Today, we are joined by author Stephen Dobyns who has kindly taken the time to answer some of your reader questions about his novel The Church of Dead Girls. To those of you who didn’t take part in last month’s book of the month club discussion – I strongly urge you to pick up the book and read it before checking out the Q&A. Trust me, it’s a very quick read. Once you start, you’ll be hardpressed to set the book aside and could well finish it in one sitting (maybe two if, on your first night of reading, your wife yells at you to turn off the freakin’ light because it’s almost 3:00 a.m.).

With this month’s discussions fast-approaching, I’ve decided to pull the trigger on next month’s BOTMC selections…

In the SF category, it’ll be The Traveler, by John Twelve Hawks. Okay, this one is interesting for two big reasons. One is the book itself. The second is the mysterious author (Twelve Hawks isn’t his real name) who, apparently, lives “off the grid” and has never even met his American publisher. My initial reaction was to dismiss this as a slick PR stunt but, in looking over the author’s official website, I have to admit that Twelve Hawks, whoever he is, offers up some smart, oft-times scary food for thought. Would the enigmatic Mr. Twelve Hawks be willing to come out of hiding to field some reader questions on his work? Doubtful buy, hey, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Twelve Hawks’s much anticipated novel is powerful, mainstream fiction built on a foundation of cutting-edge technology laced with fantasy and the chilling specter of an all-too-possible social and political reality. The time is roughly the present, and the U.S. is part of the Vast Machine, a society overseen by the Tabula, a secret organization bent on establishing a perfectly controlled populace. Allied against the Tabula are the Travelers and their sword-carrying protectors, the Harlequins. The Travelers, now almost extinct, can project their spirit into other worlds where they receive wisdom to bring back to earth—wisdom that threatens the Tabula’s power. Maya, a reluctant Harlequin, finds herself compelled to protect two naïve Travelers, Michael and Gabriel Corrigan. Michael dabbles in shady real estate deals, while Gabriel prefers to live “off the Grid,” eschewing any documentation—credit cards, bank accounts—that the Vast Machine could use to track him. Because the Tabula has engineered a way to use the Travelers for its own purposes, Maya must not only keep the brothers alive, but out of the hands of these evil puppet-masters.”

Discussion on The Traveler will begin the week of Monday, October 27th.

In the fantasy category, it’ll be Acacia, by David Anthony Durham. This is one I’ve been dying to get around to for quite some time but I held off on because I wanted to make it a BOTMC selection. Well, it’s finally been released as a mass market paperback, so no one has an excuse not to pick it up. Author David Anthony Durham is a celebrated historical novelist, multiple award winner, with three novels in development as big screen adaptations (including, yes, Acacia).

From Publisher’s Weekly: “In this sprawling and vividly imagined fantasy, historical novelist Durham (Pride of Carthage) chronicles the downfall and reinvention of the Akaran Dynasty, whose empire, called Acacia, was built on conquest, slaving and drug trade. The Acacian empire, encompassing “The Known World,” is hated by its subjugated peoples, especially the Mein, who 22 generations earlier were exiled to the icy northland. Having sent an assassin to kill the Acacian king, Leodan, the rebel chieftain, Hanish Mein, declares war on the empire. As Acacia falls, Leodan’s treasonous but conflicted chancellor, Thaddeus Clegg, spirits the king’s four children to safety. When the Mein’s rule proves even more tyrannical than the old, the former chancellor seeks to reunite the now adult Akaran heirs—the oldest son Aliver (once heir to the throne), the beautiful elder daughter Corinn, their younger sister, Mena, and youngest brother, Dariel—to lead a war to regain the empire. Durham has created a richly detailed alternate reality leavened with a dollop of magic and populated by complicated personalities grappling with issues of freedom and oppression.”

Discussion on Acacia will begin the week of Monday, November 3rd.

And, finally, in the horror category, it’ll be Necroscope by Brian Lumley. This one is a classic, the first in an immensely popular series by famed horror master Brian Lumley.

From the publisher: “Harry Keogh is the man who can talk to the dead, the man for whom every grave willingly gives up its secrets, the one man who knows how to travel effortlessly through time and space to destroy the vampires that threaten all humanity.

In Necroscope, Harry is startled to discover that he is not the only person with unusual mental powers–Britain and the Soviet Union both maintain super-secret, psychically-powered espionage organizations. But Harry is the only person who knows about Thibor Ferenczy, a vampire long buriedin the mountains of Romania–still horribly alive, in undeath–and Thibor’s insane “offspring,” Boris Dragosani, who rips information from the souls of the dead in a terrible, ever-lasting form of torture…”

Discussion on Necroscope will begin the week of Monday, November 10th.

Congratulations to Antisocialbutterflie and Cat4444, the random winners of last month’s BOTMC discussions.  You’ve won a year’s subscription to Fantasy & Science Fiction.  I’ll be pestering you in the coming days for your mailing information.

