Author Paul Jessup
Author Paul Jessup

Talk about a quick turnaround!  I sent off the fan/reader questions to Paul Jessup on Saturday and, this morning, I found his responses sitting in my inbox.  What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon!  Still, the effort is much appreciated.  Those of you who’ve been following this blog’s online Book of the Month Club (which, really, should be nearly all of you) know that Paul’s novella, Open Your Eyes, was our October selection (check the right sidebar for info on November’s selection, Emissaries from the Dead by Adam-Troy Castro).  And just because we’ve already read it here doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up or order it from Apex Book Company (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/) and read it wherever you are at your leisure.  Hopefully this little Q&A will whet your appetite.  And, if you’ve already read the book and looking for more info on the author, head on over here (http://pauljessup.com/wordpress/) for further info.

KellyK writes: “Yes this book was a bit of a mind warp and while I was left confused by some parts, overall the experience was a very positive one. I found it interesting that the author cut his teeth on short stories before writing this, a novella. Which leads me to my questions:

1. Did you set out to write a novel? A short story? Or did you just start writing and decide to “find” the end of your story as you were working on it?”

PJ: I set out to write a novella, which is basically like a really long short story.   They’re an interesting breed, Novellas.   They require a bit of tools from the short story skill set, and a bit of tools from the novel tool set.  Yet they’re  definitely their own thing. One of the hurdles I had to overcome when I set out to do this story was finding a place to market a novella- it’s not an easy thing to do.  Most publishers want big, thick, book length works.  Most magazine want small, compact one shot short stories.

Thankfully, I knew a few small presses that loved the novella form, and I was able to send it on to Apex books. The editor there loved it, and the rest is history.  But it was hard working on a project that I knew might not ever be published.  It also gave me quite a bit of freedom.  I didn’t have to worry about selling to a market, and I really could just let my brain wander and push everything as far as I wanted to. It freed me up, let me take a lot of risks that I might not normally take.

“2. Some people have described your work as New Weird which is a description I haven’t really seen applied to science fiction.  Do you think that’s accurate? And if so, were you influenced by any New Weird writers (like Jeff Vandermeer)?”

PJ: I’m not sure. I think I missed the New Weird movement by a few years, publishing wise. I’m hesitant to say I’m directly influenced by the New Weird writers – I do enjoy Vandermeer’s work, as well as China Mieville and the others.  But I’m hesitant to list them as a direct influence.  Most of my time when I was open to influence, the New Weird hadn’t even been invented yet. But I will say this – I’m eternally grateful to the New Weird movement for breaking boundaries, for opening up the field and making something like this, something like Open Your Eyes, a bit more viable than it was 10 years ago.

That said, I can see why people say that.  The element of horror in most of my works, as well as the influence of non-science fiction writers ties me in with the New Weird gang just nicely.   I just have this odd feeling I’m post-New Weird, and what I’m doing is different. Not better, not worse. Just different.  Although I will say I feel an affinity towards slipstream writers/interstitial writers, more so than New Weird.   The magical realism aspect of that writing is something I find inspiring, and try to emulate in my own work.

“3. I think you’re a pretty audacious writer. Do you think that’s a pretty applicable description? A lot of your ideas are so way out there, was there ever a point while writing Open Your Eyes that you worried it might be inaccessible to many readers? Did you care?”

PJ: Well, like I said above – I wasn’t quite sure if this story would ever see the light of day, so accessibility was on the back burner.

“4. You’ve written mainly short stories, but Open Your Eyes was your first stab at the longer form. What’s next for you? More short stories? Another novella? Maybe even another novel? Or will it just be a matter of letting the idea lead you?”

PJ: Well, OYE is my first stab at longer fiction that’s seen the light of day, heh.  What do I have in the future?  I’ve actually got two more books coming out.  One of them I can’t talk about yet, but it’s unlike anything I’ve done before.  The other is a collection of short stories called Glass Coffin Girls, published in the UK by PS Publishing.

As for what I’m currently working on?  Well, novels mostly.  I’ve been a novelist for as long as I’ve been a short story writer, and I love both forms very dearly. Novels take longer to write and sell than short stories, which is why most of my novel stuff is still in the darkness.   But trust me when I say you’ll see something big and novelly and exciting from me in the next few years.

TimK writes: “1. Why did the ship double-cross Itsasu?”

PJ: The ship was using Itsasu for it’s own purposes. It was leading Itsasu to finish his creators last great work –  discovering the secrets of an ancient alien race. His creator died before the existence of the Patuek, and could not be reborn. He double crossed Itsasu because Itsasu was leading them off the trail that the ship’s AI wanted to follow. That, and he was sick of pretending to be controlled by someone else, and finally wanted to be in control.

“2. Who released the virus meme on board the ship?”

PJ: No one – the virus meme was not an attack.  It was an sentient, alien existence.  The language itself was an alien. This alien lived inside of a creature on a different planet, like a mental parasite.  These creatures that the language lived on had a much higher mental capacity and could easily support the alien language for as long as it required.   But, when the planet was terraformed, the host to the language died and the language jumped to the nearest host, the humans, destroying the planet. The human mind was much smaller and could not hold the alien language for too long.  So the language has to jump hosts in order to survive.

“3. Was their any deeper significance to the magazine model Hodei was obsessed with?”

PJ: Yes.  But first, I need to explain the primary theme of the work.  The primary theme is anti-romance. This novel is a conversation with romantic stories, showing the dark side to love.  It shows that obsessive love can be destructive and mind controlling (as much as the alien virus is) and fogs our thoughts and emotions.  Each character is a slave to their love, to their obsession.  Itsasu is trying to resurrect her dead husband, the ship (who loved his creator) is carrying out his creator’s last wishes.  Mari is obsessed with her abuser and lover, Sugio.  Ekhi is obsessed with her star lover.

