Yesterday, I received a call from the uber-talented composer Joel Goldsmith who wanted me to know he’s been working hard on those fan questions I sent him and is almost done. Actual work, it would seem, held things up a bit, but he assured me that his responses would be chock full of interesting info and links. I’m alternately pleased and a little nervous, only because I haven’t been having much luck with links of late. I’ll copy and paste a text containing links onto my wordpress page and, once I hit “publish”, there’s no telling what I’m doing to end up with. Sometimes lines and paragraph will be run together. Other times the actual link will disappear from where it should be and end up as an addendum at the bottom of the entry. Still other times, the entire text will be underlined and/or bolded. What gives? Being the non-techy guy I am, my first guess is an ancient Mayan curse. If anyone has a better explanation, I’d love to hear it.

Speaking of upcoming Q&A’s – A final reminder to get your questions in for actor Mike (Kirkyk) Dopud!

Further thoughts on On Basilisk Station:

First of all, thanks to everyone who has weighed in with thoughts and comments on the book. Clearly, the series has a lot of fans and, judging from the first book, I can see why. One of the things that really appealed to me was the complex and wholly believable world David Weber creates, and one of the main reasons his Honorverse is so credible is because of the details offered on everything from its socio-economic and political structure to its technological achievements. Of course some would argue that it’s a two-edged sword, that these meticulous accounts can actually frustrate the reader. So, I’m curious what those of you who read On Basilisk Station think about this as it applies to the book. Too much, too little, or just right?

Also, in response to my review, Terry posted the following comment: “Joe, I had a question related to your post about “On Basilisk Station.” You mentioned somthing about this book being the first book that you liked as military SF. I’ve heard others describe “Old Man’s War” as military SF and I know you love that book. I’m curious, do you think of “Old Man’s War” more a space opera? How do you define military SF?”

Well, damn that’s a good point. In retrospect, yeah, I SHOULD classify Old Man’s War as military SF (and come to think of it, Armor by John Steakley, another book I loved). However, Weber’s brand of military SF is very different and more in keeping with my long-held notion of the science fiction sub-genre in which the military component drives the story above all else. The emphasis is less on space opera and more on elements like battlefield tactics and the particulars of combat. I honestly don’t have a preference between either version and hadn’t even considered the differences until this question came up.

So, what do you all think? How would you definite military SF? Do books like Old Man’s War fall into that definition? Why or why not?

What’s in YOUR drinking water? If you guessed Naproxen (a painkiller and anti-inflammatory), Estrone (an oestrogen hormone), and Carbamazepine (a drug used to treat bipolar disorder), you are correct! And, in all probability, already read the following article:

Sure they’re closing in on a cloak of invisibility, but can science invent a shampoo with the long-lasting scent of oatmeal cookies?:

Who, in your opinion, are the lamest super villains in comic book history? Draw up your list and compare. Oh, Asbestos Man. What the hell were you thinking?:


To those of you unfamiliar with Cowboy Bebop, this may be of passing interest. To fans of the brilliant anime series, this new is, well, kinda depressing:


AV Eddy writes: “What does salsify taste like?”

Answer: Like sweet victory but a tad crunchier.

Belouchi writes: “1. How many ZPMS are within our possesion? ( 3 in Atlantis, one in the Odyssey, Does that seem right)
2. Was the Zpm that was given to power the ancient chair of Antartica or might I say Area 51 destroyed along with the chair?
3. Are the ZPMs powering Atlantis nearly depleted?
Also that now that you guys at Bridge Studios have a better grasp of the complexities of Stargate Universe:
4. Do you know roughly, the size and scope of The Destiny? Is it comparable to an Aurora Class ship, or more in the range of a mega ship such as Anubis mothership or Atlantis like ship.
5. Do you know where we can get Pierre Herme Macarons in Montreal?”

Answers: 1) Hmmmm. Seems about right. 2) Time will tell. Unless Paul does first. 3) Again, we’ll find out the next time we meet our intrepid crew. 4) Yet again, I’m going to have to defer on this one. 5) To the best of my knowledge, you can’t.

