Read this book

I was first introduced to the works of Kage Baker through Lou Anders’ Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge, a former book of the month club pick. Baker’s contribution to the collection, “Plotters and Shooters”, was far and away my favorite of the short stories in FF1 and so, when it came time to put in my next book order with, I placed In the Garden of Iden at the top of the list.

It’s no secret that one of the thing my favorite authors have in common is a sense of humor – Abercrombie, Banks, Ford, Martin, Scalzi, Willis to name a few. I’m not talking about balls-out side-splitting comedy but an undercurrent of humor, often subtle, that serves to contrast the occasionally dark themes introduced. Now granted, “Plotters and Shooters“ was a fun piece of short fiction, and I was fully prepared to encounter a very different tone in Baker‘s novel. Still, I’ll admit to growing a little apprehensive after having Baker describe the book as a “Hard-Boiled Bodice Ripper”.

Bodice-Ripper? Images of a shirtless Fabio sweeping a swooning heroine off her feet materialized in my mind’s eye. And then, remembering this was SF – images of a shirtless green-skinned Fabio sweeping a silver spandexed heroine off her moon boots. Funny, yes, but not intentionally so.

Oh, me of little faith. One chapter in, and I was intrigued by the clever scifi premise. Two chapters in, and I was captivated by the characters, our plucky heroine Mendoza in particular. Three chapters in, and I’d been completely won over. If this book is indicative of the sub-genre, then I may have to start doing four BOTMC selections in the categories of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and, yes, Hardboiled Bodice-Ripper.

Our protagonist, Mendoza, is one of a class of immortals, former orphans rescued from certain death and transformed into cyborgs by Dr. Zeus Inc. Under the employ of The Company, these cyborgs (humans in mind but physically superior) are dispatched to points throughout history to collect extinct species and valuables that will better humankind. Mendoza’s first time-tripping assignment finds her in 16th century England where she and her team – high-strung mentor Joseph and no-nonsense zoologist Nef – have been sent to gather samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden. Alas, these are complicated times in England with Bloody Mary’s ascension to the throne. And so, amidst a backdrop of political and religious struggle and techno-temporal subterfuge, the hitherto hardnosed Mendoza discovers the very best and very worst that humanity has to offer.

Thematically, it is somewhat reminiscent of Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog, a book that, similarly, follows the exploits of a time-hopping retrieval crew, but The Garden of Iden is its own unique beast. In fact, were I to compare it to any other work, I’d liken it to a futuristic Jane Eyre. Like Bronte [not Austen, oop], Baker does a beautiful job of immersing the reader in period detail, offering up a very convincing setting complete with equally convincing characters, possessed of a charm and subtle humor that draws the reader in from the get-go.

Baker’s treatment of time-travel is interesting, neatly side-stepping the issue of paradox (ie. You travel to the past to kill your grandfather. But can you ever be successful because if you do succeed in killing your grandfather, you would have never been born and so who was it that traveled into the past and killed your grandfather?). In her world, time-travel to the future is impossible. It is only possible to travel back to the past but, in so doing, one can never change the course of history. If it’s a part of recorded history, it’s set in stone and cannot be changed. However, the smaller details of history that have not been recorded can theoretically be changed, although one can argue that were these smaller instances detailed, they would always play out the same way, either through The Company’s interference or without. What this presents us with is not the ability to change the unrecorded details of the past, but the perception that the past is changeable when it is, in fact, not. Sure, The Company can influence history in small ways (ie. by rescuing a goat) but one could argue that these influences were, for lack of a better word, “fated” to play out a certain way (ie. in the grand scheme of things, that goat was always destined to be rescued). The absence of a historical record concerning certain details gives the illusion that one can influence the past in certain ways because one does not know the outcome. So it is with Mendoza at novel’s end as she struggles to save Nicholas’s life. Success or failure are not in her hands, but in the determination of an immutable history. And I feel that the book’s conclusion says as much.

At first, I was a little disappointed with the way things wrapped up but, upon further reflection, I realized that, thematically, it was the only possible ending for this novel. We, as readers, are much like the agents for The Company, mere witnesses to these past experiences – the oft baffling, occasionally amusing skirmishing of monkeys. It’s easy to see the errors committed in retrospect which is why the desire to change past mistakes overwhelms. But what strikes home is not so much the inability to change what was, but the inability to see what is – history’s lessons applicable to the still compliant present. And, at book’s end, when Mendoza notes “There were monkeys out there fighting, screaming and pelting one another with rotten fruit” and she shudders, I shuddered right along with her.

Well-written, thought-provoking, and enormously entertaining. And, the best part is, it’s the first in a series.

So, what did everyone else think?

Hmmm. I see yesterday’s post engendered a fair amount of panic in fandom land. Sorry. I was in an introspective mood for a number of reasons and I wanted to put things into perspective. Too often, supporters of a show are left in the dark concerning the realities of film and television production and I just wanted to make sure you were all informed because, quite frankly, as supporters of this franchise for so many years, I thought you deserved to know that, often, a show‘s fate is not as cut and dried as one would thing. Now, given everything that was covered in yesterday’s entry, what most failed to note was my reference to SG-1’s impressive and surprising 10-year run. Way back when, we assumed it wouldn’t make it past a fifth season – and it did. Boy, did it ever. Things look more hopeful on the Atlantis front however, especially given its ratings (and, as I mentioned in yesterday’s comments section, particularly in key demos). And if this uptrend in the ratings continues, it will certainly go a long way toward making a case for a sixth season pick-up. Still, in spite of what some may assume, that decision is still a long way off. Come mid-season, I believe we’ll have a pretty fair idea of how things will play out. Until then – rally the troops and help get the word out! Give ’em a damn good reason to pick us up!

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday boy Enzo Aquarius and to new Stargate fan Adria Nicole.

145 thoughts on “June 30, 2008: In the Garden of Iden

  1. Salut Joseph!!!

    Ahhhh, je ne rêve pas!! deja un mise a jour^^! Trop cool je vais pouvoir voir vos article avant de me coucher.;enfin, pendant quelque jour^^!

    mince a vrai dire, je n’est pas grande chose a dire aujourd’hui….

    Tous se que je peut vous dire c’est que j’ai aider pleins de gens, et sa rempli téllement de plaisir de faire sa.

    Je reviendrai demain, peut être aurai-je plus d’inspiration.

    Bisou, a demain =)

  2. I think this is the first time you’ve posted before I’ve decided to go to bed (what with the different time zones etc.)

    “SG-1’s impressive and surprising 10-year run”

    Hear, hear!

    I’m also making a note of the book; a little too late for the discussion, but if I read it, I hope to enjoy it all the same.

  3. Wow, early entry today. Been trying to keep up with everything, but have had to take care of a lot of things here at home. Just wanted to say that everything sounds great for season five. Can’t wait to see it!

    The book sounds great as well. Haven’t enough time to read anything right now, but will make a note to get it for when I do have the time.

    Thanks for the daily blogs, teases and discussions on the books. Always fun to be here!

    Formally, Becky S. Now Becky L.

  4. Hi, Joe.

    My apologies if this comes through twice.

    TVaholic: Questions for Joseph Mallozzi and Robert Picardo?

    In upcoming interview news, will be on a conference call tomorrow with Robert Picardo and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi of Stargate Atlantis, so if you have any questions about the upcoming season, you can leave them in the comments or use the contact form and I will try to get them answered.

  5. Forgive the interrution to the book club discussion — I just heard about Don S Davis, and just wanted to say how sad I am right now. He was much loved and will be missed.

  6. Joe, I just read that Don S Davis passed away yesterday. Is it true? I’m so, so very sad.

  7. Pauline wrote:

    If it made sense my names Pauline if not then my name is Anne Teldy (sorry Anne lol)

    If it doesn’t make sense, most people would have assumed I wrote it anyway. It’s not like I ever make sense here.
    My Name Is Scott wrote:

    Not to say I’m expecting an impending cancellation… but I am prepared to not be too upset.

    Whenever it comes, I am prepared to cry hysterically, incoherently sob the news to everyone I know via the phone, and need tons of Ativan. The second year after the last first run episode airs, the hysteria should begin to subside.
    Paula wrote:

    On a related note, does SciFi’s agreement mean that they can’t rerun SGA Season 4? I would have thought they’d use the mid-season break of BSG to rerun SGA in anticipation of July 11th. But they put SG1 in there, instead.

    On Tuesday July 8th, SciFi channel is running the last eight episodes of Season 4 (”Quarantine” through “The Last Man&#8221 during the day. The marathon starts 8am Eastern/7am Central.
    Anne Teldy

  8. Joe, as always, thanks for the enlightenment and entertainment. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about the industry from you and other friends.

    Too often, supporters of a show are left in the dark concerning the realities of film and television production and I just wanted to make sure you were all informed because, quite frankly, as supporters of this franchise for so many years, I thought you deserved to know that, often, a show‘s fate is not as cut and dried as one would thing.

  9. When I get my mind together and about me and when I find my schedule in my mind cemented and when I get money and when I get the motivation and when I stop making excuses I’ll read this book.

