My September Picks
My September Picks
And some of your recommendations
And some of your recommendations

With the month of September behind us, it’s time for me to look back over my recent reads and pick my favorite titles of the past month. It was a pretty good crop but, of the bunch I did read (and not including the book of the month club selections) the, following were my favorites:

Fast Forward 2, edited by Lou Anders

Long-time visitors to this blog are no doubt familiar with editor Lou Anders through his (all-too) infrequent visits here, and his previous SF collection, Fast Forward: Future Fiction From the Cutting Edge, which was a past book of the month club selection. Well, in Fast Forward 2, Lou has assembled a nice group of stories form the likes of Jack McDevitt, Nancy Kress, and Dr. Who’s Paul Cornell. As is the case with most anthologies, I didn’t like everything. But most of what I did like, I liked a lot. Stand-outs for me included Paolo Bacigalupi’s powerfully dead-on commentary on the challenges of maintaining journalistic integrity in a market increasingly driven by hits and eyeballs (“The Gambler”), Ian McDonald’s delightful tale of a young man in future India who relies on an Hindu A.I. to give him game (“An Eligible Boy“), Mike Resnick and Pat Cadigan’s trippy account of a world in which the borders between dream and reality blur (“Not Quite Alone in the Dream Quarter“), and Jack McDevitt’s amusing and ultimately heartfelt tale of a reluctant A.I. named George.  Special mention should also be made of the book’s cover compliments of our pal John Picacio.

The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford

Jeffrey Ford is another familiar name to blog regulars, particularly those of you who read his superlative collection The Empire of Ice Cream back when it was a fantasy book of the month club selection. Since then, I’ve read a number of his other works and I can honestly say I’ve yet to be disappointed. The Shadow Year follows a young boy, growing up in 1960’s Long Island, through a particularly memorable summer marked by adolescent intrigue, hilarious familial interactions, and the mysterious disappearance of a fellow classmate. Ford is particularly effective in in his ability to spin a tale that perfectly captures the reminiscences of childhood – the sights, smells, and sounds of a bygone time when even the most innocent-looking details seemed to belie dark tidings: a missing neighbor, the new school janitor, Mr. Softee the neighborhood ice cream man. This novel was based on an earlier novella by the same name and, I have to admit that, at the end of the day, as much as I enjoyed this more substantive version, I preferred the original and its ability to walk that fine line between juvenile imaginings and the supernatural without committing to either. A great book nevertheless.

Inversions, by Iain. M. Banks

Hey, speaking of authors who have yet to disappointment, I’m sure most of you are familiar with Iain M. Banks. He is, without a doubt, one of the most imaginative and engaging SF writers out there and his Culture novels rank as some of the very best of the genre. His Consider Phlebas and The Player of Games make my SciFi Top 10. Make it a Top 25 and you can include Use of Weapons as well. Despite appearances, Inversions is another Culture novel that alternates between two seemingly unrelated stories. The first focuses on Vosil, a female physician from a distant land, whose appointment as personal physician to the king of Haspide, is met with suspicion and derision from the rest of the royal court. The story is told from the point of view of Oelph, Vosill’s assistant, who is under secret orders to spy on his mistress. As the novel progresses, despite his increasing suspicions, Oelph falls in love with the good doctor who may well be much more than she appears. The second story focuses on DeWar, bodyguard to General UrLeyn, the Prime Protector of the Tassasen Protectorate, and his endeavor to safeguard the life of an increasingly unpopular ruler. Is there a connection between the two stories? You bet, but you’ll have to pay close attention in order to piece together the clues. What at first seems a departure for Banks turns into a delightfully subtle addition to the Culture canon.

Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

There’s not finer example of the Golden Age of SF than this novel by the great Arthur C. Clarke. No raging space battles, predatory aliens, or genetically engineered space marines. This is a story of science and discovery. When a thirty mile long space ship enters our solar system, Earth dispatches a team of explorers to investigate. They gain entrance to the enormous cylindrical vessel and, over the course of their scientific survey, encounter surprises from both within and without their object of study. A masterpiece of Hard SF.

Hey, look at what I picked up the other days. More books! And not just more books. More books that you guys have recommended. I’ve taken your names down and, in the coming months, I’ll either be thanking you or requesting you reimburse me for the cost of my various purchases.

Hey, whatever happened to the mailbag?

Ykickamoocow writes: “Your idea for the season 6 episode “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” sounds brilliant to me. Is there any chance of that idea being turned into a Atlantis movie?”

Answer: Highly unlikely. Truth be told, the story was originally pitched as an SG-1 episode. If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.

Narelle from Aus writes: “It was strange seeing Christopher Heyerdahl in his original non-Wraithy role. How tall is he?!! “

Answer: Very.

Narelle from Aus also writes: “He has such a great screen presence, especially when he is Todd. And where do they get all of their leather for those coats? Space cows?”

Answer: Let’s just say that no part of the human is wasted.

Jenny R. writes: “I’ve been wondering this for awhile now… do you have a stage 1?”

Answer: We used to, but gave it up once we scaled back to only one production.

Jean writes: “Out of curiosity, I’ve checked out the previews AFTER I’ve watched the episodes, and I have to say that in general the ones from MGM are not terrible, but the ones from SciFi are either downright misleading (Tracker – “One will live, one will die”??!!?)…”

Answer: Yeah, Carl came into my office and showed me the SciFi promo for Tracker. “One will live, one will die!”. Carl threw me a puzzled look: “Who dies?” “Maybe they’re referring to the wraith,”I suggested. Probably, that’s it.

