Stargate Staff Pick 

So who is John Scalzi? Well, he’s just the guy who renewed my interest in SF literature and restored my joy of reading, a joy I am forcing upon you all via this book of the month club. I used to read a lot as a kid, particularly scifi, but as I grew older my hours spent in the company of Asimov and Clarke lessened considerably. Given everything that was going on in my life, reading became an indulgence I no longer had time for. I would continue to read at a more leisurely pace, but I was no longer the voracious reader of my early youth when I would devour two or three books on a good week. Then, a couple of years ago, I sat back and took stock of things. Here I was, a fairly successful writer/producer who, unlike my co-workers, didn’t spend my free time golfing, playing video games, or traveling. So, what was I doing with my free time? Well, to be honest, I didn’t have a lot of it because I’d feel guilty if I wasn’t working on something or, at the very least, thinking about working on something. I realized that I was being ridiculous. I worked hard enough during the season to earn some downtime. I needed a hobby. Something I could enjoy guilt-free. Preferably something that would help me relax and yet, at the same time, keep my mind active. And that’s when it hit me. Reading! It offered the enjoyment and relaxation of a regular hobby but, in my case, also offered the benefit of serving as a means of research and education.

I joined an SF online book club, enjoyed the first two selections, and then along came John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. I was blown away. It was fun. It was funny. And, most importantly, it was clever as hell! I loved it, and most everyone I have recommended the book to has loved it as well. So much so that they have often failed to return the copies I have lent them.

Which brings us to this month’s scifi BOTMC selection: The Android’s Dream. The first person I lent it to, executive producer Brad Wright, brought it back the very next day. “I couldn’t do it,”he informed me. “The first sentence just turned me right off.” And yet, a week later, Brad had a change of heart and gave it another go. The second time he returned the book, he enthusiastically declared it “Scalzi’s best”. Actor David Hewlett shares the same opinion. Well, with such glowing reviews, how could I not make it May’s book of the month club scifi selection?

Like Brad, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that first page. But what initially seems to be little more than a sophomoric gag quickly develops into a highly imaginative primer on alien culture and interstellar politics. One of the things that Scalzi did so well in Old Man’s War was in painting engaging pictures of extraterrestrial races. In The Android’s Dream, he is in memorable form as he introduces us to the Nidu with their hypersensitive sense of smell, their language of scent, and their penchant for Machiavellian scheming. Conceited, condescending, ruled by tradition and bureaucracy, they’re wonderful villains. And if this was your typical SF novel, it would develop into a fairly straightforward story pitting our protagonist, Harry Creek, against the machinating Nidu. But The Android’s Dream isn’t your typical novel.  And it’s anything but straightforward.

Harry is dispatched to locate a special sheep essential to a Nidu ascension ceremony, but complications arise in the form of: elements within Earth’s own government seeking to sabotage the planet’s relations with the alien race, forces within the ranks of the Nidu poised to execute a coup, a wealthy and powerful church whose faith has been built on the insensible ramblings of a hack science fiction writer, and, oh yeah, the fact that the sheep Harry is sworn to protect and deliver happens to be a young woman, Robin Baker, who is (genetically speaking) 20% special sheep. And that’s when things really get weird. Double-crosses, triple-crosses, coups, futuristic running shoes to make an NBA player positively green with envy, twists, turns, and a lovable yet wholly terrifying alien named Takk given to swallowing victims whole and then letting his digestive juices do the rest.

The novel is fast-paced and fun, highly original and brimming with Scalzi’s trademark humor. In my view, no author provides a similarly accomplished mix of inventive science fiction ideas and all-out laughs. At one point in the book, an agent of The Church of the Evolved Lamb will be going undercover. As he is being prepped, the church’s bishop informs him that he will be sporting a wire. But not just any wire:

“In eyedrop form. Inside that liquid are millions of nanobots. Put the drops in your eyes and the nanobots migrate to your optic never and read and store the signals there.” The Bishop then instructs him about the scanner built into an innocuous vending machine: “Just so you know, the upload is sort of painful. It’s like an electrical shock to your optic nerve.” (PP.113-114, The Android’s Dream).

Later, after the agent locates the appropriate vending machine and presses selection B4 as instructed:

“It felt like someone had stabbed him directly in both eyeballs. Archie crumpled, banging his head on the vending machine on the way down.”

Sort of painful. Yeah.

The story moves quickly and the various players with their shifting alliances and motivations certainly kept this reader on his toes. That said, there were two things that did bump me. The first was the revelation that the cruise ship on which Harry and Robin find refuge just happens to be a veteran ship headed to Chagfun, the site of a battle that has haunted Harry for years. The second was the loophole in the ascension ceremony that allows Robin to turn the tables on the Nidu. These developments felt a little too convenient.

Still, these are only minor quibbles in what turned out to be a very entertaining read. Plenty of action, satire, off-beat characters, and an intricate plot make for an immensely enjoyable book. At the end of the day, I can’t say it trumps Old Man’s War (in all fairness, I have yet to read a new scifi book that does), but it’s certainly a novel I will highly recommend – and never expect to get back.

So, what did everyone else think? Let’s hear your thoughts on the book and any questions you may have for Mr. Scalzi who has kindly agreed to drop by and visit with us later in the week.


Shansgrl writes: “If you don’t have any other plans at the time, any interest in coming to Shore Leave?”

Answer: Believe it or not, I have no idea what that is.

Susanthetartanturtle writes: “Was there any bit of the poor wee lamb that you didn’t eat?”

Answer: Alas, no testicles.

Airelle writes: “Have you ever been asked to be a food critic?”

Answer: I do occasionally right food reviews for a Vancouver website.

Debra Levey writes: “Did you ever think about being a chef?”

Answer: I have thought about going to chef school once Stargate ends.

Cathie writes: “Have you ever eaten chocolate that you didn’t like?”

Answer: Plenty. I’m not a fan of white chocolate and most milks. Any chocolate/mint combination or chocolate/liquor mix.

Cathie also writes: “What is your favourite book that you have read recently or when you were a child or both?”

Answer: The Android’s Dream of course.

Crazymom writes: “You folks aren’t on any kind of hiatus there, are you?”

Answer: Not yet. We’ll be heading off for our month-long Summer hiatus in mid-June.

Narelle from Aus writes: “In the words of Cookie Monster, “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy”. My Sony Reader just arrived. Have 5000 books just waiting to be uploaded.”

Answer: Yeah, Rob Cooper was talking about this today. So, were the 5000 titles included with the purchase of the reader? Did you get to pick some? If not, what kind of titles make up the library? How do you like it?

Arctic Goddess writes: “ How important is it to the actor to have first billing in a series?”

Answer: Is this some sort of trick question?

Kellie writes: “Don’t know if you’ve heard about the fires in the Northern California mountains but… we almost burned up!”

Answer: Hey, Kellie. Checked out your blog for the blow-by-blow account. Happy to hear you’re alright. Love the dogs. And the asocial cat.

Deeds writes: “Have you eaten at Metro, near Canada Place?”

Answer: Yep. It was hit and miss for us.

Beverly writes: “My beloved 17-year old cat passed away Friday, and I have been a basket case ever since.”

Answer: Sorry for your loss, Bev.

Michelle writes: “ Speaking of blogging, the NY Times magazine today features a cover story about a young woman who took “blog sharing” to extreme lengths and lived to regret it… What do you think — snappy writer or self-absorbed poser?”

Answer: I say very interesting reading. Thanks for the link.

Penny writes: “Did I miss the entry for June’s BOTM selection??”

Answer: Nope. It’s really more of a Book of the Month and a half Club as I try to give readers enough time to read all three selections if they so choose.

70 thoughts on “May 26, 2008: The Android’s Dream, by John Scalzi

  1. Hey Joe…

    Have you ever thought about writing a book or starting a website where you give reviews of other books, movies, restaurants, etc.?

    That brings me to my second question…In your opinion, would it be easier to write a script or a novel? Why?

