How cool is this! 2007 Hugo Award and Chesley Award nominee Lou Anders, editor of our standing scifi book of the month club selection (Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge), is here to answer your questions. And, he’s brought along some friends! Hopefully, once Fast Forward 2 comes out in October, he’ll feel up to doing this all over again. Hell, he doesn’t have to wait for October. He’s got an open invitation to guest here anytime.

Anyway, a big thank you to Lou for taking the time to do this, and thanks to the authors and ultra-talented artist John Picacio for participating as well.

Take it away, Lou…


I’d really like to thank each and every one of you for your considered and informative comments on all the stories, and for the kind words on my introduction. Coincidentally, I’m also struggling with the introduction to Fast Forward 2 this very week, and I was going to joke about how you were adding pressure to get it right, but I see Joe’s already done that, and more to the point, as I continue to read the comments (and the comments continue to come in!), I realize that what you are all saying is less adding pressure and more really informing the writing – and positively so! I’m totally nabbing that Asimov quote on the importance of SF (thank you Masterchief), and I’m going to quote Joe on the “escapist entertainment” bit, which will at the least nab him a special thanks in the book’s acknowledgement – and to the lot of you as well.

Now, before we get on to the content of the book and your questions, if you will indulge me I want to take a moment to talk about the cover. Because, really, we all do judge books by same, and it’s a pet peeve of mine that the illustrators who have labored right alongside the authors the entire, illustrious history of our field rarely get equal attention.

The cover of Fast Forward 1 is by my good friend and Hugo nominated artist, John Picacio, who is not only a hell of a guy and uber-talented, but the illustrator on all five of my currently available anthologies (Bob Eggleton is the illustrator on my forthcoming Sideways in Crime, out in June from Solaris Books: http://www.solarisbooks.com/books/sideways-crime/sideways-crime.asp) I asked John to give us a few words on how the cover image came about, which was very much influenced by our desire to envision “21st Century SF illustration” and discussions of the classic work of Richard Powers. John says:

Very cool to see all of the FF1 feedback here on Joe’s blog. Not only Joe’s take, but all of the blow-by-blow comments from everyone. Really invigorating to see this. I’m currently beginning work on the cover for Fast Forward 2, and the process begins much the same way as it did with FF1. For most of my covers, art directors trust me to generate my own ideas and run with the ball independently. I appreciate that. However in the initial stages of FF1, I preferred to do it differently, and instead play tennis with Lou. He volleys a thought my way, and it sparks something on my side, and I fire a return. And so on. From these small exchanges, something visual blooms in my head…something that neither us might have arrived at, if we wouldn’t have played tennis together first…and I end up creating an illustration like you see for the FF1 wraparound cover. (http://www.johnpicacio.com/blogpics/FASTFORWARDwrap.jpg)

What I like is that Lou doesn’t just deal in the micro-visions of the stories themselves, but he’s able to see the macro-vision for where our field is and how it interacts with the larger cultural moment. That’s what I’m most interested in, as an SF cover artist. That’s what excites me most about the FF1 anthology as a whole. The cover for FF1 was much inspired by Lou’s introduction, which he was formulating at the time. Another thing that really jazzes both of us is looking back at revolutions in SF, such as the Ballantine science fiction line and specifically, the relationship between publishers Ian and Betsy Ballantine and artist Richard Powers. (http://home.earthlink.net/~cjk5/)

The Ballantines built much of their early publishing success on the avant-garde visuals of Powers’ covers that were very anti-establishment (in genre terms), but very much in the cultural moment of modern art at that time (the early 1950s). Those covers challenged the audience, and their perceptions, and refused to accept that SF must be limited to pulp sensibilities of the time. Those covers permanently lifted the field, both artistically and commercially. I respect the hell out of that, and so does Lou. Fast forward to 2008, and I wonder if we’re not ripe for another visual revolution…..anyway — thanks, Joe, for sparking this discussion. I’m enjoying these critiques of FF1. I’ll come back and visit when I can, and I look forward to seeing everyone’s discussion of Empire of Ice Cream down the road.


John Picacio


I’ll add to that that it was those Richard Powers covers that first impressed me as a child, before I was even a reader, that science fiction was something adult, modern, cutting-edge, etc… So when I got older, and I discovered that SF was actually denigrated in some quarters, I was truly flabbergasted. For me, it was always something out there and wondrous, maybe even a little above me, that I needed to rise to the level of, not any thing lowest common demonimator.

Now, on to your comments and quetions:

Joe himself says: “Of all the stories in this collection, Kage Baker’s “Plotters and Shooters” was by far my favorite…”

Kage is marvellous, so I’m not surprised so many people agree. Her “Company” series, at something like 10 books, was just recently completed. It’s about an organization that controls time travel and the schism in same, but seen from the fringes. I can’t recommend her highly enough, so I’ll just say check her out – you won’t be disappointed with anything she does. Meanwhile, I asked her to comment on “Plotters and Shooters” and she says, “A Happy Season Five to Stargate: Atlantis fans! … and thanks for your kind words about ‘Plotters and Shooters’. I have to confess that the story had its genesis a few years back, in a pizza parlor in Emeryville. A few tables away from mine there was an entire college football team, drinking beer, shoving, guffawing and just generally living large. After listening to them awhile I noticed that not one of them seemed to be able to utter a sentence without the words butthole, anus or rectum in it somewhere. It was a remarkable example of what runs through the subconscious of violently hypermale jocks with otherwise limited vocabularies. The Shooters are based on my observations both of those jocks, and also of the sort of kid who posts on gaming forums under names like Soul Crusher and Demon Spawn. Whereas the real psychopath in the story, Charles, feels no need to bully others or bolster his self-confidence with scary black leather. He’s perfectly self-confident and unconcerned with his image. Cheerio, Kage.”

Emily says: 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.

Ah, well there is no helping some people, if two pages is too long. Reminds me of something the great New Wave writer Samuel R Delaney once said, in speaking about the ability to enjoy a piece of prose for the words themselves. “We love a sentence not because of what it means so much as the manner and intensity with which it makes its meaning vivid. People whom the trick tends not to work on include people who are just learning the language and/or who have no literary background in any other language before they start. It tends to include people who know exactly what they’re reading for, and who are not terribly interested in getting any other pleasure from a book except the one they open the first page expecting.”

It’s that last line about people being “not terribly interested in getting any other pleasure from a book except the one they open the first page expecting” that really resonates with me. For some (and I’d say for most SF readers and fans), newness is its own reward – that charge you get from exposure to new ideas, new concepts, the “sensawunder” that science fiction imparts. But if we exist, then the opposite must to – people for whom the new is frightening. I had a good friend in High School who helped me move to Los Angeles, and while I deeply appreciated him making the trek and I do think he enjoyed it, LA really freaked him out. Not in a “I couldn’t live there myself” kind of way, but in a “I am uncomfortable even visiting.” Of course, we were in Venice Beach… But not only did he not want to be there, he didn’t even want to know, even in a sociological or tourist sense… Each to his own. To continue Joe’s food analogy, some folks just want steak and potatoes over and over again and more power to them, but we of broad palates know they are only hurting themselves…

Emily then asks: 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?