    I believe I saw this book somewhere at some point. Perhaps tickling my eye from its spine at the end of a file box in a book sale at some point or dashed from its shelf at a thrift store.

    I may have flickered my eyes to the cover and skimmed the back and put it back. One of those “Oh, that would be interesting…” and then my mind got distracted by chrome robots on the front of an older forlorner book, pages chafed and bent in unison from being squished by heavy history and mathematics volumes, theories and ideals long disputed and revised.

    But if this book insists, if it was this book that was the perpetrator of my lazy literary, on following me this far down the road I suppose I must meet up with it at some point.

  10. Wow, now I really wish that I had ordered “In the Garden of Iden”. Your review really piqued my interest, but Shirt ‘n’ Tie’s review clinched it; I’m going to order this one!

    Also Joe, I hope you enjoy your visit home. I meant to say that last night but kinda got caught up in the fan-panic zone.

    @ Shirt ‘n’ Tie Your reference to Dumas’ works in your review is what clinched my decision to give “In the Garden of Iden” a try. I was greatly moved by that scene with Athos under the executioner’s platform in “Twenty Years After” and even though it sounds like I’m going to absolutely hate the ending of “In the Garden of Iden”, the process of getting there will be well worth the pain of the ending (reality bites, so I prefer my fiction to have happy endings).

    By the way, Joe, I’ve been meaning to ask for ages and have always forgotten. Did you name Teyla’s people, the Athosians, after the character Athos in Dumas’ works or is the name just a coincidence? Teyla has that same sense of duty and nobility as Athos and I’ve always wondered.

  11. Joe, someone’s spreading a rumor that Don Davis died. I can’t find anything on the usual sources (incl. his official site), and I thought if someone knew, it would be you. I hope this rumor isn’t true!

  12. Gaaaah! *smacks self in forehead* Sorry Joe, I managed to screw up the coding in my previous post. I didn’t mean to have an entire paragraph in bold type! Drat my bad coding and WordPress’ inability to edit comments. :-p

  13. I just read on Gateworld that Don S. David gone.
    Thank you fol all you’ve been on television, and all my support for family. An important man, an important actor, an important friend is gone today.
    Repose in Peace.

  14. RIP Don S. Davis

    I actually signed on to ask if there could be a possibility of a Stargate Museum. (thinking about it due to MSOL charity auction which is great for those with money, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a Museum where wonderful things like the gate, the replicator wall, Apophis head piece, etc .could be shared for decades to come by us all?

    Then I saw the sad news of Don dying. As hard as it feels for fans, I can only imagine for those of you who personally know him, his friends & his family.

    I believe that what is essential really is invisible to the eye, and what is essential about Don S. Davis is the memories that will keep him a part of us.

    D@mn. I hate this.

  15. Hey Joe

    Hope you’re having fun back home. For me it’s always nice to get back to where you grew up. The familiarity of home makes me feel better, no matter the state of things.

    I was very sad this morning when I heard that Don S. Davis has passed away. I can only imagine the reactions of all the cast and crew at Stargate. Don was very close to you all and you have my deepest sympathies.

    I hope your stay back home is a pleasant and enjoyable one.


  16. I just heard the news about Don S Davis I offer you my condolences I loved General Hammond and I will miss Don always gave me emotion when he played Hammond I am glad I have the DVDs he played an awesome General. Here is the news I got in my email

    “I got this from SG1-Spoilergate. The note from his family:

    Dear Fans and Friends of Don S. Davis,
    So many of you have been touched by not only the work and art of Don
    S. Davis, but by the man himself, who always took the time to be with
    you at the appearances he loved, that it is with a tremendous sense of
    loss I must share with you that Don passed away from a massive heart
    attack on Sunday morning, June 29th. On behalf of his family and wife,
    Ruby, we thank you for your prayers and condolences. A family memorial
    where Don’s ashes will be scattered in the ocean will take place in a
    few weeks, and should you wish to, please make a donation to the
    American Heart Association in Don’s memory.

    Jen the Fangirl”

    I offer my condolences to his family and friends and my fellow fans

  17. Joe M- Once again, many thanks for reccomending an enjoyable read. I have not been disappointed with a single book I’ve read which you’ve suggested so far.

    Ahem, I don’t mean to be a bother, but as a HUGE Austen fan, I feel the need to tell you Jane Eyre was by Charlotte Bronte, who, though an excellent writer, is not at all Jane Austen. 😉

    Kage Baker- First in a series? I’m excited! I loved this book, and though the ending is sad, it’s apparent less than halfway through the book that the monkeyman will die and leave her heartbroken (no other way for it to go in history), so it wasn’t disappointing.

    My only question is about the conception of the book:
    I adore the idea that nothing we can do can change the past; it’s very convenient for mucking about in the past without having to worry about stepping on butterflies.

    But did you come up with the idea of solid unchanging history first and fit the plot of the book within those perameters, or did you need to figure out a way the plot could work, and thus came up with the way timetravel works?

    Thanks for sharing the excellent book; this is definitely a series I’m continuing.

  18. A little difficult to be coherent … I just learned Don S. Davis passed away. Damn. Damn. Damn. Safe passage, you are missed already.

  19. I just read on Gateworld Don Davis passed away. Did you get a chance to know him before he left Stargate? and if so any good stories involving him behind the scenes? I am fairly new to this blog so I don’t know how involved you where with SG-1 back then. He will be missed RIP Don Davis.

  20. Until then – rally the troops and help get the word out!

    Ah, that reminds me. I was at HeroesCon (the Charlotte comic book convention) looking at a booth when behind me I hear, in the tone of voice so often heard in the bible-thumping south, “May I talk to you about Stargate?” My head whipped around so fast I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplash. A girl about 20 had queried a bit of an older man, and was wearing a Continuum shirt and holding Continuum pamphlets. The gent, in the manor of a man trying hard to get away from the bible-thumper, said no thanks, and she went on her merry way. I was so tempted to accost her myself to find out what kind of swag she was giving away.

    So the word is getting out, just not everyone wants to listen. 😀

  21. Must jump back on with this: my thoughts and prayers to all of the family and friends of Don’s. Such sad news. What a wonderful man he was.

  22. Hi Joe – This email has absolutely nothing to do with today’s book review. I just wanted to wish you and all my SG Canadian friends a very Happy Canada Day on July 1st!

  23. Baby? Is Baby your mother’s cat? I know that she has Felix. I have to say that it is not a very happy looking moggie.

    Hope you are enjoying your break. Is Fondy still at home with the dogs?

  24. Joe,

    Didn’t know if you heard about Don Davis. It is currently on Gateworld. He passed away Sunday. Very sad news. Sad year. My husband just lost his dad at the end of May. You should dedicate your next blog to Don! Sounded like a really cool guy!


  25. Joe,

    I haven’t posted in quite a while, but I just wanted to express my sorrow and sympathies to you, the other fans, and especially the family of Don S. Davis. I was very sorry to hear of his loss.


  26. While reminiscing by watching some Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) on You Tube (these guys should be hailed as performing the best version of Throw Your Arms Around Me) I came across this clip.

    Please do not accept this as any representation as to the quality of work that Paul McDermott from DAAS does (particularly the outfit – Paul, what were you thinking?!) however, I couldn’t help but think “Oh crap, they stole the Pegasus Galaxy Gate!”

    I’m off to write up my notes on Iden.

  27. In the Garden of Iden:

    This was my first BOTMC book. I picked a sci-fi book because I’m a hard-core sci-fi girl.

    I wasn’t disappointed. I’m a slow reader and yet I had this book read in no-time. I’m a mom with two girls and always busy doing the Mom thing. I read plenty of books mind you, mostly about green eggs and ham, and the like. It’s ironic that the Company is referred to as Dr. Zeus. Just too close to Dr. Seuss for me not to laugh.

    What I loved about this story was the humor. I whole-heartedly agree with Joe here. It’s my kind of humor. Subtle, even cynical. But damn funny. I did find myself laughing out loud at times.

    The characters seemed very real to me, whether I liked them or not. At first I was put off by Mendoza calling us all mortal monkeys. Then she met Nicholas. It makes Mendoza much more likeable that she falls in love with a mortal. She loses her harshness. She becomes more human and a little less super-human.

    I thought it was clearly shown how these immortals can suffer, fear, want, etc., when they cannot die. I truly believed and understood that life for the immortals is difficult, to say the least. For the first time in my life, I no longer wish to be immortal. I feel just as sorry for the immortals as they do for me (or would if they knew me).

    Mendoza may be immortal and highly intelligent, yet she is painfully young. Her lack of experience allows me to forgive her for her mistakes and harsh outlook on the rest of human kind. And when she wonders, “Are we really good for people?” I wondered along with her. It’s something that, for me, doesn’t really get answered. After all, I believe monsters hide in the dark. Since the Company, Dr. Zeus, is an enigma that no one seems to fully understand, I wonder how good can it be? Is there another agenda? A devious one? This thought alone, makes me want to read more of the series.

