A short story anthology is not unlike a season of television. You’ll have your high points, your low points, and all else in between. More often than not, it’s the latter, those in-between entries making up the bulk of the assembly, that will determine whether a show or author warrants a repeat viewing. Take Jennifer Pelland’s Unwelcome Bodies for instance. It presents readers with a colorfully divergent mix of subject matter, from AIDS to self-immolation, climate change to fetishistic relationships. Sure, some of the tales work better than others but, as a whole, this is a tight and thought-provoking collection. Pelland‘s storytelling is lean yet fluid, devoid of tangential narrative meanderings and overly-detailed descriptions yet fully accomplished in its ability to touch, impress, and, occasionally, gut-shank. Each of the entries in the anthology are followed by a much-appreciated author commentary on the thought processes behind the various narratives.

The first story, “For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great” focuses on a future in which an airborne strain of the AIDS virus fuels fear and paranoia in a society made up of increasingly isolated individuals. It’s an interesting premise and certainly well-written, but the SF extrapolation of existing contemporary misconceptions about the disease feels at times a little too on the nose.

“Big Sister/Little Sister”, on the other hand, is a creepy little story about sibling rivalry and revenge. No lessons to be learned here, just a straightforward and deeply unsettling tale of Siamese twins and tortured existence.

In “Immortal Sin”, a man’s inability to reconcile his Catholic beliefs with his sinning ways leads him to take extreme measures to avoid eternal damnation – but, in the end, his efforts confine him to his own private Hell. Of all the entries in this collection, this was my least favorite because of its all-too-convenient developments (ie. the man’s incredibly way-off-base assumptions about a waitress who barely knows his name, his good fortune in being able to access the various technologies he requires to extend his lifespan). Still, the passages in which our paranoid protagonist goes to extreme lengths to avoid any possibility of death by misadventure makes for some very entertaining reading.

In “Flood”, a lonely singer performs in a future where the oceans have dried up and water is the most precious of gift of all. A lot of nice little touches in this entry as Pelland paints a wholly believable picture of what the future may hold. Was I the only one who imagined the female protagonist as a parched and miserable Amy Winehouse?

“The Call” is an interesting little short that posits “What if..?” as it takes us through a potential first contact scenario gone awry. An engaging progression of events within the alien ship leads to an unexpected turn to conclude the proceedings.

“Captive Girl”, a recent Nebula Award nominee, is an intriguing tale about Alice, a severely disabled woman whose disabilities make her an ideal candidate for cosmic sentinel duty, tasked with the responsibility of searching the stars for potential threats to the planet. Alice’s sole refuge from her bleak existence comes in the form of Marika, the woman charged with her care. But when the project is discontinued, Alice faces rehabilitation and the heartbreaking prospect of life without her Marika. Your typical love story it aint. A troubling but thought-provoking tale. Equally fascinating was Pelland’s explanation of her decision to make the main players women. How differently would the story have played out had either one or both of the characters been male? I’d say “very”, perhaps not so much in terms of the narrative but certainly in terms of reader interpretation and response.

“Last Bus” is, in Pelland’s words: “the most positive piece I’ve ever written”. The fact that the origins of this whimsical story about an amnesiac traveler and a mysterious bus route have their roots in one of Pelland’s dreams is not at all surprising given the overall bizarreness of the entry. It’s a peculiar, mystifying little piece and yet strangely charming and satisfying.

“The Last Stand of the Elephant Man” sees Elephant Man John Merrick transported to the year 2304 where he has become the victim of a body swap. Someone has laid claim to his hideously deformed physique and, in exchange, transplanted him into a beautiful, unblemished form. Overjoyed at first, Merrick soon discovers that adjusting to life in this new world may prove as daunting as the one he left behind. Again, very interesting ideas at play here with Merrick conflicted over the treatment of the body he renounced and his discomfort with his wholly different celebrity status, although I did find the happy ending a little too tidy.

“Songs of Lament” offers us an all-too-brief glimpse of a not-too-distant future in which humanity finds itself on the brink of war against a most unlikely opponent: the whale population. The fate of the planet is at stake and it looks like we’re fighting on the wrong side. While the military powers prepare a response to the mounting threat, a woman lies in a hospital bed, driven to the point of madness by the sound of whale songs whose meaning she alone can decipher. Another great premise and a solid entry but one that had the potential for a much longer, more involved treatment.

“Firebird” is told through a series of diary entries. Our narrator is about to begin her first year at a woman’s college and she is thrilled to discover that her roommate will be Kay Myerson, a former pop star turned activist who made “international headlines by setting herself on fire to protest continued inaction on the issue of global climate change”. In the eyes of the narrator and the rest of the student body, Kay is someone to be admired for her dramatic stand. For her part, however, Kay regrets her actions, the effect it has had on her life and the lives of the dozens of copycats who killed themselves by following her lead. Kay wants nothing more than to be left alone but our narrator, consumed with a fangirl devotion, will not let her forget her past. Remember the high points I referred to when I kicked off this review? Well “Firebird” is one of them – disturbing, provocative, and soulful.

“Brushstrokes” is the last story in the collection and, in my opinion, the best of the bunch, an intra-gender cross-caste SF romance that reflects an author at the top of her game, incredibly self-assured and deeply creative.

Unwelcome Bodies is a deliciously dark collection. One of the things that struck me about Jennifer Pelland is her ability to come up with big, engaging ideas that could easily serve as springboards to lengthier works. Is there a novel in her future? I suppose that’s a question for the upcoming Author Q&A.

Okay, there’s plenty to discuss here. I’ve kept my initial thoughts succinct but will be weighing in as I the discussion gets rolling. Also, author Jennifer Pelland will be coming by later in the week so start posting your questions.


Well, I was back at work today and, despite a full slate of meetings, it wasn’t so bad. Assistant A.D. and official Stargate curmudgeon paid me a rare compliment by telling me he actually liked the script! The Concept Meeting went smoothly and we followed up with a brief Prosthetics Meeting, ultimately deciding to use a combination of visual effects and practical movie magic for the forest sequence. The Art Department Meeting went well – until we got to the scenes in Woolsey’s quarters. Well, the first and only other time we’ve seen his quarters was in episode #3, Broken Ties, and it was a night scene that offered up a magical view of the city outside his bay window. Alas, those magical views don’t look quite as magical in the day time and so, rather than go with a projected image, we’re talking about making the view a visual effect. That would, of course, assure its magical quality – but at potentially great expense. We decided to table the discussion until tomorrow’s visual effects meeting but, in the end, I have a feeling we’ll be going with a combination of visual effects and creative camera angling on the part of wiz director Will Waring. Evil Kenny took us through the Props Meeting. We talked guns, vests, knives, and nasty machetes. The Costumes Meeting was also a breeze. It was t-shirt over long-sleeves, blood and bullet holes over none, and a military look for our guest star over his admittedly suave civilian look. After lunch, we had our casting session and checked out Kiangs, Libermans, soldiers, and Luthor Dovelocks.