Note: these obsessions are all-consuming and create the downfall of each character. Ekhi practically destroys herself for her lover just to have sex with him.   Afterwards she is a hollow empty shell, without purpose.

And Hodei is obsessed with, and in love with, an ideal person. A centerfold who he has created a personality for, someone who can’t possible ever exist.  When she inhabits his mind, he is forced to realize that she is not only not the person he pictured, she is also very human and this aspect frightens him.

“4. What became of Ekhi?”

PJ: She transformed.

“5. And, I thought I’d ask anyway: How did a supernova get her pregnant?”

PJ: Magical realism.  The one primary aspect of magical realism is that things that are completely and wholly unrealistic happen without any cause or scientific purpose.  This is one aspect of it – here is something that could never ever possibly happen, yet in the focus of the story it does happen and is completely ignored by the characters as something mundane.  It’s symbolic, a metaphor of transformation. Through Ekhi’s love and destruction comes hope, rebirth, renewal.  Everyone is saved because love has destroyed.

Jreece writes: “1. Your writing style, especially in terms of plotting, seems very free-flowing. I’d like to know how you approached this story. Did you actually have an ending in mind or a detailed idea of how you were going to proceed or did the story take on a life of its own and write itself?”

PJ: Yes, the ending was completely planned out.   I always have three things before I start a story: a beginning, a middle, and an end.  The rest I let bubble up as I write, letting the characters bicker and corrupt and create their own subplots.

“2. How long did it take you to write Open Your Eyes? Was it one of those cases where you sat down to write a story and the more you wrote the more ideas came to you, leading you to make it novella-length?”

PJ: About two years, from start to finish.  I don’t ever set out to write one thing ( a short story) and have it turn into something else (a novel). To me, length dictates what I can get away with.  In a novel you can’t go as free flowing as you can in a novella or a short story.  The length of the work won’t hold the weight of all that weirdness.

“3. Since the novella was science fiction, I’m going to assume you like the genre. In your opinion, what can contemporary science fiction authors do to make their work more appealing to today’s audience? Or are you of the opinion that the writer should just write what he feels and if he finds an audience great but if he doesn’t find an audience then great too?”

PJ: To be honest I think Science Fiction is in a rut.  It’s sitting around, admiring itself and complaining about how no one ever reads it anymore.  But the thing is – no one is really taking any risks these days.  Everything is either hard SF or something that is very close to hard SF.  One of the biggest complaints about OYE is that it doesn’t explain enough, or readers wished there was more explanations for the science.

And I say to hell with that.  We need to take more risks.  We need to not explain, half explain.  We need to use science as a jumping off point, not as an end and a means in itself.   Space Opera has become far future science porn and we need something more than that. We need to be wild, free, crazy, intense and above all human.  We need our space opera to go out and blow the lids off the universe.  We need people to take more risks and find something new.

For example: New Space Opera.  That’s not new. It’s been around since the lat 70’s early 80’s!  How can this be new?  We need something grand and frightening.

Artdogspot writes: “Open Your Eyes was a short and challenging read for me. It has stuck in my mind long after I finished reading it and has made me curious about reading some of your other stories. I had alot of questions for you but these are the ones I felt most interested in getting some feedback on. Many thanks to you for your time and thoughts.

1. Your writing style seems anything but traditional story telling with a lot of very fantastical ideas. What are your influences and was there a specific idea that motivated you to write this story?”

PJ: The core idea is what motivated me to write this story. It was a single sentence, stuck in my mind: Her lover was a supernova.  That felt like it needed a story attached to it, so I sat down and started plotting and planning.  In some ways, it’s a very traditional story in that the plot happens at breakneck speed.  But it’s hard to read each instant and have it add up.  You need to read it and see the big picture before going back and reading it again, I think, since all the connections can be lost the first time around.

Influences?  I’m not sure I can answer this without writing fifty pages on every author I’ve ever read.  Let’s just say I read a lot of stuff outside of the field and inside the field.  And I love poetry.  And everything I read influences me and I love that.

“2. There is a remarkable absence of exposition in this story but it’s a very vivid descriptive style you use to tell it. I am not sure if I “got” everything as I had to make some mental leaps to understand what some things were. As a writer, do you consciously pare down or avoid using exposition and if so, why?”

PJ: With this story I wanted to keep the science porn to a minimum, and I wanted this future to be told by its characters.  These characters have a limited amount of knowledge.  They don’t know how the spaceship works anymore than your average joe knows how a microwave works. And I wanted to make sure that the reader gets this right away – hence the fantastical beginning. Once you buy into the whole idea of supernova impregnation, you have to be along for the ride- unquestioning.   So when I sneak in some actual science fiction, you won’t be distracted by the gadgetry.  I wanted this universe to feel lived in, to feel like you are there, with them.  And throwing in exposition explaining how the machines work would destroy that feeling.

“3. Given the little exposition, your descriptions are very vivid and fantastic. After I read this story, I seemed to be recalling the world you created almost more than the actual story. Was this purposeful  or is this just what I personally took away from this book?”

PJ: Yes, actually, this was very purposeful. I wanted the world to be detailed, the characters and the plot as functions of the world, as explorations of the world.

“4. Puppets, puppets everywhere. What drew you to use puppets as opposed to other Scifi A.I.’s such as androids, etc.? Was it to blur the line between humans and A.I.’s? Or, do you just like puppets?”

PJ: Symbolic. The humans became a puppet to the virus later on.

“5. Everyone (the humans) seemed damaged physically and/or emotionally. Some are actually physically dependent on technological devices for survival. Ekhi seems to be the most healthy human. Is this why the Super Nova chose to impregnate her? And, how did you come up with this idea?”