Now I won’t admit to ever disliking something I ran, but I will say that I have my own favorites, and obviously some stories stand out as the stronger ones in any given book, but I’ve learned across five anthologies now that sometimes what you think as the “weakest” stories surprise you. An editor has only his own tastes to go on, and you shouldn’t second guess that or try and publish something you actively dislike just because you think it’s popular, but a few times in the past – and I won’t even say which book so don’t try and nail down which story I’m talking about – it was the one I thought that was the weakest which got the most positive attention from readers and critics. This has taught me a lot about being “too close” to a story and to trust the material and the writer from the outset, and to allow for a range and breadth that willin turn allow readers who don’t share my exact sensibilities (‘cause who does?) to find their own favorites.

As to pay rates: Authors generally get paid per word, in shamefully small currencies too. Anthologies don’t sell as well as novels, and most novelists who still write in the short form do it for love of the form, for PR purposes (attracting new readers to their novels as some of these stories have done) or to experiment with an idea that the risk and time-investment of writing a novel precludes.

Quite a few people commented on the “creep out factor” of Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Small Offerings,” including anon good nurse who said: I couldn’t read “Small Offerings” more than once; it just hurt too much. That’s a future I want no part in.

Some background: I was at World Fantasy Convention in Madison, WI in 2006 when Gordon Van Gelder, editor/publisher of the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, for whom I have a GREAT deal of respect, came up to me and said, “You need to know Paolo Bacigalupi.” He then dragged me off to meet Paolo, repeating how important it was that I meet him. I had already filled Fast Forward 1, and in fact overbooked it, but I knew to take Gordon at his word, so later that weekend, having not read anything by him, I asked Paolo if he could be in, with a catch. I promised my wife I wouldn’t overspend my advance (this time! I’m bad about it), so I told him he had to constrain himself to 3,000 words. It was a bit of an imposition, but I think he came through brilliantly. I’ve since made it up to him – his contribution to FF2 closes out the book and comes in around 10k. Meanwhile, I’ve since read a good deal of Paolo’s stories, as have a great many people. To date, he’s enjoyed 3 Hugo nominations, 1 Nebula nom, 1 Asimov’s Readers Choice, 1 Sturgeon win and 2 Sturgeon finalists. I think he’s just about one of the most important and most interesting of the new batch of SF writers. He has a collection out later this month from Night Shade called Pump Six and Other Stories, and I recommend it highly. (http://www.nightshadebooks.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=18)But I was particularly taken by the comments that “Small Offerings” was scary. Yes, this is the most painful. It may also be the most relevant. Paolo knows what of he speaks. We discussed the horrid ‘what’s happening now’ behind this story and it is utterly heartbreaking. Beyond that – a good friend of my mother is currently dying with ALS, and she has learned that the resort community in which he’s lived the last decade or so has 40 times the national average for the disease. And guess what is in the nearby – chemical plants of course. The US military just declassified all the areas in the ocean where it’s been dumping nerve gas for decades, all these spots in the gulf, just a few miles off… Without even going into global warming, there is so much happening now that needs to be dragged into the light kicking and screaming. (What about that 143 million pounds of beef that was just recalled, most of which was earmarked for the public school system?) And a recent study about the mercury levels in sushi grade tuni – well, I’ll be backing off my favorite food for a while. And mercury in fish isn’t the result of some natural process in the ocean – it’s chemical pollutants dumped in the sea… But these are just my own personal (recent!) observations. I asked Paolo to comment himself. He says, “Small Offerings” was inspired by a scientist named Theo Colborn, (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1663317_1663323_1669901,00.html) who lives down the street from me. Theo researches endocrine disruptors, aka hormone mimics. These synthetic chemicals are surprisingly ubiquitous. PCBs are found stored in our fat cells. Bisphenyl-a, a chemical that functions like an estrogen, is found in children’s sippy cups. Flame retardants show up in women’s breast milk. The chemicals are everywhere, and they can effect everything from reproductive capacity to intelligence to behavior. If ‘Small Offerings’ disturbed you, trust me, it’s nothing in comparison to a conversation with Theo Colborn.”

Thornyrose asks: What criteria does Mr. Anders use in deciding the order of stories in an anthology?I cast the I-Ching, consult tea leaves and ask my toddler’s advice.

Seriously, though, those of you who were around before CD burners and iTunes will remember the labor intensive, often all-day-long process that making a mixed tape used to be, when you’d get out all your LPs (Google the term, kids), put the headphones on, and have to actually listen to everything you were taping in real time. Any mixer worth his/her salt knew you didn’t put two songs by the same artist side by side, or two of the same kind. How one ended and the next began was all important, and there was always a misfire that you didn’t realize until you were in it to the elbows that you had to erase and record over. It’s like that, very much. I try not to group all my female authors in one spot, not run to “downer” stories side by side, try for variety in word count/length, spread my “name authors” evenly throughout the book, and make sure the types of stories are spread around too. The first and last stories are the most important, and I used the first three to set tone too.

On a related note, let me say that, for me, the real value in an anthology is to get dozens of concepts for the price of one novel, and to discover new writers – Joe’s tapas analogy spot on. That a few of you, Joe included, have followed these new-to-you writers back to their novels is fantastic, and means the book has done its job. Beyond that, my own standard for judging anthos is that if I like upwards of 50% of the stories in them, they were time/money well spent.

Anon, good nurse comments on “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not the One”: 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.

Yes, absolutely. I love the way early on we are told she has forgotten her name. Then later, when she is feeling hatred towards her target (but really, anger at having to be forced to confront the truth of her own life), she says, “There should be some word for what she feels when she looks at him, a word not like fuchsia or madder or carmine or rose or sugar or candy. It should be a word for rats turning and scuttling back with red eyes, teeth bared, tails like little ramrods. Maybe the word is Rebecca.” All you need to know about her self-image right there.

This story is midway between Justina’s two poles, I think. She was a hard SF writer, described as a sort of “William Gibson with sex and chocolate” when she discovered fantasy, and launched into her Quantum Gravity series, the first of which Keeping It Real (http://www.pyrsf.com/keepingitreal.html), is about a cyborg woman assigned to bodyguard (and investigate) a half-demon, half-elf rockstar getting death threats for being too flamboyant. I can’t recommend that one enough. But, it being Justina, that description only tells you what it’s about, not what it is. I asked Justina to say hello, btw, and she says, “It’s nice to see such a lively chat about the book going on and I hope people do check out some novels by the authors (not just me) because there’s a lot of good longer stories in circulation too. I was a bit surprised that people could be surprised (as some mentioned) by the idea that SF isn’t ‘just’ entertainment but as you say, that may represent the gulf between readers and casual viewers.”

Anon, good nurse then raises the point: 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.

I’m not arguing, just fine-tuning. Science fiction, to me, serves four purposes. It can be predictive. and it’s always fun to talk about that, but that’s its least important aspect. More importantly, it can be preventative, as Robert J Sawyer articulates when he points out that, “If accurate prediction were the criterion of good SF, we’d have to say that George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was an abysmal failure because the real year 1984 turned out nothing like his prediction. But in fact Orwell’s novel was a resounding success because its warning call helped us to keep the future it portrayed from becoming reality.” Then beyond that, SF’s importance lies in its ability to actually inspire the future. Technovelgy is a great website that currently lists over 1,400 articles charting when ideas first envisioned in SF become real, and more often than not, the inventors and scientists are very aware of where the ideas came from and were working to them directly. And finally, SF is the literature of the open-mind – the literature that acknowledges change and gets you thinking outside the box – and that in itself is a good thing, even if the science on display is nonsense. (This is SF’s value as allegory.) No one would take Adam Robert’s Land of the Headless seriously as something that could happen, but what it has to say about the criminal justice system is illuminating, relevant and brilliant.

