It’s 2049 and the antiquated penal system is a thing of the past.  The incarceration of prisoners has been outsourced to Hypnos, a corporation charged with the task of placing and maintaining inmates in a hibernative slumber for the duration of their respective sentences.  Washington D.C.’s maximum security lock-up, a.k.a. the sugar cube, houses some of the most world’s most dangerous – and inconvenient, because it turns out that a number of those in deep sleep stasis are actually political prisoners or individuals whose only crime was to piss off the wrong people.  Among those special cases is the enigmatic Eliot Russo, a man who has spent some fifteen years in the sugar cube and may hold the key to upending the corrupt system.

Three lawyers – Laurel Cole, Bastien Compton and Raul Osborne – are engaged by a mysterious benefactor and charged with the task of springing Russo.  In order to gain entrance to the high security complex, however, they must enter it as prisoners.  Stripped, sedated, and placed in stasis, they become inmates of the sugar cube – until eventually released by a mole working on the inside.  Two survive the shock to their systems.  One does not.  With time ticking down, the survivors must locate Russo and effect a hair-raising escape that sees them effectively flushed and deposited into the city’s meandering sewer systems. From there, they must struggle to stay alive, protect their charge, and remain one step ahead of their enemies: Hypnos, Homeland Security, and a cool and calculating mercenary named Nicola Masek.

One of the things I dislike about cyber-thrillers are their emphasis on overly complicated technology.  More often than not, the plot and characters take a back seat to painstakingly detailed accounts of the futuristic gadgets and gizmos at the heart of the stories.  What you end up with is a narrative that is all surface, technically engaging, but ultimately unsatisfying and, dare I say it, pretty damn boring.  The Prisoner, however, succeeds in creating an intricate yet fascinating world of technological marvels.  Author Carlos J. Cortes does an admirable job of walking that fine line between techy and true, crafting a world that is at turns innovative, intricate, and utterly enthralling.  The futuristic elements that run through the novel are impressive in their scope and specifications, spectacular inventions just one or two steps removed from our present reality, and while intrinsic to the plot, they never overshadow the true driving force of  the narrative: its well-defined characters.

While I’ll admit to occasionally becoming lost in some of the peripheral players, the main characters commanded my attention throughout.  I was invested in not only our heroine, but even a couple of the villains as well.  The opportunistic Nicola Masek, in particular, stood out as one of those immensely appealing personalities you would happily follow into his own series.  Much of the appeal of these characters stems from Cortes’ knack for turning presumptions and initial expectations on their head, adding layers through backstory, twists, and turns that will have the reader constantly questioning motives, allegiances, even their own perceptions.  There were a number of times throughout that I actually understood, even sympathized with the bad guys – and that’s a rarity in fiction.

Tautly plotted and quickly paced, it’s one of those books you have a hard time putting down once you get going.  Cortes’s prose style is delightful in its ability to wholly subsume the reader.  My favorite sequence involves the escape through the Washington sewer system, an account so harrowing in its rich and disturbingly comprehensive that I will no doubt remember it years from now – and wince.  It elicited a visceral reaction similar to what I experienced reading Stephen King’s awesomely disturbing A Very Tight Place, a story about a guy trapped in a toppled outhouse.  !!!

Top marks for this cyber-thriller.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I already went out and picked up Cortes’s first book, Perfect Circle.

What did everyone else think?

And, while you’re thinking, start posting your questions for author Carlos J. Cortes!

Still on the fiction front, editor Lou Anders has forwarded me the final cover for that superhero anthology I’ve been talking about forever (mainly because I have a short story in the line-up).  Here it is –

Those of you paying attention may have noticed a difference between the previous version and the final pictured above.  Yep, the anthology has been retitled, from With Great Responsibility to Masked.  We’ve got a release date of July 20, 2010.  Available for pre-order here: http://www.amazon.com/Masked-Lou-Anders/dp/1439168822/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273542065&sr=8-6

Lou’s been a busy boy.  He’s also got another anthology (this one co-edited with Jonathan Strahan) coming out in July as well –

