Given the recent discussion about CERN’s Hadron Collider on this blog, I was pleasantly surprised by the opening sentence of Justina Robson’s Keeping It Real: “In the days that followed the explosion at the Superconducting Supercollider in Texas, at some unknown point in the Lost Years, 2015, scientists discovered a hole in the fabric of spacetime over the blast site.” How incredibly prescient, I thought. Imagine, we could find ourselves a heartbeat away from unwittingly initiating a similar disaster. And then where would we be? Well, I can guess where a lot of YOU would be – trying to score a date with an elf!

But I get ahead of myself. In Keeping It Real, Robson posits a near future in which the aforementioned supercollider incident ends up tearing the fabric of spacetime, opening a passageway between six alternate dimensions: elfin, fairy, elemental, demon, dead, and our own. Much of our planetary history prior to the event has been forgotten, but the denizens of Otopia (formerly known as Earth) persevere, forging ahead in a reality not all that different from the one that came before with its rock ’n roll, NSA-sanctioned ops, and conspiracies pitting conservative factions vs. moderate voices. So when agent Lila Black is assigned to act as a bodyguard for the lead singer of a rock band called The No Shows, she accepts it business as usual. Never mind the fact that the singer in question, Zal, is an elf. Or that he seems to be the target of elfin extremists who object to his lifestyle. Or that Lila herself has recently recovered from the life-saving surgery that transformed her into a partial cyborg possessed of a nuclear-powered core. Indeed, Lila has no trouble accepting the assignment at first but a magical message, a night time attack, and one mysterious discovery later she begins to wonder exactly what the hell she’s gotten herself into.

And, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite sure myself at first. The story moves along at a swift pace, punctuated by unforeseen twists, rapidfire action sequences, an amusing array of pop culture references, and a healthy dollop of elf sex. At times, the narrative outpaced my efforts to keep up with some of the elf-specific cultural revelations but, still, I managed to play catch-up before the satisfying conclusion.

It’s a fun read that pokes fun at fantasy tropes and certain genre-specific narrative conventions while also offering up a cast of colorful, nicely-developed characters (with the possible exception of Zal who, throughout and to the end, remained a self-absorbed jerk). Our protagonist Lila Black is particularly well-drawn and sympathetic, a woman struggling to reconcile herself to a tough post-traumatic existence. Her inevitable encounter with the elf who nearly killed her, and the ensuing sacrifice that neatly parallels her past ordeal, is surprisingly poignant.

Inventive in its world-building, engaging in its humorous, fast-paced narrative, Keeing It Real is a promising start to the Quantum Gravity series.

So, what did everyone else think? Let’s hear your thoughts and start posting your questions for author Justina Robson who will be swinging by later in the week.

Hey, early results of Friday night’s airing have The Queen doing a 1.26, beating our season 4 back-half average (which, in turn, handily beat it’s first half average). And as we head toward our mid-season two-parter, I have no doubt that average will continue to rise. The early numbers also indicate that the episode pulled in its best performance in key demos since Midway and Be All My Sins Remember’d. Damn, this is going to look great on my resume!

You’ll never guess who dropped by my office today. Go ahead. Guess. You’ll never…

Oh. Yes. Right the first time. Amanda Tapping. Who told you? She was at The Bridge for her Enemy at the Gate costume fitting. Also in for the day was Paul McGillion who was kind enough to record a video thank you to the fans. Somebody remind me to post it as part of tomorrow’s entry.

63 thoughts on “September 15, 2008: Justina Robson’s Keeping It Real, a Ratings Bump, and the Conclusion of Our Stage 3 Tour

  1. It’ll be great to see Amanda back. Please let her know that she’s been dearly missed. 😀 Sanctuary though looks very promising, so I’m anxiously awaiting its premiere in Oct.

    Hooray for the ratings spike!! Maybe we will make certain people regret the decision to cancel SGA. 😀

  2. joe said: “You’ll never guess who dropped by my office today. Go ahead. Guess. You’ll never…

    Oh. Yes. Right the first time. Amanda Tapping. Who told you? She was at The Bridge for her Enemy at the Gate costume fitting.”

    😀 =D 😀

    is it wrong to beg for pics? 😛

    sally =D

  3. This books sounds very interesting! I haven’t read science fiction for a really long time. Currently, my reading list has only consisted of long, dense selections on the history of race and science, or discourses from of obscure early modern continental philosophers.

    Anyways, I’m glad to hear about the rating’s jump. I hope it is the beginning of a good trend. I haven’t seen “The Queen” yet but I’ve been hearing good things about it through the grape vines of the internet.

    Thank both you and Carl Binder for the lovely tour around the different sets!

  4. The Queen was a good, solid, episode, and Todd’s really becoming quite the mastermind character. Good work with him. And OMG – Kenny as his 2nd! ha! However, it can’t beat The Shrine as my #1 knock-down favorite.

    Off to bury Sci-Fi and MGM in more lemons.

