Talk about a quick turnaround.  I sent author Nancy Kress your questions late last night.  Fast forward seven hours to this morning when I woke up to discover an email from Nancy in my inbox.  She was done!  Well, a big thank you to Nancy for squeezing us into her busy schedule.  Last year, she published two books, Dogs and Nano Comes to Clifford, and she’s already kicked off 2009 with the February release of her latest, Steal Across the Sky.

From MacMillan: “The aliens appeared one day, built a base on the moon, and put an ad on the internet:

“We are an alien race you may call the Atoners. Ten thousand years ago we wronged humanity profoundly.  We cannot undo what has been done, but we wish humanity to understand it.  Therefore we request twenty-one volunteers to visit seven planets to Witness for us.  We will convey each volunteer there and back in complete safety.  Volunteers must speak English. Send requests for electronic applications to”

At first, everyone thought it was a joke.  But it wasn’t.

This is the story of three of those volunteers, and what they found on Kular A and Kular B.”

Intriguing, no?  For the latest updates on her upcoming releases and some insight into the author herself, check out Nancy’s blog at:

Before turning things over to Nancy, I just want to remind blog readers to get their questions in for actor Martin Christopher (aka Stargate’s Major Marks).  You have until this weekend.

Oh, and today’s entry is dedicated to fsmn36.  Congratulations, new grad student.  Now, get to work!

And over to Nancy…

Sparrow_hawk writes: “Questions for the author: Dog bites (and people bites) don’t seem to be a really effective way to spread a plague, even though the havoc wrought by trying to control such a disease and the psychological fall-out of dogs turning on their masters was pretty significant. What gave you the idea of using dogs as a medium for bioterrorism?”

NK: You have it exactly right: It’s an effective way to spread havoc and terror. If the plague had spread to dogs outside of Tyler, MD, it would have resulted in overwhelming the medical facilities, disrupting the economy, restricting such basic actions as sending kids to school or going to the grocery store for bread – just as it did in Tyler. In addition, there is a psychological horror in having family pets unpredictably turn on the owners who have loved and cared for them. I originally got the idea from my own dog, a toy poodle who is the model for Minette in the book. Mine is named Cosette.

SpeedReader writes: “This book was a big departure from Nancy Kress’s other published work but I found it a nice diversion. As someone already said, not as heavy as her science fiction novels but a very quick and enjoyable read. BTW – That crazy terrier running with the killer dog pack reminds me of a dog in our neighborhood..

Some questions for the author:

1. What led you to step away from more familiar ground to write a thriller?”

NK: I don’t really know why I write any particular book at any particular time. However, I have written two previous thrillers, OATHS AND MIRACLES and STINGER (both Tor/Forge). Both, like DOGS, deal with bio-terrorism. This is not only a subject that intensely interests me, but is also very timely. It can happen here, and I think that eventually, in one form or another, it will. I also wanted to write a thriller with a female protagonist, and one that took advantage of my interest in the Arab world. I lived in an Arab country for a year when I was young, and the culture fascinates me.


“2. How did you enjoy the experience both while writing it and with regard to the general reaction?”

NK: I enjoyed writing the book, but not the experience of publishing it. Three publishers turned it down for the same reason: “The content will offend dog lovers too much.” Apparently you can kill off any number of people – sometimes gruesomely — in novels, but not pets! My son suggested, “Mom, maybe it would be easier to sell if you made the plague carried by gerbils,” but somehow that didn’t fit J

“3. What has been the general reaction? Have many of your fans been able to step away from their sci fi comfort zone?”

NK: The reviews have been generally positive. I’m not sure about fan reactions – I tend to get email mostly from people who liked the book rather than hated it.

“4. Do you have plans to write more books along the same line?”

NK: Again, I never really know what I’ll write next. Some writers have many ideas in their mental pantry, ready to be made into books. I, alas, do not. I never know what I’ll write next until I start something and see if I like it well enough to continue. However, certainly genetic engineering and bioterrorism are enduring subjects for me.

Airelle writes: “Is this a stand alone book or open to a sequel?”

NK: It’s a stand-alone book – at least for now.

