I was introduced to the works of Dan Simmons by an employee at my local bookstore. He noticed I was perusing the horror section, walked over, and recommended what was, in his opinion, the most deeply unsettling book he’d ever read: Song of Kali. Intrigued, I followed his suggestion, purchased the book and, yes, as advertised, was left deeply unsettled by the book. I followed Song of Kali with The Terror, a thoroughly engrossing read (up until it’s final chapter), Hyperion and its sequel Fall of Hyperion, and the creepy as hell Summer of Night that ranks as one of my top 10 favorite horror novels of all time. So I was greatly looking forward to Children of Night which won the Locus Award in 1993 – despite the fact that the summary on the back cover didn’t do much for me. Dracula? For real?

I’m afraid so. The novel starts off promisingly enough, its stranger in a strange and sinister land motif reminiscent of Song of Kali’s parallel sense of isolation and mounting terror by one cut off from their cultural lifeline. Simmons sets the tone early, an undercurrent of dread bubbling just below the narrative surface as the deliberately paced developments build to a blood climax early on. Our protagonist tries to make sense of what has happened to her, then embarks on a quest to save her son. Unfortunately for me, it is the basic premise of the plotting Dracula and his long-fingered Nosferatu minions that undermines here for, as well written as this book is, it struggles to overcome the cheese factor inherent in its antagonists. This isn’t helped by the fact that the vampires, as fearsome as they are, come across as Bela Lugosi clones. Actually, I was reminded of Willem Dafoe’s hilariously brilliant turn as the awkward, long-fingered Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire.

I’ve always felt that, in horror, the unseen and unknown are far scarier than the ultimately disappointing reveal. In Song of Kali and Children of the Night, Simmons does a masterful job of ratcheting up the tension through mere suggestion. The Terror offers up a truly horrifying atmosphere in which the crew of the ship are picked off in the blinding snow and darkness by an occasionally glimpsed supernatural stalker – up until the end when we‘re allowed a peek behind the curtain. I remember watching Stephen King’s It as a kid and being thoroughly unnerved by the first part with its sewer-dwelling clown and elements unknown – then being hugely disappointed by the second part in which the antagonist is finally revealed as…a giant spider?! So it is with Children of the Night except that, rather than build the suspense of the unknown, Simmons haunts us with these gangly Borat-esque nightwalkers led by, and I hate to say it, the biggest horror cliché of them all. I’m sure there was a time when Dracula may have been frightening, but today he’s more kitschy than scary, possessed of all the menace and shock value of fellow cultural icon the Pillsburry dough boy. As great a writer as Simmons is (and I do think he is great), he’s swimming hopelessly upstream on this one.

To his credit, Simmons attempts to ground the vampire myth in modern science and establish the historical figure of Vlad the Impaler through the use of flashbacks, but neither really works all that well. The science, while occasionally interesting, more often overwhelms. And the flashbacks to Vlad’s atrocities, while perhaps historically accurate, are so over-the-top in their sadistic execution that they come across as more cartoonish than horrific.

All in all, incredibly well-researched and fascinating for its depiction of a bleak, Post-Ceausescu Romania, Children of the Night is ultimately undone by its unintentionally comical villains and a fairly predictable ending.

Your thoughts?

Today’s pics: Some long overdue snaps of the dogs.

63 thoughts on “March 3, 2008: Hounds and Horror

  1. Is Lulu making a face at you in the first picture? The hell hounds are looking good – cute cuddly toy!

    Is mummy coming home soon? They must be missing her – or have they been talking to her on the ‘phone?


  2. Your thoughts?
    1) I should buy Song of Kali
    2) Those pictures are OMG TOO CUTE – especially the fawn pug with the…stuffed chicken?
    3) I’m pretty sure “Marh” is missing a c in the title. 😉

  3. When I read “It” in high school, it scared me to death and I couldn’t read it at night. To me, it didn’t translate well to the small screen. When I first read “Children of the Night” I thought you meant “Children in the Night” by Harold Myra. Also scifi, but a young adult book. I haven’t read it yet, but it is sitting on my book shelf like so many others waiting to be read.

  4. The hounds truly look like they could terrify Cerberus himself. Terrify with cuteness that is. I agree with your comment about Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of the Max Schreck character. And don’t get me started on Stephen King’s IT. Tim Currey was great as the clown. The spider was just plain awful in all kinds of ways.

    Have you read the horror graphic novel 30 Days of Night? Do you have any other graphic novels that you think really stand out in the horror genre?