    Thanks Joe


  2. Hey Joe,
    I just saw Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and the story line is VERY similar to the Stargate SG1 episode “Crystal Skull.” How do you do your history research and how much of it influences the story line?

  3. I am in 10th grade and also an avid reader. (Although a science teacher suggested I consider reading my text book, too). I am doing an English paper and wondered if you could answer a few questions:

    Do you think we are alone in the universe? If not, what do you think these “aliens” would look like? EX: How do you think they will differ from humans? How big or small would they be? Where would they come from, Mars, etc? Do you think we would be able to communicate with them? Are you basing your opinion on scientific evidence or something else?

    Thank you in advance for your time. I am eagerly awaiting Season 5.

    Shaina Winrich
    North Smithfield, RI

  4. Is this the part of the BOTM club where we ask questions??? If so, I only have one thus far for John Scalzi: I’m sure you’ve answered this question a million times, but where did you get the idea for the beginning of your book??? It is probably the most original thing I’ve ever read… and while the concept disturbed me (I’m a very visually inclined reader!!!), I just had to read on and see how the story develops!!!

  5. Hey Joe

    Speaking of chocolate you don’t like, ever had diabetic chocolate? I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and the prospect of no sugar is quite daunting.

    I’ve had sugar free ice cream and Wurther’s candies and they’re not terrible.

  6. Yikes! Here is the link for Shore Leave :

    You’ll notice that your very own David Hewlett (and his gorgeous sister) as well as Jewel are listed as guests. It will be my first year there, but I hear it’s a complete blast. It would be great if you could make it.

    Still trying to read An Androids Dream….I’ve been neglecting my reading terribly. I have to admit though I read the first page and was hooked. (Not to mention laughed my butt off) I may not get the books done in time to participate in the discussions, but I love your selections.

  7. After reading Old Man’s War, I was just looking for an excuse to go get the rest of Scalzi’s books and your BOTM made me take the necessary diversion from work.

    I really didn’t regret it.

    I can see why Brad might’ve been put off too but, for me, the idea of starting a book with such a juvenile thought made me read it that bit quicker; knowing how good a writer Mssr Scalzi is might’ve helped that, but it was definitely interesting.

    For me, the surreality was just the right side of unbelievable; from the wires to the shoes (I would love a pair like that) to Robin being 20% sheep (the seriousness of genetic DNA splicing mixed with the hilarious image of a half woman/half sheep ended up making me laugh out loud and getting some strange looks on the train) seemed to be entirely possible in Scalzi’s world. The same goes for Robin and Harry’s relationship.

    Two things, for me, stood out above the rest. The first was the creation of Brian. Apart from it being a great use of an evolved AI, it was touching that Harry had chosen to replicate his dead best friend (I assume he would’ve had an opportunity to repeat the scan on someone else if he really couldn’t deal with the idea). It was a great way to link Harry’s past and present without drifting into flashbacks (apart from the simulated battle, which was nicely done).

    The second was the Church.
    I can see where you were coming from, Joe, with the loophole but then, I think that was part of what I loved in the set-up – the fact the Church orchestrated this from the beginning, from the creation of the ceremony onwards, makes it even more satisfying and amusing when the Nidu are thrown into chaos. I loved the idea people knew it was all a sham and yet still participated freely and, well, religiously, in all the teachings/followings.

    Apart from congratulating Mr Scalzi on writing another great novel, my questions would be:

    1] You choose to deal with religion and politics, albeit in a comedic way; is it something you consciously choose to do or just a result of a story’s evolution? Do you yourself have strong interestes in these areas?

    2] Why did you decide to have the followers of the Evolved Lamb be aware of their own cult-like status? Have you faced criticism from people of a religious nature who think you are mocking all religion, or do they see it as you condemning cults based around money/greed/fame (no names, of course!)?

    3] What side of the ‘topian fence do you prefer your reading material to come from – Dys or U?

    4]Is comedy an important element in books or can an author succeed in capturing their reader if everything is just doom and gloom?

    5] What one book would you advise people NOT to read?

    Thanks to both you and Joe for taking the time to do this and I look forward to reading ‘The Ghost Brigades’, which is the next book on my list.

  8. Hey Mr. Joe M. Think your book list/club is great–I’m a huge fan of Sci Fi lit. as well as RPG video games, D&D and anything by Frank Miller and Alan Moore. Though Moore is more of a curmudgeon and doesn’t like film. Also, the episodes you’ve written are fabulous (Travelers, The Siege and Home–Travelers being one of my all time favourites) Anyway off topic (and I make huge apologies in advance), I notice you tend to have pictures of main entrées you’ve had recently on your blog, and you consistently display your appetite for baby animal dishes ie slaughtered piglets, milk fed lamb etc., (I hope lambs are milk fed, that would be fairly cruel if they weren’t). And please forgive me, I realize I am the “visitor” reading “your blog” which I do enjoy: I’m always up for any and all updates on SGA esp. the fantastic WRAITH (Yea!). I just can’t handle the dead baby animal pictures AHHHhhh! (especially the piglets being brought in on a platter at your recent chocolate fest.) I find them (the pictures) rather hard to digest (pun I guess intended). I am a meat eater, and I like the other worshippers at WDC like the wraith–talk about EATING!! Yet you did mention recently, even the wraith don’t eat children. 😉


  9. Dear Joe,
    1) In Kindred 2, Ronon squirts some liquid from a syringe that Michael used on Teyla. Did Atlantis check out what that substance might be off camera and will we know more about it in S5?
    2)Besides in, The Queen(RL) and The Seed(JS), are any of the main characters going to be in prosthetics make-up?

    Also, did you get a chance to see Iron Man and Prince Caspian? Both were excellent, but Iron Man is the best Marvel movie by far. IMO. Thanks.

  10. judging by today’s pic, mr. hewlett likes the android’s dream. which makes me wonder; what books do the sga cast rate as their favorites? that could be a blog entry one day.

  11. My 2 cents on The Android’s Dream:

    I really wish I had a copy of this book to reference since I finished it a while ago…but I don’t (another one I checked out at the library), so I shall do what I can.

    Overall, I really liked it. It was a very fast read. I have to admit, I spent WAAAY too much time trying to think how it could relate theme-wise to Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? A mild obsession, which ultimately ended up frustrating me to no end. Because I’m not sure they do have anything to do with one another (other than one simply being the namesake, or whatev).

    I also wasn’t quite sure what to make of the first scene. Not to say that I’m above that kind of humor, but it seemed a bit too much. But the whole idea of an alien species who communicates via smell and then comes to Earth and has all kinds of problems adapting was very funny to me. LOVED the insults that Dirk chose to throw at the hot-tempered Nidu, as well as the anecdotes of said Nidu beating the crap out of Earthlings due to smell misunderstandings (a flower scent interpreted as wanting to cornhole his mother). 😀 Yeah. So I enjoyed that.

    Re: the vending machine bit, I loved how he eventually had to pay and press the button, but couldn’t get the candy b/c it was now empty. So sad. Yet not, since he’d developed a Pavlovian food aversion to them due to the electric shock. 😀

    The Church of the Evolved Lamb background was fun to read.

    Loved Takk.

    Why didn’t Harry resuscitate (or whatever you want to call it) AI Brian prior to now? Seems like something I’d try if it was my best friend who died.

    Question for Mr. Scalzi: Why did you choose to name the sheep species after the Dick novel? In the book, it’s said that they were named that “in reference to some book”, but that’s it. Had you already decided to use sheep and just wanted to have an homage to the novel for whatever reason, or is there some sort of thematic (or otherwise) connection that I missed (which would not be at all unlikely)? Am I spending way too much time thinking about something to which there’s no answer?


  12. Well I had to wait on my sister to finish the book so I am not quite done with it….Harry and Robin are still in the lifepod as we speak. But I will say that my favorite things about the book is the witty banter between the characters. I love a book that can push the ol’ laughter button as well as provide some great action.
    My question for John is : When did you develop an interest in sci/fi? I began my journey in the 5th grade when the local book mobile stopped at my school and I purchased “A Wrinkle in Time” I haven’t stop reading the sci/fi yet!