I’d like to thank everyone who submitted questions for director Will Waring. He is furiously working away on them as we speak. Atlantis Production Designer James Robbins, meanwhile, has his hands full with an upcoming series, but I’m sure he can make time for a few questions. So, if you have questions for James, start posting them.

And, finally, scroll down to the bottom of this entry for the first part of our tour of the FX Stage.

Over to author Stephen Dobyns…

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “1) How did you come to the decision to keep the audience disconnected from the narrator for most of the story? Why did you decide to change that in part 3?

2) Was there some historical event in particular that provided inspiration for the stepwise breakdown of the community?

3) How did you come to the decision to make the narrator gay? Was it to make him a target of “the Friends” or was there another reason.

Thanks so much for giving us a wonderful book and answering our questions.”

Dobyns: The narrator remains “disconnected”, as you say, partly for reasons of suspense and partly because he sees himself as an outsider because he is gay. In a larger town or city being gay is usually accepted, but in small towns it can create problems. When I taught at Syracuse University in the 80’s and 90’s, a young woman, Sarah Ann Wood, disappeared from a town resembling Aurelius. The culprit was not identified for a number of years, if at all, and I imagined how, in a small town, such a horrible crime might cause the townspeople to begin to look at one another with increasing suspicion. In such cases, historically, attention becomes focused on people who seem somewhat different.

CTim writes: “I really enjoyed the novel but was left very confused at the end. Why, in your mind, did the guilt party commit these murders? Was he just crazy? And why so much time between the first murder and the later abductions of young girls?”

Dobyns: The murderer’s confused sexuality led him to be attracted to the first girl and to be appalled that he was attracted. Usually, a man who feels this way then blames the woman, or girl, for attracting him. It is easier to blame her than to blame himself. Seeing her as guilty of corrupting him, he then has to punish her in order to save her from herself; the saving part is in his church in the attic. Having killed once without getting caught, he does it again and again. He takes a hideous pleasure in the killing, which he sees as purification, yet he also has a wish to be stopped, to be caught. And in the end, after he has been shot, he punishes himself by cutting off the offending hand. There is that line in the Bible: “If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out.” That’s what I was thinking of.

Thornyrose writes: “For Mr. Dobyns. Which of your works would you recommend to someone not familiar with your works, as a first, second, and third choice? Which is more satisfying, teaching, writing poetry, or writing fictional prose? In Church of Dead Girls, we were presented with what I’d call a psychological horror thriller. Have you done any more “traditional” horror stories? What do you think of the genre in general? Finally, what aspect of getting a book published is the most rewarding, and the most frustrating? Thank you very much for your participation in this forum. While I was not a fan of “Church of Dead Girls”, I netherless appreciate the craftsmenship and imagination that went into writing it.”

Dobyns: I have a lot of different types of books. The poetry is most important to me, and the selected poems, Velocities, would be a good introduction. My best novels, I think, are The Two Deaths of Senora Puccini and The Wrestler’s Cruel Study. No, I have no “traditional” horror stories. M.R. James wrote “traditional” horror stories, but you probably mean someone more recent. Any genre novel is limited by its genre, meaning that it serves up melodramatic answers, or conclusions, for moral questions. I’ve written ten mystery novels in my Saratoga series, and although I take great pleasure in them, they are still limited by the genre. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov are both mysteries, but their greatness is due in part to the fact that they transcend the mysteries to something more important. As for publishing, what is rewarding is the writing of the book. Then the publishing, if it happens, is all gravy.

GateTech writes: “What challenges did you face in making use of the first-person narrator? Did you sometimes find yourself hamstrung by the details in writing scenes in which the narrator doesn’t appear? What made you decide to tell the story this way? Was it to lend it an air of familiarity for the small town setting?”

Dobyns: A major difficulty of a first person narrator is that the action must happen in front of him or her. My character cheats a little by imagining scenes that others have told him about. However, a number of great writers have violated first person narrator taboos. My story was influenced, in a small way, by Dostoevsky’s The Devils, in which the first person narrator constantly describes stuff that he could never have known. But despite this, the novel is still credible. I wrote it in first person because I wanted the narrator to be a participant and to feel the pressure—real or imagined—of being watched.

Kellyk writes: “Question for Mr. Dobyns. I loved the small town setting of your novel. I was wondering if you drew on any childhood memories or experiences growing up to help paint a very realistic portrait of the people and places. And were you influenced by any other writers?”

Dobyns: As I say, I was influenced in part by Dostoevsky’s The Devils. Also I was familiar with towns like this when I taught at Syracuse University. In addition, my mother was from a very small town 40 miles north of Utica, NY, and growing up I often went there to visit my grandparents, aunts and cousins. In writing about Aurelius, I kept thinking of those small New York State towns.

A Honshuu writes: “This was a wicked good read. Actually took me a couple of days because I didn’t want to miss anything. Now that I’ve had a taste, I’m now hungry for more & will be hitting the local library for all they have. Thank you!”

Dobyns: Thanks for reading and enjoying the book. A writer can’t ask for anything more.