Which took me to about 3:30 p.m., just in time for a double note session on my final draft of Remnants (for those of you wondering how I can make changes to a draft that has already been marked a final, check out this post: THE ULTIMATE EXTREME EXTRA SUPERFANTASTIC BEST LUCKY ULTRA NUMBER ONE FINAL FINAL DRAFT

http://josephmallozzi.com/2008/03/10/march-10-2008/), and Marty G.’s first draft of Brain Storm.


It looks like a busy morning tomorrow. We’ll be kicking things off with a location scout (tentatively entitled A Production in Search of a Cliff), following up with the Visual Effects and Playback Meeting, the Stunts and SPFX Meeting and, finally, capping things off with the Extras Meeting. I’ll be sure to bring lots of chocolate.

Today’s mailbag:

David writes: “Joe, as much as your life is interesting with having book clubs, enjoying fine dining, and playing with your dogs, I hope you realize 99% of the people come on here to here about Stargate Atlantis. Why 2 days without a mail bag update?”

Answer: My apologies for not fielding your queries in a timely manner. It would serve me right if you elected to go elsewhere to have your questions answered.

P.S. Dovil, I’ll happily do without the Christmas Turkey and Hanukah Suckling Pig, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to draw the line at the Annual Arbor Day Pinecone.

76 thoughts on “July 14, 2008: Unwelcome Bodies, by Jennifer Pelland

  1. Hi Joe~~
    I ,for one, LOVE reading your blog everyday…even without the mailbag…
    sometimes you just crack me up…lol…

  2. I was unable to finish unwelcome bodies by Jennifer Pelland as I found it incredibly disturbing. What I did read was well written and well thought out. It was — like your favorite chocolates, Mr. M — simply too dark for my taste.

    Thanks again to skgraff for providing me this month’s (and next month’s!) book club selections.

    Anne Teldy

  3. So I wanted to tell you that I made my first batch of biscotti ever today and, for whatever reason, I thought of you. I made Double Chocolate Biscotti and my mind went straight to your chocolate party. I don’t know why, but it did. Not that I’m complaining because I absolutely love chocolate and I know that you do too. I just thought I’d tell you. Now I’m debating whether I want to dip half of them in more chocolate and roll them in chocolate sprinkles. I think I’m in a chocolate mood.

  4. Hi Joe,

    Just want to let you know how much I enjoyed “Search and Rescue”. You guys really outdid yourselves – super mix of action, team love, and the effects! Oh la! There were so many memorable moments, but I think the offhand farewell between McKay and Carter might be my favorite, at least until I watch it again and remember how much I loved McKay’s, “please throw underhand, I’ve never been good at baseball”, or Sheppard’s, “You’re going the wrong way, chief”, or, well, actually, just about all of it.

    On a slightly different note, I’ve read that there will be a showing of “Continuum” at ComicCon – any idea where/when/how one might get to attend? All info greatly appreciated.


  5. Jennifer, I really enjoyed your book even though I had to read it with the lights on. My question is a bit of cliche and given the horror quotient of your book, I’m almost afraid to ask it but…Where DO YOU get your ideas?

  6. Hey there Mr. Mallozzi:

    Just want to say thanks for “Search and Rescue”. I admit, I did see it online. I loved all of the different visual effects you put in there, especially when the wraith tried to jump into hyperspace. I’ve always wondered how that would look like. I won’t say anything so as not to spoil anything, but I have 2 questions:

    In Continuum *spoiler alert*
    In Continuum when Cameron went back in time to stop Baal from coming onto the ship that was taking the Stargate to the United States, how was he able to stay at the age he is now? Did he just happen to be carry around a convenient record of solar flares in his Stargate survival kit and go forward in time to someplace, or did he just wait it out with his grandfather drinking anti-aging potions?

    And my final question: Hermiod. I realize you may not be authorized to give any information on him but I must know: Is he dead or alive, and are you guys bringing him back?

  7. Comments and Questions for Jennifer Pelland:
    Thank you very much for joining us to discuss your work. I am even more intrigued by the quality of your writing just because of my shying away from scary stories. Your story titles certainly do not give away the – “path” they take.

    My apologies if my comments seem to be complaining – cause I know the drill; if one does not like it – stay away. But on the other hand, your writing style was kinda sorta addictive.

    Anneteldy and KellyK – were much briefer and probably said it better. Sorry for the longwinded dissertation.

    Because of your imagination and ability to explore the things some of us humans fear, you are gifted to be able to unfold these fears in a way that is rather riveting and spell binding. The stories are almost real enough to be immobilizing to those of us who are easily frightened by horror, etc., like me.

    1. You noted that there was one story that was the most “positive” of the bunch. How do you gage the intensity? What is your measure to “know” the width of that spectrum? I was fascinated in that each story took to the “darkness,” some more than others. So, can you share insight on this?

    2. Your writing is very varied and ALL very well done. I just wish I could have read more. You have a gift to tell a full spectrum of stories.

    3. What sets your mood to write? How do story lines surface for you?

    4. I would nominate you for head/lead writer for the next series of Twilight Zone.

    5. Thank you for the notes after each selection. This helped me to revive from the “scare” when I could read your comments.

    6. The first selection “For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great, your notes asked for reader opinion.” The question was if the narrative was better or if purely “News Clips” would have worked.

    My perspective is that for this story, the narrative was easier to read. It seemed to give more continuity than from a number of seemingly random-timed news flashes to make points. Of course I am presuming the intent of this was for heightened awareness and not a chronology of items. A combo of both narrative and news clips could also be effective.

    I kept wanting to stop reading cause I am a woose, but the writing style, kind of continues to pull you into reading just a bit more. Which for me was unsettling just because I am no longer a “fan of horror” especially the “this could be real” type.

    I go further to say that in many ways, the writing style reminds me of Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone – writing of things that can be frightening or even in a ‘what if” situation. All of the selections are great candidates for and I could “see” them as Twilight Zone episodes.

    I must say I did enjoy reading the candid notes that followed each story – so I kinda read the book, just did not complete it.

    Comments from the few I did read:

    For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great
    This selection presented inevitability of contracting the disease and ultimately death.

    Have to also draw the correlation of what can occur in the hands of terrorists spreading infection. Good example is the current salmonella outbreak in the US where the source/cause is not yet identified/isolated.

    Big Sister/Little Sister
    While basic premise of the elder sibling being held down because of the younger; the story was, for me too gruesome and morbid. The notes were funny in that you state you felt it necessary to point out that you have a great relationship with your sister. I am an older sister and I cringed.

    Songs of Lament
    This is a fascinating thought that was taken to the end. Writing of things and deals with concepts and things that we fear. No water, imprisoned in a gruesome manner.

    The candid notes give insight to the basic foundation of your writing. It was interesting to note that you state self immolation terrifies you and that obsession freaks you out.

    But, the stories are about just these things. You mention that writing, at least in one case, was self = freedom. I envy your ability to remove the shackles.

