powers1

the-big-over-easy poe

I’d like to take a moment to invite fence-sitters and prospective first-timers to join our Book of the Month Club.
HOW IT WORKS: I’ll announce the upcoming titles and include a brief synopsis of each and a date for the commencement of discussions. For those interested, the pertinent information is available in the right sidebar under BOTM CLUB SELECTIONS. I’ll pick three books, usually in the fields of SF, Fantasy, and Horror. You, of course, are free to read one, two, or all three. On the Monday of the discussion week, I’ll kick things off with my review after which readers are encouraged to weigh in with their thoughts as well. Readers are also encouraged to post questions for the author who will, more often than not, be dropping by the blog to take part in a casual Q&A.

A REMINDER OF THE FEBRUARY-MARCH SELECTIONS:

Infoquake, David Louis Edelman
From the publisher: “Natch is a master of biologics, the programming of the human body. He’s clawed and scraped his way to the top of the biologics market using little more than his wits. Now his sudden notoriety has brought him to the attention of Margaret Surina, the owner of a mysterious new technology called MultiReal. Only by enlisting Natch’s devious mind can Margaret keep MultiReal out of the hands of High Executive Len Borda and his ruthless armies. To fend off the intricate net of enemies closing in around him, Natch and his apprentices must accomplish the impossible. They must understand this strange new technology, run through the product development cycle, and prepare MultiReal for release to the public – all in three days. Meanwhile, hanging over everything is the spectre of the infoquake, a lethal burst of energy that’s disrupting the biologic networks and threatening to send the world crashing back into the Dark Ages.”

Published in 2006, it was named The Top SF Novel of 2006 by Barnes & Noble Explorations and also received a nomination for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel. Infoquake was the debut novel of author David Louis Edelman, a blogger, web programmer, and John W. Campbell nominee for Best New Writer in 2007.

Discussion the week of February 23rd with author David Louis Edelman.

The Book of Joby, Mark J. Ferrari
From Booklist: “The prologue of Ferrari’s first novel sweeps us into a monumental modern-day fantasy of good versus evil when Lucifer proposes a wager that he has made many times over the millennia—the same stupid bet, according to God. If he wins this time, God will have to destroy his Creation, and they will start over with what Lucifer considers an orderly, “virtuous” universe without free will. God will name a champion, who Lucifer will try to subvert by putting him to the test in the hope that he will choose, of his own free will, to follow Lucifer. Also, the Creator must “forbid all immortal beings in His service from intervening unless directly asked to do so by the candidate.” God’s champion is unsuspecting, 9-year-old Joby, a bright, imaginative boy with a loving heart. And so, the Arthurian legend is replayed over a span of 30-plus years and through incarnations of Arthur (Joby), Guinevere, Galahad, and Modred.”

Fantasy Illustrator Mark J. Ferrari’s first novel has been described as witty, thought-provoking, audacious, and unforgettable. It’s also received several requests as a potential Book of the Month Club candidate. Who says I don’t listen to the fans?

Discussion the week of March 2nd with author Mark J. Ferrari.

Dogs, Nancy Kress
From the publisher: “The threat of terrorism and biological warfare become all too real in this riveting thriller when the danger comes from a family’s most cherished pets. Tessa Sanderson, ex-FBI agent, has moved to a sleepy Maryland town to escape her tragic past. When the town’s beloved dogs begin viciously attacking pet owners, federal CDC agents determine that the dogs are carrying a mutated flu affecting the aggression center of their brains, for which their is no known cure. Tessa offers to help round up and quarantine the dogs, even though some unconvinced locals are preparing to protect their pets by any means necessary. But she has another reason for getting involved—someone has been sending her threatening emails in Arabic claiming responsibility for the virus, and Tessa is resolved to go deep undercover to expose this deadly conspiracy. Combining hard science with thoughtful narrative, this chilling tale of science fiction explores the complex relationships between dogs and their owners.”

As a pet owner, the premise for this book really intrigues. As a science fiction fan, the fact that it’s written by multi-award winning author Nancy Kress (3 Nebulas, 2 John W. Campbells, a Hugo, and a Theodore Sturgeon) makes it an absolute must-read.

Discussion the week of March 9th with author Nancy Kress.

Now, in an effort to build on our burgeoning book club, I’ve decided to make two small changes that will hopefully make it more accessible to those considering getting involved.

First off, I’m going to start including the occasional graphic novel or trade paperback. There are a lot of intelligent, provocative, and incredibly well-written (and, yes, well-drawn) TPB’s out there and, while it would be nice to welcome comic book fans into the BOTMC fold, it would be even nicer to introduce non-comic book fans to some of the sensational work being produced in a field they may not have normally checked out.

