I’m a tapas kind of guy. There’s nothing I enjoy more than going to a restaurant and ordering an entire meal from the appetizer section. Some may argue that doing so robs one of the deeper dining experience only a main course can provide, and in some ways they’re right. Is a foie torchon, a spinach salad with goat cheese, and a lobster bisque really a suitable alternative to a 14 ounce prime rib with garlic-fried enoki mushrooms and sunchoke gnocchi? Usually, no – but sometimes, yeah. And, every so often, you come across an appetizer that will so impress, you may be inclined to enjoy it as a double or triple portioned main on your next visit. In short, variety is nice and it’s a terrific way to introduce yourself to creations you may never have otherwise considered, providing for revelatory experiences like squash-stuffed agnolotti with truffle butter, lamb dumplings, or the works of Kage Baker.

Yes, the same applies to literature as far as I’m concerned. After months of discussing a wide range of novels for this book club, it was great to sit down to an anthology for a pleasant change of pace. I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions on Future Fiction 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge. What stories stood out for you? Which ones left you cold? And why?

The book kicks off with a great introduction by editor Lou Anders who challenges the reader’s established notions of science fiction and, more pointedly, asks them to consider the genre’s purpose beyond its sheer entertainment value. Lou argues that scifi is not only “a tool for making sense of a changing world” but a source of inspiration for today’s future-thinkers, offering up this terrific passage:

“We walk around with Bluetooth-enabled earclips that look like nothing less than the Borg impalaants of Star Trek, talking on communication devices deliberately modeled on Kirk’s communicator, and while our music is increasingly digital, the compact discs that have yet to give up the ghost were actually modeled on the big silver discs that Mr. Atoz and his clones used in the library from the episode “All Our Yesterdays”.” (Lou Anders – Introduction to Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge).

Lou suggests it’s no coincidence that a visit to any NASA facility will turn up models of the Enterprise and Starfury. While I would humbly consider our modest production decidedly more entertaining than visionary, I’m nevertheless surprised by the number of Stargate fans currently working at both NASA and the European Space Agency. I recall our amazement a couple of years back when we received a video message from two residents of the International Space Station, an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut, who declared themselves fans of Stargate as they floated in Zero g!

So rather than resenting the critics who dismiss science fiction as little more than escapist fun, we should instead pity them for their shallow perspectives born, not of a sense of superiority or a better grasp of the meaningful and worthy, but a dismal inability to consider the future’s boundless possibilities.

Anyway, I’m sure Lou will have plenty to say on the subject (and whatever else is on his mind) when I turn this blog over to him later this week. For now, let’s talk about Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge. So, what did you all think?

One of the great things about collections such as this one is the wide range of stories it offers up. If I may bring it back to food just one more time: “Anthologies are like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re going to get. Your first sample may be a delightful dark chocolate-almond truffle, or it could, God forbid, be one of those milk chocolate crisps with the mint filling. But regardless of what that it is, love it or hate it or be wholly indifferent to it, there’s always the next one.” And so it was with Fast Forward. There were some stories I liked a lot, some that failed to impress, one I loved so much that it led me to place an immediate order for a couple of the author’s other titles, and one that I simply didn’t get and gave up on (although, in all fairness, it is a short story and so deserves another shot).

I really enjoyed Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin when I read it last year, and I look forward to checking out Axis which made SF’s Best of 2007 Reader’s Choice Top Ten. His entry in Fast Forward 1, “YFL-500” may lack the elements that made Spin such an engaging read – the well-rounded characters and the intricacies of their respective relationships which are, admittedly, much easier to explore and develop in a novel-length format – but it makes up for it by presenting an interesting future take on intellectual property and the artist‘s muse. I pitied poor Gordo who, creatively spent, looked not to his dreams for inspiration but someone else’s.

I found Justina Robson‘s “The Girl’s Hero Mirror Says He’s Not the One” a bit of a tough read and I wondered whether some familiarity with her preceding work might have helped me get a better grasp on the story. I felt as though I had walked into a movie an hour into its run time.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Small Offerings” was, without a doubt, the most unsettling entry in the collection and, while interesting, resonated more for its disturbing imagery than its actual story. For what it’s worth, although this story didn’t do it for me, Bacigalupi’s novelette “Yellow Card Man”, a 2007 Hugo nominee, would have gotten my vote that year. Brilliant.

A couple of poems by Robyn Hitchcock. To be honest, I don’t read much poetry so they were lost on me.

Of all the stories in this collection, Kage Baker’s “Plotters and Shooters” was by far my favorite. I know, some of you will argue that the story is slight in comparison to the many deeper tales in this collection, but I would argue that Baker pulls off something that few modern science fiction authors (Banks and Scalzi being notable exceptions) are able to achieve – getting the reader to laugh WITH them. A little taste of a tale I’d liken to a hopped up Ender’s Game:

“Lord Deathlock called him a lot of names, but the end of it was that he agreed to the terms, and we made Painmaster (who was crying and complaining that his heartbeat was irregular) witness. When they could walk they went stumbling back to the Pit of Hell, leaning on each other.” (Plotters and Shooters, by Kage Baker, from Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge).

This one was such a pleasure to read that I immediately headed over to Amazon.com and ordered up a couple of Baker’s other books.

“Aristotle O.S.” was also an enjoyable read, speaking as both a frustrated former student of philosophy and equally frustrated owner of numerous underperforming operation systems.

While “Small Offerings” was the most unsettling story in this collection, Elizabeth Bear’s “The Something-Dreaming Game” was not too far behind. Still, I liked this story well enough even though I found the girl’s connection to the other-worldly presence (via auto-erotic asphyxiation) rang more fantastical than scifi.

“I once dreamed I was a butterfly, and now I no longer know whether I am Chuang Tzu, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly dreaming that I am Chuang Tzu.” Steven Baxter’s “No More Stories” is a haunting piece that toys with the oft-explored scifi concept of (perhaps not so subjective) reality. The last line is perfection.

A.M. Dellamonica’s “Time of the Snake” was a fun run ‘ gun entry but didn’t really stand out amongst the many weightier tales.

Despite two game efforts, I couldn’t make it through Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper’s “The Terror Bard”. I had no idea what was going on. The fact that this was a sequel to an earlier work may have had something to do with it. And, then again, maybe not.

While I liked the premise of Louise Marley‘s “p dolce” (loved the Brahms angle), it felt like it was covering well-trodden ground.

Of all the stories in this collection, Ken MacLeod’s “Jesus Chris Reanimator” is the one that seems to have received the most buzz. And, given the subject matter, no wonder. Yet, in my mind, it’s the basic premise that works against it. I’d argue that any story dealing with Christ’s second coming is doomed to read like the author is gilding the lily after the point is made about a half page in. Well written but a little too on the nose for me.

In “Solomon’s Choice”,Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress do a bang-up jobbing of creating a truly alien civilization, with a culture so imaginative and engaging that I would place it right up there alongside some of Ursula K. LeGuin’s wonderful worlds. Although I felt the ending tied up a little too neatly, it’s a minor quibble on an otherwise terrific story. One of my favorites.

As an avid fan of anime, I’ve been exposed to my fair share of mecha-centered narratives, so while I can see how “Sanjeev and Robotwallah” by Ian McDonald may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it spoke to me in much the same way that YFL-500 did – through the uniqueness yet delightful familiarity of its subject matter.

Pamela Sargent’s “A Smaller Government” seemed out of place in this anthology of Future Fiction. I thought it read like the scifi offering of a bygone era.

I found Mary A. Turzillo’s “Pride” was pretty straightforward. Neither here nor there.

George Zebrowski’s “Settlements” was a bit of a tough read.

Gene Wolfe’s work has been described as cryptic and complex, but also clever and immensely rewarding. His Book of the New Sun tetralogy is not for the casual reader, the easily frustrated, or those unwilling to fully invest themselves in a sophisticated multi-layered narrative in which nothing is quite what it seems and the last person you can trust is the narrator himself. Wolfe’s entry in this collection, “The Hour of the Sheep“, may not be as dense or subtly elusive as his lengthier works but there’s still a tale within a tale here as Tiero, a master swordsman, struggles to complete the book he has been commissioned to write. Wolfe’s deceptively straightforward prose style belies a narrative richness that puts him in a class all by himself. One of my favorite authors.

An solid entry from John Meaney, “Sideways from Now” that, despite losing me every so often (loved the notion of the telepathic link perhaps not severed by death, but wasn‘t quite so enamored of the courtly elements), told an interesting tale of one man’s attempts to deal with his grief.

Paul di Filippo’s “Wiki World” possessed many Doctorow-esque elements that made it a both fun and funny read. A nice way to cap the collection.

Overall, I really enjoyed Future Fiction 1. It was a fairly solid and varied selection showcasing some top-notch talent. If pressed to pick my top 3 favorites, I’d go with: Kage Baker’s “Plotters and Shooters”, Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress’s “Solomon’s Choice”, and Gene Wolfe’s “Hour of the Sheep”.