Paul William Tenny writes: “In Beachhead, objects forming the Ori supergate come out of a normal sized stargate making them roughly the size of Puddle Jumpers. A few shots later you see they are perhaps 1.5 times as long as Vala’s cargo ship and definitely wider meaning they’d have never fit through the gate unless those elements were actually made up of even smaller parts, but that was never shown and isn’t consistent visually with what came later.”

Answer: Great question. File it away for now because Brad Wright (coincidentally the writer/producer of Beachhead) has promised to do a guest Q&A on this blog in the very near future…

Jenny Robin writes: “I just posted Part I of my Texas State Fair Food Foray to my blog. Anyone who wishes to view fried fair food in all its glory, feel free to forage there.”

Answer: I share your disappointment in the chicken fried bacon.

Pl writes: “How is the Physics of Superheroes so far? I’ve considered buying it before, but it costs money.”

Answer: Informative and entertaining. And the author is an admitted comic book fan which makes the book all that more enjoyable. Recommended!

Delynn writes: “So are you writing pilots for new shows you are pitching now that SGA’s run is done???”

Answer: I’m banking pilots so that when the time comes, I can go out and pitch some new shows. As things stands, however, we’re in the midst of SGU discussions, so it’s too early to tell how things will play out next year.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “I’m curious, I remember this time last year you said that you had a few ideas for pilots if there hadn’t been a SGA Season 5 pick-up, I am assuming they are the 4 pilots you have written…Are they Sci Fi based or drama or what?”

Answer: One scifi, one horror, one drama, and one blue comedy.

AussieSGFan writes: “And another question (though I’n not sure if you’re the right person to ask), about the Wraith. They have a sould right? So if they weren’t so aggressive by nature and all, would it be possible for them to ascend too?”

Answer: Like dogs and other adorable family pets, wraith do have souls. Whether they can ascend is debatable however.

Terry writes: “How did you get the four dogs to sit for that picture?”

Answer: I didn’t. They naturally congregate in the sunny spots.

72 thoughts on “October 4, 2008: September’s Top Reads, Following Through on Your Recommendations, and The Return of the Mailbag

  1. it’s funny you should mention the part about the huuman skin. i just had my first dissection today (got into med school YAY!) and on the table next to me they had a prosected leg, and i remember thinking wow, this skin is quite strong but smooth, i could make a good coat/ boots out of this!

  2. Hey Joe. I see in your book list on the right hand side of the blog that you’re reading Cell by Stephen King. Assuming you haven’t read it yet, I’d be interested to hear what you thought of the end. I initially thought it was anticlimactic, but it actually grew on me after a couple of days.

  3. Damn it to hell! I missed the mailbag, just as I missed the deadline for asking Mr. Binder. I’ll ask you and hope there’s another mailbag tomorrow.

    In “Tracker”, how could Ronon tell on sight (or smell, come to think of it) that it was Wraith blood, not human? Before that episode, I don’t think the identifying difference had been pointed out.

    Anne Teldy

  4. Will Carter have a large role in the movie or is too early for you to know.?


  5. khalidur wrote:

    i remember thinking wow, this skin is quite strong but smooth, i could make a good coat/ boots out of this!

    I remember seeing a film made during World War II that documented (among other atrocities) things made from human skin that were found in the Death Camps after they were liberated. The lamp shade haunts me to this day.

    Anne Teldy

  6. *gasp* You picked up Anne Bishop/Black Jewels!! 😀 I hope you like it!! *is nervous*

    So I saw a commercial during Sanctuary that was all about Rodney; it was cool, but confused me at first, because it said “new episode” at the bottom of the screen, yet was showing old clips. Then they finally got to the point: that the time slot has been changed.


    Not 10. Still on Fridays, at least.

    I do hope Skiffy starts pointing this out more, because only ONE of the other commercials I’ve seen made any special note of the new time slot. Otherwise, the new time is listed, sure, but unless you’re thinking about it, it’s not “Oh! The time has changed!” Ya know? I hope the people who are avoiding Skiffy’s spoilerrific commercials and who don;t frequent this blog’s commenst section still find out about the time change. 🙁

    Speaking of Sanctuary</I?, if you happen to talk to anyone involved with it, Joe, it was fab, and I look forward to more! 🙂

  7. Hey Joe,
    If you or anyone else is interested in hearing of my brother’s and his girlfriend’s adventures in (to) McMurdo in Antarctica, they have a blog.
    They haven’t left Christchurch, NZ yet because of bad weather at McMurdo and the town is filling with Yanks headed south, but hopefully they’ll get there soon.

    More pictures from the set and of the pups, please! There is no such thing as too many pictures of our 4-legged friends.

  8. For the supergate coming out of the stargate in diferent sizes, I figured that the small ones built a smaller supergate, which activated and built the big supergate. Then the smaller one self destructed.

  9. Hey Joe!

    Amazing how you are able to do the BOTMC with all those books each month. It takes me forever to read even one book, yet you can go through many in a month. Plus your bookshelf is probably 100x bigger than mine. I don’t how you do it, but it’s neat. 😉

    In speaking about ‘Human Skin’ from your mailbox and how others are talking about dissection in this blog, I can’t handle dissection. I could’ve dissected a cow’s eye, but I promptly denied it in my physics class. Nonetheless, so who takes care of the Human skin in the studio? lol 😛

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  10. I’m curious about the pilots too that you’ve got in mind… but what’s a ‘blue comedy’???