But, as to “reaching for the stars” – do you know how many technologies we use here on earth were developed for space? And there is a company in my old neighborhood right here in Alabama that exists just to book time on the Shuttle for scientists, because so many crystals and chemicals and whatnot perform better in zero-G. I’d say that two of the primary drivers of technology are space research and war, and I’d much rather that the former came to outpace the latter. Just looking at the ecological problems we face in the coming years and think how much terraforming Mars would teach us about healing earth? Not to mention the danger of having all your eggs in one basket. We’re one comet or nuclear war away from extinction! To me, not moving forward is like saying, “You messed up high school so why don’t you skip college too?” Which is not to say we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes, or that we won’t make more…

Anon, good nurse also asks: In general, what are the responsibilities of an anthology editor? Also, are there any significant similarities to editing a book?

To begin with, I want to explain a little bit about how stories make it into an anthology, and what exactly an editor does. Almost any time I tell someone I’m an editor around here (Alabama), I get apologies for bad grammar or an invitation to spell check some work-document, and I have to explain that that is what a copyeditor does, not an editor. (Our copyeditor is the wonderful Deanna Hoak, who is head and shoulders above anyone I’ve ever worked with, and has a marvelous blog here: http://deannahoak.com/) Being an editor is a bit more like being a producer in cinema – another job no one really understands! As the editorial director of Pyr, I’m the buck-stops-here guy for all sorts of things, from reading and choosing manuscripts, to negotiating with agents, to contracting and working with cover artists, to approving layout, writing cover copy, advising publicity and marketing… You are a sort of advocate for your books (your children!) both in and out of house, proclaiming to the world why they should care, but also making sure all the very hard-working, very busy people in your company (only one or two will have read the book) also know that its important and why.

In the case of anthologies, the editor is the guy who comes up with the theme (“More Stories about Vampire Cats!”, “Living on the Moon,” “Winning Words in a Spelling Bee!” etc…) and then invites all the authors, chooses the story and assembles the book (hence the producer analogy). Anthologies can either be reprint collections (usually done to help define a particular slice of the field, like “The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time”) or original ones. I much prefer original anthologies, and I, personally, have a dislike of frivolous themes, so my previous anthologies have all tried to directly address what I saw as particular concerns of the field at the time (or things I thought should be concerns). With Fast Forward 1, I was very deliberately addressing the field itself, and the persistent grumblings that a) short fiction was in jeopardy and b) there wasn’t a high enough percentage of SF in short genre fiction anymore, everything going the way of dark fantasy or “slipstream” (think magical realism for N. Americans). So the Fast Forward series was born as a return to the kind of showcase anthologies that used to dominate the field in the 50s, 60s and 70s. I got in trouble with the subtitle “Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge” – as too many critics thought it meant this was cutting edge science fiction (as compared to the rest of the field), when in fact, I was trying to make an outward focused case that science fiction itself was cutting edge, as compared to the rest of literature. I think (and I think you agree) that I did make that case in the introduction, but the subtitle tripped up too many (even Joe remarked that the Pamela Sargent tale felt like it belonged in an earlier era), so it’s gone with FF2.

Now, anthologies can be done “open reads” or they can be done “invite only.” Open reads is where you publicly post the call for submissions, get deluged with thousands of stories, and chose the best. I’ve never done this for an anthology (though I did for a magazine briefly). As you know, I run the Pyr book line (www.pyrsf.com), and we publish just under 20 books a year, all of which come through Yours Truly, so there is no way I could read all those full length manuscript submissions AND short story submissions too and, well, ever play with my toddler. So I do my anthologies “invite only.” What this means is, at least IMHO, the level of selection is done at the level of the invitation – you are sending the invite only to established pros whose work you consistently admire, and thus, when they write to you (and to your specific theme!), you owe them the courtesy of taking what they give you (especially if the theme is restrictive enough they can’t send it elsewhere). I know not everyone does it this way, and I have passed on one or two stories where what I got back was utterly inappropriate given what I had asked for, but generally, I believe the level of selection is at the invitation stage.

My own agenda with the FF series is to take a very broad, “catholic” view of SF. I want to showcase the full range and breadth of what science fiction can be, with both a respect for its important history as well as, always, an eye on its future – so you will always find the Resnicks and Nivens and such mixed in among the Bacigalupis and McDonalds in one of my books. This also threw a few critics, but not readers – as witness how many of you liked “Solomon’s Choice”! Nor is the old guard all that outdated, as witness how many of you found the Iain Banks-like, post-human space opera of “The Terra Bard” a challenging read. (On that, the story struck me as fitting right alongside of the current work of writers like Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow, yet some of the professional critics called it out as “old school.” Hmmm.)

Amz comments: 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.

Tempted? Just tempted? Email through the contact form on www.louanders.com and I will send you the intro as a word document. And tell them my speaking fees are very reasonable!

Nic said: 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.

Yeah, that’s a good one, but you really need New Dreams for Old, that collects his work of the last decade, most of it award-winning or nominated.

Anon, good nurse commented about “Kath and Quicksilver”: 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.

Did you pick up on how Kath often did things with her ears or closed her nostrils in ways we humans clearly don’t and can’t? Without ever telling us clearly what she looks like, Brenda and Larry have let us know that these “humans” wouldn’t necessarily appear human by our standards, and I think that is another aspect of the story that works towards what you are picking up on, and the whole notion that Kath is being judged for how compassionately she treats or doesn’t treat other sentients.

Joe himself comments: 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.

Yup. His Hugo-nominated River of Gods (http://www.pyrsf.com/riverofgods.html) . He’s also written a slew of other stories in the same milieu, one of which won the Hugo last year. We’re collecting them all in Cyberabad Days in early ’09. Meanwhile, McDonald’s since written another novel, Brasyl (http://www.pyrsf.com/Brasyl.html), which does for South America what these tales do for India, and he’s just back from his second trip to Turkey, researching his forthcoming The Dervish House. Ian is building quite a name for himself by shifting his SF aware from a Western-centric focus. And the man gets to work with Muppets in his day job for Irish telly.

Joe further comments: 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?)?

Nope. Bear is all over the map. Her Hammered/Scardown/Worldwired trilogy is cyberpunky in a military SF kind of way, but she also writes a fantasy series entitled The Promethean Age (currently Blood and Iron and Whiskey and Water), and her New Amsterdam is a sort of Victorian, Steampunk, Vampire, female-detective sort of thing. While A Companion to Wolves (with Sarah Monette) is Norse fantasy. And that’s not all she’s got out, just all I feel like typing.

Masterchief says: 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

Yup, five years and 500 articles, written for Star Trek Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Dreamwatch, Doctor Who Magazine, Manga Max, Sci Fi Universe and others. I even ran the short-lived Deep Space Nine poster magazine, which, though only out in the UK, went episode by episode through a season, one at a time, and was all folded out into a piece of wall art. I was freelance for a time, then got hired by Titan Magazines to be their liaison in Los Angeles. I covered Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Babylon 5 (including the telemovies between seasons 4 and 5 and the ill-fated Crusade) and the 1996 Fox/BBC Doctor Who co-production (best forgotten). With Trek, I spent more time in the production offices than the sets (though I was on set a fair amount, including one huge, sprawling 50-page piece of journalism where we followed one episode from pre to post production that is one of the things I’m most proud of), and I got to know folks like Brannon Braga and Ira Steven Behr quite well. With Babylon 5, I was pretty much on set 3 full days a week on average for two years, and got to know everyone, cast and crew. Oh, and when Delenn gives her farewell speech in the penultimate episode (“Objects at Rest”?), well, uh, I’m the guy in the monk’s robe standing right in front of her, and the speech is bound up in all kinds of emotion for me, because it really was a good bye. The crowd she is talking to is most everybody who ever worked on the show.