So there you have it – my preliminary/general thoughts on the collection. Let’s start the discussion.

Yes, production started today. Marty G. and I swung by Norco for a couple of hours and took in the sights and sounds. The sets were positively smoking. Literally! I snapped a bunch of pics and will no doubt be swinging by to snap plenty more in the days to come. I also got a couple of shots of a re-dreaded and miserable Jason Momoa who dropped by the production offices this morning. Guess that decides that.

Lots to take in, but I’ll pace myself. After all, I wouldn’t to overwhelm you.

80 thoughts on “February 18, 2008: Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge

  1. Re: Tapas!

    Oh I know.. nothing better than ordering all these little meals..best one I’ve attended in Fremantle (if you should ever go) is called Gypsy Tapas. Make the best darned garlic prawns and a dessert called Gypsy tapas chocolate arm.. simply in the OMG category. (wheatless chocolate sponge outer filled with a sorta solid cream ) heaven.

    Is that a sonogram of Teyla’s bub?? Cool! What is Marty doing behind the console and why does it look like he’s wearing a black wig? That console still looks like a placenta so borrow that for the bub’s placenta and save yourself a dollar or two 😉

  2. Sorry not here to discuss the
    book. Just thought I’d give a heads up, Spolier Geeks is running a poll as to who the Hottest Guy on TV is. John Sheppard is in second place and Ronon Dex is towards the bottom. http://spoilergeeks.blogspot.com/

    I don’t think that’s right! C’mon fans we need our guys at the top!

  3. Hi, Joe.

    Thank you for the photos! And…yikes! Is that photo (3rd from the bottom)…an alien autopsy table? (I watch way too much CSI apparently…)

    Poor Jason. We appreciate his pain and suffering for our behalf. Ronon though really does NOT need dreadlocks to stand out in a crowd. 🙂

    Welcome back to all the cast, crew and staff for season five! Happy gating!


  4. Wow, a very detailed and descriptive entry Joe! How long did it take you to type today’s blog entry?

    As always, you provide excellent novel reviews that are a great read and give me ideas for future book rentals or purchases. Thanks. 🙂

    Also loving the sneak peak of the sets as well!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  5. *waves* Hey Joe,

    I was just wondering if you’ve seen/heard of an anime called Last Exile. It’s of the steam punk variety by studio GONZO. (brilliant team in my opinion.) It’s visually wonderful, and not a bad storyline so far. You might enjoy it.

    summary ala that love-hate thing called wikipedia…

    “The story revolves around Claus Valca and Lavie Head, a young courier pilot and his navigator, and their adventures in the floating world of Prester. In this romantic sky world based on stylized Victorian fashion and society, two countries, Anatole and Dysis (sometimes phonetically rendered as Anatoray and Disith), are engaged in a long and bloody war under the supervision of the mysterious Guild. Claus and Lavie, piloting their vanship (a small wingless aircraft) find themselves involved in a plot surrounding a mysterious little girl named Alvis Hamilton, whom they must deliver as “cargo” to the much-feared neutral battleship “Silvana”.

  6. I thought Fast Forward, etc. was a very enjoyable anthology. I only found two stories I didn’t like, Pamela Sargent’s “A Smaller Government” (too obvious), and George Zebrowski’s “Settlements” (too talky), a couple that I didn’t care about either way, Resnick and Kress’s “Solomon’s Choice” and Robyn Hitchcock’s “They Came From the Future”, and one I wish would have lasted longer because I didn’t understand everything and I wanted more detail, John Meaney’s “Sideways From Now”.

    Having said that, I thought “Sideways From Now” was brilliant. I wanted more backstory, more explanation, but the flashing back and forth from the present to memory to “elsewhen” was so skillfully done, I was never confused about where I, the reader, was in the story. Only at the end, which felt rushed, was I disappointed. I’m old fashioned enough to like a little more resolution than was there. Ambiguous endings don’t bother me as long as they let me formulate my own opinion as to what actually happened, but I couldn’t even guess with this one. But I loved the qPin, and expect the human race will see something similar to that in the not too distant future.

    The three stories I liked best were (1) Niven and Cooper’s “The Terror Bard”, Kage Baker’s “Plotters and Shooters”, and Robert Charles Wilson’s “YFL-500”.

    I really lliked “The Terror Bard”, because it reminded me somewhat of Iain M. Banks’ Culture (thanks again, JM). I’m determined to find the original story, “Kath and Quicksilver”, if anybody here as an idea where it might be. In fact, I wish there were a whole series, or a novel, I’d love to see these ideas explored in detail on a solar scale, if not a galaxy-spanning one. There’s a quasi-movement among biological scientists now to extend human life far beyond what the span is today, perhaps even indefinitely. Another research area is nanotechnology, which might eventually create sentient AI and hook us all into some kind of biocybernetic network like the one almost described, but not quite, in the story (a more intuitive, more powerful version of the system described in “Sideways From Now”). However, as far as characterization goes (and bearing in mind it’s a longish short story), there wasn’t a lot of in-depth characterization. Kath seems to be your usual kick-ass female heroine, able to leap tall buildings, etc. Charter had very little personality at all. The only character who stood out was the AI/robot/ship Klio. Those were the only quibbles I had, though.

    Baker’s “Plotters and Shooters” was a fun story, partly humorous and partly not, and an excellent allegory for high school if I ever saw one. And it was refreshing to see that nothing really changed for the Plotters, except that they weren’t being tortured by the Shooters anymore. It was a nice twist (if not exactly original) that Charles Tead turned out not to be a Plotter at all, but a Shooter, and even better, a Shooter who was only there to shape up the Shooters and not to ease the plight of the Plotters (even though that’s what he did).

    I liked “YFL-500” because it introduced an idea I’d never thought of, turning data into realspace art. I’ve seen it before (the pictures of different molecules in color, that kind of thing), but actual mathematical data, or say, people’s dreams (which would ultimately be mathematical data) tweaked my imagination. As for characters, Gordo could serve as the model for a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man on the Picasso model: a user who got what he deserved.

    I also liked Paul di Filippo’s “Wikiworld”, even though I think the “drowning of the coastlines” is fairly far-fetched in near time, The idea of human society being governed by wikis is intriguing, considering the advances being made in nanotechnology and biotech. Perhaps someday, that will be the prevailing civilizational interaction. But I hope such people will never, ever create wikis with such ridiculous teenaged names. Lots of meat there for speculation. I also thought Ian McDonald’s “Sanjeev and Robotwallah” was a fun story, if only because it’s a story that takes place outside the usual cultural milieu of most English language science fiction. I’m not really taken by giant robot stories, though.

    The other stories were good, but nothing else stands out for me. I regret I can’t reread the book right now, and find nuggets I overlooked, but the library wants their book back. When my Amazon copy comes in April, I’ll have more leisure time to look at them again and see if my original opinions still hold.

  7. Hi Joe –

    While I don’t usually read anthologies, I decided to give “Fast Forward” a try. Oddly enough, I think I enjoyed Anders’ intro as much (or more!) than any of the actual stories! Which in itself is uncharacteristic, as I usually skip over right into the story …

    I enjoyed ‘Plotters and Shooters’ the most. Like you, I found some of the stories that were based on prior works were tough to get into. Others made me have to think harder than I prefer in order to just follow the plot (I don’t want to work too hard to be entertained!). ‘p dolce’ captured my interest because I’m always up for a time travel story; and ‘Pride’ because it could almost be taken from today’s headlines – look at what today’s scientists are attempting with mammoths and prehistoric bees … All in all, I’m glad I read this book.

    I have to say that rather than short stories, I much prefer a nice hefty book that you can sink your teeth into. I like a story that grabs me by the throat and pulls me in so far that I hate to get to the last page. That said, I think Anders did a good job of bringing together a disparate group of stories that had something for all tastes.

  8. Hmmm… I also got a couple of shots of a re-dreaded and miserable Jason Momoa who dropped by the production offices this morning. Guess that decides that. Okay, so I take it he’s made up his mind. But did he decide that he will continue to be miserable in order to keep up Ronon’s image or is the misery too much to bare? 😀

  9. So rather than resenting the critics who dismiss science fiction as little more than escapist fun, we should instead pity them for their shallow perspectives born, not of a sense of superiority or a better grasp of the meaningful and worthy, but a dismal inability to consider the future’s boundless possibilities.
    This is very similar to the view I take, as an academic who’s doing her dissertation on TV and how it influences perception (specific stuff within that, but if I talk about it too much, I won’t write it!). I mostly feel sorry for the people who can’t understand why a psychology class centered around Buffy the Vampire Slayer was fun, or why the first class I taught on my own was applied ethics taught via Stargate SG-1 (I still think I should get points for best class title ever: Stepping Through the Stargate: Applied Ethics with a Kwoosh).

    But a healthy chunk of the academy thinks that anyone who takes any of the storytelling, mythos, narrative, or message you can pull from these shows – be it science fiction, House, or American Idol – must either be lazy or a fake. Kind of the epitome of being stuck too far up the ivory tower.

