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Let me start off today’s entry by thanking those of you participating in the discussion of Fast Forward 1. You’ve provided some truly well-written and engaging reviews that are almost as enjoyable as the stories being critiqued. In fact, a few of you did such a terrific job that you convinced me to revisit some of the short stories that failed to impress on first reading.

Rebecca – I found it very interesting that we share 2 of our top 3 picks, yet your third choice, “The Terror Bard”, was the one entry in the anthology I had the hardest time with. But, after reading your insights, definitely one I’ll be re-reading this weekend. Like you, one of the things that really struck me about “YFL-500” was the notion of transforming something as seemingly ethereal as a dream into art. As you rightly pointed out however – as straightforward and inartistic as it may seem, it comes down to mathematical data. I also enjoyed Ian McDonald‘s “Sanjeev and Robotwallah” for its refreshingly atypical scifi exploration of another culture. I believe at least one of the author’s novels is set in India.

Susiekew – We agree that Lou’s introduction was as enjoyable, and offered as much food for thought as the stories that made up this collection. Of course this just means that he has the added pressure of topping it in the forthcoming Fast Forward 2.

Emily – Funny you should mention that new story. Although I did like “The Something Dreaming Game”, one of the things I had trouble with was the idea that a kid would pursue this kind of bizarre behavior. Then, only days after I read the story, I came across the article about the sudden rise of autoerotic asphyxiation-related deaths in teens! Shows how much I know.

Anon, good nurse – Great insight into the same story that gives me a greater appreciation for the work. You’re right. Elizabeth Bear does a wonderful job of guiding the reader with two distinctively different narrative voices. I never considered it a coming of age story although, now that you’ve proposed the possibility, I can see it. I believe Bear’s novels are more in the cyberpunk vein (Lou, correct me if I’m wrong), a sub-genre of scifi for which I, alas, have little patience. Does anyone know if she’s written any novels more along the lines of this story (again, Lou?)? Also, although I didn’t think about it while I was reading “p dolce”, it was only after I read your thoughts on the story (“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.”) that I was struck by the similarities between this story and some of Connie Willis’s work (most notably To Say Nothing of the Dog and The Doomsday Book).

Michelle – You mention being haunted by a short story you read 30+ years ago titled “The Cold Equations”. Don’t suppose you’d happen to remember the name of the writer? By the way, if you enjoyed “p dolce” for its premise of time travelers journeying back in history to acquire a better understanding of a certain period (or a hideous cast-iron urn), check out the aforementioned books by Connie Willis – To Say Nothing of the Dog if you’d prefer a more humorous ride, The Doomsday Book if you’re looking for a grimmer and grittier fare.

AMZ – Your thoughts on the nature of dreams and how they can become a source of inspiration reminded me of my writing partner who, years ago, was having vivid dreams about the scripts he was working on. Apparently, all of the problems he was having with the script would be answered in the dream. Only problem was, by the time morning came around, he’d forgotten everything. So he went to bed one night with a pen and pad on his nightstand, determined to get it all down. Again, he dreamed and, this time, he woke up and jotted the ideas down. When he woke up the following morning and checked the notepad, he was disappointed to discover that what had made perfect sense in the dream didn’t translate so logically to real world applications. My “fish investment” dream, of course, being a rare exception to the rule. Also, thank you for thinking of me while reading “Plotters and Shooters”. Baron Destructo certainly came to mind as I was reading the antics of Lord Deathlock and co.

Carol Z – I you thought “The Hour of the Sheep” was fabulous, you might enjoy Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun tetralogy. But be warned – it’s pretty easy to get lost in the labyrinth of hidden clues, cryptic hints, and subtle allusions.

GrapesofWraith – I felt the same way about “YFL-500”, all the more so because I know what Wilson is capable of when it comes to creating sympathetic, grounded characters. In all fairness, its very hard to develop complex, multi-layered characters in the short story format.

Keep your reviews coming.

By the way, in exchanging emails with editor Lou Anders, I found out that he was a freelance journalist who wrote for Dreamwatch, Doctor Who Magazine, and Sci Fi Universe before landing his present gig. He has great memories of the time he on the sets of such shows as Babylon, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. How cool is that?

A quiet day today. I wrote in the morning and then, following lunch, we all took the afternoon off to head on over to Sharpe Sound and watch Stargate: Continuum on the big screen. I really love this movie and, evidently, so did Carl who sat beside me, ooohing, aaahing, and laughing throughout the screening. It’s one of those rare productions that both rewards longtime fans of the show, but also offers a great jumping-on point for first-timers.

Oh, and early ratings for Midway had the episode pulling in the show’s second-best numbers of the season with a solid 1.33.

Today’s pics: Our afternoon field trip to Sharpe Sound – and a peek at the re-dreaded Jason Momoa.

79 thoughts on “February 19, 2008: Distinguished discussions, a special screening, and some respectable ratings.

  1. Huh. If i didn’t know any better, I’d say Jason never lost the dreads. Awesome pics thanks Joe.

  2. Wow…damn, I wish I had the time and patience to actually read some of these books you guys are having such fun discussing. Unfortunately, I seem to have ADHD or something and I usually have to read the same line over and over again to “get it”. It’s weird and frustrating and results in me taking months to read a single book.

    Congrats on those ratings! Considering what’s coming up, and how good Midway was, I doubt that number will go down. I think the highest numbers for the season are yet to come.

  3. 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?

  4. So Continuum is complete and just waiting release? How coldly evil of the PTB to make us wait for months. Though we do have Ark of Truth to look forward to in the nearer future. I’m enjoying reading others’ reviews of Fast Forward, but it’s a bit disheartening. Others are saying things better than I can. Still, I’ll make another attempt tomorrow to post my thoughts on the book. High ratings good. Higher ratings better, and I’m confident the final three episodes will result in a bigger spike yet. Thanks once more for the great pictures.

