So a couple of weeks ago, Jason Sizemore over at Apex Books asked me whether I’d be interested in writing a guest blog entry for them (Actually, he referred to it as a Celebrity Blog which, of course, gave me pause because I‘m a celebrity in much the same way that Joe the Plumber or Kim Kardashian are celebrities. In other words, not.). To be honest, I can barely keep up with my own blog but, for whatever reason (ie. I was suffering from anoxia at the time) I agreed to do it – provided I was given a topic. I was thinking something along the lines of “mosquitoes” or “favorite Japanese adult film stars”. Instead, I was offered a choice of three possible topics. I chose one – or a variation thereof. Anyway, you can find my incisive and thought-provoking “Celebrity” Guest Blog, titled “I Should’ve Stuck to Rubber Chickens” here (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2009/03/joseph-mallozzi-i-shouldve-stuck-to-rubber-chickens/). Also, check out the other far more interesting entries on the site.
A quick reminder to all those interested in joining in April’s book of the month club discussions: we’ll be discussing the books in April. And, in case it’s too much trouble to allow your gaze to wander over to the right sidebar for the details, allow me…
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.
Shawna writes: “Now that I think of it, it seems as if, especially in the later seasons, SG-1 went to a lot more random/weird/funny places than did Atlantis. Will Universe have occasional moments of random craziness like that?”
Answer: No plans to have any SGU characters attend a reading of the Vagina Monologues.
My Name Is Scott writes: “Will the Atlantis movie take place during it’s time of release, or will it take place prior to SGU?”
Answer: Both the events of the SGA movie and the events of the SGU premiere take place “around the same time period”.
Laura writes: “On a completly other topic, Joe, I’ve been wondering, what are the differences between all the levels of producers (ie. supervising, co, etc) (besides pay)?”
Answer: Quite honestly, it depends on the production. The producer title can signify anything from a financial backer, sometime contributor, creative decisionmaker, budget manager, or someone who’s agent scored them a vanity credit.
Thornyrose writes: “How are the experiments in home cooking going?”
Answer: Excellent. Today, I made a stuffed pork loin with sautéed broccolini. Also, a mix of ground beef, carrots, peas, and rice for the dogs (and Lulu in particular whose stomach has been a might sensitive of late).
Sparrow_hawk writes: “Wish me luck: tomorrow I’m helping my mother move out of the house I grew up in, where she has lived for 50+ years (and near as I can tell has not thrown out ANYTHING in that entire time)!”
Answer: Good luck! I’d offer to help but I think I did something to my back during yesterday’s weightlifting session. I’m really annoyed because I rented the pick-up and everything.
Delynn writes: “Oh, pretty please can we see David Blue’s shoes? I hear they are quite awesome for footwear!!!”
Answer: Maybe when he eventually swings by to do his fan Q&A here, I’ll get him to post a pic of his favorite footwear. The red strapless pumps are to die for!
Deeinsouthafrica writes: “Talking about self-inflicted alcohol poisoning scenes, what happened to the weird food choice of the day (liquid edition)?”
Answer: We were just talking about that Thursday night. It’s just a matter of finding a weekend where everyone is free. I received a surprising number of volunteers for The Weird Food Purchase of the Day: Strange Alcohols Edition. As opposed to say, the paltry turnout for that time I sampled the fish sauce or the squid ice cream.
Hugh writes: “ If a MALP is sent through every time to check an adress, then they must lose quite a few MALPs to space gates. How do they get them back when they’re just floating through space?”
Answer: Usually, you don’t.
Mika writes: “On the weird foods list, from the outback I can strongly recommend kangaroo (they grin more & have more flavour than cows). If you’re drawn to the legendary witchetty grubs, go for cooked (scrambled-eggy) not raw (barely-not wriggly).”
Answer: I’ve tried kangaroo. There was a place near the studio that used to cook up all sorts of burger. One afternoon, the entire writing department sampled kangaroo, bison, muskox, ostrich, and caribou. With disastrous results. To quote Carl Binder: “There’s a wildebeest stampede going on in my stomach!” As for grubs – if someone were to tell me they actually tasted good, I might consider it. But all indications are that raw or cooked, they pretty much taste like crap.
Anais33 a ecrit: “1) Tout le cast de sgu à été dévoiller entiérement?
2) SGU se passera sur les même endroits de tournage que pour sga et sg1 ?
3) Que faite vous pour que vos chiens n’attrapent pas de tique?”
Reponses: 1) Non. 2) Non. 3) Ils prennent des médicaments spéciaux.