Fsmn36 writes: “Questions for Ms. Kress:

1. You’re a hard sci-fi author, yet this book felt all thriller and not really science fiction-y (as in, I would believe it could happen now rather than 20 years down the road). Not having read your other works (yet), is this a step out for you? If so, what was the inspiration?”

NK: I answered this question above, but let me add that I agree with you that this could happen now. Ken Alibek, the former head of the Soviet Union’s bio-terrorism program, defected to the United States and wrote a book, BIOHAZARD, that is the scariest thing I have ever read. There are bioterrorism programs all over the globe. Probably not involving infected dogs – but if they do, we may not know it until the plague begins.

“2. While I think I get Richard’s characterization, can you give us some further insight into it? Did he just envy Salah, or was it far more than that? What was your own motivation for him?”

NK: Richard is the sort of weak, envious person who believes the world done him wrong. These people brood for years about what they perceive as the injustices the world has inflicted on them. Most such people merely snipe verbally at the successful, or try to sabotage them in small ways at work or in social situations (or on the Internet). However, the most virulent among them end up shooting up a college campus or putting poison in random bottles of Tylenol. That’s Richard. He just happened, because of the illness he contracted in Africa, to have at his power a disease with which to cause havoc. And for him, Salah was the symbol of everything that Richard thought he should have but never got. Don’t you know milder versions of such people? I do.

“3. Just a comment, but I thought it was a great topic. Viruses are scary enough in themselves because we can’t see/control them, but to spread it via man’s best friend…I will admit I don’t like too many dogs (it takes me awhile to get used to any friend’s dog and actually pet it) and this was kind of a nightmare come true. At the same time, I really enjoyed the way you crafted the act of terrorism along with the government response. Thanks for a page-turner!”

NK: And thank you for the praise!

Thornyrose writes: “Questions for Ms. Kress. The very idea behind “Dogs” seems to have creeped out quite a few people. What inspired you to develop the idea? What genres would you like to write in that you’ve not already attempted? In “Dogs”, did the characters come out of the needs of the plot, or did the characters help direct the direction of the story? Thank you for your time and participaton in Mr. Mallozzi’s blog.”

NK: For me, the characters always come first – although they usually come attached to a situation that then generates the plot. In DOGS, I knew I wanted to write a book about a plague spread by dogs, and that I wanted a female law-enforcement character. As I thought about Tessa, deciding that she was the widow of an Arab and how that had interfered with her promotion at the FBI, I saw why she would be in Tyler, MD and how the plot might begin.

As for new genres – I’m currently attempting a YA fantasy, something new for me. We’ll see how that goes.

JamieGreen writes: “As a female writer who has enjoyed great success in the largely male-dominated field of science fiction, what kind of advice would you give novice authors looking to break into the field? Over the 25 or so years since you’ve been published, what changes or developments in the field of science fiction literature have most delighted you? Most disappointed you? Finally, when you’re not working on your own books, what kind of novels do you enjoy?”

NK: The best advice for anyone wanting to be a writer is simple: Write. Write a lot. Rewrite. Write some more. It’s like turning pro in any other field – concert pianist, basketball player, graphic artist – you have to practice. And not only when you feel “inspired.” Try telling your basketball coach that you don’t feel inspired to show up at practice today.

The development in SF that most delighted me is that, compared to the SF I read at 15, the field has grown up. It can now create complex characters (especially female characters) in morally difficult situations. There are other choices besides the bad-guys/good-guys in space scenario. What has disappoints me is that these adult, thoughtful, complex novels seldom attain the sales of the simpler kind of SF or fantasy.

I read a lot out of genre, both mainstream novels and non-fiction (often about science). Within SF, I actually prefer short stories to novels. I also prefer to write short. My favorite form is the novella, which is long enough to create an alternate future or society, but short enough to need only one plotline. If I could, I would write only novellas and short stories. But you can’t make a living that way!



JJ writes: “And if SGA movie will be filming in this fall, which mean both SG1 and SGA movie will release in 2010, right?”

Answer: A 2010 release was always the most likely scenario.

Anne-Marie Sloan writes: “Hey Joe. Were you talking about Paul Davis. Last time I checked he is and always has been a Major.”