  5. just thought id let you know tommorow night feb 20th at 5:45 the full lunar eclips happens.
    Dustin

  6. I’m so glad the ratings for Midway were good. I thought the iTunes problem would mess up the ratings.

  7. Now that the writer’s strike is at an end, are you going to kick the next series and another sg1 movie into gear. Please. 🙂

  8. Hey Joe!

    Wow, are you sure those are reapplied dreads on Jason? Those look very natural, amazing work by make-up!

    I’m glad to hear that “Midway” did well. There was lots of fan hype for the episode, and it looks like it paid off. That, plus Chris Judge probably turned some heads towards the episode. 😉

    Blogs like your’s today are right intrigue me and keep bringing me back here. You don’t always see writers of major television productions relate to their fans in such a way as you do. You read (and tolerate :P) our comments, handle the Shep-Whumpers, have contests where we can have characters in Atlantis named after us, spend time each day to provide news and tid-bits of your life, and now have a semi-book club (I guess you can call it that, heh) in which you relate to the reviewers, as you did above. You do an amazing deed, and that is one of the main aspects of what brings MANY readers and browsers to your blog. To this, I raise a virtual glass of champagne and say ‘cheers’! 🙂

    Thanks, as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

    PS – All the best to you and the crew as you begin production of season 5 of Atlantis!

  9. Hello Joe,

    Enjoying the blog as always.

    Btw, you’re rubbing off on me. My boyfriend and I went out to a nice valentine’s day dinner and I took pictures of all the food! Duck confit tartlets, leeks, caesar salad, scallops, stuffed chicken breast, and all sorts of goodies. Yummy, it was.

    Could I pretty please have an entry dedicated to me? My birthday is next week (turning 24) and I found out today that I’m getting surgery (which is good news but still unsettling) within the next 3 months. I’ve seen these sorts of things warrant dedications in the past and figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

  10. Hey Joe,
    I was wondering are you getting excited about Friday Night’s episode coming out??? I know that i am. my girlfriend has been out of town since the first of the year and wont get back until the finale, and she was admint that i tape these two episodes.
    really looking forward to it
    one quick question. since you gave us the info on the infamous deleted scene from Trio, do you and the other writers concider it canon since it was deleted??? or is it just ignored.
    Thanks

    BN

  11. How do you keep track of all the things you are supposed to do and places you are supposed to be every day? You seem to have no set schedule, but lots of stuff you need to attend to on any given day. Do you have a secretary, a blackberry, a time machine?
    Love your blog.

  12. Hey There Joe.

    First Time Commenter, and I had a question I was hoping you could answer. Well, two really.

    What do the different colors on the Atlantis Crew members uniform’s mean? I’ve always taken it to be:

    Red-Administrative
    Blue-Science
    Yellow-Medical
    Black-Military
    Green-Gate-techs. (This one was just recently brought to my attention)

    Is this a correct assumption of the correlation between Colors and departments?

    If so, the next question applies If not, Ignore it.

    I was re-watching “Midway” last night (Great episode by the way, one of my favorites of atlantis so far!!!), and something occurred to me, In the Scene where Ronon and Teal’c are sparring, “Chuck” can be seen wearing a Black paneled uniform. Now, from my speculation, Chuck is not military, and if my earlier assumption on color/department correlation is correct, would he not be in the wrong uniform?

    Do not get me wrong, I love atlantis, This just piqued my curiousity…

    Thanks!!!!

  13. So Continuum rewards long-time fans too. Well, Sam&Jack shippers are mostly long-time fans, does Continuum reward them too?

  14. Ahh, wow. Not sure who to give the most kudos to…the makeup department for the re-attaching, or to Jason for sitting through it…LOL

    Thanks for the pics as always. 🙂

    Any practical jokes on the set lately? 🙂

  15. Well, I googled “The Cold Equations” and, lo’ and behold, it’s viewed as an historic story, with a Wiki Entry (SPOILERS!) and everything. I swear I didn’t know — I haven’t checked into it since 1977 or so.

    It’s by Tom Godwin, was first published in Astounding Magazine in 1954. Apparently controversy surrounds it, from plagiarism to bad engineering to misogyny.

    Amazon has it for collector-type prices, or as an ebook for $4 here. My memory is it’s worth reading. Might seem hokey now.

    Anyway, that’s why I’m shy of short stories to this day. 🙂

  16. Wow. You weren’t kidding when you referred to Jason as being miserable after the dread-reattachment process. He definitely looks it in the photos. His stylist did a good job, though. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  17. A quick question about Chuck the Gate Guy…
    Is he a civilian or military member of the Atlantis team? He seems to have been wearing different color jackets, so probably some sort of civilian, but what service, exactly? Science? Thanks for any insight, just wondering.

  18. Reading all of these interpretations of the book is going to make reading it, when I finally get it, so much more interesting.
    Thanks!

  19. hey Joe,

    thanks for posting the numbers for Midway. it almost got a 1.4, much like Be All My Sins Remember’d. that’s definitely awesome news!

    Lou Anders was on the sets of Babylon 5, DS9 and Voyager? do you really have to ask how cool that is? I’m soooo jealous! *sigh*

    I hope you had fun watching Continuum on the big screen. great to see Brad Wright, Carl Binder and Rob Cooper once again, thanks for the pics. I’m sorry but I don’t recognize the person in the third pic…

    the re-dreaded Jason looks great, it’s as if they were never gone. I read some new spoilers on The Last Man and I’m still very curious why Shep’s offworld without the rest of the team. I guess you wouldn’t want to shed some light on that right? well I’ll just wait until the episode airs, looks like a grand season finale!

