I was in White Dwarf Books, perusing the shelves for some interesting titles, when I noticed a section devoted to the 2009 Philip K. Dick Award nominees.  I picked up each in turn, checking out first the cover, then the blurb on the back.  When I got to The Prisoner by Carlos J. Cortes, the woman at the counter said: “That’s the one everyone is talking about.”  Apparently, the novel was a hit with her regulars.  Intrigued, I purchased a copy (along with the other nominees, all of which I intend to get around to eventually), re-read the blurb on the drive back and, by the time I arrived home, I was so intrigued by the premise that I decided to make The Prisoner a book of the month club pick.

Well, at the risk of repeating myself, The Prisoner was one of those rare book’s whose execution more than lives up to its premise.  It’s clever, cool, and, despite its scifi trappings, very topical.  A highly recommended read.  As is the following Q&A with its author, Carlos J. Cortes.

I’ve got to get him to elaborate on his experience exploring the various sewer networks in researching his book…

Sylvia writes: “Questions for Carlos Cortes: First, thank you for a well written and developed story. I enjoyed it very much.”

CJC: Why, thank you, Sylvia.

“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.”

CJC:  I follow your reasoning, but at the stage of the blood theft, Nikola had no clear idea of the players involved. Nikola discovers Odelle’s involvement toward the end of chapter 36. The scene with the prosthetic footprints is at the end of chapter 29. Nikola doesn’t know ex-military personnel are involved and, besides, the bionic legs I describe in my novel are not a figment of my imagination. The bionic (not my choice of adjective, but the manufacturer’s) Power Knee, is made by Össur, an Icelandic company, and available to anyone, not just the military, as long as they can pay its $300,000 tag.

“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.”

CJC: Er… no idea. After Metronome departs, carrying the rat cage, we never meet the boy again. In the afterword, I wrote that the guys at the farm adopted him. I suspect Metronome would treasure the watch forever. And you’re welcome. It’s my pleasure.

Iamza writes: “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 case of seeing the writing on the DHS wall, and opting for the winning side?”

CJC: Wow! Have you read the book or studied it? Yours is a multi-tiered question. To answer it let’s take it backward from the end. As you correctly point out, Masek is a mercenary, like every other independent consultant I’ve ever met. Employees may feel a level of duty to its employer, be it a corporation, king or country. A mercenary is a different animal. The first tenet of the mercenary is to enjoy his spoils; he places his well-being before that of his client.

Masek knows Odelle has kept him in the dark, but he doesn’t know why. When he finds out, (chapter 36) he realizes she’s unbalanced. He also suspects, that if her shenanigans are ever discovered, she will drag him with her. Masek’s conundrum is who to side with. He knows far too much. If Odelle wins, chances are she will try to clear any loose ends, and nobody enjoys retirement continuously watching over one’s shoulder. After chapter 36, when Masek discovers the scope of the operation and the players involved his choice is clear; he throws in his lot with the Senator.

TimC writes: “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.”

CJC: I wrote the structure of The Prisoner, after reading the scant papers released by teams of scientists investigating human hibernation (I didn’t make that up). It occurred to me that just as firecrackers made the Apollo program inevitable, human hibernation would be used in the future as the means for cheap storage. In essence, jails are just that; parking lots for those individuals society deems undesirable.

Sewers are cities weakest spots in terms of security. To stage a credible break from a sugar cube, accesses and streets were out of the question. So, it was down to the sewers. Unfortunately, I knew next to nothing about the world beneath the city streets. No problem. In Barcelona I got in touch with several members of urban tribes who, in turn, introduced me to the fearless fraternity of urban explorers. Thus I embarked on a binge of sewer exploration across several continents.

“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?”

CJC: In 1979, Peter Lurie published his seminal ‘Beneath the City Streets’ an expose of a government network of tunnels, escape routes and deep shelters under London. The book caused uproar and not a few problems for Peter with the British Authorities. Over the ensuing thirty years I toyed with the idea of writing a novel in such a setting. The Prisoner was it.

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

CJC:  I’ve finished ‘Mahdi,’ a thriller about the Muslim long awaited eschatological redeemer, now doing the rounds of agents and publishers, seeking a place to roost. With luck it will see the light next year. I will keep you posted.