Answer: Holy smokes! He DOES need a promotion!

Neko writes: “I dont know if this question is annoying (sorry if it is) or you just missed it lol but have you been to the Montreal comedy festival?”

Answer: Never been.

Sessy writes: “Joe you often talk about asian food and asian places, canada etc. What about Europe? Is there any particular place you like here? What about food?”

Answer: I’d love to visit Western Europe, but haven’t found the time. As for European food – yep, I’m a fan.

Stargatelvr writes: “If you were to comment on any episode of Atlantis with a few Squirrels (Not actual furry animal squirrels, but David Hewlett fan squirrels) which one would it be? “

Answer: I don’t even know what that means.

Vv0472 writes: “How are you liking the second season of Flight of the Conchords? Do you prefer season 1 or 2 better?”

Answer: I was actually worried because I’d heard that they’d used all their songs in the show’s first season. That said, I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised by season 2 which, in my opinion, has been even stronger, the musical numbers just as memorable.

Bill writes: “What’s the writing process on the SG series? How much control does one individual writer have over his/her script?”

Answer: How it works – A writer comes up with an idea and pitches out to the room. The other writers take the idea and run with it, tossing out notions, making suggestions, reshaping the original kernel of idea into a story. The writer goes off to think about the story and, days, later the writing staff gathers in the writers’ room to break the story. The writer starts off by writing TEASE up on the white board and we all discuss what the tease should be. What happens? Who’s there? How many scenes. That done, we move on to ACT I, breaking down every scene in detail. Then on to ACT II, III, IV, and V. The scripts are NOT written in a vacuum and one person is not solely responsible for the end product. EVERYONE on staff participates in beating out a story. With the beats in place, the writer goes off and puts these beats down on paper, fleshing them out in the form of an outline. The outline goes out to the writing department and, again, the individual writers weigh in with suggestions and critiques. Depending on the required changes, the writer will either revise the outline or go straight to draft. Once the writer has finished a first draft, it goes out to the writing department. More notes ranging from general cover notes to specific page notes. The writer heads off to incorporate the requested changes. Now, at this point, depending on what shape is in, the script either becomes an official Writer’s Draft OR one of the senior producers takes over and does their own pass on the script, sometimes a mere polish, other times a significant overhaul. Regardless of which, the original writer’s name remains on the finished script. Brad, Rob, and Paul have done massive unaccredited rewrites in the past, fixing problem scripts – only to have certain fans online laud the credited writer while, simultaneously, wondering why Brad, Rob, or Paul can’t write in a similar vein. In reality, they have – more than anyone will ever know. Anyway, once the rewrite is done, the script becomes an official Writer’s Draft and goes out to the various departments, studio, network, and actors. More notes. More revisions. And, finally, you have a shooting script. A true team effort – even though most don’t realize it.

52 thoughts on “March 12, 2009: Author Nancy Kress Answers Your Questions + The Mailbag!

  1. WOW, a lot work goes into writing and putting together an episode, a lot of team work too, I wish I could find an environment that fosters such an attribute, cool.

    I feel like I missed a lot, just got a lot going on, emotionally and just stuff, but I knew I could come here to your blog Joe for, well for a lack of better words, an escape. It’s my happy place.

    I had a dream last night, it may very well have been the migraine and the medication – but I was dreaming I was drinking hot chocolate, which I’m not suppose to have because of migraines, and as I kept drinking it, it never emptied, the mug was always full. The it started to turn green and and this dark green gel-like egg formed inside this light green liquid. I had stopped drinking it at this point. And then this thing started to emerge, so I tossed the contents out and when the green gel-like egg broke this creature came out, it was like a symbiote and one of those, bearded dragons?? ( I don’t know what they are called). It was very vivid in my dream; green and gold and purple, fangs, wings snake like, no legs, flailing. I remember saying to myself in the dream” I gotta stop watching so much sci fi.” Then I woke up. My headache was gone by then, the meds worked.

    Well hope my dreams are little more pleasant and no headache tomorrow, I don’t have time for the pain.

  2. Joe, besides you and Jason breaking down ‘Broken Ties’, (my favorite episode of seaon 5), are any of the other actors helping out with commentary on the season 5 DVD set?