    LOVED the pics of the pugkids all together, I was wondering the same thing how they all were positioned.. could imagine you trying for an hour to get them to sit like that.

  11. Hi Joe:

    What is a blue comedy?

    Did you guys have to do anything special for Jewel Stait to get nominated for an Emmy? Is there a lot of letter writing and advertising that goes with that?

    Patricia (AG)

  12. Thanks for your interest in the books, Joe. Glad you liked The Shadow Year. If you’re into Banks, have you read The Wasp Factory?

  13. Looks like a nice selection you are working on/have already read there. I’m busy knocking out the Oct/Nov. selections before returning to my still-to-be-read pile of woefully neglected sci fi books. I’m still waiting if yo want to confide information on your secret project to someone outside your normal circles; it’s not like I would ever ever leak it to anyone else…ok, Even I don’t believe that. I do hope that we’ll get to hear and see more of those pilots you are drawing up in reserve. Though I hate to imagine a Stargate franchise without you or Mr. Mullie involved, life and the world goes on, and your talents deserve a larger canvas than even the SG universe can provide. Though before you leave, perhaps you, David Hewlett, and Martin Gero can do a production of “Stargate the Dinner Theater” first.
    Glad to see the mailbag. Can we look forward to any more weird food offerings in the near future, or will we have to wait till your return from Asia? Anyways, here’s to a pleasant weekend for you and a productive work week to follow.

  14. Joe Mallozzi writes:
    If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.

    Oooooh, we’re definitely interested!!!

    Thanks for answering my question =)

    Another question: So you’re in the midst of SGU discussions… does this mean you will be involved in the final casting and crewing? Or are the discussions more storyline/character development based? Or am I WAYYY off?

  15. Answer: Highly unlikely. Truth be told, the story was originally pitched as an SG-1 episode. If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.

    Awesome. That would be great.

  16. Was at the Paley Center Thurs. night for the Sanctuary Panel and while I was excited to see everyone all I could think was….wouldn’t this just be even better if Mr. Joseph Mallozzi was here to entertain us. I’ve never been to a convention or anything so I’ve sadly never had the PRIVILEGE of meeting you:( I guess I’ll just have to continue reading your blog and imagining how truly fabulous you would be if we met somewhere in person. Although, I don’t know if a live meeting would live up to all my wild expectations. One can only dream. Good luck with all things SGU.

  17. Here is another vote to post that color-coded outline for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!!!
    Today was the start of the NHL season. Go Penguins!!!

  18. I see you have one of Carol Berg’s books there. I sent my copies of that trilogy to someone spending a year at the South Pole. She just told me the other day that she read and enjoyed them, and that she’s leaving them in the library for others to read. Hope you enjoy them as well. I struggled a bit with the second one, but I think on the whole the entire trilogy was worth the read.

  19. I’m glad to see that the Wraith are not wasteful, but instead use up every possible bit of their human prey rather then killing other animals for their clothing needs. It would be a terrible thing if they just slaughtered cattle for their hides while leaving the meat to rot, like big game hunters often do. Yeah, good for them for being such resourceful conservationists. 😉

    Perhaps they’re familiar with artist Andrew Krasnow’s work in human flesh:

    Now, I remember my parents taking me to a museum (in Nebraska or Iowa) when I was young, where items made from human flesh were on display. It didn’t freak me out or anything because it just looked like leather. But – if I recall correctly – it was rather delicate, not thick or heavy like cowhide.

    I would assume, therefore, that the Wraith must have very advanced means to tan human hide so that it’s as durable as it is. Do they use human brains in the process, as Native Americans used bison brains, or are the human brains dehydrated with the rest of the body during the feeding process? AH! Perhaps that’s the secret! Perhaps the Wraith enzyme plays a part in making the skin stronger during the feeding process, as well as making it pliable enough to be removed afterwards and preserved.

    This is quite fascinating to ponder…

    @ Narelle from Aus –I thought Todd’s hair looked a bit longer this season…but that’s probably just slight differences in the wigs. I LOVE the Wraith wigs this year – so natural-looking (Kenny’s is the best – so long, just the way I like it!). Gone are the granny wigs of S4!! w00t! They’ve even given Todd what looks like a receding hairline…heh. Poor fella, all the worry must finally be getting to him. (And thanks for *forcing* me to go back and compare his hair in The Queen to that in First Contact. Nice way to end the day! )

    @ Trish – Keep me posted on the puppy news! If it comes to fruition, please post baby pics!


  20. Hi Joe

    I just finished Rendevous with Rama and really enjoyed it. The other Rama books are on my “to read” pile, along with Asimov’s Foundation series. Guess I’m in my hard SF period.

    Saw where you had “The Briar King” on your recommended list — now I’m nervous 🙂

    We watched Sanctuary last night. I’ve really been looking forward to it, but frankly we were underwhelmed. It was a good show, but it needs “something more” to be a great one. Maybe more humor? Better pacing? Enough light to see what is going on? Not dropping the “A” story midway through and never going back to it? Maybe our expectations were too high …

    Thanks for your faithfulness to your blog. It’s a definite highlight every day!

  21. “If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.”

    Oooh, yes! THIS! I love colors. 🙂

    By your sidebar I see you’re reading The Cell by Stephen King. I liked that book. I was out of new stuff to read and my roommate Carrie gave it to me so I’d shut up with the whining. It worked. I think I would have liked it even if I wasn’t whining, though.