And, no, your eyes do not deceive you.  The collection includes an original story from, among others, one of my top five favorite authors (and Baron Destructo passing acquaintance) Joe Abercrombie!  You can get your copy here: http://www.subterraneanpress.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=strahan01&Category_Code=PRE&Product_Count=28

I remembered to bring in the ice cream I made yesterday.  Sort of.  I only brought one flavor – and, if you talk to Carl, he’ll tell you it was the wrong one.  I forgot the Vanilla with Shaved White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Flakes.  However, I DID remember the Sweet Corn with Cheddar Chips.  Those brave enough to sample it ended up in two camps: the “This is delicious camp!” (led by Ashleigh who had seconds) and the “I can’t get the taste out of my mouth!” camp (led by Carl).  I liked it, but I enjoy the unusual – and this was mighty unusual: creamy, crispy, sweet, and salty!

52 thoughts on “May 10, 2010: The Prisoner, by Carlos J. Cortes! A new title for that superhero anthology! Sweet Corn and Cheddar Chip Ice Cream is a success – but it depends who you ask!

  1. Send some of that ice cream this way. I’ll trade you for some fresh Macaroons…

    Really liked the last episode though I was dissapointed with the team making it back so…easily…might of been the word. I think if it had waited until the end of the episode I would of been content.

    Then again I am the type of geek that enjoys watching a character like Helo run around on Caprica for an entire season with only a Good Boomer as his guide…

    At any rate, good episode…I approve.

    I feel that unless someone dethrones Parvati then she will take it again….Coby and Rupert need to stop putting the suck in suck and get their heads in the game. Any chance when Jeff Probst retires you can pull some tv strings and get me the job? That is for sure a question for the mailbag…

  2. Here’s a toss-up question for my fellow posters. I think I missed something.

    How are the DESTINY refugees powering their radios, flashlights, electric razors, etc.? Has there been a reference to rigging a battery charger?

  3. BotMC-The Prisoner

    Really enjoyed this book and was grabbed at the very beginning. The pace was rapid and as the story unfolded I just wanted more. Had to discover if they succeeded so of course could not stop reading. Agree with your comment that there was just enough discussion of the technology to give it presence for what was happening – but not to the point of distraction or worse confusion and losing the story line.

    The story had very real aspects meaning – some of the flaws of big government and big business where power, money and greed for more money and power was the underlying driver for people like Odele Marino. Also, with the exception of Palmer, Members of Congress are not likely to go against the “flow” unless they are comfy that they will come out smelling like a rose.

    It is very disgusting in that in politics/politicians – many have way too much power and this includes high placed government officials who seemingly can just do what they wish evinced by actions of Odelle and her minions.

    The 11th commandment must be written somewhere (even today) as it is so applicable – thou shalt not be found out.

    Nikola Masek got away easy – while it was ‘revealed” he had a conscience etc., he had way too much power and used it. Seemed he abused it early in the book. Also, it appeared that he may have benefited from a lot of that money that Odelle managed to collect in the international bank accounts.

    I was engrossed by Nicola and wanted to dislike him but eventually grew to appreciate him.

    Like the Ritter character and loved the “visual” of Ritter – with the exception of the baret, it’s JOE. The character was a good one so that made it even better.

    In a way was a bit surprised…but not really at Senator Palmer’s allowing Odelle Marino to commit suicide. It would have been more fitting punishment for her know and anticipate she was to be interred in a tank. Just as she so willingly and indiscriminately committed others to the tanks. Even her brash statement to the General – that she would have him thrown head first into a tank. LOL…like the Queen of Hearts – off with his head, so to speak. Fascinating that she had her vendetta and acquired enough power over time to be a real witch in disposing of people.

    Glad that Laurel and Doctor Floyd got together, that was “just right.”
    Nice to have the follow up of what happened to each of the key characters whose lives were so richly developed but not over done. Including Metronome.

    Questions for Carlos Cortes:

    First, thank you for a well written and developed story. I enjoyed it very much.