    And I do, for what it’s worth, feel sorry for these folks. I won’t say what they’re doing is pointless, but I will say that what they’re doing is limited in scope. Finding novel ways to analyze Foucault’s panopticon is going to be hard – finding new ways to analyze Foucault when looking at notions of power/knowledge in any number of contemporary sources? Well, never gets old, because what’s contemporary always changes. (This, in a way, in the basis of Zizek’s career – applying Lacan and company to the contemporary.)

    Ahem. Right. I’m babbling. Sorry ’bout that. 😉

  10. Mmmmm, tapas and anthologies. My bookshelves are filled with them. Anthologies, not tapas, although I am a rather careless housekeeper. You never know, I have an antique kite spindle, several porcelain boxes, a pair of binoculars, a Godzilla Christmas card, a bowl of five yen pieces, a chessboard, an abacus and Chinese opera mask, all shoved in with the books. And that’s just what I know about without looking. And framed pictures, like the ones of my mom and dad from the 1930s, and some miniature paintings. Fossilized tapas would not surprise me in the least.

    Is that a space bug? A Space Roach? Fetch, where’s my flippin’ Space Raid? Space Roach Motel? They beam in but they never beam out?

    (Rambling Just a Note: While I love to use Frell and Frakk, every now and them I fall back on my Utah roots and use Fetch and Flip. Not that I don’t actually swear, I’m a happy participant in the Eplaya’s F**k thread. And I’m a moderator, I’ve actually told people to edit posts to ADD swear words.)

  11. Hi Joe!!
    On Gateworld, there is a interview with Amanda and she said that she knows how that ” it was very clever and it made a lot of sense, and it dovetails nicely into the Stargate franchise. ”

    Can you give us more details!?!??!?! LOL!:D

    Je sais que tu ne vas rien dire…Comme on dit si souvent: ‘une fille s’essaye!” LOL!

  12. I grew up in an eclectic neighborhood of entertainment folk and scientists from JPL during the 60’s in the midst of the space race with the Soviets. The scientists couldn’t talk much about what they did, classified and all that. But “Star Trek” was a favorite among them. It was a window into a future they were literally trying to create. And I’ve never forgotten how infectious their child-like enthusiasm was.

    And your words, “…the future’s boundless possibilities” are as true for the past as they are now, whether one reads books or watches it on TV. “Stargate” is one of the windows that eager young minds are viewing the “boundless possibilities” through today. Always believe that what you and everyone else on the show are doing is important.

  13. I was wondering, with a bunch of fans bitching on gateworld that you are soley responsible for Torri’s seeming resentment towards the show and her non-involvement, if you can shed any light on the situation. Or, if you would……. Oh please?

    I have never been able to sit down and read a sci fi novel, though I fall head over heels for shows like Stargate… I prefer John Grisham and James Paterson books… have you read any of their stuff?

  14. I know back in the day “Clack Boards” (is that the technical term?) were used to sync up the sound and the video in post production. Now that people film the sound at the same time, is the clacky part of the board all for show?

  15. I’m just not a big fan of short stories, possibly because they make me feel stupid. I have this preconceived notion that all short stories supposedly have mind-blowing and all-important revelations. And 90% of the time I’m unable to figure out what the point of them was. Making me feel stupid, like I completely missed the point. Which is a very real possibility. I guess I just prefer longer stories with more character development and a more involved plot. That way, even after reading it, if the heavens didn’t open up and pour enlightenment down upon me, I can still feel like I was given a good ride.

    I think my favorite part of the book was the introduction (and that’s not supposed to be a dig, because I did find many of the stories interesting. I just loved the intro). Good job with that, Mr. Anders! I have a friend who can’t stand sci-fi because she “just doesn’t get the point of it. It’s all just made-up stuff.” I tried telling her that that’s the definition of all fiction. It also took me forever to convince her that there was a difference between sci-fi and fantasy. Anyway, I thought the intro did a wonderful job of explaining the draw and relevance of sci-fi. I tried to get her to read it, but she was turned off by the fact that it was more than 2 pages long.

    I read this a while ago and didn’t write down my thought as I read, so now I’m just leafing through the book and doing my best to remember (and it’s 3 days overdue at the library—that’s a whole 75 cents!). Be prepared for some incredibly non-earth-shattering “reviews” below:

    My favorites (In no particular order…actually, that’s a lie–they’re in the order that they appeared in the book):
    Small Offerings. I just thought that this was really creepy and ethically interesting.
    Plotter and Shooters. I thought Baker did a good job in regards to characterization. I just found it enjoyable to read, I guess. Probably my favorite.
    Aristotle OS. I just thought this was funny, remembering my philosophy class facts.
    Jesus Christ, Reanimator. I loved Jesus in this. Hilarious.
    A Smaller Government. This just made me laugh. A lot.
    The Hour of the Sheep. Damn, hoisted by his own petard. I hate that phrase. What the hell is a petard, anyway?? Actually, I’m not sure this phrase quite fits here, but whatever…
    The Something Dreaming Game. Pretty interesting, but what I find more interesting is the news story I just saw. A few days ago my local news station did a story on the rise of teenagers playing “the choking game” to get high. They offered some stellar advice on monitoring your teen for possible participation in “the choking game.” I feel it is my duty to pass this advice on to everyone out there who has teenagers: “Signs include bloodshot eyes, headaches, scarves tied to couches, and the unexplained presence of dog leashes and collars.” Seriously. It took me a while to stop laughing after hearing that. Maybe I’m making light of a serious situation, but come on—“the unexplained presence of dog leashes and collars”??? How can that phrase not be funny?

    I’m not going to discuss my least favorites because…I don’t want to. I never got to the last 2 stories in the book-—but if they seem to be favorites of others, maybe I’ll have to re-check out the book.

    I’d like to hear others’ more analytical reviews that I wish I’d’ve thought of; I’m just too mentally lazy for insightful thoughts right now.

    Let’s see, do I have a question for Mr. Anders? Do you, personally, like all the stories in the anthology? Which are your faves? How often do you ask an author to write something but then you absolutely hate what they give you? How do you handle that? Just say, “Sorry, we’re not interested in this?” Or do you try to get them to…I don’t know, completely rewrite them? I don’t know if this is an inappropriate question or not, but do the authors get paid per word, page, story, or some other measure?


  16. hey Joe,

    I haven’t read any of the books sorry but I thought the introduction of Lou Anders was brilliant. I find it quite sad that some people think of science fiction as a genre that is useless or uninteresting. most of them have probably never read any sci fi books or watched any such movies. the genre’s ability to address issues we human beings face everyday, problems our scientist are desperately trying to solve and moral concerns we all have, is what makes it so fascinating in my opinion.
    or as Asimov said: ‘Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blind critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, it’s essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all’

    thanks for the pics. the table looks interesting, I wonder if it’s connected to Michael? and the last pic is kind of creepy and really strange but it’s Wraith tech so what do I expect 🙂

    anyway, I’ll just repeat the question from my last post: do you happen to know any numbers for Midway? thanks and woohoo on season 5!!!

  17. Ahh, let the pictorial teasing begin! 😀 One of the best parts of the blog is seeing how things work behind the scenes…Just informative and fun. 🙂

    Welcome back to another season! 🙂

  18. Norco – like in Cali? I have a friend who lives there – horse country. But not sure that’s the same Norco of which JM speaks…

    pm wolfenm Said: “Evil beings act maliciously for pleasure; Todd has never shown such an inclination, leastwise not in my opinion. He’s just trying to get by, like our guys; I could see him agreeing to help develop a mindless-human clone-farm for his people to feed off of, bvecause hay, it’s easier to get food that way, and it would mean not needing to fight wars with humans anymore, both options being better in the long run for him and his people. Of course, there would always be wraith that prefer to hunt us for sport, I’m sure, but it makes them more interesting if they are as varied in nature as humans, I think. So count me in the camp that hopes that Todd stays an honorable being (at least as much as Sheppard and crew, who aren’t always so squeaky clean themseleves — and I like it that way) and an ally. I guess we’ll find out whether he, ultimately, is or isn’t soon enough.

    Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool? I like Reynolds, but I’m not sure how I feel about it …”

    @ wolfenm….