PJ: Healthy human?  I’m not sure about that. She’s very damaged, emotionally and physically.  There is a story behind this story of her running away from home, stealing a space ship – her poor father combing the skies, looking for her, trying to bring her back.  She was in love, the star was in love with her.  It wasn’t a choice to impregnate, but rather a consummation of that love that eventually destroys them both (yet sets everyone else free).

The others rely on technology because everything is technology. Humanity is technology.  So to me, she is actually the least human (and the most emotionally dead – she is practically a zombie) because she is less reliant on technology (and also, she is past her obsession, she has gotten what she wanted, and it has left her hollow).

“6. No one is who they appear to be and everyone has an agenda. In fact, they seem obsessed with their own personally, crippling agendas. Ekhi is the only one who is simply trying to survive. And, she has no fear of her impending galactic childbirth.

Throughout the invasion of the ship, the ship’s AIâ’s mutiny, and the transmission of the virus, all I kept thinking was “Yeah, just wait till Ekhi gives birth. All this stuff will seem like baby-food.”  But no one, including Ekhi, seemed to be thinking this way. How come?”

PJ: Because they are too obsessed with their own loves (which fuel their agendas) than with what is happening around them. That is why the virus is able to destroy them, why they don’t worry about Ekhi’s birth.  They are consumed by romantic notions, by all-devouring love and obsession.  They are being eaten alive by this notion of true love, this message forced on us by countless movies and books.  I wanted to show how destructive it was, how nihilistic it was to let one emotion control your entire life.

“7. The end of the story was really open-ended. There was little closure for me as a reader. It was both hopeless and hopeful at the same time, at least for me. It was certainly not obvious that mankind would fare well with what looked like a new galactic beginning. Was there a broader idea you intended to end the book with that I just didn’t get?”

PJ: Nope – Ekhi’s rebirth was a moment of drastic change.  The song of her child was meant to be symbolic of such changes, a moment of both hope and hopelessness.  Everything has changed; everything has stayed the same.

Sparrow_hawk writes:  “Where did the idea of a language as a virus that could infect humans come from?”

PJ: Delany and Burroughs.  William Burroughs believed that language was an alien virus.  Delany did some cool stuff with Babel-17, talking about a language, that when you learn it, it changes who you are.

“2. Sex with a supernova?”

PJ: Exactly.

“3. Do the names of the things like mozorro and thalna mean something or did you create them? Are they based on a particular language?”

PJ: They are from Basque mythology.  It added an extra symbolic layer.  The Thalna were a kind of healing spirits, Patuek the same.  The name for the virus was the name for a demon.  Etc, etc, etc.  It also gave the world a sense of strangeness, of otherness.

“4. How do (does) the Patuek work? At first I thought they were some type of implant but in another section they seem to be some kind of nanomachine creeping into Hodei. And Iuski’s brother explains that he sent Iuski’s Patuek out on radio waves. I’m confused.”

PJ: Okay, Patuek are like computers – they are more than one thing.  A computer can broadcast information (wifi), contain data (hard drive), and perform computations (motherboard, etc).  The Patuek’s primary purpose is to keep a backup of a human’s mind within tiny nanomachines.  These machines contain the information and can perform a sort of surgery on the mind, backing up what the human thought.  The virus destroys the mind completely as well as the Patuek, which means someone’s mind can’t be rebooted when they die (or stored somewhere else).

The Patuek can also broadcast the data (and can also be the data).  The name basically means the machines, the data and the broadcast.  So, what happened with Hodei was this: The data was broadcasted via radio waves.  His Patuek picked these waves up and began to perform a sort of surgery on his mind, bringing in the other personalities.

Originally I had different names for the data and the signal itself, but that was even more confusing.

“5. Do you have a favorite character in Open Your Eyes?”

PJ: Itsasu.  She has the strongest character arc, and is the most sympathetic.  She’s not a nice person, but she doesn’t hurt anyone else to get what she wants and she doesn’t let her obsession cloud her thinking as much as everyone else does.  She also longs for death. Even though she thinks she longs to be with her husband by bringing him back to life, she really longs for the quiet grave herself.

Thornyrose writes: One, how did you approach Open your eyes? Did you start with the idea of the unique impregnation and let the story unfold, or from the ending and moving back?”

PJ: I started with that one sentence, as I said above.  Then, I tried to decide who would be in a story that would contain such a strange occurrence, what they would be doing, etc. World building happened at the same time and, eventually, I had enough of a story to make a book.

“Who do you consider to be influential in your decision to become a writer?”

PJ: I don’t think there was much of a decision. It’s always what I’d done.

“If not an author, what would you consider your ideal job to be?”

PJ: An actor.  I come from a family of actors and I love the theater.

Thanks for such an awesome opportunity and such wonderful questions.

61 thoughts on “October 19, 2009: Author Paul Jessup Answers Your Questions!

  1. Thanks again for another great Q&A Joe and Paul Jessup. I’m really enjoying hearing so many different stories and viewpoints of authors.

    Das – Lap-top, not lap-dance…

    sparrow_hawk I’m quite an anti-sparkle person (let’s blame 18 years of sequins) so I’m going to go and see it in person. I have a feeling I’d lose all cred if I walked into a room full of 50+ year old male execs and whip out the scented sparkle laptop. Young woman, blonde with sparkles = deal breaker.

    The model is an ASUS F6V-3P151E – wanted the B1 or C1 but for some reason Aus doesn’t supply them and the global warranty is void if I purchase it from the US. They need to refer to their dictionary regarding the definition of ‘global’. Offering the model with an extra 2GB RAM which I need for running server based apps so that was the clincher. Plus I need it to be light for the travelling I do.