55 thoughts on “September 8, 2008: Author Stephen Dobyns Discusses The Church of Dead Girls, Next Month’s BOTMC Selections, and Take a Tour of the FX Stage I

  1. Thank you Mr. Dobyns! As an aspiring writer, I’m always looking for every little tidbit of information and help I can possibly get. I appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions!

  2. I’m going to send the following article to all media outlets in the hopes that they will pick up the story and it will garner more viewers to SGA. I’m also hoping that it may lead to other articles about how the rating system needs an overhaul.

    If you know of any publication in particular that I should send it to, please, let me know 🙂 If you notice something wrong with it, I’ll change it ASAP.

    Loyal Fans Cry Foul; Protest September 12th

    Action, adventure, comedy, and a hint of romance together create the perfect recipe for outstanding science fiction. Stargate Atlantis has beautifully incorporated each ingredient successfully capturing audiences around the world. Season five started out strong by winning the best sci-fi show at the 2008 People’s Choice Awards. Despite the amazing fan support and awards, MGM and Sci Fi made the ultimate decision to cancel Stargate Atlantis at the height of its popularity.

    This appalling action has surprised fans, stars, and the producers alike. It comes as no shock that the thousands of dedicated fans have gathered on various sites like,, and in an attempt to change the minds of the studio giants. A petition to save the lost city has collected nearly 15,000 signatures as of September 9th. The campaign is fully underway, with hundreds, possibly thousands of fans shipping character McKay’s least favourite fruit (lemons) to MGM, the Sci Fi channel, and even Fox.

    The cancellation has rocked the fan world hard, but little did they know the cancellation was just the beginning of their woes. Sci Fi recently announced that the new series, Stargate Universe, has been given the green light and will premiere in 2009. The fans of Atlantis have adamantly protested SGU, insisting that they will not watch it or any Sci Fi shows in the upcoming year.

    How could such an awesome show even been considered for the chopping block? It really comes down to the simple fact that studio executives are using an antiquated system to track ratings. The Nielson boxes worked well when television was the only way to view the episodes. Technologically savvy fans now use DVR’s, TIVO’s, and even the internet to watch the latest episodes. Unfortunately, MGM and Sci Fi have not taken these viewers into account or even considered utilizing this media to their benefit. Many shows may be put on the chopping block until Hollywood catches up with the rest of the world where technology is concerned.

    To combat this, fans from all over the world, are gathering in Vancouver, Canada at the Bridge Studios, where Atlantis is filmed, on September 12th at 9am. There, they will plead for a show that they love with all of their hearts as well as show the executives that they are not faceless viewers.

    Other Sources not mentioned in the release include:

    Space. Stars and Producers Weigh In on Cancellation. Retrieved September 7, 2008 from

  3. Dear Joe Mallozzi,

    Sorry for posting the following again, I figured you were probably too buy to read the mail bag at that time. Anyways
    I have an interesting proposal for your weird food purchase of the day: Sheep Testicles. When properly cooked its a very big delight in some North African cultures’ dishes. Anyways my friend I hope and wish you a great great future whether its in SG Universe or elsewhere and I will always be a regular and loyal toward SGA and your blog.

    I also have a little question regarding Stargate Atantis. We found out in season 1 that there were 60 Hive ships or more in the Pegasus galaxy, now with so much that has transpired ( Our team taking out a few, the wraith civil war, the asuran-wraith war) approximately how much do you think are still out there and will it be adressed in one the season 5 episodes?

    Merci Bien

  4. Thanks for the tour again.

    For James: What would you say was the most difficult episode you’ve worked on to date and why?

    Is there an episode that you saw after the fact in which you had wished you had chosen a different set up? Which one was it and why?

  5. Um, not to be nit picky, but today is the 8th of September. At least here in the States. 🙂

  6. Lesson learned. I will not laugh, grin wryly, or smile smugly at any injuries you henceforth incur. While dealing with my overrun and out of control bookshelves, I suffered a less than catastrophic, but still extremely painful injury to my big toe. Caused, no less, by a book titled “The Little Book of Insults”. Yours is a strange and scary power.
    Thank you for posting the BotM club selections before my next book run. I’ve added them, as well as a couple of Mr. Dobyn’s other books to the list. And many thanks to Mr. Dobyns for participating here, and taking the time to answer our questions. And thanks to Mr. Binder for continuing to be our guide on all things Bridge Studio. As well as a nod of appreciation to his cameraman..

  7. I remember asking you about The Traveler several months ago after I finished it. I’m glad you decided to check it out and make it a BOTM selection. I’ll definitely re-read it before the discussion, I can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts on it.
    A note to everyone who decides to pick up the book, the second is already out and the final book of the trilogy should be out next summer. 🙂

  8. Hey Joe!

    Your set designers are amazing at saving room, squishing everything around but making it all work. Neat tour. 🙂

    Great interview, and the BOTMC selections look very intriguing. 🙂

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  9. First chance I’ve had to comment since my first con experience Labor Day weekend – Dragon*Con in Atlanta. It was fun. I’ll definetly go again next year but try to stay downtown. Commuting over an hour each way driving and trains takes too much energy and you miss the later stuff. Great costumes – alot of SG team members and a couple of Wraith. I haven’t dressed up for anything since Halloween back around the 3rd grade but I now have the overwhelming urge to buy black BDUs and a tac vest.