    1. It was not clear to me and I may have missed its treatment, In the report of the theft of blood (for Russon) mentioned strange foot prints. Antonio, I believe did the stealing and he had prosthetics. So I was waiting for the shoe to drop, as Dennis and Nikola were so thorough, if the authorities were able to identify a military issued prosthetic and link it to him.
    2. What became of the watch Laurel gave to Metronome so he would be able to know the proper timing for releasing the pregnant rat?

    Thank you for participating in Joe’s Book club and taking time to respond to questions.

  4. Forgot to mention I just ordered the Perfect Circle as well.

    The new title is better and blends in better with the cover image. But, I must admit I am not really keene on the cover and in particular…sorry to beat the horse more…you realllllly deserve to be included as, “…and more authors,” instead of “others.”

  5. Joe, please expand on “cheddar chips”. Are they a dairy product, a snack food, or a cheese-flavored baking ingredient? A photo would help. Thanks.

  6. “How are the DESTINY refugees powering their radios, flashlights, electric razors, etc.? Has there been a reference to rigging a battery charger?”

    – Riley found a piece of Ancient tech on Destiny in the first 3-part episode that they modified to recharge their batteries.

    ———————————————————-

    I enjoyed “Sabotage” the other night. While others may disagree with how easily Scott&Co got back, I don’t think it was beyond reason if Destiny’s engine blew up within a few hours/days of the previous episode.

    Have two questions, but oddly enough neither are related to the episode.

    (1) From reading the blog, most of us know that the next DVD movies are written but just ‘on hold’ given the market. I’m just wondering how this affects writers like yourself when it comes to getting paid for your work since obviously a two-hour script is a substantial investment of labour. I’m assuming you get ‘some amount’ just for creating the script, and then maybe more if its shot and released. Is this correct? or does it totally depend on whether it is filmed?

    (2) Has the longevity of the original series Star Trek tv show changed the dynamics for writers when it comes to salaries and residuals? With the old show still being shown regularly over 40 years later, we can only hope that Stargate will age as well. For example I have heard that the 60’s era Trek writers don’t see a dime from rebroadcasts.

    Cheers

  7. Well, it’s my birthday in *my* part of the world. It’ll be my birthday in your part tomorrow. Hey, if I jump in a plane right now I celebrate again!

  8. @Gilder

    I think you might have missed something. Early on, in one of the first few episodes, they found these recharging pads that allowed all their electronic devices to be recharged if left sitting on them for a while.

    I actually saw something rather like it at Target the other day. Except you plugged that one in. Destiny’s, I presume, is solar powered. Or make that stellar powered.

    Did I get it right, Joe?

    SBS

  9. I saw the three, Want to see them all now in HD. This exprence in no way affact my desire watch them live on syffi
    well worth it good episodes. Have a good night stayed up to watch now trying to sleep while still amped up from watch three episodes straigth if you don’t have to do not do it if you expect to wake up bright eyes and bushy tail for work. Instead watch out there are that good. BRING ON SEASON 2!!!!!!!!

  10. Gilder
    How are the DESTINY refugees powering their radios, flashlights, electric razors, etc.? Has there been a reference to rigging a battery charger?

    In Darkness, Riley mentions to Young that they’ve figured out a “recharging plate” that they are using to charge the batteries in the flashlights, computers, etc.

  11. You know, I think that ice cream actually sounds kind of awesome. And in a move that will probably weird people out, I’d choose your corn/cheddar concoction over the vanilla chocolate. Maybe I’ve just never had high-enough quality chocolate, but 90 percent of the time, whenever there’s anything much more than a chocolate ribbon, the chocolate gets…not really waxy, but just odd in texture.

    What’s the time period like between when the first draft of a script is done and the casting search begins and when filming starts?

  12. GREAT GREAT GREAAT EPISODE… I’m talking about Incursion! I think it is your best ever since windows of opportunity. Hats off buddy.

    Now I CAN’T wait to see it in English when it airs on space

  13. Thanks so much Joe! And to the other folks here too. Sadly, I’m afraid the story of my mother will not have a happy ending. But she’s Irish, and a fighter. She’s already exhausted and fired three caregivers since Saturday. But I have a feeling they were probably grateful.