    First – the Wraith. Good points. Totally agree that it’s interesting to see a variety of Wraith personalities, and hopefully Todd is just the tip of the iceberg. And I’d love for some kind of alt. food source to be found, JUST as long as that pesky hunger for humans still lingers. But none of this humanizing the Wraith like what was done to Michael – that’s like trying to turn the whole world into Americans. 😛

    I just (finally!) watched Allies for the first time. In Allies, as well as in Common Ground, the Wraith tell the humans that they are more like Wraith than they realize. So true! Rodney hacked into Wraith computers, and now he’s upset that Todd did the same to him? WHY is Todd doing it worse than Rodney doing it? Shep and Weir are both cunning – and deceitful – people when they want to be (Coup D’Etat is a good example of this). But the Wraith do the same, and suddenly they are ‘evil’. Each human has Wraith-like qualities. Rodney has the Wraith’s insatiable appetite. Weir is every part the Queen (not sure about Sam), Teyla has the mental link with the Wraith, and Ronon – the anger and uncontrollable aggression of his greatest enemy. Then there is Sheppard – he’s Todd’s twin – neither can keep a hive ship or ZMP to save their necks! 😛

    Now – Deadpool. I can easily see Reynolds in this role. You need someone who can do crazy, and I think he can. For me, his voice would be perfect, too. And if Jackman – at 6’3″ – can pull off a hairy li’l runt like Wolverine, I figure it’ll be a piece of cake for Reynolds to jump into dear ol’ Wade’s fancy red pjs, and do crazy.


  19. Curious – how old is Teal’c at this point? I’m reading fan guesses from 80 to 150 years old. Help, please?

  20. I have to completely agree with you when it comes to Tapas. Especially here in Australia when its just to hot to have one big main, lots of little yummy things work much better with your glass of wine.

    Also please reassure Jason that that I’m sure the majority of fans will understand if the dreads just have to go. And I’m pretty sure his legions of fangirls will still swoon at his and Ronon’s every appearance on screen. A haircut will just be another topic of discussion, another addition to fan sites games of “would you rather…..”

  21. What is Martin wearing on his head? Is that wig from the same place that made the dead rat hairpiece that Shanks wore in Moebius?

  22. grrr. almost an hour typing up my take on Fast Forward, and wordpress ate it? at any rate, I can’t seem to retrieve it. Guess I’ll post my review on Wednesday. Meantime, thanks for the pics, and one question for Mr. Anders. What criteria does Mr. Anders use in deciding the order of stories in an anthology?

  23. On February 18, 2008 at 5:47 pm anneteldy Said to dasNdanger:
    After a question from yours truly, Mr. M. confirmed that Wraith can feed off large animals. I’m wondering what Sheppard will feel when he learns he could’ve fed Todd a cow instead of Wallace.

    Exactly Mr. M. said: Even though they can feel on animals, they don’t provide the, uh, full nutritional value of a human being.
    For me that means the Wraith can feed on animals but they won’t survive that for a long time. We can also eat grass and bark, but we would get a deficiency symptom soon. The Wraith have specialized on humans, same as koala bears have specialized on the leaves of eucalyptus trees. They cannot eat something else, nor do the Wraith.

    @ dasNdanger –
    I agree, except that peaceful coexistence-thing. 😉 There is no peace between hunter and pray. Friendship between individuals – yes; peace between both races – no.

  24. My thoughts on Fast Forward 1. I’ll save my questions for Lou for later in the week.

    Regarding the introduction, I found it almost sad that Mr. Anders felt the need to defend the value of Science Fiction in this day and age. I was asking myself, “don’t people know already that science fiction both prepares us for the future and influences it?” I had a wonderful Sci Fi/Fantasy class in high school back in the late 70’s, and the value of the genre was a major theme of the class. Since then, sci fi has become so mainstream, especially in films, I guess I took for granted the outlook I learned from an exceptional high school teacher. Clearly everyone else needs to catch up. 🙂

    I haven’t read a short-story anthology for a long time. In fact I’ve avoided them. In a short story, it’s way too easy for the author to take me on a very disturbing journey and/or leave things hanging in a completely aggravating way. In fact, short story authors seem to almost feel obligated to do so, as if they figure they can weird me out completely and I won’t be harmed because hey, it’s only 12 pages! I’m still haunted by one I read 30+ years ago called “The Cold Equations.” So yeah, I avoid short stories in general but gave this set a try in the spirit of Joe’s blog.

    The creep-out factor was indeed in evidence, chiefly in “Small Offerings”. Holy crap! Also in “The Something-Dreaming Game,” which I couldn’t manage to finish. “No More Stories” was creepy and sort of beyond me as well.

    Thankfully many of the stories were enjoyable or thought-provoking without causing any undue trauma. “Aristotle OS” was almost sweet with its encouragement for us to make a better world. Obama should quote it. Heh. I enjoyed “P. Dolce” quite a lot. To see the characters go to such trouble to understand a (to me) obscure bit of music history was just very cool. If only history were always so valued. “Solomon’s Choice” was a great, imaginative piece of straight sci-fi, with even a reassuring hint of humans trying (mostly) to do the right thing as they spread out across the galaxy. I appreciate a hopeful view of humanity in my sci fi. “Sanjeev and Robotwallah” I enjoyed for the glimpse at Indian culture as much as the sci fi, although the anime stuff went right over my head. I loved the dry wit of it.

    I couldn’t understand “The Terror Bard” well enough to read past a page. “Jesus Christ, Reanimator” I found affecting, but then in thinking about it, Jesus should have known better; the outcome was inevitable given his approach to the whole second coming thing.

    “Plotters and Shooters” was one of the funniest stories I’ve read maybe ever. A complete study of the sociology of geeks and gamers all in a few hilarious, fast-moving pages. And I laughed at the meta of it, that it was all about the status of jobs that can be much better done by a computer, so that doing them is no more meaningful than playing a video game anyway!

    I enjoyed the book very much. Thanks to Joe and to Lou Anders for restoring my faith in sci fi short stories. Maybe I’ll try Fast Forward 2. 🙂

  25. Lots to take in, but I’ll pace myself. After all, I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you.

    Bring it on. *g*

    First off, I have to say that I think Fast Forward 1 is an excellent anthology. I very much enjoyed reading it – the entries are quite good and are very well-arranged – and I was very happy to return to reading short stories. Over the years, the form has done a lot to make me a better reader

    I found Mr. Anders’s introduction as provocative as many of the stories. I like the idea of aiming for the stars, but at this point in the world’s history, I also strongly empathize with those who may be thinking, “Let’s set some standards before we start to break even more new ground.” In some cases, technology that many people – average citizens – are barely familiar with, is already being exploited by those who have the resources the rest of us don’t. I believe we have some serious issues to deal with in earnest before taking our explorations to the next level, and I think most of the stories do well at exemplifying why that should be.

    The stories:

    I thought “YFL-500” did a good job of setting up what first seemed to be a simple twist of fate, but ended with a more complicated twist related to moral ambiguity. I really only pitied Gordo for his inability to dream or to create visionary art (save for the one key piece), and disliked both him and the doctor intensely for their hypocrisy. The story’s incorporation of a possible future art form, with all its evocative detail, intrigued me. I loved how, ultimately, Iris turned out to be more than she seemed (Wilson foreshadowed that in one sentence early on); and while not condoning what she did per se, felt it was still well-deserved on Gordo’s part.

    I really liked Robson’s “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not the One,” though it took two readings for me to get what was going on with both plot and atmosphere. Characterization was a major strength here, with Robson using a few words here and there to capture the essence of a woman who is human but whose brain is very largely controlled by some shadowy governmental entity we sense but don’t see. For me, touches such as her having to look at her wrist to remember her name, and her simple desire to complete her mission and go home to Chinese take-out with her mom, evoked a great deal of pathos. It seemed to me that the world as it was served as more of an antagonist than did her target, and that part was what I found most challenging to get through. But the story makes me want to read Robson’s Mappa Mundi.

    I couldn’t read “Small Offerings” more than once; it just hurt too much. That’s a future I want no part in.

    Hitchcock’s first poem did little for me. A third reading gave me a bit of appreciation of some isolated imagery, but no more than that.

    “Plotters and Shooters” was fun once the tables were turned, but before that it made me cringe to read about what alpha males can do to those lower in the hierarchy. It made me think of a lot of male “coming of age” stories I’ve either read or watched, and wondered about how guys get through all that. So, my basic reaction was “guy story” — in a general sense. The twist re. the games was something you could see coming, but I don’t know if that was intentional or not. At the end, there’s been a lot of change, but the most basic things remain the same.

    I loved “Aristotle OS.” For me, it said a lot about human nature via a very clever tech-take on a brief and selective history of philosophy. It was funny, but still made a point – without making you feel that you were supposed to be thinking really hard about it. (But then I found myself caught up in the different philosophies as embodied by the pc operating systems. If only college philosophy courses had been that entertaining, and made learning that much fun.)

    “The Something-Dreaming Game” was one of two stories that left me wishing I owned everything the author has written. It’s a beautifully crafted story with wonderful attention to detail, and despite the highly advanced medical technology, I felt like I was reading an account of an actual event. While autoerotic asphyxiation is key to the plot, there’s just so much more going on. The tale is unbelievably poignant (or was so for me), an effect that’s enhanced by the mother’s story being told in first person, while the young girl’s narrative is in third person. The technique revealed some things about the daughter to which her mother wasn’t tuned in; so those things remained partly obscure, yet very important to the main storyline. The increasing involvement of the alien life form was suspenseful for me; and the ending, genuinely heartbreaking but beautiful in a haunting sort of way. – On first read, I did find the story very disturbing, and of course the danger involved with “the something-dreaming game” remained disturbing on the second read. I still found that I loved this fictional memoir of a very unusual young girl and an alien named Albert – despite the fact that every stage of the story gave me yet another kind of pain. – If allowed a great deal of license, you could also see this tale as a “coming of age” story; and I guess that’s where I see beauty in the midst of sorrow.