  5. “Children of the Night” –
    To be honest, the first 30 pages or so were so appallingly depressing and dreary (I would say ‘bleak’, but Joe already used that one) that I almost stopped reading. But, perserverance pays off, and I finished the whole thing. For me, this book was not just a horror story, as it had elements of a medical thriller and murder mystery thrown in (I was waiting for the kitchen sink to show up …). One thing I did like was that the author kept you guessing as to who was friend and who was foe.
    (that’s one of the things that keeps Todd the wraith so interesting for me, Joe)

    My opinion? As a vampire genre story: not too bad. I have read worse (and better …)

    And thanks for the pug-shots!!!

  6. Not to intrude on the literary stuff (I’m afraid that, well, I’m afraid of horror books- or movies, in fact- I remain as scared as I was when I was six of Ernest Scared Stupid, which is just sad, I know), but I was just wondering how you felt about the Genies this evening.

    I was over the moon at the beating Bill C-10 got from Sarah Polley and Sandra Oh (or whoever was writing for her, I should say) and various other people, and I was literally jumping up and down when Gordon Pinsent got Best Lead Actor… but my Canadian cinema fangirlisms aside, I was wondering how you felt about who won and who was nominated and so on.



    PS- Super nifty dogs!

  7. Hey Joe!

    Thanks for the Pug shots, been missing them! 🙂

    How many times is Dracula or a Dracula-like character used in stories…

    …oh….right… 😀 Ha, I kid, I love the Wraith!

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  8. That first picture is so cute!

    I’ve been meaning to pick up a horror book, so now I’ve got some titles from which to choose. Thanks!

  9. Thank you for the long overdue pictures of the “kids”. The “awww how cute” factor is an instant mood lifter, the moreso since I dont have to deal with any issues like ‘cleanups’.
    Onto the Children of the Night. I’ve not read any Simmons before, so I had no expectations. As the first few chapters unfolded, I was pleased at the writing style of the author, the story moving steadily along, with the mood dark, and the mystery of Verner Deacon Trent and the orphanages piquing my interest. Then….Dracula? I’m reading a Dracula novel? Well, ok. While my interest level dropped to near zero, I decided to keep slogging through. Maybe the author could re-capture the tension of the early chapters.
    But suddenly I’m wondering if I’m reading a Michael Chrichton novel. The author has shifted from what I consider horror to borderline sci fi, with an attempt to explain the vampiric bloodlust in scientific terms. Ok. I like sci-fi. I’ll keep at it…
    Alas, for me it went downhill from there. The unlocking of Joshua’s medical history, the too-thorough elimination of all the research done on him…and on top of it the protagonist was starting to get on my nerves. A mother’s instincts are one thing, but honestly, WHY did she develop such a strong attachment so quickly to this child? And why was she heading off by herself to save the day? Surely the federal government would not sit quietly back on what amounted to a terrorist attack on some fairly important institutiions involving national security…
    At this point I was finding the interludes of Dracula recalling his past to be the only saving grace of the book, however sadistic they were. As the convienant coincidences piled up ( Lucian’s history, O’Rourke’s convienant piloting skills along with the handily placed craft..) I found my willingness to suspend belief oozing away faster than a baptist at an atheist convention. Or is that an atheist at a baptist convention? Whichever. While I found the idea that the main villian was also the designer of the plan to rid the world of most of the vampiric clan, I really didn’t care any more if the heroes and/or villians died. The moreso since the author could not resist throwing in the obligatory sexual liasons between the heroine and the priest. Hinting at the tension would have been more intriguing than reading them act it out. The moreso since the relevent paragraphs were almost straight out of a g version of a romanance novel, a genre I loathe.
    This was the only disappointment of the three selections of the month. I have to be fair though, in that its a genre that doesnt normally catch my interest anyways. But it failed to deliver a sufficient ‘creepiness” factor to have made it worth the time invested. I may read some Simmons in the future, but I can’t say that i’ll give it a high priority. Here’s hoping the Keep will prove a better representative of the genre.

  10. Yay, doggies! 😀 That second-to-last-shot (Max?) — that’s the epitome of puppy-dog eyes!!

    Oooh, I loved Shadow of the Vampire! Defoe does creepy so brilliantly! (Actually, so does Malkovitch …)

    Speaking of Legosi, I love Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, too …

    As for it — yeah, that was a letdown. Funny thing is, giant spiders are my worst nightmare — the villians in my first novel are giant spiders, even — yet in IT, the spider wasn’t scary at all. I blame the guy from the Waltons. Actualy, the whole second half of that miniseries didn’t really do much for me in the scare department — it was the first half that had practically my entire school, myself included, afraid to go into the bathroom for a week … (I was afraid of clowns before IT, thanks to Poltergeist and my cousin’s talking Ronald McDonald doll, but that miniseries made my fear of them soooo much worse ….)