Second, I’m going to announce upcoming titles sooner in order to give you all as much time as possible to track down and read the books. To that end, here are April’s selections:

Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Brian Michael Bendis (illustrated by Mike Avon Oeming)
From the publisher: “Heroes glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire. Flamboyant villains attempt daring daylight robberies. God-like alien creatures clash in epic battle over the nighttime sky. And on the dirty city streets below, Homicide Detective Christian Walker does his job. Walker has to investigate the shocking murder of one of the most popular super-heroes the world has ever known: Retro Girl. He is teamed up with spunky rookie Detective Deena Pilgrim, and the murder investigation takes them from the seediest underbelly a city has to offer, to the gleaming towers that are home to immortal beings. As shocking, hidden truths about Retro Girl come to light, Walker finds that to solve this crime, he might have to reveal his own dark secret.”

Five time Eisner award winner Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most successful writers working in comics today. Some of his major works include Jinx, Torso, a 55-issue run on Daredevil, and a staggering 110-issue run on Ultimate Spiderman. If you’re looking for a book with a clever story, engaging characters, and witty dialogue, then look no further than Powers which, incidentally, is in active development as a live-action series at FX (they of The Shield and Damages). And fear not, fans. He’s writing the pilot script himself.

Discussion the week of April 6th with author Brian Michael Bendis.

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime, Jasper Fforde
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, and, well, you know the rest. But was Humpty’s fall an accident, or was it murder? It’s up to giant killer Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division to get to the bottom of it. Humpty was quite a ladies’ man, but a few people thought him a bad egg. Jack has a number of suspects, a new partner to break in and gloryhound/antagonist Detective Inspector Chimes to deal with.”

Author of the hugely popular Thursday Next literary detective series, Wodehouse prize winner Jasper Fforde is often mentioned in the same breath as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams for his wildly inventive narrative. His writing has been described as “stunningly imaginative“, “utterly delightful”, and “sheer gut-busting fantasy“.

Discussion the week of April 13th with author Jasper Fforde.

Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow
From the publisher: “Compiled by multi-award winning editor, Ellen Datlow, this collection commemorates the second centenary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. It features Poe-inspired tales by some of the finest talents in the field, including Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, Suzy McKee Charnas and others. This all-star line-up has several Hugo, Edgar, Tiptree and British Fantasy Award winners.”

Over the course of her career, editor Ellen Datlow has received the Shirley Jackson Award, two Bram Stoker Awards, two Hugo Awards, three Locus Awards, and eight World Fantasy Awards. Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe is her latest anthology.

Discussion the week of April 20th with editor Ellen Datlow.

That’s it! Plan a head, pick up a book, and start reading!

Mailbag:

Mamsue9 writes: “Will you be a guest at the San Diego Comic Con? Would you consider being a guest at Shore Leave 31?”

Answer: Alas, no, I won’t be at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. And, while I appreciate the consideration, I hope to keep travel to a minimum this year so that I can stay home and spend quality time with the dogs.

Herbertsommerfeld writes: “Have you heard anything about the show Defying Gravity that is being filmed at Bridge?”

Answer: Not much. I know they’re in the FX Stage.

Blademos writes: “Hey do you think a network like ABC,NBC,CBS or even FOX would take chance on a show like SGA?”

Answer: Afraid not. As much as many of us would have loved to have seen a sixth season for the series, the reality is the show has ended and not even the most successful of petition drives will bring it back. L

Quade1 writes: “BTW did u get the motivational poster??”

Answer: Not yet. Is it the adorable “Hang in there!” kitten?

Green writes: “I didn’t get past the first bit where the device dies three times.”

Answer: Three versions of the jumper in three different timelines = three after-effects of the device overloading.

PG15 writes: “My major quibble though, is what happens with Past!SG1 and Future!SG1? The Past version just seems to disappear after they delete the Aschen from the database, and the future versions are jumping ala Scott Bakula?”

Answer: The past and future versions merge in subsequent jumps. I know, that needs to be clear.

Gollysunshine writes: “And Daniel was where for this episode? Doing what? Out having a holiday or holding up the background?”

Answer: The entire team is present throughout as evidenced by the fact that when the team first travels to the past, Dr. Lee expresses surprise at seeing Daniel who was apparently reassigned.

Jedi43 writes: “I thought Y,T & T was going to be a Atlantis episode? Why all the SGC people?”

Answer: It was originally and SG-1 story whose structure I considered using for SGA.

