Well, I received some good news and bad news yesterday. The good news is I get an extension on the June deadline for that short story I’m working on. The bad news is the extension may be indefinite since it appears the planned anthology may end up a victim of (cue villainous cue) “the economic downturn”. Yes, kind of a drag, but all is not lost. If I’m unable to find the story a new home, I’ll simply serialize it on this blog where it will prove far easier for you all to criticize and belittle.

Hey, to whoever asked what gun Lieutenant Scott will be using in the series, the answer is the big-ass one. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name, but it’s the one that Ben Browder was so fond of. The one with the collapsible stock. Yeah, that one.

Yesterday was a huge day on the Destiny set. While most days will average 4-5 scenes, this one focused on only one. One BIG scene involving the entire cast + plenty o’ extras. Tomorrow’s line-up, meanwhile, is looking muy angustia! Oh, and just so you all know – Director Andy Mikita is doing an amazing job. The dailies have been incredibly dynamic. Kudos also go out to Director of Photography Rohn Schmidt for achieving such a unique and impressive look for the new show.

With the first draft of my script well-received and suggestions that the rewrite shouldn’t be all that significant, my thoughts turn to the kino elements. Hmmm. If I were a fan, what would I like to see?

The Book of Joby discussion:

Candace writes: “There are plenty of other books that try to bring a King Arthur story to modern day, whether it’s the main plot of the story or not. The only other one that I believe is just as good as this one, is called The Forever King.”

Answer: I’m not familiar with The Forever King, but I agree with you about Ferrari’s success in transplanting elements of the Arthurian legend to our contemporary world. I think that the main reason it works so well is because he does a wonderful job of establishing the chivalric ideal very early on and then goes on to develop three very well-rounded characters who, unbeknownst to us, are the equivalents to Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere. To be honest, despite the Arthurian throughline, I didn’t even think about the parallels between the love triangle and friendships until the big reveal – at which point it all made perfect sense.

Candace also writes: “And this relationship between Lucifer, God, and the angels was fantastic to read. Probably the most entertaining I’ve come across.”

Answer: I too enjoyed the contemporary, more grounded spin on God, Lucifer, and the angels. I liked the fact that many of the angels were conflicted and expressed doubt, and that when it comes down to the finer points of contractual obligations, God can out-lawyer Lucifer himself.

Candace writes: “ You could say that Ferrari definitly took a chance with this novel, especially with all the craze over how people bring religion into fiction these days. It wouldn’t surprise me to one day find this on the forbidden list of the Catholic Church.”

Answer: That’s interesting. I wonder what readers with stricter religious convictions thought of the book. On the one hand, the contemporary reimagining of God, Lucifer, and the angels could be considered risky as would some of the language and situations that pepper the book; on the other, the book does present a very positive portrayal of God, the church, and the power of the goodness intrinsic in all of us.

Sunstonetal writes: “his descriptions are amazing, i especially liked the description of the Garden Coast, Joby’s first visit to Taubolt, and the final meeting at the end with the divine characters and Joby finally getting a chance to reconnect with God. it’s hard to pick out just a few.”

Answer: I agree, and I think a lot his skill in painting an engaging picture for the reader stems from his 17 years as an illustrator. That said, I’m curious if he actually has any illustrations to accompany this book.

Sorrykb writes: “Hasn’t it always been the depictions of Lucifer and demons that have been more interesting through the history of literature?”

Answer: Absolutely. Not only throughout the history of literature but film, television, and music as well – the devil and his minions have always been more interesting. This is one of those rare instances where I would say the depiction of God is even more interesting than that of this rival. His little talk with Gabe at book’s end sealed the deal for me, showing him to be not only good and honest but infinitely clever as well.

Sorrykb also writes: “I gave the book to my very Catholic parents for their birthdays at our family celebration over the weekend. I think mom will love it. Dad … well, either he’ll love it as I hope he will or (as Candace suggested in her comments) he’ll think it’s blasphemous. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.”

Answer: Would love to hear what they thought.

Herbertsommerfeld writes: “. I was worried The book of Joby was going to be either blatantly evangelical, or blatantly heretical.”

Answer: Yep, that was my worry starting the book as well. But Ferrari proved himself too skilled and subtle a writer to go the simplistic or obvious route.

Ponytail writes: “Despite all the terror and bad news, this book is full of humor.”

Answer: I’ve always been a big proponent of humor in even the darkest of materials. Those moments of levity engage the reader on a whole other level, giving the grimmer elements of the story that much more weight in contrast.