  2. Dear Joe,

    It just seems I wont give up on pushing the following questions your way….. trust me man… I will be a consistent pain in your backside until I get them answer … lol

    1. In the Episode Darkness, Volker stated that the Destiny has been travelling through out the universe for the better part of a million years. Then a little later, he states while conversing with the good Dr. Rush that some systems might need the ancient gene to be activated. Right away Dr. Rush barked at him and Col. Young for that matter before he had a nervous break-down that he knows for certain that the Destiny far pre-dates the ancient gene technology interface; meaning far pre dates Atlantis. But this seems very confusing since Atlantis left Earth for the Pegasus Galaxy between 5 to 10 million years ago, and obviously was built before their dearture to Pegasus; infering that tech was millions of years older. This is either, forgive me for saying this, a Brad Wright screw up or has been written by purpose but in any case it is contradictory. How can the Destiny be travelling for only a million years and in the same time pre dates Atlantis which according to you guys is over five million years old?

    NOW TO SOME EASY QUESTIONS

    2. Would you say that the Destiny is as big as a:
    a. Wraith Hive
    b. An Aurora class vessel
    c. An O’Neill class Asgard ship

    3. The FTL that the Destiny is using, is it faster or slower than Hyperspace windows; IF YOU CANT ANSWER IT JUST SAY IT?

    Thank you for the opportunity to voice our opinions and of course your time…. I will post this same entry tomorrow at the same time should you choose to ignore me, a loyal stargate frachise and a two year and counting Joseph Mallozzi Blog fan and regular, for the fifth time and counting.

  3. Thanks, Joe for another great Q&A. And thanks so much to Paul Jessup for answering our questions with pretty much the same refreshing energy he used in his novella. I actually did read his book twice. I felt the first time gave me an overall framework/reference for the story and the second time gave me a better comprehensive and appreciation of everything. Best of luck to PJ with future writings and I hope he continues to reinvent as much scifi as we can read. I, for one, will be on the look out for his works.

  4. on the back of belouchi’s questions – why do they use “FTL” instead of the (established use in SG-lore) of “Hyperspace”? Is there supposed to be a difference? it took me ages to figure out what they were saying…. its my one gripe with with show at the moment – which I suppose is a good thing ;o)

  5. Joe, I can’t believe you keep bringing in all these great authors to talk to us. Thank you Paul Jessup! I could have sworn he was talking about SGU when he said, “These characters have a limited amount of knowledge. They don’t know how the spacship works anymore than your average joe knows how a microwave works. And I wanted to make sure that the reader gets this right away – hence the fatastical beginning.”

  6. Okay – I guess I’ve taken up the minority banner, so bear with me for one more comment on this topic.

    You know, I have yet to see one scientist that is highlighted (meaning they have actual lines and interact with the main characters of the show) on any of the Stargates. There are minorities in science that are key players in the on-goings of science, and that have leadership roles.

    Here’s a case in point from the Spaceflight Now website:

    “The U.S. Senate Wednesday confirmed former astronaut Charles Bolden to be the next NASA administrator as the agency reaches a critical crossroads.

    Bolden, a four-time space flier and former Marine Corps general, will become NASA’s 12th administrator since the agency was formed in 1958. ”

    This man is an African-American. But, what one might never glean from the representation of minorities on the show(s) that this kind of thing does happen (in my opinion.) I have provided a link to the full article below.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0907/15bolden/

    Also, here’s the link to NASA’s website which gives additional information about the Adminstrator, Mr. Bolden:

    http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/bolden_bio.html

    Peace & Love,

    j

  7. I meant to say – I have yet to see one scientist that is highlighted (meaning they have actual lines and interact with the main characters of the show) on any of the Stargates that is African-American, or any minority for that matter.

    Peace & Love,

    j

  8. And to our other regular commenting Author, Michael A. Burstein, who yesterday said, “…I have to say that I am impressed by your willingness to approve the critiquing of the show on your blog. A lot of writers would probably not want to open up the more critical posts for their readers to see, and I think it’s to your credit that you do so.”

    Actually, we have been trained by the best critic ever, Joseph Mallozzi. Imagine how boring Joe’s dinners would be if under every food picture the caption read, “It was good.” Joe is merciless when describing his food and nothing escapes his nitpicking scrutiny. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, ask him over for dinner. I dare you!

    So too, this blog would be very boring if all the comments were, “It was good.” The comments are half the fun. I enjoy reading all of them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (even as twisted as some may be). Thanks to Joe for posting them and responding to some.

  9. Über thanks to Paul for answering all our questions and to Joe for all the fantabulous guest blogs! Enrich my life, they do.

  10. Finally watching “Darkness” by tape-delay.

    1. On “real” women: PDL & Ms. Levesque get credits from me for the Eli/Chloe walking scene. Let us just say that I can tell that EL qualifies as “real”.

    2. It had to happen…a fresh set of clothes miraculously appears. Did I miss something, or is that to be explained?

    3. OK, the cheesecake has been cut. (Yes, I meant that.) So when can we expect some buff or not so beefcake?

    4. Good work on the sunburn makeup continuity.

    5. Ditto on location subbing for suburbs of Washington, DC. For a second, I thought you’d shot in Greenbelt, MD. Very similar to townhomes in that area.