  22. @ anneteldy – I thought Wraith blood was darker, and thicker…or at least the goo they had oozing out of Todd in Common Ground looked that way.

    Shawna Buchanan – I know we Wraith fans have pondered it – I like the idea (better than non-existence), but at the same time they’re a species so full of desire and life, I’m not sure they’d be content with reaching a higher plane, and stopping there. The Wraith, to me, are in a constant state of longing (for food, for control, for worship, for knowledge, for – whatever)…and that’s what makes them so intriguing to me. On the other hand, the Ancients just seem so dull…so emotionally void…so robotic…they seem well-suited for ascension. But the Wraith? I think they’d be incredibly bored – what challenges – what longings – would be left for them? (Unless, of course, as ascended beings, they could go around absorbing all the energy of other ascended beings…heh. 😀 )


  23. Hi Joe!
    I don’t know if anyone has asked this yet or not but here goes. Is there any talk about maybe including Beckett in one of the SGA movies? Thanks for listening!!

  24. Hey Joe. (waves)

    “Narelle from Aus also writes: “He has such a great screen presence, especially when he is Todd. And where do they get all of their leather for those coats? Space cows?”

    Answer: Let’s just say that no part of the human is wasted.”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha—I think you make your answers up as you go along!! (I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m just elbowing you a bit)

    Well, aside from Eewww! We can all see that there is nothing left of humans once they’ve been fed upon. It’s almost like the wraith feed on them like spiders: liquefying human insides while they feed and sucking up the goo through their feeding tube. (This is disgusting enough!!)

    Besides, human skin is not thick enough to make good leather coats. Perhaps lampshades and vellum book covers (as in what the Nazis and Vlad the Impaler have done), but human skin…please do ruin my “WILLING suspension of disbelief”. Stiff, sturdy jackets like the wraith’s need hide leather from pack animals.

    Lastly, what is it? something like one in five fans of SGA love the wraith. The whole reason I watch the show is to watch for the wraith. If you want fans like me to consider them utterly unsympathetic and hence be revolted by them, it’s working. But then again, you also know what that means.


  25. Hey there, two quick questions…

    a) This used to bug me a long time ago, but I thought it had been cleared up, but while talking on the Gateworld forums I realize it hasn’t. When we first meet the Asgard, they say they are on the planet Othalla, in the “galaxy of Ida”. So, presumably, the Asgard galaxy is called Ida, and Othalla is one world in the Ida Galaxy. In a later episode, someone mentions the Asgard galaxy, and Daniel Jackson responds/corrects him by saying “Othalla”. I always assumed this was a continuity glitch, but some — and at one point even the Gateworld Omnipedia — claim that the Asgard inhabit two galaxies, Ida and Othalla. Which is true? Do both galaxies exist, with a planet in one galaxy named after the other galaxy, or was it just Ida, and Othalla is simply a world in that galaxy?

    b) On the forums, some of us are chatting about different theories as to why the Ancients spread out human life everywhere in Pegasus, but only on Earth in the Milky Way. I have a simple theory… am I off?

    1) Ancients thrive in the Milky Way.
    2) Plague starts to kill them all out.
    3) The few who are left use the Dakara device to re-ignite a new evolution of humans to replace them, then they flee to Pegasus or ascend.
    4) Upon arrival, the Lanteans initiate an evolution of humans on a random world.
    5) When these humans finally evolve to the point they are at now, the “Ancestors” explain to the people how to use the stargates, and so the Pegasus humans disperse themselves, as opposed to the Milky Way humans who were temporarily stuck on Earth since they didn’t have any Ancients there to guide them in person, unlike their Pegasus counterparts.
    6) The Goa’uld dropped in on Earth and did the dispersing themselves.

    First Contact was great. Can’t wait for The Lost Tribe!

  26. Please make some sort of comment clarifying where wraith get their coats from. I know this sounds corny, but I’m almost shriveling back in horror, seriously considering whether I can even watch The Lost Tribe, without being revolted. I’m feeling really narly about the wraith right now, and I get so much enjoyment from the show…please save this fan.

    WK 🙁

  27. Well, I found yet another quirky site on the internet: a human skin jacket maker! Not for burn victims, or for horror shows, but for fashion. It’s not real human skin (wink wink), but made to look and feel exactly like a bipedaler.

    Now, do these human skin imitation jackets look remotely like the same type of material Wraith would use for their jackets? No. Not thick enough, even if dyed black.…cks_awes__7215

    (I think I double posted this, I’m not sure, or this post is blocked?)


  28. Hey Joe,

    Thanks for more recommended reading. I now have a Collection in my Reader called Top Reads with books that yourself and a others on the blog have recommended.

    With Hubby away for a week or so it will give me extra time to enjoy some reading.

    I was in denial as to the true source of the leather for the Wraith coats, but the suppleness of the material and the way it flows as they walk, there can be no other source. At least Wraith aren’t wasters. It would make sense from a race who’s technology is even organic. The eat organic, wear organic, and they obviously don’t use any harsh products in their hair… hang on, they’re the hippies of the Pegasus Galaxy!

    Das – I second your opinion of the Wraith wigs this season. I had been wondering on and off last season if the GHD in the wardrobe department was on the fritz.
    Glad I could assist in providing a reason to go and re-watch your favourite episodes. Apologies to Mr Das.

    Have a good night Joe.