  11. Hi Joe!

    Agreed about S. King’s IT. Didn’t read the book, but saw the TV movie both times it aired. Thought it was good until the end. Space spider?! I went through all of that scariness for a stupid space spider?!

    Kinda sad the legendary Dracula character has become so campy. Dafoe as Schreck was interesting, and the Salem’s Lot Nosferatu conjured up many a nightmare for me as a kid, but “scary” vampires fall under the not-as-scary-as-they-were-in-the-1800’s category. Guess I’ve watched too much Buffy and Angel.

    Absolutely adorable pics of the pups…and various SGA front/back people. Thanks!! 🙂

    Loved Kindred II and all of the coolness therewithin!! The Highlander comment (from K I?) and the A Dog’s Breakfast comment produced gales of laughter (really!) from my hub & me. Shed tears at the appropriate times and sighed at the neat moments throughout. Wild to see Carson shooting so non-Carson-like! Guess that’s what happens when one is a prisoner for so long!

    Just reading your blog from yesterday gave me indigestion. The food pics were wonderful! 🙂 *burp*

    As much as horror settles as well as coffee and pickles, I might read The Keep as my BotM club selection, though Timescape sounds neat. I’ll just have to snuggle extra-close to my sweetie at night to keep me safe. 😉

    RUSH on and take off, eh?


    P.S. When exactly does Marty G’s movie get released in Canada and the US? (shameless pug, er plug!)

  12. My mom’s been looking forward to new pictures of the dogs, so on her behalf, thanks for posting these.

  13. If you were on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”, which dish would you cook that would give him a run for his money?

  14. Sorry I can’t bring my thoughts on “Children of Night” to the discussion – nowhere has had it in stock the past month and a half.

    I have been meaning to read some Dan Simmons though. What would you recommend approaching first Joe?

    The dog pictures are really cute too. My first reaction was “awww”. I hope they aren’t still disturbing you lots at night though.

  15. I hope you do know that your finished copy of “ark of truth” has been leaked online…i was reading an article about it.

    granted i am waiting to buy the movie like a good citizen of the United States would…

    I really want to know who the person was who leaked it and put on trial for treason against the stargate franchise!!!

  16. Ok here’s my two cents worth. I tried reading Children of the Night three years ago and was so bored with it I put it down and haven’t bothered with it since and no BOTM selection was going to persuade me otherwise. Like you I found the entire construct cliched beyond words and to make it worse it put me off even considering Simmons a viable read at all, still since you recommend his other books I will make more of an effort next time I’m at the library.
    Also like you I find Stephen King a better read than a watch(?) I think the only tale of his that has translated adequately to screen was The Green Mile which was a brilliant read and excellent on screen. I now avoid Kings screen adaptations like the plague. I found “It” excellent on paper until towards the end when Pennywise turned out to be an alien mom at which point I felt cheated, similarly Dreamcatcher WTF? Shitweasels??! I think though that my all time favourite King book has to be The Stand which again was total shite when they tried to make it watchable. King plays to the imagination which is something TV and movies just can’t compete with.
    On next months BOTM choice I read The Keep many years ago andam just about to re-read it specially!

    BTW How old are you? you say “I remember watching Stephen King’s It as a kid ” it was made in 1990 dude! or do you count pre marriage as still being a kid? lol

  17. oh yeah thank you for the fur-kids update and pictures, I could just snuggle that Lulu and her ears she is just too sweet for words.

  18. Its me again, just wanted to ask if you happened to have read any of Piers Antony’s Xanth books? or his Incarnations of Immortality? I quite enjoyed the Xanth series, somewhat quirky and entertaining and “Bearing an Hourglass” totally rewired my thought capacitors but then I started reading his epilogues and quite frankly the guy has one HELL of an ego so I quit reading him, not that he noticed LOL.
    Have I asked you what you think of Dean Koontz? “From the Corner of his Eye” is a chunky read and one I intend to re-read this summer.

  19. I saw The Ark of Truth the other day and it was beautiful. Perfect ending for the Ori story. I noticed that, at the end credits Rob Cooper thanked all of you, the writers and producers involved in the production of the stargate universe. That was really, really nice.