    I am also wondering: what if Steven Spielberg DOES come out with a remake of Metropolis in 2015? That would be really freaky.

    Thank you, Ms. Baker for taking the time to stop by Joe’s blog for all of us!

    Trish 😀

  28. Joe, will you be attending the services for Don? Will you please let as many there know that he will be missed by those of us that didn’t really know him, but felt like we did. What a gentle soul and a great loss.

  29. Okay, first of all, I don’t know if everyone knows this, and if you do, I’m sorry for repeating it, and if you don’t, I’m sorry to be giving you the news, but Don S. Davis died yesterday of a massive heart attack. I just wanted to say, he was a great actor and I’m sorry I wont be able to see him at the upcoming convention in Chicago. Joe, any fond memories of Mr. Davis, or did you spend much time with him?

    And now, on with my impressions of In the Garden of Iden. Being a sci fi fan and a history buff, this book gave me the best of both of my obsessions. I am definitely going to be reading the rest of the series as soon as I can get my hands on them. I enjoyed the different take on the time travel dilemma, and I also noticed the fact that the characters seem to believe that they are changing small events in history when in reality those events would have happened anyway, because they were always the ones to do it.

    I enjoyed Mendoza’s youthful take on all the goings-on during the story, and especially thought her initial aversion to humans and their “violent” nature was a very teen-feeling viewpoint. My favourite character by far was Joseph, though. He seemed like the perfect uncle (as opposed to father). Always acting fearless and always poking fun at himself, and others at times, it gave his moments of serious action or discussion that much more potency.

    I agree with Joe that at first I was left feeling disappointed at how the book ended, mostly because I felt there was so much more to explore. At the time I finished reading it, I didn’t know there were more books, now that I do, I am happy with how the story ended, and I found the scene at the cocktail bar amusing, despite myself. “What would the Daughter of Heaven prefer?… Might this slave suggest the margarita?”

    I don’t know, picturing that scene had me laughing.

    And that will be all on my review, I have to go off and think up of good questions to ask the wonderful author.

  30. Don S. Davis who played the character of General George Hammond passed away yesterday, June 29th. He was 65.

    A kind hearted gentleman who loved to meet his fans, Mr. Davis was a man who was loved by everyone who knew him, both people within and outside of the Stargate universe. He will be missed.

    God speed, Don.

  31. “In fact, were I to compare it to any other work, I’d liken it to a futuristic Jane Eyre. Like Austen, Baker does a beautiful job of immersing the reader in period detail, offering up a very convincing setting complete with equally convincing characters, possessed of a charm and subtle humor that draws the reader in from the get-go.”

    Austen or Bronte??? Austen did not write Jane Eyre.

    I enjoyed your comments yesterday. It seemed almost like a stream of consciousness, that you were thinking aloud. I’m sure it did elicit some panic. I rarely read anything else but Hewlett’s blog.

    I could not find the book around here, but sounds like one I should order online……

  32. I discovered Kage Baker browsing in a bookstore and she’s a rare find! (It didn’t hurt that the cover art on her novels is very beautiful and intriguing.) When you’re a long-time science fiction reader like I am, it’s difficult to choose among all the new talent and sometimes you just give up and curl up with an old favorite. But once I read _In the Garden of Iden_, I went on to read all her Company novels and although her first is still my favorite, they are all a wonderful mixture of humor, adventure, poignant romance and historical facts.

    I love the way she uses anachronisms to highlight the humorous parts. Mendoza is by far one of the best female characters in science-fiction and the time-transcending relationship with Nicholas is fascinating. I also like her relationship with Joseph. I love Connie Willis’s work also and definitely see the connection, especially the wry, tongue-in-cheek humor. Mendoza also reminds me of Joanna Russ’s heroine Alyx, another time-traveling, genetically-enhanced toughie with a soft heart.

  33. Just like to join the chorus and offer my condolences on the passing of Don S. Davis. He was a great man, a great actor, and a great artist. He will be missed by all of us, in more ways than just one.

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Davis.

  34. While it would be awesome and have nice symmetry if Atlantis goes 10 years, I would be happy with a Star Trek-run of 7 if we can get it. Anyways, thinking of that got me thinking of this, since Stargate is a franchise, and it sounds like Universe is likely to be realized at some point in the coming years, could you ever see yourself and the other producers ending the show with the Wraith winning? Say there was a big full on war and the expedition had to destroy/re-submerge Atlantis and retreat back to the Milky Way? Doing this knowing that the over-all story would still have a chance to be expanded on in other series/films?

  35. Your posting yesterday made me very sad, Joe.

    And today, upon hearing that Don Davis passed away, I am truly sad.

    I am hoping that your acerbic wit will return by the end of the week and cheer me up.

  36. Just want to join in with my thoughts about the sadness with Don’s passing. He seemed a great person from what everyone who knew him said. It is very sad news and I think it would be a good idea if you could dedicate your next blog entry to him if that’s possible.

    My thoughts with him and everyone in his family.

  37. Just read Don S. Davis passed away yesterday. A Great actor, and friend to his fan. My condolences to his family. He Will be missed.

    Rest in Peace Mr. Davis, your journey is just beginning

  38. I am crushed by the news of Don S. Davis’ passing. He was such a joy to watch on SG-1. My condolences to his family.

  39. Don S Davis – he had a smile that would always make you smile back.

    Thoughts are with his family and a big virtual hug to all of you who knew him as part of the Stargate family (squeeeze).

  40. I did not know about Don until after I posted earlier. I am so saddened by the news. What a wonderful actor and artist. He just seemed like a truly lovely man. My thoughts go to his family and friends.

  41. Various have already mentioned it (C Bronte wrote Jane Eyre not Austin – for shame!).

    I must say my first impression of In The Garden of Iden “huh? god this book is just weird!.”

    I liked her whole time travel theory but found the process to make them immortal unexplained, like I had missed something? – what were they doing to them?? in what way were they “improved” (also I always assumed Immortal to mean – through various other fantasy novels – that an immortal could die of means other than natural or old age, ie: murdered etc… but thats neither here nor there, it took a while for me to adjust but i did so i made it through the book). I liked the whole interaction with history (Tudor England is of particular interest to me) and, as an Australian, the fact that The Company’s HQ and learning centre was set up in the Outback was highly amusing to me for some strange reason.

    But I just didn’t like the book. I didn’t hold me like other books can and I’m not sure if it was my general apathy for Mendoza and Nicholas or what.

    In the beginning, the author gives us so much information about the Company that is really very interesting but really irrelevant because you never hear anything about it after that (but I assume this would be covered in the following books?? but after this one, there is no chance i’m going to find out) – but I found that I was more interested in The Company and its policies than I was about Mendoza’s individual story.

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but Mendoza et al does not actually Time Travel – she just exists in her own time onwards working for the Company??

  42. I am very sorry to hear that Don S. Davis past away on Sunday. I remember the number of fans at his table at the 2004 Gatecon and how he took time to speak to each person about his acting and his painting.

    On to Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden. This isn’t the first BOTM book I’ve read (thanks for the introduction to John Scalzi). Joe, you should be asking for a kickback from the authors you pick. Not only have I purchased all of John Scalzi’s books, but I’ve also purchased another five of the Company books since reading In the Garden of Iden and will definitely end up buying all The Company books and then try Ms. Baker’s fantasy books.

    My questions for Ms. Baker are did the whole series develop at once or did new characters demand more time from you once your introduced them (I’m thinking specifically of the residents in Mendoza in Hollywood)? And did you have the whole mortals versus immortals tension when you started writing the Company books or did it evolve as you wrote more of the series. I also must applaud the way you show the inevitable progression of “political correctness” in the future. Yech!

    And my vote for a second book to read after In the Garden of Iden would be Sky Coyote. Not only is the humor more pronounced, but I love the way Ms. Baker makes Dr. Zeus more evil and at the same time more pathetic.

  43. Dear Joe,

    I just read about Don S. Davis’s passing. I would just like to send my greatest sympathy to his family and all those who knew him.

  44. My heartfelt condolences go out to Mr. Don S. Davis’ family and friends and all who knew him. From all that I have heard and read about the man, he was a treasure and a gift to this world. I wish I had had the privilege of meeting him.

    Hugs to you, Joe, and to the rest of the folks there at Bridge Studios who knew and loved Mr. Davis, as well as to fellow fans.

    God speed, Mr. Davis.

  45. I thought I was just jumping on to read the latest post and comments. That’s how I found out the sad news about Don.

    He was such a wonderful actor and played a great leader on Stargate SG1. He never played the role stereotypically. He gave the role great warmth and strength.

    My favourite Don S. Davis moment was the “Yeeee-haaaw” moment when Hammond flew in on the Death Glider during Into the Fire. That was classic! I also fondly remember him as Scully’s father on The X-Files.

    Condolences to his family. He will be missed.


  46. Joe,

    Just read a few details about “Remnants”. Hope they’re true because yes! Giving Sheppard another shot (literally) at Kolya is right and fair (after the disaster that was that episode of which we do not speak). Great, great idea.