    My fault, I shudda known better. On the up side at least I am now acquainted with yet another author with a great story telling style. Now to watch and wait for a Pelland selection that won’t scare me.

    Thanks for joining us.

  8. Just watched S&R and thought it was awesome. With all the special effects it makes me wish I had a big screen tv with surround sound so I could enjoy it so much more. Can’t wait until next week!

  9. Joe, people are starting to take the mailbag for granted. I suggest that you answer no questions for a week, to soften them up again. But that’s just my evil side coming out.

  10. Joe, thanks for the outline of the book, might be something worthwhile for sure.

    Joe, another question to add to my unanswered pile:
    From previous comment {1] Will Brad Wright and/or Martin Wood drop in for questions on Continuum after the UK release date(UK’ers seem to be getting it last according to Wikipedia) or will it be seemingly near the Aussie release date for Continuum?
    2] Has the cover art be officialised yet? (That is, the Gate/Space or the Gate/Ice)
    3] Who will actually be doing the Commentary for Continuum?}

    and No4] Will we be getting one of your poems anytime soon for whichever Stargate Atlantis season is coming up? (I can’t seem to find a Season5 one, although there probably wouldn’t be a Season6 one at all though)

    Narelle, in high-school, the teachers don’t really care what you do, and in primary, they only let us outside if we had our hats “No hat, no play, no fun today” or something was a little rhyme we had to remember.

  11. My favorite part of “Search and Rescue” is the interplay between Ronon and Sheppard, which, imo, we don’t get enough of. I felt sorry for Ronon that Teyla didn’t work his name into the baby’s name, especially since he was the first one supportive of her pregnancy. In fact, he’s always been the most supportive of her.

    Also want to say that I’m really looking forward to Woolsey taking over. I think Picardo is great in the role and I can’t wait not only to see his interactions with the team, but with Caldwell. It would also be fun to see his interactions with Starfleet Command with his changed position.

    Sorry we won’t see you at Comic Con. I wish it wasn’t such a madhouse these days. Hard to get anything done.

  12. Hi Joe – Absolutely loved S&R. Just what I was hoping for!!
    Favorite moments: Dinner scene between John & Teyla-really shows finally what is in his head. Now if they could only let each other know…..Birth scene with Teyla/Rodney
    was hilarious. That was perfect!! Visual effects were awesome. I loved the “power of the team” – “all for one and one for all”. Very sad to see Sam go – her last scene with Rodney was great. I loved seeing John’s determination to bring Teyla home and Teyla knowing that it was John coming to rescue her. Seeing Ford again was great! and John holding the baby!!!!!

  13. Joe,
    Sorry that there are people out there that are repugnant enough to tell you how you should run YOUR blog. I’m just glad that you do actually have a mailbag and take the time when you have it to answer fan’s questions. Even those that are not very nice. I know if somebody came into my house and told me how I should arrange my furniture I’d tell them where the door was and offer them a foot up or out (as it were) to get through the door. Thanks again, Nicole.

  14. This is my first book discussion, so please hold all rotten fruit until the end.

    I liked Unwelcome Bodies.

    “For the Plague…” was depressing. Good, but depressing. The practice of abstaining from human touch, remaining constantly vigilant to the point of paranoia, and having simple, everyday life become a gauntlet is almost a fate worse than death.

    “Big Sister/Little Sister” was just so deliciously twisted and dark. I couldn’t completely sympathize with either the Big or the Little sister and I loved that. And the ending was just so morbid and creepy. Oh so good.

    “Immortal Sin” had a good premise, but the story just didn’t click with me. I loved the rationale and the ending, but the tying of one to the other didn’t hit me.

    “Flood” was good, but I wasn’t that into it. I guess I’m just not as into self-destructing celebrities. Though, Joe, I envisioned the main character as more of a cookie cutter pop princess than Amy Winehouse. I think it’s the beehive.

    I kept answering the questions in “The Call”. It’s assured I would have failed alien race relations. But I loved the ending of it.

    “Captive Girl” was my kind of love story. It made me ache. The ending killed me. Since reading it, I’ve asked myself repeatedly if I’d ever be willing to go so far.

    “Last Bus” was very dreamlike (which makes sense given the author’s notes). It was really sweet.

    “The Last Stand of the Elephant Man” was just fascinating. Just the whole idea of body modification taken to such extremes makes the three eyebrow rings I had seem so vanilla. And I couldn’t help but hope that Joseph Merrick got a happy ending considering he didn’t have much of one in real life.

    “Songs of Lament” made me snicker. It shouldn’t, but it did because I read it and thought “see, even the whales think we’re jerks”. I find that amusing because I think we’re jerks, too.

    “Firebird” creeped me out. Obsession to that extent is just disturbing. I think this was the most unsettling story in the bunch for me.

    “Brushstrokes” just sucked me in. I read the whole thing going, “something bad’s going to happen, something bad’s going to happen”. My nerves just jangled, I was so on Seph’s side. But there was something triumphant about the ending. I loved it. And pretty boys in pretty paint…can’t argue with that.

    I enjoyed all of the stories, but “Big Sister/Littler Sister”, “Captive Girl”, and “Brushstrokes” were my favorites.

    One question for Miss Pelland: Since you excel at writing dark fiction, is there any subject that’s off limits to you? Have you found something that you just can’t write because it’s too dark for you? Okay, that was two questions, but the second was really just clarifying the first.

    Anyway, thank you for stopping by. It was a pleasure reading your work.