Blademos writes: “Will there be a Movie comming soon cause rumor has it that there might not be a movie cause none of the real cast has signed…”

Answer: There will definitely be an Atlantis movie.

Sherwood Forest Maiden writes: “Have you read Twilight, or any of the other books in the series?? Or seen the movie??”

Answer: No, I haven’t.

Tori writes: “Awesome series ending…for SG1!”

Answer: As I already said – the script was not intended to be a SERIES finale, but a season finale.

WillySkilly writes: “Any chance that if Atlantis gets a second movie it would be Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?”

Answer: Most unlikely.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Is a pinky fracture more likely to be dismissed if the chided has been given fair warning that, if he continues to twist hia arm in such a manner that the laws of momentum will be ultimately responsible for his consequential suffering?”

Answer: Sadly, no.

Scary writes: “ I have read that the SGA movie will air first on SCI-FI and then be released on DVD while others say that it will a straight to DVD like the other Stargate movies. Can you clear this up?”

Answer: From what I hear, it will probably air on SciFi first.

TBA writes: “How story-arc-based (if that’s a word) is SGU going to shape? Are you going with the old SG-1 way and having only the two- and three-parters tie into each other (with the rest being, although fun, fillers that contributed to some stories but could’ve been anywhere in the season), something along the lines of Heroes where every episode directly continues where the previous ep ended (which is very fun to see, imo), or something in between like SGA season 1 where the episodes were kinda stand-alone (except for the two/three-parters, ofc) but also contributed to the overall arc each episode?”

Answer: SGU will definitely be more of an arc-driven series. Although it will have its fair share of stand-alone and multi-parters, the show will have more season-long plot and character threads running through every episode.

Noelm writes: “So, is hitting with an open fist the same as a “slap”?”

Answers: Slaps, cuffs, and karate chops are all acceptable when dealing with a writer who has screwed up your lunch order.

Stephanie writes: “I’m finding that there are several days a week when I just can’t “get it up to write.” When you get that feeling do you have any tricks to get past that?”

Answer: Convince your writing partner to do a Q&A for you! Otherwise – force yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but one of the reasons I update this blog daily is because it forces me to write. Some entries are better than others but, at the end of the day, the important thing is that I’ve produced something that I can foist upon an unassuming public.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “Hey Joe! Are you going to stay carb free or switch to a low-carb diet when your two weeks are up? Or are you just going back to your previous evil ways?”

Answer: I’ll try to be more careful about what I ate – but will nevertheless indulge in the occasional cheat meals.

IamJohn writes: “Joe, do you have any plans on updating spambait?”

Answer: Eventually, yes. I have to take a peek inside Baron Destructo’s inbox.

Fathercrow writes: “FC: Hey wait a minute here, de-molecularized? Wormholes don’t de-molecularize!”

Answer: Actually, it has long been established on Stargate that anything passing through the event horizon is de-molecuralized for transfer and then re-molecularized on the other side. There is a rare glimpse of the start of the process in Ark of Truth.

Mazeykins writes: “What the heck is Scrapple?”

Answer: Boiled pork scraps and cornmeal. Yum.

Arctic Goddess writes: “There is a great deal of discussion among the fans regarding the sets and if people will be able to see the Atlantis set or the SGC gateroom during the tours at the Stargate convention in April. Is there anything you could say to assuage the fans fears that there is nothing left of the sets except what has been built for the new series?”

Answer: Sorry, I can’t. The SG-1 corridors, control and briefing room are no more. The gate room is in the process of being re-done. The Atlantis sets are still standing. That said, the present state of things puts future tours in doubt.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Now that Atlantis Movie / Universe is in the writing phase, are you still travelling in and out every day to The Bridge, or are things a bit more relaxed…ie can you work from home every so often?”

Answer: Brad and Rob, as the show’s creators and show runners, are dealing with prep. Carl, as an Executive Producer, is there on a regular basis. Paul and I, as Consulting Producers, are involved but will have more free time this season. In fact, I’m working from home today.

Dr. Pants writes: “From what I’ve heard, when the final episode was written it wasn’t confirmed it would be the final episode. When the news came through that it would be, were there any rewrites at all to better reflect this and which episode(s?) were filming at the time?”