    It was very cool to see “tv” people in real life. I’m glad Torri Higginson and Rainbow Sun Francks joined in. Cliff Simon was awesome.

    My first impression of Whispers: alot of fun and very creepy. I never had any concerns about how the all girl team would be played and wasn’t dissappointed. I don’t do horror/thriller/suspense as a rule (can’t even watch the SciFi promos for their Saturday night movies) so I know when I watch it again it will be even better (since I won’t have my eyes covered as much).

  10. Hi Joe:

    This question is for James Robbins. James, are you any relation to actor Ryan Robbins? Ryan was Ladon Radim, the Genii Commander in earlier seasons of Atlantis.

    Joe, I am sending you two CDs that Cliff Simon and I have produced. The American Affirmations CD is doing very well with the American troops all over the world and is regularly being played on Armed Forces Radio. The feedback from the troops is that it makes them feel appreciated. Some of the military members have even cried because it has touched them deeply. To me, that is really saying something.
    The stress CD: Stress; It’s All In The Mind, has been of benefit to many of the people who purchased it. We have heard nothing but great things about it. I hope you enjoy both CDs. If you, or anyone else would like to know more about them, my website is:


    Patricia (AG)

  11. Everyone ready for the first beam at CERN?

    For some amusing reading, head over to and check out the 2161 comments in relation to the LHC experiment.

    A nice mix of comments from seemingly smart people, mildly smart people, interested in physics people, confessed no idea people, doomsdayers, nutcases and all out whack jobs.

    Sign me up for the Traveller next month. Will have to do some hunting for Acacia. Can’t do horror sorry.

    Reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It’s quite distracting reading such a long book which contains a misspelling of your name ever page. Haven’t had much reading time lately so this will take a while.

    Glad to see the feedback on Whispers has been so positive. Look forward to seeing it.

  12. Hey Joe,

    Looks like I will be at Bridge Studios tomorrow. If I get a break from the show I am on I will stop by the office again to say “Hi” if that is ok. See you soon.


  13. Thank you so much Joe for these tours. And thank Carl Binder for his time too. That was fantastic.

    I will say, outside of actually being an actor in a show like Stargate, my dream job would have to be stage design. I love little gadgets and tricks like the mirrors and figuring out how to do things and manipulate the window we call the TV to show a larger world than the budget might suggest.

    I am not an actor, I was drama all through school and improv through college. But I actually develop software for website applications. So in a way I am kind of doing the stage design thing, just electronically 😀

  14. @alexandria thanks for the websites. I signed my name on the petition. I also watched the video on the space cast website as well. I thought it was funny that they cut off Brad Wright in the middle of his segment. That goes to show what they think of him.

    @Rebecaa H – happy belated anniversary. I hope I have the right person.

    @tammy Davis – I’m suprised to see that Torri Higgison and Rainbow Sun Francs are still doing conventions. Glad you had fun.

  15. Oooh. You’ve got Acacia on the BOTMC. I read that a while ago and I gotta say, I hope you like it because I sure didn’t. Good luck with it.


  16. Whispers: I loved it! Although I have to admit that I was surprised Vega bought it so quickly. Carson and Sheppard after they met the “team” was absolutely priceless, especially just before they headed off after them. They’re such guys.

    Carson got himself a sweetheart. He certainly works fast!

    Major Anne Teldy: Congratulations on surviving the episode to return again another day! I was sure the mutant space cows — okay, mutant tree-type people — would get you.

  17. I know the cancellation has been talked about to the death here on the blog in the last couple of weeks, but I just wrote Brad Wright I nice letter on why SGA should not be cancelled. It may help and it may not, but at least I know I tried.

    In the letter I put the top five reasons why SGA should not be cancelled. I’m sure they have thought of these reasons as well, but I thought I would send them to Brad Wright anywas.

    here are the top five reasons I wrote. Let me know what you think.

    5. Sheppard. 4. Sheppard 3. Carson 2. Sheppard and the number 1 reason Joe Mallozzi’s and Paul Mullie’s wonderful and creepy stories like Whispers.

    No, in all honesty here are the real five reasons I wrote to Brad Wright to keep the show going.