  15. From Sci Fi convention heaven to the Hotel Hades(too long to discuss, but I’m typing this on a hotel provided computer I have to share with 3 dozen other people). Still, I AM online, so, onto Unwelcome bodies.
    Overall, I’ve enjoyed this book, though there were parts I found EXTREMELY disturbing. Starting with “For the Plague…”. I found this one interesting, though I thought a pandemic as virulent as described would have broken down the technological infrastructure allowing the cities to keep hobbling along. I found Kathleen to be an engaging protagonist, and her reactions to Teesa on mark. I was well, annoyed, at Teesa’s final thoughts in the story. But the worst part about this is that I could imagine a significant segment of society reacting just as Teesa and her fellow believers did, working to hasten the end instead of seeking a way to reverse it.
    Big Sister/Little Sister was by far the creepiest of the stories, and thus the most successful to me as a horror story. However pervert, corrupted, and mishappen a relationship the sisters had, with each other and their mother, I felt it was entirely possible that there would be people capable of such actions in our world, if the technology were in fact available. And the fate of little sister was so disproportionate to her “crimes” as a child unable to control her own life, that it left me cringing. Great story in that regard.
    Immortal Sin was an ok story, though I was able to see where it was going early, and it offered no suprise twists. Again, I can imagine people so distorted by their religious views/ beliefs that they might act as Alex did.
    Flood was probably my least favorite story in the lot. After building up such a mystery, as in how did all the water disappear, and teasing us with a vision of Earth as Arrakis, the failed suicide and Callie’s “conversion” seemed to fall flat.
    On the other hand, I felt that the Call was an excellent short piece, and revived my interest in the rest of the book. Not so much that it had many twists, but simply because of how it engaged my imagination, trying to picture the universe where such a choice had to be made.
    Captive girl was an ok story to me, with a few interesting concepts. But I’m just not that interested in the whole bondage scene, and what I would have liked to have seen focussed on, the abuse of the children for the sake of human survival was merely an opportunity to explore an essentially unhealthy relationship. Still, it did hold me to the end of the story.
    Last Bus was sort of eating the baked potato part of a steak dinner. Not the main serving, but a nice filler. And it WAS nice to see a halfway upbeat tale in all this.
    Last Stand of the Elephant Man was one I had to think on, but eventually I decided I enjoyed. And one with another perversely upbeat ending, in my mind. The perversity selling the tale to me, given the genre.
    Songs of Lament, another creepy one. The idea of humans deciding that they had to destroy the only other sentient lifeform on the planet is a depressing one, even if the humans are allegedly provoked. Still a nice tale.
    Firebird. Another one that creeped me out, even if I could see where it was heading. Sort of like watching the proverbial train wreck. And a nice cautionary tale of how people will try to force mortals to fit their visions of heroism and legend, despite the cost to the unfortunate soul who has been placed on the pedastol.
    Finally, Brushstrokes. This one I really enjoyed. The relatively slow buildup of the society Seph resided in, the ironclad control the higher castes had on the society, and their utter ruthlessness in maintaining that control. I’m glad to see that Ms. Pellard elected to go with the non-milqtoast version of Seph, and this story is one I’d like to see a sequel or three to.
    A few questions for Ms. Pellard. First, do you see yourself primarily as a short story author, or do you look to a future as a novelist? Which authors and what books do you look to as inspiration to become a writer? Do you intentially seek to produce such disturbing stories as Big Sister/Little Sister, or do the stories write themselves? What envirement do you like to write in? Certain times of the day, cloistered in a small room and silence, or in a more open setting with background music/noise? Do you set yourself a schedule when you will write, or do you write as the mood or the deadline dictates? Thank you VERY much for your participation here, and thank you Mr. Mallozzi for making this possible.

  16. Mailbag? Come on folks, no expectations. Then if your question happens to be interesting enough to answer, that’s a bonus while reading the blog. My sense of entitlement stops at my lengthy rambles and comments to other comments. Life is good.

    Happy cliff hunting. Location scout, that actually sounds interesting, even fascinating, a career possibility the guidance counselor never mentioned in high school. I could be a nurse, a nurse’s assistant, or a teacher, a dental technician if I were serious, but why waste an education? It was implied that I would choose to marry early and have many babies (Utah, 1975). Nope, I ran off to San Francisco where I did … um, shall we say Street Performance, Panhandling, and Housekeeping for Very Stoned Hippies? Wonderful formative years. And if we’re going for irony, I did teach after I finished my stint in the military and I loved it. Go figure.

    Let us know about the cliff, m’kay?

  17. Hey Joe,

    I’m reading The Last Colony by John Scalzi and having already read Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, after 72 pages it’s my favourite of his so far.

    Can’t wait to be able to pick it up again this evening.

  18. I’d like to make one other comment about Search and Rescue. I adored that little glimpse of Ford. Partly because I love continuity and acknowledging things we haven’t heard from in a while, that they’re still part of the universe. And partly because I still hope for some kind of (hopefully happy) final resolution to Ford’s story eventually. And partly because it was great to see that it still affected Shep, that even though it hasn’t been brought up in a while, he hasn’t forgotten about it.

    Would it be petty of me to ask for a blog dedication for my finger? I slammed it really, really hard in a heavy metal gate whilst moving out of my old place and it got all purple and swollen. Being a bit paranoid, I was watching carefully for necrosis and pondering how well I would function if forced to live with only nine fingers. My conclusion is that I’d do all right, as I’ve already adapted to typing without it (it’s still quite sore). Thankfully, however, I think it will be okay. (Although that reaction strikes me as a bit McKayish, now that I think about it.)

  19. I moved on Sunday – nearly 400 miles away from where I was living. Despite our frenzied packing, going-away parties and general hysteria, the boyfriend and I took time out to watch Atlantis.

    Search and Rescue was TOTALLY AWESOME! Well worth losing sleep for. Everyone was great, and everyone had wonderful moments. Loved that the girls came to rescue the boys in the beginning of the episode. Loved John’s dream sequence in the beginning, the byplay between Rodney and Lorne, and John and Ronan, and Rodney and Teyla, and Rodney and Sam, and Sam and Keller, and and and…well, heck. I just liked it all. I was especially impressed with the Sam/Wolsey scene at the end. Robert Picardo conveyed a lot of inner conflict, and Amanda Tapping just knocked it out of the park. (Also, we noted that either Tapping is getting even better-looking with age or you folks were using the extra-pretty camera filters on her.)

    I’m considering starting a blog about my new town’s local food and events, but I haven’t decided which software to use. How do you like WordPress, and what made you decide to switch to it from Blogger?

  20. Wow, sense of entitlement much, David?

    I know everyone else is going to say pretty much the same thing, but I’m gonna say it too. While I love reading about all the behind-the-scenes goings on, and seeing the pics and vids you post, and yeah, having so much access to one of the Exec. Producers of my favorite show, I don’t get all pissy if you post things I’m not particularly interested in, or don’t answer your mailbag for a few days. And personally, I like your restaurant reviews, and your vacation recaps, and yes, your posts about the dogs. I think people tend to forget sometimes that this is your blog, and you can post what you damnwell please. Jeez people, have a little respect.

    At any rate, when you do get caught up on the mailbag… I don’t think you’ve mentioned it before, but your message to Dovil made me think of it – Which S5 episode is the big Ancient Toilet/Stick Fighting/Arbor Day extravaganza you were teasing us with last year, hmm?

  21. Hi Joe,

    I just finished watching ” Search and Rescue” I really thought the episode was great and awsome. After the episode I was thinking of Teyla and I was wondering what happen to her mother?
    I know in season one her father was taken away by the Wraith but, I don’t remember they mentioned her mother.

    I was thinking that in some future episode they find Teyla’s mother on a hive ship but, not as a prisoner or, in one of those cocoons but, as a Wraith worshipper. That would cause a interesting story between one of Teyla’s family member and her. And, tension and suspicion that would arise from such an encounter. Just a thought.


  22. I have a great boss. Just wanted to say that.

    I also wanted to say that Emma has started her radiation and chemo treatments today. 7 more days of that, and then she’ll have the transplant. Uncle Dylan plans to introduce her to Atlantis while she’s a captive audience.

    Tomorrow I have to bake 2 chocolate cakes and find some really fine chocolate to swap with Kate.

  23. Hi Joe:

    I just returned from Polaris in Toronto. I’m happy to tell you that the Stargate fans in Toronto are as rabid and eager for more, as they are anywhere else. Cliff Simon and Rainbow Sun Franks were both on hand to continue promoting the franchise. They were both wonderful. Cliff dedicated his day in memory of Don S. Davis. He said that Don was a real southern gentleman and that he will be missed.