  20. LoL!… so tell me… what’s your favorite scene from Stargate Continuum?? LOL! (can you tell us without giving us any spoilers?…( you can always e-mail me,if you’re too shy to say it in “grand” public!! ahaaahh!!:D)

  21. In Amanda Tapping’s recent interview she said she believed that SG1 would have been broken up just because Carter wasn’t there any more, which seems ridiculous to me since the final scene of Unending saw the team heading off through the gate, once again “peaceful explorers” (not to mention a similar scene in AoT). SG1 carried on in season 9 while Carter was at Area 51, why wouldn’t they still be doing their thing now? Rob Cooper has always said that was the way he saw their story “ending”. Besides, what logical reason is there why Daniel wouldn’t be in Atlantis all the time if he wasn’t still a part of SG1 and Mitchell would surely still be SG1 leader, whoever was in the team. Presumably the franchise’s over all canon has some basic idea of what the current status of SG1 is, can you enlighten us?

  22. Ooooh, lovely pics Joe! Thankyou 😀

    Of course Midway got good ratings – it was the best ep ever!!! 😀

  23. Thankyou for the piccies of Jason. He looks good..with or without the dreads to be honest!

    I wish I’d participated in the BOTM club but 1- couldn’t get hold of the book and 2- Couldn’t afford to buy it brand new.

    I’ll definitely be joining in on Children of the Night though. I hope to provide some insight from the point of view of a non prolific reader lol.

    Congrats on the ratings! Woot (all bodes well for a season 6?)

  24. A little off topic, but I was wondering, is that a steering wheel they used for the red door in Trio? It looks like they swiped it from a classic car.

    Also, my dog Sophie (and her family) could really use a blog dedication. We recently found out she has terminal lymphoma. She’s a big fan of the blog.

  25. I have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jason with dreads and was sad after seeing the pics of them gone, but to be honest… having them re-attached kinda looks odd to me now. Maybe it’s because they aren’t in their original natural places?
    Still, thanks for the pics. Absolutely adorable. I even awed out loud at seeing the dreads back. 🙂

  26. Hi Joe,
    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed seeing Teal’c on Midway (I’m in the UK and it aired for the first time last night). I’m not surprised that the ratings where good, Chris Judge is an amazing actor. It was nice to see him again.
    I don’t normally watch Atlantis, my younger son watches, he’s 13 and his favourite program is Power Rangers, so I’m not sure if its much of a compliment to say he likes Atlantis .
    Any news yet on how many episodes Michael Shanks/Daniel will be in next year? I’ll definitely watch those episodes.
    JJ

  27. pg15 wrote:

    Wow…damn, I wish I had the time and patience to actually read some of these books you guys are having such fun discussing. Unfortunately, I seem to have ADHD or something and I usually have to read the same line over and over again to “get it”. It’s weird and frustrating and results in me taking months to read a single book.

    In all seriousness, this just makes me so sad for you! I cannot imagine how I could have gotten through some of the rough times in my life if I couldn’t escape into a book.

    Reading was — and is — a large part of my life. My favorite doctor (alas, now retired) would ask how many books I’d read in the past month to gauge how the combo of meds was working. He knew if I gave a low number something just wasn’t right. [Since the last week of June 1994, even with all those low number months, I’ve read 2543 books, an average of just over 15 books a month. A respectable number, I think.]

    Pg15 the first thing you should do is be tested for dyslexia or similar disorders. You may have a so-called borderline version. If you have one of them, special tricks can help you overcome it and let you enjoy reading more. One of the medical types here might be able to tell you more.

    My ex-brother-in-law had trouble reading for enjoyment. He said reading a novel was as deadly dull as reading textbooks to him. We helped him overcome this by getting him hooked on audiobooks. Have you tried listening to audiobooks read by really good narrators? It might help, especially if you get the hard copy of the book and follow along. It could help speed up your reading and up your comprehension. It did for the ex-BIL.

    You could also try the “quiet room, busy hands” approach. Get rid of as many distractions as possible. (Turn off music and TV. Close windows and doors. Send kids to the opposite end of the house. Or just go to the library.) Get in a comfortable position where the book can lie open on a table or your lap. While reading, work Silly Putty in your hands or use those strengthening things, or squeeze a rubber ball, etc. For some reason, it seems to help people concentrate.

    I do hope you can overcome the frustration because there’s a lot of good books out there waiting for you. 🙂

    Wishing you the best!

    Anne Teldy

  28. Joe, your “writing partner” being Paul Mullie, right? Or is there someone else you aren’t telling me about?

    I’ve done the same thing though with dreams and writing, or other problems going on. I remember once having a fight so vivid in my dream that I woke up screaming “NO”, and so angry that I started laughing once I realised I was in bed and the problem was at least a few hours of daylight.

    In regards to what Emily and you both mention about “The Something Dreaming Game” and a rise in teenagers participating in auto-erotic asphyxiation, that is really quite creepy a coincidence. But it also supports the idea that sci fi often reflects elements in our current social climate, or predicts them. Which is what Anders was talking about in the intro. Really, I rarely say this, but in Fast Forward 1 it all sort of comes back to the intro for me.

    Anon, good nurse – I’m sorry I missed your comments yesterday which kind of continued the discussion of social relevance in sci fi. I particularly thought your comment on “The Terror Bard” interesting because you brought up the machine being more human/humane than the humans in the story. Does anyone else find that an interesting reversal of roles? So many sci fi stories treat machines/AI beings etc as cold, calculating, the baddies; but what about the human race? I think “The Terror Bard” points out humanity’s faults really successfully by making Quicksilver a more sympathetic character than Kath. And the fact that Quicksilver was once a human (I think? see bottom of page 143, that last par), but then transferred onto a machine made a point too. As humanity “evolved” (shown by Kath and the Bear Clade), it appeared to have lost it’s ethics/humaneness. Which to me poses the question of us all: what is evolution, what is social development and what is social improvement? And also, is someone’s mind, albeit on a machine, as important or more/less important that other people? I certainly felt it was with Quicksilver.