  29. PS: Trish – I hope Annabelle likes one of the dogs for re-homing. My adopted Kelpie is sitting next to me now. It’s nice to have saved at least one.

  30. Narelle from Aus said:

    Chev – Have you been to Armageddon before? I’ve never been to any of these events so I’m still up in the air as to whether to give it a try. Could be good to go and have a look around.

    Hey there Narelle. I went to Armageddon last year. **sighs** Can I just say Joe Flanigan is charming and hilarious. There was a big crowd, I think it took the organisers by surprise, but I had a great time, got some autographed photos from Joe, met some cool Stargate fans in the line and made the John Wesley Shipp fans jealous.

    I’ve already got my ticket for this year. I’m even staying in the city so I don’t have to get up so early etc.

    Then two weeks after I’ve got a ticket for the event with Kavan Smith, Dan Shea and Gary Jones. Yeah, looking forward to that as well. Plan on confessing to Kavan about that whole name campaign. Should be interesting.

    Cheers, Chev

  31. I see an Anne Bishop book in there! They’re really good, I borrowed them from an old friend my senior year of high school, and…er…readthemduringclass. I passed the class, though! Only one I failed was government, and that’s ’cause my friend and I kept ditching, once so we could go drink. Mostly because we got bored and hated the teacher.

    Now that I sound like a complete psycho…got any good fantasy recommendations? I’ve finished all the books I own, and I’ve got another trip to the used bookshop coming this week.

  32. F**king Godwin’s law!—does everything have to turn into a Nazi discussion!

    When I said make the wraith brutal, I didn’t mean make them freaks and Nazis! The Vikings were brutal, but history can at least understand them—there was a code of honour among them, a line of freakish brutality EVEN THEY did not cross.

    This is truly disappointing, It’s one thing to have a creature “need” only human prey to survive, because a creature is an obligate carnivore, but to cross the line by having them wear human skin as clothes??!!!! That’s not an interesting monster; this doesn’t arouse pity, or true fear; it simply arouses disgust. If this is what the wraith are, then they are a blight, nothing more. They should be wiped out. As awful as it is for a creature like the wraith to need human life force to survive, it is understandable, but to have them do this? Think of the ancient Romans—The ancient world was brutal, brutal, brutal but the one thing the Roman government could appeal to it citizens with is human sacrifice. The Roman government needed its citizens support it in order to wage war on the Carthaginians. The one thing they made their people aware of was the fact that the Carthaginians had human sacrifice as part of their religion. As brutal as ancient Rome was, this is one thing the people could never tolerate. The Carthaginians sacrificed their children to Molche (or whatever the hey their god was called), this was a line even the ancient world could not cross.

    If you’re going to denigrate the wraith into sadists, then why did you even bother developing their culture, their origin, and their language especially if you’re going to throw it all away by saying the wraith turn human skin in to jackets and hats? (Fine, a few sadist here and there but not a whole culture of them) That really is crossing a line. That’s turning them more than mere brutal predators its making them utterly “beyond redemption” evil beings. My husband, who enjoys the show and aside from this, really is nothing more than a consistent watcher, is now turned off. Even he thought “if this is how they’re going to handle the baddies, why invest so much time and money into them?” The whole point of science fiction is that it makes one think. Any story can gross you out (torture porn films like Saw do this quite well), but sci fi frames stories in such a way that makes you consider ideas you hadn’t considered before.

    For instance, I know most people can’t articulate why they lost interest in the Borg from Star Trek, but I believe that after that film, where the Borg were reduced to a “not so alien” hive based society with a queen at its centre, the fans quickly fizzled out. Before this, the Borg were interesting on so many levels. They were interesting because they WERE completely alien—a foreign entity that truly believed they were better together. They were a threat in their origin and conception as they completely lacked a centre, believing they were all equal—ALL equal, and equal through assimilation….no one had personal identity.

    Then some lazy writer comes along and whips up a film where there’s a queen bee! That’s not alien, or frightful; it’s definitely not interesting—I see ants everyday, and wasps and bees and every other type of natural phenomenon. Who’s interested in the Borg now? No one. Talk about frying a franchise.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but after having a chat with my husband, and seeing how even he was turned off (and he hates talking to me about SGA generally because I never shut up about it—the fact that I was even able to get him into a conversation about the show says a lot about how he feels about this new revelation.). Please clarify what you mean.


  33. I’m so disappointed. I’ve just logged into my email to discover that the con with Kavan, Dan and Gary has been cancelled due to lack of ticket sales. Apparently there were under 20 tickets sold to the Sydney event, they didn’t say what the Melbourne ticket sales were like.

    No cheers today

  34. No no no no no! We’re NOT interested in seeing the color-coded outline!

    …Because if you showed it to us, there’d be even less chance we’ll see it as part of the franchise. Come on, Joe, the basic premise is incredibly intriguing. The characters muddle the timeline by traveling to the past and future multiple times? That’s gold. It doesn’t matter who the characters are; you can always apply it to them.

    Please, save it for Universe, or anything. I just want to see it on screen.

  35. Coucou Joseph =)!! Sa va??
    Moi tré bien =)
    Rohh mon professeur de français nous a tous obliger de lire un livre a la maison =( et je ne l’aime pas, sa parle des citées (hum pas d’atlantis malheureusement -_-‘) les citées avec de la délinquence et tout…..
    Ofaite!! c’est sur la MGM à soutenu la projet d’un convention a Paris en Janvier!! Si vous n’avez rien de prévu venez!! aller s’il vous plait ….=) si c’est le cas je prend l’avion tout de suite et je campes 3 mois a Paris pour ne pas vous ratez lol XD

    1 Que donnez vous a manger à vos chiens?
    2 La fin de la saison 5 ce terminera sur terre?
    3 Quand aurez vous finit d’acrire de film sur sga?