  20. Hey joe!! i can’t wait to own Stargate:The ark of Truth on DVD… even if i saw it already!!! It was a great movie!! Now I can’t wait for Stargate Continuum!!

    I can’t wait to discuss it more with you and the others after march 11!

  21. Let me just start of by saying;

    There is a very good reason I don’t read horror stories and try to refrain from watching horror films.

    With THAT said, I do appreciate a good fright at times.

    Weird, no?


  22. The unseen and unknown are my favorite elements in horror too. I love it when the only indication of their presence is by visual imagery, and by visual wrongness or unsettling juxtaposition of anything.

    Do you play video games, Joe? I highly recommend Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2. As horror video games go, these two really emphasize the horror elements. These are not of the jump ‘n scare, action horror type of game. I most especially would recommend Silent Hill 2 as the horror story is fabulous. The story, music, and visuals are knitted together extremely well.

    There’s also the movie adaptation of Silent Hill. It made a pretty good transition, though the ending stuttered out. But as far as video game to movie, this one is the best. The visuals are great.

    Regarding SK’s IT. Loved the book, up until the orgy. In which I went, bwuh? That threw me out a bit. I prefer the movie, even though I thought the showdown was lame.

    And spider? It was a spider?! I thought it was a crab!

  23. Stuffed full of vampires and blood, defrocked priests and suitably heroic lady doctors, and loads of bullets and bombs, one can hardly call Children of the Night a boring read. But despite the blockbuster levels of violence and hunt-and-chases, and the inherent spookiness of evil villains with the power to rise from the dead, the most horrifying thing about this story for me was not the vampires. I mean, let’s face it, vampires are fictional constructs whereas the horrifying descriptions of living conditions in Romanian orphanages in the late eighties sound all too real.

    I vaguely recall watching TV shockumentaries about the appalling conditions in which Romanian orphans often found themselves living, locked in cribs and cots by the hundreds, or sitting in groups of ten or twenty in rooms packed only with dirty mattresses. It seemed almost unimaginable to me that kids could be living in such conditions, unnoticed and unreported for years before the story finally broke. In a lot of ways, the suffering of those kids at the hands of ordinary human beings makes the vampires in this story seem almost insignificant. Why add scary monsters when the people charged with the care of those children, from the wardens and nurses to the government officials in charge of them, seem like monsters in their own right? And what makes it more horrifying is that these people are real.

    One thing I will say for this novel: it definitely made me want to learn more about life in Romania in the late eighties, shortly after Ceaucescu’s abrupt (and all-too-well-deserved, from the sounds of it) removal from office, if only to be able to sort fantasy from fact. Some story elements presented sound both heartless and all too pragmatic — like the refusal of entry to the United States for any adopted orphan/child infected with HIV. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, it sounds sensible: sick children require health care, which costs money. These kids were not born in the U.S. and therefore their health care costs should not the responsibility of the U.S. government. (And I’m using U.S. here because that’s the particular country with which Simmons’ heroine takes issue, not because I think any other relatively rich Western country would necessarily have behaved any better when it comes to the care of these orphans/children). The emotional argument, the fact that these kids are in desperate need of help, is completely overshadowed by the financial costs involved. This is horrifying in its own right, given that conventional wisdom has us mouthing off about how people cannot be valued in monetary terms. Apparently, this only holds true if you’re the right kind of people.

    In terms of the story, well, it had vampires and ex-priests and lady doctors with more guts than good sense. I did not like the final twist in the tale, which I thought seriously weakened what had gone before. The novel spent 300 pages setting up Dracula’s death, only to have him live after all, and, more, be the mysterious benefactor of the good guys. It just didn’t ring true. To me, it felt like Simmons had run out of steam when it came to the final act, and realized he still hadn’t dealt with this mysterious good guy in the shadows…so he opted for the simplest twist that might allow him to wrap things up more quickly.

    (Also, for the record, I’m cheating: a version of this write-up appeared on my blog last week. *grin*)

  24. I read “Children of the Night’ up until Vlad’s reveal and stopped reading after that.

    Sorry, just can’t hack Dracula stories (unless they’re comical).

    I once watched a doco on Vlad on the History channel and that was disturbing enough. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    I’ll attempt to read it properly one day but that “Song of Kali” sounds awesome. That’s not about vampires or Dracula/Vlad is it??

    Awww @ your pugkids/bulldogkid. I just want to cuddle them all.

    Oh a friend of mine and I were discussing Atlantis and Perth tv here are only up to Season 3 ‘Michael”.. I was giving him hints at season 4 and then he asked me to ask you..”Who designed the city of Atlantis (in real life, not the Ancients lol).. he thinks the design of the city is awesome”.