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.

I sympathize. In college I couldn’t read more than a page without having to get up and see who was around. But that writer I quoted at the start of your questions, Samuel R Delany, whose prose is about as lyrical and “Joycean” as any our genre has ever produced – severely dyslexic himself.

Amz comments: 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).

Absolutely concur. And television (at least the good stuff) is getting more and more “novelistic” every day. Sadly some novels are getting more like television (the bad stuff).

Amz asks: 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.

Well, just like music, films and everything else, novels are contracted for specific territories. So with a lot of the Pyr titles, we only hold the right to distribute them in N. America. (Gollancz, for example, is the publisher of the fabulous Ian McDonald novels in the UK that I mentioned above.) Now, I’m very big on “buy in your territory”, because support for an author’s work in the country he’s in has a very real and immediate effect on his editor in that country’s ability to offer him a contract on his next work! But in the case of Fast Forward 1, which I, uh, sold to myself in house (and was I a bitch to negotiate with!), I was clever enough to talk myself out of giving up World English, so you ought to be able to get it in Australia, though the distance there may be the problem. Try Slow Glass books for other Pyr titles. (http://www.slowglass.com.au/) and tell them I said “hi.”

Wams352 said: 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!)

Or bother to know who the writers are on their favorite shows. Or even look at the name on the spine. Yes, I agree. Kim Stanley Robinson calls us “the Cassandra Ghetto” – in that we see the future but aren’t respected for it. But, as he says, being in the ghetto gives you a certain type of freedom, as well as a certain responsibility. To my mind, science fiction is first and foremost entertainment and must be entertainment if it is to function effectively. And some people just can’t see past that, just as some people can’t acknowledge animation as legitimate narrative or cartoons as art. But science fiction will never be just entertainment. It has been, since its inception, a fundamental contributing factor both in how we view our increasingly technological world and in actually dictating the shaping of that technological world, and as the branch of literature devoted to examining humankind’s relationship with technology, it is coming into its own as the most important literature of the 21st century. Which is as good a place as any to end this. I’ll keep coming by to see if there are more comments – aw heck, I’m a dedicated reader of Joe’s blog now, who am I kidding? And those of you who are still waiting on your copy of FF1 or working your way through it, feel free to drop by my own blog and let me know how you find it if you miss this window. The quality of the feedback (as well as the quantity!) is truly wonderful, and a really unique experience I could get addicted to. Given the way this is creating a back and forth as I lay out FF2, I hope you will choose to read and discuss that too if its offered and when its out in October, because, well obviously I’d like to sell the book, but also because I’d like to see if you thought I took the right things from these comments, and, Joe’s indulgence permitting, I’d love to come back and discuss that one with you all as a follow-up to this.But whether you have me back or not – to all of you and to Joe to – thank you very much for this opportunity right here right now. It’s been a blast.


Lou Anders, Editorial Director

Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books



65 thoughts on “February 21, 2008: With Special Guest Star…Lou Anders!

  1. *fast forwards to seek an answer on something totally unrelated to the bald dude with the future book, Sorry… I’m just not into reading much (Insert Joe’s rude yet witty and ego-shattering comment on my unwillingness to read books)*

    Seriously, What is the status of SGU?… We’re NOT asking for plot details or casting rumors, Just simple honest answers to the following questions.

    1. Have Wright and Cooper started writing yet?
    2. Has Scifi mentioned anything about picking up SGU yet?
    3. If 2 is answered yes, Any idea when we’ll get confirmation from Scifi and MGM?

    Please man, Throw us a frickin bone!

  2. hey will we be seeing any more of teylas backstory inn season 5 at all more about her Mother and Father and did she have any siblings growing up because so far i think she is the Only Character On atlantis yet whose Family we havent heard much about i would like to see more of that

  3. I find myself addicted to the wonderful books put forth in this blog on a regular basis, so thank you Joe! I havn’t been able to find FF1, but I enjoyed this superlong entry anyway. I’d also like to second the plea for throwing us even just a mini bone about SGU, if you know and its ok for you to talk about it.

  4. That was a really great entry today! Thanks to Joe for bringing Lou over, and thanks to Lou for a truly interesting read. Much appreciated.

  5. Hi Lou,

    There is so much I would love to say about your entry (crap I hear Joe say – another rambling mess to moderate), but I’m running out of battery on my laptop! So I quickly wanted to say thanks so much for your insights.

    ~ Narelle from Aus

  6. Thanks so much for the entry by Lou Anders, and also hearing from John Picacio (I’ve loved scifi art since I was a child). In the same way that I enjoy behind the scenes information about my favorite TV shows, I also love hearing from editors and writers and artists, and I look forward to Future Fiction 2.

  7. Drat, I almost forgot. Mr. Anders, are you wearing Delenn’s bony head-thing in that picture?

  8. Welcome Lou!!

    Couldn’t get your book in time but I will have a ‘squizzy’ when I do. Nice hat. What the hell is it ? LOL

    Joe , you rock. You get all the best people. Must be your awesome charm.. or your chocolates 😛

  9. (psst Joe, I know what you’re feeling. Proud as punch at your bloggers who gave such awesome and insightful reviews. Like a proud daddy you are 😉 )

  10. I’m wearing somebody’s bony head-thing but I don’t think it’s Delenn’s. Just snapped in the makeup trailer. The other pic is from the telemovie The River of Souls.

  11. I posted this on yesterday’s blog, so I’m re-posting under today’s.

    Civ L’Ingénieur wrote:

    Anyhow, hope to see your SG-self die a horribly painful death soon

    Me too! 😀

    Mr. M promised a memorable death. I’ve been trying to guess what the impetus for Lt. Anne Teldy’s demise will be. I’d hoped the episode title would give me a hint, but so far, “Whispers” hasn’t helped at all. Any ideas, people?

    Anne Teldy

  12. Phew…that took a while to read, but I read it all! Lou has certainly offered up quite a facinating discussion on the values and importance of SciFi that I’ve always tried to inform my, er, close-minded parents, but alas, they’re the kind of people who don’t like stuff that’s “made up”, like Emily‘s friend. Shame, really.

    Uh…not that Emily‘s friend is made up, but, yeah…you know what I mean. Oof…bad choice of words there.

    My views on SciFi is that, it’s just a great genre to explore where you don’t have to worry about borders or rules. You can literally do anything you want in it, and as it’s SciFi, it’ll all pretty much make some weird sense. You can’t do that in Cop dramas, that’s for sure. For someone like me who isn’t exactly up-to-date on the real world (I can barely handle my bank account for cryin’ out loud; I mean, equity loans? What the hell is that?!), this is a wonderful place to let my imagination soar. The funny thing is that, having read Joe’s blog for this long and especially now that he’s started the BOTM thing, I’ve actually started collecting, in my thoughts, ideas for my own scifi novel. I’ve had problems in the past with how…not-alien my supposed other-worlds were, that they were ultimately too human-like. However, having read some of these descriptions and reviews and quotes from the authors themselves…I think I’m on my way. Who knows.

    Anyway, back to Stargate, and those questions…

    1. Is the episode being moved to the 2nd half due to the creative snafu the Alan/Rob Shep Whump episode?

    2. Where was the Wraith bits of Midway shot? You know, the badlands-type area? It was beautiful!

    Thanks in advance!