    Still trying to figure out my new MAC. It’ll probably take me years. And it’s just a mini, not a full grown. But, no. more. viruses! Woohoo!

  14. 1) Hi Will General O’Neill visit Destiny via the stones,he should at least once along with IOA head and McKay and or Sam Carter.
    2) Does Destiny travel a bit slower than our ships if so maybe Odyseey with its zpm can catch up in a few years maybe in the last episode years from now.
    3) Thanks for answering the question as to how many galaxies Destiny is now.Any hints though would help want to look them up on galaxy map to get a idea roughly where they are now and heading.Hope they work it out sometime just so we know thats the only thing I dont we dont yet know where they are in the universe i think like they must know on Destiny from the map screen except the galaxy they just left I like that they made a map of sorts.By the way love the gate traveling these past 2 weeks please get them off the ship more often or exploring the ship more then like when they are between galaxies in the void.

  15. Love the photo of the repair robot I had trouble seeing it on tv for some reason.Are there anymore maybe a set of 3 like in Silent Running or maybe the 1 robot knows where more are stored.

  16. I must say the scenes of Greer from ‘Lost’ were gut wrenching! I was sitting on the edge of my recliner, almost yelling at Greer to keep going.

    Such emotion. Well done Jamal!!!

    Greer, Rush and Eli make the show for me!!!

    Keep it up. xxx SGU has really become such a good show.

    Lovin’ Ludie the robot.. he’s got ‘tood!

  17. “I liked it, but I enjoy the unusual…”

    Is that why you put up with me??? 😀

    Thanks for the book reminders. I’ve already pre-ordered Masked (but under the previous title…I guess they’ll figure it out), and really need to order Swords and Dark Magic since Moorcock’s latest Elric tale – Red Pearls – will be included. I really need an albino fix, since I’ll probably never see my lovely Wraith again… *sniffle*

    Joe, speaking of Wraith – and since you are starting to dabble in book writing – would you ever consider writing a Stargate Atlantis novel? I really have no interest in them since I suspect that writers ignore the show’s canon and write whatever the hell they want (glorified fan fic), but I would trust a book written by you. That doesn’t mean I trust what you would do to the Wraith, but I do think you’d at least try to do them justice.

    das

    PS: Speaking of the fictional Elric, I’d just like to remind folks that real people with albinism continue to be mutilated and murdered in Africa. Witch doctors are urging people to commit these atrocities, claiming that the body parts of those with albinism have miraculous powers. They also fetch a hefty price on the black market, into the tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes we like to live in our little glass bubbles, but – really – there are times we need to look outside and see what’s happening to our fellow human beings:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/05/07/international/i065028D57.DTL

    The article is not for the faint of heart, but I encourage you to give it a read, and make yourselves aware.

    Thank you.

    ~Deirdre

  18. mighty unusual: creamy, crispy, sweet, and salty!
    I’d call that combo a hit! And a good description of you, Joe!
    Have a great day!
    DD

  19. Hi Joe,

    With Rodney McKay being the genius he is, is there any chance David Hewlett will be appearing in SG:U next season?

  20. @das and Joe

    That would be awesome. Really you should write a Stargate Atlantis book. 🙂 I mean maybe not now because your busy with SGU but I really think you should do it if you ever get the chance. I think it will help keep atlantis alive and give the fans some official new Atlantis material.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  21. Joe,

    Would you do me a favor and pass thanks on to MGM? I’ve been using the promo images posted on the MGM Stargate website, as well as the screencaps on GateWorld to practice my drawing. And let me tell you, it’s a WONDERFUL resource. MGM seems generally much more supportive to the fan culture than other studios who shall remain nameless. It’s a really great thing.

  22. How did you keep the corn chips from becoming soggy?

    The books look intriguing. I’ll look into ordering them. Right now, I’m stuck on reading the Harry Dresden novels. Thanks Narelle, she was so right about being addicted to the eBook reader but not for the reason she listed. I can magnify the print! My eyes are going downhill 😥 . Thank God for the ereader or I would be listening to audio books only! Getting older sucks!