    I liked “p dolce” mostly. But I wanted to feel more sympathy for Frederica. Marley sort of touched on this, talking about how plain Frederica felt, how academia seemed like her only redeeming feature…but (like anon, good nurse said), I lost all sympathy for her when what she was doing to Clara became apparent. And I think it took away from what could have been a really significant theme of appreciating what we have (in this case both with Clara and Frederica).

    I’ve just been going over some of the comments about short stories, really interesting point of discussion I think, and I found it particularly fascinating that so many people said they often don’t like short stories. I’ll admit I’ve been a fan since reading a few Stephen King collections (most notable probably being “Everything’s Eventual”, I highly recommend it). And what I like about short stories is that they are often fast-paced. If I was to draw a comparison I would say short stories are like movies and novels are like tv shows (which, let’s face it, generally have more characterisation etc over the seasons).

    Another bonus is that you can read a few a day, and then discuss them (as I’ve been forced to do with Fast Forward), whereas with novels you can’t really do that. Although I like both. But onto more Fast Forward 1…

    “Jesus Christ, Reanimator” was a good read. It definitely touched on the religion thing I mentioned when talking broadly about sci fi as a genre. And it brought up ideas of whether we would have the same regard for saviours now as people did thousands of years ago. In the story, most didn’t, couldn’t believe and it highlights the amount of people who don’t follow religion/don’t take it seriously, and also how our own interpretations of religious texts/histories may be different to the actual truth (as seen through the fundamental Christians in the story). An aside: I’m not actually a religious person, but I find religion really fascinating. I liked the idea of Jesus discussing theological issues with Muslims, it drew a comparison between two religions which some people would be very touchy about doing. And it did it well.

    Hey Joe, on Lou Anders and his journalism, I noticed a little bit about him at the back of the book which tells of some of his work. I read it before reading the intro and stories actually. Very cool stuff.

    And my first question for Lou Anders is about the obscurity of some science fiction. I had enough trouble getting a copy of Fast Forward 1, the four major bookstores in Australia that I contacted had none, not in their warehouses or on the shelves. Having said that, some of the authors in the book have been even harder to find in Australia (yep, I look them up as I read along). So with some of the stories, like Justina Robson’s “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not the One”, which follows on from a novel, it’s hard to fully comprehend without reading the novel for some background (at least I’m guessing so). So I’m wondering if you considered this at all, or if you have in previous anthologies.

    That’s all for now, but I continue to read and enjoy the stories and everyone’s comments.

    Amz/Amy

  29. I’m reallyenjoying everyone’s thoughts on the BOTMufortunately I can’t seem to find the time to participate but i AM paying attention and have every intention of procuring said books for future readage. In the meantime I’ll just let you guys sort the wheat from the chaff, I’ve already had to find space for another book case,I may very well have to move house if I get a bigger library asit seems to be againstmy religion or something once I’ve enjoyed a book to let it go!

    Sweet pics of Jason btw.Gonna go and have a cold shower now.

  30. So has Jason made his decision, yet? 🙂

    And please pass on your speed-reading skills to me. My book stack is way too high to keep up with your book club. Still, it’s nice to have a good recommendation list.

  31. Salut Joseph =) sa va bien? Yéé! super ces photos! Ont ne diraient vraiment pas que Jason c’est couper les cheveux!!

    Je suis trop impatiente d’être a la semaine prochaine car je serais en vacance et j’aurais la saison 10 de sg1 en dvd^^!!!

    Ma question:
    1)Il y’aura des réplicateurs dans les 5 premier épisodes?
    2) Vous n’avez jamais pensée a apparétre dans un épisode?

    Sa serais super de vous voir dans un épisode de la saison 5^^!

    Aller gros Kisou, Merci, a demain, Bonne journée =)

  32. Joe, My wife and I just watched Midway last night (Tivo’d the episode) and both of us were greatly disturbed by Ronon being quite the A*hole toward Teal’c. In fact, we were so distracted that we could not concentrate on the rest of the episode and neither of us thought the episode was very good.

    Ronon, in our opinion, would not have been such an immature alfa dog toward someone that is basically a legend at the SGC. We just cannot accept the fact that the writer would be so careless about the nature of this character in order to make a more tense and dramatic episode. Perhaps the writer should have watched all the Ronon-centric episodes before tackling this?

    Ronon is not an animal (witness the tweaking of Shep’s nose at the end), he was in fact in love with a doctor/nurse on Setada, was a military commander, and certainly not stupid. He’s been on Atlantis, around the human culture, for 3 years, there is no believable explanation for why he was such an ass from the get-go.

    The excitement, the action, seeing Walter, etc, could not shake the disappointment we both felt about the writer choosing to ignore what Ronon would have done, in character, just to setup a tense relationship.

    No for the comment that will surely cause you to dismiss the entire post; As a huge SG1-SGA Fan (but to be honest, SGA will never be SG1), I believe that you and Paul Mullie have done some good things as showrunners, but the bad far outweigh the good. I strongly believe that you and Mullie would rather create one-off’s that tackle a certain POV/subject/style then to actually continue the “stories of SG Atlantis”. Season 4 reminds me very much of Season 4 of Star Trek Enterprise and Manny Coto’s efforts to address certain issues with each episode rather than continue the story of Enterprise. Or, even worse, Season 3 of Battlestar Gallatica, more writer/director/showrunner ego than good story telling.

    I don’t want to be insulting, and I have hopes that you and Mullie have recognized that this disparate season didn’t turn out as you had hoped. That your first year as showrunner would cause an erratic mess isn’t too far off, so faith that you will be reined in will keep me watching, at least the first 3 or 4 episodes of S5.

    I have a lot more to say about what went wrong with Season 4, but I’m sure I’ve ticked you off so badly that you haven’t read this far. I would probably feel the same should someone I don’t know throw this kind of criticism at me, and I don’t have half your ego, but I do hope this post gets published so that those that think as I do will see this as an opportunity to put forth their own criticisms that will surely face the smack-down of sycophant fans that believe you can do no wrong.