  5. argh, i forgot to close the bold tags. i guess i got too excited to post my message. 😛

  6. Hi Joseph!
    My name is Alycia and I am one of the Atlantis fans that showed up last Friday. (The one in the black shirt, green cargo pants, black Chuck Taylors, sunglasses, and ponytail with the professional looking sign; I photoshoped it and the created the t-shirt logos too.) Actually, I organized the rally with a lot of help from everyone at I’m so sorry you felt ignored! I didn’t even notice David pulling up until the rest of the group had ‘swarmed’ his car; I honestly would have loved to have a chance to chat with you and really would appreciate a second chance if you ever have the extra moment. Rumor has it the last day of filming will be this Thursday and our group is coming back for a second rally day. Anyone is welcome to come! For more information check out my Live Journal page or e-mail me at
    Maybe we will have a chance to talk this time! (I’ll clear my busy schedule of holding a picket sign, LOL.) Oh, and don’t forget to post Paul McGillion’s thank you video tomorrow!

    ~Alycia aka SsjAndromeda <3

  7. OOOOH!!!
    Please remember to post the video of Paul McGillion!!!!
    And Amanda Tapping was in your office and your camera wasn’t?!?!? GAH!!!
    She’s an amazing person and actress… I can’t wait for Enemy at the Gate!!! (But at the same time dread the end of my newest addiction!!! The withdrawal is gonna be bad!!!)

    Question for Justina:
    Upon whom did you base your characters? (Zal reminds me of someone I know!)

  8. Thanks so much to you and Carl Binder for the video tours.
    They were bittersweet, due to circumstances, but much appreciated, nonetheless.
    I am very tempted to read Keepin it Real as it sounds like the kind of book I enjoy, but hearing that one of the main character is a jerk just turns me off. I know I would be mostly interested in his story, and him not being likeable would be a problem.
    With very few exceptions I have never liked stories with female characters as the primary. Not sure why, though.

  9. I’m pretty sure there’s already a rip in the time-space continuum. Me, who is always late for pretty much everything, no matter how hard I try, has been early for things all week. Consistently since they turned the large hadron collider on. Coincidence? Perhaps.

  10. I requested When You Are Engulfed In Flames from the library. After a week, I’m 127th in the queue. Must be a good book!

  11. ~~~WOO HOO! A ratings jump for The Queen~~~

    In your humble opinion, do you think that we could get SGA to changes their minds and bring back SGA for a 6th season, or is this all this in vain?

    If you don’t think it is in hopeless, please ask all the writers and crew to join us at Hey Nielsen and post their agreements and comments!


    To everyone who loves SGA!!!

    Please help, if you love SGA keep “reacting” at the Hey Nielsen page!

    The rating for SGA on Hey Nielsen has jumped again in less than 24 hours from
    40.46 to 44.37
    +4 (9.7%)
    #4 out of 12766
    A week ago it started at #267, yesterday it was at #7, now #4! Keep posting… it is working!!! And just maybe the TPTB at MGM & SciFi will see we are serious and maybe reconsider their decision.

    Once you register, you can post a comment once every 24 hours and agree with others who post comments. Link the page and check it out daily! PLEASE~!!!

    Cheers :):)
    Patricia Lee

  12. Thanks for the great tours. If only you’d managed to snag the Daedalus plaque; it deserves a good home, and I’m not adverse to a few felonies to raise the money to buy it…..
    the bump in ratings doesn’t surpise me, and I expect that the ratings will continue to climb upwards through the rest of the run. I’ll hold my comments on Keeping it Real until work slows down or Wednesday, whichever comes first, but I will say that the book gets a thumbs up from me. And if Mr. Binder finds southern Ca. inhospitable to go carts, he’s welcome to move to the east coast. We can always use more such establishments, and there’s even a studio out this way..

  13. First, a question for Mr. M: Is there any actor or actress who, if they said “To hell with it. Just pay me scale, but I want to be part of the Stargate Atlantis movie”, you couldn’t write him/her a part quickly enough? Conversely, is there one who couldn’t pay you enough to allow them in the movie? A yes/no for the latter; names for the former,

    Second, I wish to once more thank skgraff for her generosity. A few days after Mr. M announces BotMC selections, I receive them in the mail. Since my local library’s SF and Fantasy sections leave much to be desired, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy these discussions.

    Thirdly, Keeping It Real:

    I was attracted to the write up of this book so I read it the moment it arrived. Since I know just how bad my memory has become, I took notes. Unfortunately, one of the prison matrons nurses accidentally knocked over my water this weekend and bye-bye notes! 😡

    Overall, I enjoyed the book but I felt something was missing or I was missing something.

    Mr. M wrote:

    It’s a fun read that pokes fun at fantasy tropes and certain genre-specific narrative conventions

    I finally decided the book was a satire of sorts and I’m just not astute enough to “get it”. Do you feel this to be true? Could that be what I felt was missing/I was missing or am I just an idiot?

    For Ms Robson:

    Did you have the idea for the book before you learned about the Hadron Collider and thought “Hey what a great explanation for…” or did you learn of the collider and think “what if”? Or maybe it’s just a big coincidence?

    Anne Teldy

  14. Hi Joe,

    Oh! How I have missed your daily blogs! Cause my silly computer was having problems with getting onto the internet & various other things! So andy(hubby) fixed it for me on his day off! Yay!
    Hubby bought me season 4 of Stargate Atlantis box set for our wedding anniversary! You know what i’ll be watching this weekend!
    Say thanks to Carl Binder for the brilliant stage set tours!