    Now, to your comment:

    Joe said – It looks like a busy morning tomorrow. We’ll be kicking things off with a location scout (tentatively entitled A Production in Search of a Cliff)…

    If that is not a typo, I can tell you that Cliff will be at San Diego Comic Con and is also as close as his agent in Los Angeles. 🙂

    Joe, most of the actors who have been asked have said that Martin Wood is their favorite director. In your opinion, what is it that makes Martin a favorite?

    Patricia (AG)

  24. I have been sorely lacking in time to catch up on your blog. I’ve been reading, but not commenting. So be prepared a little later this week for some thoughts on KJ Bishop’s appearance and comments on your daily life.

    Onto Unwelcome Bodies, however…

    This was by far my favorite book of this month…and even of my most recent reading (since The Blade Itself, anyway). I was intrigued by the themes and the whole concept of the work. The cover is very stark and fitting. I thought the whole package–the art, the stories and ideas behind them, as well as the author’s comments–really gave a first rate experience.

    For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great was one of my two favorites. As you mentioned, it was disturbingly close to misconceptions of today and while it was sci fi, it also required little thought to make the leap. Replace AIDs with any unknown future virus, the rantings of the priests and doomsayers with those of today and it makes for a truly frightening picture. But it was so well done and so moving…a wonderful piece. And, Jennifer used my favorite technique of stealing quotes from better (or in her case, simply better known) people/works as titles.

    Brushstrokes was my other favorite. I loved the starcrossed lover approach but with a unique and modern twist. It too was so close to sentiments of today that it made me angry at the citizens of that world, as well as happy that someone has the courage to write about it. The tale was beautifully written and very poignant.

    Last Bus was another I enjoyed, simply because it felt like a mid 20th century play. Sorrow and starkness combined (storytelling and plot-wise), but over all, hopeful.

    I actually liked Immortal Sin. Maybe it’s because I could understand how the man came to those assumptions being Catholic myself (seeing how people are able to twist words in the name of religion or how ‘guilt’ feeds into a person’s everyday thought process). Or maybe because I saw it, not so much as a sci-fi story, but as a thriller. While sane people find it hard to understand why anyone would make such a jump as he did with the waitress, reading as the character, it was obvious he was obsessive. Off-kilter and able to twist words and intentions in his own mind. I found it realistic of a psycopath killer. But maybe I just watch too many TV shows that include that kind of theme.

    Captive Girl was enjoyable in it’s own twistedness. Definitely not the typical love story. It’s not something most of us could relate to…but it certainly gave pause for thought and I always enjoy stories that do that.

    Firebird amused me, simply because as a fan, I was able to relate to it…and was yet utterly turned off by that fan fanaticism as much as I was by the religious and bigoted fanaticism of the other stories. I wondered how you reflected on that story reading it as a maker of a show that attracts a “fan base”. Any further thoughts, Joe?

    Songs of Lament was my least favorite, though that is not to say I wasn’t intrigued. The whole idea of the whales at war with us was what both intrigued me and made it not as likeable. Was this because it was too close to real life, or because I could never see such a thing happening? Of that, I’m not sure. But I believe that “whales” could be replaced with just about anything and still be relevant.

    The Call was an interesting idea…but I must admit, it wasn’t my favorite style. It posed some good questions, though, certainly.

    Was I the only one who imagined the female protagonist as a parched and miserable Amy Winehouse?

    No. LOL That being said, I still enjoyed the story.

    Thoughts on S&R once I actually get to watch it entirely. *sniffles* What I saw looked good! And I was highly amused by McKay’s reaction to having to deliver a baby. What was David’s reaction to that when he saw it in the script, if I may ask? I’m trying to think dates and such and I’m pretty sure when it was being filmed his son was already born, if not when the script was written…

    Hope you’re doing well!

  25. Coucou!! Sa va Joseph??
    Moi trés bien, un peu mal au dos.

    Bonne nouvelle! J’ai enfin atteind les 100000 commentaires!
    C’est merveilleux! J’ai téllement donnée de mon temp pour atteindre cette objectif! De plus c’est si rare qu’un blog de serie arrive à cette barre!! Je suis trop contente^^!!!!

    Aller bisou, je vous adore,♥

  26. Hello! Quick question about Torrin. If the Torrin part of Torrin John Emmagen’s name came from Teyla’s father, who we have also heard referred to as Tegan, is one of the two a middle name, or has the original named been retconned? Thanks for your time!

  27. I thoroughly enjoyed Unwelcome Bodies. I am beginning to think I prefer to read short stories these days, precisely because a well put together anothology means there are bound to be quite a few stories I enjoy in a given collection, so there’s less of a risk of purchasing on impulse, and discovering the entire book is not to my taste. Also, short stories allow me to read a complete story in one sitting, which in some ways makes for a more satisfying late night reading experience.

    What I liked most about Unwelcome Bodies is that the stories are very different from one another. Not only genre-wise (horror, sci-fi, fantasy, historical etc.), but also in the style in which they were written. I think that helped to make the voices of each of the characters stand out as distinct and unique, so that for me it felt a bit like reading a whole stack of mini-novels in a way.

    My favourites (in no particular order):

    I loved the creepy horror of ‘Big Sister/Little Sister’, which made me cringe, imagining the future of Little Sister, trapped in a darkness she can’t escape. I remember occasionally resenting my younger siblings when I had to give up plans for babysitting chores, but this was like sibling resentment dialled to max!

    ‘The Call’ was pretty amazing. Not only was the story intriguing, but I also liked the unique presentation. A story told completely in questions, and yet the reader can infer the answers and reach a conclusion. It was very cleverly done.

    ‘Firebird’ made my heart ache. Kay’s desire to step away from the limelight, and the protagonist’s obsessive need to keep Kay in it…recipe for tragedy. Celebrity is a funny thing, isn’t it? We make ordinary people over into something much greater than they could ever hope to be, and then feel hurt and betrayed when they don’t live up to our expectations.

    ‘Captive Girl’ was…disturbing. It’s an interesting twist on romance, though. In the Mills&Boon romances I read as a teen, the conflict occasionally involved the heroine becoming disabled or disfigured, and the hero wound up swearing always to love her no matter what her outward appearance, blah blah, blushblissweddingcakes blah. Here, Marika remains with Alice only as long as Alice’s outward appearance makes her appear dependent on Marika. If only Marika would wake up and realize that Alice is already dependent on her, chair or not! This relationship struck me as all sorts of wrong (and not because it was between two women), and yet…

  28. I went back and read the post entitled THE ULTIMATE EXTREME EXTRA SUPERFANTASTIC BEST LUCKY ULTRA NUMBER ONE FINAL FINAL DRAFT out loud to my Mum. Needless to say we were both hysterical, and I barely managed to read it all without messing up. I will bare all those stages in mind if I ever actually finish a script myself.