Ponytail also writes: “One disappointment is that Mr. Ferrari did not include any original illustrations in the book. I would have loved to seen some of his artwork especially made for the Book of Joby. That would have been awesome!”

Answer: I think back to a past book of the month club selection, Catherynne M. Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden, and the beautiful illustrations that accompanied each chapter, adding to the text’s fairy-tale quality.

Ponytail also writes: “I found myself wanting to do good deeds or tring to keep a positive attitude.”

Answer: Maybe we can start our own online Knights of the Round Table.

Thornyrose writes: “So one of the first things I looked for in the prologue, and later through the book, was a reason why God should bother to wager at all with his fallen creation, and what he should gain from making the wager.”

Answer: Interesting question. Someone has already suggested that since God is all-knowing, he is aware of how this wager will end and so makes the bet because he is comfortable with the end-result. But that doesn’t explain what he stands to gain. And there’s also the fact that while, at wager’s end, we can say “No harm, no foul.” in the long run – except for all of the hardships Joby has been made to suffer as a result of the bet.


Thornyrose writes: “For me the single most powerful moment of the book comes at this stage, as Joby has begun to feel once more a sense of idealism and a desire to fight for justice. He not only is working on his own redemption, but manages to help Gypsy bring about his own salvation. Then to have the whole situation come crashing down around him… this is where I actually felt tears welling up, as the characters truly became alive.”

Answer: Yes. Of all the dark moments in this book, Gypsy’s death was the one that most affected me as well.

Thornyrose also writes: “I must also admit that I found the Author legend overlay onto the story to be a distraction rather than an enhancement of the story. For me it seemed to serve as a way to introduce a machina ex deux, so to speak, in the form of Merlin.”

Answer: I thought it worked nicely early on as a source of inspiration for the young Joby, especially when he and his friends create their own version of the Knights of the Round Table. I was less enamored when elements of the legend crossed over into reality.

Dalene writes: “As a Christian who’s read the Bible’s Job, I think we’re all forgetting one thing…this isn’t so much about a “wager” between God & Lucifer over Job/Joby. As a Christian, I believe that there’s a spiritual war that goes on in every person’s life. […] So I think the story of Job/Joby is really about ALL of US & the war God is fighting for OUR souls.”

Answer: Yes, the book is a dramatic representation of the internal battle you refer to. While it’s arguable whether actual forces of good and evil are exercising a direct influence over our daily lives, this is the case in The Book of Joby. Stepping back to look at the big picture, what you say is true, but approaching the book as an isolated work of fiction begs several questions, like the one Thornyrose has posed.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “Joe, I’m not sure what you mean be “a ringer” – the fact that the angels disobeyed or about Joby’s fate?”

Answer: I meant that since God got to choose his champion, he selected an individual who, unbeknownst to Lucifer, was much more than he appeared.

Sparrow_hawk also writes: “You said you had hoped that the story would show that an ordinary person would remain true to what is good. But Joby couldn’t stay true to what is good and beat Satan on his own. Joby needed help but stubbornly refused to ask for it. I think the point is that no one can do it alone.”

Answer: Interesting. In that case, the individual is essentially flawed/doomed and, left to his own devices. But doesn’t that run contrary to your claim that “But for God, the wager was not just about Joby but about the intrinsic goodness of His Creation”? It isn’t enough to be good. One must have help as well?

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “What I found particularly interesting about the book was the author’s decision to abandon the current dogma that angels are inherently incapable of free will (citing Constatine, Supernatural, and ironically the movie Dogma). Typically the angels that violate the edict are portrayed as evil or at least jealously misguided. The deviation from this dogma was honestly the twist that really surprised me. I was expecting God to win, Joby to get the girl, and the people of Taubolt to end up relocated but safe, however I was not prepared for that. I guess it was a distinction that would only be noticed by someone to enjoys the angel mythology, but for me it was significant.”

Answer: Hmmm, that’s interesting. It’s a distinction I missed but, now that you mention it, Ferrari’s treatment of angels is significantly different from their depiction in other filmic and literary sources. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall a similar portrayal. But you’re clearly the angelic expert.

Antisocialbutterflie also writes: “I think that what thrilled and terrified me about this book was the mechanism that Lucifer employed to turn Joby. Rather than straight confrontation he used malcontent and drudgery. Joby faced down little mounting frustrations and the purposelessness that I know I feel on a daily basis. I suspect that 95% of Americans probably feel the same way.”

Answer: And I think that is a significant part of the book’s appeal as well. While readers may not exactly be able to empathize with a protagonist caught in a battle between the forces of good and evil, they can certainly connect with many of the typical and more down-to-earth hardships that Joby is forced to endure. Oh, and by the way, welcome back. I fear you’ve been living up to your screen name.