  47. Joe,

    Is there any chance we can postpone today’s discussion a few days? I can’t focus since hearing the news about Don S. Davis. I’m so sad. So, can you please let us have a few days.



  48. I’ll confess to being a newbie to reading Sci Fi.

    I started with Consider Phlebas over our Summer, then moved through all of the Douglas Adams’, started a Terry Pratchett (but I think a bad move coming from Douglas Adams) so In the Garden of Iden was an introduction to another Sci Fi author – and finding myself rather spoilt with the choices.

    I read on the go. While standing waiting for a coffee, waiting for a client to walk into a meeting, standing in a queue, so initially the use of the older style English took me a little bit to get my head around. It wasn’t difficult to read, but when you are reading in 5 minute bursts, it was taking a few paragraphs to get my mind into. I continued to read despite this so I knew the book had piqued my interest.

    The premise that you cannot change history was interesting. However, I did move onto Sky Coyote after finishing In the Garden of Iden and I think the motivations behind this philosophy is explored in more detail and it isn’t as cut and dry as it first appears.

    Immortals and their knowledge fascinate me. I used to listen to the experiences of my Grandparents and be left speechless at what they had seen in their comparatively short lifetime and wanted to know more. When you have an immortal as old as Joseph, when he speaks you wonder what multitude of experiences he is drawing from. So as well as reading the story on the page, his character allowed me to take my mind to what else he had seen considering his age.

    Mendoza’s attitude towards mortals I found rather close to the mark – although that’s just an opinion. Humans have the potential to achieve greatness, but we also have the capacity for imposing such incredible suffering. Not that this is any revelation, but it is pleasing to see self-examination of ourselves through another species/type of human so prevalent in Sci Fi.

    As mentioned by some others, you knew how this book had to end. And as I kept on reading I was trying so hard to see a change in the plot that would lead to all sunny days and roses (I’m a romantic at heart – I still watch Romeo and Juliet and hope it is going to end well. Glutton for punishment.) but realised the inevitability of it all.

    It would be difficult to watch humans make the same mistakes over and over and you not be able to do anything about it. You can see where Mendoza develops her attitude from. To have her first true mortal experience end the way it did would just cement her pre-conceived ideas of what mortals were about. She did appear to take away with her some of the good aspects of being mortal so it wasn’t all a loss on the learning curve for her character.

    I enjoyed In the Garden of Iden more after reading Sky Coyote. Reading the next book from the viewpoint of Joseph brought some clarity to his actions in Iden in how he treated Mendoza.

    The questions I have for Kage Baker:
    1. Is it an equal interest in both History and Sci Fi that motivated you to write this series of books?
    2. Why do so many Sci Fi authors have a fascination with Warner Brothers cartoons (and I’m putting my hand up as a big fan of them)
    3. Do you find it difficult to switch from one character to another when writing each book? Ie: Mendoza for Iden, Joseph for Sky Coyote?

    Thank you for taking the time to read our comments and questions.

  49. Like everyone else, I am saddened to hear of the loss of Don S Davis. My condolences to his family and others who knew him personally.
    Onto “In the Garden of Iden.” My overall impression is that it is a good book, but…
    I’m still having trouble defining why I have any reservations about this book. I liked it well enough to know I’ll try at least one more Company novel. And I didn’t have any trouble in sitting down to read it, unlike some other BotM club selections. I was intrigued at the whole concept of the Company, of rescuing doomed children to use as agents. The sheer audacity of setting up a system to collect treasures of the past for use in the future is awe inspiring.
    The one thing that seriously jarred me at the beginning of the novel, and that I couldn’t shake, was the early explanation of time travel. Ok, I can buy into the “you can’t change history” approach. But the caveat “But this law can only be observed to apply to recorded history”. My first thought was, if someone writes a journal noting something, but the journal is lost 200 years later, does that mean that its not really recorded history? If the Company wants to change history, do they in fact simply send agents to remove documentation so they can modify history in the way they want?
    Another thing that gave me pause was the “supersoldiering” of Mendoza and the other agents. Perhaps its because I’ve been consuming too many other stories of “augmented’ humans. I did find that enhancing the sense of smell as well as IQ and other physical attributes was a nice touch.
    I enjoyed the time frame that Ms. Kage elected to set the story in. And the news reports picked up by radio to keep the agents informed of (relatively) local happenings. The insertion of the team into England, and Sir Walter’s home. I actually enjoyed that the story unfolded within the tight limits of the household. I found the English characters to ring true, as I did Mendoza herself. Ms. Kage balanced perfectly the intense genius of the altered Spanish orphan, while capturing her underlying immaturity.
    While I wasnt suprised at the physical relationship that developed between Nicholas and Mendoza, I was a bit curious as why the Company didn’t deal with that matter before putting people out in the field. I half expected that sexual training would have been part and parcel of the schooling, rather than letting a new agent out in the world, to have their hormones kick in in an uncontrolled envirement. But I also enjoyed watching the buildup to the inevitable tragic ending of that relationship. And I found Nicholas’ fate rather touching, as he tried till the end to “save” Mendoza.
    I did find her run through the night to reach him to be a bit jarring, another reason I dont rate this book as highly as it might deserve.
    One thought about Nicholas. For some reason, when I first read his description, I flashed to The Three Musketeers and the character of Felden. This imagery stuck with me for quite awhile, until Nicholas’ background was brought out.
    Other stray comments. Loved Sir Walter, and his “modifications”. It felt right that the poor man would end up running off to take a second chance at grabbing for the brass ring. And knowing how bad his timing was. Still, the choice of Achilles isn’t easy. A shorter brilliant life, or a long, boring, unremembered one? The Company, and “Uncle Zeus”. (I will not comment on this pun, or the one in the book title). I was hoping for a few more clues on the background of this organization, and one of the questions that came to mind was have there ever been any adopted agents who rebelled against what the Company was. But I will look to the other books to see if that issue is addressed.
    As I’ve said before, not one of the BotM club selections I’d place near the top of the list, but netherless a decent read. I’ll have some questions for Ms. Kage either tomorrow or Wednesday.
    Thank you Mr. M. for you time and consideration, and for arranging for the opportunity for us to “talk’ to Ms. Kage in this forum.

  50. Hi, Joe. I haven’t said anything in forever, but I’ve been reading faithfully. This is the first time I’ve had a question or comment somebody else didn’t already pose better than I could.

    I read In the Garden of Iden last week or so, whenever they posted the free internet version on the SF blog, and there were a few things that impressed me so much that they immediately come to mind when remembering the book.

    The first, since it was at the beginning, is her amazingly convincing portrayal of the thought processes and reactions of a five-year-old, without resorting to oversimplicity or mere obtuseness. I am particularly sensitive to good writing from little kids’ perspectives because I tried to do it myself one year for NaNoWriMo. I certainly can’t remember much about what I was like when I was five, and I’m only 21; however, everything I do remember, including being manipulatively misunderstood and then questioning my own interpretation of the facts because of the consistent leading questions, is represented with grand clarity for the perspective of an adult. Against the backdrop of the Inquisition, it makes for a really moving characterization.

    Another thing that struck me was the representation of scientific specialists as obsessed with their limited field. As a student at a school historically saturated with the hard sciences, I can recognize Nef’s single-minded devotion to ungulates and Mendoza’s botany-centric worldview as typical. However, the way Baker brings them out of it, love story and bildungsroman and fashion interests and all, makes a case for anybody’s ability to function in the world. Admittedly, her characters were superhuman, but there’s still a certain self-identifiability with them, they’re characterized so well.

    I really wanted to know more about The Company and Dr. Zeus. The shadowy omnipotent corporation is always interesting to me; I’ve been mainlining Heroes since I bought the first season on DVD, and I have the same impulse with their Company. What’s their purpose? Who’s in charge? Why not be more transparent? I suppose this is the desired response.

    I was also curious about the infrastructure supporting the time-travelers. There were ships, such as took children to Queensland, but then there were some implications of movement underground? The stations alone seem like they must be worth their own books. And her immersive treatment of the period aspects of life make me want to read about Mendoza in the native-occupied New World. I’ve always been a sucker for Latin American Indians.

    I had more thoughts right when I finished the book, but these are the ones that stuck around for a week. Maybe I’ll think of some more before she swings by. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and was glad to have finally had one coincide with your BOTM list.

  51. I’m so very sorry about Don S Davies’ untimely death please pass on our condolences to all who knew and loved him.

    I’m sure there will be an extra celestial body shinning brightly in the firmaments tonight.


  52. I too wish to extend my condolences to the friends and family of Don Davis. It is always terrifying to lose someone so abruptly (I can personally empathize).

    On to the book review…

    First thing I want to say is that I enjoyed this book immensely. It sucked me in with the first paragraph. I loved the way she clearly elaborated the time traveler exposition in the first chapter which lets the rest of the story flow uninhibited by constant backtracking.