    Keep the Oklahoma tornado victims from yesterday in your prayers today, please. Vd from Oklahoma: http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-tornado20100511,0,2659008.story . I’ve heard more storms are expected there today.

    Yes, Das I saw on Yahoo news about the albino killings in Africa. Those aren’t the only atrocities going on in Africa though. I’ve been hearing reports of young children (even babies) raped because of they think it’s a cure for AIDS. I would provide a link but who really wants something like that in their head. Instead of invading for oil, maybe, someone should invade a country for humanitarian reasons?

  23. Ya’ ever think Ashleigh and Carl may be each others’ true nemeses, but just drag you into the fray?

    So sorry to be missing out on this month’s selection. No budget for books right now. Prisoner’s on my must read list, though, right near Creature from Jekyll Island.

  24. Hello =P

    ça va bien? moi oui toujours contente de vous retrouvez sur votre blog !

    Ces livres ont l’air très bien, il faudrai que je m’achéte un nouveau livre, mais quoi choisir? Trop peur d’être déçue…

    Le sucré / salé j’aime bien mais simplement quand il s’agit de fruits pour le sucré…un jour j’ai vu une photo sur le FB à votre soeur, c’était un mélange de Pancake, chocolat, miel, et bacon =S ..glurp à première vu ce n’est pas trés appétissant.

    Passez une bonne journée!
    Gros bisou!!!

  25. Some questions for your Mailbag!

    1- In “Sabotage”, when the aliens showed up, they came from the galaxy that Destiny was heading.. The aliens are already in that galaxy waiting for Destiny?

    2- What happened to the “Repair Robot”? After he finished isolating the damaged FTL drive, they brought the robot back to inside to ship?

  26. OK I could understand if you had forgotten both of the ice creams, but how could you have remembered just ONE? They would have been residing beside each other in the freezer. Plus, coincidently, the one that you did HAPPEN to remember was not the one which satisfied the bet with Ashleigh. Hmmmmm….highly suspicious…..

    Given the choice, I would have gone for the Sweet Corn selection myself, as I am not a huge fan of white chocolate. Although I would have managed to FORCE myself to sample the other ice cream as well. lol.

    Childhood Memory Alert! – speaking of sampling. When serving the evening dessert, a small piece from the bottom left hand corner of the dessert would be missing. My mother would say that ‘oops the mouse must have got it.’ (Her reasoning being that she would have to ‘test’ or ‘sample’ the dessert to make sure it was fit for human consumption). It was funny though that the piece never disappeared if the food was going to be served to company, just when it was for family. (It must be a REALLY old mouse because it still happens today).

    I haven’t read the book(s), so I have nothing to contribute to the book discussions. Why do I have that sinking feeling like I haven’t done my homework and am going to fail the exam?

    @das – writers of the horror genre can never compete with what we do to each other in real life. There are some seriously sick and twisted people out there, and I think it’s much more common than we are comfortable admitting.

    So I slept for 14 hours last night, of course it was aided with a sleeping pill (or two) but man, did I ever need that!! Woohoo to getting a good night’s sleep.

    Have a good one!
    Kymm

  27. I;ll post my thoughts on Prisoner after tonights post. But I put it in the I like it catagory. How about a full breakdown on who was in which camp with the ice cream. I’m sorry, but I don’t trust the taste buds of a vegetarian, while carl looks like a trustworthy sort…thanks for the post and looking forward to some time to read all the responses.

  28. @ Tammy Dixon – Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been aware of the rape of children and other such crimes associated with a misunderstanding of AIDS for a while now. And there have been many horrendous acts done in recent – and not so recent – years as the result of various ethnic cleansings and civil unrest. I think that – perhaps – people just get tired (frustrated??) when they hear of more atrocities committed on that continent, and they just turn a deaf ear now. There really is little others can do – the changes have to come from within, and that’s been slow in happening. Just such a sad situation all the way round.

    das

  29. The Prisoner: So, prison break stories aren’t my thing, and I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy The Prisoner as much as I ended up doing. I think I realized this was going to be a good read when I reached the 40% mark in one sitting, and felt utter resentment when real life intruded and I couldn’t just keep going. 😀

    I think part of the reason this story worked so well for me was it was packed full of action. There’s no real standing around waiting for events to unfold. Partly, this is driven by the story’s relatively short time frame (one week, IIRC), and partly by the character smarts of Masek, Palmer and Tyler (who have plans inside plans, and just when you think you know what to expect, things change up a gear). With so many characters on the stage, there’s always something interesting happening somewhere.