    Voila=) merci!! bisou a demain!

  36. Hello Joseph.

    The predatory aliens in Rama are in the next books. I hope you will read them.

    I have a personal recommendation for you, I don’t know if it has been commented before. “The Night’s Dawn Trilogy” by Peter F. Hamilton, , you can read the summary in the Wikipedia. These 3 books are a “big book”, you can’t read only one or two (like with Rama), and there are about 4.000 pages in total, so start with time 😉


  37. Hi, Joe.

    Just received my weekly e-mail newsletter from for the week of Oct. 5.

    They mention the new episodes of Sanctuary, Scare Tactics, Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth, the episode repeats of Lost; their tech site Dvice; the Video of the Week (Sanctuary) — and there’s also room for an ad for NBC’s Pale Force cartoon, an ad for SciFi Magazine, and an ad for the NBC Universal Viewer Panel.

    How odd…I could have sworn that there is a NEW episode of Stargate Atlantis this week, starting at a NEW time, 9pm, on Friday, Oct. 10 ’08.

    Gosh, maybe they forgot? Or didn’t have enough space in their newsletter due to the ads for the Pale Force Cartoon?

    Maybe…Stargate Atlantis will get their own special newsletter on Friday, to remind everyone that SGA now airs at 9pm?

    In any case, I thought I’d post the link for the NBC Universal Viewer panel:

    And if there are fans in the US who haven’t been by this site, perhaps they might register, and at the end of the survey, let those fine folks at NBC Universal know how they really feel about their wonderful programming decisions by all the wonderful NBC Universal affiliates — especially the SciFi Channel.


  38. Delynn wrote:

    Joe Mallozzi writes:
    If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.

    Oooooh, we’re definitely interested!!!

    ….AND nice. 🙂

  39. Mornin’ Joe! I just wanted to “chime in” on the promo thing that we all have been discussing here on your blog. I am a true believer in not watching them at all, I don’t want to know anything about next weeks episode, I love the surprise of where it is all going. It’s like knowing the plot summary of a book, I want to be entertained, not know what is coming. Now sometimes one does see the promos but for the most part I don’t want to know. And it’s completely true they mislead us fans with these promos and that is just upsetting when the show doesn’t go in the direction you thought when you did see the promo. No matter what thanks so much Joe for all the wonderful shows you guys write, produce, direct, etc. keep up the awesome work.

  40. Oh Joe, back away slowly from the Ann Bishop.

    The Black Jewels series is a train wreck. You can’t look away, no matter how awful. Somehow, with everything and TWO kitchen sinks in them, they are still engaging, but you’ll probably want to shower after.

  41. Yay for the return of the mailbag! 😀

    “Answer: Let’s just say that no part of the human is wasted.”

    Urgh, gross!!! 😕

  42. Afternoon, Joe

    And I hope you’re starting to recover a little from whatever malicious green buggers knocked you sideways last week. As for me, well.. I need to remember that surfing in the North Sea when on the verge of an autumnal cold, isn’t necessarily the sanest thing to do. And that tailfins still hurt, even through a 6mm wetsuit.


    “Great question. File it away for now because Brad Wright (coincidentally the writer/producer of Beachhead) has promised to do a guest Q&A on this blog in the very near future”

    That’s.. a *very* brave man.

  43. Your selection of recommended books in the picutre is primarily (or entirely) fantasy. I’ll have to go back and read through the comments again. Were the recs mostly fantasy? If so, that would be most interesting for a variety of reasons.

    The picture of the dogs is a good one because they are all so alert, as though they are expecting you to let them into the house.

    I’m curious about the latest Lou Anders anthology. I’ll have to check it out. I see that you liked Paolo Bacigalupi’s story. I hope you give his collection a try. He’s another one I had the opportunity to hear read at Readercon (David Anthony Durham, too). Paolo tells a good story.

  44. This quesiton could be for Brad Wright or Joe Mallozzi:

    Regarding the Alterans/Ancients, season nine and ten of SG1 made it clear they originated in the Ori galaxy, before coming to Earth. But how is that possible, when other animals on Earth obviously were living here before humans and Alterans and we share a lot of common DNA/genetic code? Is there a scientific or technobabble explanation for this, or is it a plot hole not for us to think about?

  45. @ WK – Calm down now, luv…the Wraith are not nazis. 😉

    Nazis were humans, and Wraith are not humans. Their society, biology and mentality is closer to that of the iratus bug…the show established that in S1, and Todd just reinforced it in The Queen. The Wraith consume humans, like we consume cows. If they also use human hides to adorn themselves, how is that different from us wearing cowhide? To me, this just helps establish that Wraith are a different species – distinct from humans – governed by different laws and morality, and not just sexy green people with extra nostrils on their face.

    I suppose that’s what makes me different from some other fans. I don’t want the Wraith to be human – I want them to be Wraith…a species unique unto themselves. That’s sci fi for me…creating new species NOT governed by our human laws, a species that does not think like we do. Create them, then find a way to somehow live with them, despite the differences. That’s what I like about sci fi, what draws me to it – the creation of something that really doesn’t exist, that doesn’t always fit into our known molds.