  11. @Gilder — RE: Your post from Sunday night and insomnia. Melanton will help get you to sleep; GABA helps keep you asleep. There is also a product I find helpful that is sold at Walmart called Alteril (I get no financial compensation for making such a suggestion). It’s good for short-term insomnia (has both melantonin, GABA, valerian root, and some other stuff). But like anything, if you take it every night, it loses its effectiveness. But for short-term insomnia when nothing else seems to work (warm milk, hot bath, whatever has worked for you personally in the past), I’ve found either two (melantonin/GABA combination, or Alteril) to help. Everybody’s biochemistry is different. Like anything, check with your doctor to make sure none of the ingredients in the product are contraindicated with any prescription medication you are taking.

  12. Downloaded the 4th episode (gasp!) and I have to say that while after the pilot you had me worried about the quality of the show, a pat on the back is certainly due in order now. *pats Joe on the back*

    The series has picked up big time, this is gonna be great (not gonna make me await the sga and sg1 movies less anxiously, but still).

  13. Thanks to Mr. Jessup for an informative Q&A. The speedy turnaround is also appreciated. The answers to the questions definitely gave me a clearer insight into Open Your Eyes. Thanks to Mr. M. for all the work you put into this blog.

  14. @ Narelle – Oh. See…erm…in my house, we have technical names for…um…other things. Laptop. Hard drive. Floppy disc…

    das

  15. I don’t understand why the main criteria some people are judging SGU by is how important the females are.

    I’m enjoying SGU, Joe 🙂
    And, as a music nerd, I love the job that Joel has done.

  16. Heh my friend just pointed out this: why did you guys use the metric system?
    As in litres instead of gallons or whatever the equivalent imperial unit is. Canada uses the metric system but from what I understand America uses imperial.
    This is the kind of nit-picking I usually loathe, but I’m really curious. Sorry.

  17. @Tru & @Belouchi

    You might have miss my earlier entry about the FTL issue .

    Basically the SG-lore hyperspace window is normal space travel through a hyperspace passage in a different dimension. You do not travel faster than light speed. You jumping through the hyperspace window at sublight speed. Once you pop out at the other end of the window multiple light years away, you are still traveling at sublight speed. But to the rest of the Universe you disappear in one spot and reappear in different space later or earlier (depending on the diredtion of time flow in the hyperspace dimension). This type of travel is refer to as a jump drive in science fiction.

    The Destiny is using something like the Star Trek warp drive to warp the space time around the ship. As I understood it. The ship doesn’t move but the universe around it does. And it does give the appearance of faster than light speed travel to observers outside the ship’s warp field.

    The Stargates are a form of jump drive minus the ships.

    Hope I clear things up for you.

  18. @Tru… FTL… in the same dimension, just going faster than light. Hyperspace = subspace, a different dimension altogether. I think Destiny is using old technology. Didn’t you watch the instructional videos?

  19. Joe,
    Thanks for Jessups Q&A, Im not an avid reader but when an Author does Q&A, I see their mindset and where their going with the Story so I’ll check them out. Im Backwards like that.

    And it amazes me how you have said how far along you were(SGU crew) taping and now you finished the people want you to change a characters actions, do they even read your blog or the responses after?

  20. Mr. M., you were talking about TV shows before. Being a writer, does it make it harder for you to enjoy a show? I ask because my hubby is a pc expert and it drives him crazy to see some of the computer stuff on shows.

    Narelle: My hubby found the sparkles and fragrance hilarious. It’s been a while since he shopped for a computer.

    PBmom: all great imsomnia cure ideas. Lots of exercise is the only thing that worked for me regulary, though. Morning and “night” exercise. Fun too!

    Tam

  21. Hello Mr. M,

    Sorry for not posting lately. Its just laziness. Anyways, watched darkness again. Liked it A WHOLE LOT better the second time.

    Oh and when I was at this giant stryper concert, I met 2 SGU viewers. And they both agreed with me that darkness was slow and blah, and they agreed that previous eps were better. One of them said they would watch SGU anyways even if they didn’t love it but the other one was ready to turn SGU off. I convinced her to watch one more ep before she turned it off. So light better be faster and more exciting cause I think a lot of SGU viewers are on the fence and are only ready to give it one more ep.

    Oh and Mr. M, I think I figured out something. You know when watch something bad for the first time, you cringe when you see it, then the second time you watch it, you don’t cringe as much, and then the third time you barley cringe…. and then the cycle continues.

    I am trying to use this point to talk about SGU’s pacing. Take air part 3 and darkness for example. The first time I watched air part 3 the pacing felt off and the first time I watched darkness I was almost board, cause it lagged like poop. However the second and third time I watched air part 3 it felt much more paced cause I knew what was going to come and I was like desensitized to the slowness and it actually felt like the story was moving fast.

    Same happened with darkness. I think you guys are so used to the scripts and the scenes you don’t realize that it sometimes get a little tedious and slow. Just A HYPOTHESIS. I COULD BE TOTALLY WRONG, just it has happened to me and it would make sense if it happened to you guys. I think if you erased your memory of the past year and watched SGU(darkness), you would say, wow, this is kinda slow and dragged out, I wish it was a bit faster and I wished something cool happened other than in the last 10 minutes.

    Speaking of the last 10 minutes, both the SGU viewers I met at the concert liked the ending of darkness, despite the fact that the episode was tedious.

    Oh and another funny thing is I was spewing SGU info to them that I have gathered over the past year and they were like “how do you know sooo much about the episodes that haven’t aired”. I told them all about the webisodes, the kino’s, the Lucian Alliance, and about the attractions of upcoming episodes. It was so great to finally unleash all the SGU knowledge inside my head. LOL.

    Anyways ill stop blabbering, and chances are, no one is reading my appology for blabering cause you probably quit reading my comment a long time ago. LOL

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  22. Ok, here’s how I undertand these nuances between FTL, Hyperspace and Wormholes/Warp Drives, if you care.

    FTL implies you go faster than light can locally in our familiar 4 dimensional space/time fabric.

