“Why?”I asked, eyeing the water bottle.
“No reason,”was her sunny reply and then, with a shrug, redirected her attention back to her computer.
I sniffed the water, took another cautious sip. It tasted fine. And another sip. From the corner of my eye, I noticed her watching, looking on almost expectantly.
“No reason,”she repeated.
Now I’m far from the paranoid type but, perhaps coincidentally, I have been feeling a tad under the weather ever since. Nothing major. No tears of blood or massive organ failure. Yet. Just a faint queasiness and slight numbness in my earlobes. Probably nothing to worry about but I mention it just in case something should happen. In which case…Avenge me!
Otherwise – all quiet on the production office front today. Director Will Waring and co. were away shooting on location. Everyone is back tomorrow for the first day of Space. Stage 4, Destiny set.
Just spoke to actor Paul McGillion who called to let me know that there’s an opening in his busy schedule and, why yes, he’d love to do a fan Q&A with us. So to all you Beckett boosters and Scot supporters out there, start posting. I’ll be gathering questions for Paul until Friday night – afterwhich it’ll be too late and you’ll only have yourselves to blame. Tsk, tsk.
Meanwhile – those of you who have questions for author Michael Moorcock, please post them before tomorrow afternoon as I’ll be sending them off by day’s end. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to dialogue with one of the giants in the fields of literary SF and Fantasy.
Hey, for those interested in helping out a good cause and/or acquiring some Stargate swag, the gang at MSOL (Michael Shanks Online) are hosting their 5th auction to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. It started June 8th and runs for approximately 2-3 weeks. Head on over to place a bid on items donated and signed by Michael and Lexa, David Nykl, Colin Cunningham, Bill Dow and Tom McBeath – additional signatories include Amanda Tapping, Claudia Black, Ben Browder, David Hewlett, Joe Flanigan, Scott Bakula, Jeffrey Donovan… and more.
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to
Some Elric discussion:
Iamza writes: “Someone much smarter than me pointed out in comments to my frothing and ranting that the Melniboneans are kind of like Tolkien’s Elves, only they’re the total bastards such a long-lived and magically powerful race would likely be. And in such a world it is not entirely surprising that their views are kind of backward when it comes to things like gender equality.”
Answer: Oh, they’re bastards alright. There’s a passage in one of the books which describes how the Melniboneans tortured slaves in such a way as to produce an almost musical tune in their varied screams. Apparently, not a very progressive race.
Iamza also writes: “One thing that struck me throughout the stories was how human Elric seemed. Not evil, or wicked, but human. I mean, aside from the first story in which Elric betrays his people’s trust by showing the raiders how to get into Imrryr so they can lay waste to it, and then betraying the raiders to make good on his own escape, Elric never really does anything I’d consider evil, per se.”
Answer: True. Even his actions after the fall of Imrryr can’t be described as evil. Cowardly perhaps, certainly self-serving, but he clearly feels guilt for abandoning his allies, just as he feels guilt for some of the lives sacrificed to Stormbringer: Cymoril, Zorazinia, and Rackhir the Red Archer. It feels as though, with each of these tragic deaths, Elric’s own soul is cast ever-deeper into that black pit of despair until, by saga’s end, his own death is a release for him.
DasNdanger writes: “I was not ready for Moonglum’s sacrifice. I think this was the most poignant moment in the entire series, both in showing the depth of their affection for one another, and in what each – at that moment – had to sacrifice in order to usher in a new world and save the earth for men who would never even know they had ever existed.
Answer: Agree. As I said yesterday, the friendship between these two really forms the emotional core of this epic, making Moonglum’s sacrifice all the more tragic.
DasNdanger also writes: “ Though Elric is physically weak, his will is astonishingly strong, driven by a fledgling conscience and all the emotions an ordinary Melnibonéan would be loath to entertain.”
Answer: And the souls of Stormbringer’s many victims.
