Back in January when Stargate: Universe consultant and best-selling SF author John Scalzi was in town, I took him to – where else? – Fuel where, over the course of our dinner conversation, the subject of my humble little book club came up.  I asked John if he could recommend a possible future selection. He responded without hesitation: “Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover.”

Fast-forward six months and I’m sitting in my home office, thinking about a selection for September’s book of the month club discussion, when my eyes fall on a copy of…Heroes Die, by Matthew Woodring Stover. Loved the title and the premise intrigued, so I hopped online, tracked the author down, and sent him a message telling him about the blog, John’s recommendation, and asking whether he might be interested in participating in a fan/reader Q&A. The next day, I received his response in an email titled, appropriately enough “John Scalzi is clearly a superior human being.” As it turns out, he’d be thrilled to take part. So…

September’s Book of the Month selection is:

Heroes Die, by Matthew Woodring Stover.

Heroes Die

“Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does.

At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim fact that he kills men on a far-off world for the entertainment of his own planet–and bound to keep his rage in check.

But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife, Pallas Rill, has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. To save her, he must confront the greatest challenge of his life: a lethal game of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds . . . “

Discussion begins the week of September 7th when we’ll be joined by author Matthew Woodring Stover.

I heard from actress Sharon Taylor today (Stargate: Atlantis’s Amelia Banks) who has been keeping busy since Enemy at the Gate, having recently landed a recurring guest star role on Smallville. Sharon also tells me that has been cast the evil Empress Amara in an SF web series called Riese. She’ll be in good company, working alongside a bunch of Stargate alumni including Ben “Kavanagh” Cotton and SGU’s very own Patrick Gilmore (aka Dale Volker). Production on the series kicks off in August and, if you’re interested in learning more, you can check it out here and here

Well, some progress on the script for the season finale today. On the positive side, I hit the 22 page mark and I do like what I have. On the negative side, Act I is 17 ½ pages long. I’ll look to trim where I can but, in all honesty, it’s action-filled and should move pretty damn quickly. Paul is apparently into the second act on his script. No idea how Carl and Martin are faring on theirs but, knowing them, they’re probably already finished and coming up with story ideas for season two. The show-offs. Rob, meanwhile, put out his pass on Lucid (he’s renamed it Human and the change is a point of some debate) and it’s a terrific script – engaging, poignant, and, yes, mighty surprising.  Rob will be assuming directing duties on the episode. 

Today, I leave you with another couple of SGU gate videos, these taken on the day we got our first look at new and improved practical puddle.


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Narelle from Aus

I like the sound of Matthew Woodring Stover already smile

The puddle looks so inviting. Just want to jump in it and go for a swim… or a quick trip to another planet/galaxy.

Mika – Not a problem re quoting. Happy to help any way I can. Interesting about the bunkers. Didn’t know we used to have them in the bush. Which area was that?
We’ve had old bunkers along the coastline since WWII, but obviously that was for different purposes.

A lot of introduced species haven’t survived the combination of drought and water restrictions but it sounds as though that grass has thrived. I’d heard from friends in the Kinglake area that there was a grass out of control. But from their accounts it was a long grass (which sounds more like the native). Was a name mentioned and/or origin of the species? I’d also heard that a lot of the land has been scorched to the point where nothing will grow for some time. Usually after a normal bushfire the ground becomes nutrient rich and new growth starts with just the smallest amount of rainfall (I grew up on a nature reserve so I used to walk through it a lot after fire).

I still believe in voluntary evacuation. But that only works if you have access to the right information. It should be your right to choose.

We had a bag packed for 3 weeks. It was always our intention that if we received news of the front heading back this way we’d leave with the dogs, a bag of essentials and we’d be happy. There weren’t too many people we spoke to who didn’t have a bag packed and an idea of what the trigger would be for them to evacuate. It was only later that it dawned on me, we only have two roads out of this town. Both easily get blocked up in the morning and afternoon. Imagine if the entire town and surrounding suburbs were trying to leave all at the same time in a panic situation. We saw in Kinglake and Marysville how many perished in their cars.

On the weekend I’m heading to a couple of the wineries who were damaged by the fires (this picture was taken at one of them). It will be interesting to see what type of growth is occurring.


Hahaha, awesome! Again the 2nd video was very show-like, complete with a dive through the event horizon; if only you had cut straight to a wormhole travel effect at the end, it would’ve been surreal.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were angling for a directing job. wink

Overall, I say it’s much better than the old practical puddle. The key is how the practical puddle fades to a uniform blue near the edges, while the CGI puddle doesn’t; it’s brightest in the middle, but even at the edge there is a shiny, wavy effect; this new practical has maintained that edge wavy effect. Very sweet. That said, I assume the lights shining on the gate won’t be there when the show airs? The fact that those lights illuminates the projection screen is unfortunate since it pretty ruins the effect of a wavy, fluctuating surface (as in, it reveals the surface of the smooth screen).

No worries Joe, Martin hasn’t finished his script the last time I checked his twitter page. According to him, someone’s Dad is a dick.


Hi Joe, it really looks fantastic! Can’t wait! Deni


Videos: Too awesome for words. Thank you!