    Hyperspace implies you access other dimensions allowed by the SuperString theories where light can actually travel faster than in our familiar space/time (you’re still going slower than local light can within these speculated dimensions).

    Wormholes and warp drives suggest you somewhat fold regular space/time and take a shortcut from one ply to the next one while still going slower than local speed of light within this shortcut.

    Now, if you write SF instead of plain S, and you can prettty much define your own Theory of Everything; even one not giving you the proper answer: 42. 😉

    Hyperspace and folding space are actually less crazy scientifically speaking as FTL requires more energy than was ever produced by the big bang and the entire universe itself (zero point doesn’t even comes close) BUT this, and again, only outside the realm of SF.

    Anyhow, whether hyperspace could permit to catch up with them could be irrelevant. By travelling faster than light for so many millions years, one could assume they could have even got outside each others observable universe(eg: farther than 27 billions light years away). If no one can say where they are relative to each others observations, you simply don’t know where to head. In fact, I’d guess merely one billion light years would be enough for you to oberve a completely different look at the same galaxies at both ends. The fact that astrophysicists commit themselves at creating a map of the entire cosmos while they admit not knowing much about dark matter and dark energy, hence, 95% of the said universe is actually quite harder to figure out for me, though it shouldn’t come to surprise anyone starting with me.

    And that’s how this geek figures how these inconsistent and very different observations needed to yield a position can defend the writers’ case, your honnor.

    Jean

  23. PJ: To be honest I think Science Fiction is in a rut. It’s sitting around, admiring itself and complaining about how no one ever reads it anymore. But the thing is – no one is really taking any risks these days. Everything is either hard SF or something that is very close to hard SF. One of the biggest complaints about OYE is that it doesn’t explain enough, or readers wished there was more explanations for the science.
    And I say to hell with that. We need to take more risks. We need to not explain, half explain. We need to use science as a jumping off point, not as an end and a means in itself. Space Opera has become far future science porn and we need something more than that. We need to be wild, free, crazy, intense and above all human. We need our space opera to go out and blow the lids off the universe. We need people to take more risks and find something new.

    OK, I really like this guy. Thanks for the Q&A. Jump this author to near the top of my read list.

  24. Coucou =) comment allez vous ?
    Moi trés bien comme d’habitude!!

    Je suis impatiente d’être à ce week end car je passerai quelques jours à Paris!!…j’ai déja prévu un programe de folie..je vous raconterez!!

    Bonne journée!
    Bisou!

  25. @ Ponytail

    “Actually, we have been trained by the best critic ever, Joseph Mallozzi.”

    I see that. And now I’m imagining an alternate universe where all Joe ever says about his food is, “It was good.” 🙂

    @ Darkcraft says, “I don’t understand why the main criteria some people are judging SGU by is how important the females are.”

    Probably because it’s very important to them. I know that when I see observant Jewish characters show up in fiction, I’m pleased because I feel like my own existence is being noted. (In one episode of Firefly, there was a minor character who happened to be wearing a kippah, or yarmulke, on his head. Now, that character didn’t do anything particularly Jewish or religious in the scene, as there was no reason for him to do so. But the fact that he was simply there pleased me.)

    Especially given how often female characters have been given short shrift in science fiction in the past, it becomes even more important for creators to portray strong, vivid, and believable female characters today.

  26. PS. Last night’s Big Bang Theory with Wil Wheaton was this season’s funniest, and one of the best of the series. Just when I thought the Star Trek references were getting tiresome, C Lorre hits it out of the park.
    DD

  27. I Agree With Major D. Davis
    one needs to watch an episode at least twice to 3 times before they can be critical about an Episode, there are so many that come back and say “I saw it again and I see what something means” and their sorry for their first impressions. I believe people need to watch an SGU episode twice just to understand someome of the complexities or issues they missed on or just to watch it twice ; )

  28. @Ponytail – Just because you may not agree with an opinion, that does not make it twisted. But, then again, you have a right to your opinions as well…

  29. @ Michael A. Burstein – I appreciate these opinions/comments that you made:

    “I know that when I see observant Jewish characters show up in fiction, I’m pleased because I feel like my own existence is being noted. (In one episode of Firefly, there was a minor character who happened to be wearing a kippah, or yarmulke, on his head. Now, that character didn’t do anything particularly Jewish or religious in the scene, as there was no reason for him to do so. But the fact that he was simply there pleased me.)

    Especially given how often female characters have been given short shrift in science fiction in the past, it becomes even more important for creators to portray strong, vivid, and believable female characters today.”

    I would only add that creators should create strong, vivid, and believable characters “period.” All characters deserve to be portrayed in this way: Female, male, short, tall, heavy, thin, jewish, christian, muslim, black, white, brown, yellow, red, blue (hey – it’s sci-fi), green, disabled, abled, sitting, standing, cooking, cleaning, well – the list goes on…

    Shalom & Love,

    j

  30. 1120 AM CT/USA, 20 Oct.

    @PBMom–thanks, I’ll save that advice.

    @Joe M–shutting off TV at 1AM and leaving iPhone in kitchen helped, as did absence of snoring spouse (away on business). No sleep-promoting pills. But…vivid dreamer, plot lines involving SGU, Heroes, and ST:TNG. I HATE to wake up in middle of exciting dream!

    Good surprise this AM…WordPress has activated mobile format!

  31. @Anne Teldy:

    otros ojos wrote:

    About 1st Lt. Scott, we know that he didn’t attend the U.S. Air Force Academy…

    “How do we know this? All I remember being said about his service was when he told Eli that Icarus was his first assignment after SGC training.”

    Thanks for raising this point, which brings up the issue of following the SGU cast on Twitter. A tweet posted by Brian Jacob Smith was my source of information in this case.