  13. Arg I forget to proof read and my grammer stinks!!
    My favorite thing about the book was the witty banter!
    Geez! 🙂

  14. I started reading The Android’s Dream because I just couldn’t get into The Blade Itself. I must say that from the very first sentence, the book had me hooked. I don’t think I have read any sci fi book as original and funny.

    The Church of the Evolved Lamb and the hack science fiction writer who founded it sounds very familiar. But the whole story is told in such a fun and tongue in cheek way that it is never offensive. You have no choice but to laugh.

    The creation of Brian Javna as an AI and his meeting with his brother toward the end of the book was touching.

    My only quibble with the book is, imo, the lack of any real backstory on Harry Creek. I never really felt that I got to know him as a person. I know that he fought in a war where he lost his best friend, Brian, and pretty much retreated from life after that, but that is all we really know about him. I felt that the reader got to know more about the alien, Takk, and his family, beliefs, etc., than Harry.

    My question for Mr. Scalzi: Will there be a sequel to The Android’s Dream, and if so, will there be any more backstory on Harry Creek, so the readers get to know him a little bit better?

  15. Hey, Joe!

    I don’t believe I have read anything of John Scalzi, but your description of this book reminds me of a book I read called Outrageous Fortune by Tim Scott. Have you ever read it? And if so…how did you like it? I found the persistent encyclopedia saleswoman who turns out to be quite the hero a very humorous touch.

  16. Hey Joe,

    Did you know that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate? I’m also not a fan of most milk chocolate, either.

    Did you hear Will Ferrell making that comment that pugs are the most vicious animals on the planet? I just saw a clip of him saying that and I instantly thought of you. I would gather Mr. Ferrell hasn’t been a guest of your house. 😉

    ANOTHER David pic? How happy am I right now? 😀

    @Katie S: My husband is also a diabetic and MAJOR chocolate lover. We’ve read that really dark chocolate is good for even diabetics (in small proportions). My husband has the *easiest* type of diabetes (his body produces insulin but has trouble accepting it) and so his diet isn’t super-strict and he can eat candy if he’s careful. I’m not sure about the type you have but check with your doctor. You might be OK with having a piece of dark chocolate every day. Also, we just bought some sugar free chocolate bars and even I love them! They are called “Carb conscious Amber Lyn Chocolates”. They are imported Belgian chocolates we found at Costco here in Tampa. It was scary when we found out he had the disease. We check his blood sugar, eat right and make time for exercise. It’s certainly manageable. Good luck! 😀


  17. @Katie S: I just read on the chocolate bar wrapper that there is a website. It’s www dot amberlynchocolates dot com. It says there is no gluten, trans fats, or preservatives in them. Hope that helps!


  18. i checked out the barondestructo pages on photobucket and couldnt get the 2 videos to play. i tried downloading new player and checking for updates, but nothing worked. have u any hints on getting it to play? anyone else having this problem?

    i also used to read a lot of sci-fi, but stopped a few years ago. it just kind of petered out, my interest. just spent 16 hrs, 900 miles in the car this weekend with one of my brothers and we spend most of the time discussing sci-fi books we have read, and what we liked about them. the only thing we couldnt remember was the author’s name for the Dune series. had to call another brother to ask him. man, i love cell phones. couldnt beleive how much we read the same stuff, or liked it, or hadnt read much since then. we got to wondering why some sci-fi books are made into movies -bladerunner, hitchhikers guide to the galaxy- and not others. we could easily picture james hogans books-inherit the moon (on finding a 50,000 yr old dead human in a space suit on the moon), or robert heinlein’s the moon is a harsh mistress.
    any sci-fi book you’d like to see as a movie?

  19. There could be a snag with the cookies…the snag is named GeekBoy. I chased him away with the spatula, TWICE, but he kept eating! There aren’t as many cookies as I was hoping…I’ll try again, though.

  20. Again, congrats on your anniversary! Your dinner looked…interesting. I love lamb, but only the normal parts. 😆 Organ meats just aren’t my thing, unless they’re ground up and unidentifiable and mixed with lots and lots of herbs to kill the taste. My grandfather was Pennsylvania Dutch and ate all sorts of crazy things, but I didn’t inherit his taste for the unusual. It didn’t help that once – when I was about 9 – I was taken into a dark, dank basement where scrapple was being made. It was like a house of horrors – pig heads and tongues and a bowl of eyeballs – yup, a bowl of eyeballs – and intestines hanging all around (for sausage), and…yeah. Couldn’t touch scrapple for 30 years after that. Had trouble with sausage, too.

    And I’m almost with you on the chocolate. I don’t like white or milk chocolate, and not a big fan of mint (well, except Peppermint Patties, but those don’t count). Liquor-filled – I can take it, or leave it. If I want that combo, I prefer a little wine with my chocolate…it’s just a very rich and soothing experience.

    So today I spent my entire holiday cleaning the house – from 9 am til 10 pm. Moving plants outside, washing everything that was covered in kitty fur (7 loads – ack!), rearranging some furniture, the dust/vacuum/mop routine…and all the while I felt a cold coming on – sore throat, stuffy nose – which will probably ruin my plans for going to Wizard World Philly this weekend. Poop.

    So, since I’m feeling lousy, gonna ask some very important questions…ones you certainly must have an answer for….

    1. Do the Wraith bathe? 2. Do they have any distinctive odor (good or bad)? 3. Since the ‘gift of life’ is basically regurgitation, is it the equivalent of Wraith ‘honey’? 4. Todd – boxers or briefs?


  21. My name is Paloosa, and I am a Malozziholic.

    Criminy! I’ve become addicted and need a daily (ok, I can’t lie, several dozen times a day, especially during work) hit of witticisms, photos, Carl bashing (I’ve missed that lately) and just plain hilarious fun. I just cannot stop reading this blog and everyone’s comments.

    And if that wasn’t enough, I’m evidently also a Teldyholic. I’ve read her blog, and want more of that too. And Anne, now that I know what you like, expect some tunes coming your way.

    Jeez Joe, now I know what a hooked fish feels like … a non-edible hooked fish.

  22. I’ll comment on The Android’s dream tomorrow, when work isn’t insisting on occupying so much of my time. As far as Shore Leave goes, it’s a fan run Con that actually treats the fans as people. Truly a great time. If you’d be at all interested in attending the convetnion, it’s held in July near Baltimore Maryland. The fans attending this year’s con can list you as a requested speaker/guest and perhaps get you an invitation extended to a future Con. Or you can get Mr. Hewlett or Ms. Staite to stash you in the luggage and we can all pitch in to see to your needs this year…. Perhaps you can check with Paul McGillion or Amanda Tapping. They’ve been the guests in the last two Shore Leaves. I am sure (ok, hopeful) that their experience with the Con was pleasant enough to recommend it to others. And no, I’m not one of the people who put the Con on, though I do serve as a volunteer….
    Back to the real world for a few more hours. Thanks for the review and the mailbag….

  23. Thank you kindly – I am, as well! The fire I wrote about is one no one will probably ever hear about other than by firsthand accounts. But the experience certainly had me thinking… interestingly enough, about dramatic paradigms. So few of us are actually exposed to life or death situations in real life (probably a good thing) that the little, horrifying dangers of life are usually not considered “big enough” to dramatize.

    I was thinking of Atlantis, for example, when I knew the fire was calming down, and considering how insane it was that within the world of your show, it wasn’t just enough for Ronon to have lost his family and home, but he had to also lose his entire planet to become the fallen/lone warrior archetype that he is today. The idea of losing one’s homeworld has always struck me as counter productive since it’s such a huge loss that it’s impossible for one to emotionally fathom. Yet within the scifi parameters of Stargate, it’s plausible. Scifi is often what pushes the boundaries of what’s accepted in literature and film (and by extension, society), so it certainly made me pause when I realized that the “frontier fiction” of our time has reached the point of such extraordinary drama that the “drama,” by nature of its scale, loses its impact.