Translation: 1) No, the entire cast has not been revealed. I’m assuming that, sooner or later, they’ll make an announcement about James, Franklin, Brody, Park, Riley, Spencer, etc.
David Blue writes: “Hahahahhaa … you’re awesome.”
Answer: I’m alright awesome. You, sir, are Awesome (note the capital A).
Craig MD writes: “Is there a date set for its television premiere by the way? Or is that still classified at this point too?
Also, while they must be incredibly busy, any chance of getting some of the cast members for a Q and A?”
Answer: Not sure if they’ve announced a date yet. Last I heard, sometime in the fall. And, yes, I’ve approached the various SGU cast about eventually doing some fan Q&A’s. All positive.
dune knight writes: “alright i asked about watchmen because it shows extremely flawed superhereos so i wanted to know if the stargate universe team are a flawed version of SG-1.”
Answer: I wouldn’t describe them as “flawed versions of SG-1”. However, like any human being, they are far from perfect.
Dayna Barter writes: “How do people get added to the writing staff? Are they recommended by agents? Do they send in a spec script? Become a personal slave to one of the producers? Offer up a first-born…right arm and a leg…?”
Answer: This is where a good agent earns his commission. When a series is greenlit, a good agent will contact the production and find out if they’re looking for writers, staff or freelancers. The agent will pitch the writers they represent who they feel would be a good fit. Based on the pitch, provided the production feels the writers are indeed a good fit, the agent will be invited to send in some writing samples that best represent the work of the potential candidates. For our show, one hour dramas, original pilots, and even features work best. We’re not necessarily looking for SF samples and certainly NOT looking to read a Stargate spec. Based on these samples, a writer may or may not be invited to pitch. We tend to prefer phone pitches – around three solid ideas with a beginning, middle, and end. I’ve detailed past pitch sessions gone awry in previous blog entries but, suffice it to say, doing your homework will go a long way toward impressing. Know the show (if it’s already on the air), know the tone, learn how to pronounce the names of the main characters. Depending on how the pitch session goes, the writer may be invited to call back with a more detailed pitch or invited into the room so that we can all break the story. Once the story is broken, the writer heads back home to work on the outline. If the outline is solid, they go to script. And, if they do a great job on the script (instead of a merely serviceable job that will require someone to completely rewrite them) AND we’re looking to add to our roster, they may be invited to join the show’s writing staff. That’s how it works, more or less.
Trish writes: “I’m sorry poor Lulu is still having problems. Would allergy shots work?”
Answer: Don’t think so. The problem is I’m not exactly sure what it is she’s allergic to. I switched her to the fish-based dog food only to have her throw up her body weight last night. I’ll see how she does with beef.
Gilder writes: “Seeking empathy…our favorite independent pizza place burned yesterday. Total loss.”
Answer: Condolences. Carl and I are still mourning the loss of the Budapest Restaurant. Sniff. I’m getting all choked up thinking about it.
Belouchi writes: “I see your point in why it won’t make much financial sense, but given the fact that project twilight is in fact a big budget two parter episode of around $7million USD, I presumed that your marketing department had much more manuverability with respect to what channels they would use to get the product aware. I also thought about the idea since the SG1 movies seemed to rely heavily on advertisement since it was a direct to DVD product and the generated sales incurred would be crucial. Was I wrong?”
Answer: No, you’re not wrong. However, only a certain amount is budgeted for marketing and, rather than spend it on webisodes that reach a comparatively smaller audience of fans who already know about the show, we would be better served reaching out to potential new fans through other means.
AMZ writes: “So tell me Joe, did anything unusual happen to you on Friday the 13th? Or anyone else for that matter?”
Answer: My dog was sick.
AMZ also writes: “I know a lot of Universe info is under wraps at the moment, but I was wondering, when you said Brad’s script Fire had “enough angst to trigger an anxiety attack…”, did you mean angst as in Serious Conflict Angst or more the Rebel Without A Cause/A Lot of Whingeing From Characters Angst? Or was it more a XXXXX type of angst?”
Answer: All three.
Ytimyona writes: “I have a terrible problem with ending my stories, screenplays, and pretty much everything I write, actually. I get going and suddenly find myself with only one page, paragraph, or line left before I go over the limit and can never manage to come up with a satisfactory ending!”
Answer: In the case of the short story I’m working on now, I had the opening scene in my head for ages, married it to a premise I’d been kicking around for a while, and came up with the ending I needed to work toward. Al…most…there…