Tim Gaffney writes: “I forgot to include this link: http://video.westminsterkennelclub.org/player/?id=1002561

It shows the 40 something French Bulldogs that competed to be the one to compete in the Non-Sporting group.”

Answer: Thanks for the link, Tim. I forwarded it to my wife. While the pugs aren’t exactly show material, Lulu does come from a champion line.

Suziesbluefeather writes: “The only thing that I didn’t really get was the awareness. Why would the team in the present and in the future be aware of the changes?”

Answer: The conceit is that their exposure to the device has essentially placed them in the unique position of self-awareness – unlike anyone else who wasn’t in the jumper in the time.

PG15 writes: “ 1. Of the SGU scripts written so far and the notions that are “on the table” (or board), does any of them involve our people visiting alien civilizations?

2. What’s John Scalzi been up to with the show? Has he been in the writers room, spinning stories?

3. Any new permanent writers yet?

4. How many SGU scripts have titles BESIDES the ones you already revealed to us (Air 3-parter, Fire, Water, Earth)?”

Answers: 1. No comment. 2. John is/will be reading and providing notes on scripts. 3. Not yet. 4. We have 12 titles so far.

Juralas writes: “If they’re the past versions, they were the ones sent 14 months back, but now they’ve become the present versions?”

Answer: Eventually, all three versions of the team merge.

Jinx writes: “But it fades out before there is resolution….”

Answer: The attack of Byzantium Tech (thanks to the tip from the alternate timeline Mitchell) is the resolution in that it thwarts Baal’s plot to take over the planet. In the final scene, the team from the past makes their final jump – back to the present where they will merge with their alternate selves.

Michelle Lumsford writes: “And I would have driven myself bonkers trying to figure out if Vala’s taking the coin over and over was supposed to have some secret significance.”

Answer: It was meant to illustrate the cross-effects of the different timelines. Present Vala misplaced the coin long ago and we learn, from Past Vala’s filching of the coin, that she was responsible. However, the fact that her present self does find the coin at episode’s end is intended to suggest that the three timeline versions of our team have merged – birnging Vala’s long lost coin along for the ride.

JJ writes: “So SGU will start shooting in this week right?”

Answer: Nope. Next week.

Mackenzie’s Momma writes: ”Silly question(probably) do you read any other genres than the Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy?”

Answer: Sure. I’m a big fan of David Sedaris.

Planet_tv writes: “In Enemy at the Gate was Teyla’s son with her on Atlantis or in the Pegasus Galaxy with his father because I don’t thing she would up and leave her son especially with what she said at the end of The Prodigal (If the answer to this is in the movie can you say the answer will be in the movie or something like that)?”

Answer: Although we didn’t see them, Kanaan and Torren made the trip back to Earth with Teyla.

Kuonji writes: “Have you ever done a Neil Gaiman book? Or Terry Pratchett?”

Answer: I’ve read and enjoyed books by both. I think they’re terrific authors.

Meils writes: “Jo, if you like detective novels with a weird twist then investigate the death of Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III in The Big Over Easy.”

Answer: Oh, I plan to. And so will a lot of readers here.

Chevron7 writes: “I’m curious though about your Theatre Room. Is it very geeky?”

Answer: Not particularly, although the walls and ceiling are black.

Charlie’s Angel writes: “ Have you read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami?”

Answer: No, but I do have The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle sitting on my to-read pile.

DasNdanger writes: “Does Sheppard really have respect for Todd, but puts on a Wraithy personality when dealing face-to-face with him, in effect speaking to Todd in the language he understands best (as is hinted at in EatG when Todd says Sheppard knows how to talk to him), or is the hostility we see in Sheppard the way he truly feels about Todd?”

Answer: I believe that there is definitely an undercurrent of respect there (as evidenced by the end of Infection), but there is no way Sheppard will tip his hand publicly, especially to Todd himself.

 

 

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ytimynona
ytimynona

I gotta make a trip to the library SOON!!

Arthurian legend meets the book of Job? Sounds awesome!

I’m probably not going to make it through Dogs. I can read about people dying just fine (with very few exceptions), but whenever a dog dies, I break down.

Sprinkles
Sprinkles

Answer: The entire team is present throughout as evidenced by the fact that when the team first travels to the past, Dr. Lee expresses surprise at seeing Daniel who was apparently reassigned.

Ah admittedly that is a tad dissapointing even if the script never made it to air crazy huh lol

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Joe, firstly…thanks for answering my question about Todd/Sheppard – it is quite satisfying. Of course, I’m a tad confused by the “I believe”…I mean, as one of the writers/producers, aren’t you supposed to actually know these things? wink

Secondly, great news about Powers! I just called my lcs and they put a copy in my mailbox! Woo! Of course, I have to change my name for the Q&A, seeing as how I think I irritated the hell out of Bendis with my ‘give Wolverine some balls!’ campaign… razz (See, you’re not the only one I’ve picked on, but you are in good company! grin )

das

Nite
Nite

So how come filming of SGU has been pushed back another week? Any word on when we might hear about who will be playing the female characters in SGU?