    Take care & happiness always!


  15. Hi, Joe.

    Thank you for the news about the ratings on The Queen. The episode has been getting good reviews (IGN gave it a 9.1!) from the various review sites.

    Thank you, and Carl also, for the video stage tours. Very appreciated.

    Best wishes, Morjana

  16. Joe
    So the ratings keep rising, huh? It’s not too late to stop this STUPID cancellation fiasco. I hope that MGM, SCI-FI, and Brad w. Get a clue and give this show, it’s fan’s, writers and actors what it deserves, another season. You said that if the ratings for the SGA movie are good we will see more of them, but how can we trust that when the show it’s self has great ratings and a large, well spread out fan base and they still cancel it? How and or why should any of us, your self and the actors included, trust that theory when it doesn’t hold true in the simplest of settings? I don’t think the net work and big wigs care about the success of the show. They just want to make more crappy B movies and stick their heads in there well polished holes. Sorry but I’m bitter tonight and each time I see a new episode of Atlantis and know they canceled it, it really REALLY urks me! Thanks as always for your ears and eyes, Nicole.

  17. Thank you for the video tours. Your blog certainly makes for interesting reading
    Just two questions
    1) would you mind reveling the lines from the spoiler poem for the recent episodes ( the last one reveled was the Daedalus Variations)
    2) will Kanaan be in any other episodes this season

  18. I can’t believe this is everyone’s last week on the series. I’m still so sad about it.

    So To Everyone Who Had Anything To Do With Stargate Atlantis:

    THANK YOU all so much for your hard work and dedication! What you have accomplished matters, and will not be forgotten. You have created such fantastic stories, characters, and places where wonder, humor, drama and compassion have flourished. You have made me laugh, and cry, and opened up my mind not only to these other worlds and the astounding beauty and mysteries you’ve imagined, but to other ways of thinking as well.

    It has been an amazing journey, one I am sorry to see end so soon. Best wishes for the life adventures yet to come, and I look forward to following the news paths you all will be taking.

  19. Mornin’, Joe

    A date with an elf, huh? Hmm.. Would that be the bow and arrow, swashbuckling kind.. or the skateboarding, gun-toting kind? Personally, I prefer the latter. But then again, I always did have an affinity for a cocky smirk and tousled looks. Especially one who can shoot straight.

    Talking of dates, Jenks and I have one with a mountain this weekend. Hopefully, the weather will hold out and we won’t end up having to re-introduce ourselves to the Mountain Rescue Squad.. nice guys that they are. A couple of years back, they asked us to be ‘bodies’ for a few nights, up in the moors. And there’s something to be said for spending a night shivering inside a sleeping bag with a wet dog, waiting to be rescued by several hunky guys. Tis almost an incentive to lose oneself more often.

    On a completely irrelevant topic, now that you guys are winding down with the creativity and blog-informing set tours.. I don’t suppose there’s any chance of tying Carl to a chair and getting him to read through a book or two, is there? A chapter at a time would be great.. Nice little piece of bedtime reading to finish off the day with. You could even rope Marty in and get them to do alternate pages, with the bribe of some wickedly toxic cuisine as reward.

    Just a rambling thought. I’m still only on my second coffee and just about to tear off in search of a third.

  20. I really, really enjoyed the Queen, Todd is becoming one of my favorite characters, he has lovely mixture of being very smart, good warrior and charm, even if it is a bit creepy. I really enjoyed the interaction between him and Teyla.
    The only thing that I missed in the episode was that mental component was not explored. Queens have powerful minds, we’ve seen display of mind control.
    I’d love to see Todd and Teyla having discussions and ‘training’ in this regard.

  21. I have realised how often I read a book and seem to always draw on personal experience and read more into the text than there really is or add aspects to a character’s personality based on who it may remind me of. This was definitely the case for Quantum Gravity – Keeping It Real. It creates a real weakness when writing a comment such as this as I may have interpreted the book not as it was written.

    So here goes..

    Firstly, I Loved It! But then again I have a thing for elves…

    When I first read the run-down of the storyline, pictured in my head were little creatures with pointy hats and shoes with high-pitched voices who worked for Santa most of the year and old grey-haired ladies with wings, a wand, pink tutu and helped Cinderella in their spare time.

    I was pleasantly surprised after the first few pages when that image turned to elves in the style of Lord of the Rings and young punk-rocker Fairies wearing 7-Up Doc Martins, striped stockings but still wore pink tutu’s. While the fairy image may not have been what Justina Robson was trying to portray, I was on holidays while reading this book so my brain was going with whatever it felt like conjuring up.

    I had not thought of Zal as a self-obsessed jerk. I agree he appeared self-obsessed, but to me he also came across as a very confused and miserable being who wasn’t sure where he belonged. The way that he traversed through the dimensions and took on different parts of each society gave me that feeling he was not comfortable with who he was. An elf lives forever, he seemed to have an attitude of “Why live forever if you aren’t living?”.