  25. So what’s the first thing that enters your head when your bed moves mysteriously at 1am in the morning?

    My first thought was that there was a clown under my bed thanks to Stephen Kings ‘IT’, what it turned out to be was an earthquake thank god!

    I still had to check under the bed several times before I could sleep though.

    One of my worst childhood boogieman are still the Daleks from Dr Who until my dad pointed out you only have to run upstairs and they can’t follow you (People who live in bungalows be warned).


  26. I don’t do horror, but I am thoroughly enjoying being overwhelmed by the cuteness that are your dogs.

  27. Joe,

    I’ve been lurking on your blog’s RSS feed for a while now, and never felt like I had anything significant to say above the usual “I’m a big fan” variations, but now, as a living, flesh-and-blood manifestation of the “bleak, post-Ceausescu” era, I kinda feel compelled to say something.

    Yes, I am Romanian, and I’ve lived here in the time and after the time of the Communist regime. In fact, I’ve never lived elsewhere.

    As you can imagine, we Romanians are pretty sick and tired of having our national heroes depicted as two-legged fanged leeches, and our country as the generic Hollywoodian place where anything can happen (and always does).

    I personally feel that any reader with a moderate amount of intelligence should be offended by the fact that an author assumes that the reader surely knows nothing about Romania (as indeed, it turns out, is the case with the vast majority of the Americans, for example) and will therefore take for granted any crazed idea that he, the author, would like to sell. Of course, said sale taking place in Mr. Stoker’s backyard.

    Using Romania as a greenscreen for anything that a story requires to be bleak, dark and generally avoidable is what made me turn away for Damian Kindler’s “Sanctuary”, although I have the greatest respect for all members of their team.

    Speaking of which, I’ve just seen “Kindred 2” (yes, the vampire living in the tree next to mine was kind enough to share with us the story as taken from the brain of a passing Western civilized person whom he had just consumed last Saturday) and I also found it to be, well, just a bit anticlimactic. I think Carl’s “Midway” was way better.

    Looking forward to see you and Paul’s next Friday’s inventions in “The Last Man”!

    Sorry for the long post!

  28. My thoughts – will the mailbag be returning tomorrow and how much Lorne will we be treated to in season 5? 😉

  29. hey joe,
    twin and mines birthday today.
    i hope you have a great one and im making choc. mexican coffee cake with choc. ganash (sp)

    ill eat a slice for you


  30. Yeah!! You posted pictures of your dogs. I’ve missed seeing them. Super, super cute!!

    Thanks for taking the time to do that for us, Joe.


  31. Hi Joe, a while ago (December 22nd) you said
    “Farscapefan writes: “Is there a ray of hope for Cam/Sam shippers?”

    Answer: Cam and Sam? That would be like siblings dating! Who’d want to see that?

    So I took your word for it, only to find out today a rather disturbing scene in ‘Ark of Truth’ with Sam cooking maccaroons for Cam and kissing him right in the middle of the infirmary!
    So I know Robert Cooper is your friend and colleague and he probably confessed this to you in the utmost secrecy, but please answer me this : Is he a pervert or just into incest?
    I doubt you’ll allow this post or dignify it with an answer, but I just had to rant considering that stupid as I am I pre-ordered this movie before watching it thru torrents.
    It’s just one thing that bugs me – if Sam and Cam are so close (closer than Sam and Daniel, Sam and Teal’c or even Sam and Jack ever were) how come there’s not picture of Cam on Sam’s desk? Oh just thought about this – I know now why the Trio scene got cut – admit it that it was actually RCC who nixed it! What
    I simply don’t get is why RCC is so against Sam and Jack or even Jack for that matter, after all it’s because of these 2 characters and their relationship that SG-1 got to where it is today at least in part
    /end rant
    Thanks for reading (if not posting) if you did…

  32. Okay – just read up on two weeks worth of blogs.
    Thank you for the word somniferous which I have never heard of and will look up later – always like to learn a new word.

    Found the wraith with the lisp absoloutley hysterical! Would so love to see that – Can just imagine the lines that would be fed to McKay and the looks between Shep and McKay would be priceless.

    Please, Please, Please do a special feature on DVD release – Go on, it would be fantastic. Okay, so I know you can’t but I was always taught you don’t know unless you ask…Pretty Please

    I will be sure and appreciate Whispers when I get to see it and will pay close attention to every milisecond of the end in recognition of your hard work.