  24. Narelle from Aus writes: “In the words of Cookie Monster, “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy”. My Sony Reader just arrived. Have 5000 books just waiting to be uploaded.”

    Answer: Yeah, Rob Cooper was talking about this today. So, were the 5000 titles included with the purchase of the reader? Did you get to pick some? If not, what kind of titles make up the library? How do you like it?

    I LOVE IT! I’ve only had it 24 hrs but it is great. So be prepared for a ramble here, some thank you’s there and an unsponsored advert for the Sony Reader.

    Here’s the reason for my excitement. Similar to what you described in your entry today, I decided to take up reading again as I was never taking any time out. Mind you your blog was what put the idea in my head, so thank you, thank you, thank you 🙂

    Being involved in 3 companies (Director of 1 by choice, the other 2 out of necessity) it meant that if I found I had any spare time, then I should be doing something productive for x company.

    Over the last 3 years I found myself sliding towards a state of mind that could best be described as “going nucking futs” due to never doing anything just for fun (oh, and I had a wedding to organise in there too – and I am not a “woohoo wedding” person, plus other tales of woe (don’t we all have those)). So when I found your blog and you started recommending books, I would go and seek and start to take some time out. Just 10 or 20 minutes here and there, but 10 or 20 minutes more than I ever used to. I was officially hooked on reading again.

    Then the problem became:
    1. Damn! I left my book at home/in car/can’t remember where.
    2. If I put this book in my bag is it going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it joins the laptop, spare battery, charger, mobile wireless modem, USB keys, bluetooth mouse, BlackBerry, USB cables, paper notebook, wallet, sunglasses etc
    3. Hmmm, feel like reading this today instead of that.

    So when I saw the Sony Reader it just seemed like the way to remove any excuse to not sit down and read when I had any spare minute.

    Looked at the Kindle and iLiad. What I didn’t like about those were the size, but most importantly, the complexity. I live with complex computer applications. It’s my job. When I’m taking time out, I like simple. I think that’s part of the beauty of a book. No buzzing, no reminders popping up in it, you escape… and relax.

    So why has the reader turned me into a giggling little schoolgirl?
    It holds 160 books, weighs 255 grams, has expansion slots for SD cards to add more books, its battery lasts for 7,500 page turns! That means it won’t be flat when I want to read it. The more complex the device the more power it chews, the more need I have for a power point (such as on a plane/taxi), therefore I stop using the device.
    It doesn’t have WiFi like the other readers. Really don’t mind. It’s one less thing to drain the battery.

    The screen is like reading paper. Your eyes look at it initially thinking they have to work as they do with a computer screen… and then they relax. The more you read it, the more it looks like paper. The little reading light is great that attaches to it and with the leather cover it keeps the light central to the page. For the first 50 pages, I kept on preparing to physically turn the page – d’oh!. And page turners are on the bottom and the side of the device so it suits whichever way you are currently resting/holding the unit. You can bookmark important pages and I love being able to read more than one book at a time depending on my frame of mind. Reading out in bright sunlight isn’t a problem. Didn’t really believe it until I tried it.

    When you buy the Sony Reader you get 100 free titles. As I’m in AU and couldn’t buy the device via the usual methods I didn’t get those titles but there are DVD’s out there with thousands of titles! I have mainly Sci Fi and Fantasy on mine with 140 books already tagged for reading, and many more lined up.

    I have managed to pick up a few of the previous BsOTM and one of next months plus a lot of your recommended reading lists (I hope the author’s have approved these DVD’s with the ebooks!).

    So in summary, there’s a big thank you in there Joe for renewing my love for reading (and writing) and generally giving all of us here a time out from whatever life is throwing at us.

    Thanks also to Chev who pointed me in the direction of some ebook sites.

    I’m in the process of being bought out by a larger company so I can’t wait to take that guilt-free holiday/honeymoon we’ve been wanting to for the last five years and only have to pack hand luggage because my books aren’t taking up half of the suit case!

    Sorry about the babble. With that, I’m going to walk away from my computer for 20 minutes and read.

  25. Alas, not being a part of this book club of yours means I’ve got nothing to say to today’s entry. So let’s move on to the continuing…ness of my Stargate marathon:

    Crystal Skull: Wonderful story. Right off of the bat you know it’s an epic tale, and that’s exactly what it is. The pyramid, combined with the Fifth Race theme was just perfect (of course, this means the mist aliens are the Furlings. DON’T DENY IT). This is coupled with a very melancholy yet sweet story about Daniel and his grandfather. The latter’s life story was just so sad, and the ending, as a result, was bittersweet to say the least. Daniel was pretty great as well, continuing to talk with no hope of being responded to. Awesome episode.

    Nemesis/Small Victories: Replicators!! Like Rob Cooper and a diminishing percentage of fandom, I was, amb and forever will be a fan of these critters. Sometimes, I just want an episode where our heroes get to blow sh!t up with GUNS. I swear, if you’ve just added a bit of Ancient mysticism to this, these would’ve been the perfect Stargate episodes (like Full Circle or Lost City). It had great humor, great action, and great CGI. Once again, the Stargate crew shows how ingenius they can be, coming up with these unorthodoxed plans. Loved them.

    Oh, and what did I see in Small Victories’ credits? Why, it’s none other than our beloved overlord Joe Mallozzi! As Co-Producer! And right away I felt your impact on the series, mainly in the form of how wacky Jack became. Luckily, it was a gradual process instead of the suddenness of Hathor. Great job.

    The Other Side: Wow, dark. The rift that grew between Jack and Daniel was nicely played, and the issues were hit spot on. Though it did seem strange how Jack would behave so much like the Rogue NID guys he helped take down only a few episodes ago. The whole episode had a very hopeless air about it that I loved; there was damage and desperation everywhere. The revelation of what the Eurondans really were was chilling, and done in 3 separate parts that were just BAM! BAM! BAM! if you know what I mean. Still, in a strange way, I felt sorry for them at the end as Alar watched his base and the last of his people crumble. I wonder, did Alar go through the Stargate because he held on to some small hope that he’d arrive safely on the other side…or did he want to die painlessly on the Iris? Great episode.

    Upgrades: Ok, I’ll admit…I spent a lot of this episode starring at Anise’s rack. Hey, I’m 20 and male. How can I not? Besides those though, I still thought the episode was great. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the small scenes showing the team getting “better”, as Harlan would say. They were freaking hilarious, especially thanks to Jack and RDA’s perfect portrayl of this guy that’s hopped up on awesome. That’s not to say Sam and Danny weren’t great to watch in their own way. I was, of course, cheering for Danny when they beat up those big guys at the steakhouse. Oh, I wished we could’ve seen it. Loved Sam’s sarcastic reply when Jack insinuated that it was her who wanted steak. Hilarious. Great episode.

    To be continued…

  26. I just finished the “Android’s Dream” this morning and I have to admit I was kept throughly entertained throughout the whole story.

    At the beginning, I too was put off by the way the book opens. At first I thought “oh no, toilet humor” but once I read on it became quite amusing. Then, when I realized who I thought would be the main character was now out of the picture that intrigued me so that I had to read on.

    I found the many of the ideas and gadgetry to be quite inventive, from “Anally Insurted Nido Enragers”, bugging a room with paper that can go through a shreader with the message intact, eyedrop eavesdropping, to the shoes at the mall. The concept of being able to scan someone’s brain and create a thinking AI who can anticipate it’s next move was facinating. Also, the ability to “unpack” your AI from your laptop and have it expand into a larger server and become what it ultimately bacame made me go “hummm…”. That is good science fiction that projects where and how far today’s discoveries could possibly go.

    The story was a fun read filled with twists along the way especially with the Android’s dream genome surprise. I almost needed a map to keep track of the number of behind the scenes schemes from the various factions. “Android’s Dream” was a page turner that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning. I now have to deal with post novel withdrawl. I will next be reading “Old Man’s War” which, Joe, you so highly recommend it I’m sure I will not be disappointed. Thanks for making this the BOTM and thanks John Scalzi for the imaginative book!