    The formation of Zal’s character in my mind may have been drawing too much on a real-life experience. Someone I met a long time ago, who came across as a completely self-obsessed and arrogant sod and happened to be a singer, behaved in much the same way as Zal. Once I got to know him I found him insecure, shy and completely endearing. The selfish exterior was a protective cover. I carried what I learnt from this person with me while following Zal through the book.

    It took me a while to grasp Lila’s essence. Her modifications made her insecure in the way a lot of women are. Take away what makes you a woman, you start to lose your identity. Ask some breast cancer survivors. The acceptance by Zal of her as she was put another tick next to him for me, but then again it could also be interpreted that might just be the type to get off on it. He seemed to like all that was not normal.

    The ‘Allo, ‘Allo and Pink Floyd references gave me a chuckle and helped to cement the book with a feeling of reality.

    I too got a little lost while “Under the Sea”. The rest of the book had been so easy to grasp that I started to lose concentration on occasions attempting to visualise all that was happening.

    The premise of The Game made me reflect on how many Games in reality are always being played; particularly with some people in business. There are those characters that live their life playing games and don’t even realise they are doing it. While in life there may not be the same consequences as what occurred in the book, but so often someone gets hurt.

    Finishing the final page of the book made me want to start on the next book of the series immediately. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

    I’m interested to see whether the characters’ relationship grows due to the experiences in the first book or if Zal lapses into his rock-star ways and just goes back to acting like a shallow womaniser. Either way, this first book has piqued my interest to continue with the series.

    I have been attempting to track down an ebook version of the second in the series with no luck.

    I am still seriously freaked out (excuse the extreme lack of articulation there) by the coincidence of standing behind someone with the same tattoo as that of Zal just 2 days after finishing Keeping It Real. I am wishing now I had have asked him what his inspiration was for it. So, a question to Justina, where did you get the idea for Zal’s tattoo?

    Your characters were so easy to visualise, were they based on people or variations of other characters from film or literature?

    This isn’t necessarily a question for Justina, but a question in general, is there a reason that so many female protagonists in Sci Fi books seem to be red heads? The Garden of Iden, Cordelia’s Honour, Make Room! Make Room!, Keeping It Real; all red heads.

    I hope some of that made sense. Long day.

  22. Hey there Mr M!

    As we approach the final shooting at The Bridge for SGA (Series), you mentioned you might detail some story lines that were considered for Season 6? I suppose you’ll hold off on discussing same until Season 5 has aired in its entirety? Any-hoo, just thought I’d remind you.

    Ms Tapping back in the Pegasus Galaxy? Delighted to hear same!!! Is she doing a guest blog? And seriously, did Amanda really dye her hair back to blonde for the one episode? (My small people constantly ask this question!, and I am but their humble servant…..)

    What news on the food front, by the by, we haven’t had much food critiquing or indeed WFPOTD recently? Did you go to Vij’s with Mr Picardo? (I think that’s his favourite, right?)

    Best wishes


    PS: Have to agree with you guys “Pretty! Shiney! Glee!” is a great line……has become a mantra here in the last day…Am thinking of getting a t-shirt with same!!!!!

  23. Hey, early results of Friday night’s airing have The Queen doing a 1.26, beating our season 4 back-half average (which, in turn, handily beat it’s first half average).

    (That’s *so* not going to work…)



  24. Ugh! I think my tv just died. 😯

    Here’s hoping I’m miles away before Jeremy finds out.


    Joe, this is your friendly reminder to post the Paul vid. Ha ha ha! I’m only saying it to be annoying. I think EVERYONE will remind you. 😆

    Trish 😀

    P.S. Hey Pat! I’m hangin’ out on Hey!Nielsen A LOT lately! I’m doing my part.

  25. One of the things I love about this book club is that I end up reading things that I normally wouldn’t have picked up. However sometimes it’s nice to read a book that falls within a familiar format. Keeping It Real definitely fits my format. Easily 40% of my casual reading falls under the “insert supernatural character here” solves mystery plotline. I have read the good and the bad of this genre and I generally feel like a bit of an aficionado on the subject (or a giant loser, but I prefer to think positively). I really liked this book. I sucked it down in a couple of hours and then lent it out to a friend the next day. She loved it too.

    I think what makes it so good in my mind is the well-developed world with bits of new and traditional mythos balanced very nicely. The idea of the explosion tearing asunder the barriers between worlds is a great way to integrate the fantastical into the commonplace. I liked the fact that the demons weren’t the traditional evil creatures as defined by Christian standards, but rather they present a different side of the magical coin from the elven magic. Conversely she kept to the traditional side of creatures like the fairies, the best example being the kelpies and keeping them slaves to their essential natures. She also chose to keep the elf lore in line with conventional dogma. This was a very smart decision in my mind.

    I do have two very minor complaints with the book. The first is that I too found Zal to be a little weak as a main cancer. My favorite parts of the book are the ones where Lila is traipsing through elven lands with Dar and Zal is mostly out of the picture. Zal failed to capture my attention to the degree I am accustomed. It may have been that he remained disconnected from the audience just a bit too long to for me to connect with him. Or it was because he was a self-absorbed jerk.