    5. Not everyone can afford to buy DVDs. I think the DVD franchise is hurting the television franchise. Sci fi will loose a large audience once Stargate Atlantis is done. Many from Joe Mallozzi’s blog and are saying they will cancel Sci fi once SGA is done. I as well, because the other shows I do watch I can rent from the library on DVD. That is why it is hurting the television franchise as a whole. How is Sci fi or MGM going to make money if people are renting the DVD’s instead of buying?
    4. “For now, absolutely. Atlantis is still there, and will still be there for a while…which means we’d better start doing movies! [laughter]These are expensive stages.” This is what you quoted in the interview with If the set is till going to be there why can’t it still be used to make Season 6 instead of using it once or twice a year. Why leave it empty for a few months at a time in between movies when they can be used for an entire year of filming?
    3. “There will always be people who assume that Atlantis got cancelled for Universe.” This was a statement made by GW. I am one of those people. The main reason is because Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis had the chance to run back to back on Friday nights when Atlantis first aired. In fact Stargate SG-1 was at its height during its eighth season when Atlantis first aired. This would be the same for SGA (except for 6th season) and SGU. I don’t understand why they can’t do that. It has been done before.

  18. Here is the rest of the five. I accidently hit the submit comment.

    2. The only thing all of us fans are asking for is another season. There are still more wonderful stories to write that can’t be done in movies. With movies you have one story line possibly two story lines in a two hour frame slot, but with a series more stories can be developed. Besides the cast and crew are signed for a six year contract. Why can’t we make the movies after the sixth season? I believe you would have happier fans and a better success with Stargate: Universe.
    1. The number one reason it should not be cancelled of course us fans. “Look, if they weren’t in complete agreement on where to go next, if it wasn’t a joint decision, there wouldn’t be a movie deal already in place.” This is another quote from When you guys made this decision for movies did you not think of all of us loyal fans that have been loyal to this franchise since the beginning of Stargate Sg-1? Most of us do not want movies. At least not yet. Let SG-1 have the movies for now then bring in SGA movies after a sixth season.

    let me know if you guys agree with the me. I am going to send these to sci fi and MGM.

  19. caitlyanna
    So I’ve been watching my first season DVDs of Bones for the past few days . . .

    Piece of trivia for you: In the episode “The Man with the Bone” (Ep 18), the character of Mayor Frank Ney is based on and named after a real person. Frank Ney was the mayor of Nanaimo, BC, for, I believe, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years. He loved to dress up as a pirate and there is actually a statue of him in his pirate regalia in Swy-a-lana lagoon in Nanaimo harbor. He also started the Nanaimo to Vancouver bathtub race and there are several weirdly named streets in Nanaimo due to him, as well. Google his name and Nanaimo for more info.

  20. Working my way through the comments, and I have some more of my own:

    I liked the turtleneck. It suits Joe F.

    As for Sheppard not knowing Teldy’s team was all female, I think there would be no question about Teldy, Porter, or Vega since they all have women’s names, but “Dusty” could go either way. He probably just assumed Dusty was a male. I agree with some other posters that he likely has not met all of the military personnel on Atlantis and simply “rubber stamped” the team roster, trusting Teldy made good choices.

    I have a question for you now, Mr. M. It kind of just hit me, sort of like that vicious book that attacked you without provocation. This relates back to The Last Man. In the episode, old McCay told Sheppard where Teyla was found and that Michael had taken her there for the birth of her child, then killed her because she was no longer of any use to him, but in the episode, Michael only went to that planet as a result of the booby trap in the building being tripped and causing it to implode (“Change of plans.”). His original destination appears to have been somewhere else.

    Now, here’s where I am probably going to answer my own question: Since Sheppard never returns to the original timeline due to that whole paradox problem, and the new timeline isn’t quite the same as the old one, does that mean that the information Sheppard received in the future is no longer completely accurate? Was it just a fluke that, because they tripped the booby trap, Michael actually showed up, thereby enabling them to rescue Teyla? If McKay’s actions hadn’t resulted in the collapse of the building, would Teyla have been taken to the other destination, and not to that particular planet, and had her baby there, meaning Michael’s plan would have still proceeded despite Sheppard’s presence?

    It’s late, going to crash now. Read today’s blog tomorrow.

  21. A question slightly off topic but slightly SGA related, just for you.

    Have you heard about the Hadron Collider and do you think it could end like the experiment in the episode of SGA Trinity?

  22. I FINALLLY have a laptop *falls over from happiness*
    It took me a year to save up (medical students dont have alot of money you know XD)
    Sooooo happy *dances off*

  23. Thanks to Mr Dobyns for answering questions.
    Love what appears to be a very basic and simple approach to the writing. But that said – it is all in the framing and presentation.

    I appreciate your concept as stated for the mysteries that:
    “…but their greatness is due in part to the fact that they transcend the mysteries to something more important. As for publishing, what is rewarding is the writing of the book. Then the publishing, if it happens, is all gravy.”

  24. Maybe there is just something wrong with my computer but that video sounds like you are Carl having been sucking on the helium when you were making it. It probably is just my computer coz no-one else has mentioned it but its funny as anything. Carl Binder on helium sounds just like Richard Dreyfuss!

  25. How is your head today? No headache, bump left? Since I’m a small person I share such experiences. Which leads me to two questions: Why are the good things always right at the top? And why I always think ‘yes, I can reach them myself, I can….’?