    I did have one question for John…are you a computer geek yourself knowing all the computer world ins and outs that you described in your book or did you have the help of outside consultation?

  27. I thoroughly enjoyed The Android’s Dream – took it with me on vacation in New Orleans and chuckled most of the way through it. The snarky comment on geeks and Asperger’s syndrome made me laugh out loud – around here NASA is famous for hiring these souls. I’m looking forward to reading more of Mr. Scalzi’s books.

    Completely off topic – how about dedicating a blog to my niece Michelle and my new great niece Emma Rose? Ms Emma was born 7 weeks early a few days ago and mother and child (and dad) are all doing pretty well.

  28. The Android’s Dream

    I zipped through this wonderful novel months ago when it came out in paperback, on David H. and Joe M’s recommendations. Unlike Brad, the first couple of pages had me completely hooked. How could a work that started so absurdly proceed with any coherence for 400 more pages? I had to find out.

    Joe, I think you pretty much wrote my review, only lots better than I would have. It was a great read on all counts — fun, action-packed, complex, and with an undercurrent of irony (with a dash of cynicism) that made my gut clench. The way the tables turned back and forth was brilliant (although I had the same moment of doubt about the ceremony rule as you did, Joe). I’ll throw in that I loved Brian, and Archie’s demise really got to me. Poor guy. I also loved the bouncing shoes. Scalzi is so good at conceiving and describing technology I’d love to have right damn now.

    I too slightly prefer “Old Man’s War,” I think mostly because the soldiering concepts in that one were just so damn cool.

    I’m totally in awe of John Scalzi, whether I’m reading his fiction or his blog. I feel unworthy to even comment on his work, honestly! Other than to say thanks and please keep it up.

    Questions for John Scalzi

    1. The title is clever but misleading, in that there are no actual dreaming androids in the book. Did you worry this would put off potential readers who aren’t so interested in androids?

    2. Is there an indication we might see a movie version of the book some day?

    3. Do you think the Church of the Evolved Lamb is any more or less valid or righteous than all the other many religions on the planet, old and new?

  29. Soooo Joe, if the extreme shep whump, Hexed, is axed will there be sufficient shep whump in the other episodes of season five to hold those like me over? In a post a few months ago you mentioned that Shep, Mckay and one other Ronon I think would be an equal split for infirmary time. Since Ronon has his own episode as well as Mckay, and Teyla will Sheppard also get his time in the sun and enough whumpage to keep us going? I’m hoping to have a healthy dose of shep in this new season. I’ll watch either way there’s not doubt there, but really really like those episode centered around my favorite Colonel. As always, thanks and have a great week, Nicole.

  30. Joe,

    I have read a couple posters saying the Indiana Jones movie is a lot like the SG-1 episode with the crystal skulls. I didn’t find it so. I know there were some story elements that were the same….like crystal skulls… And, a thing or two that could be said to be similar But, the stories themselves were different.

    It’s like saying to two different people, write a story with a Mustang car in it, and let there be some Christians in it. They go off separately to write the stories on their own…and you get two totally different stories set in different periods, with two different Mustangs and different kinds of Christians in it. Yes they both have Mustangs and Christians in them…but the stories are way different.


  31. Joe,

    I have to go do jury duty tomorrow! Well, since it’s after midnight here I guess that’s today. I swear it’s like clockwork that they send me the summons every two years for the last…um…8 years I think! It’s supposed to be a lottery….I just don’t believe that as I’ve NEVER been that lucky with the Florida Lotto! *smirk*

    Do you have jury duty in Canada?


  32. Crossroads: An intriguing episode to be sure, and a setup for episodes down the road. For the most part, I liked it, and the possibilities of communing between Jaffa and symbiote were facinating. That said, the first half seemed kind of slow. Still, the second half, and especially the ending, send chills down my spine. The sheer controlled anger and rage felt by Teal’c as he faced Tanith for that final scene, and the all-male choir going on in the background…powerful, powerful stuff. Loved that part. As you can tell, my opinion of Teal’c has risen quite a bit now that I’ve reacquainted myself with the first part of the series, and it’s the same thing here. Chris Judge’s doubts of Shau’noc, his happiness as seeing this great future for Jaffa, and his absolute murderous rage at Tanith…all VERY VERY well done. Overall, I’d say it was a nice episode, bolstered mainly by Chris Judge’s performance.

    Divide and Conquer: Hehe…the big Sam/Jack episode. I’ll admit, I did get teary-eyed during the scene near the end when, during the flashback, Jack realized that he may loose Sam, and the Sam/Jack theme started playing. It was again very powerful and tragic. In fact, that whole last 10 minutes or so were just…heartbreaking, I’d say. I got chills again, and that’s not easy considering the weather we’ve been having here. Jack sacrificing himself for Sam by going through with the procedure, even knowing that he might die; him turning back to look at a distraught Sam as he’s being led towards the lab; Jack admitting his feelings; Martouf’s death…loved them all; truly great, emotional moments in Stargate. As for the rest of the episode, it was still pretty nice. Loved Jack’s total obliviousness to Freya’s feelings, and I can’t forget Danny’s line “Yup, I think these are the Jack O’Neill moments I would probably miss the most.” Hilarious. So overall a great episode.

    It’s just too bad that I know the rest of the series…and I know that there isn’t any real closure to this Sam/Jack thing. Oh well.

  33. Thanks again for making “The Android’s Dream” one of the BOTM, Joe; I really enjoyed it. The story was wickedly funny and a good action/adventure, as well as providing some biting (and entirely too accurate) social commentary on today’s society, politics and organized religion, including some of the odder New Age (and not so new age) variants (which I’m not going to mention, for the sake of the peace on Joe’s blog).

    There are so many things I loved about this book! Mr. Scalzi’s treatment of the issues of sentience and consciousness is first on the list. I also like that Robin Baker was anything but sheep-like (she made me think of LT Laura
    Cadman, actually) and handled herself very well under the circumstances. Another point that I liked was that Mr. Scalzi never used a personal pronoun in referring to Sam Berlant, leaving open to the reader’s interpretation whether or not Sam was a man or a woman.

    My favorite character was definitely Harry Creek. Yeah, I have a thing for the heroic types, especially the self-effacing ones, and most especially when they’re geeks. Harry won me over when he brought his friend Brian back as an AI. It’s a pity, though, that Harry never realized that he did save his best friend’s life, or at least his consciousness, which is what counts, by integrating the quantum level map of Brian’s brain into an AI. Yes, I’m firmly of the opinion that true AI’s are (well, would be) sentient beings, with all of the rights and responsibilities inherent in that status (stated just in case you all hadn’t already figured that out…*cough*).

    I also loved Judge Sn, who is definitely a being after my own heart. He had my favorite lines in the book in regards to the human race during the hearing to determine Robin’s status.

    Takk was definitely an interesting character as well and a nice change of pace from the standard bad guy “muscle”. I thought the description of his moral relativism as it relates to his criminal activity, especially murder, at the beginning of chapter twelve was a brilliant statement about the attitudes of many people, particularly in the US. I strongly believe that religion and youthful experimentation do not excuse violent crime and I’m glad that Takk was able to begin to find his way past his moral relativism, even though he did wind up murdering the catalyst of his enlightenment.

    The story was easy for me to predict for the most part, but that didn’t detract any from my enjoyment of it; it was fun from beginning to end. One thing that did surprise me was that the passengers on board the Neverland didn’t get involved in Harry’s fight to save Robin as I expected they would. The funniest part of the book for me was when Harry turned on his new computer and the AOL Intelligence Agent popped up. Talk about an oxymoron! Good grief, I nearly choked on my coffee and got a lot of funny looks from the other people in the waiting area at the mechanic’s shop.

    One thing in the book that greatly disturbed me was the genetic engineering of Robin’s Mother. There are some truly sick individuals out there, and I hate to say that I believe it’s only a matter of time before some whackjob pulls a similar stunt, just because they can.