Answer: At the time, Infection was being shot, Identity was in prep, and Vegas and Enemy at the Gate were finals. There were no significant changes made to either script.

Luvnjack writes: “So, Joe, since it appears you are making your way through the powers that be, are we ever going to have a guest Q&A with Martin Wood?”

Answer: Most unlikely. He has his hands full with Sanctuary.

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Okay I’m in a quandary and it’s not a nice place to be. I’ll tell you for why.

Do I…..

A, Go back and read the last two months of Joe’s blog that I have, to my undying shame, not yet read.
Or and this is my personal favourite…..

B, Wait for Joe’s book of the blog to come out, to be followed closely by the movie of the blog and the cartoon of the blog. I will of course purchase the ‘T’ shirt of the aforementioned blog to show solidarity with my fellow blog readers.

There is always plan ‘C’ and I’m loathed to put this forward but can someone please give me a short synopsis of the past few months a sort of…. ‘Joe went to Japan…..ate……came back from Japan’.

You guys know the sort of thing, an abridged version.

Hand on heart….that’s centre left still isn’t it? I swear to go back to reading Joe’s blog every day so help me Microsoft.

Pauline x


When I think of military sci-fi, I think of things like Starship Troopers… or other such things where pretty much everyone is military, the story is almost entirely set in a military setting, and there are detailed descriptions of weapons and battles.

I hate it when I read all these reports that someone’s developing a “Harry Potter cloak of invisibility”. Seriously, would they just get off the bandwagon. Not too long ago they’d have called it a cloaking device. If Twilight had something that made people invisible, they’d be calling it that.

Question: Since the SG-1 sets are going bye-bye, does this mean that there’s no chance for any more SG-1 movies? I thought that, since the other two did so well, there was a good probability of getting more.

To Stephanie, regarding the muse: This is one reason I love fanfic. Say you’re working on a screenplay or novel or something, but you just can’t get in the right mode. You can play in someone else’s sandbox for a bit, and maybe it’ll help get your creative juices flowing. And hey, it’s fanfic, it doesn’t actually have to be the best you can do, though it is good practice.


Speaking of Scrapple, here is my first attempt at making a Scrapple Egg and Cheese sandwich for breakfast (also my first attempt at cracking a egg with one hand while filming with the other)

Jon K.
Jon K.

I really enjoy the detail David Weber goes into in basilisk station. For me this started with Tom Clancy, who really goes into a lot of detail in his book by doing this i feel i can really immerse myself in the universe that the author creates. With Basilisk Station and the following books in the series i can feel like i’m really in the world with the players in the novels.

I was wondering if you’ve read World War Z? I picked the book up this past reason and just finished it today and really enjoyed the book and the way in which it was written.


Aw. The SG-1 sets are no more? What’s going to happen for future SG-1 movies, then? Put them back up? Have the story set in a different place altogether? CGI?

And when you say the gateroom is being ‘re-done’, I’m assuming you don’t mean a fresh coat of concrete-gray paint, but a new SGU set…?


So does mean that we will never see anymore of the control or briefing room?


Hi Joe,

Thank you for answering questions .
You worte:
Answer: Sorry, I can’t. The SG-1 corridors, control and briefing room are no more. The gate room is in the process of being re-done. The Atlantis sets are still standing. That said, the present state of things puts future tours in doubt.

An obvious question is, dose this mean the SGC won’t be part of the third SG1 movie?



joe said: Answer: Sorry, I can’t. The SG-1 corridors, control and briefing room are no more. The gate room is in the process of being re-done. The Atlantis sets are still standing. That said, the present state of things puts future tours in doubt.”

concerning the sg1 sets, this puts the plot for the 3rd movie in a very interesting light. or, the sets will be rebuilt…


Ok, if the SG-1 sets are gone, how will the next film be shot or will it be outside of the SGC?