Loving the discussion. Just a reminder to those of you who’d like to post a question for the author. You have until tomorrow night!

45 thoughts on “March 3, 2009: Updates and More Book of the Month Club Discussion

  1. Sorry to hear about the potential problem with your story, but I will definitely look forward to it if it does turn out you post it here instead.

  2. Ummm, any chance The Book of Joby storyline has escaped and is haunting my life? Extract God/Lucifer and insert people who are going out of their way to make my life miserable? There are still good people out there right?

    I found myself putting my leftover lunch in the fridge and then pressing the “Lock” function on the car keys I had in my hand.

    I think they’ve broken me!

  3. PS: I do hope that the anthology gets published. It would be great to see you get recognition outside of your work on Stargate, for there are many here that you have aided in either igniting or reigniting their passion for reading.

  4. Hey Joe I just wanted to pop by and say “HI” as this week has been(and continues to be) crazy. Tomorrow is the little one’s birthday(she turns 3! gah!) and then Thursday she starts pre-school(what *am* I going to do with 4 free hours a week?)

    I’m still working on reading “The Big Over Easy” and hope to have it finished in time for next months book club!

  5. With the statement “If I were a fan, what would I like to see”. Are you asking for suggestions from us???

  6. Some great discussion going on with this book. I agree with you, Mr. M. that using the Authurian legend worked well at the very beginning, especially with Joby’s Knights of the Round Table. Had Joby’s book and its influence on him been the only aspect of the legends to come to play, I would have been happier with the overall book.
    I think someone else mentioned how Satan utilized human tools to invade Taubolt. I have to admit a particular “fondness” for Agnes Hamilton. What a perfect tool to use to pry open a piece of heaven! She was a marvelous example of how there is almost nothing more dangerous than someone acting in what they consider a rightious cause. She wreaked more damage to the town than any of Lucifer’s minion’s up to the time of the final conflict.
    Questions for Mr. Ferrari. I’ll start with the one Mr. M. has pointed out already. What do you,as the author, feel that God gained out of making this wager with Lucifer in the first place? In the biblical book of Job, the wager centers around a grown man with a longterm devotion to God, and with a well established style of life based around his faith. What factors made you choose to make Joby a child at the start of this contest? And was there any particular reason to set a 30 year period for the wager to play out? If not northern California, would you personally see as a “slice of Heaven on Earth”? In reincarnating Author, Lancelot, and Guinevere as Joby, Ben, and Laura, were you ever tempted to go another route with Ben’s character? Of the three, he seemed to me the least developed of the characters, either as Ben himself or as a reincarnated Lance. I’m just curious if his role had been fairly plotted out before you began writing, or if the story took its own twists with him. Thank you very much for taking part in Mr. Mallozzi’s BotM club.

    Ponytail: consider your idea thirded, and I love Mr. Mallozzi’s idea of a web-based version of the Round Table. We can even come up with a virtual token to use as a calling card…
    Thanks Mr. M. once more for a great discussion.

  7. Hey Joe, You mentioned Ben Brower. He has always been one of my favorite sci-fi , and “All around” actors. I know he is doing some new stuff. Any chance you could get him to do an update on his new endevors? Maybe an interview? I know many of your readers would be VERY happy if you pulled this one off! So call him up in LA and do a phone interview!! PLEASE!! It’s “Be nice to Sheryl week”, so make me HAPPY!! ,Thanks, Joe!! @ ANNE TELDY, How did the move go? Hope you are back with us! Sheryl

  8. Is the gun a G36c?

    And if you need any extras just let me know, I work nights so my entire day is available for you guys. I am good at wandering around looking busy, I do it all the time at work!

  9. I can tell you what those with religious convictions are concerned about. This is a book of fantasy. It is not the true word of God. Some who read the book will not realize it is fantasy and come to the conclusion that all God does is make bets with the devil. And you said it yourself Joe, “the contemporary reimagining of God”. It is not real, but some will believe it. A great example is the Left Behind series of books, where Jesus comes back and takes all his faithful followers back to heaven. Those left behind to face the anti-christ have numerous chances to “come to God” before they die. This series, though it was great reading, is fantasy also. But some readers don’t know that Jesus is coming back only once and you better be prepared. There will be no second chances. These books leave them to believe they will be able to earn their way into heaven later. I know the truth and can tell the difference between that and fantasy. Us religious people want God’s word to remain pure as found only in the Bible.

    Are you sorry you asked?