    The second complaint is with the way the author handled the sex in the book. This sort of novel is inevitable going to have it and in many cases a little gratuitous sex is a benefit rather than a hindrance. It comes with the whole strong, independent, female lead being empowered theme of this genre. For me it seemed as more of an afterthought rather than being integrated into the story. I think it may have been better to address the issue of the game in the next book rather than in this one.

    Overall I was very pleased despite my nitpicking obviously have already recommended it to others. I have even ordered the next book in the series. I just need a little free time.

    Questions for Justina Robson….

    1) How did you decide which supernatural elements to keep traditional and where to mix things up?

    2) I found it very interesting that you chose to make humans fairly magic deficient. I was wondering how you came to that decision?

    3) It seems that books in this genre tend to suffer from “Laurell K. Hamilton syndrome” where the plot becomes a vehicle for sex rather than the sex being a vehicle for the plot. How do you find a balance between the two elements?

  26. Keeping It Real
    Given the rock-n-roll elf premise alone, I was fully prepared to hate this book. In a Stargate context, Ancients always reminded me of elves: arrogant, elegant, always better than mere humans could ever be and never let you forget it. Neither my fave people. Through my 35+ years of reading fantasy, I know my elves, I’ve seen them in all permutations. I have this contrary streak so I even considered elf names when picking for my son (Talyn or Valyn) but happily for him, decided against it. And as for fantasy-tied rock music- Spellsinger, for one, has already been done.

    SO I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong on all assumptions. Well, mostly. I still don’t like elves in general but I really liked the fellas representing them in this book, especially Azrazal. I love irreverent & unconventional. I also liked the careful descriptions of their movable ears & the typeface that kept Tath’s voice visibly separated. The music part didn’t play as big as I expected, so that served the story well, the bits we did get were cool. Here’s a piece of really weird synchronicity- just as I read the line that Zal was singing A Hard Day’s Night- the movie started on IFC channel. Whoa! The whole Quantum Bomb thing- not really interesting except to setup how there came access to all the Realms. I much more preferred the focus on Lila, the main character, a cyborg which horrified the elves (yay!) I like her bike-riding metal chick-itude, especially the story arc of hating Dar and why, ending up with him, and ultimately having to participate in killing him. Quite emotional, all her scenes were. But it was the elves that held my attention. I didn’t think Zal was going to get killed off as this book is titled as being the first in the series. I got the thing with the Water dragon and how the Realms are connected. The most exciting thing in it was the Demon sister & Realm and most disappointing was not having a visit to Demonia, which I hope is for a future book. The pace and humor in Keeping It Real was pretty much the style of writing I like to read for entertainment. I will definitely look for the next installment if a trip to Demon-land is coming. But don’t even get me started about fairies- they know to stay out of my yard.

    Lastly, of great interest to me as a musician & connoisseur since this was a sort of rock music story, I definitely wanted to hear the song and was disappointed to find to be offline. I then checked Cynic Guru’s site for it and have to say that the song Doom (I agree it’s funny in itself if you ever played the game like we used to) does fit what I imagined The No Shows played, stuff not my taste (synthy rhythym & bubblegum) but technically pretty good. Out of fairness I had a listen to a couple more songs, my best to these guys (Iceland is cool!! …literally) but I gotta pass on them.
    Question for Justina so how did tying your book to this music group come about?

    Yes I laughed about the supercollider coinikidink.

  27. Ah the tour, I hate how it sounds so final.

    Don’t forget to post the video of Paul.

    I was reading other comments from yesterday, and saw that they heard that there will be possibly a hint about Universe in it. If this is true, wouldn’t this all of been pre planned?

  28. Oh, ps, tell Carl thanks he did a great job. I just loved his seemingly laid back way about him.

  29. Justina’s book sounds like a really fun read. I’d get it now if it weren’t for this pesky fulltime job & motherhood thing…& my list of 20-some-odd other books in my home library waiting for me!

    Please remember to post the video of Paul & thanks again for all the videos!

    I have a question about “The Queen”: Both times Teyla had surgery, she was visited by at least one teammate. Where was Kanan? Taking care of the baby I’m sure, but I thought it was strange that he wasn’t there to see she was OK.

  30. I was reading spoilers fo Remnants, and it looks like that episode is going to be chock-full of Sheppard Whump! Am I going to be able to let my kids, 11 and 9, watch that one??

  31. Hey Joe,

    Will you guys be putting Amanda in a blond wig? Or are you going to explain why Carter has dark hair now? Just wondering…


  32. On Justina Robson’s website she calls the Quantum Gravity series a “shameless romp.” I’d have to agree. Lots of fun, and I enjoyed both books in the series.

    What would you call this genre — cyber-fanta-punk?

  33. Coucou =)!!! Sa va joseph!
    Je suis plus en forme qu’hier c’est déjà une bonne nouvelle lol!!!
    En en plus il fait beau O_O et 25 degrés waou!!!! Sa fait 10 jours que ce n’étais pas arriver! Je suis sur qu’il fait plus chaud a Vancouver qu’ici lol!!