    I’m always a sucker for a little social commentary in my sci-fi and I found the comparison between extreme science and extreme religion to be fascinating. Both Nicholas and Mendoza had been deeply indoctrinated which should have built a unbreachable wall between them, but they were able to look past that for a while, and yet it was that dogma that eventually drove them apart. They had deluded themselves into believing the other would come around making it impossible for them to move beyond that romping sexual stage of their relationship.

    And the whole cyborg thing, but I’m sure that was unimportant.

    My favorite part of the book, without a doubt, was Friar John’s speech. I was rolling in the floor in laughing. It was simultaneously sweet and horrifying. If only all men would be so thoughtful and selfless when deflowering virgins.

    My question for Ms. Baker concerns her use of anachronistic speech throughout the novel. What led to your decision to use it? Were you concerned that it might pull the reader out of the story? How did you draw the distinction between the jarring, over the top speech (exemplified by everything said by Joseph) and the casual, fluid speech (i.e. the conversations between Nicholas and Mendoza)?

  53. Such sad, sad news. I was truely shocked. Don S. Davis was a wonderful actor and from what I’ve heard a wonderful man. May he rest in peace.
    The SIU Salukies send our condolences.


  54. Saddened to hear about Mr. Davis. He was a familiar face, not just in SG, but in so many other shows over the years, and he will certainly be missed.

    My condolences to all who knew and loved him.


  55. Avoiding Stargate talk just now, altho I’d like to thank you for the explination re your mood on the day of the “gloomy” post.

    As for Iden: I really enjoyed the book. I, myself, was not disappointed in the ending. Nicholas and his religious fervor would only have destroyed Mendoza in the end, making her doubt her life and her purpose.

    If I was to meet the author and ask questions, I would have only one, at this point. “Why did you choose to go with cyborgs as opposed to full androids? Was it to keep a human connection to the world they were supposed to help save/preserve?…or to add that human fallibility to the characters?”

    Hope the rest of your hiatus goes well. Just finished the Etched City today (it blew me away!) and will be starting the next round of reading tomorrow.

    Ja ne!

  56. Hi Joe

    First of all, so sad to hear the news about Don Davis. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

    Secondly, thank you for yesterday’s contemplative post. As much as we would like to see Stargate go on forever, the reality is that TPTB must make decisions based on financial viability.

    As far as In the Garden of Iden — I LOVED it! I love time travel stories, and also historical novels, so this was a WIN-WIN for me. And I’ve just finished reading the rest of the company novels, except for the two anthologies (they are next). Sky Coyote is an even bigger hoot than the first book, although I noticed the books seemed to get considerably darker as you went further into the series.

    I won’t get spoilerish for those who haven’t read beyond the first book, but I would like to know if Ms. Baker created her own “Temporal Concordance” to keep up with all the characters and the convoluted plotting with changing times and locations.

    Joe, I can’t believe you didn’t mention that the immortals get buzzed from chocolate! I can just imagine them crashing your chocolate party. 🙂

    Thank you for another great recommendation.

  57. Hey Joe,

    I’m sure you’ve heard the news about Don S. Davis. Hammond of Texas has fallen in battle. Truly is a sad day for the Stargate Franchise. My condolences to his family. He truly was a great and important part of the SG universe.



  58. I, too, will miss Mr. Davis as well. I loved him as Scully’s dad on X-Files and as General Hammond on Stargate.

    Chev, the “Yeeee haaaw” scene was my favorite as well.

    My thoughts are with his family.

  59. So sad to hear about Don S. Davis! He was taken too soon…condolences to his family and friends – he will be missed… 🙁

    – Dana

  60. Joe, thanks for your positive words regard the Stargate and the Atlantis franchises…in reality, we all do our part. You guys continue with outstanding productions and we watch and buy stuff. It’s called teamwork.

    Don’s passing is sad – we were fortunate to have Don visit Paul Brown’s Legends warehouse during the Legendary Gathering last year and he was just super. Always smiling, always willing to chat with any and everyone; a true gentleman and wonderful person and he is a Legend with the Stargate franchise. Sigh.

    I really enjoyed The Garden of Iden and now can look forward to more of The Company Books. I was not prepared to be “grabbed” so quickly. The storyline was very nicely woven with the characters.

    Thank you, Joe, for this recommendation. And, thanks to Kage Baker to field our comments and questions.

    Questions for Kage Baker
    1. Early references to the people who bought the young girl, was a comment that “he, …likes young girls..” and this kinda rang a bell with the recent events of the FLDS – polygamy.
    Why were children sought by the adult Mendozas?
    The text implied the adult Mendozas wanted the child for sacrifice; or was there another reason?

    2. The child (Mendoza) could not remember her or her family name, yet she was adamant stating she was not a Mendoza. Yet, she ended up with that name.
    What was your thought process for giving the child the name?

    3. Given the assumed normal morals for that “time,” I wondered why she was never taken to task for her relationship with Nicholas which became widely shared.

    4. Did you intend to write a series of books when you started In the Garden of Iden? Or, did you decide at some point later?

    5. Perhaps my sense of “timing” is warped, but as I read, I had the feeling that there was a sense of urgency as the operative Mendoza told her story. It comes from the very beginning. Like she had to get the story out before…something stopped her. Of course I have not read the other books…so, may I ask if this was intentional? Or, just a case of my perception?

    The title was interesting – perceived a play on the words Iden vs Eden; yet it was appropriate as that garden had elements from which a number of things would again become available instead of being lost/dead. There was also the temptation in the garden as she became entranced by Nicholas.

    When she began her relationship with Nicholas, the specifics of her being tarnished seemed a little out of sync considering the normal for that time morals. It became full open knowledge and yet she was never taken to task. The secrecy was totally removed.

    It was nice to have some occasional grounding – when there would be a reference to the reader, out of the blue when the “story” would ask a question or make a comment to the reader. Much like some movies where the on screen actor turns to the camera (audience) and says or does something that is not in the scene of the plot and totally only for the audience to hear.

    I do not have a conscious or rational reason but I was a little annoyed that the character’s name was Mendoza – from the lady who was not her mother but who bought her from her family. In early part she was adamant she was not a Mendoza; then to have that name tagged onto her was not anticipated.
    Realize she could not remember her own name or family name.

    This particular book did not seem complete. Especially because this was her first assignment as an operative and while her first task was done, her life was not. And, the many tasks of the Company were not. Not enough information…not yet. So now I want to discover what comes next…whether she can survive the heartbreak, etc., whether she matures, what else is in store for her to do, and the other adventures.

    At first my reaction to the “end” was – oh man, there is so much left “untold.” It is great there is a series of books…now to get them.

    Thanks again for joining with us to discuss your book.

  61. Hi Joe,

    I hope it’s okay that we’re gathering on your blog to offer our condolences to the family of Don S. Davis. He was immensely talented, a real class act, and the world is a better place because he was in it. RIP.

  62. Hi, Joe.

    My condolences to you all and the cast and crew/staff of Stargate on the passing of Don S. Davis.


  63. Joe:

    Since there is really not much on the news about Mr. Davis, if you could share with us comments from the cast and crew about Don S. Davis’ passing, it would be greatly appreciated.

    I will always remember those pictures of him in your office, all dressed up in his military uniform, looking pleased about being, “back in the saddle”. What a wonderful man he was.

    My best wishes to you, the other members of the Stargate family, his friends, and of course, his wife, Ruby.

    Patricia (AG)

  64. My condolences to Mr. Davis’s family. I am truley saddened for their loss. My prayers are with them. Jami

  65. Very sad to hear about Don S. Davis passing. There was something so huggable about him, no matter role he played.

    My sympathy to his family and friends.

  66. Dear Joe,

    I’m sorry to add to the interruption of your book discussion, but I felt compelled to add my deepest condolences to you and the rest of the cast and crew of Bridge.

    Mr. Davis was a wonderful character actor who was always a joy to watch on screen. As I fan, I will miss him greatly and watching “Continuum” next month will be extra bittersweet.

    My sadness pales of course to the grief of his friends and coworkers who knew him as a man, a husband, a proud veteran, and talented artist.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you as well as Mrs. Ruby Davis and the rest of Don’s family.

  67. Joe,

    I would like to add my voice to the chorus of blog readers who are offering their condolences on the passing of Don S. Davis. I loved everything I ever saw him in; all of the guest roles on shows from MacGuyver to NCIS, a coach in “A League of Their Own” and, of course, Stargate. He had a warmth about him that permeated whatever he was doing and drew the viewer in.

    I don’t know if you plan on attending the memorial, but if you do, please pass our best wishes to his family.

    For Don: May you be in heaven forty years before the devil knows you’re gone.

    Thank you again, Joe, for keeping this blog.


  68. Hey Joe!

    Thanks for the birthday shout-out! I send a slice of virtual cake to you. 🙂

    I’m real sorry to hear about the passing of Don S. Davis. He was a brilliant actor and will surely be missed by many. 🙁

    This month’s book of the month sounds very interesting, I’ll look around to see about reading it. I hope the local library has it!