    I totally understand the question of why did God wager Job’s life with the devil. That is why I read the book of Job in the Bible. Even Job asked “what did I do Lord?”. I don’t think I ever got the answer. That is one of the many questions I will ask God when we meet one day.

  10. I would think that you are well known enough to self publish, and successfully market, anything you write. Why not give it a try?

  11. Joe, I just have to ask you because you have not been asked. Tell the truth. Did you (or your office) send Anne Teldy the “Major Teldy” Teddy Bear? She received it just when we were beginning to read The Book of Joby. That would have been a classic Knights of the Roundtable deed.
    Well, come to think of it, if you did, I guess you better just say “no commet”, because we aren’t suppose to tell, are we?

    Some book related questions for Mr. Ferrari:

    Why didn’t Joby’s parents come to visit him after he sent the letter telling them where he was, and that he was happy? Lucifer intercepted the letter, but told his crew to make sure it got delivered. Then nothing more was ever mentioned again. Why?

    Why did you choose to end the book with Joby driving toward his new home, Laura, and son? After 600+ pages, I still very much wanted to read about the reunion. It would have been the finishing touch for me.

    How long did it take you to write The Book of Joby?

    Thank you!

  12. Hello Mr. M

    After reading some of the discussion of The Book of Joby, I think I’ll have to go find it!

    I have a quick question: Do you know of any resturants in the Vancouver area that serve ‘deep fried chocolate bars’?

    I seem to remember you mentioning a place once, but I cannot find the reference again…

    My family tried Deep Fried Dill Pickles tonight, 3 and a 1/2 of us really liked them.

  13. I made comment about christain readers because of how Ferrari characterizes God and Lucifer. They have very human qualities in this story. Personally, I have always loved when a typically divine figure is created with human qualities. It not only shows the talents of the author, but it creates more of a spiritual impact for me. Something that alot of people in the world today can relate to who are more spiritual rather than religious.

    These are the kind of things that readers who are very devout, can’t stand. At least in my experience. On the other hand, I have met some of these people that either love Harry Potter or despise it. The same with Da Vinci Code. Though this story is far more subtle, I think if put on the larger fantasy market, maybe becomes a movie or something…it has the potential of becoming a huge religious debate.

    I also would love to see if Ferrari has any illustrations for Book of Joby. After I read it, I went on his site and saw some of his other work. He is amazing.

    I’ll have to flip through the book again to come up with some particular questions, so I’ll get back to you on that.

    I agree with you guys that Gypsy’s death was the most devestating part of the book. I’m pretty sure I cried.

  14. So, I went on a mini-hunt for the books for this month. I thought “Boy if I could just get this done in one outing, that would be fantastic!” And I knew as soon as that thought escaped that one neuron that is currently holding my brain together that I’d set the universe against me.

    I went to a huge used book store and a modest Books-a-million store. The only book I ended up finding was 19 Shorts Inspired by that Quote the Raven Guy (you can paraphrase a title, right?). But it was 15 dollars and 15 dollars is a lot of money for me at this time in my life. No manifestation intended, of course.

    I could take the obvious route and go to the library. I’m not sure how good a graphic novel section the library has, though. I suppose as Bendis’ book is due to be read by the 6th anyway, I’m good to skip that one. I found a few Fforde books at McKay (the used book, cd, dvd, tape, and lost child store), but none of them were the right one.

    Ack. The library might have to happen whether I like it or not. Darn my distance from the blasted place!

    And, ugh, so I know so many people are talking about sick animals and the like and it seems redundant to throw another one into the mix, but now that I’ve started it seems silly to stop (as I obviously feel some sort of drive to type this).

    My cat, Beauty (a terribly old tabby) has recently been sick and, apparently, has been diagnosed as being in kidney failure. My mother (whose cat it currently her only company as I’ve moved away) has paid over 300 dollars so far in antibiotics. I’ve had Beauty since I was in elementary school and have recently had to be without any feline due to my roommate’s allergies.

    It saddens me to no end to know that Beauty’s life could very well be reaching the last leg. She has literally been a constant as I grew up. My mom, too, my mom has just “lost” me and I’d hate hate hate to think of my mom losing Beauty as well.

    But as these things tend to go I fear my retired pet won’t have much longer paws to earth. So more than sending energy to my cat to get healthier and possibly not pass away I’d rather like to ask for good wishes for my mom and her financial situation. She’s a fantastic woman. I mean, you’d have to have some sort of stamina in order to have raised me.

  15. WHAT? But I am so looking forward to your short story grrrrrrrfumble stupid economic downturn of dooooooom!

  16. Dear Joe,

    Will the project twilight bring enough closure to the great show and the main storyline concerning the wraith as well as the loose ends that were not tied, in case there isn’t a second movie, God forbid?