  3. Hi Joe, maybe you hve answered this question before, and if so, my humblest of most humble apologies, but why does the network need to see a copy of the script before filming starts??

  4. Wow, A lot of writing and teamwork! You must be very good at communicating what you want with each other, otherwise nothing would ever get done.

    So you all come up with the scenarios for each episode. Are some teases easier to come up with than others? And, how do you remember all the links in the plots? Like, who has died, this happened in this episode, that guys been promoted,etc. Do you rewatch episodes or rely on each other to remember, reread scripts and notes….?

    Hoping you and your dogs are doing well!

  5. In general, and considering both printed work and the screen, do you think that the story that’s produced is better when it’s by mainly one person (like with a novel), or by a group of people working together (like with TV)?

  6. Very impressed at Ms. Kress’s rapid response. I’m adding her latest book on my to-get list, based on that tantalizing blurb. Thanks to her for participating, and to you for the breakdown on the creative process used in making a Stargate episode.

  7. Atlantisjoefan writes: “Any news or thoughts about when it’ll be filming?”

    joe/Answer: “There was initial talk of a summer shoot but, given the tight scheduling, fall looks more likely”

    given that amanda’s ‘sanctuary’ series will be shooting march 23rd – september 30th ’09, i’m not minding the movie filming delay ’till the fall. the more sam/amanda, the more YAY for me! 😀

  8. Joe,

    Regarding your answer about the writing process, did that refer to SG Universe or to all Stargate series? If it’s the latter, did Brad Wright and Mr. Cooper have that level of input during each of Atlantis’ five seasons?



  9. okay i posted this in the wrong place so im re-posting it here:

    Joe, did you see watchmen yet? what did you think of it? and can we expect stargate universe to have similar ‘pathetic’ characters?

    and im adding this:

    will there be alien enemies who pretend to be Gods in stargate universe? i know only SG-1 had this but its such a good idea.

  10. Hey Joe,

    Is Lulu any better or is it too soon to tell?

    The doggy fun we had today: Ziggy ate his collar. 😯 The one he was wearing. Thankfully he left the dog license for us to find. We’re just trying to figure out how he was able to eat something that was around his neck. 🙄 I guess I get to go collar shopping tomorrow. Good times!

    @stargatelvr: Ha! Told you he would avoid the question! *gloats*

    @Anne Teldy: You’re welcome for donating. 🙂 I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well. My next donation date will be next to impossible to forget. It’s not only Cinco de Mayo, it’s Allie’s birthday. And, to make it all the more interesting… she will be old enough to get her learner’s permit!

    Driver’s of the world be warned! You have LESS than 2 months to prepare for another teen driver on the road! 😯 😯 😯


  11. hey Joe,

    I just wanted to thank you for answering my question. I’m looking forward to more news on both movies 🙂

  12. Hey Joe,

    Do you know if that outtake with Connor Trinneer knocking off Sheppard’s/Joe F’s stunt person in “The Prodigal” and he says “I win” will be shown on the DVD? I would literally pay money to see that.



  13. Cap’n Joe, thanks for filling us in the birth of a script. It’s an arduous process. It was interesting to read, and reassuring in a couple of ways. You guys really sweat over the characters we get attached to, their development, and exciting plots that reveal backstory and story arc. We don’t need to worry about decisions being made callously. I bet you guys sweat over them.

    Also, the script process shows us that most writing needs lots of crit (critique), and the more eyes the better, whether it’s a paper for school, or something more creative. Maybe having our trusted friends and mentors send us back to the laboratory with our brainchild is not such a bad thing. Reading the BOTM selections and the blog comments shows us that some stories would have been better (in our collective opinions) if there weren’t an interruption in the climactic action sequence, or if the story had been streamlined, with the excess backstory saved for the sequel. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? Thinking about this makes me want to read your short story sooner. Will you show it to Paul when you’ve finished the rough draft?

    Ponytail wrote:
    Joe, besides you and Jason breaking down ‘Broken Ties’, (my favorite episode of seaon 5), are any of the other actors helping out with commentary on the season 5 DVD set?