    All in all, I thought the book was a great read and I am definitely going to recommend “The Android’s Dream” to friends and family who enjoy good sci-fi and I’ll be reading more of Mr. Scalzi’s books. I may even pick up a hardbound copy of “The Android’s Dream” for our small, local library (one way to help support them that doesn’t break the bank and also gets more attention for good authors), if the librarian will keep it in the lending collection.

    A question for you, Joe. Did you guys by any chance name Todd the Wraith after Todd the AOL Intelligence Agent? I think that’s appropriately evil. *grin*

  34. Do the writers have a specific idea of what McKay’s fighting skills are like and how fast they are progressing? I ask because McKay’s fighting skills seem to vary from episode to episode.

  35. Hi Joe,

    Seeing a few of the BOTM reviews etc you ave done recently, I’d like to wholeheartedly recommend the author ‘Steph Swainston’ for a read… It is the fantasy genre, but I have not read such imaginative and unique books in a long, long time… She has won tons of awards in n the last few years, with the opinion being;

    “Steph Swainston’s writing is as elegantly superior to most other fantasy as a samurai sword is to a flint dagger.”

    Her first book, ‘The Year Of Our War’ is a gem, and I’m sure a lot of the blog readers would enjoy it!

  36. Hi ya Joe, back to annoy you again! Yay!

    I would have loved to get in on all that book talk but i don’t have a copy, library neither. I’m not sure if i have ‘androids dream’ i’ll have to check. I have piles and piles of books (2 thousand would be my guess) that need sorting and reading, all sci-fi, fantasy or historical crime. Right now i’m rereading ‘black magician’ trilogy.

    DAS said.
    1. Do the Wraith bathe? 2. Do they have any distinctive odor (good or bad)? 3. Since the ‘gift of life’ is basically regurgitation, is it the equivalent of Wraith ‘honey’? 4. Todd – boxers or briefs?

    good questions, all needing answers after all the speculation that went on. I would especially like to know the answer to No. 1. Thinking back to common ground and Todd, i’d like to know if the Genii ever just turned a big hose on him once in a while since he was there so long. I though we had all made up our minds about No. 4. No no, mustn’t slip into the gutter just yet.
    by the way das, great pic of rodney and daniel.

    I’m starting to see a lot more names i recognise from the forums, Joe it looks like the wraithworshippers are infiltrating your blog. Goodie good, more people prodding you for wraith info- does a manic happy dance.

    outta time so i’ll just repost this-
    answer us one little question will you.
    The slits on the wraiths face, what are they for? We all have speculated on this and have come up with numerous answers, so settle a bet would ya.
    -Are thay extra nostrils,
    -are they heat pits like a snake has got,
    -are they for pheromone detection, (we all decided that they would have to be parked on a planet somewhere or run the risk of flying into something – would be funny though!
    Queen- ‘get out of my chambers! ALL OF YOU! Wait. Who’s flying the ship?’
    Random Male- ‘he’s in a cranky mood, best go this way instead or risk having my arms ripped off.’
    *it’s very late here by the way*)
    -or are they a redundant part of their anatonmy like our appendix?

    crosses fingers and hopes for answers, (if that doesn’t work there’s always the big pointy stick)


  37. Hmm, this is curious. You said that the decision about Ronon’s dreads was totally left up to Jason, but now there’s an interview on Gateworld with Jason saying Sci-Fi made him keep them even though he didn’t want to. Care to clarify?

  38. Ahaha! Finally a blog post I can comment reasonably not unintelligently on! (I lurk but I haven’t really got any queries though I love your SGA and food pics).

    I confess that you were the person who introduced Scalzi’s writings to me and I then went over to his blog to read what he was on about! I found him to be an intriguing character and he even linked me to one of his earlier novels which is fully on the web (Agent to the Stars).

    I too started with The Android’s Dream because it was the only one of his books I could find at the book store at that time.

    I loved loved loved it! It had all the good elements of scifi I liked – pace, adventure, characters who are humble, intelligent and not showy; ordinary people who don’t neceessary aspire to be heroes but do become heroes and most of all, the actual plot/story idea was brilliant. To be honest, when I read the title, I envisioned a story about robots or androids and never would I have thought it’d be about sheep…

    The premise cracked me up! I laughed so hard and couldn’t put the book down and it probably took me 2 days to finish it because I was so absorbed.

    I love the character of Harry and the all the assortment of characters he created; from Brian Javna (I love the idea of an AI based on a human brain), Robin Baker, Archie McClellan to even the alien Takk.

    If I had one beef with the whole story; it’d be that there was one character I became fond of and I didn’t want to see him die (I won’t mention him should it spoil the plot for others reading this who haven’t read it).

    The Android’s Dream started me on a hunt for Scalzi’s other novels. After I commented on his blog and he linked me to Agent to the Stars, I then read that (which was written in the same humour which I liked). I think that sometimes scifi stories have too much descriptions of technology and I get lost trying to decipher everything. I like my stories to have good humour and I obviously like Mr Scalzi’s humour!

    What I like about Mr Scalzi’s writing and is that he creates characters who have humility and who you just love! As I said before, they are the kinds of people who become heroes without meaning to.

    The 3rd novel I read was Old Man’s War and I adored John Perry. I subsequently hunted down the sequels and bought The Ghost Brigade, The Last Colony and Sagan’s Diary. I am now eagerly awaiting Zoe’s tale.

  39. I forgot to add: I think it’s been asked above, but I wonder if Mr Scalzi would ever/has considered/has ideas to write more about Harry Creek? I love the character and would love to see more of him or even more about one of the other characters; eg Brian Javna.

  40. Hi Joe,
    Cool pic of David Hewlett there!
    Thanks for answering my questions. I love dark chocolate myself! ITs always in my fridge! I never lasts very long there though!

    Do you get a break for your summer or do you still work on story lines & stuff?

    Take care & happiness always

  41. I am also going to SHORE LEAVE this year. If you are looking to get away during your hiatus then why not consider a short trip to Maryland. It would so cool to see you. : )

    I am not having much luck with my local library. All their Joe Abercrombie & Joe Scalzi’s books are out. I am going to put a hold on a couple of them so in a month or so I should be able to get my hands on at least one of them. For now I am going to have to move on to your July selections.

  42. Joe, you probably already have your own source, but here’s where I get my matcha and supplies…

    Do you have a favorite place to get your matcha? (And don’t say Japan, ’cause that’s an loooong way from Jersey. I’m thinking something with a .com behind it would be good 😉 )


  43. Sadly I couldn’t get a copy of The Android’s Dream but I did just see Old Man’s War the other day. I’ll look into getting it, sounds like Scalzi would be my kind of author.

    So, just a question about the BOMTC… If we can’t get the books, are we still allowed to pose questions for the authors? Because I have a few…

  44. RE: The Android’s Dream

    This book has left me with mixed feelings, although I did enjoy reading it I was ultimately left feeling disappointed. I think Mr Scalzi has some great ideas and has created a world that is both futuristic yet familiar enough that you can relate to it. There was some great humour, though it often lacked subtlety, and some interesting characters – but at the same time it was really the characters that were the problem for me.

    That problem being that the secondary characters were so much more interesting than Harry and Robin and I found myself wanting the book to spend more time on the political machinations and back stabbing than following them around.

    I just didn’t find Harry or Robin all that appealing, in fact I thought Harry in particular was rather bland and generic – heroic yet angst ridden soldier, computer genius, good looking, charming and all round nice guy. While Robin was just too perky and annoying to make me really care about her fate – and if you’d found out that your mother was some kind of freakish genetically engineered hybrid I really don’t think you’d be so calm about it, she just seemed to take the whole thing far too well and that didn’t ring true to me.

    It just seems bizarre that this would be the case when I found many of the supporting characters to be both engaging and interesting. The politicians, both human and alien were all too believable, I found Ben Javna far more interesting than Harry and, as you pointed out yourself, Takk is a wonderful creation, both utterly terrifying and totally lovable.

    All in all I found The Android’s Dream to be a fun diversion that has left no lasting impression on me. Perhaps I’m missing something, maybe I’m just not smart enough to “get it” but unlike The Blade Itself there is nothing in The Android’s Dream that will make me seek out other works by the same author.