  17. Hi Joe,

    you mentioned the photography of the new show. Is it going to be filmed with HD-Cams like Atlantis? I have to say, even though I always enjoyed Atlantis, often I really felt that some of the scene looked kind of bad. And by that I don’t mean the production values but really the actual picture. It often had that kind of B-Movie look when guns were fired or the scence played in a darker set. The later seasons of SG-1 had that problem sometimes, too. Some other shows also suffer from that. I think what all of them have in common is, that they are beeing filmed with HD-Cams and not on 32mm. The HD-Cam seems to “add” that video-look depending on what the shot is and it really takes away from the show. Of course shooting on HD is probably cheaper for you, but I still hold out some hope that Universe is going back to 32mm.
    Thanks for answering!

  18. Hi this is the first time i leave a reply 😛 So Lieutenant Scott is going to use a G36? That’s the name of the weapon Mitchell used in several episodes and that Sheppard used in Atlantis S5 E10 First Contact.

    On another note i would like to ask something… I’ve seen a couple of times a swedish flag on the arm of people on Atlantis, but what is sweden’s involvment in the stargate program? Thanks and i hope i’m not annoying you with this question.

  19. Joe, if you were a fan you wouldnt be able to go past page one. but if you were an irresponsible fan, you wouldve turned each episode into a fruit salad. which is why a star wars fan should never direct a star wars movie.

  20. The gun I believe you are talking about is the G36K that Lt Col. Cam Mitchell used a lot…this one does not have the collapsible stock, but a side folding one.

    I cannot remember any other gun used by Mitchell except the FN P90 of course.

  21. I’ll simply serialize it on this blog where it will prove far easier for you all to criticize and belittle.

    Aw, Joe! Always thinking of us!

    Green – best wishes to your ma & kitty.


  22. Joe, do you know where i can find those authentic stargate SG-1/Atlantis T-shirts? not the ones characters wear.

  23. Coucou Joseph!

    Vous allez bien? outch je n’est pas trés bien comprit le début de cette article, notament au niveau de cette mauvaise nouvelle?

    J’espére que dans sgu il y aura pleins d’extraterrestre avec une anatomy différent des humains =)

    Quand aura ton quelque photo de tournage sur votre blog?

    Bisou, a bientot.

  24. The “big gun” Ben Browder used is the H&K G36K. The K variant has a bottom rail for tactical additions. Perfect for Stargate’s love of flashlights and laser sights.

  25. kino elements? Ya know, it’s really gonna be hard to top that delicious Todd/Woolsey moment – the arm drape, the cheek caress, that o-so-sexy creeping hand – that’s your benchmark.

    Of course, as far as SGU goes, I don’t know these characters at all…I don’t know which ones will have chemistry between them, and which ones won’t. I don’t know what directions anyone is going in yet…so hard to know what sort of things I’d like to see. I enjoy elements that create sexual tension without necessarily being about – or ending in – sex. Back when Bug!Sheppard went for Teyla…well, I think that was a great moment, but only because it didn’t land the two of them in bed (as typically happens in typical shows).

    I will say this…the one thing I love to see between two characters is that moment when one must help a fallen or sick comrade. It works best between two male characters because – as a rule – men are not your typical ‘nursemaids’, so it comes across as more of a sacrifice than if it’s Florence Nightingale working her magic. The officer feeding soup to his ailing underling in sickbay, the soldier binding the wounds of his fallen commander – it allows for a close, physical moment between two characters without it being about sex, but about friendship and survival. To best describe what I mean, there’s this great moment in Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown, summed up in this picture:


    Non-sexual, and yet still very intimate. That sort of stuff works for me.


  26. I’m just jumping in here and I realise that not having read the Book of Joby I’m missing out on oh everything, but I can’t help but wonder after reading Thornyrose’s exposition regarding what it was that God got out of a wager he knew he was going to win that maybe he has to keep proving to Lucifer that he picked the wrong side as he obviously continues to not get the message.

    going back now to read the rest of the posts.had to get that down cuz I’m likely to forget by the time I’ve finished!

  27. @Green. Sending out thoughts for you and your mum. My mum recently lost her elderly cat due to failure of just about everything and it was extremely traumatic so I know something of what you will go through.