    Wow, rereading this it sounds so harsh, but since you have often been this harsh with some of your hardcore fans I figure you’re not one of those, “He can dish it out but he can’t take it” kind of guy.

  33. I’m sorry I didn’t manage to read any of the book choices for this month; I’ll have to look for Fast Forward.

    I’m really surprised “Midway” did so well, especially after it went up on iTunes early, but I’m pleased for the show. I didn’t care for it much, to be honest: I thought Sheppard was out of line and out of character to be not only encouraging a fight between one of his team and someone else and betting on it, and then to lock himself in the front of the Jumper and fall asleep so that he missed the arrival of a Very Large Ship. What if it had been a Hive? I coudn’t believe the lack of security for Midway Station and for the SGC in receiving anyone who dialed in (or looked like they were dialing in?) from Midway, and I hope we never again see the Wraith Plot Device of Stun that can knock people out twenty levels away at the SGC.

    I’ve really enjoyed some episodes this season, though, and I know a lot of people loved “Midway.” I did like some parts: I was very glad to see Teal’c again, and I loved his scenes with just Sam. I’m always happy to see Bill Lee-especially in this episode, because Bill once again showed himself to be competent and wasn’t merely comic relief!

    I hope the ratings continue to be strong!

    I’m looking forward to both the SG-1 movies, whenever I can get them.

  34. My comment? Sci fi fans are TRULY a lot smarter than most people give them credit for! I get so tired of the stereotypical view (that others have) about people who enjoy sci fi!

    How do I know they’re smarter? Sheesh, look at all these book review comments! How many other fans (say of oh, “American Idol”) could or would fully read an anthology and then write out an intelligent essay on teh subject- when it’s not for classroom credit! (OK now I’ve dissed a popular TV show that I find lame, hopefully haven’t offended any of the brilliant fans of SGA!)

    So bravo to all of you. I’m hoping to weigh in on next month’s books…

    Thanks for the pics, Joe!

  35. pg15 Said: “Wow…damn, I wish I had the time and patience to actually read some of these books you guys are having such fun discussing. Unfortunately, I seem to have ADHD or something and I usually have to read the same line over and over again to “get it”. It’s weird and frustrating and results in me taking months to read a single book.”

    @pg15 – I’m right there with you, pg. I can’t concentrate on a book to save my neck, and I’m…old …so it has nothing to do with being a hyper kid or anything. I’ve never been able to focus long enough to read a book, they just bore me to tears (read a few that I ‘had’ to in school, but not much since). Last book I tried was Treasure Island – NOT a hard read, but got distracted halfway through, and haven’t picked it up since – that was over 2 years ago. But I wanted to read, so I started reading comic books. Sounds silly for a grown woman to start reading comic books, but it’s been so good for me because I can actually start – AND finish – a story. Not sure if you like comics – I’m a Marvel superhero kinda gal – but there are so many different types out there – graphic novels, indy comics (which tend to be a bit more realistic and graphic), manga, and so much more. I like getting an entire arc in trade paperback (collects – on average – 5-6 comics that comprise a single story arc) – that way I can read the entire story at once instead of waiting months, and the pictures REALLY help keep me focused on the story. Maybe give them a try, they’ve certainly satisfied my desire to read when nothing else could.

    das

  36. You can find “The Cold Equations” in the Ascent of Wonder anthology. Scifi also made it into a movie about 10 years ago.

  37. I was thinking: it’s nice that in season 5 a couple of the new characters in Atlantis, albeit no longer one of the characters in charge, will be women. Has there been any similar move to bring in a recurring character who is African American? I mean specifically a character who is not an alien or non-Terran. Colonel Ellis shows up once in a blue moon, but since Ford went AWOL in the first episode of season 2 there have been no recurring Earth Atlantis expedition members who are dark-skinned. I mean, surely the pool of wildly intelligent doctors/scientists or highly decorated and experienced soldiers on Earth does not exclude black people, right?

  38. Great news on the ratings for Midway. It really was a fantastic episode and shows how great Stargate Atlantis has become in season four. The last 3 episodes look like they are going to rock as well. Really looking forward to seeing them. Will I need a hanky?

  39. Hey Joe,

    I wanted to ask, will there be any more interesting revelations on the Wraith in the next season? Also, there was mention of a new race coming in next season, don’t suppose you can give us any hints about them?

    Take care Joe!

  40. Are you sure that that is Mr. Momoa? It looks a lot like a member of the Whalers. Has the decision of whether the dreads well remain been made yet?

    Thanks!

  41. Hi,

    Will the expedition ever harvest the ancient city ship from the Tower for replacement parts? Or will we ever find out anything more about it?

    Thanks.

  42. Sorry, got another question, actually a couple but they’re all linked. If Carter is now a ‘full-bird’ Colonel does that mean that the same goes for Mitchell? Is there any chance of seeing Mitchell in command of an Earth ship?

    Thanks

  43. I was seriously worried that the re-attached dreads will look totally fake, but they look very natural. Now Jason looks like Bob Marley! HA! Ronon Marley! LOL!

    And my deepest expression of gratitude for “MIDWAY” – one of the most brilliant episodes in the Stargate franchise!

  44. Thanks for your kind words, Joe. I’m glad you’re going to give “The Terror Bard” another try, and I hope you won’t be disappointed. Sometimes I’m off-base with my impressions, but I did like that one. It was a difficult read (probably reading “Kath and Quicksilver” first would help — which I’m trying to find), but there were so many intriguing ideas in the story: being able to move planets to different orbits; lives hundreds of thousands of years long so that a trip of five years was nothing; preserving the minds of the dead over and over again; sentient AIs in robots and ships, and cyborg humans, and the human race no longer the dominant species (as in Banks’ novels). When you reread the story, maybe you can confirm a suspicion of mine: Kath has thousands of descendants because she’s lived so long, but one grandson many times removed seems to loom large in her mind. I was conflicted as to whether it was maternal love or something else (and yes, I am a dirty old woman).