    Thanks again for making this blog and all the interesting extras. It’s a pleasure to read and watch.

    I think I missed some things watching Whispers the first time. So I’ll watch it again. For me the girls were a little bitchy (a thing I often notice in a group of women) and didn’t act like a team. But since the team was a new one this is understandable.

    Didn’t think it would be possible but with every day I feel more sadness. There are too many sentences with ‘this is the last time’, ‘the last day’ etc. when talking about SGA. I also watched the video with the cast reaction to the cancellation. Sad, sad, sad. Sorry, I can’t agree with a single word that comes from Brad Wright. It seems everyone except TPTB is surprised and not happy about the cancellation. It’s a shame that people who (apparently) don’t care (enough) about the show have the power to cancel it and the ones who do care can do nothing.

    Sorry for mentioning this again but I’m just not done with this topic 🙁

  26. Hi again Mr M!

    Loovin’ the set tours….Looks like you guys had good weather recently.

    Any more info re: EATG? Is the wrap party / 100 Ep party planning fully sorted out? I seem to recall you were detailed to organise some of it!!

    Best to all at the Bridge Studios.


    PS Any chance of getting Mr N John Smith over onto the blog? I had the privilege of his company as the tour guide in April, a great guy with oodles of knowledge and a gentle manner. He always seems to have this “not-fussed / non-plussed” look, as if nothing could phase him!

  27. Narelle from Aus wrote
    Everyone ready for the first beam at CERN?

    Yes – and I promise I will be standing on the top of a hill tomorrow and watch the southern horizon with a binocular. And I’ll tell you when I’ll be able to see the Mediterranean Sea because the Alps are gone. 😀 Then you’ll have about 15 hours to evacuate the rest of the world through the Stargate. Good luck. 😆

  28. Hiya,

    Cute tour. The mirrors will go into that mental file of cool set tricks. I wonder how well that would play out on stage…..

    I really want to commend the set designers and the scenics (there is a special place in my heart for fellow painters and drafters). They continue to create amazing environments which would be ridiculously cool to paint. Way above and beyond just slapping paint on a flat, here they can get their hands dirty and really breakdown everything making it richer and gritty. Almost an oxymoron there but I hope you get what I am trying to convey.

    Definitely would be cool to get a scenic here to chat about it.


  29. Wow…I’ve watched Whispers about 3 times now…and I still haven’t noticed the turtleneck. 😛

    Well, I finally came to work after a funsie day spent cleaning out the garage yesterday. Ugh. I SWEAR our garage looked like that pile of crap on Stage 2 outside of the hive set…webbing and all.

    Speaking of the hive set…I skipped several of the backstage tours because they were depressing. But I watched the last two, mainly in hopes of getting some insight into what the minds of the creative team think about the Wraith – you know – all those little details that never get revealed…like what those finger armor thingys are for and stuff.

    I have come to the conclusion: the fans know more about the Wraith than you guys do. “What is their practical function… on the ship?” Okay, Joe – you really tried there, but before Carl could answer, you had to jump in with, “It looks like a mushroom.” 🙄 I was SO ready to learn something new, and…well…you guys blew it. Must’ve been those Halloween mask fumes (or the shrooms) messin’ with your heads.

    Tell you what, Joe…now that you might have some free time on your hands, why don’t you Atlantis guys sit down and compile a Wraith encyclopaedia…I know quite a few folks who would gladly spend good money to have something like that on their bookshelves – hell, I would even READ it. 😉

    So…to put it in the words of pg15 – Do it. Do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it!

    Please. 🙂


  30. Double reply, sorry.

    I meant to ask if you guys were in house regarding painting and carps or is it off site at a place like Great Lakes Scenic?

  31. >>>>>>>…..I haven’t dressed up for anything since Halloween back around the 3rd grade <<<<

    Dear Tammy Davis … that makes me so sad. Go buy those BDUs and that tac vest. Do it, do it now. Everyone should dress up a few times a year, whether for cons or Halloween or just because they get a kick out of it. Have fun, or life becomes mundane. Never pass up a chance to confuse the cable installer, that’s my motto.

  32. tamijb. Nice job. I’ve avoided sending anything to folks at Bridge, including Mr. Wright. My take on writing him is that he was in the position of making the best deal he could for the franchise. While I disagree with what choices he might have made, I also don’t know how much influence he had. The case is not the same with MGM and Sci Fi, from my view.
    On a related note, I’ve a suggestion I’ll be fielding about on other venues. Mr. Mallozzi has pointed out something to us in the last week. Namely, that a sharp rise in ratings might make some eyebrows rise. So folks, what I’m suggesting is this. Prepare to do what you can to push up the ratings. I’d say time it for the second half of the season. Pester everyone you can to watch, tivo, dvd r, or download(legally) the show. Send letters to the advertisers each week, to let them know their commercials were seen. Send letters to MGM and Sci Fi telling them what you’ve done. In short, deluge them with as much evidence as possible that the Atlantis fans were out there, and in greater numbers than they suspected. Show the evil Harkonnens that we Fremen are not to be taken lightly! ooops. Sorry. Listening to the audiobook is playing with my mind..
    Noir, thanks for your dedication and selflessness in giving us warning. Your name will be remembered throughout the galaxy…now, where is that ticket to colorado springs?