    I can see a dilemma here for those whose computer time is limited, or who simply don’t wish to spend their online time hanging out on Twitter. My own compromise is that since my online time is limited at present, I’ve chosen to follow only a small group of people, predominantly cast/crew members who often provide valuable glimpses into the characters and other elements that go into the making of SGU — while at the same time connecting with fans by sharing some of what goes on in their own lives.

    Brian Smith has done an exemplary job of keeping many of his tweets focused on his character, and he has also provided links to a few outstanding reviews — in particular, a review by Alaisdair Stuart — who, as Brian said, “gets it big-time.” I read the review, and was completely blown away by Stuart’s grasp of what SGU is all about. (For instance, I’ve tried and tried to articulate my own view of the kino’s function without much success, but Stuart nails it.)

    If Joe is cool with this, any of us who acquire pertinent info / helpful links re. SGU on Twitter could repeat that info here for those who are unable to stay online long enough to make good use of the site. The only problem I myself would have with doing that is the thought of providing a free ride (so to speak) for those who have plenty of online time, but choose to get their SGU info from unreliable sources rather than from the actors/crew who actually know what’s going on, and are willing to field legitimate questions. Still, I suppose, the more informed viewers are, the better.

    Chevron 7 would likely be able to address any issues Twitter may have with the reposting of comments made on their site.

  32. @J – you said, “You know, I have yet to see one scientist that is highlighted (meaning they have actual lines and interact with the main characters of the show) on any of the Stargates. There are minorities in science that are key players in the on-goings of science, and that have leadership roles.”

    I know it’s not the same thing, but real life astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared on the SGA episode Brain Storm and was mentioned by Carter in the episode Trio. So there was at least some minority science representation in SGA, even if he wasn’t a fictional scientist but a real one. There was a brief scene with him, Rodney and Bill Nye.

    Mary

  33. @Darkcraft

    About metric system been use in SGU.

    Most tooling in industry is switching to metric. The US market share doesn’t seem to justified producing tools and machinery that can’t be use or maintain elsewhere in the world anymore. A lot of the new US military hardware is going metric so you don’t have to special order screws & fasteners from a US depot/manufacturer if you are deployed away from the Continental US instead of a local supplier for example.

    The Stargate program is an International entity. The US is a part of it. It’s easier to retain interoperability if everyone is using the same standards. Which except for the US, everyone else is using the metric system. This applies to foreign broadcast & DVD sales in real life too. Most folks outside the US have no clue about the Imperial system.

  34. @DP – Thanks. I just went to dunenovels.com to see what this is about, and I think I’m going to read it, well at least the first one. I mean, when it’s supposed to be ” … one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time…” how can I pass it up?

    Trust that I’m going to come back and tell you what I think when I’m done.

    Peace & Love,

    j

  35. I noticed that your currently reading “Air” which I know you’ve had for a LONG time (I know cause you posted a pic with a bunch of other books that you bought) and I bought and read it as well.

    I’ll be interested to know what you think of it!!

    Please post or e-mail me.

    Thanks
    Pen

    ps. on an unrelated note LOVING SGU 🙂

  36. I don’t understand all the hubbub (bub) about the women in SGU. If it was up to this woman, there would be NO women in the crew! In fact, my ideal SGU crew (complete with made-up ranks, except for the ones I stole from Star Trek ) would consist of:

    Gerard Butler (as Attila) – Commander and Military Strategist

    Christopher Heyerdahl (as Todd) – Chief Medical Officer (think about it…thiiiink about it…)

    Morgan Freeman – Ship’s counselor

    Laurence Fox (as James Hathaway) – Master-at-Arms (or, MP for you army types)

    Eddie Vedder (of Pearl Jam) – Communications Officer

    Zenith the Albino (and Gentleman Thief) [inset of actor] – Supply Officer

    Mel Gibson (as Mad Max circa Road Warrior, dog included) – Chief Engineer

    Luke Goss (as Prince Nuada) – Chief Tactical Officer

    Aaron the Albino – Spiritual Adviser

    Elric of Melniboné (role not yet cast) – Master-at-Brooding, Mercenary Swordsman and all-around Doomsday Device

    James Franco (as Saul Silver from Pineapple Express) – Botanist turned Ship’s Cook

    Johnny Depp – Stowaway & Chameleon (might be a gypsy…might be a pirate…)

    Jamie Campbell Bower – Stowaway’s Son

    Taylor Kitsch (as Gambit) – ZMP

    David Garrett (violinist) – USO Entertainer

    Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns (of Finntroll) – Half-naked Hot Guy Lurking in the Shadows

    Kid with Long Red Hair – Eye Candy

    John Cleese (as a Viking) – Comic Relief

    Meat Loaf – Renewable Food Source for Todd (Meat Loaf tends to repeat on him…)

    And they would look something like this:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v54/dasNdanger/pics-1.jpg

    Now…THAT’S a show I could get into! 😀

    das

  37. Thanks for the Q&A with Paul Jessup. I haven’t read “Open your eyes” yet, but now I’m hooked to read it. It sounds very interesting. Already got me a copy for my Kindle.

  38. @Major D. Davis – I read your whole commentary. And, I think you have nothing to apologize for. Everyone has their own experience watching the show. Yours is as valid as everyone else’s.

    Peace and Love,

    j

  39. @J

    There’s a revelation of something toward the end of the series that’s in line with what you were talking about. I can’t say exactly what because that would be giving away too much, but I probably have given away too much already.

  40. @Darkcraft

    The US medical community uses the metric system. It would follow that the science community would, too. They tried to change us to the metric system in the 1970’s. I think we need to switch.