On Friday night, I was watching Fox’s show Mental and there was a mini-Stargate reunion on there. Jamie Lee Newman (Cadman) from SGA is playing a hot neurosurgeon who is sleeping with the star psychiatrist in the show (been on 2 shows already; looks like maybe she might be a regular or semi-regular). Then you had Erick Avari (Daniel Jackson’s father-in-law) from SG-1 who played an unscrupulous doctor. Also rounding out the cast was Mike Dopud, Kiryk on SGA and Odai Ventrell & Colonel Chernovshev on SG-1. He played the distraught father of the young teen in trouble. He is quite a dramatic part and he did a great job.


the evil Empress Amara

Must be something in the name … my flatmate has a 3 year old niece called Amara, who we all believe will lead her own version of the mob in the future. We call her Don Amara, and try to avoid eye contact. She is the scariest-looking kid you’ll ever see.


Heroes Die is an excellent choice for the September BotM club, and I get to save some money as I already own it. Looking forward to that discussion.
Talking about spinning ideas for season two, and not to jinx anything, but at what point will you know for sure there IS a season two? It seems a bit of a difficult balance between wasting energy and making sure proper preplanning takes place. And if all does go well, when will your next hiatus take place? Anyways, thanks for the daily dose of information and distraction.


The top part of the puddle looks flat in the first video. It all looks flat in the second where it looks like someone is purposely showing how the ripples get chopped off abruptly at the edge of the screen.


September’s BOTM choice looks great. I’ll have to try and find it and add it to my summer reading list.

I just started Elizabeth Moon’s today. Really looking forward to it. I’m intrigued by the idea of a book about a man with autism. I’ve taught 5 boys with autism in my last 7 years in the classroom.

I really must get high speed internet. Can’t watch the videos at home just yet. I was going to watch it at the office today (my absolutely last day of work until September) but it was 3:30 and the janitor wanted me gone. So, either I get high speed or wait until September. Life is tough, eh?


Thank you all for your views on fires, and for your patience while I kept badgering you about it. To make up for it, I bring you the latest breaking news in awesome scifi-related science: a fireball meteor was photographed through a telescope.


Why is it called the “practical puddle”? Does that mean it really works? wink

It does look pretty cool.


nice videos.

in other news; inspired my your food posts, i did one about me & my brother’s recient trip to los angeles


Hi, Joe
The Ancient characters on the stargate are very similar to the NATO phonetic alphabet.
Is the idea come from that?


The puddle looks fantastic. Kudos to your effects department.


Cool gate puddle, I want one for my living room!


Great news about Sharon! Looking forward to seeing her and Ben Cotton in this new adventure called “Riese”. Thanks for the links. So many new shows to watch this fall!

The puddle is mesmerizing. It should be dark in the gateroom more often. wink


Ah, yes, Home is where the StarGate is…sigh! I want one too please.


This is really off topic, but I was wondering, is it just me, or does anyone else think that having two massive Jupiter impacts in less than 15 years is anything but terrifying? Hopefully being small equals hard to hit.

Joe, is it possible for you to give us a breakdown soon of the episodes, writers and directors?


first time I saw the puddle like that it took all my self-control to not jump through. I had the dorkiest grin on my face for half the day. I hope you’re enjoying the sun. see you on set in a couple weeks.

Daniel Willis
Daniel Willis

Question Joe. How did you record this? I thought it was a visual effect added later, by having a green screen behind the gate. This looks so real! Or has this video been edited to include the visual effects?



I love Ben!! His character was sweet in Harper’s Island. This show Riese sounds really cool too, it’s almost like a lord of the rings tv show! I can’t wait till it comes out!

the puddle is so cool!


I got to see Stargate’s booth at Comic Con tonight and I even had my picture taken infront of the gate they had there. I’ll hopefully have the pictures taken so far up on my blog in a few days.

Hey Joe, what’s the worst thing that ever happened to you on a trip? I can tell you mine. Right now I’m 300 miles from home and my car broke down and have to miss most of Comic Con tomorrow so that I can get my car fixed and get a rental car. Lucky me. I know that kind of thing happens to a lot of people, but I just have my car worked on two weeks ago.


I saw Ronald D. Moore at Fuel today…


coucou Joseph!!

Vous allez bien!!!!

Moi super!!! Merci pour ces super videos!!
Vous êtes vraiment inspirer pour écrire autant de page pour le script!

C’est drôle j’ai une conversation avec Ben coton et mon message le fait rire facebook le fait rire…j’ai juste marquer “Joseph Mallozzi Addiction” lol

Bon, aller bonne journée! Bisou!

Nicolas L.
Nicolas L.

Est-ce qu’il y a la langue francaise dans la nouvelle version de Childrens of the Gods, et est-ce qu’elle sortira en France?


Hi again Mr M!

Back at work..Hols but a memory.
RE: Videos from yesterday…Gotta say it : “Make it spin, make it spin…it’d look cooler if it spun!”
That is incredibly fast.

Re: Practical puddle. WOW! It must be great satisfaction to all the guys that you can get such a cool effect practically now. (not to mention the bottom line!)

Great book choice for September. Anything Mr Scalzi recommends I am going to read. He’s got the Oprah touch when it comes to book recommendations.

Re: Carl haircut…. is this part of Carl’s post-hiatus warm up routine? who looks the snazziest in the Writer’s Room? that Will Waring’s voice I hear in the video? And….let me guess, the Destiny just happens to have a crate of pineapples aboard eh?

@PG15 : I also TOTALLY missed ytimynona being anonymity backwards…D’oh! I actually thought it was a native american name…

If you think of it Mr M, and it’s not too much trouble, my birthday is Saturday 25th July. Perchance a blog dedication? Many thanks!

Best to all at the Comic Con….Watch as BJS and DB’s twitter numbers EXPONENTIALLY rise!

Best to all