Shadow Step
Shadow Step

I hope you got some empty footage and stills of the SGC corridors and gateroom, so you can do some quick chromakeying if you ever need to fake a scene there smile


Hey Joe,

Just wanted to say thanks to Paul for his Q&A. With all the news about Stargate Universe over the last couple of days, I am getting more intrigued about the new series. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

We just got a new blu-ray player and a “pseudo” surround bar for our little family room/TV room, so can’t wait for the Atlantis episodes that are coming out in blu-ray. I’ll also have to re-watch a few episodes I already have on DVD to check out the Dolby Digital sound with our new sound system.

I’m still curious about one thing you mentioned in one of your previous blogs about Enemy at the Gate:

“It’s 60+ pages of intergalactic fun and Marty G. is looking to add to the page count by pitching out a certain scene that has divided the writers’ room. That’s Martin and Carl for, Paul and I against, and Alan firmly straddling the fence. Hey, I love the idea. I’m just not crazy about the timing. If the scene boards, we may compromise by shooting it anyway and deciding later whether or not it makes the final cut.”

Can you tell us what the controversial scene was and did it make the final cut?




Okay, I gotta say that the Cowboy Bebop link made me squeal with joy (ducks while eggs are thrown). Casting Keanu makes sense (ducks to avoid fruit, gets beaned by melon).

Spike is a laconic, lanky hipster; everything Keanu is notorious for. Keanu may be long in the tooth to be Spike since the character is late 20’s or early 30’s, but Keanu did pretty good in a little movie called The Matrix.

Wait, what am I saying, about a million things could get f’d up on this project. But that wouldn’t change how awesome CB is. Unless they make it suck like Howard the Duck or Golden Compass. Or Aeon Flux. Or Constantine, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. Hm. I can see that this is gonna make the CB community nervous, but hopefully if and when the movie comes out it could actually be cool. The key will be if Shinichiro Watanabe is involved; I can’t see them making it without him.


You make a good point, that in military SF, the military component drives the story. It’s interesting that you zero in on the tactics of war as a key element. That is certainly the case for Weber’s Honor books. If I remember the series right, though, it’s not always the case. Yet, I would describe the entire series as military SF. I do that because the books focus on characters in the military and on how their lives are affected by it and also because, their is a central role for the machinations and politics that drive the military.

I do think of Scalzi as a kind of military SF. His folks are in the military and the tale can only be told within that context. Things the characters do and say are influenced by the military situation in which they live. That’s military SF, even if the strategy isn’t central. Another example, I think of something like Sandra McDonald’s series as a less traditional military SF in that the story focuses on characters in the military, but the characters are not combatants and the focus is more on the personal lives. Perhaps that makes it more space opera, that focus on the personal lives and lack of war? Ultimately I suppose the labels aren’t important, but I know folks who avoid certain types of SF based on those very labels, so they do hold some power.

With regard to Weber’s detail? I first read “On Basilisk Station” years ago when the guy I was dating insisted that I had to read these awesome books. I confess, I was and am lukewarm on them. I like the charaters and the twists and turns are interesting, but the details did me in. Perhaps if they had been more folded into the context of the plot but they stopped the story cold for me. I found I had to skip past those sections otherwise I’d never have been able to finish the books. Heck, even the way the information is conveyed in the prologue was too much for me in “On Basilisk Station.”

It’s a personal taste thing, I guess. I lprefer the way Bujold handles complex world building and CJ Cherryh as well. They let the characters give you the information you need at the moments you need it. They don’t necessarily feel compelled to provide a history lesson.

I’ll add that the person who recommended the books stopped reading late in the Weber series because, among other things, he was increasingly bothered by the parallels between Honor and Admiral Lord Nelson.


I’m glad I’m not much of a Cowbopy Bebop fan, then. grin While I normally love Yoko Kanno, I deeply loathe the discordant sound of “bebop”, so it was hard for me to get past some of the soundtrack. But I admit that I found the final ep very compelling. (And there’s a suprisingly awesome fanvid out there put to “Smooth Criminal”.)

Lamest villain, hmmmm. You know, despite his poularity, I always found Toad to be rather lame. Of course there’s Moist, of Dr Horrible, but he’s *supposed* to be lame. Sandman was never a fave of mine, although I have to admit that the movie gave me new reason to appreciate his character. Never liked Hydro much either. The Vulture was pretty lame. Count Dooku was horribly, horribly lame (although at least he was good for giving us a chance to see Yoda kick ass); General Grievous wasn’t much better. Despite how much I love it, I must admit that most of the villains of Sailor Moon are lame (although the villains of Wedding Peach are even worse).