  13. Welcome, Lou 😀

    Yeah, that’s a good one, but you really need New Dreams for Old that collects his work of the last decade, most of it award-winning or nominated.

    Thanks so much for the recommendation! I just ordered it from Chapters and look forward to reading through the stories.

  14. Many thanks Mr. Anders, for a fantastic guest appearance. Your comments and answered are a fascinating look into the workings of creating a product to entertain and educate. I do hope you take up Mr. M’s offer to make another appearance here, and in the new future. I’ll be making sure my local bookstore is kept busy ordering works from some of the authors from FF 1, and Fast Forward 2 when it comes out.

  15. Lou and John, thanks so much for taking the time to respond at length to so many comments. Your remarks have done a lot to enhance my already high appreciation for this anthology. Lou, I’m hoping to have the time to visit your blog, because I’d like to pester you with even more questions re. Fast Forward 1. And thanks doubly for collecting some further comments from the authors.

    Joe, thanks triply for making all of this happen. I’ve loved the experience, even when I wanted to pick a bone or two with Lou. *w*

    About the cover art: I was enthralled from the outset by the cover image — at least the part of it that’s unobscured by the necessary promos and blurbs. But when I checked out John’s link to his cover wrap, I was blown away. That is truly awesome art (not just “Bill & Ted” awesome), and it’s going right onto my pc desktop, if you’ve no objections. What I find unfortunate is that the back-cover images can barely be appreciated at all in the book’s final form, since there’s so much else that has to go there.

    I know that with some special-interest publishing groups (perhaps the Pyr imprint as well?) artwork budgeting can be pretty tight, but it would be wonderful to have an inset of the cover wrap in the book, with nothing to obscure the image besides the unavoidable seam. I know I’d be willing to pay a little more to get the full effect of the incredible graphic art as well as the literary art.

    Lou Anders said:

    Did you pick up on how Kath often did things with her ears or closed her nostrils in ways we humans clearly don’t and can’t? Without ever telling us clearly what she looks like, Brenda and Larry have let us know that these “humans” wouldn’t necessarily appear human by our standards. . . .

    I was surprised to read your comment about “Kath and Quicksilver” being set in a post-human world. Admittedly (and again) this was a hard read for me, but my interpretation was that Kath is still human, but inhabits a body that’s evolved a huge amount over a huge number of years. It sounds, though, like I misinterpreted the author’s intent to some extent. I’m glad to have your remarks to add to those of Amz and Rebecca when I read the story again.

    Your discourse on short fiction and the role of anthologies has given me a lot more appreciation for what I very much hope is not a dying breed in either case (as well as for your very active role in keeping those forms relevant, well-respected, and entertaining.) Having said so, I’ll place my order for FF 2 as soon as it can be bought or pre-ordered.

    All the best to you, Lou, and you, John, for all projects yet to come.

  16. Was just over at Gateworld News looking at preview pics of Last Man. Not to be excessively cruel or anything, but considering Rodney’s current follicular state, is he really going to have more than a minimal horseshoe when he gets all wrinkly and grey? 😎

  17. Anon, good nurse said: I was surprised to read your comment about “Kath and Quicksilver” being set in a post-human world. Admittedly (and again) this was a hard read for me, but my interpretation was that Kath is still human, but inhabits a body that’s evolved a huge amount over a huge number of years. It sounds, though, like I misinterpreted the author’s intent to some extent.

    No, no, that’s exactly what I took from it to. I meant post-human in reference to the other entities….

  18. Hi Joe — Thanks for all the discussion on FF1. I confess that it wasn’t high on my list until I read the comments on your blog. I’ll be checking it out soon!

    Quick question on SG-1. I finally got around to watching my Season 10 DVD’s and noticed that “Bad Guys” didn’t have a commentary. Any reason why? I’ve always enjoyed the commentaries, and when I rewatch the series from Season 1 I’m always disappointed that the commentaries don’t start until Season 4!


  19. Many thanks to Lou Anders for his wonderful contribution to Joe’s blog. It really helped me to understand the process you, as an editor, go thru to compile an anthology.

    And for Joe –
    I will be having out-patient surgery tomorrow: any hope of a blog dedication? I will probably miss tomorrow’s SGA ep, since I expect I will be flying high (or just knocked out) from pain meds. Thank God for TiVo !!!!

    The bad news is that I will have to avoid your blog until I get a chance to watch the ep, so I don’t come across any spoilerage … 🙁

    The good news is that since I will be off work all next week, I can get a good start on the next group of book club selections … 🙂

  20. pg15 said: My views on SciFi is that, it’s just a great genre to explore where you don’t have to worry about borders or rules.


  21. Oops – Just picked up on Lou’s error (and my repetition of same) in referring to “Kath and Quicksilver,” the story that predates “The Terror Bard,” which is the work from Fast Forward 1 that’s actually under discussion here.

  22. Wow, amazing q/a’s with Lou Anders. That was a great read that really shows that there is much more to sci-fi than technology and aliens. 😉

    Thank you Joe for this, and thank you very much Lou for the enlightening entry!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  23. Joe, I have been lurker here for sometime. Ok longtime. I just wanted to say..Awesome Blog!!

    I agree with Anon good nurse that the cover art was great but was totally hidden. Its a sad shame!! But I understand you have too. Thank you Mr. Anders for the link to it. Its nice to see it as it should be. Love to look at cover art and be all dreamy! I am hoping my copy comes this week!! So I will be stopping by your blog with any questions that pop up. Hope you don’t mind? Thank you for coming over to Joe’s Blog and wetting my appetite for even more brain food to go with the chocolates!!

  24. Amazing blog entry, thanks Lou for your insights and comments. I hven’t got a hold of FF1 as yet but am redoubling my efforts to add it to my collection. I have my grandad to thank for introducing me to Sci-Fi fiction, he would read to me from any book he happened to be reading at the time regardless of age suitability thus was I as informed about Carson of Venus as I was about Peter Rabbit – all of which made for an eclectic set of imaginary playmates not to mention scenarios.
    I must admit though to having been stuck in somewhat of a reading rut of late but Joes BOTM discussions have got me all fired up for something completely different so thanks Joe. Now all I have to do is find time to fit in the boring life stuff around my reading.

  25. That was an awesome discussion.
    Thanks to Lou and everyone who shared insights.
    I Love short stories and it’s absolutely brilliant that there are people championing their continued existence!
    Thanks! 😀

  26. Hey Joe,
    I dont know if this has been asked or not, as I have been on holiday to the South Island of NZ, but:

    Does the Green of Alicia Vega’s uniform, make her a Tech as well as a Soldier?

    From History, the uniforms define the type of work they do: Blue for Scientist, Yellow for Doctor, Red for Women/admin, Dark Blue/Black for Soldiers, Green for Techs…

    Juat wondering?


  27. Hey sorry, I accidentally posted this on the 20th blog….

    Hey! I loved Midway. Just so ya know.

    Question! I feel I can say this and not give anything away since FOX official released this clip as a promo… when the Odyssey enters the supergate, we see the same wormhole visual effect that is used from travel between Milky Way gates (blue).

    Is this just a placeholder? One would imagine that if the wormhole effect is a certain way in one regular gate network, another way in a more recent one (green rather than blue), it would stand to reason that something as radically different as a SUPERgate would have a radically different wormhole effect.

    If it isn’t any different in the finished product, is there an in-canon speculative reason as to why the wormhole effect would remain the same? Thanks a bunch!! Don’t worry about disappointed, I’ll buy it either way. 😀

  28. Joe, I can’t thank you enough for your book discussions, seriously one of the best discussion groups I’ve ever been involved in. And I suspect the fact that a large number of the comments come from sci fi fans has more than a little to do with all the insights I’ve gleaned.