At present I’m working in what can only be described as a folly; a gargantuan 800+ page thriller titled ‘Light Bondage’. The manuscript covers a future unavoidable scenario when the present civilization collapses and disappears. Light Bondage proposes that individual freedoms are at the root of our decadence and that eugenics hold the key for humanity’s survival. Go figure.

AvidReader writes: “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.”

CJC: Revenge is a powerful passion. A dish that, according to the experts, should be enjoyed cold. (I couldn’t resist the pun).

Russo is no threat to Odelle. Russo is the man who stole Odelle’s sweetheart and, when the chips were down, he abandoned her and his unborn child to the tender mercies of riot police. She blames her loss on him.

I’m sane enough to realize that if my lover elopes with the local priest, the blame, if any, rests squarely on my shoulders. To grab a Lupara and go after the man of the cloth or sweet Mary would be, in my opinion, immature. Go tell that to someone as unbalanced as Odelle. She could have killed Russo anytime, even before dipping him in the tank. She prefers to long-term torture as revenge. She goes often to visit and gloat at his punishment. And Russo has been roused many times as hinted in chapter 50. Still, I’ve heard that a spurned lover’s wrath can be like a force of nature unleashed.

KellyK writes: “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.”

CJC: I spent twenty years of my life building bizarre structures in all five continents. My formal training comprises mechanical engineering, light physics and optics. For the past twelve years I’ve been CTO of a Norwegian high-tech group of companies and I’ve written a score of text books on fiber optics, lighting science, light physics and other hilarious subjects. These books have saved the lives of many people when snowed in and short of fuel.

As field engineer I’ve worked in many countries, visited many more, landed in jail a few times, crossed the odd border hiding in the trunk of cars, shared plenty of drinks and dirty jokes with the locals and woken up in the strangest of places. These experiences, (the ones I dare voice in public and the many I wouldn’t) are a wonderful repository of details, places and faces. My novels draw heavily from experience.

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

CJC: Unfortunately the answer is no. To date all my non-fiction has been published in Spanish and my fiction in English.

“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?”

CJC: No, I’m not. I’m a bit of a fraud when it comes to SF. I’ve always written mainstream or straight thrillers. When my agent approached Random House with my first novel, Perfect Circle , the publishers wanted a SF novel and Perfect Circle wasn’t. So I rewrote the damn thing, added a few titbits and an alien and palmed it as SF. When they wanted another, I repeated the process (sans alien) with The Prisoner. I’m comfortable with near-future narrative because of my scientific background, but I wouldn’t know how to write hard SF.

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

CJC: There’s Francis Carsac, Sándor Szélesi, Sergei Lukyanenko, Rafa Marín and many others, without forgetting the man that started it all: Jules Verne, even if his science was a little iffy.

“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?”

CJC: The Prisoner touches an intractable dilemma: prison populations have increased so dramatically that they’re threatening to bankrupt many nations. In the US , each inmate costs the taxpayer $1,000 per day (system, personnel, upkeep, buildings, maintenance, etc). To lock up hundreds of thousands for burning the bud of one plant instead of the leaf of another is crazy. Something will have to be done, and soon. And no, in my opinion, Guantanamo and other gulags are not the answer.

StarGazer writes: “Questions for the author: What types of books do you enjoy? Do you read science fiction as well? Do you have variable tastes in literature? What would you say is the last great book you read?”

CJC: I like thrillers, travel books, narrative and anything that’s well written. My favourite authors are John Le Carre, Umberto Eco, Frederick Forsyth, Paul Theroux and Thomas Harris. The latest great book I’ve read is Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris. In my next re-incarnation, or when I grow up, I want to write like him.

NadiaSedlak writes: “Thank you for answering our questions. I too would like to write some day (and hopefully be a successful published author) and I would like to know what kind of advice you would offer someone just starting out – other than don’t do it! Thanks. NS”.

CJC: This is an easy one. Write. Learn technique. Write. Rewrite. Write. Rewrite some more. Write. Join a writer’s critique group (OWW was my Alma Mater) Write. Hang about writer’s haunts (On Fiction Writing, my group on Goodreads, is a good place to start). Write. Then, after a decade or two, the prose will flow from your pen. Piece of cake, really.

Thanks Sylvia, Iamza, Tim, AvidReader, Kelly, StarGazer, Nadia and, of course, our host Joseph, for having read my work, for your questions, and the honor of your company. To meet, and enjoy people like you, is what makes everything worthwhile.