    Thanks for the pictures of Jason Momoa. Frankly, he looks like he’s in more pain from having the dreads sewn back on than he was with them growing naturally. IMO, even though the dreads were an impressive part of Ronon’s look, Jason could keep the character just as leonine and intimidating with shorter hair (but not too short). 🙂

  45. spent all morning at a friends discussing your blog and SGA (she calls me a geek which is a badge I wear proudly) she doesn’t have a computer in her cave let alone internet but I’ve piqued her interest sufficiently that I’ve been commisioned to procure one for her and show her how to use it all so she can catch up with your blog – See the effect you”ve had on people.

  46. Okay, an African American is nice, but how about an African…er..African?
    This may be the darkest continent, but we do have some brilliant people here too you know.

  47. Is Todd the Wraith scientist from season 1s ‘The Gift’? And will we learn more about his history, before he was captured by Kolya?

  48. Dreams. I dream vividly, in color, every night and nap, and I remember them. I can recall dreams from when I was five years old, in detail. Some dreams form chains of themes or locations or characters … and if I can get into a semi-trance state, I can recall dozens of dreams at a shot, some decades old. Yes, I’ve done problem solving in dreams, I can shut off nightmares, and I do the lucid dreaming thing where I’m aware that I’m dreaming and rearrange the dreamscape to suit me. Last night I was trying to build a shelter in half ruined cement buildings with milkcrates; I’d sent my things ahead but the boxes had all been stolen. The streets were mud and the public transportation was just down the block, but it was elephants instead of busses. I was wearing my salwaar kameez, I think I might have been in India. That’s just a tip of the dream-burg, there’s far, far more each night, dozens of dreams.

    And yes, I’ve dreamt of art projects for Burning Man and translated them into reality. Burning Man dreams are the the best dreams of all, because the waking world out there is just as wild as any sleeping vision.

  49. Wow, congrats on the “Midway” ratings! I definitely enjoyed the ep — great Teal’C/Ronon banter, and I loved the ending with Ronon’s answer to the IOA guy and the “well, that’s good enough for me” reponse. All in all, solid ep.

    Kudos to JM for enduring the re-hairing!

  50. oy someone’s beat me to the “Marley” quip as in, Jason now looks like a bad BM impersonator! Lose em boy! Quick!!

    Great that the ratings are holding.
    Now, lets go shoot down a satellite.
    DD

  51. Heya Joe!!!!! You left me a comment on my blog! Thank you! That was so totally awesome of you! I am very much looking forward to meeting you and Martin Gero at Fuel on April 1. I’ve already made a reservation for three for that night!!!!

    Hugs,
    Rachel 🙂

  52. 1)Will the dissimilarities of Wraith and human seem less and less distinct when a dark new enemy emerges next year?

    2)Will the morally gray line that has emerged in more than one story in season four, be reexplored in the hearts and minds of the crew in season five?

  53. Sorry if this has been asked but will Carson’s episodes be all together or spread out throughout the series?

  54. Bonjour Joseph,
    Wow, vous avez eu une belle discussion vous tous avec ce livre. C’est dommage que je n’ai pu le trouver à ma bibliothèque, j’aime bien ce genre de littérature. Je ne peux pas écrire autant qu’avant je suis pas mal occupé avec mes ados (c’est ça la vie d’une enseignante d’histoire dans une école secondaire) mais je prends tout de même le temps de te dire BONJOUR ! lol
    Morgia

  55. I was just thinking–it’s clear that you read a lot of scifi and whatnot, but are you also into classics? They’re some of my favorites: Scarlet Pimpernel, Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice, etc, etc. Just curious.

  56. Well unlike Kosmo I think Season Four has been the best season yet, my fan vote cancelling out their fan vote and leaving us in limbo once more. Ha!

    And because tv shows are run on a democratic vote (as I slide over a briefcase of money) I’m going to put my vote in for Ronon losing the dreads. They’ve had their time to shine and now it’s time to set them free, and if they come back this time just don’t have them reattached again. And how should this be done on the show? Two words: sentient mist. Or if that’s too wordy, one word: scissors.

    Also, tribes people from Papua New Guinea are woefully under represented on your show so I hope you have plans to redress that imbalance and pave the way for society’s enlightenment. Okay, I’m being facetious and yes I do think the entertainment industry does have a role as a part of society not to reinforce and bolster stereotypes, but then does it merely act like a mirror to highlight society’s existing flaws, yadda, yadda? Hey, if we didn’t have these discussions entire departments at universities would need to close and think of the horrific job loses!

    And that’s fantastic news about the ratings!

  57. Upon lookin at Jason’s pics for the umpteenth time (perhaps I should just bloody right click-save) I have noticed that there’s a rather sorry looking plant behind him that looks rather nekkie and could use some err…leaf extensions.

  58. I hope everyone is going to be looking upwards today. And Joe, keep those running shoes on. We are giving the order to shoot today.

  59. @dasNdanger

    I answered your post here: , because I think the personal blog of Mr. Mallozzi isn’t the right place for two Wraithfans to indulge their passion. 😉

    You can answer there without being a member.

  60. Just spotted: Paolo Bacigalupi interviewed on PW (subscription access but here’s the link:http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6533903.html?industryid=47155)

    On the purpose of SF, he says, “SF has tools for writing about the world around us that just aren’t available in other genres. Reading good speculative fiction is like wearing fun-house eyeglasses. It shifts the light spectrum and reveals other versions of the world, mapped right on top of the one you thought you knew.”

  61. SHININGWIT – just wanted to say, if you do read Fast Forward 1 at a later date, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts and discussing it with you then.

    Lou Anders – thanks for the link, I’ll check it out later today and share any thoughts on it.