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  69. I’m betting I’m in the minority in not being crazy about “In the Garden of Iden”. To me it wasn’t really science fiction so much as use of science fiction to write period romance from a modern point of view.

    That said, the premise is great, and I love the idea that right now someone is secretly saving polar bears from extinction, even if it means whoever they are, they’re going to own the world some day.

    But I somehow didn’t find the main plot compelling, in spite of the great characters, humor, and bits of sci fi that came through. I guess I’m not one to mix my sci fi with my historical reading. I kept waiting for some bouncing tennis shoes or a chase scene or something. 🙂

    I loved “Plotters and Shooters” so it’s just a question of my taste or my mood, not Baker’s skill. 🙂

    I would ask Ms. Baker to explain more about what parts of the immortals are still human, though perhaps that’s more explained later in the series.

  70. Just saw the news on Gateworld, and offer my condolences to all who knew him. For many of us fans, and especially those who attended conventions, he was a friend and almost fatherly figure to us. He will sorely be missed – may he rest in peace.

  71. Hi Joe,

    Although I’m sure I don’t even need to mention this, as it is probably something that will happen anyways, but I’d like to voice my support for dedicating the 100th episode of SGA to Don, as everyone who has been a part of the Stargate universe has Mr. Davis to thank for everything, as without Don there would be no Stargate now.

    As I said, I’m sure that you would be dedicating it to him anyways, but I just think it would be a great gesture.

    Also, if Continuum has yet to go gold, dedicating that to him would be wonderful, heck, dedicate them both to him!

    Let his family know that he will be in the prayers of thousands if not millions of fans.

  72. My condolences to Mrs. Davis and all of you at the Stargate Franchise… The news of Don’s passing has saddened me greatly. I will miss him a lot. While I am grateful for his body of work, I can’t image a world without Don S. Davis. My deepest sympathies go out to his family.

    Patricia Lee

  73. I’m very hopeful that your blog dedication of a few months back did the trick ( 😉 ) as I am feeling very positive about getting that job, though nothing official yet.

    *note, initially unintended “Consider Phlebas” rant follows, sorry for being out of context of the current book discussions.*

    I haven’t been participating in the BOTMC due mostly to time, though I did pick up “Consider Phlebas” at your recommendation. I must say, I can’t understand what you see in it. I couldn’t even finish it, and I have a firm policy of giving a book a good solid chance before giving up on it – at very least, a full quarter of the book. But chapter after chapter the plot never seemed to bind together into anything cohesive, and the whole story just seemed to be this one smart-mouthed (and not very likable) character getting into – and out of – one improbable situation after another with nothing connecting them. It *might* have made mildly entertaining episodic tv (one could argue, though I won’t, that SGA matches the above discription on many points; SGA is clearly far superior and maintains unifying elements) – except for the fact that each situation/chapter is more gruesome than the last. Was I really entirely offbase in being utterly put off and revolted by the fact that the author opens the scene on a man being drowned in sewage and rapidly progresses to being forced to witness cannibalism of the worst kind (graphically described, of course)? It might have been disturbing had it been presented differently, but it wasn’t even that; there was nothing visceral in the disgust. It was merely obscene, like the soft porn that flashes at you in banner ads when you click the wrong link, but isn’t well-enough produced to actually stir any reaction other than “why did anyone bother to make that picture?” Had the author devoted more early time in the story to exploring the culture and the politics of his universe, Banks *might* have kept me. But most of it I found to be just gratuitous grossness. I think I’ll have to read back through your posts and see if I can find where you’ve described why you liked it, because I’ve got to be missing something here.

    But I digress. Just had to vent a little. The thing won’t even sell at our United Way book sale at work.

    Back to why I initially posted –
    I was wanting to ask whether there might be any chance of a Gene Wolfe book showing up as a BOTM club selection. I know from previous posts that you’ve read and liked some of Wolfe’s work. I’m currently reading the old collection “Storeys from the Old Hotel” and waiting for my copy of “Latro in the Mist” to arrive from Amazon so that I can re-read it before going on to “Soldier of Sidon”. I read Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete a while back, but want to reread them before going on.

    Did you know you can read one of his more recent short stories, Memorare, for free online? Give it a read – it’s great stuff. Being Catholic myself and having grown up with the memorare brought that story right in for me.

    Anyhoo, off to return to lurkdom now. Hope you don’t mind the whole Phlebas rant too much. Just had to express my bafflement there. 🙂 Goodnight and enjoy your trip to Montreal!

  74. Darn, Joe. How can I comment about the book when there’s just so much going on today? First, Don Davis’ tragic death has stunned all the fans, and, then, some of Martin Gero’s comments on Gateworld have caused a firestorm of controversy on the message boards. His statements blaming SCB for Keller’s lukewarm reception by fans and critics have outraged SCB and annoyed those who weren’t particularly crazy about Beckett but also find Keller whiny, annoying and unrealistic.

    Might I suggest to Marty G that when a character on any TV show does poorly, it is not the fault
    of the audience? Hmm. Just a thought.

  75. I am so sorry to hear about Don’s death…still can’t believe it… all of my thoughts go out to his family and of course his Stargate family…a very sad day indeed…


  76. Hay Joe,
    I would just like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Don S. Davis. He will truly be missed.


  77. Sad to hear that Don S Davis is no longer with us. But he will live on with the many recorded images he had make.


  78. I too offer my condolences for Don S. Davis. He was a treasured member of the Stargate community. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.


  79. No words about Don S. Davis? This should be a lesson for you not to take everything for granted. rick isn’t getting any younger, please solve the damn ship before it’s too late…

  80. Coucou Joseph!!

    Sayer le mois de juillet commnce!! en éspérant qu’il nous approrte pleins de bonheurs!!

    Yéé! c’est la premiére fois que je poste le premier commentaire d’un de vos article^^!

    Jespert que vous allez passer une excellente journée, Gros Bisou..a ce soir avec un nouvelle article =)

  81. in wake of the rescent news about Don S Davis, will an episode of season 5 deadicated to his memory??

  82. Hi again Mr M.

    I just heard about Mr Davis. I, like all here, am very saddened by the news of his passing. I think I speak for many when I say that for me he will always be Gen Hammond. The voice and face of authourity, the gentle paternal hand guiding the SGC, never giving up and never leaving a man behind. My condolences to his wife and family at this very difficult time.

    God’s Speed Mr Davis.


  83. Just heard about Don S. Davis. =[ Condolences to his family and friends from the bottom of my heart.

    Will be donating to the American Heart Association later today.

  84. Until then – rally the troops and help get the word out! Give ’em a damn good reason to pick us up!

    The most difficult thing is that, by living outside the US, one isn’t able to impact the ratings. I can watch Season 3 in Australia (we are that far behind), buy the DVDs. I’ve even registered with Hey!Nielsen. But we still don’t count as much as the US viewing public. I can’t download Atlantis from iTunes or Amazon – I wouldn’t even blink at purchasing an entire season from them. It’s frustrating.

    Cheers, Chev

  85. Je viens d’apprendre la mort de Don S. Davis : je suis vraiment desole de l’apprendre. C’etait un grand acteur et artiste a ses heures perdues. Il sera souvenu comme un grand homme, je presente toutes mes condoleances a sa famille et a l’equipe de Stargate qui a travaille avec lui. Ses cendres seront dispersees dans l’ocean, qu’il repose en paix.

  86. Hi again Mr M

    RE: Book Report

    @Sulien : *doffs cap* Hello fellow Dumas-Disciple! Thank you for your kind comments re: the report. Yes, I am a total Dumas Fan and make a habit of collecting as much Dumas in English as I can (and some French if I can find the time) Monte Cristo is my Number 1 book, though the Musketeer’s Cycle of 5 books comes a close second. On that front, you may have heard that an old text recently came to light “The Last Chevalier” which has just been published in paperback form. I think this book is Book 2 in another cycle, but hey! It’s Dumas. Not sure of your location, but if in Paris, check out Chateau Monte Cristo (featuring all things Dumas) it’s a little outside the main city. My bro and I did a whole “Dumas Sightseeing” (self organised) trip a couple of years back, featuring all the locations discussed in Monte Cristoin Paris. We also plan a similar trip for Rome for ’09!!

    @Thornyrose: Yet another Dumas Fan!! The more the merrier!!


  87. I woke up to such sad news today.

    My condolences to all who knew him.

    May you rest in peace, and thank you for all those wonderful years you played Hammond of Texas for us, Don!


  88. I just wanted to say I’m sorry for the loss of Don S. Davis. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. This is very sad news. I just told my mom and she started to cry. 🙁 Now when I see Continuum it will be with a heavy heart. The Stargate family has certainly lost someone great.

    We’ll all miss him terribly!