    Good question! If you don’t mind me asking again, will Paul McGillion be doing any commentary for “Outsiders”? Will he do any other material for the Season 5 DVD?

    Sending a howdy to Anne Teldy, Narelle, Das, and anyone else who is under the weather. Jelly and Lulu, too… Hope you are feeling better tomorrow (today)! Pain/discomfort can plain wear a person out.

  14. Thanks Ms Kress.
    Joe, Fondy and pup dogs, have a great weekend.
    Chev – No worries. Glad to help.
    Major Teldy, glad to see you back up online and the mystery solved. Those that give and seek no recognition are rare, so thank you, whoever you are.

  15. Thank you very much for the restaurant suggestion 🙂 I think it will be the one we go to.

    Have a great Friday and great weekend!

  16. Many thanks to Nancy Kress for her candid and interesting responses.

    Based on the snippette provided, I will be looking for her latest book.

  17. Answer: How it works – A writer comes up with an idea and pitches out to the room. The other…

    I don’t know if I can do all that…Can I do all that? I mean, socialize to a point of working with people so in depth…
    Then again, I don’t know if I can do anything at the moment.
    Guh, I hate this part!

    What if I can’t do what I actually want to do? I mean, what if I’m no good at it? What then? After that?

    This is a common problem right? This whole self-doubting thing? We can put a bandaid over this can’t we?

    I’m just incredibly frustrated with self-sabotage. It goes right up there with masochism.

    Which brings me to why I read your blog! 🙂


  18. Heya, Joe. Thank you for going over the writing process of the Stargate team, you’ve just hit on exactly why so many avid fans of various TV series get so frustrated with the shows they love and the teams of writers who write for them. I understand that having a TV series plotted out with full back story by one or two people is by far the exception rather than the rule, but writing by committee makes for inconsistent characterization and lack of continuity on too many occasions. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop watching my shows (in first run, on DVD and/or in syndication) that are committee written, it just means that I’ll grimace and gripe about the above mentioned issues to the cat and, occasionally, online. Don’t worry, the cat gives me the same look you’re probably giving this post right now. I’m just glad that you don’t walk over and swat me like he does.

  19. …Brad, Rob, and Paul have done massive unaccredited rewrites in the past, fixing problem scripts…
    Have you done this as well, Joe, or is that more Paul’s department?

    Thanks for the breakdown of the Stargate writing department… now that’s what I’d call a truly collaborative effort!!!

    Also, Nancy Kress had some solid advice to aspiring writers! And I loved her basketball analogy. Writing when the muse abandons me is always tough, but now I’m just gonna think of what my coach would say if I didn’t show up for practice!

    Also, to whomever asked about how Martin Gero is doing in NYC: follow him on Twitter (@martingero)!
    You don’t even need to sign up for an account to read his updates, just go to

  20. First off, thanks for giving my sis a birthday dedication!

    Second, I have a question. I’m pretty sure it has already been addressed, but I couldn’t find it with the search feature (perhaps I’m just bad at that!). Anyway, it’s concerning timeline stuff from Stargate: Continuum. It made total sense to me that (just like in Moebius) that an alternate SG-1 in a timeline practically identical to ours went back in time, which delivered them to ANOTHER alternate timeline in which Earth never found the stargates, and then Mitchell went back again, which delivered him to ANOTHER alternate timeline, which just happened to be OUR regular Stargate timeline.

    However, I keep reading about the timeline being “restored”. If the timeline were restored, then the fact that SG-1 didn’t make it back to the “original” timeline alive would mean that they would still be dead in the new timeline. If Jim dies in a car wreck, and Stephen goes back in time to prevent it, but dies in the process, Stephen is still dead when we reach the point in which Stephen went back into the past in the first place.

    That brings me to another question… why go back in time to fix anything, since the act of going back in time creates a diverging timeline, which does nothing to save your original timeline? Crap still went down back home, now you’re just saving someone else’s timeline, which is nice and all but doesn’t help your timeline any.

    Just some thoughts…… I don’t really obsess over it, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and watched it twice this week lol. I’m just wondering what the definitive explanation is, instead of fan musings about what our universe is, isn’t, and which SG-1 is and isn’t ours. Thanks!!