Take care,


If you didn’t get a chance to participate in this month’s BOTMC, fear not: a) you can still pick up The Prisoner and drop the author a note at his blog – I’ve included the link in my blogroll, and b) you have plenty of time to pick up Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint in preparation for June’s Book of the Month Club discussion.

Today’s entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal Sheryl!


Michael writes: “1. Was the destruction of Area 51 in the SG-Atlantis finale, the reason for operations to cluster in D.C. at Home World Command?

2. Was the Ark of Truth destroyed for good when the Wraith Darts did their kamikaze attack on Area 51?

3. During the first season of SG-Universe, is there still an SG-1 team?

4. What is Sam Carter’s first priority during SG-Universe’s first season: SG-1, command of the George Hammond battle cruiser, or Area 51 research?”

Answers: 1) Nope.  2) TBD but, for form’s sake, I’ll say no.  3) Yes.  I’d imagine it’s made of a core unit of Mitchell, Daniel, Teal’c and Vala with Carter occasionally joining for the odd off-world op.  4) She has been given command of the Hammond.

C.S. Hander writes: “In Atlantis, they used radios with headsets (or were the headsets all in one?) and all personnel seemed to have them, but the crew of Destiny appears to only have handhelds. Was there a reason this was different at Icarus Base?”

Answer: Different operational set-up.  Icarus Base was a more down and dirty research center.

Sean D. writes: “Do you prefer organic or non-organic Matcha (and why)? Or does it not matter?”

Answer: Alas, as much as I enjoy the stuff, I’m not an expert.

mike writes: “1. Will we ever see the SGC in SGU?
2. Will we ever see Atlantis in SGU?
3. With atlantis on Earth, did they move all the SGC stuff to Atlantis?”

Answers: 1. Destiny’s connection to Earth will continue to be Homeworld Command.

2. No plans to feature Atlantis in the new series.

3. No comment.  Hopefully this question will be answered when the SGA movie is finally released.

tatianajb writes: “I was wondering; when you cook for yourself how you deal with the quality difference?”

Answer: I try to purchase the best ingredients out there and try to accept the fact that I don’t cook like an Iron Chef.  But I can try!

Tom Jones writes: “Assuming Destiny has a bridge, any idea when or if we might get to see it? Or any idea what episode we might get to see another significant part of the ship?”

Answer: Yes to both questions.

Major D. Davis writes: “Will there be any atlantis character that make a guest appearance is season 2?”

Answer: Not so far.

Shadow Step writes: “I don’t know if you are referring to me, but I’d just like to point out that I haven’t done that – I was talking in general terms.”

Answer: Nope, not referring to you – or any specific comment for that matter.  I too was talking in general terms and used that as a random example.

Shadow Step also writes: “The people are talking among them selves about something, and anyone who then runs of to tell someone who wasn’t mean to hear that is at fault.

Rather like if your your restaurant metaphor was changed to: the people left the restaurant, get into their car and one says to the other “well that was a terrible meal, we are not coming back” – but someone on the parking lot hears this through the open window and runs in and tells the chef and says “Aren’t these rude people!” – well no actually YOU ARE because you try and stir up trouble by spreading the message.”

Answer: I’m sure you may have missed it,but  the site’s expressed aim is to get the show canceled – and they provide a list of production, studio, and network contacts in the hopes of magically convincing someone to make it happen.  Shortsighted, inept, and silly, granted, but still.  It’s obvious they’re not the bunch of poor, mislabeled champions of free speech you assume them to be.  Rather like if your your restaurant metaphor was changed to: Going to a restaurant, not enjoying the meal, then starting a campaign to try to get the place shut down.

Mel writes: “The site whose name you like to edit was registered and went online shortly after the premiere in the USA which was on October 2nd 2009. By then the Gateworld “community vision” had been fully implemented for months.”

Answer: Yeah, nice try, but while the site in question may have been registered shortly after the Gateworld announcement, it was operating under another name well before the announcement.

Mel also writes: “I think that statement is very generalizing. Sure, it can happen that a positive comment in regards to SGU gets venomously attacked. But I don’t know ANY forum where something like this doesn’t happen.”