    And with that, I’ll end, but not before concurring completely with Joe’s take on “No More Stories” and that perfect last line.

  26. Hi Joe,

    I’d just like to say, that your comments and discussion on these books puts my English professors to SHAME. You approach them with a critical eye while maintaining an ability to talk about the book as a thing to enjoy, appreciate, and savor. Lately I’ve found academic work in literature…science fiction literature, especially, but not alone…to be cold, calculating and frankly arbitrary to the point of ridiculousness.

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your sharing your literary interests with the group…and encouraging conversation the is critical AND appreciates the art and the pure and simple enjoyment of the book.

    Thanks for this (AND everything else),


  27. FYI, Norco is a studio near Bridge that is sometimes used for Stargate filming.

    Teal’c was born in about 1900 in Earth years, but remember he lived about 60 “extra” years in “Unending” that he didn’t get back. So he’s well over 160 now!

  28. I forgot to include my first questions for Mr. Anders. (I have 265 in all. A few of them may actually be related to Fast Forward 1.)

    I think this is sort of related to Emily’s comment/question, since she asked what you do when one of your chosen authors submits something you don’t like too well. – In general, what are the responsibilities of an anthology editor? Also, are there any significant similarities to editing a book?

  29. Susan the Tartan Turtle asked:

    “What, who or where is Norco?”

    From a Dreamwatch magazine article (from 2005):

    “Norco is a converted bicycle warehouse.”

    Apparently it’s some distance (5 miles) from Bridge Studios. It had 3 stages in a 2001 article.

    Alex Levine has mentioned it in his blog as well as David Hewlett in his blog.


    info gleaned from previous posts on SG1-Spoilergate

  30. Joe Said:
    “So rather than resenting the critics who dismiss science fiction as little more than escapist fun, we should instead pity them for their shallow perspectives born, not of a sense of superiority or a better grasp of the meaningful and worthy, but a dismal inability to consider the future’s boundless possibilities.”

    I absolutely, totally, 100% agree with you there, citing Jules Verne, HG Wells and Arthur C Clarke as (IMHO) The godfathers of modern science. Anyone who has not the vision to see Science Fiction as potentially prophetic, whether they read it or not, should never leave the comfort of their cave.

    On another note I say to Jason, ditch the dreads dude, I totally empathise with neck pain and it ain’t worth it.

  31. Time constraints mean I haven’t yet finished Fast Forward, but I’m getting there and enjoying every story, page, paragraph and sentence along the way…well mostly.

    I’ll start with the introduction by Lou Anders. A few years ago I studied genre theory using speculative fiction as the genre (mainly sci fi and fantasy), and I wish I’d had Anders’ introduction back then. It voiced a lot of ideas which I was beginning to formulate at the time and it was really inspirational to read. I’m tempted to recommend it to a couple of teachers I know who teach sci fi.

    Since I really got into sci fi I realised that there was a lot more to it that just “escapist fun”, as you so aptly put it Joe. To me it is about studying society now, often through future societies. And people, politics, religion, human nature, all of it seems to appear in some shape or form within sci fi. One of the things I’ve sometimes found with novels though, is that they spend a long time creating the fictional world through technology, ecology, differences in society…that is all well and good, and it interests me, but I’m more interested in the human angle. The stories in Fast Forward 1 seem to get to that a lot faster.

    Going through what I’ve read…I liked “YFL-500” because it made me think about dreaming and whether or not it is an important part of life. I know a few writers who use dreams as inspiration for their work, and while I don’t think it makes their work better or worse than anyone else’s, it shows how dreams can be more than just relevant facts from our daily lives manifest in our subconscious/unconscious mind. And it does distinguish us from the technology we create. If artificial intelligence machines become commonplace, I can understand finding comfort in something we might see as mundane or irrelevant today. How often do we talk about our dreams? (Joe, just remembered your “fish investment” dream from last year and how entertaining/interesting it was to hear about).

    “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Said He’s Not the One” was interesting, but some of it escaped me. I would have liked some background to the reality we were reading about, which seems to contradict what I said earlier about being more interested by the human angle of sci fi. But really, sci fi wouldn’t be sci fi if it didn’t use that discourse to discuss humanity. While Robson seemed to have confidence in the world she created, I would have liked to know a bit more about the Girl Hero (Rebecca), and how her name was taken (I know it was touched on, but I didn’t quite get it). And about how identity was created in that world.

    Bacigalupi’s “Small Offerings” was very disturbing, and I agree with you Joe, it was the imagery that did it for me with this story. Particularly at the end, the detail about the small infant in the giant bio-bin.

    I really liked Robyn Hitchcock’s poem “They Came From the Future”, the repetition gave it a sense of security and sureness right up until the end…

    Joe, I started reading “Plotters and Shooters” and thought of you. Strange, huh? I think it was the nicknames given to all the Shooters that reminded me so much of you. The humour in this story was a highlight for me. The way the Shooters expected all the Plotters to obey them and were so gobsmacked when Charles wouldn’t, in particular, entertained me. And I liked that Charles thought outside the square, not blindly accepting his position as it was, but striving (and succeeding to be more).

    “Aristotle OS” I liked, again because of the humour. And did anyone else find it just a little bit too conceivable that operating systems could get to be like that?

    “The Something-Dreaming Game” was interesting, but I felt as though it could have been part of a longer fiction. I think to have really engaged in the story I would have needed to feel more empathy with the alien (who, at one point I thought would kill Tara).

    I think I found “No More Stories” even creepier than “Small Offerings”. The idea that we construct our own realities in which we live is something I really enjoy discussing, and the fact that Simon lost his own reality, replaced by something else entirely, was very disturbing. It made me wonder, how stable are we in our lives, our beliefs, our perceptions of the things and people around us?

    “Time of the Snake” had an excellent twist, but I’m not sure I liked the story from where it started. I think it’s another one I would have liked more background to.

    I liked the reality created in “The Terror Bard”. I agree you would probably get a lot more out of it from reading “Kath and Quicksilver” first, but the story seemed so self-contained in a way which some short stories never quite do. Sure there was a backstory which was only briefly touched on, but I think Kath was such a strong character, and Quicksilver from the brief encounter, that everything else fell into place around them.

    Ok, I think I’ve probably posted my longest “comment” ever. Can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks and continue the discussion.


  32. What is the proper term for the weapon the Wraith used to stun everyone in the SGC? Remember, ‘PFD’ is already taken.:)

    Anne Teldy

  33. Hi Joe! Cool pic’s! Season 5 is underway now! It looks like it will be an awesome season!
    Norco?? Isn’t that an icecream? Well! It is where I live!
    Poor Jason having to redred his hair that must of been so painful for him! I hope he doesn’t have any more neck problems! I understand he has to have it for his character but later in the season does he get to loose the dreds?

    Take Cake!

  34. Thanks joe when do we get the pics of jason please?tell him we want him to be happy not miserable and that he call pull off ronon dreads or not its the eyes(yeh right!) that make it. The man can act so whats on his head comes second to that if you get my drift.Good luck with season 5, enjoy we will as always.x

  35. Hey joe,
    I was wondering if you’ve watched Death Note yet? And if so what your thoughts on it are.
    I personally loved it.

  36. i asked this before but is there any more Episodes like Missing planned for Teyla in season 5 at all as i really enjoyed that Episode and will we ever get to see more about teylas Family at all?

  37. Okay…I mentioned in my earlier comment that I watched Allies for the first time last night. May I suggest NOT doing that while eating salsa verde and chips? Seems I had a dream last night that the Wraith were humanized, and they all became pro bocce ball players.

    VERY disturbing. 😛


  38. Well I’ve just dragged myself out from under the bonnet(hood) of youngest sons puddlejumper I bet Shepard never has to worry about rotor arms, distributer caps, HT leads and spark plugs! not to mention poerflo exhaust systems (total waste of everything!) and boy racer foot pedals. its gonna take me a week to get this vehicle back to standard! Give me a naquada powered vehicle any day!(wait a minute…ARE puddlejumpers naquada powered or what? I need a service manual!!!)

  39. 1)Will there be any examples in season five of consequences from resistance/insubordination to Woolsey’s new command?

    2)Do Wraith suffer obsessions and desire like humans?

  40. Great book! I read and reviewed it some time back, with my favorite stories being the Elizabeth Bear and Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Small Offerings,” which, as you said, is certainly unsettling. I still have bad images in my head from that one…

  41. Qapla’ (success in Klingon) for a spanking good S5!

    For susanthetartanturtle:

    I believe Joe explained once that Norco is the location (away from Bridge Studios) where they have all the Wraith sets. JM said the actors generally hate the location as it’s uncomfortable, not too clean and the air quality isn’t up to snuff.