    Mince, je me demande quesque l’on peut ressentir quand on ce fait aspirer par un trou noir? sa fait mal a votre avi? Comme on dit en france “mystère et boule de gum” =)

    Rohh^^! Vous avez de la chance de voir Amanda!! Elle est génial!
    Paul enregistre quelque chose pour remercier les fans??? Impatiente de voir sa!!

    Aller bisou, je vous adore! Bonne journée!

  34. I loved the Queen! Teyla has such great chemistry with Todd. I’m certain YouTube is filling up with TeYod (TodLa?) fan vids as I write this. Todd’s Wraith humor is priceless; he’s definitely one of the funnier cannibals on T.V.

    My only Queen Quibble is I wish Teyla was the one to slay the bald wraith dude using her mad skills in an awesome Teyla fight sequence. When Teyla addresses her subjects for the final time it would have been neat to see her hold up the severed head of that bald Wraith infidel as a warning to the other Wraith. Or she could have had it stuck on a stake and displayed it next to her throne, that way she wouldn’t have to get her hands messy.

    Wouldn’t it be cool to see Todd and Teyla do a commercial? She: “I promise to never wear flannel pajamas.” He: “I promise to only eat the relatives you don’t like.”

  35. Ahhh, what Charlie’s Angel said:
    What would you call this genre — cyber-fanta-punk? I could not put into words what I was feeling, but this sounds quite fitting actually.

    This was a difficult read for me – not sure why – but after a lot of thought, I think it was the visions of the “permissive drug culture” of the 60s-70s that kept surfacing. Also, I believe my perception of the “Punk” aspects contributed as well. A scene from Star Trek Search for Spock when Kirk and Spock were in the 1960-70’s San Francisco with the punk rocker flashed into my head.

    Another flash was from a movie with Ally Sheedy, a rich spoiled brat pulled from her life of luxury into a surreal life where she becomes a maid for a punkish music/rock promoter with a wild punk client named Sid Vicious. After learning humility, kindness, caring for others, her fairy godmother puts her back into her real life.

    Lila – the reluctant heroine, so human and with many of the human, mortal flaws and weaknesses; yet “million dollar man/woman” strong.
    There were times the story became annoying in that I wanted to tell her to make up her mind, she cannot have it both ways

    Zal – was very annoying, yet important to Lila’s purpose.

    The story begins after the catastrophe, but with everything different. Some of descriptions of drawing comparisons to the “past” did not work for me. I want to call this surreal – hinting at but not quite achieving a certain state or dimension.

    Some questions for Ms Robson:

    – What was the basis or “spark of creativity” for the principal characters “character?” What is/what was some of the reasons for creating each as you did?

    – There were moments of the story giving vibrations of the US 60-70’s “Hippy” era of permissive of sex, drugs, and wild hair, etc. Is this just my own bias? Or, was there some basis for this? And, if Yes…Was this intended?

    Thank you for entertaining questions from us.

  36. So someone else thinks the Superconducting…the SCSC is a good jumping-off point for fiction? Whoo Hoo!

    The question now is, should I read KEEPING IT REAL before or after I write the remainder of my “Gen. Hammond’s love life” fan fic?

  37. Hey, that’s two KEEPING IT REAL coincidences/synchronicities mentioned in just 37 posts. I wonder if that’s what happens when you mix quantum physics and magic. If it’s okay for the book’s editor to ask a question, I’d like to know if Justina herself experienced any synchronicities while writing the novel? Of course, I could just ring her up, but then only I would know the answer…

  38. Has anyone noticed that the preview for the next episode on the SciFi SGA website is titled “Tracking” rather than “Tracker”?!!??!

    Someone needs to proofread better…

  39. I just had a random thought. What about Amanda’s hair? Isn’t it brown now? Will she have to wear a Carter wig?

  40. Glad SGA continues to do well in ratings. Keep in mind that some folks down here in Houston had undoubtedly lost power by 9pm due to Hurricane Ike, so they didn’t get to see the episode! Fortunately my power held out long enough for me to watch it and tape it. After watching doom and gloom news coverage all day, I needed the break.

    Apologies if this has been asked already, but will we get any more hints about the fate of Jack and Sam when she appears in the finale?

  41. Hey Joe, are we ever going to find out how clone-Carson got the real Carson’s memories? If not, would you tell us about it? And if so, you could just say ‘yes’… 🙂

  42. Joe,

    great vid, again =) Tell Carl he’s great 🙂
    Would you dedicate your next entry to my cousin, little girl is in the hospital! We’re all hoping she gets better soon.



  43. I checked out the review on “Emerald City” for this book and, though I love elves, I felt a momentary twinge of concern when the reviewer referred to this as an “Elf-shagging book”. Still, I forged ahead and as it turned out, I liked it. I was so convinced that I’ve already bought and read the second book in the series and will seek out the third one. I loved the genre blending of science fiction with fantasy and the recasting of elves into a new world and the strong female lead.

    I had the little shiver of familiarity when it opened with the disaster with the collider (imagine my disappointment the day after the CERN collider fired up and no elves were forthcoming.) I was confused at first about the different worlds that emerged and the socio-political balance between them. Still, I was okay with that for a few reasons, not the least of which were the lively characters and Robson’s willingness to continue to enlighten the reader as the story unfolded. Sometimes I found that the plot unfolded more quickly than the explanation which left me foundering, but then they’d catch up with each other and I was fine.