  33. Afternoon, Joe

    How’s the head today? Have you opted for the safety of a crash helmet, or did the street cred win out? Actually, i’m trying to imagine what might happen if you walked through the Production offices with something like that perched on your noggin’..

    The mind boggles.

    I’ve a question i’ve been meaning to ask you for ages, but keep forgetting. And it’s possible that you’ve already answered it a thousand times elsewhere – what can I say? I’m a lazy sod and can’t be bothered trawling through the archives.

    Anywhoos.. How did you come by taking up a position within the Stargate Production Team? Were you invited in on merit of previous work, or was it something you applied for like the rest of us mere mortals?

    As for the LHC.. I read an interview that’d been posted again on the BBC website this weekend. It’s with Brian Cox, one of the Scientists working at LHC and i’ve gotta love the guy’s attitude. In response to a question about the inevitable ‘End-of-the-World’ scenario, he had this to say:

    “I am in fact immensely irritated by the conspiracy theorists who spread this nonsense around and try to scare people. This non-story is symptomatic of a larger mistrust in science, particularly in the US, which includes intelligent design amongst other things.

    The only serious issue is why so many people who don’t have the time or inclination to discover for themselves why this stuff is total crap have to be exposed to the opinions of these half-wits.”


    Glad he’s a Scientist though and not working for the Home Office. Got the finely tuned diplomacy of a bucket of cold sick.

    Interview can be read here:

  34. Coucou!!!

    Je suis vivante! J’ai survécu a mes 4 heure de comptabilité!! yéééé!!! Mais c’est repartie avec 3heure demain…hooo.!!!

    ^^!!!! Bon désolé je doit aller faire mes devoir^^!! Bisou Bisou! je vous adore!

  35. Hey Joe!

    I survived the wedding! Woo hoo!!!! It went really well and I was the lucky person selected to drive the bride and groom to the airport at the charming hour of 4:40am. 😛

    Anyway… Allie and I saw *WHISPERS*!!!! It. Was. Awesome!

    Allie thought the suspense was great! And a couple times I jumped! Allie laughed at me. But I did get spooked. Fantastic epi!

    Also, Allie LOOOOVES that one of the characters was named Allison and then actually called Allie. She says thanks. 😉

    @Anne Teldy: It was waaaaay cool to watch an epi with a character named after you! How happy are you? I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Actually, Allie and I were talking about how that might feel. I said I could die happy if a character were named after me. Allie said it would be really weird. Then someone called Dr. Porter *Allison* and we both cracked up! I said, “Well, how’s it feel?” And Allie said, “I was right. It’s really weird. And a little creepy. Do you think Allison will die?” LOL! Congratulations, again. I’m so very glad that your name also honors your neice. That’s so sweet!

    Now I’m off to see if that dishwasher repair guy forgot about me again. Is it OK to hit someone over the head with a blunt object after being stood up for the THIRD time? 🙄 I guess he’d actually have to SHOW UP at my house for me to do that.


    P.S. @das: I thought you’d LOOOOVE to know that each of the bridesmaids carried a single lily. I named mine Todd. 😆 He’s happily living on my kitchen counter in a very pretty vase right now.

  36. Joe, I was just reading (on gateworld) a few spoilers and a little speculation regarding the last episode “Enemy at the Gate”. Is there any chance that Daniel will show up in this episode? I’m a little curious because of something that I read.

    I know that the chances are very slim, since Michael is filming for a month in Miami, but I thought that I would ask anyway.


  37. Hi Joe,
    Hope your head is feeling better. You could wear a helmet, like someone suggested, but then you might be deemed as “special” and you may be escorted to the phonic section.

  38. @ Demon Hunter
    Don’t think it’s your computer. More likely it’s Google Video. The video clip refuse to play until about 1AM EST. Google Video seems temperamental. It either works great or becane a still photo viewer.

    @ Mr M
    Repeating questions about the Whispers episode from yesterday. Didn’t expect you posting so early.

    …Got a couple of questions. Nicole DeBoer’s Porter character is civilian or military? If military, what’s her rank? Or is she like Dr Lee, an independent contractor attached to a military unit? A more serious question. Why didn’t Atlantis keep communication contacts with either Major Teldy or colonel Sheppard for the duration of the episode. It’s not that difficult to set up radio relays (ex military signaler asking).