    Please anyone, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Still reading Fast Forward 1… 😛

    Carol Z
    (who even with a migraine manages to come to this blog and read/post!)

  42. Thanks for the photo – though that one of the bed/table with restraints is rather foreboding for someone … kinda hope it’s McKay, but probably not … oh well, I’m sure it’ll be good … *evil whumping grin*

    And please tell me that Marty G isn’t flying that ship – or does it mean he and Teyla have something in common? Like Wraith DNA?! Ohh, but now I’ve had a really scary thought – you sure he isn’t a Wraith in disguise?!!

    Leesa Perrie

  43. Thanks for the photo – though that one of the bed/table with restraints is rather foreboding for someone … kinda hope it’s McKay, but probably not … oh well, I’m sure it’ll be good … *evil whumping grin*

    And please tell me that Marty G isn’t flying that ship – or does it mean he and Teyla have something in common? Like Wraith DNA?! Ohh, but now I’ve had a really scary thought – you sure he isn’t a Wraith in disguise?!!

    Leesa Perrie

  44. Have you ever read any of Terry Goodkind? Superb characters, male, female, young, old. Political fantasy/science fiction.

  45. How will production be affected this season since you don’t seem to have any challenges in actor availability? Do you plan on filming more linearly or will the special effects, etc require you to still film out of order?

    Any idea when SciFi will announce the season premier date?

  46. Hey Joe,

    Regarding the interaction between SF and science, you may be interested in a book by Mark Brake and Neil Hook, called “Different Engines”. It takes a look at scifi all the way back to the seventeenth century (!) and examines how scifi and science have each informed and influenced the other. There is a very cool chapter discussing some of the big guns of scifi including Wells, Orwell, Heinlein, Huxley, Clarke, among others (I don’t have the book in front of me now and am going by memory).

    Here’s a description of the book from Amazon:

    “Since its emergence in the seventeenth century, science fiction has been a sustained, coherent and subversive check on the promises and pitfalls of science. In their turn, invention and discovery have forced fiction writers to confront the nature and limits of reality. Different Engines explores how this fascinating symbiosis shapes what we see, do, and dream. From Johannes Kepler’s Somnium to Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001, science fiction has emerged as a mode of thinking, complementary to the scientific method. Science fiction’s field of interest is the gap between the new worlds uncovered by experimentation and exploration, and the fantastic worlds of the imagination. Its proponents find drama in the tension between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Its readers, many of them scientists and politicians, find inspiration in the contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Brake and Hook’s Different Engines is a unique, provocative and compelling account of science fiction as the arbiter of progress.”


  47. I have to agree with everything you said about science fiction.. and the anthology. And you said it far better than I could dream of doing.

    I also can’t wait to see what Lou has to say. That should be exciting.

  48. Joe,
    whatever happened to the stargate puppets from episode 200?? did the actors get them? it cost $25,000.00 to do the puppet scene. Somebody has them.

  49. noir Said: “…Mr. M. confirmed that Wraith can feed off large animals. I’m wondering what Sheppard will feel when he learns he could’ve fed Todd a cow instead of Wallace.

    Exactly Mr. M. said: Even though they can feed on animals, they don’t provide the, uh, full nutritional value of a human being.

    For me that means the Wraith can feed on animals but they won’t survive that for a long time. We can also eat grass and bark, but we would get a deficiency symptom soon. The Wraith have specialized on humans, same as koala bears have specialized on the leaves of eucalyptus trees. They cannot eat something else, nor do the Wraith.”

    @ noir: Ah – okay. So, in a pinch they can feed on a large animal, and though it may keep them alive, it may not allow for the healing, super-strength, and ‘gift of life’, among other things – is that a correct assumption?

    noir Said: “I agree, except that peaceful coexistence-thing. There is no peace between hunter and pray. Friendship between individuals – yes; peace between both races – no.”

    @ noir: That’s what I mean, too. I would NOT want all Wraith to be huggy-kissy with humans, that would suck. LOL. It would wussify them. But a faction of Wraith – a few individuals, maybe even a hive – that agree to work with the humans under certain conditions (don’t feed on Lanteans or their known allies, for instance) would be nice to see. I mean, just imagine the Lanteans getting their arses handed to them in a heated battle with an enemy, and in jumps a hive ship, and saves their sorry behinds. That enemy (whoever they may be) would certainly think twice about messin’ with Shep & Co. ever again. The Wraith would be like the Lanteans ‘secret weapon’, and everyone loves a secret weapon – as long as it’s NOT overused.

    Remember how Larrin (sp?) reacted when she saw Todd in the jumper? “Kill it!” Shows the sort of thing Wraith could be good for…an alliance with a few Wraith would make fewer civilizations trust the Lanteans, which can create more problems, and problems are what move stories forward.

    Even if an alternative food source is found, I would NEVER want the Wraith to lose their taste for humans. That’s what makes them so freakin’ great. But to see SOME fight their desire to feed on humans in order to maintain an alliance with the Lanteans – that could be a good thing. LOL…I just got this image of Teyla and a ‘friendly’ Wraith sparring in the gym…and the Wraith suddenly gets all flustered and storms out. Teyla just assumes he’s attracted to her as a woman (like John was when he was turning into a bug) and she’s both appalled and flattered at the same time, only to find out that it had nothing to do with a sexual attraction, but that the ‘taste’ of her sweat on his hands was making him hungry. That might be lame, but I use it as an example of the sorts of things I’d like to see from a Wraith alliance – use them to give us a more personal glimpse into both Wraith and Lantean – instead of the ‘I’ll save your butt if you save mine…and don’t peek while I hack your system’ thing that’s currently going on.


  50. Just a quick hello to say that I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s comments and they are all very interesting and valuable. I’m resisting saying more till I can sit down and say it all, but I wanted to check in least I feel like a lurker at the party.

    Also, no promises, but I’m going to try and get a few of the authors to pass along some thoughts as well.

  51. Hello Joseph =) sa va bien aujourd”hui?

    Pas moin, je vais certainement travailer durant toute mes vacance la semaine prochaine et durant les vacance d’été! et j’ai pas envi ;__°

    Gros Kisou, je vous adore a demain!Merci pour ces photos!

  52. I was unable to get my hands on a copy of Fast Forward: 1 yet, I will come back to this entry and comments when I finally get a copy. I did however managed to get Neil’s book Smoke and Mirrors and finished today will look forward to next week’s discussion.

    I watched Midway yesterday and was impressed. Loved the chemistry between Chris’s and Jason’s characters. Not sure about Kavanaugh though but I imagine that why he was there, poor Ben Cotton. Was it your or his idea for the hair or did that even enter into it. It suits him makes him more likeble it’s amazing how that can be done. I’m with the thought that more then one day in a sealed jumper with no bathroom brings me out of the story a slight bit.

    Awesome pics and loved the detailed entry even though I skiped most of it to come back to it later 🙂


  53. I adore Mike Resnick. I haven’t been adventurous enough to seek out much more than his anthology, Will the Last Person to Leave the Planet Please Shut Off the Sun?, but hopefully that’ll change in the near future.

    I’ll have to see if I can’t pick up a copy of Fast Forward to peruse from the library, or something, just to check out the Resnick/Kress story 🙂

    And can I just say one thing about Midway? Ronon vs. Teal’c FTW! I demand a rematch, this time without Carter stepping in 😀

  54. Hi Joe!

    This is unrelated to everything else on today’s blog, but thought you’d be interested (since I didn’t agree with the outcome.)

    MENSA Chair Picks The 10 Smartest TV Shows Of All Time


    Jim Werdell says the smartest shows he currently watches include CSI: New York, Law & Order: SVU, House, Stargate SG-1, NCIS and Numb3rs. But for the ultimate list of Smartest All Time shows, he ventured beyond his personal viewing habits. As he says, “I was a Star Trek fan. It was on the original list. It was groundbreaking, no question. But the follow-up, Next Generation, were better programs than the original, in my opinion, and smarter.”


    3. CSI — The way they use science to solve their programs is intriguing to viewers.


    So, CSI beat out Stargate SG1 (no mention of SGA, but would assume it’s in there somewhere, given his viewing choices.) I’ve tried watching CSI, but never got more than a few minutes into it. I always thought the movie Manhunter did a far better job of portraying believable forensics.

    Just thought you’d like to read that; no comment needed 🙂


  55. I always wish I could read your BOTM choices–but by the time I convinced my mum to order one of them, it would probably be a good three months after the discussion of them. Ah, well.

    On another note, when does Jason get to get the dreads off again? (He is getting them back off again, right? That’s what it sounded like.)

  56. <>

    *sigh* Why did I marry one of those? Ah, well, 25 years and counting, it’s not all bad.

    Sorry I can’t join in the book club…overwhelmed with two college courses and con prep. Sign language is NOT easy!

  57. That quote should be “So rather than resenting the critics (…) but a dismal inability to consider the future’s boundless possibilities.”