    Having said that, however, I’m still not clear what importance Zal has in maintaining the larger balance between the worlds. I would have liked a bit more clarity on this but then it could have been my reading of it. I’ll have to skim through it again. It would seem that having more clarity on this would help to explain Zal’s apparent self-absorbed, destructive behavior. More revelation about him overall might have ironed out some wrinkles for me (and made him more likable on a less visceral level). And yet, I don’t see how that kind of revelation would have been possible since the POV was Lila’s and I’m glad that it remained with Lila.

    The strength “Keeping It Real” were the lively, witty, well drawn characters and their relationships. The tart, snappy pairing of Lila and Zal was most entertaining and it’s through her eyes that Zal begins to appear less remote. I liked best the evolution of the relationship between Lila and Dar and the reversal that happens between them. Theirs seemed the more complex and ultimately heartbreaking relationship than that between Zal and Lila. Tath is a clever plot device to help provide Lila with internal knowledge and explanation she, and thus the reader, would not otherwise have about the Elven world. Luckily, Tath is sharp-edged and dry and funny and in some ways, similar to Lila, but with an Elven superiority and bias. I was relieved when he was still around at the end.

    There is an interesting exploration of the line between science and magic throughout. Some stories play with the idea that magic is science misuderstood but that’s not the case here. They are distinct. The revulsion that the elves have for Lila, a product of science, is most interesting especially since Lila had an initial feeling of dislike for the non-science bound elves–I could suggest that it’s a deliberate display of the divide between the ‘green’ environmental nuts and those who live through science. It makes the healing of Lila by Dar, his blending of science with magic in her person, that much more meanigful since it is only through that balance that Lila finds freedom from pain.

    Joe, I’m curious what “fantasy tropes and certain genre-specific narrative conventions” you think Robson poked fun at.

    For Justina, my questions:

    –Which is your favorite secondary character in this series?

    –Why did you choose to include explicit sex scenes?Do you feel that a sexually explicit scene has to reveal something about the characters or the plot?

    –Do you enjoy writing series like this or did you lose energy by the writing of book three?

    –What do you see as the primary themes of “Keeping It Real?”

    –When you first envisioned this book, what came first? The world or the characters?

  44. i’ve been busy reading the blog, i’ve forgotten to post!

    it is so sad that you are filming the last episode, of the last season, of Atlantis this week and will probably wrap in the next 2 days. So sad to see the show go.

    i hope that you will continue to blog and bring wonderful videos to life on here for the fans :o)

    Michele Blue

  45. Given the recent discussion about CERN’s Hadron Collider on this blog, I was pleasantly surprised by the opening sentence of Justina Robson’s Keeping It Real: “In the days that followed the explosion at the Superconducting Supercollider in Texas, at some unknown point in the Lost Years, 2015, scientists discovered a hole in the fabric of spacetime over the blast site.” How incredibly prescient, I thought. Imagine, we could find ourselves a heartbeat away from unwittingly initiating a similar disaster.

    Coming this fall to a Scifi Channel near you…

    The Dark Hole?
    CSI: Texas?
    Spacetime Truckers?
    Dude, What Happened to My Super-Conducting Super-Collider?

  46. Trish
    P.S. Hey Pat! I’m hangin’ out on Hey! Nielsen A LOT lately! I’m doing my part.

    WooHoo!!! Thanks Trish! And everyone else too!!! It’s really working?

    As a friendly reminder, here are today’s numbers:

    To everyone who loves SGA!!!

    Please help, if you love SGA keep “reacting” at the Hey Nielsen page!

    The rating for SGA on Hey Nielsen has jumped again in less than 24 hours from 44.37 to 47.85
    +3 (7.8%)
    #3 out of 12775

    A week ago it started at #267, Sunday it was at #7, Monday #4, and Tuesday it is #3 Keep posting… it is working!!! And just maybe the TPTB at MGM & SciFi will see that the fans are serious and maybe reconsider their decision. Hey it is not unheard of, fan out cry has brought other shows back from the grave!

    Once you register at Hey Nielsen you can post a comment once every 24 hours and agree with others who post comments. Link the page and check it out daily! PLEASE~!!!.

    Cheers :):)
    Patricia Lee

  47. I’ve loved Justina Robson for a long time – and we have something in common, since I also studied linguistics and philosophy at York University (in the late 1960s, though).

    The Quantum Gravity series is so cinematic, I’d like to ask her if she had any actors in mind for the lead roles. (especially Malachi, one of my favourite characters – Zal is a bit too Zaphod Beeblebrox for me).

    And also, does she think her books are truly international in appeal, or would she say they have definite British sensibilities?

  48. “Damn, this is going to look great on my resume!”

    Hey Joe!

    Can i infer from that that you will not be writing for Universe? I could be reading too much into it, of course, but i get the feeling i’m not.

    Will the movie be your last involvement with the franchise?

  49. Hi Joe

    Loved the stage tours, thanks for doing them.