  28. Any chance of Claudia Black, Ben Browder, Joe Flanigan or Michael Shanks doing a Q&A??? Has RDA done on yet???

  29. I’m both happy and sad at your news, Joe. I hope the anthology is eventually published. Wait, did you say that we would criticize and belittle your story? Never! We might criticize it, but in a good and constructive, not belittling way.
    Hmmm. Fragmented thoughts and inconsistencies. That’s what I get for reading the book 3 weeks ahead of time and then writing this review in fits and starts at work. The discussion on this book has been very interesting! I wish I could reply to everyone, but then I would never get to work!

    Joe said:

    Interesting. In that case, the individual is essentially flawed/doomed and, left to his own devices. But doesn’t that run contrary to your claim that “But for God, the wager was not just about Joby but about the intrinsic goodness of His Creation”? It isn’t enough to be good. One must have help as well?

    Flawed, yes; doomed, no. Let me explain: I think part of the goodness of “His Creation” is the way things (and people) interact. Unless you are a hermit, you interact with people every day. I suppose that you can “be good” by following the rules and minding your own business.

    But isn’t part of “being good” helping others? Whether it is something as small as a kind word to someone who is going through a bad time or a major monetary donation on a Bill Gatesian scale to solve the problem of world hunger, we all can deal with one another in a way that makes the world a better place and makes us better people . And that is exactly what Joby and the Knights did. In my mind, that is more the essence of being good than just following the “thou shalt not”s laid out in the Bible. If you start a Knights of the Round Table, let me know. I think it’s a great idea!

    But I think the next step is also important. I believe that asking for and accepting help is just as important. Everyone has times when they need help. And many of us are too proud to ask for it. But then we only make is harder on ourselves and deny others the chance to do good by helping us. I guess that’s why humility is considered a virtue and pride is a fault. Pride was one of Lucifer’s major flaws. Someone asked what God had to gain by the wager. I think there were a couple of things. He proved the intrinsic goodness of his creation, but he also gave Lucifer another chance to return to heaven.

  30. I am sorry your story may be indefinitely postponed. But it could be worse, it could be your main job. I had this experience just now; a docu soap I was supposed to be working on this year was cancelled due to “the economic downturn”, too – in short, the producer went broke.

    I will keep my fingers crossed for you to find a publisher, but to be honest – I would not mind to read the story online on your blog. 😉

  31. Looking forward to your story and whether serialized here or in the anthology as it should be – we would be priviledged to provide comment and critique in a constructive manner…but NEVER criticize or belittle. That is just not civilized or polite.

    Getting more excited about SGU as you share information that you are able to.

    Sorry, did not get the Book of Joby, not my cup of tea or can of Diet Coke. But will be ready for the Big Over Easy! Well, real life permitting, that is. At least I got a running start on it!

  32. Green – Here’s hoping your Mum is ok. When animals get that old, you can’t really wish them a longer life if there’s no quality, so it becomes about those they are leaving behind.

    My Gran’s dog lives with my Mum. I thought he was 14 but Mum informed me last night he’s 18. Since Gran died Scruffy has been the last real connection to my Gran. Gran loved her dog so he gets suitably spoiled by my Mum. We know that when he goes it’s not just going to be about losing Scruff, but the loss of that connection to her Mum.

    I did become an Aunty of the furry kind last night. And no I’m not a furry Aunty through any mis-medication and resulting unexpected hair growth. My Brother adopted a 3 year old Kelpie. My 6 year old Kelpie is besotted with her.

    It’s like a menagerie at my parents place. When we go and visit it brings the dog total to 4, they have wild Kookaburra’s that come and visit every night (and anyone that’s been close to Kookaburra’s know they’re not the quietest of birds), 8 Magpies, 4 Cockies and a creature showed up in the dark the other night that was of no species we’ve seen before so it’s been nicknamed “Mutant Creature” until we can determine what it is. They live on a nature reserve, odd things come out of there sometimes.

  33. das – Alfred the spider made it inside the other night. His leg span was so wide it wouldn’t fit within the boundary of a glass tumbler. Put him outside while giving him a lecture on how stupid it was to come in here because if Hubby had have found him the outcome would have been rather icky.

    My Husband has an instinctive reflex when he sees a spider that sees him removing his foot attire faster than that of an Iraqi shoe thrower when in the vicinity of a particular former American President.

  34. Haven’t read the book but sounds interesting.
    Well unfortunately, i am going to be very persistant in the area of having this question answered. so i am going to post it everyday at the bottom of my comment until it is answered. Not meaning to be annoying, hope you don’t take it wrong. So here it is

    I was wondering could you make the primary weapon for Young and Scott a G36? I think they would look very cool with that weapon.

    Thanks, and have a good day
    Major D. Davis

  35. Please continue writing your book, and we will gladly read it! Looking forward to it. Sorry I don’t know any publishers. Hello to LuLu and the babies. 🙂

  36. @Green: I’ll keep a good thought for you, your mom and Beauty.