  58. So Teyla doesn’t deliver until Season 5!

    And she must be held captive by the Wraith because the examination table next to the fetal scanner has restraints (ours don’t!!) and is typical of Wraith technology

    If Wraith scans are the same as ours with the presenting part at the bottom of the screen then bad luck Teyla’s baby is in the transverse position.

    Unless the fetus is turned to be cephalic (head down) or beamed out then Teyla is in for a Caesarean Section very soon.

    Wonder if the Wraith bother with Anaesthesia at all?


  59. Hey Joe!

    My 13 year old daughter and I just made reservations at Fuel on April 3rd. I checked out the menu and I’m glad I’m bringing the daughter with excellent taste in food. I know she’ll love it. My six year old daughter thinks chicken nuggets from McDonald’s are fine cuisine. It’s so sad, I know. She’s a work in progress.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing you and Martin there!

    whovian (aka Trish)

  60. Don’t you feel the addition of the big Asgard guns on the Earth ships has been a bad choice? I just watched The Fifth Race, and I got the impression the Tau’ri just shouldn’t have gotten all those Asgard upgrades… Sure, there’s nine years between The Fifth Race and Be All my Sins Remember’d, but that’s not enough to earn the legacy of an all-powerful race, imo. It also seems overpowered, since Aurora’s beat Wraith-hives, and the Apollo/Daedalus beat Aurora’s with ease now. Five hives at once shouldn’t be a problem anymore it seems, and that kinda destroys the underdog feeling from seasons 1-3 where we had problem with even one hive.

  61. Amz said:

    Since I really got into sci fi I realised that there was a lot more to it that just “escapist fun”, as you so aptly put it Joe. To me it is about studying society now, often through future societies. And people, politics, religion, human nature, all of it seems to appear in some shape or form within sci fi.

    [second part of my comments on Fast Forward 1, and apologies if I’ve gone on at too much length]

    I’m glad you brought that up. Immediate social relevance went through my mind a lot with many of the stories, and I thought a lot about how important it is to pay attention to those who give us views of directions in which we could possibly be headed. Just for example, the scenario of “Small Offerings” may not be that plausible as our future – or maybe that’s only what I want to think, and I need to pay more attention to ideas and actions that could lead us there if we and our heirs don’t find ways of changing directions.

    – I think my review of “The Something-Dreaming Game” came out somewhat overcooked; still, that’s honestly how the story affected me.

    Picking up after “No More Stories”:

    “Time of the Snake”: Both the premise and the plot felt too familiar. Still, the moral ambiguity on both sides of the war was interesting, and variations on the main theme via atmosphere and characterization kept me moderately interested in the story.

    “The Terror Bard” was a difficult read for me. I didn’t grasp much in the way of plot until the very end. The second time I read the story, I quit trying to understand exactly what was going on, and just took in the atmosphere. (And with some short stories that’s the whole point, but I felt there was more going on here; I just couldn’t access it.) I did enjoy the characterization of the advanced society, and the ending demonstrated that what I might picture as a modified machine was really more human, and humane, than Homo sapiens often is.

    “P dolce”: I wound up thinking of this as two completely separate stories, because while I loved reading about the romance between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann, I didn’t really care too much about what was going on in the real world. I lost any sympathy for Frederica after she took over Clara’s mind, even if the beauty of this little world was seen through Frederica’s fresh perception of it. – The pursuit of Brahms’s exact intent for the notation p dolce was very realistic, but that kind of intense scrutiny of rather arcane academic matters (no matter what the subject) has always been tedious for me. (I did, however, enjoy thinking about the different ways p dolce might sound.) Kristian didn’t interest me at all. – While I thought Marley did a very nice job in setting up the atmosphere of the trysting place in mid-19th c. Tuscany, and loved all the detail she included, at times my reading got a little bogged down by what I perceived as less than consistenly skilled writing. If I’m biased, and my dislike is actually for style choices, then I guess I’d have to say that overall I don’t really care for Marley’s writing style.

    “Jesus Christ, Reanimator”: I didn’t care for the premise of this tale. Still, I appreciated the various ironies of the story, and was moved by the last paragraph.

    “Solomon’s Choice”: This story, I felt, was very well done. I was completely drawn in by Hutaral and her world. I’m glad that Joe brought up Ursula K. Leguin, since I also think there’s a good basis for comparison between her and Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress’s world-creation. (Hutaral and her people also reminded me of a world in the children’s classic, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.) I really enjoyed the alternating-POV’s approach, and thought the writing was excellent. But as a couple of people have pointed out, the ending seemed too pat.

    “Sanjeev and Robotwallah”: Like others, I enjoyed the setting of a foreign country and a culture that’s largely foreign to me, while McDonald did a nice job of making clear there are some things that are essentially the same everywhere. The story also caught my interest in depicting the further splintering of a society that (so I gather) is often burdened by factionalism. However, the sci-fi element only appealed to me off and on.

    “A Smaller Government”: The plot was predictable, so I concentrated on elements like dialogue – which I thought was well done – and (to some extent) characterization, and found those were enough to keep me engaged with the story. The ending, though, struck me as pedantic.

    “Pride”: Another very familiar storyline, but I liked learning about Jonesy and appreciated having an animal as basically the main character – though, of course, the story was largely about the results of Kevin’s choices. This scenario is one that concerns me as possibly being not too far off from where transgenetic technology is now, and the issue is one I don’t think is being talked about nearly enough outside the world of sci-fi – particularly re. its import for humans. It’s serious enough in connection with animals, plants as well. So from that perspective I’m very glad the story was included in the anthology.

    “I Caught Intelligence”: Hitchcock’s second poem really had more of a prose feel for me, but that’s not important given the point. Combined with his thoughts as quoted by Mr. Anders in his intro to the poem, I think Hitchcock makes a very good point in a mostly provocative way; but somehow the net effect is a tad preachy. Still, some interesting basis for speculation on the general nature of humankind.

    “Settlements”: I didn’t care much for this story. The characters’ verbosity didn’t bother me, but Zebrowski’s lack of subtlety in making his point was something I found very irritating. The more-evolved beings (or whatever term you prefer) were far too patronizing, like the Ancients can be on occasion. High self-regard combined with superior intelligence and abilities make for a bad combination; and for that reason, in my mind the tale had a false ring to it.

    “The Hour of the Sheep”: Gene Wolfe is the consummate stylist, and this story reads as smooth as silk. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get interested in the character of Tiero. Still, I appreciated Wolfe’s skill in constructing an ever-changing story with no visible seams.

    “Sideways from Now”: I can’t review the story since I felt lost from the beginning and quit reading fairly early into it.

    “Wikiworld”: Seriously, I think this story is nothing short of brilliant. As with Elizabeth Bear, I now want to read everything Paul Di Filippo has written. A satire/spoof/parody of “first-world” obsession with trendiness (among other things) – call it what you will, Di Filippo has crafted a supremely tongue-in-cheek but ultimately affectionate look at humankind’s resilience, creativity, and ability to ignore any number of serious issues in order to have a good party or otherwise carry on with life as usual. Whether the global-warming scenario is completely plausible or not, the story sucked me in from the title onward; and my perception is that Di Filippo never misses a beat with this incredibly well-orchestrated tale that takes just enough time to orient the reader (as much as you can feel oriented on this awesome roller-coaster ride) before launching into a completely zany story that had me in every stage of amusement from smirking to being doubled over with teary-eyed laughter. Best of all, the longer it went on, the more hilarious it got. – There’s so much to comment on here I’d like to write a two-page essay about the story, but that would risk turning serious on a subject for which seriousness would almost be equal to complete ruination. I’ll just add that I wish I could’ve been living in Di Filippo’s mind while he wrote, so that I’d understand every single reference to every single entity or idea he spoofs. Five thumbs up, and my nomination for the author to receive first prize: the Mallozzi-Gero Operating System. Have fun with it, Mr. Di F.

  62. Just a quick question

    Have you ever tried to read Stargate Atlantis fanfiction if so what do you think of it?

  63. Call from the space station would have been a great moment! It made me laugh each time I thought about it yesterday. I was having the visual image of the looks on everyone’s faces when told what was waiting.

    Yay to Tapas. So many tasty treats. My taste buds have a very short attention span so main meals are just a waste for me. Can taste buds be blonde too?

    Kelly: Did you reference all seasons of Buffy or were there a certain series of seasons which followed a particular theme? Great idea!

    Great post Joe. So many different and informative things to read about here. Thanks again for all of your efforts here in keeping us amused 🙂
    Much appreciated.

  64. PS: In an online conversation I just had with a work collegue I used the words “whump”, “snark” and “anyhoo”.
    What has this blog done to my vocabulary?! Probably improved it now that I think about it…

  65. Hi Joe,

    I have posted this question a couple of days ago but since there hasn’t been any mailbag since then, I thought I should give it another try:

    Why was it necessary to blow up the station in “Midway”? I mean every time the team finds a way to communicate with Earth, it is taken away. They have come across dozens of ZPMs but never managed to hold on to a single one. Now the Midway station gave them a chance to keep in touch with Earth without the 3-4 weeks space travel. So why was it so necessary to take that away too?