    I love your blog, even without the mail bag, and understand that you are a busy man. I’m waiting to submit my next question until after the next mail bag, as I’ve already asked two questions already *looks innocent* I couldn’t help myself.

  29. I also rather enjoy reading your non-SGA stuff. You’re hilarious and manage to do all sorts of interesting things.

    Keep it up!

  30. Well joe,
    I love reading everything you’re writing exept the BOTM discussions because unfortunately I neither have the money nor the time for monthly new books although I’m a passionate book-reader :o)
    Of course I hope for news from SGA everyday, but it’s not necessary for a good blog-read.

  31. Joe,

    If you’re looking for a cliff, I might make a somewhat vague suggestion: Back in one of the early seasons of Highlander: The Series, there was a flashback scene in which Duncan’s love (Deborah maybe?) threw herself from a cliff. I figured since that show also filmed in Vancouver, you may even have someone on ATL who worked on it.

    I know. It’s a stretch. But hey, I do what I can.

  32. just in time for a double note session on my final draft of Remnants

    So, any news on how things are progressing in your anticipated fight to keep in the darker elements of the story? 🙂 Were the network okay with the dark stuff or are you having to fight for it?

  33. Pretty good ratings start to SGA s5. Gotta count them DVRs. I want a s6.

    Sorry I did not get a chance to read Unwelcome Bodies on time. Interesting book cover, so I will get to it sometime. Which reminds me, pardon me tardiness-

    Joe M: What are your thoughts? Have you ever picked up a book based solely on the cover art? On the other hand, have you been so turned off by the look of a book that it actually dissuaded you from buying it? In my opinion, this is a seriously underappreciated but very important part of publishing. Agree? Disagree? What do you think?
    Where would Stargate be without it’s superb art? Comic books?! Kudos to those guys. When I was way younger, many of the covers by the following artists got me to pick up a book I might not have and I love em: Boris Vallejo (whom I liked enough to buy art prints), Michael Whelan, Frank Frazetta, Rowena Morrill and Darrell Sweet… does that date me or what!! Julie Bell (in fact I just got “Blood Brothers” art). I agree that a book cover can make or break it for the casual browser but it’s like records, ya know? Are you buying an album for the music or the cool cover? Ultimately, I’m buying for the music. An ugly cover on a book by a favorite author or series isn’t going to turn me off from getting it, if the story is one I want to read. Likewise, if I don’t know the author but the story sounds good, don’t care about the cover. But a cool cover is a great bonus.

  34. LOVED Search and Rescue!!! I was literally on the edge of my seat. I just have one question, where were the medical advisers for that episode??? I have 12 years experince in the medical field, especially surgical experience, if there is an opening, I am willing to relocate. This years election alone could send me to Canada.

    The last scene with Teyla and Sheppard – first Sheppard is awaiting to have surgery and no I.V. ????? Keller walks in and her hair, as pretty as it is, is all falling out of her cap. I would have been written up for that.

    Other than that it was great, I’m sure all the Astro Physicists do the same thing.

    Can’t wait for the rest of season 5!!

  35. Hi Joe! Would it be at all possible for Paul McGillion’s hairdresser to be convinced to bring back the scottish mohawk do for Paul? A lot of us Beckett thunkers miss it so much! If not… can he/she be bought? 😉

  36. gollysunshine said:

    I think Picardo is great in the role and I can’t wait not only to see his interactions with the team, but with Caldwell. It would also be fun to see his interactions with Starfleet Command with his changed position.

    Starfleet Command? Seriously? LOL!

    Cheers, Chev

  37. Hello Jennifer! Finished your book just this morning. I found much of your writing to be rather twisted, but fascinating.

    My favorite stories were “Brushstrokes”, “Captive Girl”, “Big Sister/Little Sister”, and “The Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great.” I guess my least favorites were “Last Bus” and “Songs of Lament” though they were enjoyable. Good but not great were “Flood” and “The Last Stand of the Elephant Man.”

    My questions:
    1) Why the fascination with body mutilation?
    2) I really enjoyed the story notes. Okay, that’s not really a question.
    3) How many stories have you had published? Plans for another collection sometime?
    4) I’d really be interested in seeing novel length work from you. Got anything in the works?


  38. Joseph don’t listen to that David guy. We are grateful you are a regular blogger. Admittedly I started reading for the Stargate info, but really enjoy your daily blogging of whatever you choose to write. In fact, I usually can’t wait to read it (how sad huh lol). The food choices I wince at, but I love it all. The book of the Month thing I am thinking about, but in time I will come around I am sure.

    I have to say that your remnants info is a teaser for me. Now I can’t wait. Well, in honesty, I am having a hard time now waiting until this Friday cause The seed looks good too. I guess I am like Rodney in the not being able to wait (lol).

    Thanks for everything!

  39. Hi Hoe

    I was wondering, with the 100th episode apparently being so huge, what are the chances that MGM/SciFi will let you guys make it an extra-long episode like threads?

    If it isn’t a two parter then it may feel too rushed:(

  40. I’m one of those who likes interesting ideas that are built into a well-told story with fleshed out characters. I am less a fan of writing that exists for the cool idea with a pseudo-story draped on top and characters who are just there to sell the cool idea. I read “Captive Girls” a few months ago and the story for me fell into the latter categroy. I found the writing well done, but didn’t like the story due to it’s lack of plot, character development and setting. I also struggled with the ideas that seemed to be present for the sake of shock factor rather than for the sake of telling a story. Jennifer Pelland clearly isn’t looking to write traditional tales and challenges herself and the boundaries of the genre, and I admire her for that. On the flip side, I’m afraid that leaves me as someone who likely wouldn’t read anything further by her. Perhaps some of these tales worked into novels would resolve some of my troubles with the stories as the larger room would give the opportunity to flesh out the story with the ideas more embedded

    To Jennifer I ask, do you worry that your style or subject matter may limit the range of your audience? How do you define success as a writer? Critical acclaim or monetary success or the satisfaction of having done something different and challenging? Something else?

  41. WOT???! No mailbag???!! AAGGH!!! *stomps foot and does Stevesque twirly hissy fit* Why do you keep me here??!

    There are things I just MUST know, like: Todd – boxers, or briefs???!

    Actually, I’ve already decided he goes commando… 😉

    See…I have it all figured out…The Allies‘ Scientist wore classic tighty-whities, The Defiant One sported smiley face boxers, Steve allowed only the finest of silken briefs to caress his skin, The Hive‘s ‘Edward Sleazyhands’ slinked around in a very skimpy leopard print thong, and Bob…poor Bob, he died with his Batman Underoos on (I have it on good authority that he found them while rooting around in Ford’s dresser drawers…)


  42. Hey Joe!

    I must say, having seen “Search & Rescue”, I was pretty glad with how it turned out. The CGI was amazing, along with the sets. The wreakage area of the building looked truely authentic and big. I don’t know how you guys did it, but your set designers really outdid themselves. Amazing job!