    @das: I hope you’re on the mend at last (or again). I agree with you about the sexual tension in shows. I love a Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn sort of feel to a relationship!

    @Narelle: Congratulations on your Auntihood! And I have great admiration for you and your handling of Arthur the spider. I remember the picture you posted and I doubt that I could have remained as level headed.

    Back to The Book of Joby and the subject of Gypsy’s death: I cried, too. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by that scene.

    I can’t comment on how a strictly religious person would view the book. I am a lapsed Catholic who was raised during the Second Vatican Council which let “fresh air” into the Church, turned around the altars and turned off a lot of older, more traditional Catholics. Then I went to a Jesuit University (Loyola of Chicago), and became and even more liberal thinker. But I plan to loan the book to a couple of dear friends of mine, one of whom is devoutly Catholic friend and her sister who is Unitarian. I’ll see how they like it, but it may be a while before I can report back.

  37. Sorry about your book, Joe. Have you ever published for free at Publishamerica.com? I promise to buy a copy or two!!

  38. Sorry to hear that things might be looking a bit shaky with the anthology though I’m sure if worse comes to worse it will be able to be rehomed – getting paid in comments isn’t half as nice as being paid in cold hard cash. That way you can pay for comments AND get a second car.

  39. Joe said Oh, and by the way, welcome back. I fear you’ve been living up to your screen name.

    Alas it has not been a conscious act of anti-socialism that keeps me from your fair blog, but rather an inundation of work. I don’t have time to post before I leave for the lab and usually get home too late to contribute to the discussion.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, Obama’s stimulus bill has already had massive impact on those of us in the science community as the NIH is handing out grants like candy. While this secures my salary for the next couple of years, it also means a massive increase in my workload, which means less time to bask in the glow of your awesomeness. However you needn’t fear for your hit count, I am always reading.

    Joe also said Ferrari’s treatment of angels is significantly different from their depiction in other filmic and literary sources. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall a similar portrayal.

    The most relied upon plot device with angels is that those angels working on earth eventually become jealous, both of God’s favoritism of humans and/or their free will. Once this step is made, the character falls directly into the antagonist category. Personally I am a sucker for the incorporation of nephilim (children of fallen angels and human women) who are usually inherently innocent and struggle against irrational prejudice from both sides. I’ll even pick up a bad romance novel if it has this story base. This is my equivalent of Das and her Wraith.

    Joe also said While readers may not exactly be able to empathize with a protagonist caught in a battle between the forces of good and evil, they can certainly connect with many of the typical and more down-to-earth hardships that Joby is forced to endure.

    While you guys up at Stargate tend to write in that grey area, a significant portion of classic-style fantasy relies on that “good v. evil,” black versus white storyline. I think there is definitely a place for it, but in my mind it is more of a form of escapism. The clear boundaries are refreshing in this fuzzy lifestyle we live. I don’t think these characters are less approachable or relatable, they just fill a different niche of my psyche. Perhaps I am just being antagonistic.

    @ Thronyrose Agnes Hamilton was also my favorite dupe of the devil. Of all of the destructive characters she seems the most believable and also the one I most wanted to strangle. That first confrontation between Joby and Agnes in the restaurant particularly hit home because she was so self-involved that she couldn’t see that someone was making fun of her. I was kind of hoping that at some point she would realize that Joby was the rabble rouser from Berkley.

    Have a great evening Joe.

  40. Cap’n Joe wrote:
    “I wonder what readers with stricter religious convictions thought of the book.”

    I guess that would be me. 😀 While I wasn’t raised Catholic, I might as well have been, from diapers on up. There are just as many “rules” as in the Catholic church, they are all from the Bible, and given in love for protection, growth, and a close personal relationship with God through His only son, Jesus. And like the laid-back, West coast hippie version of God in The Book of Joby, God really does have a snappy sense of humor and a sharp wit. (In the Bible, God asks someone where their foreign idol/god is: “Is he busy on the toilet?” What a stitch.) God rocks! And He rocks my world, too. He is First Dude in my life.

    You know what’s really wild? We *just finished* studying Job on Sundays, right before it was time to read The Book of Joby.

    I love that author Mark Ferrari built in a couple savior figures in Arthur/Joby to mirror Christ’s role in the Bible. Just as Joby was hippie God’s ringer to thwart Lucifer/”Lu-u–cy!”, Jesus was God’s ringer to hoodwink Satan. Who else but God could play along, stand aside, and let the Evil One kill His Son, knowing that while Hell was partying over their overthrow of Heaven, they had in fact done the very thing God planned for them to do all along: force the sacrifice that bought our freedom f.o.r.e.v.e.r., should we choose to accept it. SWEET! In the novel, hippie God let Lucifer kill Joby in a fight against evil.