    If a full episode is 55+ pages – How long is a tag? Taking Kindred Part 2 for instance. Would the tag be from Sheppard and Sam leading into the infirmary upto the final scene or longer?

    Loved Tyre’s sword – Who is Tyre?? Like the nick name Evil Kenny. May try to get myself renamed…If people knew what went on in my mind they would see how fitting it was.

    Picture of Paul McGillion standing in the restaurant – What did you do to this?? Looks like hall of mirrors effect! Either that or he should never wear that coat again!

    Love the fact you consider all plates communial. If I’m ever in Vancouver and someone starts nicking my food I’ll be sure and say hi to you.

    Would love to join BOTM club but I have no money and already have a list of my own that I want to buy but maybe later in the year I will join in.

    I really, really want to read ‘The Scribe’ but it’s not out in the UK yet. If you have read it make a brief note on if it’s any good or not. Many thanks.

    Again, Lisped Wraith – Classic!

    M xx

  33. Now you need to read Dan Simmons’ “Ilium” and its follow-up, “Olympos”. He combines hard scifi with mythology. It sounds strange, but it works. Give it a whirl.

  34. I though you might want to know that they are making an Arrested Development movie!

  35. Dan Simmons long ago gathered me in as a fan when I read the two Hyperion books. Those were complex and engrossing and Simmons’ skill with language was on display in both. My expectations were set high for future work by Simmons.

    In “Children of the Night,” I admire Simmons’ reach. He attempts a couple of things: to use the Dracula legend to demonstrate how history can be reshaped and twisted by the tellers and to reveal how human atrocities, evil if you will, horrific enough on its own, can be and has been reshaped into legend and stories of supernatural evil. Simmons’ intent seems to be to untwine and demystify what had become mythic. He’s also trying to show that no supernatural element is needed to make horror–humans do quite well enough on their own to inflict horror.

    “Children of the Night” falls short of the mark. I think you have it right, that despite Simmons’s talents, he cannot escape the cheese factor of the Dracula legends. He is also hampered by the fact that his reshaping of the legend through a medical explanation of the vampire condition is not new. I could ignore that, but the medical details choke the story at different points. Finally, interestingly, the “demythifying” of the Dracula legend undermines the horror aspects of the tale and ultimately sabotages the whole book.

    With regard to the “demythifying,” what’s scary about something you just spent hundreds of pages trying to make un-scary (and worse, even tried to make sympathetic, because Simmons does try to make Vlad the Impaler a ‘human’ character with which you can sympathize on some level). Given the grim nature of modern Romania and the atrocities of the past, Simmons offers a different horror. We see an evil that requires no supernatural element. We see an evil that is mundane in its form. Inhumanity is chilling. It is not, however, good horror, at least not as it is incorporated here.

    There are other problems. Vlad’s tales of his history do not comfortably fit into the larger modern tale. The female protagonist is nice to see in her independence and strength, but she doesn’t have much range and there’s always a part of me that wants to see female characters who are motivated by more than their motherly instincts. The developing relationship with the priest is a bit awkward. What worked least for me, though, was the ending. Somehow we ended up in a scene from “Indiana Jones” or James Bond with the scaling of walls and the helicopter rescue (made possible because the priest happened to have piloting skills for the very helicopter in use by the bad guys).

    So, this is my long-winded way to say that, no, I didn’t like “Children of the Night.” I am glad that I had a chance to read it and I will continue on with Simmons. He takes chances with his stories and I’ll always be drawn to that, especially since he usually succeeds.

  36. Agreed about It. The spider was lame. Also, that part near the end when the kids…. what were they, 11? 8? What brought that on?

  37. Ahhhh, the return of Miss LuLu!!!!
    I have missed her.

    So anything new on guest stars????
    Will RDA be making a surprise appearance?


  38. Bonjour Joseph,

    What I really like its reading horror book. I like to be afraid, I like when I read a book and I cant stop because its too good, I like when Im surprise or when the author bring me in the way I really not anticipate. That’s was not I had with this book. Ok, at firts, I was completely charming by the story. The caracthers(the priest, the medecine student, all the poors childrens…) the atmosphere, the ways the author describing the city…But, when the dracula arrive : it was a bad shock ! Qu’est-ce que c’est ça ????? Ok, dont panic girl, I thought, maybe its gonna be better after all. No, its was not better …. All the part with the annoying medecine terms, the ridicule observation: «Ho no, my baby need blood to live !!!» Yark !!!! And the principal character was so boring: she smart, she beautiful, she healty and she a medecine woman ! She gonna save the world ! » Yark ! Im a smart girl, and I want to read smart book ! I really enjoy the Bram Stoker Dracula, but the Dan Simmons poor dracula story no. That my opinion.
    Bonne journée à toi !