  21. Hey Joe.
    Thanks so much for answering the questions on the Atlantis movie so postively. It makes the fans feel much happier, I can assure you.

  22. Hello Joe!

    Isn’t this ‘creative process’ similar to slaughtering your babies? I mean, that must be incredibly frustrating!

    Btw. I hope Lulu’s diet is working and she is feeling better 🙂

  23. Hey there Mr M!

    Firstly, A BIG THANK YOU to Ms Kress for a great Q and A. Many thanks for that!! Have squirreled away your book for this Summer!

    Mr M : Second: In your list of fav things etc. You mention the original Musketeers…I assume it’s the book right? Oxford Classics is perhaps the best english version (if you don’t have it…get it!!) It’s edited by David Coward who (IMHO) is the best Dumas Scholar!! WRT Films on that vein…. Check out the Gerard Depardieu mini-series of The Count of Monte Cristo….the best attempt yet to try and serialise this mammoth book for tv…not quite there (they snipped a lot out…but almost there!)

    On a tangent once again: as you are a Princess Bride fan, I thought you’d be interested to know that the Cliffs of Insanity are up for inclusion in a new 7 Wonders of the World Competition….Check out for more…

    The Cliffs of Moher of course being the “real” name of the location where that scene was shot (along with some really dodgy interior shots!!)

    Best to all!!


  24. A big THANKS to Nancy Kress for answering questions and continuing to write, A trip to the book store is in order, my list gets longer. Whoopee.(a word?)
    – I remember reading on another place in the blog about the writing process and all the colored pages, I don’t know how you guys find time for lunch, Is the food still good at the studio? I know why I never chose a profession as a writer, I am on the other end of the spectrum, the reading part. It is truly a team effort and I am glad you all do what you do there at Bridge. I rather enjoy watching the finished product, and knowing what goes on behind the scenes, thanks to you Mr Mallozzi, makes it all the more entertaining. Thanks again, if I have never said it before, I am saying it now. Thanks.
    -Have a great Friday the 13th! 😎

  25. p.s. Forgot wanted to ask, If I read The Beyond,Jeffery Ford, should I read the 1st 2 books that say they come b4 it to make sense?, thanks.

  26. All of the talk of ranks brought up a question I have often asked myself about the SG franchises… Why is it that most of the members of SG1 and those on the Atlantis team have rarely been promoted? I would imagine that saving the planet every once in a while would earn someone a promotion (and thus an increase in pay) I know that the US Military has very high standards, but…

  27. Paul needs a promotion:

    To quote one of my favorite Generals “YA THINK!!!”

  28. Hello. Questions for Martin Christopher:

    1. How did you land your role as Major Marks? What is the audition process like? Does it differ on Stargate?

    2. You’ve appeared on both SG-1 and Atlantis. What differences did you notice between the two shows, if any?

    3. You shared a lot of scenes with Amanda Tapping. What was that like?

    4. Are you fan of science fiction?

    5. Any big projects in the works either in front of the camera, behind it, or having nothing to do with cameras at all?

    Thank you.

  29. I think my reply just disappeared, not sure how this works?
    Just in case you didn’t get my previously submitted comment, I was wondering why the price increase on the Season 5 Atlantis DVD set?
    According to this site:
    it will be released on June 30 for a price of $69.98.
    I was wondering if there were a ton of extras on it, making it more expensive.
    I will be buying it as I can afford it and love Atlantis, but am thinking many might not be so fortunate in these difficult economic times and sales will drop. 🙁

  30. Well I did always wonder how with several writers, the characters were being consistent through the series. Until I discovered they weren’t:

    – Martin Gero’s scripts seem to be technology-driven: the search for a ZPM, the discovery of the city, a crashed jumper, a new enzyme, a replicator weapon forcing the city underwater…

    – Your & Paul Mullie’s scripts break down in two categories: comedy driven and breaking-point driven. Usually they’re comedy-driven: be it dry wit as Sheppard is getting tortured, ridiculous customs of the locals, or a caricature of a guest star. When they are not comedy-driven, they are breaking-point driven, meaning they’re either a mid-season or an end-of-season tight moment where it looks like (individual) members of the expedition might be killed/leaving/etc.