  89. Hey Joe.
    I just wanted to pop in to send my deepest and sincerest condolences to you and the cast and crew of SG1 and SGA on the loss of Don S Davis.
    A few years ago I lost 3 members of my family in a spate of 3 weeks. It almost feels like history is repeating itself with Don being the second loss in as many weeks.
    I had the utmost pleasure in meeting Don last year and I have to say he was one of the most charming and kind men I have ever met.
    Please take care and stay safe. ~ chelle db

  90. I just saw it, so sad about Don S Davis, our condolences to family & friends like yourself. I find myself thinking about his voice. His performances were always great, and he made for a very familiar face & voice all these years (first saw him in Twin Peaks) that I will now immensely miss from future productions. RIP and will cherish my copy of Continuum even more.

    Perhaps this news was why you posted such a blue note yesterday so I sincerely apologize if my remarks came off harsh. At the moment I’m finding it difficult to focus on the positive too.

    The show called LIFE must go on regardless of budget so here’s some thoughts about The Garden of Iden.

    The best thing about this book is that I got it free from (thanks very much!)
    The worst part was reading the flowery period language, way too much for me. I had a very hard time focusing on the main story of immortal cyborgs’ dealing with human love in Tudor/ pre-Elizabethan England. As for how the story started, I thought the idea of Dr. Zeus was pretty diabolical, humans recruited and refitted as cyborgs to eternally “save pieces” for future $$ company benefit, and the time travel thing wasn’t too bad, that history is “fixed” and can’t go forward; but again, story focus on the time period & lust, for me, buried the sci-fi aspect. Of all the religious atrocities to my knowledge the Inquisition is one I loathe most and was hard to read. Once she was rescued I just could not get any sympathy for Mendoza’s personal issues, and little sympathy for Nicholas and the actions of the people therein as it has all been unpleasantly hashed before. I pretty much disliked her two co-workers (Joe & Nefertiri) as well as Sir Walter & the Iden bunch. However I did like the wisecracks, addiction to chocolate, that Nicholas stuck to his guns in the Protestant vs Catholic fiasco, appreciated that Jews got a lot of mention, and liked the main opinion espoused by the cyborgs about organized religion in general & xenophobia.
    The part of the story I liked best was the end, when Mendoza finally got posted to her desired Aztec/Mayan area, pre-conquest. Nevermind the sci-fi now, I find myself wondering what she thought of those religions, since she thought Christianity was barbaric, and if she was able to witness the Spanish/Christian destruction of culture. I’m told, however, that the next book about the Americas (Sky Coyote) is Joe, not Mendoza, so I’ll probably skip it and the next one (Hollywood?!). Other books in this Company series that look interesting enough as SCI-FI, isGraveyard Game and beyond; Dr, Zeus & cyborgs were interesting enough that I’ll probably check them out sometime.
    I can’t think of any questions at the moment, so best wishes Kage and thanks for stopping by. Thanks Mr M for inviting her here.

  91. Up to my ears in wedding preps, seriously considering adopting a bad habit to see me through LOL. Reading this is a welcome change. I can now proceed from jittery to gibbering without passing GO and definitely not collecting £200.
    Enjoy the rest of your day Joe.

  92. The strangest thing happened to me last evening. A friend had messaged me and told me that Don Davis died. I didn’t believe him (not that he would lie) and he told me it was on Gateworld.

    As I was reading about it on Gateworld the tears started coming… slow at fast, then it just went wild. I cried for 10 minutes, been upset ever sense. Why is this strange? Because I never met the man, but I loved his portrayal of Gen Hammond and loved to watch his video interviews. I loved the man, despite never meeting him.

    Don was 11 years older than myself. I have a wife, kids, career, well, a life that’s been pretty good. Yet, I cried. I haven’t done that since the death of John Lennon 28 years ago. Now that is saying something.

    One of the reasons I was so excited about Stargate Continuum was that Don S Davis was in it. That alone secured my purchase.

  93. Man, I just can’t believe it… Mr. Davis will be immortalized forever in the Stargate franchise. *sniff*
    He will be sorely missed.

  94. Just a quick question about Michael. Is there any chance in the new series that we will see Michael get the beating that he so richly been asking for? May I vote for Teyla to be the one who dishes it out.

  95. I was deeply saddened to read the news about Mr. Davis. My condolences to his family, many friends, and the cast and crew of “Stargate”. I am so sorry, Joe.



  96. Hi Joe,

    Sadly, I did not get to read “Garden of Iden” yet. However, it is in my in-basket and I will definitely read it (probably in late August when life slows to a more sane pace). But I digress.

    Joe, you said: “Things look more hopeful on the Atlantis front however, especially given its ratings (and, as I mentioned in yesterday’s comments section, particularly in key demos). ”

    I just have to ask — what are the “key demos” for SGA?


  97. Hello, Joe,

    I really just wanted to add my deepest sympathies in respect of Don S Davis.

    I was lucky enough to meet Don several years ago. Like all the Stargate cast, he was a lovely, warm and generous man.

    He was one of those very special people who you can meet for just a few minutes, and yet feel as though you’ve known them all your life.

    I know there must be many others who felt the same way after meeting him, and who will be feeling such shock now at his passing.

    I hope knowing how much joy and pleasure Don brought to his fans can bring comfort to his family and friends. He was so very special, and he will be greatly missed.


  98. Hi !
    How are you ?
    Thank you so much for letting us know and you worried me a lot yesterday so thank you to reassure us lol !
    Puisque vous étiez à Montréal je vais vous parler en français, vous le comprendrez surement mieux que mon anglais.
    Il me semble que la question a déjà été posée et je suis désolée si c’est une répétition mais je me demandais qu”est-ce qu’il faudrait faire pour avoir les épisodes en France ? Comme vous le savez la série n’est plus diffusée et nous devons vraiment attendre longtemps avant que les DVD ne sortent.
    Ok je me doute que je devrais attendre lol mais bon.
    Sinon comme vous vous en doutez j’ai vu S&R et c’était un superbe épisode et probablement mon favori … pour le moment.
    A bientôt.

  99. Sorry to hear of Don S Davis he will be missed.

    I was thinking I should get one of the book’s in the book club and join in on one of the discussions some day then reading your description on In the Garden of Eden I realised that I had read not this but one of the others in the series some time ago in which her mentor is in search of her, I can’t remember what it was called, memory like sieve sometimes but I did enjoy it.

    I also found this interesting don’t know if you’ve seen this the noise the Earth makes.

  100. I’m going join everyone else. I just read about Don S. Davis’s passing on Gateworld. That was a shock for me to read this morning. Like many other fans, please pass my condolences to his family and friends. He was a great actor and will be missed. It’s going to be weird watching the past episodes knowing that he has passed, but that won’t stop me from watching them.

  101. Joe-

    Athough your book of the month club discussion was mildly interesting at best, don’t you think that it would have been a better use of internet space if you had some favourite memories of Don S. Davis on the set of SG1? I mean, the man was a part of the show for seven years and I think that he deserves a mention in your blog. And clearly, people knew about his passing before you posted because there are several comments offering condolences.

    And on that note- is there going to be an Atlantis episode dedicated to him? I know that it’s too late for Continuum, but there is still hope for Atlantis honouring such a great actor.

  102. Hey Joe, I hope you’re enjoying your time away and away; I certainly am. And I hope you’re doing lots of nothing for this National Birthday.

    I have recently read the news of Mr. Don S Davis’s passing–at such a young age. I knew him best as Major Garland Briggs in Twin Peaks. The show was superbly innovative at the time and Davis was able to straddle both a straight edge and a humourous performance marvellously. My condolences go out to everyone on the SG1 and SGA team. I have posted a comment to his family at GateWorld.


  103. Well, Joe…looks like I’ve got yer gremlins…

    Sunday night we had a doozy of a t’storm, with a VERY close lightning strike. It took out our satellite and Tivo. I was panicking about the Tivo, since that has my classics (Double Indemnity; Murder, My Sweet; Shadow of a Doubt; Maltese Falcon…ya know, the really GOOD stuff), lots of rugby, and all of SGA S4 on it. I still haven’t watched two Todd-free episodes from early in S4, and wanted to do so before the new season started, so…yeah…I was in a panic.

    Fortunately, I managed to get the Tivo working, but the satellite was down until today. A connection box was fried in the storm, and had to be replaced. My second (regular) receiver still isn’t working right, however, so we’re going to change it out with another DVR (hubby gets mad that I hog the one up with all *my* stuff. 😀 ). I’m glad, because that means we’ll be moving the new DVR to the ‘Play TV’ (use only for video games and DVDs). Play TV is the biggest tv we have, but it’s never been hooked up to live tv; now it will be, which means I’ll be able to watch S5 on a big screen.

    The downside? Play TV is located on our front porch…a front porch that – despite being fully enclosed with walls and windows – sits directly on a concrete pad, without the benefit of a foundation wall. Know what THAT means? That means…SPIDERS!! EEEK!!! They creep under the framing and sneak around the paneling and do their very best to SCARE THE LIVING CRAP OUTTA ME!!! 😮 These aren’t little house spiders – these are big, nasty funnel web spiders that usually reside in the garden (where they also scare the living crap outta me).

    But, being full of – what did you call it, Joe – benevolent largess? I think that was it. Well, anyway, being full of something, I have a catch-and-release spider program in our home, which means hubby catches the black, leggy things with all the eyes and their sneaky little habits *shudder* , and relocates them… *shifty eyes* …to the neighbor’s yard.