  39. Cute doggie pics! Yay!! Thanks.

    Hmm, have you seen what David H is planning? Check out his recent blog entry:


    and scroll down to the penultimum paragraph

    …and then make sure to run whenever he turns up with Baz in tow…!!!

    I’m sure he’s kidding…right?! *grin*

    Leesa Perrie (why do I feel like I’m tattling on the Squirrel King?!)

  40. I am turned off almost instantly by vampire stories.. I find them so easily overdone and overused.

  41. Oh my God! They are so cute! I wish I had a pug…I’ll just have to make do with my fab boxer! 😀

    Love your blog, by the way!

  42. Great pics of the pooches. Which of the pugs is the Goa’uld?

    Ark of Truth has been #1 or #2 on US Amazon’s DVD best sellers list (all DVDs, not just SciFi, beating Oscar winners, Disney movies and a certain critical darling SciFi series) for the last week. That’s got to mean big sales and more movies to come, right? Right!? Enquiring minds want news.

  43. Ah, what cute furkids! I have two dachshunds, they take up the bed, too.

    So, what are the chances of getting a Navy Chief on the show? LOL

  44. Stephen King books are always superior to King films in each and every instance. I adore Tim Curry in anything, and Nicholson’s ad lib is a cultural icon, but King’s books are creepy as hell. Although Misery was a well done flick, Kathy Bates rocks.

    Aw, puppers! Cute, cute, cute, I’m overdosing on the tidal wave of cute.

    Yet Another Reason I shouldn’t be allowed near the spice rack some days: I’ve been out of tumeric for a while now, and I found my stash of little plastic baggies from the Good Earth store in my littlest ceramic house canister. Tumeric! A sniff confirms it, cool, fill up the tumeric jar! And ground cardamon, yay, sweet rolls for sure. And a mystery bag of yellowish reddish brownish powder whose tag has vanished. Hmmm. Smells like curry powder but sharp, kinda like chili powder but not so smoky. So I put a tiny bit on my tongue. Holy Space Cows! I think it is dried habanero. Yikes! My nose and tongue and eyes are still complaining. Shoot me, shoot me now. Or feed me to the space cows for dessert.

  45. 1)Will the collaboration of research done by Michael and Beckett be detailed thoroughly in season five?

    2)Will romantic feelings or animosity between team members cause problems next season?

  46. What happened to the expedition being international? Every new character seems to be American 🙁

  47. YAY for doggy pictures!!!
    Your dogs are ADORABLE 🙂
    I puppysit, if you ever want a break!!!
    I’m getting excited for Ark of Truth!!! Only a week left!!!

  48. Just wondering if, as a foodie, you have seen or considered watching No Reservations, where food and cooking play a large role in the plot.

  49. If you want some really good, Hitchockian horror books try readin Caitlin R. Kiernan. Her books have a great buildup and then *wham* she hits you with a semi-truck (so to speak) and you cannot sleep that night because of it.

  50. Awww, They are so cute. Love puppies. 🙂

    How long does it take to make( or film) one episode of SGA after it is written?

    When filming, do the writers, producers ect have to be there to watch it?

    Ad libbing, does that often happen (like if someone forgets a line), and do you keep it in there instead of changing it?

    Sorry for all the questions. 🙂 Just a curious person.


  51. just finished watching kindred (well it aired over 2hrs ago but martial arts training came first)…
    i loved it..i really really did.. excellent. paul was fantastic..as were all the cast..i think that this episode showed each of the qualities that endeared us all to the ‘scot doc’ or some that just now tugged at our heart strings and made us awww (carsons resolve to fight michaels mind control really epitomises well carson i think…even with this connection with michael he still fought)brilliant.

    hello dogs long time no see!!!!!hows the weather???

  52. I have to say while it wasn’t the most exciting, it was definately the most powerfully emotive episode of the season and I’m really pleased with the way ‘Kindred Part 2’ handled Carson’s return. You could have done it a hundred different ways, and granted ‘cloning’ isn’t the most original but I think it worked really well to give us ‘our’ Carson back while leaving lots of potential for an interesting arc & new direction for the character. I have no issue with him being a clone, a clone is an EXACT copy after all, and we saw that he was still all that made him *our beloved* Carson (like worrying about his mum…perfect). It was so good to reaffirm why I adore the character so much, not just because of Carson himself but what he brought out in the others. It was refreshing to see Rodney acting with his heart before his head for a change, especially when defending his friend. And the different reactions from everyone, especially when saying ‘goodbye’ again. Ronon’s wee hug, subtle but spot on. The only part I found out of place was his overly long goodbye moment with Carter (whom he didn’t know and hadn’t spent any time with during the episode to give any weight to it), though what he said totallllyyyyy choked me up.