    The large cast, unfortunately, means that some of the supporting characters fell by the wayside for me as they showed up and disappeared with equal suddenness. And there were times when I thought the omniscient POV made the action feel less intimate — like watching a movie rather than being immersed in the fictional world. I could almost see the dramatic close-ups on Odelle’s face, or watch the camaera switch focus between Masek and Dennis, or see the down-the-barrel sniper shot from the top of the Washington skyscraper. The book is very visually descriptive, and I could quite easily see the events of this novel playing out on screen as part of a miniseries — part Demolition Man, part 24, and even part Beauty and the Beast or Neverwehere for the terrific (and gross, in the case of the fatbergs!) sewer scenes. 🙂

    I didn’t quite buy Masek’s switch towards the end of the story. It was very convenient, but also made all his investigative work earlier feel kind of…pointless. Masek must have known of Palmer’s plan in order to have the correct decoy van with the correct license plate sitting at just the right intersection in the city to allow for the decoy to be destroyed, suggesting that Masek was in on the plan from the very beginning. But if that’s the case, why did he work so hard to find out all he could about the escapees? Was it just curiosity, a burning desire to find out why Russo was the one chosen for the escape plan? And what made Masek suddenly decide to turn on Odelle? I mean, Masek doesn’t exactly have the ‘knight in shining armour’ gene, and one gets the feeling he doesn’t really care who he works for as long as he gets paid. Was it just a cas eof seeing the writing on the DHS wall, and opting for the winning side?

    Speaking of Odelle, I thought it was a shame that her entire motivation for acting as she did was spurned/lost love. It felt too simple, and for me, at the end, she devolved into a one-note villain: all bad, with no shades of grey. I wonder if Henry’s thoughts upon learnign of her suicide would have been as kind as those he was thinking when he saw Laurel and Floyd with the syringe after their escape from the sewers? Was Odelle brave, or taking the coward’s way out?

    Finally, I thought Russo was in the Sugar Cube tanks for eight years, not fifteen?

  30. Hi Joe!

    Just a quick question here about the future of Stargate Atlantis. The movie is still on hold, right?

    Well, I just found that a series of 6 books is in production, and the first is to be released in the autumn 2010. And they take place AFTER the last season of SGA. Do you know anything about this project? I hope they don’t violate the story of the film.

    Here’s a link:
    http://www.amazon.com/Homecoming-Stargate-Atlantis-Jo-Graham/dp/1905586507/ref=pd_sim_b_5

    Jon.

  31. Corn in ice cream, not sure about that, although as a kid I did love pancakes with cream of corn in the batter.

    Very cool news on the anthology! So do you have any plans to go for a novel? Or do you want to put out a few more short stories? My fave author Lee Child went from being a laid off BBC screenwriter to writing the Jack Reacher novels.

    You can’t retire from writing like you can from acting (I do hope Leonard Nimoy was just punking us about that) so are you laying the groundwork to segway into books?

  32. “I’ve been hearing reports of young children (even babies) raped because of they think it’s a cure for AIDS. I would provide a link but who really wants something like that in their head. Instead of invading for oil, maybe, someone should invade a country for humanitarian reasons?”

    ….

    Do you have any particular African country in mind?

    I personally think the invading of another country is wrong, no matter what the reason. I would rather try and educate the people through constructive charaties like booksforafrica.org and Save the Children – but maybe I am in the minority nowadays.

  33. Could Rodney use zpm and connect to Destiny even for a second or two (Like SGAs “Home”) then what would happen or would Rodney just drain the zpm and all of Destinys stored Sun Energy?

  34. I haven’t read any of the Stargate books – do they follow the storyline closely and does the franchise have any say on what they write? Have any of them been written by staff writers or are they outsiders?