Would Excel count? I mean, she is technically a villain, and does a terrible job, but she’s also arguably Excel Saga’s protagonist …. Ooh, I have the urge to watch that again now, except I never did get around to buying the rest of the series myself, since a friend bought the vols after vol 2 and I watched his copies instead. And now I’m in another state. ARRRGH! *I* am lame. *headdesk*


Joe said:

Of course some would argue that it’s a two-edged sword, that these meticulous accounts can actually frustrate the reader. So, I’m curious what those of you who read On Basilisk Station think about this as it applies to the book. Too much, too little, or just right?

This is the first time I have ever read any of David Weber’s books, so I am completely new to the Honorverse and my views haven’t been influenced by how On Basilisk Station fits in with the rest. Having a rich, detailed and scientifically plausible universe makes a book much more interesting to me and as a rule I enjoy reading it. I think that David Webster did an excellent job of writing the science bits in a way that both educated and entertained, while leaving me with a lot of unanswered questions about the rest of his universe that will encourage me to pick up the next book. I think the book was a little heavy on background details, but since it is the first book in a series, I can accept it.

And my definition of Military anything (sci-fi, fantasy, mystery) is the same as yours: the military component drives the story. I’m not usually a fan of that sub-genre, but there are exceptions. I haven’t read Old Man’s War yet, but it is next on my reading list.

Joe also wrote:

To those of you unfamiliar with Cowboy Bebop, this may be of passing interest. To fans of the brilliant anime series, this news is, well, kinda depressing:

I’m a big Cowboy Bebop fan, but I’m just not sure how it will translate to live action. And I’m not sure Keanu Reeves would be my first choice for Spike, but I’ll give him a chance. I’m just hoping they use Yoko Kanno’s music and choose a story arc that includes Vicious — another of my favorite villains. Yeah, I’m a sucker for white haired baddies! Maybe they’ll pick “The Ballad of Fallen Angels” …


The background detail in Basilisk Station. Just right. I’ll admit to ending up skipping over a bit of the technical details involving Warsharski sails and impeller drives in the first reading. But I soaked up all the political/economic info, and went back to grasp the rest of the material in order to better appreciate the battle sequences. The Honorverse is so detailed that it makes one want to run out and move to Grayson, or perhaps Sphynx.
Defining military sci fi is not as easy as I thought it would be when I first read your question. My own take is that military sci fi are any works in the genre where the emphasis is on the use of military force to resolve issues. That generally involves detailing the military structures, hardware, and conditions of operation, and apply to both tactical and strategic levels of combat. I can’t say I’m totally happy with that definition, but I’ve been rattling my brain too much coughing to do better.
Glad to see Mr. Goldsmith will be finding some free time to join the blog. Thanks for providing us such an A list of guest bloggers.


I’m not much into curses.

For my cyber woes, I blame sun spots. And solar flares. Yep.

And, nothing in my drinking water. Well, iron. And maybe radon… But nothing that isn’t coming straight from 35+ feet down a limestone filtered well, Lake Superior vein. I can’t stomach city water anymore. Not since the crypto outbreak.


“Ancient Mayan curse?” Maybe you should have found a role for Daniel in the Atlantis finale, in addition to creating ones for Walter and Carter? smile

“the important thing is that I’ve produced something that I can foist upon an unassuming public.” — do you mean ‘unsuspecting’ because I think we Stargate fans ‘assume’ a lot. smile

(this is what comes of being stuck at work on Friday night when everyone else is out partying)


The news about Reeves in BeBop made my day yesterday end on a very not happy note. As far as I’m concerned, ain’t anyone around who can play Spike, and I already hate them for even trying. It will suck, even if it’s good, because like THE DEPARTED, it will never be as good as the original source material and yet if it’s good no one will care. But for those of us who know, it matters and *we* care. I think that made sense but it’s late and I’m watching Farscape reruns. I may not be very literate tonight….