    . 😀


  104. Gee, I guess it’s too close to release date to include a memorial to Don on CONTINUUM.

    To my fellow posters: I had the privilege of friendship with Don and thank you for the comments.


  105. Will you give a tribute to Don S. Davis at the end of Continuum ? I suppose you will, I want to say that it would be a good idea.

  106. hi I read your blog daily and have never commented before.
    I do hope you wont mind my first comment to be that of one of complete heartbreak over the death of Don.S.Davis, whom I sure was a true gentlemen from what I’ve seen and heard of him.
    I wish to express my deep shock and sadness to everyone who knew this great man not just through the Stargte universe but everywhere. R.I.P Don.S.Davis.

  107. I was saddened to hear of Don S. Davis’ passing. My sympathy goes to his family.

    Hammond of Texas was such a wonderful character, and will be sorely missed, as will Don.

  108. Some shipper wrote:
    No words about Don S. Davis? This should be a lesson for you not to take everything for granted. rick isn’t getting any younger, please solve the damn ship before it’s too late…

    Oh my God, leave it to a shipper to make this tragedy all about them. Your statement is crass on so many levels, I can’t even fathom what possessed you to write it.

  109. 1)Will insubordination amongst Sheppard’s team play a part in Season Five?

    2)Does the past continue to haunt throughout the entirety of this upcoming season?

  110. This was my first time with a BOTM, but the description of In The Garden of Iden was just too much to resist. I love the idea of time travel and since this took place in the period of history that I find most fascinating (hence the screen name) there was no way I wasn’t going to read it.

    I really loved this book. The way that time travel is approached is great fun. Even though time travel is possible people from the future find it distaceful. So instead they make immortals to do the dirty work for them. Mendoza is a time traveler who never really time travels. She just moves along in history but with the knowledge of all that is to come.

    I think what I liked most about this book is that I never had the feeling of reading a story. I never had the sense of being taken out of the story. Sometimes I find that authors get overtaken by the sense of their own cleverness. Certain phrases or ideas that jar you out of the fantasy and make you think of the author instead of the story. Ms. Baker pulls you in effortlessly and you feel like you are part of a conversation or sitting and listening to someone. I found her style to have a natural flow that made the book almost impossible to put down. I have the second in the series on order already.

  111. I apologize for possibly disrupting the book club discussion. But I just heard about Don S. Davis. We will all miss him terribly. And I know I’m not alone in sending my deepest sympathies to Mr. Davis’ family and the cast and crew of SG1 and Atlantis. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  112. Joe,

    I am so sorry to hear of Don Davis’ passing. As a fan I have enjoyed many years of his wonderful portrayal of General Hammond.

    His appearance on the series always brought a smile to my lips and a feeling of home in my heart. His character and the openness with which he played him has always been and will always be part of the firm foundation that supported the more prominent actors within the series.

    My truest condolences to Mrs. Davis, yourself, the cast and crew of the Stargate family and those touched by his loving spirit while it was on this earth.

    He will be missed immensely!


  113. I just saw another s5 promo pic with the full cast, water, snow and… the SG-1 gate.

    I can forget the bad photoshopping of the faces, water and snow but… the pic has the Milky Way stargate instead of the Pegasus gate…

    I know you have nothing to do with it, Joe, but I found it so hilarious (or sad, whatever) that I wanted to comment.

    Honestly, do the people who make these promo pics know that Atlantis’ gate is not the same as the SG-1 gate? How can the OFFICIAL promo pics have the WRONG gate??!!!

    *confused at how something like this can be approved as an official promo pic*

  114. I want to express my condolences to the family of Don S. Davis on his sudden passing. Like many others, I was shocked and saddened when I read of his untimely death. I greatly enjoyed watching him on SG-1 and the guest appearances he made on SGA. He will be sorely missed.

  115. though your book of the month club discussion was mildly interesting at best, don’t you think that it would have been a better use of internet space if you had some favourite memories of Don S. Davis on the set of SG1? I mean, the man was a part of the show for seven years and I think that he deserves a mention in your blog. And clearly, people knew about his passing before you posted because there are several comments offering condolences.

    Nice to make assumptions sunshine. How bloody insulting to Joe.
    This is his blog, he’s a great friend to the late Don Davis so let him do things in the way he sees fit.

    How dare you criticise him and how dare you imply he doesn’t care enough.

  116. As the lump in my throat rose as I saw that Don had passed…I could hear him say “Make iT Spin” and that keeps playing in my head today. I told a co-worker who also love the Stargate universe and she was saddened. He was one of her favorites. His family and friends are in my prayers.

  117. I found out today about Don’s death, I’m so sad, we lost a great man today.

    RIP Mr Davis.

  118. Hi Joe,

    Read your blog for a long time, and this is my first post.

    I’m sorry to hear of the death of Don S. Davies, he was a leading light in SG1 and he will be sadly missed by all conneted to Stargate.

    I hope that you dedicate the Movie Continum or an episode in Season 5 of SGA to him.


    PS read Gateworld comments on Remnants. I like what I’m hearing.

  119. [correction about s5 promo pic] OK, I took a better look at it and there’s no snow, just weird photoshopped water 😛
    Still the wrong gate though :S

  120. Hello Joe, I hope you are having a great time on your visit with family. Yep, I think we can rally for the show to go on, thats one of the things fans are good at.. that and giving unsolicited opinions, 😎 thanks for listening.

  121. P.S. Have you ever tried Tim Horton’s coffee?
    And Happy Canada Day!! Break out the Nanaimo bars and get me a Bloody Caesar!! whoopee!!

  122. Hey Annie from Fremantle. Ditto. I was thinking of hasdcc’s comment:

    No words about Don S. Davis? This should be a lesson for you not to take everything for granted. rick isn’t getting any younger, please solve the damn ship before it’s too late…

    which can be roughly translated into…

    “I’m sorry, you don’t have long to live, but Little Jimmy down the road says that you need to get that fence painted before you head off. I’m sure you understand that it is all about him right now.”

    I’ve been holding my tongue all morning.
    And idth thtarting to hurdt.

  123. My thoughts and prayers are with the Family and colleagues of Don S Davis at this sad time.

    I have only just heard so the news hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m taking the rest of the day off and going home to light a candle.


  124. Gwen said:

    some of Martin Gero’s comments on Gateworld have caused a firestorm of controversy on the message boards. His statements blaming SCB for Keller’s lukewarm reception by fans and critics have outraged SCB and annoyed those who weren’t particularly crazy about Beckett but also find Keller whiny, annoying and unrealistic.

    Might I suggest to Marty G that when a character on any TV show does poorly, it is not the fault
    of the audience? Hmm. Just a thought.

    So I just read the article and I’m wondering if you and the other GW forum members are reading the same article. It is the one titled Landmarks, right? At no time does he even mention the Save Carson Beckett campaign. There are times I wonder why the guys even bother doing an interview there. I apologise if I’m spilling this over into Joe’s blog but I had to comment. Just skip if you’re not interested.

    An excerpt from Martin Gero – Landmarks interview with Gateworld

    She’s fantastic. I know she definitely has her detractors still, because of the whole Carson thing. If that had never existed I think she would be a universally admired character. She really allows a perspective that I really find fun. She’s incredibly competent and wide-eyed at the same time, and is also not the coolest kid in the world, and is really thriving working with the A-Team, so to speak. I think that character was a very fertile character for stories.

    The trick with the show is that you have to bring these characters in to give your older characters something new to react and interact with. If we just did five seasons of Sheppard and McKay banter all the time it would start to feel old. But if you can work in these newer characters to the show, I really think it brings the show another life. I really love what Jewel’s done and we look forward to moving forward with that character.

    Cheers, Chev

  125. Errr….sorry the brain’s a bit slow. I meant to go back and add in all my quote marks above but hit submit too soon. Gwen’s quote ends on Just a thought.

    Cheers, Chev

  126. Hi Joe: This may be a little late but, I want to give my condolences to Don S. Davis and his family and friends. He was a great actor and by the sounds of it a great person and friend. There are not that many people like him in the world. Have never had the privilege of meeting him. From what I read of him he was one in a million.


  127. the first Lily said:

    [correction about s5 promo pic] OK, I took a better look at it and there’s no snow, just weird photoshopped water 😛
    Still the wrong gate though :S

    Apart from the wrong gate which is a big oops, I actually like this one. The faces were a little less airbrushed. The water was a way to get around the levitating feet. Looked effective. Not sure about Rodney’s scowl. A much better effort Sciffy.

    Cheers, Chev

  128. I’m really sorry to hear about Don S. Davis, he was a great asset to the Stargate francise and helped to make SG-1 as great as it was. ” Aw, but spinning is so much cooler than not spinning”, quite right Hammond of Texas 🙂

    My condolences go to his family and friends. It’s wierd thinking now that he’s not ever just going to pop up in one of the movies:( At least we know that with so many fans he will be well remembered.


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