    In this case (and so far) the creators have given Wraith the basic appearance of humans, but with the mentality of predatory animals. Does a tiger question the morality of eating a child? No, because to the tiger it is the ‘right’ thing to do, it is its nature. In effect, the creators have given us walking, talking tigers – we get to explore animal mentality in human form. Don’t fool yourself, if our cats (or Joe’s pups) could talk, they’d be saying…”If I’m hungry enough, I will not think twice about eating you.”

    The Wraith are the same…humans are food, every part of them a product to be used and consumed. Unnerving to some, yes…but to me it’s very interesting to explore the possibilities. In my mind, Wraith/human interaction is what it would be like living among tigers, only instead of trying to figure out what the creature is thinking, it’s telling us exactly how it thinks and feels, without shame, for there is no shame in being what it is.

    So, as far as clothing made from human hide goes, it would only be twisted if it were humans wearing human skin. That would be very disturbing indeed. It is taboo to us, just as cannibalism is taboo to humans, though not to Wraith. To Wraith, humans are merely a product to be consumed, and so it’s not disturbing at all…no more disturbing than their dietary needs, or their tendancy to cannibalize, for sure.

    All that said, I really think Joe is just yankin’ our chains. Don’t take what he says seriously. However, I must say that I like the idea. It would explain Wraith finger armor (used to score human flesh in preparation for removal?) , and with their advanced tech, I’m sure the Wraith could come up with a layering and bonding process that would make human skin durable enough for their needs.

    Aaaahhh…just imagine Todd lying near death on the cold floor of the Genii prison, wrapped in the leathery remnants of past hearty meals…that old coat his only comfort as hunger relentlessly gnaws away at his very soul.

    Doesn’t it just make your heart break? Poor fing… *sniffle*


  46. Look to Windward is my favorite of the Culture novels, if you’ve not read it (though I suspect you have).

    My vote would be for The Shadow Year since I’ve not read it 🙂

  47. hahaha at, “Let’s just say that no part of the human is wasted.” Nice. 🙂

  48. I have to chime in on the question of what “blue comedy” is. The only thing I can think of is blue collar comedy. lol

    Can’t wait to hear your reactions to Anne Bishop’s book!

  49. Hey Joe,

    Long time no…type. Broken wrist and cast (a lovely red this week, it’ll be blue next week) make this a tediously slooooow process.

    Yay for the return of the mailbag:

    “If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.”

    Color me both: interested and nice. Honest!

    I’ll throw in some homemade chocolate chip cookies to sweeten the deal if need be!

  50. Mr. M wrote:

    Answer: Highly unlikely. Truth be told, the story was originally pitched as an SG-1 episode. If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.

    See how nice I’m being? I’m not even mentioning the you-know-what that you were supposed to you-know-what. 😀

    Charlie’s Angel wrote:

    The other Rama books are on my “to read” pile, along with Asimov’s Foundation series. Guess I’m in my hard SF period.

    The original Foundation Trilogy isn’t hard SF, as I understand the term (“hard SF” = focus on the science???). I’ve read it many, many times. The rest of the series isn’t as good, in my opinion, but it’s Asimov which means, by definition, it can’t be bad. 🙂

    Anne Teldy

  51. Nice try, Mr. Mallozzi. 😉

    I don’t think that anyone can make clothes out of the skin of these corpses. Paper maybe, but surely no coats etc. I think I will go on feeding “my” hives with these mummies. 😉

  52. some are really putting a great deal of thought into the human skin thing xD

    so Brad Wright’s going to guest blog one day, I definitely have to keep that in mind to come up with questions ^^

    I’ve been trying to think of any SciFi/Fantasy recommendation but I’ve mostly only read those everyone else has read has well (or at least heard of it)
    and the only book I could think of has so far only been published in German…
    But if you ever happen to come across an English version of “Lycidas” by Christoph Marzi give it a try!
    if there should ever be an English version, that is 😉

    the cover of “Little, Big” by John Crowley looks interesting and it’s got great ratings on amazon… gnah, again one more book I want to read but I still have to be focused on anatomy and morphology of plants (there aren’t many topics more boring out there >.<)

  53. Dear joe,

    Will you guys mention what ever happened to the Dagan Zpm, or will it be shelved.


  54. QUOTE
    Ykickamoocow writes: “Your idea for the season 6 episode “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” sounds brilliant to me. Is there any chance of that idea being turned into a Atlantis movie?”

    Answer: Highly unlikely. Truth be told, the story was originally pitched as an SG-1 episode. If you’re interested (and nice) I might even post the original color-coded outline for you.

    Pretty please, with sugar and a cherry on top?

  55. Well said das
    And Joe, in the interest of blog harmony, I will now only ask extremely serious questions that can only receive a very serious response 😐

  56. @ Narelle from Aus – Haven’t you figured it out yet, Narelle? This blog is like Joe’s very own voodoo doll. He just keeps stickin’ us with pins, each keystroke punctuated by an outburst of maniacal laughter until finally he submits his entry. Then he sits back in his darkened room, rubbing his dastardly hands together as he awaits our reactions… just relishing the thought that one of his piercing comments has hit its mark.

    Isn’t that right, Joe? 😉 Hey, it keeps me amused, despite my occasional hissy fit (*insert image of foot-stomping, coat-whirling Steve here*) when you hit one of my more sensitive nerves. 😛


  57. Hi Joe,

    Just wanted to say that I am really enjoying this season of Atlantis and can’t wait to see the second half of the episodes. I’m SO glad the network isn’t torturing us by making us wait until January as they have done in the past.