    Many thanks

  66. Lauren said: I always wish I could read your BOTM choices–but by the time I convinced my mum to order one of them, it would probably be a good three months after the discussion of them.

    Lauren – try your local library. I was able to get all three of the books from there!

  67. Joe & Lou,
    These are the stories that I read from “Fast Forward 1” along with my meager opinions. I admit to skipping a few stories but I intend to return to them later.

    “Plotters and Shooters” by Kage Baker
    Oh my, my this one had me laughing once I grasped the parlance. I’m a child of the 60’s and have never played a video game or Xbox, etc. Grand story, well told! Good ending!

    “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not The One” by Justina Robson
    Beautiful imagery with a plot that kept me guessing to the end. Would have liked it to continue. Eating programs, hm-m-m…

    “No More Stories” by Stephen Baxter
    Mr. Baxter had me enthralled. Interesting story & well told. Certain aspects reminded me of my own relationship with my mom.

    “The Hour of the Sheep” by Gene Wolfe
    An absolutely fabulous tale! I was drawn into the action immediately and found myself envisioning the world as described. I wouldn’t want to live in that world. Nearly late for my dental appointment today as I couldn’t put the book down!

    “The Terror Bard” by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper
    Good ‘ol scifi at its best. Great descriptions & characters. I really liked this one and wanted more! I’m a long time fan of Larry Niven work.

    “P Dolce” by Louise Marley
    What a treat this story was! Great concepts that have been used on Stargate, i.e. the Tok’ra, Gua’old, with other aliens sharing consciousnesses & bodies. Good tale! Having spent 6 years playing violin (badly) in junior and then high school, I enjoyed the story being wrapped about a music theme.

    “Solomon’s Choice” by Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress
    Another good ‘ol scifi tale that engages your imagination and takes you on a fascinating ride. Haunting. Glad the hero doctor did a good deed in the end.

    “A Smaller Government” by Pamela Sargent
    Woo-hoo! Great tale, especially considering the state of US presidential politics at the moment. Well done dialog with lots of laughs. It was never determined what caused the shrinkage or did I miss it?

    “Pride” by Mary A. Turzillo
    Enjoyed the story as I am a devout cat-lover, housecat sized and larger. Reminded me of Jurassic Park but was different enough to keep me turning the pages. Glad the Smilodon got away in the end…he-he

    “Settlements” by George Zebrowski
    Good story and worthy of great reflection. This story has a line that just speaks to me,
    “Ballets of fearful ifs danced through the houses of power, and the word came down that no collaboration would be tolerated.” Pg. 286. WONDERFUL line.
    Politicians sit up and take notice.

    “Wikiworld” by Paul Di Filippo
    Maybe global warming to the degree in this story is where the Earth is heading after all. Some similarity with Waterworld here but only superficially, thank goodness. Irreverent and very funny and had me laughing big time! Good wordplay, especially liked the differing wiki faction names! Lol!

    Also read these below but either didn’t “get them” or missed the point.

    “Sideways for Now” by John Meany
    Very flavorful story that stays with you. Wouldn’t want to have the qPin thingy though, too invasive. The science of this story escaped me but sounded impressive. Mention quantum anything and I’m lost.

    “The Something-Dreaming Game” by Elizabeth Bear
    Telegraphed the alien connection with the little girl too early on in story. Scary topic but we know that kids and people actually DO this nutsy thrill.

    “Small Offerings” by Paolo Bacigalupi
    I found this to be more horror than scifi and not to my taste; a caustic rebuke of the abortion controversy.

    “Jesus Christ Reanimator” by Ken MacLeod
    Read it and did not care for it. I guess I missed the subtle message that Lou Anders referenced in his intro.

    “Aristotle OS” By Tony Ballantyne
    This one was surprising and scary yet highly creative. If this type of world ever comes into existence, I hope I’m already gone from it.

    Now I’m moving on to Greg Benford’s “Timescape”.


    Carol Z

  68. On Facebook there is a flare option were you can put buttons on your site. Ther is bunch of Stargate ones. Just in case anyone wanted to know. There are some good ones. ;o)

  69. Hi Joe, how’s it going? I was checking the Chocolate section of Whole Foods today and saw some Chocolate Bars “El Rey” Made in Venezuela with Venezuelan Cacao! have you had them before? I was suprised and waiting your verdict to say also proud :p. Take care!


  70. Hey, Joe, the press is reporting that SGA’s fifth season will air in the summer. Any word on that?

  71. Your quote from Mr Anders’ introduction to “Future Fiction 1” reminded me a bit of when I took a tour of TRIUMF, the national nuclear and particle physics lab at UBC, while vacationing in Vancouver last year. (What can I say — It’s a fun way for a vacationing geek to spend a rainy afternoon. And it’s free. 🙂 )

    In addition to showing some of the very interesting and (to me) sometimes incomprehensible equipment used for the accelerator and other parts of the facility, my guide took me to the main control room. Imagine my surprise to see an entire wall of… blinky light units. Mixed in, of course, with the occasional monitor showing live images from different parts of the facility. It looked almost exactly like the control rooms in Stargate. Except the monitor images were all in black-and-white.

    And here I’d always thought the that the fictional control rooms were just designed that way to look cool. Who knew the real rooms look just like them. Sadly, the guide wouldn’t let me touch any of the controls, so I wasn’t able to find out what the big red button does…

    I enjoying your blog and Season 4. Thanks! Now off to check out the book recommendation.

    – KB

  72. I realize this is a late question and you might miss it, but who knows?

    In the latest little promo for Ark of Truth at MGM’s website they put up graphics saying Lt. Col’s for Sam and Mitchell. Is that correct? I know you’ve said that Sam was a full colonel for both movies, and I don’t think you’ve said as to Mitchell.

    Did you guys decide to go another way, or are the graphics wrong? Any clarification you could make as to Sam’s rank or Mitchell’s rank in Ark of Truth would be appreciated.


  73. Hey Joe, Nice analogy to the tapas! – I wasn’t sure where you were going at first, just reading “I’m a tapas kind of guy.” Thought you were going to do a restaurant review! (Though that would have been read happily be me too). And so my thoughts on FF1…

    While I thought the basic premise of the story was interesting, the characters didn’t appeal to me that much, to me feeling…somewhat undeveloped.
    Small Offerings:
    Hard for me to grasp what was going on at first, and I felt it was rather disturbing too. Though, I felt the message of the story – I am partial to stories with gloom outlooks on humanity – they inspire me to try to do better in the world (though reading too many of those can make one feel somewhat depressed too…)
    Plotters and Shooters:
    I thought it was a fun-filled story with its humor and characters. It basic premise felt like one of those stories back from elementary school – the bullies at school, the scared kids. All in all, it made an enjoyable read.
    Aristotle OS:
    I really liked this story. The characters appealed to me, as did the premise of the story. I liked the idea behind the computer system, as well as the relationship between the brothers.
    No More Stories:
    To me, this wasn’t as much entertaining as it was “sit and think about your place in the world” read. And I did feel like that at the end. It leaves the reader open to question and think about what’s real and what’s not – kinda Twilight Zone-ish.
    Jesus Christ, Reanimator:
    I’m not a religious person, but the story came off to me as humorous. With all the controversy in the world, to me, the story seems like a similar situtation could happen in the real world. I did like how MacLeod described the narrator’s thoughts saying “it isn’t a question of belief…more a question of examining beliefs, and examining your own actions.”
    Sanjeev and Robotwallah:
    It seemed interesting, but the way the story unfolded didn’t resonate with me much. I did like the character Sanjeev though, and how he preceives the robotwallahs as everything from his innocent view.
    Smaller Government:
    This did resonate with me, probably because I finished a US Government and Politics class last school semester. I thought the idea of a literal smaller government was ironic, and found bits of humor throughout the story.
    I found the story confusing the first time through. However, I like how it shows the idea of how a first-contact situation could be accepted by various people/nations of the world.

    All in all, I found the stories (I had time to read) made for an enjoyable week or so of reading, full of a variety of stories from questioning ourselves to looking to the world to just fun humor.

  74. Joe, Hope you don’t mind my posting this here. If so, delete away. I’ll understand. I just thought the Joe F. fans who enjoyed him in Women’s Murder Club might be interested in helping bring the show back. Here’s a link to a site they’ll find useful!


    Poor Jason. Do we need to send him some Advil?

  75. Hi Joe,

    I know the discussion is supposed to be about the book club, but a question popped into my head tonight. SciFi ran “Foothold,” which was a great episode. At the end I saw a name in the credits that I realize I miss. Whatever happened to Dion Johnstone? I really liked the work he did out of make-up, particularly in that episode where he played an alien who convinced them he was a member of the SG-1 team. Anyway, I haven’t heard anything about him in a while. It’d be a great throwback to see him in an episode next season!

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