  35. So Destiny still doesn’t have enough power to dial earth, and they don’t know where to find it, either. But Earth knows how to dial Destiny (due to the communication stones), and Earth kind of knows where to look for power sources. Earth (or more likely some gated planet) could dial Destiny and drop them off a ZPM or 2, or at least a couple of naquadah generators and a asgard core.This would improve the quality of life on board the Destiny and Colonel Young can get new socks plus they will need clothes and equipment for the baby soon.
    There are a couple of objections that will certainly keep this from happening the first season: maybe Earth doesn’t have extra ZPMs to go around, maybe they can’t dial Destiny without blowing up a planet, maybe even several ZPMs are massively underpowered for dialing home. I’d like to hear them discuss it, though.

    One thing they could do with less power than it takes to dial Earth is to dial one of the gate seed ships in front of it.A back-and-forth between ships might, among other things, increase their odds of finding useful components.
    I’d like to see evidence that the show’s characters are at least thinking like this.

  36. Hi Mr M!

    Just caught “Lost”…Great ep. Nice to see things NOT tied up in a bow. Greer’s character has really been fleshed out nicely.

    Q for Aliana:

    Hi Alaina! Thank you for your many kind tweets over on Twitter. My question for you is: Which actor/actress most inspires you, either past or present? And, given the choice to do a re-make of yor favourite Classic Movie what would it be? And what role would you choose in it? thanks again, and best you and your family from the girls and me here in Ireland.

    So Mr M….Just a reminder, all this talk of chocolate…have you kept your dental check-up? It’s been a while you know!!

    S’nT

  37. deeinsouthafrica: peace and education are always a good alternatives. I don’t believe you have to worry that Africa will be invaded, ….no oil.

  38. Great book! The Prisoner is now ranks as my favorite novel I’ve read for this book club. Like others have already said, it’s a book with a lot of cool technologies that don’t totally take over the story with their elaborate yet very believable descriptions. I was impressed with the diversity of the technology introduced which led me to wonder about the author’s background and what kind of research he did for this book.

    A real page-turner with lots of action and suspense. I also really enjoyed the descent through the sewer system and the unsettling descriptions Cortes provided (ie. that lake of congealed fat! Ugh!) that really immersed me in the story (double-ugh during the sewer sequence!).

    Some questions for Carlos J. Cortes –

    1. What kind of research did you do for The Prisoner and how long did it take you to do it? The descriptions of everything from the technology to the sewer systems is very thorough and believable.

    2. The book was obviously influenced by contemporary events. Just wondering if there were some not so obvious influences, like other authors or films for example?

    3. What are you working on next and when can we expect it at our local bookstore?

  39. I really enjoyed the book too and it ended up surpassing all expectations. I did, however, have one big question that was bothering me that was never (as far I can tell) answered: Odelle spends significant time and effort trying to track down and kill our heroes, but I wondered why, if Russo was such a threat to her, would she have kept him alive in the first place? Why not kill him when she had the chance (ie. having the guardians at the sugarcube switch off his life support?). It’s not as if she was making him suffer since he wasn’t even conscious throughout his ordeal.

  40. Questions for Mr. Cortes:

    1) The sheer scope and depth of the science-based concepts presented in The Prisoner suggests more than a passing familiarity with the technologies presented. I’m wondering if you can tell us a little about your background and how you were able to drawn on it in the writing of The Prisoner.

    2) Have both of your books been translated into Spanish? What has been their reception in what I believe is your second home (Spain)?

    3) Keeping with this train of thought, are you familiar with the SF literary scene in Spain. How does it compare to science fiction community in America? Would you say the appetite for scifi is just as strong in Spain, or even Europe as it is in North America?

    4) If I wanted to explore the worlds of international SF, what are some good European writers to get me started?

    5) The Prisoner seems to critique of present political policies, particularly with regard to the treatment of prisoners by the state. Was this intentional or were you simply using present day circumstances as inspiration for a wholly fictitious world?

    Thank you for answering my questions.

    Kelly

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