    – Carl Binder’s scripts are revelation-driven or psychological: someone discovers a secret about themselves, a new side of themselves, or has to overcome some character trait or generally does something they would in different circumstances never do but the script compells them to.
    Ken Couperus plots are second-location driven: they are set out of the city, where the team (or members of it) must fend for themselves without the luxury of calling for backup.

    – Robert C. Cooper does scripts that remind us (don’t re-chew but rather really remind) of something already done on SG1: a character forced to fight against overwhelming odds, a previously seen species, a character who thinks they’re indestructable only to suddenly collapse when running out of power, etc. He’s sort of the voice that keeps nagging, “remember the show is called STARGATE atlantis, not pegasus atlantis.”

    – Allan McCullough is hardest to put a finger on, because he seems to search to “be different” – that one thing that seems most improbable, not yet done previously in the franchise, or mind-boggling like the first Matrix movie. Also his scripts seem to bring out the aspects of the characters that everybody, including the characters themselves, are most uncomfortable about and want to sweep under the carpet at the first opportunity. Unfortunately, the episodes tend to jump from one thing to another all of a sudden. I’m not sure if this is because he doesn’t know how to explain some things away, or whether his plots are so long you end up having to shorten the episodes? He also seems a little anxious to be different, kind of enfant terrible like.

    I’m probably way off. But this is the impression I got when reading through the episode listing at wikipedia when I made a musicvideo for atlantis and needed to credit where the video clips came from.

  31. Okay – is it just me, or did everything here just get…bigger? Maybe it’s just my browser…*checks*

    Nevermind – it’s my computer…I’ve got to go look for a virus now, since the last time this happened, that was the problem. I hate this crap.

    @ for the love of Beckett – Thankies! 🙂 I am feeling much better – still have a few issues (lingering congestion), but at least I’ve made it through an entire week, and then some, without spending a day in bed (or, more accurately, ‘on couch’). Still have some things I’m dealing with – had more blood drawn yesterday to rule in or out Lyme Disease, and other stuff – but I’m getting there. The doctor I saw yesterday thinks I have fibromyalgia, which is a fancy way of saying, ‘We don’t know what the hell is wrong with ya!’, but at least I feel as if old problems that I have lived with for years are finally being addressed.

    Now…to deal with whatever has my computer unhappy. Grrrr….


  32. I had the opportunity to hear Nancy Kress speak at my Masters program a few years ago. She also lead an excellent workshop on World Building for SF writers. She’s a wonderful human being. Thanks for posting this.

    Also, wanted to make sure you got the questionnaire. Thanks so much!

    [Yeah, I tend to say “thank you” a lot – bad habit. 🙂 ]

  33. @squall78 (and Joe) – So would I!

    Have a great weekend everybody, and to Anne Teldy, we’re thinking of you 🙂

  34. Joe you a baseball fan???it was sad to watch Team Canada get eliminated from the World BaseBall Classic by italy 6-2…I was rooting for team Canada even bought a team Canad baseball shirt.

  35. bonjour=)

    ça va?

    moi oui=) c’est enfin le week end, et il fait un magnifique temp avec des températures qui dépassent les 20° et à Vancouver quel temp fait t’il?

    Vous voulez visiter l’ouest de l’europe? Vennez en Gironde =D

    bah quoi? fiére de mon département^^!

    Bonne journée. A bientot.

  36. Joe, this question has always been on my mind but i guess i forgot to ask. Why San Francisco? if anyone asked this before then i apologize.

  37. @ Trish – I’m not too worried about Lyme – the doc isn’t leaning that way at present (thus the re-tests). He thinks maybe my recent bout of pneumonia, etc., gave me a false positive. But it’s not like I haven’t been bitten by ticks, a LOT…so can’t rule it out 100% yet.

    I’m not too worried. In fact, I’m more worried about the fate of a fictional life-sucking bugman than my own health…lol. I am such a geek. 😛


  38. @das: Ticks, fictional life-sucking bugmen, hmmm, you seem to have theme going here. 🙂 Be well already!