DasnNdanger also writes: “ But it’s also about how his comrades react to his weakness, to the burdens he carried in both his duty, and in his physical body. I was particularly touched at the way Moonglum and Dyvim Slorm avoided looking at their friend and kinsman to save him any unnecessary embarrassment. I think more than the man’s weakness that appeals to me, is how those closest to him react…how they feel for one surrounded by friends, and yet so utterly alone.”
Answer: Isn’t it always the way. It’s often the surprisingly frank and sympathetic responses of friends and loved ones to a personal tragedy that proves most effecting, sometimes more than the tragedy itself.
DasNdanger also writes: “But having read that book first, I am well-aware of what unremorseful Melnibonéan torture is like…the slow hacking away of flesh and appendages to spite the screams and moans of the dying. To Elric it was nothing – it was his nature – that which he was since before he was ever born. And you all know who THAT reminds me of!”
Answer: It’s true. Occasionally, the wraith do enjoy playing with their food. It’s no doubt a bad habit they picked up when they were kids.
DasnNdanger also writes: “I just want to leave this post on a more…amusing…note. As this book is written in the gothic style, full of symbolism and erotic suggestion, I couldn’t help get a little chuckle out of this passage from Kings in Darkness:
Dovil writes: “ I’m not sure that I’m prepared to re-dip my toes back into epic fantasy any time soon, which may be a bit unfair being dismissive of an entire genre, but it saves me becoming frustrated and throwing books across the room.”
Answer: Might I suggest checking out Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold if you’re looking for a strong female no bullshit protagonist.
Iamza also writes: “Nevertheless, I cannot help but think it would be a good thing if there were a few more fantasy novels which featured characters as well rounded and developed as Elric, but where those characters also happened to be female.”
Answer: Again I urge you to check out Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold for a truly complex and colorful female protagonist.
Thornyrose writes: “the other thing that bothered me, especially in the earlier stories, is how Elric and the Melniboneans seem too human. Later, we get a better sense of their inhumanness, but in the early stories there is little to mark them apart from greater humanity other than the longevity of their Empire and their dragon riding.”
Answer: What moments in the book gave you a sense of the Melniboneans’ inhumanness?
Iamza writes: “I couldn’t help noticing you’d recently read DMZ vol 1, and the first volume of Krueger/Ross’s Justice. What did you think of them?”
Answer: Kind of undecided after the first volumes. There’s a lot to like in both and yet there are elements I’m not completely sold on. Neither gripped me to the extent that Jason Aaron’s Scalped has. That said, I’ve enjoyed them both enough to check out the second volume of each.
C.C. writes: “Hey Joe, is it safe to say that Carson had been weaned off his dependency on the Wraith enzyme by the end of season 5, or is he still addicted to it until they find a more permanent treatment?”
Answer: By the end of season 5 (and the beginning of Stargate: Extinction) Beckett has made a full recovery and is no longer dependent on the enzyme.
Major D. Davis writes: “1. What average neilsen rating do you think it will take to renew Universe. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3………?
2. I watched the new SGU trailer and saw quite a bit of bsgish movement/mild shaking of the camera during the talking scenes that made it feel like I was watching bsg(minus the dark ship). This is just for that scene right, cause it was too bsgish and annoying.”
Answers: 1. This is a question for the network as they’ll be the one making the renewal decision.
2. I think a good part of this is a reaction to the editing as well. Keep in mind that trailers are often made up of rapidfire sequences intended to give the viewers a “taste” of movie or series. As a result, you’ll see more chaotic, action-driven instances punctuated by quick cuts. The look of the series itself will be much more balanced.
Chevron7 writes: “OK, since I’ve got you here, what did you think of the idea of the separate pages linked at the top for the dogs and your reading recommendations? Oh and changing the banner image?”
Answer: I’m kind of attached to the banner. As for the separate page link – I don’t know how many people would bother clicking. I think it would probably be easier to just put it in the sidebar as well.
Thornyrose writes: “Do we have a date for the premiere of Universe set yet?”
Answer: I’m not sure whether the network has announced an official premiere date yet.
Paloosa writes: “Speaking of food, I’ve always wondered. For the Wraith, do humans come in different flavors?”
Answer: Only three – vanilla, strawberry, and butter rum.