    In “the same stupid bet” in the Bible, Satan challenges God, wanting him to prove God’s own worthiness of being loved and feared (respected). He charges that God is just a sugar daddy/Santa Claus. Satan’s indictment sounds a LOT like Taubolt: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herd are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11) Sound familiar? 🙂

    Bible Job loses his herds of animals (wealth, in those days), his kids, and is covered in painful sores when Satan can’t get a rise out of him any other way. Finally, Job demands that God tell him why he is being persecuted unjustly. God replies by asking Job who controls the awesome storms, the stars in the sky, and the fiercesome gigantic animals on earth and in the sea. Can Job explain the beauty and mystery of the earth? Alas, no. He cannot explain all those things that are so much bigger than he. He repents, and God pays him back double what he lost, for the trouble he went through.

    What God gains from this bet? Proof to Satan that God is worthy of love and praise, whether He gives good things or because of His unknown (unexplained) plans he must momentarily stand aside. Job gains another kind of wealth beyond the payback: He learns what he might never have known otherwise: 1) God knows WAY more than we do,; 2) God has a plan and He is working it; and 3) God is BIGGER and more beautiful than whatever trial, ugliness, OR EVIL we face.

    Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Joby comes to the same conclusion.

    The Arthur he loved, worshipped, and swore allegiance to as a 9-year-old, was really, he discovered, God Himself. A God who did allow him to be persecuted for 30 years, and ultimately slain when he faced Lucifer. “Would it be all right if I just call You Lord?” Joby asks. And Joby sat and talked with the Lord he loved, in what was the Garden Coast/the Garden of Eden, just as they had done when he was the youngest of boys. His relationship survived the nightmares of life, and was just as real in adulthood.

    What did hippie God gain from this bet? He proved that the core of His creation was not inherently corrupt. “My Creation was so soundly imbued with the laws of love and faith, compassion and real justice, that even if I, Myself, should command it to ignore those laws, it would still not do so.” (p. 621)

    In the Paradise of Taubolt, where Joby had been surrounded by good things, he was still desperately unhappy. The lyrics of U2’s “Still haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” sound SO much like Joby’s angst: “I have climbed the highest mountains, run through fields, only to be with you… I have spoke with the tongue of angels, I have held the hand of a devil… I believe in the Kingdom Come, When all the colors will bleed into one, Well, yes I’m still running… But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

    That crucible of pain became his education. Joby learned, through the drip-drip of daily burdens, and outright attacks on himself, his loved ones, and his own sanity, that he could not save himself – or anyone else. Rage = Destruction; Love – and allowing others to act on your behalf in love = Redemption. Even Taubolt was subject to destruction. Joby went looking for Arthur and instead found someone better; he found God, and he found the wrong things made right – in Heaven. He finally found what he was looking for. He was finally satisfied – and one day we will be, too.

    And in the meantime, Joby jumped in the car and pursued Laura, the love of his life, and Hawk, his only son, with some Heavenly help. Everything was bound to turn out, not perfect, but all right, knowing God. 😉

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    (Found a cool book this weekend, coincidentally. Right from Vancouver’s own Regent College, J.I. Packer wrote a plain spoken, no-nonsense book about a relationship with God like Joby had. It’s called Knowing God.)



  41. Yikes! Sorry about the length on that one…

    Cap’n Joe, so sorry to hear about the short story. Ever thought about querying some SciFi mags that publish short stories? You deserve to be published… and PAID. 🙂

  42. @ytimynona : YAY NEW FRIENDS (“followers” just seems so cult-ish, no?)

    @PBMom : Grew up in Coram, near Smithtown.

    @Perragrin : I KNEW it! That explains why he always have to leave the room so quickly.

    @drldeboer : Well researched. Yes, I was up for the role of Leonard. But I must say, Johnny is quite good and I’m glad his show is doing incredibly well. This sounds like B.S., but everyone I know LOVES the show. Somehow it’s one of the ones I’ve never found the time to watch regularly. And if SG-TPTB have anything to do about it, might not for the next few years or so. 🙂

    @dasndanger : Can’t wait to see what you think of Logan!

    @Dalene : I’m no Rodney. Nor do I claim to be a David Hewlett. Loved watching him. I do, however, make a damned fine Eli if I do say so myself. Let’s hope you agree, eh? What do YOU think Joe? Heehee…


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