Sapphtastic
Sapphtastic

Man oh man, as if I didn’t have enough to read! Thanks for feeding the addiction w/ the recommendations. They all look pretty good. I may have to participate in this book of the month club thing.

Krista’s q&a session yesterday reminded me of something I’ve wondered for a while:

Do you (or does anyone) know what the glowing Ancient designs on the steps in the gateroom in Atlantis say (if they say anything at all)? I’ve always imagined it to be something ridiculously utilitarian like, “Welcome to Atlantis, please check your weapons with security on your right and keep pets on leash at all times.”

wraithfodder
wraithfodder

Joe, have you ever eaten anything pictured at this blog – http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/ (warning, looking at pictures could clog your arteries) – and if so, which item? wink

David
David

I agree Sheppard and Todd have respect for each other neither will admit to it through.
I was just wondering if Robert Carlyle had to attend gun school, because his past job have meant he got to play with guns.

Airelle
Airelle

I am reading Infoquake as much as I can.. A pretty good read so far. Hope I am ready for the discussion. and well we will try to get to the others…thanks for the heads up on the next ones.
–I am hoping that our Austrailian neighbors are faring better today, yes they looked at me oddly when I was doing that rain dance, but I am glad its working.. We get a lot of red flag warning here in Fl, always dry, could be bad. Be safe friends!

Sparrow_hawk

Woohoo! I finished all three books for this month! I stayed up WAY too late last night finishing “The Book of Joby” — things in the story had gotten to the point where I couldn’t stop reading until everything was resolved. If you haven’t read it yet, I would definitely recommend it. I’ll be very interested to hear what others in the BotM group think of it.

I think the addition of the occasional graphic novel will be a n interesting twist to the BotM club. I usually don’t read graphic novels, however I do enjoy Japanese manga, so I’ll give “Powers” a try.

Hey, das — maybe we’ll convert you to reading non-graphic books and you and Joe will convert me to reading graphic novels!

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Thirdly…

Narelle, glad to hear you’ve had a tiny bit of relief…let’s hope more is on the way! That NASA pic is frightening, especially when you compare it to other areas in the shot. Just keep saying safe! *hugs*

das

unegawaya
unegawaya

I have to agree with ytimynona. I love dogs, and dying dogs make me sad. *sniffle*

Remember your blog of childhood misconceptions? I finally remembered one of mine! I used to hate vending machines because I thought that if I didn’t press the buttons quickly enough the machine would swallow up my dollar and demand more. It scared me. So I always had to have my fingers on the buttons before I put the dollar in, and I’d check and recheck that I was pressing the right buttons for the item I wanted. I still do this! I’m trying to break the habit, though. I managed to go a whole 5 seconds today between inserting the dollar and pressing the buttons! Yay me!

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Fourthly…Heard from Perragrin today…shoulder’s healing slower than was hoped for. I tell ya, this winter (and summer for those down under) has been hell for a lot of folks. Maybe we need a group hug for everyone… razz

das

gollysunshine
gollysunshine

Gollysunshine writes: “And Daniel was where for this episode? Doing what? Out having a holiday or holding up the background?”

Answer: The entire team is present throughout as evidenced by the fact that when the team first travels to the past, Dr. Lee expresses surprise at seeing Daniel who was apparently reassigned.

Just having him mentioned as part of the whole team guarantees only that he’ll be standing there on set in view of the camera lens, too much of which we saw in season 5. It was the lack of even a single beat with Daniel’s name in it that made me wonder if at best, Daniel was included only in the word ‘team’ and hence comprised only the background with nothing significant to do — the type of episode I had hoped we were done with years ago.

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Thanks for the early release on the next BotM club selections. I’m working through Infoquake now(work isn’t really the right word; it’s too much fun). Sorry there’s no chance to lure you to the east coast, but I suppose there is always next year. Mailbags are always appreciated, and thanks also for the clarifications on some of the elements of Past, Present, and Future. It would have been fun to have been able to read a script, to better follow the plot better.