    The team chemistry in the episode was excellent, from Sheppard not wanting to abandon his team to McKay bonding (eventually 😛 ) to help Teyla with her birth. Poor Carter though, getting the boot right as she arrives on Earth. That dang IOA can be pesky. 😛

    Thanks as always, and have fun today with production!

    – Enzo Aquarius

    PS – As a personal side note, I don’t come her purely for Stargate. Initially, that was the reason I came here, but your blog is much more than Stargate. It’s about your life, adventures, food, literature and more, and I love it and am glad I read your blog everyday. 😀

  43. Excellent season opener! Breathless (in a good way), clever and funny as hell when McKay delivered Teyla’s baby. His expression reminded me of why I told my husband to not be present for the birth of our second child.

    Dog question: An acquaintance of mine owns a pug. It’s every breath is a loud, slurpy snore. Is this normal for pugs?

    Also, I’m wondering whether you might be up for a post or discussion on the subject of authorial intent vs. how the actors interpret and express the material. It’s a pretty broad subject, but I’m interested in the relationships between writers, their work and the actors who present that work on screen.

  44. Hi Joe

    LOVED, LOVED Seach and Rescue and had one question who’s child played Tayla’s??


  45. This is a question for Ms. Pelland. I loved Unwelcome Bodies, Captive Girl being my favorite in the collection. I wonder where you found the inspiration for writing such a heartwrenching love story?

  46. So, this cliff you’re looking for, is it by any chance for the Season 5 clifhangar?!

    *hangs head in shame*

    Sorry, I tried to resist the terrible pun, really I did, but it seems that bad puns will out! *sigh*

    Still, if it is for a cliffhangar, can I suggest that Rodney be the one hanging from the cliff?! *evil grin* Preferably by his fingertips with a worried team member (or members) nearby, desparately trying to save him…

    Btw, I love your blog – ALL of it!


  47. Joe, just got to see S&R last night. Let me start by saying I love Satrgate, love you and your blog. I became a regular SGA viewer (even extended my cable package to do so) because Sam came to Atlantis. I understand you had to write the character out (and wish Amanda the best with Sanctuary) but I hated the way it was done. Maybe more will come to light as the season wears on and I’ll change my mind but the whole firing in the gateroom in front of everyone is a disservice to both Carter and Woolsey. Even if forced to axe her by the IOA surely he had gained enough respect for her in The Scourge and The Seer to do it better than that. He strongly recommended her for the position and then this? All you could come up with was we need “a different skill set”? That’s even more lame than the way Sam was written out of SG1 in season 9. I hope that Amanda’ schedule allows her to return to Atlantis for one more episode otherwise I have just witnessed the worst send off of a beloved character in the history of television.

  48. Hi Joe, the latest Comic Con schedule is out, and it looks like there will be no Stargate autograph sessions this time. Is that for real and final? Not that I would expect to get one, given they are raffled off, but last year everyone gathered there and it was cool!

  49. I just saw the trailer for ‘The Seed’. It looks soooo cool!!!!! Now if only I could get over Carsons hair. Please tell me it gets better.

  50. Hi Joe,

    May I be bold and ask for a dedication in your blog today since it’s my birthday? 😉

    Last year at this time, I was getting ready to enjoy a wonderful birthday dinner at Don Francesco’s thanks to your kind recommendation. Wish I was celebrating my birthday in Vancouver again this year, but alas, no such luck.

    Thanks, Joe. Hope you have a great day!

    Jennie in Oregon 🙂

  51. I think Scary put it right when she said as soon as I’ve looked at getting a book from your recommended list there’s another one that pops up that really draws my interest. I go for that one and another one comes barreling down the line.

    Not that this should be any concern of yours. But I felt like you should be privy to this as much as I should be privy to your goings on. Which is really not at all…I mean if we really want to look at this from a totally common sense way.

    I’ve no concern to be privy to your life and you’ve none to be privy to mine but I’m privy because I want to be. And…offering opportunity for you to have your privy…

    Something about the word privy really niggles me. Almost as much as that last paragraph.

  52. Hey Joe,

    Have you ever read any of Cormac McCarthy’s work? I recently read “The Road” and was wondering what you thought.

    By the way in answer to the posted question earlier, I am actually suprised that you put this much time into keeping this blog up to date with your schedule and food apetite!!



  53. So Joe,

    Do you know which episode Amanda Tapping will be in, in Season 5 and is it still just one episode for her?

    Also, How is the 100th episode progressing?

  54. Hi Joe,

    Finally got a chance to see S&R and I have to say that I loved the episode right up until the final minutes. I really think that last scene wasn’t written well at all. Who fires someone in the middle of the gate room? And her first response after being fired is to ask “Who’s replacing me?” Seriously? Knowing the Carter character, I would think the first thing she’d ask is why, or what lead to this, etc… In fact, I think most people who have just been abruptly fired want to know why. It was a terrible scene and poor send off to a great, franchise character. I’m disappointed.

    I hope that you are able to bring the character back for an episode at some point. If you are able to do that, will you at least give her a chance to say goodbye to the others? Do something a little more fitting?

    I hope so.

  55. Joe,

    My husband and I are looking to make something to donate to the Stargate Track panel auction down at Dragon*Con this year, in honor of Don Davis (all proceeds go to the American Heart Association). What I’d like to know (and surely if you don’t know, someone you work with should) is what rank did General Hammond officially retire at? How many stars had he earned by that point?

    You can always shoot me an email, if you’d rather. Thanks in advance!


  56. Oh, some questions:
    How did the hectic ‘Remnants’ meetings go?
    Will you guys ever go on location to another part of the world? (other than the North Pole)
    Will Atlantis fly again?
    Why don’t you open your own restaurant?

    I know writing is ‘your thang’, but by heck, you’re prolific with this blog

  57. I finished Unwelcome Bodies–
    I liked some of the stories and others well, kinda creepy, but thats just me. I like the idea of short stories, for those times when I have a few minutes to sit down. I especially liked the “notes” at the end of the story, really added to the story, making more sense, thanks.
    As I read the stories, I was able to SEE the characters in the story from your writing, a bit scary, but effective, I could really see the big sister/little sister one, Now I will try to not have those nightmares associated…
    Do you always carry paper/recorder with you, if an idea happens to strike?
    Are there stories that you have never been able to finish for whatever reason?
    What kind of cats do you have? male/female? longhair/shorthair?
    Thanks for taking time to do this and thanks to Mr M. as wel for inviting you. Enjoy the day! 🙂

  58. You drive a hard bargin but your Annual Arbour Day bonus pinecone will be delivered, possibly by throwing it over the Bridge Studio fence so you might want to move your car.

  59. Well, if I’d been able to get Jennifer Pelland’s book, the cover definitely would have jumped out at me from the bookstore. Simple but effective.

  60. Just thought I’d say the cover art for unwelcome bodies is pretty cool. Usually book covers relate to the content inside, a major exception being textbooks. For instance, I have a math book that has zebras on it. Not once did I encounter any problems with zebras.