  62. Sorry about another post. Is Jason Momoa part of the Johny Beam from Misfits of Science appreciation society with those sunglasses? Sad I remember that show?

  63. @ noir – you’re right. I do tend to get over-enthusiastic when it comes to the Wraith. Will go over to the site. Thanks!

    das

  64. Mr. Anders, thanks for the quote from the PW article. That’s a good one for pondering, especially the stinger at the end.

    Joe, thanks for the feedback. It’s been excellent reading everyone’s reviews, thus getting inspired to revisit some stories from which other commenters picked up really good points that I’d missed. Very sincerely, this has been *much* better than college English, for a variety of reasons. (Well, mostly because I’m mature enough now to be able to appreciate differing POV’s, and consider modifying my own to accommodate new knowledge.)

    Amz said:

    So many sci fi stories treat machines/AI beings etc as cold, calculating, the baddies; but what about the human race? I think “The Terror Bard” points out humanity’s faults really successfully. . . . And the fact that Quicksilver was once a human (I think? see bottom of page 143, that last par), but then transferred onto a machine made a point too. As humanity “evolved” (shown by Kath and the Bear Clade), it appeared to have lost its ethics/humaneness. Which to me poses the question of us all: what is evolution, what is social development and what is social improvement?

    Amy, I’m now going to read “The Terror Bard” a third time after having read what you and Rebecca have said about it. I see now that I missed some profound and compelling story elements. Maybe what was a very hard read for me will turn out to be one of my favorite stories. (That happens often enough.)

    Quicksilver, as I understood the story, had in fact been physically human at some point, and remains a human personality. I guess Mr. Anders will give the definitive answer.

    I think your question about evolution, and improvement as contrasted to mere development, is one that will be continued to be asked for as long as humankind (or any similar species) exists. The question becomes more cogent every year, I think, as we move closer and closer to having to make choices regarding a large number of issues.

    Just one of many; still, one of the biggest issues will undoubtedly be the modification of genetic material — of any species whatsoever, because we really don’t know what the longterm effects of such actions will be. (cf. “No More Stories” for a moving, insightful, and effective comment on future results of present choices.) And while that issue is for me the most compelling of those that we face, I know other people would talk at well-justified length on a whole host of other matters that could wind up being immensely beneficial for ourselves and our host planet, or could become something unsurvivably catastrophic. As well, you have myriad matters related to development that we deal with an a daily basis, often without even thinking about it; and, frankly, it scares me a bit that there seems to be so much we’re not thinking about.

    Especially in regard to your philosophical question about whether one life form (say a disembodied human mind) can be more important than other human life forms (and noting your opinion), I don’t see any way that entire populations will ever reach consensus on the issue; but I have no doubt that sooner or later, we’ll be dealing with it much more than many of us would like. I believe that with certain well-publicized issues we’ve already started dealing with it, and there’s no time like the present to start teaching about the fact that less-familiar moral/ethical issues will be cropping up in large numbers during this century. (There’s a very memorable, more generalized but related passage in Mr. Anders’s intro to the anthology.)

    Serious, thought-provoking sci-fi has in the past – and continues in the present – to stoke people’s enthusiasm for new technology. I don’t think nearly as many of us have paid attention to the sci-fi voices in any medium who’ve been trying to get all of us to think about the results of doing what is now and what will soon be possible.

    Amelia

  65. Hey Joe,

    Congrats on the Ratings. I have to agree with PG15, hopefully the best is yet to come.

    Best,

    Squall78

  66. Well, I’ll try to keep this brief, but here’s my take on Fast Forward 1.
    What I really liked: YFL-500, Small Offerings, Plotters and Shooters, P Dolce, Hour of the Sheep. YFL-500 was a rather melencholy piece, but I enjoyed the concept of “dream art”, as well as fact that none of the characters were particulary likable. The initial smypathy I felt for Gordo evaporated as it became clear he was a plagerist weighed down with his own mediocrity. The ending was a nice suprise(so I’m not good at anticipating twists). Small Offerings was deeply disturbing, and it took a second reading to realize how much the author had managed to convey in such a short work. This entry would make an excellent piece of mandatory reading for medical ethics students. Plotters and Shooters was sheer entertainment, and on reading the nicknames of the Shooters, I wonder if Kage Baker isn’t an alias for a certain J. Mallozzi. A welcome comic relief after some of the earlier stories. P Dolce. I love time travel tales, and the addition of a minor musical mystery merely magnified the pleasure. Hour of the Sheep pretty much advertised its punchline by the second page, but it didnt make it less enjoyable.
    Stories I thought were ok. Aristotle OS, Something Dreaming Game, Time of the Snake, Terror Bard, Solomon’s Choice, Sanjeev and Robotwallah,Sideways from now, Wikiworld. All were good tales, but for varoius reasons didn’t elicit the emotional responce my first picks did. Aristotle OS was entertaining, but I found the conclusion a bit flat. Dreaming Game was another disturbing one, but the poignancy of a small girl trying to get around disbelieving adults while an alien race dies was powerful. Terror Bard might have been a better read had I read the original Kath and Quicksilver story. Without that, while enjoyed the sheer scope of the story, with the death of planets and suns, and the evolution of mankind, there was no real empathy for the characters from me. Solomon’s Choice started off very strong, but I thought the ending was a bit forced, with a too-convienant solution engineered by the CO. Sanjeev and Robotwallah was fairly entertaining, and I enjoyed both the non-european setting and the fact that while war comes and goes, “normal” life goes on. Sideways from now was another strong story, and I am glad the editor elected to give it the space needed to lay out the plot. While I’m not that enthused about the “life after death” ascpect of the resolution of the story, I thought the Clanking City, Sleeping Prince, and qPins were intriguing threads woven together skillfully. Wikiworld was moderately entertaining, but if it hadnt been for the final lines of the story, I probably wouldn’t have put it in this group.
    Stories that didn’t appeal to me. Girl Hero’s Mirror, No More Stories, Jesus Christ Reanimator, A Smaller Government, Settlements. Girl Hero I just found to be such in implausible “what if” that I couldnt buy into the story at all. Jesus Christ Reanimater took on a difficult subject, and failed to sell me on the premise of a Jesus returned. A Smaller Government was the only story that I was actually irritated by. It started off strongly, with the amusing image of a shrunken Capitol Building and White House. It maintained my interest with the entertaining pettiness of politics as usual, with people vying for office space and useless hearings. But after having sold me on the story, the author delivers such a poor payoff with the Philosopher’s words that I felt I’d been cheated of something, like a minimally satisfying ending. Pride moved along too slowly, and had a protagonist who was just too stupid for me to ever cheer for. The basic premise was interesting, but I just don’t feel the author delivered a product worthy of said premise.
    Well, that’s it for my own feeble attempt at book reviewing. I must say I’ve been enjoying reading what others say about these stories.