Answer: You’re kidding, right?  You do realize there’s a difference between impassioned disagreement and personal attacks.  Every other fan site I know of allows the former and disallows the latter.  Your site is the sole exception, which is why I initially assumed it was run by a bunch of twelve year olds.

60 thoughts on “May 19, 2010: Author Carlos J. Cortes Answers Your Questions!

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if you could please answer these questions
    1.When do you expect to hear a decision from MGM about the movies?

    2. Based on the work done on the second season of SGU to date, are any of the SG1 characters going to appear in the upcoming season?

    Thanks a lot

  2. 1. I’m disappointed to hear that there are no plans to feature Atlantis in SGU. I for one would love to see Atlantis through the eyes of SGU. I think the new visual style in which colors pop out would make the already beautiful set look even more gorgeous. I think it could work – I’m sure there’s something in there that would be useful to the Destiny crew, especially considering that only 10% of the database is translated. (Is that right?) I’d love to see Rush go there and work with McKay on uncovering some new information.

    2. Though I understand your reasons for not doing so, any chances of seeing Teal’c or Vala? New Stargate viewers will, I presume, be getting a little bit more background information in the coming episodes and the first half of season 2, so seeing a Jaffa or a previous Goa’uld host would be less bizarre or jarring. Wouldn’t mind seeing Mitchell, either!

    As you can tell, I love crossovers.

  3. well I’m currently working my arse off trying to get everything ready for my final university hand-in/pin-up this friday [note: its not going well]… though i work in the knowledge that once everything is done i can sit back, relax, watch the very last episode ever of Ashes to Ashes and then later on another [undoubtedly] fine ep of SGU… having those to look forward to has stopped me going completely nuts [o’neill in Window of Opportunity nuts… wacko… off the deep end… etc.]

    … then i can start fretting on whether i’ve gotten decent grades…

    …someone shoot me now…

  4. Joe,

    What are the chances that the Stargate: Revolution gets filmed this year? 50-50, 70-30, some other set of odds? What characters won’t be making an appearance if it does get made? Vala? Mitchell? O’neill?



  5. “I’m sure you may have missed it”

    Yes, because as I told you I don’t read the site (don’t you read the messages when you approve them?) – when I happened upon it (and I’m assuming there is just the one site people refer to when they talk about “the other” i linked it in the censored post here and had a gander at the time – but I didn’t return, and never registered.

    The sole Stargate related board i have registered with is Gateworld (not that I really should have to divulge that, and I don’t consider wordpress a Stargate related board).

    “It’s obvious they’re not the bunch of poor, mislabeled champions of free speech you assume them to be. ”

    You do know you are only supposed to make up stuff when they pay you for it don’t you?

    What I tried to suggest is that if you (and that is the broad “you” applicable to all and sundry) are easily bruised stop going there and then whine about it afterwards – you know, like they keep saying here “If you don’t like it – stop watching”

    As for writing to execs, well thats ok i as long as they spell check it and make it coherent, free country and all (well sorta).

    Slight aside, I just noticed that Zachary Levi (from “Chuck”) earlier today got a totally rude ranting obscenity laden message on twitter – and he just thought it was funny and quoted it for others to see. He gets it – don’t think he would go looking for a “Chuck” hating site (assuming one exists).

    “Going to a restaurant, not enjoying the meal”

    Aw shucks! Missed the point again.

    In reply to Mel:

    “You do realize there’s a difference between impassioned disagreement and personal attacks. ”

    Oh yes! Me! Me! Me! I do now!

    This would be a personal attack:

    “… you where couching acceptable criticism in prickish terms”

    as opposed to

    “You were couching acceptable criticism in antagonistic terms.”

    My think tank and myself are assuming one is written by a 12 year old and one by an adult – we are trying to figure out which is which.

    There may be a small prize involved (though probably not a cake – I hear the cake is a lie).

  6. Hi Joe,

    I don’t say much but I read a lot here, and while I really love SGU (I truly think it’s been a success for the franchise), it does sadden me that there don’t seem to be any plans to feature Atlantis or any of its team. While I understand SGU needs to stand on its own, I’d hate to see SGA become the ugly step child of the franchise (a la Deep Space Nine in the realm of Star Trek). Any chance you can at least sneak in a few references to SGA? You know, “General O’Neil and Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard are off on a mission doing something important so they can’t help us right now” or “Doctors Perry and McCay are working on such-and-such to try to make the FTL more efficient”? Anything? Or is everyone unavailable due to events in the movie?