    I really hope now we have Carson back in a sense, the team doesn’t conveniently find some magic potion to press the reset button and act like he was never blown up or he sudden knows everything that went on over the past 2 years as if he were there.

    He is still *our* Carson, putting other people’s wellbeing before his own, not to mention treating first and asking questions later (unlike Keller). But I have to say I was utterly shocked, and then pleasently excited by his actions when he tried to rescue Teyla. The Carson we lost couldn’t even shoot an injured Wraith, nevermind coldly gun down two men by shooting them in the back! It showed his experiences have changed him, hardened him and I really hope we will see more of this and the resulting issues. I’m not expecting him to be RamboCarson but 2 years of imprisonment would change anyone and I really liked the way this was very subtly portrayed (as if to hint of more to come…I hope anyway).

    Will we find out more about what happened in those 2 years, how Michael created the clone? How Carson’s has changed as a result of his imprisonment. Kindred only had a short span of time with which to work, but the cold blooded shooting hinted at a darker side to this Beckett which seems VERY interesting, will we see more of that and will there be any ‘fall out’ from the realisation that he’s not only a clone, but his ‘original’ self is dead and his friends weren’t looking for him as a result?

    The issues Kindred kicked up have wonderful protential and I can’t wait to see more of Carson (of course) and what you guys come up with!!!!

  53. can i get a blog shout out. i’ve got a midterm in my class tomorrow. wish me luck!

    love the pictures of your pugs. they are so cute.

  54. Hey Mandysg1 !!!

    I’m 100% with you on the comments your posted!!It’s like if TPTB are scared to see Sam and Jack ending up together!!!

  55. I’d have to agree with the Whole Stephen King scenario the clown was very scary but the giant spider?!? Ugh! My imaginitive mind could handle something much more creepier then a Collosal spider!! But as with most Stephen King movies.. the build up to the end is more suspenseful then the ending itself. His books are awesome don’t get me wrong. Just thank god for all the disappointing Stephen King movies they didn’t make one of the Tailiman, now that would be a crime. The book is just phenominal!

    Love the piccies!! The boys and girls are just too cute!! I miss my Pug Buggers now! :-(.

    I wanted to read Children of the night but after that review i’m not so sure I want to now if it’s running along the lines of disappointing endings!! Nothing worse then really getting into a storylne with a less then euphoric ending.

    I forgot which episode it was but was I wrong when Carter and John were on the balcony and Sam was agonizing over a decision and she said to John” I’m starting to see why you didn’t want the job!” That means John was offered but he turned it down right? I needed confirmation. Theres somewhat of an argument going on here and I need closure. There giving me a headache of epic proportions.

    Beware of the Baz loaded weapons of imminate destructions!! They’re lurking 😉

  56. So how come when some of the Atlantis team have gone to Earth on a couple of occasions in Season 4, Landry is nowhere to be seen?? In midway, wouldn’t Landy be sitting at Ronon’s review session??

  57. Regarding ‘IT’: This is an almost classic example of a novel adaptation that does not quite translate all of the ideas and imagery put forth in the original work. Yes, the onscreen reveal of the title creature is quite disappointing, but should you read the same scene in the novel, you will see that King’s concept was almost impossible to render using the FX available at the time the movie was produced, and might possiby still be very difficult today, given that, as the imagery is based in “reality” and in the character’s perception of that reality.

    Also worth mentioning is the novel’s “final showdown” between the heroes and the creature; again, the scene is much more satisfying in the novel than was scripted.

    All in all, after multiple readings, the story always leaves me with thoughts about unbounded friendships, lifelong love, a persistance of memory that gives one the ability to defeat nightmares long forgotten, and the knowledge that even these things, thought eternal by those involved, will soon dissolve from memory.

    And I am left haunted.


  58. A fantastic suspense/horror novel that plays on the paranoia of small towns: Church of the Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns. If you get a chance, definitely pick it up. Some of the freakier poetry recited in Stephen King’s Insomnia came from Dobyns.

    Also, let me know how Never Let Me Go is…I bought it, but haven’t yet read it. It’s on my to read list…along with twenty other things. 🙂

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