  45. This is completely off the subject, but Starbucks has a “Vancouver” mug in their city series. Which Vancouver is that, Washington or BC?

  46. Alas, due to exams I’m only just over 100 pages in. Which is unfortunate because I’m loving it and wish I could sit down and read the whole thing in one go. I’m planning on doing so the moment I’m done with my remaining exams this week.

    I must admit, that beginning bit made me do a ‘what the…’ at first, too, but it was so quirky, it was irresistible. The humor is well appreciated and the clandestine government and anti-Nindu movements fit in well with my other favorite type of novel (after fantasy and sci-fi)–spy thrillers. And I’m absolutely loving Brian the intelligence agent.

    Some general questions for Mr Scalzi:

    1). What drew you to sci-fi as a writer? Something you’ve always been interested in yourself, or you like the possibilities of something futuristic, or something else?

    2). I’ve noticed a lot of branding in the book. Two questions regarding that. A) Did you have to get rights to list them or anything special? It’s rare to see current brands listed in most fictional books and I’ve wondered if that was for legality reasons (the way TV shows and movies sometimes have to make a can of soda look like Coca-Cola without labeling it as such). And b) What made you decide to use brand names? I suspect a lot of authors don’t use them so as not to date the storyline. What was your motivation to use them?

    3). How do you create the storyline? Do you develop characters or plot first? Do you sit down and write it in as little time as possible, or do you do a more measured approach, say 1,000 words a day? What brings inspiration for you?

    Thanks to you, Joe, and to Mr. Scalzi!

  47. Hey Joe,

    I see that some of the fans have invited you to Shore Leave 30 in July. What’s that???? You’ve never heard of us???? That’s okay – you’re forgiven. You’ve been a little busy producing the shows that we need in order to have guests to invite.

    We love it when the fans are enthusiastic – but the reality is that as the person whose job it is to invite guests to Shore Leave — I have already spent the budget for this year. That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t love to have you as a guest some time in the future, however.

    Shore Leave attendees and potential attendees — My suggestion to you is that you write to the convention after this year’s con and leave your guest suggestions. We do take note of who the fans request and often invite guests based on those requests.

    On a personal note – it’s nice to know that Joe has now heard of us. : )

  48. Forget the books. I would like to ask Mr. Scalzi the following question:

    Do you seriously believe that your guest spot can be anywhere near as good as Joe Abercrombie’s was?

  49. But Mr. Abercombie, you cheated with the way awesome eye candy photo. Not that David H. isn’t eye candy … but come on, authors aren’t supposed to be that hot. You’re supposed to be rumpled and eccentric. A little geeky even, in the Hot Geek way. But hot Hot? Naw.

  50. OK, I was trying not to jump on the bandwagon and add more books to my mountain that need to be read. Working full-time and doing the grad school thing leaves little time for pleasure reading.

    But, with rave reviews like this, who can resist. Sign me up, just don’t expect me to be on time.


  51. @ BlueJay – Hosing. Todd. Down. Now THAT’S an image any fangirl would love! Although, with all that leather, you’d think it would lead to chafing… 😕

    TODD: “I protest! The perceived temperature of the water is compounded by the acceleration of its velocity, due – naturally – to the insufficient diameter of the hose in relation to the capacity and location of the standpipe, exacerbated by the fact that you have obviously set the nozzle on ‘jet’, instead of ‘gentle shower’.”

    Poor Todd. 😉


  52. Dea Joe:

    I’d already intended to comment today on your last couple of posts and … and I’m confronted by virtual skewering of eyeballs. Ow, Ow, Ow, OWWWW! You’ll forgive me (you will, please) for my squeamishness (even though I like the ascended part) because I’ve had two surgeries on one eye this year – and was AWAKE during them (imagine feeling the sutures being drawn through the back of your eye)! Yes, indeed, yuck.

    Buuuut, I had to congratulate Fondy and you on your 10th (and probably your livers’ 20th) anniversary! The food looked divine, as usual. Our traditional anniversary dinner is lobster, don’t hold the garlic butter.

    I have to ask, though:
    Today you answered your mail bag as follows:

    Susanthetartanturtle writes: “Was there any bit of the poor wee lamb that you didn’t eat?”

    Answer: Alas, no testicles.

    Um, so did you REALLY want to eat the testicles. I guess yes. Is there ANY part of an animal you wouldn’t eat? I’m asking because my background is Polish and cosmopolitan, so I’m used to brain, sweetbreads, heart, tongue, lungs, tripe. I’ve never had testicles or eyes. Considering the eye surgeries, I don’t think I’ll ever eat eyes.

    Last thing. Thank you for the pic of David with Michael. I think DH’s expressions have become even more zany since the birth of his son. And that’s a very good thing.

    Thank you again for the wonderful piccies: food, actors, sets, doggies – all terrific.

  53. Hi Joe,

    Hoping you anwser this as well as possible without giving to much away!

    Ive become increasingly concerned by some of the spoilers and comments made by yourself and the actors regarding season 5.

    so I have a few questions,

    Is Keller going to be joing the team off world alot more than last season? if so, why? do you think a doctor should be included on away teams or do they have medic training and so do not need one.

    I like Kellers character well enough but I am concerned that she is being pushed to be in to many plotlines, will Keller be a major player for all her 15 eps?

    Is romance going to be a big part of season 5? I gotta ask as its sounding pretty much like Atlantis 90210 (showing my age there) at the moment. Which some fans may like but I gotta say this really worries me, as I have no wish to see love triangles. Someone always comes of like an idiot/hurt in these senarios and really I expect those kinda things from Neighbours/home and away not something as darkly intense as Stargate Atlantis.

    and finaly

    Are you now happy with the main cast for season 5? or is there still a NEW character/actor you would like to have included this year but for various reasons could not?

    Thanks Stclare

  54. LOL @ DH pic thx

    RIP Robert Asprin, MythAdventures. Before I discovered Piers Anthony I was howling at these books and still have every one.

    Its very funny that Mr M detailed a gourmet lamb dinner here yesterday since we are now discussing The Android’s Dream. My opinion of Old Man’s War hasn’t changed- I still think its a ripoff rehash of previous ideas, albeit nicely rewritten. The Android’s Dream is also a ripoff, but of a different sort so I’m going to pay John Scalzi a huge complement here, in my opinion- the characters in it, a lot of the story flow and the way it was worded read like a Douglas Adams book and that’s what I enjoyed most about it. I had immense fun reading certain descriptive paragraphs in that clipped British accent I’ve come to associate with the electronic Guide (Hitchhikers) which again annoyed the hell out of my family so thanks for that. I was definitely glad that it didn’t read like Dick (Philip K). Or conjure Blade Runner images. The biggest annoyance was the number of typos by page 180, after which I shrugged and overlooked because the story was good enough to distract me from them. Crack that whip! Best wishes Mr Scalzi, thanks for coming here to read comments & answer questions.

  55. I know what you mean about the first page but I was laughing out loud by the end of the chapter. I’d love to see how that played out by itself as a short film or something, I loved it!

    About the nanobots in the eye thing, I loved when Sam(?) said “That’s why we always put the really good candy in B4.” (don’t have the book to hand at the moment to be sure of person and exact quote, sorry).

    Old Man’s War is a classic and will be hard to beat, but I loved this book and I actually read it before Old Man’s War so it only got better for me :-P.

    It’s a fantastic book, even with those slight coincidences! However, having recently seen the movie, ‘The Happening’ I can take these coincidences a lot easier than the ‘in your face’ complete randomness > coincidences in that film!

    Oh and I loved the idea of Wallball – that game sounds FUN!!!

  56. Went to the bookstore Sunday to look for the The Android’s Dream. They didn’t have it so I bought Old Man’s War on a whim. I’m glad I took a chance. You’re right; it was fun and funny. Now I want the sequel and The Android’s Dream.