  61. You should buy Joe Flanigan a drink for enduring that host on E! He handled his own, but looked ready to bolt..I would too if being interviewed by that woman. We’ll take any PR for the show..but poor Joe.

  62. Joe,
    I enjoy your blog whatever is posted. I read it every day and check for new comments often throughout the day.

    and dasNdanger –
    “There are things I just MUST know, like: Todd – boxers, or briefs???!” post – it’s the first time in quite awhile I really laughed out loud until my eyes teared up – I really needed that. Thanks

  63. Firstly I want to say that this was a spectacular choice. This was a perfect bus reading book, great for those fifteen minute trips to and from work.

    I can’t begin to pick a favorite.

    “Captive Girl” was thrilling and it was easy to see why it was an award nominee. I was entranced by this story. The psychology of Alice and what motivated her was the key part of this. She had given up her life to protect the world, but she was eventually told what she had volunteered to do was unfair, even wrong. On top of all of it, she finds out that the one woman she loves can’t love her unless she is trapped and mutilated. This was incredibly touching to me and I agree with Ms. Pelland that this would have been a completely different story if it had been anything other than two women.

    “The Last Stand of the Elephant Man” was amazing. What I found particularly interesting was that the Elephant Man was the most human of all of the characters. The fact that he had held on to his empathy and could consider having mercy on the man who harmed him was astounding. That he was rewarded with his lifelong wish for his act of kindness really made this story for me.

    “Last Bus” was incredibly heart-warming and placed perfectly in the book to break up all of the disturbing topics. The fact that she had the ability to push past the trials of the afterlife to take that final ride was inspiring and that she decided to take the man with her was sweet. There was a hopeful balance to the story that stuck with me and put it near the top of my list.

    On the topic of book organization, “Brushstrokes” was a spectacular end to the book. I felt that the story was fleshed out nicely with the description of the society, the characterization, and the pacing of the plot. I felt for the characters, how they banded together in the end rather than railing against each other and in that act became a symbol that hopefully would incite change.

    Many of the other stories I found to be thought-provoking but infinitely disturbing. “Big Sister/ Little Sister” honestly gave me nightmares about creepy things growing under my skin. “For the Plague Thereof…,” “Flood,” and “Firebird” were good and raised interesting issues but not my favorite.

    The one story that missed the mark for me was “The Call.” Maybe this is just my personal bias against second person point-of-view, but I couldn’t get into it at all. It really felt like one of those writing assignments you get in a creative writing workshop. It’s not really your thing but you do it anyways because its homework. The idea was interesting but the execution was a little off, in my opinion.

    Extra kudos should to be given for sound scientific background. As a graduate student in biomedical science, inaccuracies can really pull me out of a story. This did not happen once in this book and I appreciated it. As a side note, by inaccuracies I mean facts that are just plain wrong rather than things that fall within the realm of suspended disbelief. Like Keller and Carson finding wraith DNA in a peptide during the Kindred pt2.

    To Ms. Pelland,

    Do you prefer writing short stories? If you do, is it because you find yourself bouncing through a maze of vastly different ideas? Do you have characters that stick with you or is it the situations that drive your stories?

    I also have one oddball question. Feel free to ignore it if it is too personal. Are you an active dreamer? I got the impression from your book that you are one of those people who has a very active subconscious and remembers all of their dreams upon waking. Just a hunch.

    Thank you so much for an incredible read. I will definitely suggest this one to my friends.

  64. Mr. M.: Have listened to all the commentaries for season 4 and must say I am a bit disappointed that there wasn’t one for “Midway.” I was looking forward to that since watching the episode. How is it decided which episodes will not get a commentary? I know on the season 10 set of SG-1 the only episode without commentary was “Bad Guys,” again a commentary I was looking forward to hearing. I find them all quite entertaining and “enlightening”! When I was in college, the first time, all my electives were related to film and television, so listening to how Martin Wood uses lenses, and how the same 2 halls can make up a long walk-and-talk is quite fun for me. Your commentaries were informative and great fun to listen too this past weekend. Hope you will continue to provide commentary on the season 5 discs!

  65. Mr. M–many thanks for hosting a book of the month. I only recently found out about it, but will be coming back to read more in the future.

    Ms. P–wonderful collection. Unlike a few people here, I found “The Call” to be an incredibly strong piece that worked well in second person because it forced the reader to consider each question personally. It’s definitely on my read-again list because it’s the kind of story you can go back to and see how your answers change.

    “Brushtrokes” was my favorite by far,…dark and vibrant and forbidden. I know not everyone will read the collection in order, but it’s good to end with a bang. (Err…please don’t read any puns into that.)

    Something about “Firebird” gave it an ultra-real feel and I’m still trying to figure out what. Maybe it’s because I went to a college where social protests were almost a status symbol, but the world in that one (and in “The Plague…” too) really came alive and made those possible futures into plausible nows.

    On first read, “Immortal Sin” and “The Last Bus” didn’t do as much for me, but now I’m eager to read them again from a different perspective after seeing the comments other people have left–that’s the great thing about a book club…I get a few new sets of eyes.

    I really wish I could think of a question or two for you, but I have none at the moment. I’m just looking forward to having you stop by here later on.

    Thank you!

  66. >>EH-T writes: “All you could come up >>with was we need “a different skill set”? That’s even more lame than the way Sam was written out of SG1 in season 9.”

    >>Answer: We’ll be touching on the I.O.A.’s reasoning in this week’s episode, The Seed.<<<

    I’m glad to hear that, but is the explanation also going to include how the Air Force is going to manage the fact that Sam has now lost not just one but TWO commands to males far less qualified than she?

    From what I have heard from people I know in the AF, someone dismissed from a command would be encouraged to retire. She’d certainly never see a command again.

    And the way it was done – in the gateroom, in front of others? Surely Sam is entitled to a far better send off than that.

    For the most part, I thought Search and Rescue was one of the best episodes of SGA; even sticking to just the Sam stuff, Sam certainly was more the commander than she ever was during the entire fourth season.

    The end was a slap in the face. Obviously you had to write Amanda out, and I’m sure you (by “you” please understand that I’m not singling you, Joe, out personally, but am referring to everyone on the writing and producing staff) wanted to make it dramatic and fit into the story. But even Woolsey is not such a pig that he’d do this in front of other people. Even with Sam asking him questions, he could have said, “let’s talk in the briefing room.”

    If you all wanted us to hate Woolsey and the IOA and build dramatic tension, hey, it’s already there. They are idiots; we know this already. Woolsey is supposedly well intentioned, but people who are well intentioned learn from their mistakes. He keeps making the same ones over and over. He’s a moron.

    Ok, we know him. But it was necessary to degrade a character like Sam? And now she goes back to being under Mitchell’s command, which she never should have been in the first place?

    No, I don’t like it at all.

    Oh, and while I thought that S&R was a terrific episode, Rodney delivering the baby had to be the biggest cliche I have ever seen on SGA and SG1.


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