  39. @ Trish – Oh! A Todd lily!! How sweet! Personally, though, I’d have him in a vase next to my bed. 😉 (and here the only thing in my house that I’ve named ‘Todd’ is my cotton mop. 😛 )

    Speaking of Todd, I’ve been drooling over pics from The Queen all day…and the MGM trailer. If you don’t see me around these parts after Friday night, know that I didn’t survive the episode. And if that’s the case, be sure to put a LOT of Todd lilies on my grave…and a few in the coffin with me…


  40. Hi Joe,
    I know you stated that we can make some eyebrows go up with a significant increase in ratings for SGA. My question is how can we do this? I don’t have one of those rating boxes from Nielsen so how will my T.V be counted? Is there some other way to show that I am watching SGA? Does anyone out there know how the ratings are captured if your T.V. doesn’t have a Nielsen box or you don’t have a Nielsen diary.


  41. Firstly I wanted to thank Mr. Dobyn for answering our questions. That is one thing that keeps me coming back for more.

    Second, Yeah!!!!!!!! Thanks so much Joe. I am really looking forward to the subscription. Definitely something to keep me occupied on the bus, though I know my co-workers are going to harass me endlessly about it.

    I couldn’t get the video to work, but I’m sure I’m missing out on an awesome tour.

    Thanks again Joe.

  42. A quick search of the blog (using the seatch button) shows me that the post I typed on Monday morning/Sunday night is missing, so I assume that, as the internet was veeeery slow and playing up, that my post is lost in cyber space, so excuse while I post it again.

    In Season 1, there were some female writers and, for 1 episode at least, 1 female director (Holly Gale – “Home”). So, Joe, can you tell my why there have not been any female writers or directors since then?? Would not a female perspective be a welcomepoint of difference for how some scenes (not necessarily ‘ship’ scenes) are played out?

  43. Howdy Joe!:)

    I have a question that is just bugging the hell out of me…and does so even more every time I watch “Harmony”. The Lodin bird’s heart…what in the heck is it? What did they use …had to be edible so that Jodelle could eat it. If you do know please be so kind as to enlighten me. Thank you.

    Hope your head is feelin’ better.

  44. @das: will do! Soooo… seeing as how you are happily married and yet also have a major crush on Todd, it isn’t weird that I, too, am happily married and have a major crush on Pierre Bernard. Right? RIGHT?!!!! Please say that’s ok! He’s NOT a wraith, true. (Actually, now that I think about it… he’s quite the opposite: not very tall, totally NOT green, and he doesn’t have ANY hair…) But he’s adorable anyway! Maybe I can make myself a Pierre backpack like Wolfie’s Todd backpack. That wouldn’t be weird or creepy at all.

    Aaaaanyway… I will place a TON ‘o Todd lillies on your grave. If ya need ’em. They are actually cala lilies. White ones, of course! (so you get the white top (hair) with the green stem… it’s WHY I thought of Todd 😉 )

    And a few lilies will be in your coffin. And I’ll have Wolfie make you a Todd plushie to be in your coffin too. AND I will have a picture of the actual Todd for you to look at for eternity. 😀

  45. Hi Joe!

    I just saw Whispers. I have to say it wasn’t really my kind of episode (I’m not much into horror, though the ep didn’t actually creep me out), and I really missed the team in this. The all-female team was all right, but I didn’t really feel like I should care about them. The team makes the show for me, so without them, the ep fell a little flat. But I understand that there are scheduling issues and such that prevent you guys from having every main character in every ep. And I know I can’t have everything 😉

    Anyway, I had a question about Whispers. In your mind, when Sheppard laid out his plan to the female team, did they object against the plan or did they object against Sheppard’s role in it (i.e. him being the bait?)?

    I’d also kinda like to ask a question about Remnants, if I may. Will we get to see any ‘team love’ for Sheppard in Remnants? Team love as in, concern/comfort for Sheppard?

    Thank you. And thanks for the Whispers breakdown post! I love reading about what considerations you made, what got left out and what was replaced. Very interesting! I hope you’ll do one for Remnants, too 😉 🙂

    Love, Jenn

  46. hey Joe, could you please reveal which line from the spoiler poem was referring to Whispers? thanks

  47. HEY FANS:
    Okay so some of you have voiced your frustration with not having Nielsen boxes and you are looking to make a difference; well here is a link to their web site where you can send them an email where you can be picked to participate in their research.

    Under Special Focus, Want your voice heard… there is a pdf file which states the following:

    Thank you for your interest in Nielsen!
    While we’d like to accept volunteers for our traditional TV panels, we are unable to do so. To include volunteers would violate basic laws of random sampling practice and skew our results. A truly representative sample of the population can only be generated using statistical methods of selection.

    However, there are other ways for you to participate in Nielsen research. They include:

    -Participate in our soon-to-launch website, Coming later this year, is an interactive and fun environment where you can provide feedback on your favorite entertainment (tv, movies, etc). Nielsen, in turn, may share it with the companies responsible for those entertainment products. Furthermore, users who give rich, insightful, and frequent feedback may be asked to participate in other surveys and webcam interviews for tv movies, and commercials.

    -Other Nielsen surveys on consumer goods and services.

    Are you interested in being contacted about these opportunities? Send us your email address! Nielsen will contact you shortly.

    I don’t how if there is enough time to make a difference for SGA, but you never know until you try!

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