    You have quite a pile of books there. I have read (and recommended to several people including you) “Black Sun Rising” by C.S. Friedman. I found the characters engaging, I liked the premise and plot AND it has a great villain ( I have a thing for villains). I’d be interested in seeing it on the BotM club list. I read “Rendezvous with Rama” ages ago, likewise “Tea with the Black Dragon” and I don’t remember a thing about either, so I can’t comment. I ordered “Acacia” and maybe I’ll get it read in time to join in the discussion. But first I have to read “Keeping it Real” — so I know what to expect when they turn on the CERN accelerator again.

    I hope you and the pups are all feeling better; sorry to hear about the tomato tragedy – I empathized, but will not go into detail here. Just be glad your dogs are small. 😉

    I couldn’t help noticing your reference to chicken fried bacon (?). Sounds interesting, but what sounds even better was a recipe I saw for candied bacon. Take strips of thick cut bacon and lay them out on baking pan (with edges, not flat). Sprinkle on a little brown sugar and cover with a piece of parchment paper, then place another baking pan on top of it to weigh it down and keep them flat. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350. I haven’t tried it yet, and I suspect to get the bacon a little crispy it may take longer. But it sounded yummy, so I thought I would share. Just don’t let the dogs get hold of it.

  58. Arctic Goddess: Jewel Staite wasn’t nominate for an Emmy. She was nominated for a Gemini, a Canadian/BC award. The Emmy Awards already happened. My condolences to SG for not winning for Viz Effects, for which it was nominated. BSG won instead, the posers. 🙁

    I just watched First Contact again, very closely. I have to say, based on plot, dialog, acting, viz effects, and ultimately the edge-of-my-seat sense of big things happening, it’s the best episode of SGA ever (although Shrine is right up there for pure emotional appeal). I hope Marty and everyone did it again for part 2!

  59. For Anne Teldy:

    Maybe I should have said “traditional” sci-fi instead of hard sci fi … ? Sorry for the confusion! 🙂

  60. anneteldy wrote…

    ‘In “Tracker”, how could Ronon tell on sight (or smell,
    come to think of it) that it was Wraith blood, not
    human? Before that episode, I don’t think the
    identifying difference had been pointed out.’


    I thought that Wraith blood was black.. it certainly looks it when Shep shoots the Wraith in the cell in the first season (can’t remember if it’s Steve or Bob??). Whatever is coming out of his mouth is black anyway and I’d just assumed it was blood…..


  61. I just wanted to say, since I adore time travel stories, I’d like to pitch in a vote to see that color coded outline. 😀

  62. @Anne Teldy – I also remember seeing the human skin lampshades in a documentary on nazi Germany, and it’s the first thing I thought of when I read Joe’s comment. So the wraith as nazis is a place I cannot let my mind go, as obvious as I suppose the analogy is. If someone is willing to eat humans or their lifeforce and imprison them the way they do until it’s feeding time, I suppose there are no limits.


  63. @ Mary – There is no comparison between Wraith and nazis (Genii and nazis, maybe… 😉 ).

    Many cultures have used human skin or body parts over the ages – from tribal shrunken heads, to Native American finger necklaces, to human skin used in modern art. And that’s HUMANS using human products for decoration and ornamentation – and Wraith are not human.

    The nazis practiced genocide out of hate and unfounded fear, not out of an instinctive need to survive. It is FAR different from what the Wraith are, and what they do. You can’t compare a sci fi evolved bug (basically a giant, sentient tick) to real life nazis. And if TPTB ever tried to transform the Wraith into something similiar, they would fail miserably because it would be way too far of a stretch.

    So, don’t let the skin thing get to you. First, I believe Joe was just having a bit of fun, but even if he was serious, then Wraith wearing human skin would be no different from humans wearing cow, pig or deerskin. There is just no comparison to nazis.

    (If I sound a bit harsh, I’m sorry…I just think this is a very unfair comparison and a rather sensitive subject for many.)


  64. Hey Joe! And everone!

    I’m so glad I didn’t suggest any books. I’d hate to be the one who had to pay you back for the book. 😉

    And I promise to be VERY nice and also would love to see the color coded outline.

    Noir is right… the wraith couldn’t use humans that were fed upon to make leather. You can’t fool me, either. I think it’s space cows! 😛

    I have *some* news regarding a new family member. I put in an application to the Pyr rescue near me. Literally within two minutes I got a phone call. 😯 A wee-bit creepy, yes. Turns out the head of the rescue just HAPPENED to be at the computer when I sent in my appy. And I guess she liked what I wrote.

    After we pass the home inspection we will be matched to a puppy. We get to set up a meet ‘n greet and make sure that all five of us get along well with the puppy. It’s sort of a long process but I feel it’s totally worth it. Plus, I think we will be approved.

    I was told of an adorable eight month old male that may be the one. I’m so excited!!! He’s even houstrained (mostly). But he’s still a baby. Best of both worlds! What’s even better is the head of the rescue believes this puppy will get along well with Annabelle.

    Fingers crossed everyone! It will probably be a couple more weeks before we can set everything up.

    Trish 😀

    @Das: I will be more than happy to post baby pics!
    @Narelle: I’m very excited about getting a rescue dog. I think it’s a huge thing to help even one. 🙂

  65. Do you know the brand of the zippered padfolio that Mr. Woolsey is often seen carrying?

    I want to get one just like it.

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