    Just before I started reading Keeping it Real I discovered that there was going to be a much larger and more powerful Super Collider built in Texas but it was cancelled in 1993. Politics and cost or some such thing. Perhaps we’ve all had a lucky escape then!

    It usually takes me a couple of chapters to get into a book but I liked this one right from the start. It’s fun, entertaining and action packed. I loved cyborg Lila and her struggle to come to terms with her new physical condition despite all the new power it gives her. Rock and roll elves – what’s not to like.

    I really appreciate a female writer’s different perspective on sci-fi and the romantic/gentler approach to the more explicit raunchy bits. Female Sci-fi writers are not that common and I like finding them so I will definitely be checking out her other work. Yep Justina you have acquired a new fan

  50. Hey Joe, just curious — what happened to that cloaked jumper the boys left on Todd’s new hive ship? Did Todd get it moved over to his ship as well? Or is some hapless Wraith going to walk smack-dab into it’s invisible self at some point? XD

  51. FYI: has all four seasons of Stargate Atlantis on sale. Season 4 is $20 off at $30.99 and Seasons 1- 3 are half price at $24.99. I think it’s part of their Emmy specials and, since the Emmys are Sunday night, I don’t think the pricing will last much longer. Following this link will take you to the list of all four seasons DVD sets.

    Anne Teldy

  52. MI<

    *Doh* I meant, of course, did he get the jumper moved from the new ship to the old, when he had the boys transferred? (Which I guess would take Kenny overseeing said transfer, so he could get Sheppard to either fly it or at least uncloak it so that it could be towed or something, without the new hive finding out ….)

  53. Oy! I messed the coding up in my expansion on my initial question! Well, you’re smart, I’m sure you’ll figure out what I was talking about. XD Meanwhile, I think I need a nap — today was a long day! (Trish and I took Alice to the vet again. She came through the surgery well, but will probably neede several more surgeries of the course of the next year or so. *Sigh*)

  54. It’s too bad you can’t move Atlantis to another network, I’m sure everyone here would be game for more episodes.

    Since someone mentioned The Queen, if it were a real scenario, personally I could see Todd making a grab for power and then killing Teyla before she returns to fix what he’s done, but at the same time if he hasn’t established himself a following, him dying too.
    (Mostly a slow death by Ronon)

    You could tell in the scene where the Hives are battling that Todd hates seeing his follow Wraith die, God forbid he showed feeling :O

    I think this would of made a great two part episode, it was set up so perfectly, but ended so quickly.

  55. Hey Joe.

    Same question as yesterday: If, by chance, would you ever consider the following…If I emailed you my home address, do you think you could PLEASE send me an autographed picture?

    Thanks Joe!

  56. Hi Joe,
    A friendly reminder not to forget to post Paul McGillion’s video to the fans. : )

    Something else that would look good on your resume, an award winning, best selling DVD, for writting a stupendous SGA movie. I’m sure that you are more than up to the challenge!


  57. Finally caught up on the set tour videos! I thoroughly enjoyed them. 😀 (Had to wait until I had works highspeed access. Shh… don’t tell the boss. ;p )

    Big thanks to you and Carl!

  58. Hello! Coming out of lurk mode (which I’ve been in for a while) to write my thoughts on Keeping It Real which I’ve just finished.

    First, though, I wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed reading your blog! Allowing people to see into this side of the industry and your life is rather cool.

    So…on to my thoughts, as chaotic and boring as they may be 🙂

    Keeping It Real…
    just didn’t keep it real for me. In a nutshell: I couldn’t put the book down, but I really didn’t like it. I have a hatred of Danielle Steel books and this book rang of DS only with elves, faeries, and an altered universe.

    The idea of Lila falling in love with Zal so quickly was foreign to me. This was a woman who had suffered a major trauma at the hand of elves, who went in to the mission dreading being near an elf and yet, she is in love with him in minutes. It may be the effects of the Game, maybe not. That was never clearly defined.

    I do not understand why Lila was made field operational when her parts weren’t fully fused together. Simply running after Zal tore her apart.

    Zal seemed weak for a main character, although maybe that is because there is so much mystery surrounding who he is. His abilities and importance seemed to blur each time they had just come into focus. His reason for being hunted, his importance to the balance between realms was unclear to me for the majority of the book. At the beginning, I thought it was something blood or magically related. I left the book feeling like it was discrimination against his choices which seems rather unimportant in the grand scheme of the adventure.

    My favorite character was Dar. He seemed to have the most believable character depth. But they killed him off, so unless he pulls a Daniel Jackson this first book is the last we’ll see of him.

    I found Arie annoying and, as a leader, unbelievable.

    Up until the time of the final escape, I kept thinking, “Oh just come on and blast your way out of this!” The dragon seemed needless and the faeries attacking was a pointless twist although maybe both aspects will be built upon in future books.

    The sex. The sex was nicely written and interesting. It just was thrown in at really odd times. I’ve never understood stories where the main characters are running for their lives but they have more than enough time to stop and shag (as Lila puts it). And the bad guys never catch up – except in a horror flick.

    All in all, I couldn’t put it down, it was a fast read. But I left it just going, “huh?”

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