    Lou, thanks for your comments/discussion/discourse. I have a lot to say in response. I’ll start with the actual concept of “Fast Forward 1”. When Joe put up the book selections for February in January (or was it December), I knew nothing of it. But the idea of a sci fi anthology appealed to me. I love short stories, and I’ll admit that I probably haven’t read as many anthologies as I’d like to, so that was where my vote went straight away. Then I saw the cover. And if the concept didn’t get me in, then the artwork certainly did. So thank you for talking about it and for asking John Picacio to make a few comments on it. I’ve had a lot of people (strangers, even) comment on the cover over the past week, and all I can say is the quality of the artwork reflects the quality of the work within. It’s certainly one book I wouldn’t be ashamed to say I could judge by the cover.

    Thank you for getting comments from authors in FF1 as well. I found it complimented your own discourse, as well as the discussions that have been going on here this week.

    You wrote: “I want to showcase the full range and breadth of what science fiction can be, with both a respect for its important history as well as, always, an eye on its future…”

    I think the range and breadth of science fiction is an all important factor in understanding the genre. And I believe it is where a lot of the “stereotypes” or assumptions end up falling short. You can never truly know what will be the real focus in a science fiction story. In general, the elements of science fiction will all be there, but what the focus is, and where the story takes us can vary as much as imagination or opinions can. I believe that is one of the reasons sci fi is so different to other genres – you might know you are reading sci fi, but it could be a binary opposite of the last sci fi story you read (or movie/show you saw).

    The fact that there is a “supergenre” for science fiction, fantasy and (to an extent) horror under the name of “speculative fiction” is a testament to how individual each fiction can be, and how hard it may be to define under one set of conventions. Something like Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, for example, is not technologically informed, not set on another planet and primarily addresses the human condition in a post-nuclear earth. I would call it sci fi, but it’s very different to something like “The Terror Bard”.

    Thanks for the link to Slow Glass Books, I’ve bookmarked it on my browser so if I ever have a hard time finding sci fi in Australia again there’s at least one place to check. The other alternative is, of course, ordering from an international book website, but I don’t trust them and I value books very much (you should have seen the number of emails I sent the poor shop I did buy FF1 from).

    And I will be in touch about the intro, thank you for offering an electronic copy to me, I really appreciate it.

    No doubt I’ll think of something more to write later. Joe, really looking forward to discussing Gaiman’s “Smoke and Mirrors” next week too. And I hope that you had a nice dinner last night.


  29. Sigh, I knew I was going to be too late to get my comments in on time. That’s what happens when you lose access to an internet connection for a week. 🙁

    Hope it’s still okay if I post my thought on FF1, given that we’re still in the discussion week? Also, apologies — I haven’t had a chance to read anyone else’s comments yet.

    I really liked the introduction, and was particularly struck by the John Clute quote: “SF accustoms us to looking; it does not, in the end, tell us what we are going to have to see. SF is the window, not the view.” I’ve spent a long time mulling that over in my mind, trying to figure out what it means to me. If it means that the messages we read into SF stories are dependent on the world in which we are currently living, so SF never really becomes obselete or outdated. Or if it means that SF presents worlds and futures that allow us to better shape the world in which we live by picking and choosing amongst various possible futures (thinking, for example, of the apocalyptic futures presented by Asimov and Shute, and books like Alas, Babylon during the height of the cold war, which may have helped to increase the general awareness of just how bad the fall-out of a nuclear war could be, and possibly served to hasten its end?). I’m still mulling this over in my head.

    Onto the stories: I loved the stories by Elizabeth Bear (‘The Something Dreaming Game’, which is both sweet and creepy as hell — especially with the tie between a game I used to play as a kid with autoerotic asphyxiation. We, uh never quite thought of the fainting game in those terms…), Robert Charles Wilson (‘YFL-500’ is sad and beautiful and, I thought, the perfect opening story for the collection. Muses are often presented as perfect, set high on pedestals, and untouchable. Here, in a way, the art became the muse, and the muse herself was all too human), and Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper (‘The Terror Bard’ — seriously, how can you not like a story where the protagonist plots to crash Mercury into Venus. And this story has a nice poignant touch to it that lifts it above my usual pulp fiction of choice). I also really enjoyed Louise Marley’s story, ‘P Dolce’, which musically melds together past and future. Other stories like ‘Small Offerings’, by Paolo Bacigalupi, left me feeling a bit sick to my stomach and lot more thoughtful. It was certainly a memorable tale.

    Stories which didn’t resonate for me included Justina Robson’s ‘The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not the One’ and John Meaney’s ‘Sideways from Now’, though in both cases, I think the fault lies with me as the reader, rather than with the stories in question. They also highlight the joy of reading a well-rounded short story collection — even if one or two stories don’t appeal, there’s a good chance that something further down the line will catch your fancy.

    (In the interests of full disclosure, many of the comments above are a modified version of the comments I posted to my blog after finishing the book a week or so ago).

  30. Hi Joe, I’ve been meaning to ask you for a long time whether an actor/actress gets the whole script whens she prepares or just the specific scenes in which she/he acts, especially when she isn’t playing a large part. For example in ‘Outcast’ Amanda had only one scene – did she get the whole script or just the small part that involved Sam? Thank you

  31. Joe,

    Will we ever find out anything more about R75, those mental insects from ‘Scourge’, or is it to be assumed that Earth found a way to beat them?


  32. How is Jason’s neck pain? I’ve just had my second Shiatsu treatment for a “trapped nerve” in my neck and I can’t begin to describe how much relief I’ve gotten from it. It works on the principles of pressure points and for whatever reason it WORKS!

  33. Hi again Mr M! and Mr Anders!
    Greetings from Tipperary.

    Just a note to say a big “THANK YOU” to Mr Anders for his insightful details with regard to FF1. I will be purchasing FF2, on the strength of this volume, and looking out for some of the authors listed. Oh, and thanks for answering my question directly re: editing,Mr A., (though you had mentioned it in your blog entry!)I appreciate that.

    Talk soon all,


  34. Lou Anders said:

    “No, no, that’s exactly what I took from it to. I meant post-human in reference to the other entities….”

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. You’ve increased my hope that I’ll acquire a decent understanding of the rest of this complex but clearly worthwhile story.

  35. I love watching stargate/atlantis. Best TV series ever in my book BSG is up there but stargate has more value. I have DvD that has come out, but being in canada I do think its unfair to release it here more then halfway through the season, so I have to watch it on the internet. I know its bad but still unfair, I dont own premium cable services, as not everyone is rich. But Like I said the moment it comes out on dvd I buy it. I love taking a week off of work and watching the entire series from beginning to end. I think it was sad that ark of truth was leaked. But I will be the first in line to buy it. Keep up the amazing work and dont let those bastards at scifi ever cancel the series. If they do, goto internet streaming I bet veoh and places like it would love to pay for a new series.

  36. *blatant advertisment for Chimaeracon…thanks, Joe.*

    If any of the posters are in Central/South Texas, John Picacio will appear at Chimaeracon on Sat. 15 March. (We’re his home-town con!)

    Gilder (Chimaeracon publicist)

    PS–I think I contacted John because of a post here last month? Between college, con, and blogs, the memory is blurry…

  37. Hello Joseph!! Je suis happy!! sayer je suis en vacance!! en plus fait beau et chaud^^!! c’est super!!

    Fast Forward?? je ne connais pas, c’est quoi??
    En tout cas les maquettes sont superbes!