Crayonbaby writes: “As a writer, do you think that Carl’s style is going to fit SGU better than most of the other writers on staff?”
Answer: Not really. I think everyone has done a terrific job on the scripts to date. The cast is excited about the stories and we’re having a great time writing them.
PG15 writes: “1. What do you think about the quality of the portrayal of women in Stargate? How does it compare to the quality of the portrayal of the male characters?
2. About Teyla; quite a few people raised the criticism of her wearing particularly skimpy costumes in order to appeal to the male viewers. Do you have comments on this?
3. Another interesting point raised was how you guys tend to write mostly just specific kinds of female characters, namely those who are a love interest for a male character; those who are permissive, maternal, and caring; or your typical “alien chick of the week” (whatever that means; their words, not mine). Comments?
4. About leadership, some complained that, while the male leaders were portrayed as mostly authoritative (Hammond, O’Neill, Landry, Woolsey), the female leaders (Weir, Carter) were portrayed as non-confrontational and having to defer to the men around them. Again, comments?”
Answers: 1. I think we’ve had some strong and wonderfully unique characters in Stargate. Obviously the first one that comes to mind is Samantha Carter who, over her many years on the franchise, has become one of the most recognized and respected female characters in SF television. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the equally strong but certainly more, uh, colorful Vala Mal Doran whose mercenary outlook belied a certain vulnerability. The women of Stargate: Universe also possess a depth of character we’re just beginning to explore.
2. Hey, she’s a warrior. Baggy clothing makes it tricky to maneuver. That said, while sexy (and I’m sure the same thing could be said for Ronon’s attire), it was always tasteful and appropriate.
3. I’m sure that if you look hard enough, you’ll find touchstone elements in any of our characters – McKay (the awkward nerd), Teal’c (the noble warrior), O’Neill (the wisecracking hero) – but these are simply surface impressions.
4. I’m not sure how to answer this. Could you give me examples? In the case of Weir, her non-confrontational style was a result of her experience in the field of international negotiation. She wasn’t military and so, whenever possible, opted for a less confrontational approach because, to be perfectly blunt, it’s the smarter way to deal with a problem. Weir was always sure of herself. Compare this to Woolsey who was on very uncertain ground when he first took over command of the Atlantis expedition but gradually came into his own.
PG15 also writes: “5. There was also criticism of how Carter was rarely personally invested in the series’s main plots (she was kind of just “along for the ride”, while the male characters had personal storylines; i.e. Daniel and Sha’re, and later Daniel and his connection to Anubis, and his guilt at bringing in the Ori; Jack and Skarra; Teal’c and his people), and when she is, the fact that she was female was integral to the plot, i.e. Fifth loved her and she betrayed him, and that started the whole human replicator plot; Martouf and Carter during the Jolinar plot. Her gender was the focus of her stories, while the same does not hold true for the male characters. So, uh…comment?”
Answer: Carter’s connections to Fifth, Martouf, and Pete were really no different than similar stories and arcs we explored with Teal’c and Drey’auc, Teal’c and Ishta, Teal’c and Shau’nac, or Daniel and Share, Daniel and Sarah, Daniel and Vala, or Jack and Sam. Also, Daniel’s guilt for bringing the Ori or the Jack and S’karra storyline paled considerably to the exploration of Sam’s relationship with her father Jacob and his tok’ra Selmak.
Dankriss writes: “Have you changed how we put up comments?…usually we get to see the comment but with awaiting moderation come up?”
Answer: Nope, nothing has changed. However, comments with links are initially re-routed to the spam folder (which is why you couldn’t see your last comment in queue).
DasNdanger writes: “So, Joe…all kidding and snark aside…would you continue to support the consumption of an animal if you were to learn that the very survival of the species was at stake, or if the suffering of the animal was beyond that with which you are comfortable?”
Answer: Hey, I’ve stopped eating panda haven’t I?
Alexandre writes: “ On the new sneak peak of Syfy, Robert Carlyle is DAVID Rush, but I tought he was NICHOLAS Rush ? isn’t is ?”
Answer: It’s Nicholas.