Fathercrow

Wow how do you get so many authors to do the Q n A thing? And how are you going to get Poe to do it? Or are you just going to bring in a Raven and have Lulu translate?

maddog1995
maddog1995

Out of the thousands of books you read, do you read any mysteries or other genres? Broadly speaking, most of the books you have for the book club or mention elsewhere are science fiction or fantasy…or to put it another way, they tend to have some sort of fantasical element. I like that type of stuff too, and have enjoyed many of your suggestions, I was just wondering if you read anything that is more firmly grounded in “reality”, and if so, any thoughts as to a good read.

Ponytail
Ponytail

Joe, I am so depressed. I am a BOTM Club flunkee. I tried to read one of your books, but I have discovered that I can not read on cue. (Feb. 4 Mallozzi wrote, “PICK UP AND READ THE DAMN BOOKS!”)

The first one I picked up seemed about 10,000 pages long. I could not read and remain awake at the same time. (my fault, not the book’s) I would have never finished by the discussion deadline.

I have also realized your tastes are not my tastes. You like Horror, and I will pick up a Cookbook and read it cover to cover including every measurement, stir, bake etc, and I have a HUGE collection of cookbooks. You like Fantasy, and I love Landscaping books.

Also, I believe I like to read at certain times of the year. I love to read during the summer, either sitting outside in a comfortable chair under the shade, or in bed at night while the cool crisp air conditioner runs.

I tried and struggled. Those childhood weird dreams were coming back. The one where I am at school and walking to class. I am lost and the campus is big so it takes hours to get there. When I finally do find the class, they are taking an important final exam and I realize I have not attended class all year (and I’m lucky if I’m wearing clothes!).

Very frustrating! So I have to drop out for now. Maybe Sparrowhawk could give me some cliffnotes until summer comes. I will be reading all the book discussions and wishing I was a participant. I am so disapointed. I wanted to belong somewhere to something.

mamasue9
mamasue9

Thank you for answering my questions. Speaking of pets, how’s the pet boutique doing?

Thanks for the BOTM list. I’ll see if I can find them here.

Lisa S.

Two thumbs up on adding graphic novels to the BOTM club!

firespy
firespy

Only one more day and we head up to your town. I can’t wait to try Fuel and hope to at least drive by the studio. I did notice on your restaraunt list no German food…
I have no idea what we are going to do while we are up there but I hope you enjoy Valentines…since it is my birthday I loath that “holiday”-always get one or the other.

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

@ Ponytail – Hey, maybe give Powers a try. I have a lot of problems with books holding my attention, and that’s why I started picking up comic books, graphic novels, etc. Depending on how fast you read, you can easily read a graphic novel in a night, or two. There is this sense of accomplishment when you get done, too.

So, don’t give up just yet…there’s still time!

@ Sparrowhawk – The problem with me and real books is that it takes me FOREVER to finish one. Months, sometimes years. Really. In order for me to enjoy a book (and not fall asleep or have my mind drift all over the place), I have to make reading an ‘event’ – so, I read books when I eat out alone, or at the beach…something like that. I can’t read in my living room or the next thing I know, I’m in the kitchen doing dishes, or organizing my cabinets. razz

I’m also pretty picky. I have to like the subject in some way…and it’s hard to describe what I like…I just know it. Right now? Soul-stealing albinos seem to be working for me… wink

So, I can’t say that I will NEVER read one of Joe’s ‘real’ books, but it would have to be something really special (although, that Poe-ish book looks interesting…hmmmm…).

das

Jenny R.
Jenny R.

Okay, this may be a really naive question, but what exactly is a graphic novel? Is it comparable to comic books or is it closer to anime? Or is it an entity onto itself?

I’m just saying that I’m wary of the genre and being labled as one of ‘those people’ whose goal in life is to move to Japan. (though I’m pretty sure this is just the case with anime) Trust me, I knew a few and while they are nice, they crossed the line into unhealthy obsession.

Though I will admit that over the weekend I watched an anime movie for the first time. It was called Howl’s Moving Castle. My roommate was excited about it so we watched that and Spirited Away. I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised, but I still hold the above reservations until someone can assure me otherwise.

Ponytail
Ponytail

Das is talking to me???? Wow!! What an honor!! Cool!!

green
green

Answer: Three versions of the jumper in three different timelines = three after-effects of the device overloading.

Oh no, I GOT it, I just couldn’t move myself to read the effects of such an incident. I knew my brain would, thus, be pulled into three dimensions. And at that moment I could hardly handle my own dimension, let alone three others.

So me saying I couldn’t get past that part was saying that I was being entirely too lazy to thrust myself into the trio of worlds.

Let me over-describe everything I say from now on.

Check.

Meg
Meg

Thanks so much for posting the new books so early!! I look forward to actually being able to participate finally! Its great to have this new mission and read the books before the Q&A for once hahaha.
Cheers!!