preview” of the photos?”
Answer: No! I hate them! Tell me how to get rid of them.
OCD4SG writes: “How soon do you know when an actor will/will not be returning in regards to script writing?”
Answer: It’s very rare we’ll write a script without having an actor commit beforehand.