  57. Overall I enjoyed Androids Dream. The humourous sections amused me, partly because it is a rare treat to read ‘juvenile’ jokes about farting (basically) in well written English. Some of Scalzi’s descriptions also made me laugh because of the sheer nail-on-the-head element that I found myself relating to. The Nidu were great and the other alien species bizarre and yet incredibly vivid and human at the same time. It was fun to read a futurist sci fi in which the human race is still very recognisable, frequently stupid, occassionally brilliant and flawed and hasn’t under gone a species wide personality transplant.

    What I did find though was that because so much of the book was so strong the weak parts did stand out a lot. The contrived parts of the plot felt very contrived because of that and were almost cringe inspiring. I also found myself irked in the opening few chapters by the abundance of male characters in positions of power and passing mentions of the occasional female secretary. I also didn’t really get invested in the Harry or Robin characters too much, I can’t quite put my finger on why. Though I did really enjoy the whole church story and Brian too. It was strange having so many of the secondary characters feeling so much more full of life compared to the main two.

    All in all I found it an odd mix of a book which had a lot of strengths but also a few big pitfalls.

  58. Joe Abercrombie said:

    Forget the books. I would like to ask Mr. Scalzi the following question:

    Do you seriously believe that your guest spot can be anywhere near as good as Joe Abercrombie’s was?

    LMAO. In the red corner, weighing ……. pounds is Joker Joe Abercrombie!

    maggiemayday said:

    But Mr. Abercombie, you cheated with the way awesome eye candy photo. Not that David H. isn’t eye candy … but come on, authors aren’t supposed to be that hot. You’re supposed to be rumpled and eccentric. A little geeky even, in the Hot Geek way. But hot Hot? Naw.

    Seriously, have you seen Graeme Base, author of Animalia? He looked hot the last time I saw him talk at a conference, which admittedly was a few years ago. Then there’s Marcus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. They’re out there.

    Cheers, Chev

  59. Hello.

    I read an interesting interview with Jewel on the MGM site where she basically insinuated that the character of Keller is being “…solidified more as part of the team.”

    This has me perplexed. Am I wrong in thinking that an off world team consists of ONLY FOUR members? I’m not a fan of the Keller character by far and after reading this interview I’m concerned that her character is being developed at the expense of other characters and added unnecessarily into episodes simply to make use of her new full time status instead of concentrating on the Team aspect of the show, and by team I mean, Sheppard, McKay, Ronon and Teyla.

    Not to gripe but we’ve heard next to nothing about Sheppard this season and I’m kind of concerned. Thanks.

  60. You’ve probably been asked this already, but I can’t read your blog everyday (sorry) so I’m going to ask anyway. Where (or should I say When) in the SG1 timeline (i.e. Continuum movie) does SGA episodes with Daniel Jackson, First Contact and Lost Tribe, take place? Thanks.

    (If you answer, I’ll promise to read your blog everyday from now on…)

  61. Hey Joe,

    I just moved to Vancouver from Chicago and I’ve got temp housing around Gilmore and Henning and don’t know the area well. Can you recommend any good restaurants within walking distance? Something that isn’t too pricey.

  62. First of all, let me say that Judge Bufan Nigun Sn the Wryg was my favorite character in the whole book. The image of him stalking into his courtoom on spider legs, hung over, cranky, and carrying a cup of coffee was absolutely delicious. The legal wrangling over Robin’s status was intricate and well-argued. And afterwards, Sn went to get a snack out of a vending machine, just as if he weren’t some sort of giant spider.

    All of Scalzi’s characters are sympathetic, even the villains. I started out hating Takk, and then felt sorry for him in the end. I thought Robin was a bit too sanguine about being 20% mutant sheep, and the description of her mother was just downright creepy. But I’m fascinated with Scalzi’s fascination with DNA manipulation in his books (“The Android’s Dream” being my third one now).

    So my question is, Mr. Scalzi, do you have some kind of background in genetics? The adaptations you’ve described are pretty complex. Do you create these characters before you write the story, or is it the other way around?

    It was a tremendously fun read, a bit more humorous IMO than “Old Man’s War” or “The Ghost Brigades”, even almost slapstick in places, especially the thrilling battle in the mall (I think we’d all like to have those shoes). And yet, even in these highly imaginative and futuristic Scalzi worlds, there’s still the ordinary human touch, like Chet, the bored WallBall attendant, worried about losing the shoes, and the holidaying old vets, dragging their wives along on nostalgic tours. I’ve dealt with more Chets and vets than I can count. 😉

    The Church of the Evolved Lamb was a daring creation, too, considering the penchant the real-life church it resembles has for suing detractors. A thumbs-up on that one.

    All in all, a wonderful pick for the BOTM.

  63. I miss the days when I would make witty comments on this blog, and you would make witty responses in turn.

    I think I’ve lost all my wit, or used up my allotment. I don’t have a nit of wit left. Any ideas?

  64. I saw on one of the many Stargate sites that Jason Momoa recently stated he felt that he had only one more year of Stargate left in him (meaning season 6 would be the last since season 5 is in session). If this proves true, would the episode Tracker which reportedly holds a Ronon/Keller/Mckay triangle be affected by this future outcome?

    Will season five hold any blossoming relationships or is Atlantis going to go the Jack/Sam route; always implied but never truly established?

    …And Amanda Tapping mentioned in several interviews that the question of Jack/Sam was addressed in Trio, but that it ended up on the cutting room floor. Any chance we’ll ever know what was said?

  65. The Android’s Dream—
    Like I said before this book had me from the word “fart” and never let go. I felt refreshed by reading this book…I find some SCIFI really hard to get into or even care about to finish. R. Scott Bakker for instance…I tried to read the first page like seven times before I put the book back into my ever growing collection. Thank Joesph, for recommending this book. I loved the idea of Brain. I want to see more of Harry Creek. For me this story read like a politcal thriller from Reeves-Stevens but with more bite and a lot more witty dialouge. I forgot I was reading a SCIFI book and just enhaled a rollercoaster romp. I loved the idea of WallBall and thought the twist at the end was bloody brillant. It was a book that I did not have quite figured out and for SCIFI that seems like a hard feat for me. Mr. Scalzi dangled just enough info in front of me to make me think I knew what was coming but some of it just caught me off guard…so thank you! I am adding Mr. Scalzi’s other books to my must read soon group.
    My question for Mr. Scalzi is simple…has anyone approached you for the rights to make this kick ass book into a movie? And as a side note…as I was reading it almost sounded like Bruce Campbell reading it aloud to me…I know crazy!

  66. Did I ever mention that I alway type Brain when I mean Brian…i even do that when emailing my cousin Brian…i am such a dunce.

  67. I must begin by saying I really enjoyed reading The Androids’s Dream. From the beginning I pictured little sheep being the searched for object., and dreaming of android’s. (Data and other AI) It held my attention after the first chapter. It has so many twists and turns and I found myself laughing out loud,(no thanks I don’t want any sarf tea). Did anyone in gov’t inspire any of your characters? I know you said Philip K Dick was responsible for the title and you thinking about sheep, is there a specific meaning(for the title)? Takk was a favorite after he felt remorse,, you could picture these characters from your descriptions. Loved the bouncing shoes and want a pair as soon as they come out. Aliens and the gov’t ,and greed, not so far fetched I think. I am always glad when good triumps over evil. I liked the book so much, and on another one of Joe M’s recommendations,(thanks Joe) I have already started and am very much enjoying Old Mans War. Thank you for taking the time to write these books and for stopping by Joes’ blog. Keep up the great work!!

  68. Hi Joe,

    Since I’m unable participate in the BOTM (my English Lit major is keeping me busy reading enough as it is ;)) and so can’t weigh in on The Android’s Dream, I thought I’d ask an SGA question instead 😉

    In S4 we got to see some lovely vulnerable and emotional moments for Shep (i.e. Adrift/Lifeline, Outcast), will we get to see some vulnerable Shep moments in S5 as well?

    Thank you 🙂

  69. I love the party suggestions. Now I’m wondering who from your past crew parties did exactly those things. Hmmm…

    Good luck surviving the planning. Party by committee is never as fun as just going to a party.

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