    @Gilder

    TV in the bedroom is not good for insomniacs. Another good thing to use is essential oils like lavender. You can spray your pillow, which my husband can’t stand, so I use a roll on version that I can apply to my skin. I put it right under my chin so my nose inhales it without getting any of the bedding lavender-smelling. Also, I found a great lavender-scented Epsom’s salts. Epsom’s salts baths are also good. There is a product out called Natural Vitality Natural Calm (again, I don’t get anything from naming this product, I’ve just used it). Raspberry Lemon flavor. It is magnesium citrate in its ionic form; you mix it with warm/hot water and drink it like a tea. Doing this works because the magnesium acts as a smooth muscle relaxant and helps relax you (that is why Epsom’s salts baths work because they are magnesium absorbed through the skin). However, most people don’t put enough Epsom’s salts into their baths to be effective.

    For me, exercise actually reinvigorates me and makes me wide awake. Whenever I’m feeling tired during the middle of the day, exercise acts like caffeine on me. It’s trial and error to find what is best for yourself.

  41. I discovered that discussing SGU with coworkers can lead to them discovering how old I actually am. I said that Scott is attractive, sure, but he’s just a kid, and Col Young is the one I stare at. That led to the question “How old are you?” I thought it was nice that they thought I was 42 at most, and when the hell did I get old enough for that to be nice??

  42. @J

    Sorry, I was attributing a place where you quoted MAS to you. It’s still a good series, though.

  43. @ Narelle – Keep in mind – I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy. “Look! BOOBIES!! LOLOL!”

    😛

    @ Tammy – For some reason, Legolas never did anything for me. I think he must seriously be lacking the ‘naughty gene’. Either that, or maybe he looked like he bathed too regularly. (My sister says I have skeevy taste in men…so watch out, Carl! 😀 )

    das

  44. PSS: Meat Loaf only makes my list as Todd’s din-din. Afterall, I DO have my standards!

    das

  45. I had a nice little suprise outside my door at lunch – an autographed SGU poster I found out I won on Saturday!! I have to find a frame for it this weekend but am enjoying it as much as possible. Just had to share. Time to go giddy with excitement.

  46. belouchi wrote:


    1. In the Episode Darkness, Volker stated that the Destiny has been travelling through out the universe for the better part of a million years. Then a little later, he states while conversing with the good Dr. Rush that some systems might need the ancient gene to be activated. Right away Dr. Rush barked at him and Col. Young for that matter before he had a nervous break-down that he knows for certain that the Destiny far pre-dates the ancient gene technology interface; meaning far pre dates Atlantis.[snip]

    If the Ancients developed the gene interface to keep the Wraith from using captured equipment (an assumption, I know, but logical as they had no need for it before), then the Destiny would definitely predate the gene interface but not predate Atlantis leaving Earth.

    I imagine the timeline looks something like:

    Alterians split from Ori and go to Earth.
    They launch Destiny.
    Plague.
    Alterians leave infected behind and, flying the city of Atlantis, go to Pegasus Galaxy (which was the Destiny’s first stop).
    The war with the Wraith begins.
    Ancients develop the gene interface.
    Ancients return to Earth and build the Antarctic outpost incorporating the gene interface into the Chair.

    Tru wrote:

    on the back of belouchi’s questions – why do they use “FTL” instead of the (established use in SG-lore) of “Hyperspace”? Is there supposed to be a difference?

    There is a difference. Rush said so when Scott and Eli found him on the observation deck in the first episode. “FTL yet not hyperspace”.

    Anne Teldy

  47. @Das: SML 🙂 Cheeky!

    Hi Joe!

    @Trish: So, you showing up on the 31st? We’d love to see you!

  48. @ EILEEN BLUE,. Would you like to join us( The Fl. Mallozzi Club) for lunch on Sat. OCT. 31st at 12:00 noon at TU TU TANGO on International Dr. in Orlando? You are part of us since you live in FL. and read JOE’S blog!! We would love to have you with us. So far 4 of us and hopefully 6. One person (MADDOG) cannot make it that day- and we will miss you MADDOG!! Let me know on the blog and I will get you my e-mail and PH. #. Hope to hear from you. @ JOE, The chestnuts are on their way, don’t forget to put them in the fridge when they come, ENJOY!! bye, Sheryl.

  49. Hi Joe!

    Just watched Darkness again. Really enjoyed it the second time too. 🙂

    Please, don’t kill Volker or Brody! They are like two parts of Rodney’s less arrogant side. 🙂

    I think I get what Young was trying to do by sending Volker in to help Rush. Like he said in Air, Young needed to see what everyone was made of, and he needed everyone there to step up. He knew Rush would yell at Volker (though he probably didn’t realize Rush was as wacked out as he was at the time), but he was hoping Volker would stand up to Rush and help figure out the problem.

    I think the Eli and Chloe scenes were sweet. 🙂

    eddy

  50. Hi Joe (again)!

    Crap, keep forgetting to say thanks for the classical music references in Volker’s Kino Confessions. Makes my li’l music major heart all a-flutter. 🙂

    eddy

  51. @Mary – Yes, I watched that episode of SGA. And you are right, although it was nice of them to cameo the real astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, it is not the same as him actually having somthing to do in the show.

    I know I said it would be nice to have a minority scientist with actual lines that interacts with the main cast. But, asking the Rodney character if Keller is his sister and “They can’t possibly be dating” never quite came to mind. These do not qualify as real lines to me. I was talking about a character (real or fictional) that actually contributed to the plot of the show instead of vamping up how “hot” the Keller character is supposed to be. But, he was in the episode, so…

    @ DP – So, I guess this means I’m off the hook for reading all six novel eh?

    Peace & Love,

    j

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