    Comme je m’ennuyais en cour aujourd’hui j’ai décider de méttre en rouge toute les fêtes de mes amis, et la surprise, je trouve la Saint Joseph le 19 Mars!!Je les mit de toutes les couleurs! et oui c’est une date a retenir^^!

    Bon aller gros Kisou, je vous adore! merci, a demain^^!

  38. Thanks Joe & Lou for all the lively discussion and insight – being in a creative field, I think sometimes the “business end” of things (rights, languages, contracts, etc) gets more than crazy and it can be hard for the fans to understand how complex it all is.

    FRIDAY !!!!!!!!! *squeals excitedly* it’s a snow day here too! Yippppeeee.

  39. S’kay, I ordered FF1; my interest is assuredly piqued. But I have to start and finish Thermopylae first. The book mountain behind the Buckys is multiplying exponentially, and there’s no room in the house for new shelves. I have to decide which books will go to the Black Rock Bookmobile. Yes, someone brings a fully stocked and functional bookmobile to Burning Man each year. Nothing like the gift of a book in the middle of a desert.

  40. Um, can we even ask who the brunette with the teeny lilac outfit is? 🙂

    Now to get serious.

    Sorry, I can’t comment on the book cos I can’t afford the damn price.

    Fast Forward 1 is priced at 171.95 South African Rands.

    If you work the price back it works out to $23, which may not be much for a book, but it is a lot of money for us.

    This is one of the reasons why Africans generally have a high illiteracy rate, we just plain cannot afford to read. I’m lucky, I’m white, educated and have a good job, but over 60% (if not more) of our population do not have this luxury at all.

    Sorry to rant.

    You want to help, click this UNICEF link:

  41. I did not read Fast Forward 1, (mainly cuz I’m not big on short stories) but after reading some of the comments and Mr. Anders replies, think I might pick it up. Some of the stories sounded very intruging!!

    I’ve been watching alot of repeat episodes, cuz I’m home on vacation (teacher) and my car died last Friday and is still in the grarage, so I have a few questions:

    Between Siege part3 and Runner, Beckett’s medical shirt changed. He was wearing white before that ep, than dark blue in that ep (I know he went off world) but I don’t think it ever went back to white. Was there a reason for the change??

    Also how do the “really cool” doors to the conference room and “ancient room with the history” in it know when to close??? Sometimes they close once everyone is in the room. Sometimes like in the scene with Everett and John, it seemed like once John touched the ancient device they closed. Also how are these operated? I went to a Trek convention when I was a kid and they told us, how there were people standing behind the doors and pull them apart to open them. (Caused many a mishap) Just a few of the questions I have and can’t wait for tonight’s episode!!

  42. Agreeing with J’s post above. As a Canuck it is infuriating to wait a year and a half past the Americans for the latest SGA (on Sci-Fi versus Space). To add insult to injury, the Ark of Truth is 23.99$CAD versus 16.99$USD on the Amazons (strangely there’s a 19.99$CAD version on amazon.ca that has Spanish subtitles).

    At least the ‘net helps keep the blood pressure down until the next trip to Bellingham/Seattle. 😎

  43. Hello. Congratulations on winning awards and for getting closer to 100 episodes! Do you have any ideas for the 100th episode? How about a parody/satire/homage to the crew’s favorite Japanese Anime? I apologize if it sounds stupid, it’s just my small weird opinion.

    I heard that a new alien race is going to be introduce. Is that ture? Is it going to be another alien race that was mistaken for supernatural beings (Asgard for Norse gods, Goa’uld for Egyptian gods)? It doesn’t have to be gods, it could be . . . fairies. There was a belief that there was intermarriage between people and faires in Scotland (looks innocent).

    I apologize it I said or done anything to offend you in any way, it wasn’t my intension. Thank you for your time and patience. Good luck.

  44. I haven’t been participating in Book of the Month due to the ME/CFS that affects my concentration. I tend to be reading books about people who have pets or easy-reading travel books (Bryson and the like); nothing too tasking in other words (but not romance … ugh!) with the occasional exception such as the Roman detective books by Lindsay Davies or The Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun (the latter being rather, erm, quirky, yes, quirky’s the word!!).

    However, I love that you are running something like this and it’s relly great that authors such as Lou Anders are willing to come and get involved. Hopefully this blog will still be around when I’m feeling better, and able to join in (atm the sci-fi fix comes from SGA fanfic).

    Anyway, I love the multi-faceted nature of your blog even if at the moment the Stargate items are of most interest to me. It’s nice to hear about your life, your food interests, the books you read, the dogs… and your anti-spamming.

    And yes, I’m rambling again, sorry!

    Leesa Perrie

    PS – Just so you know, small package en route to you as of last Friday (from the UK). Um, no, not chocolates, but I think you’ll like the contents…

  45. Hey Joe, I’ve got here a few questions from one of my fellow posters at Gateworld who is having a massive debate in the Science and Technology forum about…well, those things. He was wondering if you can help end the debate by answering:

    1. Why were Earth missiles able to penetrate Replicator shields in “BAMSR”?

    2. Why didn’t the Asurans fire off a salvo of drones like the Orion when the allied fleet attacked them over Asuras?

    3. Can shield strength on ships be judged by the color of the shields, or is that just a coincidence?

    4. When the Tollan claimed they had a device capable of generating “infinite energy,” were they serious? And did they build their stargate on their own (as is implied in “Pretense”) or did the Nox help them?

    Apparently, the debate is getting out of hand…so, you know, you can really help in stopping the madness here, Joe.

  46. Seeing the posts about folks not being able to afford books makes me sad. I have too many. So I’m going to do a catch and release on my books this spring. I hate to give them to thrift shops, so keep an eye on my blog, on and off March through May I’ll post titles and if anyone wants one or two books, I’ll send them along, gratis. Just drop me a note, my contact info should be on my blog. If I get more than one reply, I’ll roll the bones and see whose name crops up.

  47. What was the plan of the Wraith in Midway? I didn’t see any logic in it. Sure, they made it to Earth, but then what? Conquer 6 billion people with a couple of foot-soldiers? Or is it something that has yet to be revealed, like getting information from the SGC computers?

  48. Hi Joe,
    Any idea when SG-1 and Atlantis will be released on Blu Ray? Just picked up my first player and can’t wait to see them in hi def. Also will Ark of Truth and Continuum be available in Blu Ray?

  49. Lou Anders Said:

    Um? That is certainly cryptic! Have I offended thee by any chance? It wasn’t my intention…

    Anyway, Joe, you have to get Cookie Monster out of his cookie jar and help. Elmo‘s gone nuts!

  50. Thanks very much to Lou, and it was so lovely for the cover artist and some of the authors to stop by! That is so cool. Good luck finishing FF2!

    And to Joe, on behalf of Carson fans everywhere, yee-haw on tonight’s episode! We’re counting the minutes now.

  51. Rebecca H Said: Drat, I almost forgot. Mr. Anders, are you wearing Delenn’s bony head-thing in that picture?

    I think (note the think) they are either Lando’s bone head-thingy or another of his people’s.

    Leesa Perrie

  52. Maggiemayday: said
    So I’m going to do a catch and release on my books this spring.

    I always liked the idea of when you’ve finished with a book leaving it on a bus or a train or in a restaurant, with an instruction written inside for the person who finds it that they can read it then do the same ‘Read and Leave’.