  39. Dear Joe,
    A group of artists on GW dedicated their art challenge to TPTB of Stargate this week! Go check it out here:
    Yes, we’re a little crazy, but hey! We think you guys are awesome! We do appreciate the hard work that has gone into our favorite franchise, from music to stunts, from writing to directing and producing. Thanks again for the many years of wonderful television, and here’s looking forward to many more!

    Er…we expect the restraining orders any day now. 🙂 Enjoy!

  40. @Das: Good to know that. And I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty much geeks here. 😆 I love Todd, too. I don’t wanna think of him not always being out there somewhere in the Stargate Universe. *hopeful eyes*

  41. To Martin Christopher –

    – What was Major Marks’s position aboard the Daedalus? Was he the weapons officer or in charge of general ship controls?

    – I don’t think any character in the SGverse has been promoted as much or as quickly as Marks. Any particular reason why?

    – Have you ever been to a convention? If yes, what was the experience like. If not, would you like to?

  42. @ Das & Anne Teldy I hope both of you get better soon. Anne, I hope this next round of antibiotics and the transfusion do the trick! Das, I hope you don’t have Lyme disease or some other such difficult to cure thing. I’m sending healing energies to both of you and lots of virtual hugs.

    @ Narelle I didn’t know you were under the weather as well. That really bites after all of the stuff you guys have had to deal with after the fires. I hope you get better soon and I’m sending the healing energies and virtual hugs your way, too.

    Man, I really need to start reading all of the replies to your posts again, Joe. I go several days without reading your blog and then get completely backed up so I don’t read all the replies and miss so darned much! 🙁

  43. @ Anne Teldy Do you do a lot of reading of regular books? If so, are you interested in reading Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files” series? I’ve got extra copies I will gladly send you, if you’re interested. My email is

    @ Joe *coughs* Speaking the Dresden Files, are you ever going to give them a try, Joe? Don’t forget, “Wizard for Hire” is the omnibus edition of the first three books. If you try it and don’t like it, please pass it along to someone who you think may enjoy it.

  44. I was rewatching some Stargate Atlantis episodes last night with my niece and a couple of questions that have been bothering us for years came up again. Mr. M, will you please settle the disputes?

    1. In “Runner”, Ronon speaks of accidentally coming upon a world with a village near the gate and staying the night. This indicates he wasn’t just visiting worlds he knew before he was a Runner, but that Ronon was dialing random address. This made my niece wonder aloud why the people in Pegasus don’t accidentally connect to a Space Gates when random dialing from a world.

    My theory is that the Ancients would’ve taken curiosity of people in to account when they began creating Space Gates, so all Space Gate addresses have one unique symbol in their address that only Jumpers, Darts, and the Atlantis DHD dial. My niece says I’m making things up out of whole cloth. Is my theory close to Writers Room Explanation.

    2. When there are two gates on a planet — as when Russia had their own gate program running — how does the address system work? It should be the same six symbols for both gates, so how come the Russians never accidentally showed up at SGC? And when the Replicators set the gate-satellite over Lantea why did it activate instead of the Atlantis gate?

    3. What did you think of Vurt? It was far, far from my favorite book when I read it years and years ago.

    Sulien wrote:

    Do you do a lot of reading of regular books? If so, are you interested in reading Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files” series?

    The Dresden Files has long been on my to-be-read list.

    Thanks to all the well-wishers and my best to all my fellow illness-sufferers.

    Anne Teldy

  45. Hello to Martin Christopher. One of the things I loved about SG-1 and Atlantis was the care they took with secondary characters like Lorne, Zelenka, and Dr. Lee. Marks ranks right up there and I want you to know your hard work is appreciated.

    Questions: 1. How old were you when you got bitten by the acting bug and how did you get into the business? 2. What has been your best experience as an actor? 3. Your worst? 4. What would be your dream role?

  46. Hey Joe,

    Next time you’re talking to Martin Gero could you ask him who created his website? It looks like it needs help and really needs updating. Although I did like the lonely guy in hotel photo (file too big btw) I’m not sure that’s the impression he wants to make……..or maybe it is.

    Anyhoo, if he’s ever interested in doing something with it, I’d be happy to help him out just for the hell of it.

    Cheers, Chev

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