  67. So Joe you write for a living and read for pleasure any hobbies at all how about…

    Dust Bunny Sculpting…other wise known as quick clean under the bed Fondy’s home soon.

    Aglet collecting… those little plastic things at the end of shoelaces you don’t need one until you haven’t got one. You mark my words!

    Kitten Juggling…not for the faint hearted or Flaming Kitten Juggling an extreme sport in Kurdistan.

    Kosmo I was going to rebuke what you said, then I thought why bother, it will only feed that little peevish thing you have going on there.Enjoy!

    Pauline

  68. dasNdanger Said:
    @pg15 – I’m right there with you, pg. I can’t concentrate on a book to save my neck, and I’m…old …so it has nothing to do with being a hyper kid or anything. I’ve never been able to focus long enough to read a book, they just bore me to tears (read a few that I ‘had’ to in school, but not much since). Last book I tried was Treasure Island – NOT a hard read, but got distracted halfway through, and haven’t picked it up since – that was over 2 years ago. But I wanted to read, so I started reading comic books. Sounds silly for a grown woman to start reading comic books, but it’s been so good for me because I can actually start – AND finish – a story. Not sure if you like comics – I’m a Marvel superhero kinda gal – but there are so many different types out there – graphic novels, indy comics (which tend to be a bit more realistic and graphic), manga, and so much more. I like getting an entire arc in trade paperback (collects – on average – 5-6 comics that comprise a single story arc) – that way I can read the entire story at once instead of waiting months, and the pictures REALLY help keep me focused on the story. Maybe give them a try, they’ve certainly satisfied my desire to read when nothing else could.

    I have a problem with comic books too because I get stuck on the facial expressions of the characters. It’s the darndest thing! Maybe I’m too empathic.

    However, I won’t make it worse than it really is. In reality, the books and other writings that I get stuck on are all things that I’ve looked forward to for a while. I.e. the last Harry Potter book, which I’m still trying to get through (almost finished!), and I have problems with both Joe’s blog and Alex Levine’s SciFi blog. I usually have to read the first line of a paragraph a few times before I can read the rest, and I always read these things out loud.

    But, when I’m dealing with things like forum posts or news article, I have almost no problems. I can get through them in no time. I also didn’t have this problem years ago when I was younger (I’m 20 now), so I don’t know what the heck is wrong with me, except I’m pretty sure it’s psychological.

    anneteldy Said:

    Reading was — and is — a large part of my life. My favorite doctor (alas, now retired) would ask how many books I’d read in the past month to gauge how the combo of meds was working. He knew if I gave a low number something just wasn’t right. [Since the last week of June 1994, even with all those low number months, I’ve read 2543 books, an average of just over 15 books a month. A respectable number, I think.]

    Pg15 the first thing you should do is be tested for dyslexia or similar disorders. You may have a so-called borderline version. If you have one of them, special tricks can help you overcome it and let you enjoy reading more. One of the medical types here might be able to tell you more.

    My ex-brother-in-law had trouble reading for enjoyment. He said reading a novel was as deadly dull as reading textbooks to him. We helped him overcome this by getting him hooked on audiobooks. Have you tried listening to audiobooks read by really good narrators? It might help, especially if you get the hard copy of the book and follow along. It could help speed up your reading and up your comprehension. It did for the ex-BIL.

    You could also try the “quiet room, busy hands” approach. Get rid of as many distractions as possible. (Turn off music and TV. Close windows and doors. Send kids to the opposite end of the house. Or just go to the library.) Get in a comfortable position where the book can lie open on a table or your lap. While reading, work Silly Putty in your hands or use those strengthening things, or squeeze a rubber ball, etc. For some reason, it seems to help people concentrate.

    I do hope you can overcome the frustration because there’s a lot of good books out there waiting for you.

    Wishing you the best!

    Ok first…WOW, 15 books a month? Forget respectable, that’s freaking EPIC. Seriously. Well, I think so, anyway.

    Rest assured, I try my best to decrease the noise levels. I shut the door, mute the TV, etc. I even constructed a rudimentary book holder to prop them up so I don’t crink my neck (it’s made up of binders and tape!), and so far, it’s working out well enough, as I still need to read a lot of text books. I’ll try to wiki the other things you talked about. Although, according to my friends, a lot of these problems seem to start from birth, and I never had that when I was young, so…yeah, who knows what’s happening.

    Anyway, you guys rock! Thank you for caring! I really appreciate it. 🙂

  69. Joe, thank you for the blog and all your hard work making SGA the best,Congrats on the rating, and really like the pictures you post, the puppies are so cute too…

  70. “”The Cold Equations” is a science fiction short story by Tom Godwin, first published in Astounding Magazine in 1954.” [from Wikipedia] Also a story I remember with clarity after several decades.

    SciFi made a not-completely-accurate television production of it in 1996 that is currently available on DVD.

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