    Who knows it may encourage some one to read a book they other wise wouldn’t buy!

    I love your name maggiemayday, did you know in Liverpool ‘Maggie May’ is a song about a prostitute and dates back to the 1800!


  53. On February 21, 2008 at 7:33 pm Carol Said:
    Was just over at Gateworld News looking at preview pics of Last Man. Not to be excessively cruel or anything, but considering Rodney’s current follicular state, is he really going to have more than a minimal horseshoe when he gets all wrinkly and grey?

    My brother has always had a high forehead even from a young age now he’s 40 he gets balding jokes but really it hasn’t changed much.

  54. Firstly, Joe, I want to thank you for these continued BOTM posts. Even when I’m unable to read the book (time or ability to find it, as was the case unfortunately with FF1), I certainly enjoy the discussions. And having Lou guest spot was a wonderful idea and I enjoyed it.

    And to Lou, thank you for taking the time to visit and respond. I really enjoyed your remarks and will certainly go into the stories prepared and excited (which I look forward to reading once I can find the book). Further more, I appreciated that you got commentary from some of the authors and used several great quotes. And the background information about editing and such was fascinating. I’ve never been one to get into compilations and certainly never pay attention to the editing process of my textbooks or Norton anthologies, so it was something new to me. As well as the stories, I look forward to reading your introduction, as from the glimpses you gave us into your ideas of sci fi, along with Joe and other commenter’s comments, I feel it will resonate and even coincide with some of my own views. Thanks especially for answering Emily’s comment about her friend not liking sci fi and the stereotypes of sci fi fans. My own best friend will browse with me for hours in the history and current event sections at Barnes and Noble, but pretends not to know me when I wander to the sci fi/fantasy section (which in truth, merely amuses me). Your comments were very insightful.

    I also loved your comments on “Small Offerings”. I was pleased to see your knowledge on the background of Paolo’s story and some of the current events. It certainly enhances the story for when I am able to read it. It’s a topic I’m highly interested in. One might suspect his story was inspired in some sense by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which in itself reads as science fiction, though all too distressingly true.

    I think I’ll definitely be adding your blog to my ‘to read’ list.

    Finally, I just have to ask, is that Tracy Scoggins featured with Mr. Anders?

    Thanks again to you both!

  55. Hi Joe,

    Normally my brain switches off when Sci Fi books are discussed on your blog, however have I enjoyed reading Lou Anders comments during his visit. I have never been a big reader of Sci Fi – the only one I have read was Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    My brother is a big reader of the genre and I have tried in the past to get into some of the books he reads, however I am normally put off by some of the “weird” names given to the characters (maybe thats just the books he reads!!)

    Can you recommend a book which is a good “beginners” introduction to Sci Fi books?

    p.s. Love to Lulu – she’s so cute!

  56. Please answer this before I have to push someone out an airlock or use Ronon’s coveted weapon on them (which btw I think they should backward engineer and give one to Teal’c but that’s another issue). My understanding was the beauty of Stargate is that all the human people ORIGINATED from Earth (ie Tollan and Jaffa and the multitude of other planets of people who had Earth based cultures). I also thought that Jaffa were ALL genetically altered to NEED a symbiote at puberty. Am I correct?

  57. Just mirroring many other commenter’s in thanking Lou and John and others for sharing their time and thoughts with us. Reading all the exquisite entries was a rare treat indeed.

    I’ve been a scifi aficionado for over 40 yrs and am never happier than when I crack open a new read and fall into the story, disappearing into worlds and concepts so richly drawn and executed. Of course watching SGA is equally thrilling! I’ve had access to books longer than access to TV.

    Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Sturgeon, Knight (the list goes on) are not only scifi icons, they are friends of my lifetime, who from childhood helped shape me as a person and shape my worldview. This view is hopeful and optimistic that the human race shall at some point fully reach out beyond our world and experience other peoples and worlds in space. God’s creation is vast. Experiencing scifi stretches the soul and hepls each of us to imagine the “what ifs”. And it’s fun!
    Good scifi in all of its formats: book, magazine, TV, film will always be a part of my life.

    So, thanks again Lou and Joe for being a part of that universe and for championing the cause of great scifi!

    Shivering in NJ with the snow… waiting for Kindred I and Carson! Woo-hoo!

    Carol Z

  58. Joe, I have to say, as if I wasn’t already excited enough about Continuum, your comment the other day has me ticking off the minutes until July!!! *crosses fingers*. A question: considering how things are now shaping up in Atlantis in S5, has that had any impact on the final edit of Continuum?


  59. Pauline, yes, I know the song. Oh Dirty Maggie May, They have Taken Her Away … but the name is Maggie Mayday! Mayday! We’re going down in flames, mayday! Alternatively, Maggie Mayhem or Bad Maggie. Otherwise I’m Anti M (Auntie Em). It’s a burner thing.

    Official catch and release booksite:


  60. On February 22, 2008 at 8:57 am deeinsouthafrica Said:
    Um, can we even ask who the brunette with the teeny lilac outfit is?

    That would be Tracey Scroggins who played Captain Elizabeth Lochley during the fifth season of Babylon 5. I’m pretty sure it is an on-set picture during the filming of the B5 movie “The River of Souls.” In it, the owner of a holo-brothel on the station used a hologram of Capt. Lochley without her permission or knowledge. In the end, Lochley blows up the holo-brothel area when defending the station. A little bit of moral retribution in my opinion.

  61. pg15 said: Um? That is certainly cryptic! Have I offended thee by any chance? It wasn’t my intention…

    No, not at all. I would say that hard SF very much has to concern itself with “borders and rules” because it’s concerned with actual science, the known laws of the universe as they are understood at the time, etc…, which is why I think hard SF is the hardest kind to write, but, of course, that’s not the only flavor, and I am also reminded of Murray Leinster, who apparently said that when every he came up with an idea for an invention, if he could find a way to build it he’d patent it, and if not, he’s write an SF story about it!

    fsmn36 asks: Finally, I just have to ask, is that Tracy Scoggins featured with Mr. Anders?

    Yes, and as pointed out, it is the holo-brothel scene from THE RIVER OF SOULS. I showed up for the shoot the day of the holo-brothel, but it was a closed set and a girl in the front office turned me away. Traci was so pissed they didn’t let me on that she called me up when they were doing reshoots and told me to come over. Then, as a joke, when I walked onto the set, she hollered out “Who let Lou in here?”

    SciFiShy asks Joe: Can you recommend a book which is a good “beginners” introduction to Sci Fi books?

    This one wasn’t addressed to me, but if I can throw my two cents in, John Scalzi writes about as good “entry level” SF as you can get and I highly recommend his Old Man’s War trilogy of Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony. Some of my favorite stuff of recent years (beyond my own line, of course). Mike Resnick is also good, either his aforementioned short story collection New Dreams for Old or his book Kirinyaga, and, of course, short story anthologies are a good way to ramp up quickly. The work of Robert J Sawyer is also quite accessible (deliberately so) and quite good.

  62. Ok, Joe, this is TOTALLY random, I know, but the reason I’m posting on such an old post of yours is because I saw something online that said “if you type in ‘DSC00001.jpg’ into Google image search, you’ll see the first picture people ever took with their new cameras”.

    I saw this picture come up and I recognized the lady in it as Tracy Scoggins and I looked in the page description to the right to see that the guy was Lou Anders. I thought…..why does Lou Anders sound SO familiar to me? Then I finally noticed the website the picture came from and it’s your blog!

    Crazy, completely random weirdness!

    That’s all.

    -Mike A.

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