Heck, I hope there is some sort of tour. I shelled out $700 (US!) for the friggin’ Creation gold pass, which promises tours, and I think I’m the only con-going fan who never saw them. As much as I’d like to see your bookshelves and the writers’ kitchen area, somehow my heart is set on an actual stage.

And does that mean the next SG-1 movie won’t take place at all in the SGC, or will they do a digital SGC, Sanctuary style?

Are we to assume from today’s entry, combined with previous hints, that it’s Martin Gero and Alan McCullough who are leaving the staff? Any insights you can share about that?

Thanks Paul for the Q&A — I loved the bit about you needed Joe because otherwise you’d dick around too much. Hilarious!


You were right, Joe, I AM depressed now, so is my cousin, ’cause we both loved Cowboy Bebop.


Your coping and pasting links in? No wonder Word press is confusing it as regular text. You have to treat links like a picture and use the insert tool then move it to the desired location.

I hate military books but David Webbers was darn right ok gave just enough detail to get my mind going.

I hate scrapple. My dad’s girlfriend makes SOS out of it and I refuse to eat it. I would eat deer nuggets before I’d eat scrapple again and I hate deer nuggets too!

For some reason you have pushed the cold air down here into the southern states. I just got off work and it was 4 degrees. Please take the cold air back as I have no heat in my truck or sleeping quarters, not to mention the spring that feeds my well has frozen solid again. I have to drive 45 minutes to take a shower. This makes me unhappy.


Spike=Joe Flanigan! I even had a sig on GW with them as one and the same LOL

He already has the hair for it and can use a gun. No; I am serious. I am not even a Sheppard fan but I can totally see Joe as Spike smile maybe he is a little old for it now (hang on how old is Reeves?) anyho Joe has the hair for it and according to some he has the acting chops too.

Reeves? Not liking this idea at all sad I must be one of the few who hated him in The Matrix… well hated The Matrix.


I miss the food entries. Even though you never seem to eat anything I can eat, I do like seeing the pics and reading the interesting take you have on each dish smile

PS I have had to change my email address (no idea if you see that) due to Tasmania’s government stopping non government employees using their email address… lol

for the love of Beckett
for the love of Beckett

Hi Joe, I’m sure someone techier than I has better advice (and maybe their own wordpress account – Relle?), when it comes to formatting, html tags, hyperlinks, etc. I can tell you what works for me when adding a comment.

First, I compose everything in a MS Word document. As the mood strikes and I think I need some bold type, I type the opening and closing html tags around the words, with no spaces. The same goes for anything in italics. Think of the html tags as water spigots. You turn then on, and then turn them off, or the sink runs over. Or the bathtub, depending on how far away from you it gets. You’ve seen lots of goobers in my posts, typos, and all kinds of silly oopsies. smile

Whenever you want to insert a link, there’s a less elegant, but more visible and reliable way to do it. While you’re still composing in the Word document, cut and paste the link after say, a paragraph break. Hit the return key twice, to make the hyperlink go “live” and an underline appear. Once the underline reveals, you can test the link then and there in the Word document. Click on it, and if it takes you where it’s supposed to, it will work when posted.

Once you’ve finished writing and proofreadinging, ask yourself, “Did I leave the water running?” After you double-check your “spigots,” or html tags, save the dear old Word document. (‘Cause stuff happens…) Then copy the whole enchilada and paste it into the necessary field in WordPress. For me, it’s the comment window. Though we don’t get to preview our remarks, you will see paragraphs telescoping together sometimes. Those at least you can fix by adding another return, so there are spaces between the ‘grafs. Sometimes other things will pop out that you want to change. Seeing it in another format helps.

Ideally when you hit “publish,” or we hit “submit,” all should go well. Or if not well, maybe at least better. Dunno if what works for commenting will help with the publishing. Will keep the ol’ fingers crossed. Thanks for hanging in there with us, day after day. I know you said you do it for the discipline, but I’m grateful you take us along for the ride. grin

As always,

~for the love of Beckett

for the love of Beckett
for the love of Beckett

Obviously, I need to do some more of my own “proofreading-ing!”