    Thanks for taking time to answer our questions!

  7. So a thought just came into my head.

    You know what would be crazy insane awesome? A stargate movie that crosses over all three shows. You have sg-1, sga, and sgu, all in one action packed movie. Now that would be something. If and when the franchise does come to an end years from now, i would have to say that would be the way to end it all. Just combine all the casts from all three shows.

    So those are my 2 cents for the night.

    Later Joe!

  8. Ya know, really Joe…you guys neeeed to send Todd to Destiny !! I can just see it now…he swaps bodies with…Eli. I think it would have to be Eli. So, on Destiny you have Todd!Eli strolling around, leering at everyone and pawing at their chests every chance he gets (just the imagery of Greer slapping Eli away in a ‘get off’a me, ya li’l creep!’ kinda way makes me chuckle!), while back on Earth/Atlantis, you have Eli!Todd gettin’ all cocky with his new rockstar looks …and then… he gets hungry. 😉 Oh, what fun! Someone, quick – write the fan fic! 🙂

    Have a good night, sir!


  9. Thank you, Mr. Mallozzi for humoring me and answering my four questions. I went and watched a few DVD’s and those four questions popped in my head during the end credits. And thank you for continuing to have this blog and taking humorous photos of Carl Binder.

  10. I will preface this comment by stating that I have not been to the offending website in question.

    @Shadow Step
    You make some good points. Like bringing up the “if you don’t like it don’t watch it” idea as it applies to the website.

    However, I do not believe you understand the difference between a personal attack and an impassioned disagreement. Your examples seem to both be impasssioned disagreement. That may just be naivete on my part, though. I see personal attacks as cyber bulling; like a 12 year old would do.

    On a side note, I don’t think any person who would engage in cyber attacks would be verbose enough to understand the use of ‘couching’ in your example. However, that is myself being judgmental of the intelligence level of people who dedicate their lives to agressively attacking individuals on the internet.

    I will say again, though, you have very good arguements.

  11. I’d also love to see at least a mention of Atlantis somewhere in SGU.
    I mean it has been reinforced that although SGU is unique and different, it is still a Stargate show, and it would be nice to have that heritage honored, even if just a little bit.
    Surely some of the Destiny crew must have come in contact with Atlantis personnel at some point in their careers?

  12. @ SeanD: “…can we get over the silly hater-site discussions and get back to the good stuff?”
    – evidently not didja see the irony in your question and the post immediately following yours?

    I even found myself in a written conflict on FB: Save Stargate Atlantis page with another hater who just doesn’t see any reason to stop hating, or any reason to see reason. 🙁 Sad

    I’m a teacher by trade and it pains me not to try to problem-solve, but to gain conflict resolution the parties need to either stop haranguing each other or take their fingers out of their ears and come to the table to listen and find common ground (not-so-subtle SGA ref). So, I guess I’ll just pull a chair up to the table, cross my fingers and take a wait-and-see attitude. Here’s hoping!

  13. @Abbas Karimjee, @Danceny

    IMO A decision on the SG1 & SGA movies along with the future of SGU will be up to the new owners of MGM presuming it doesn’t get broken piecemeal to repay the many debt holders. Someone should end up with the Stargate franchise after this summer.

    In any case too much time have pass for the ready SG1 & SGA scripts to be used. Think if movies are consider for the future, then the new owners of MGM will quite likely commission new scripts to suit their requirements.

    A side note. The mess that MGM finds itself in today was cause by borrowing too much money with high interest to finance leverage buy outs.

  14. Why doesn’t the crew of the Destiny use the stones to bring more knowledgeable or experienced long term personnel on board in exchange for less useful members? Those members could then perhaps begin a training regimen on Earth while the lead characters are assisted by people who can actually contribute. I know they are a bit of a plot device, but it’s hard to see Gen. O’neil allowing them to be so underutilized.

    Also, getting one of your officers pregnant in a situation such as the Destiny’s seems like it would be a high offense. Since Wray seems to be at odds with Col. Young, why didn’t she mention it to his superiors while she was back on Earth?

  15. Hi Joe:

    I encourage you not to engage with those critics who have created an anti-SGU site. As an Executive Producer, you elevate them while they lower you to their level. It’s not a trade that you can ever win, so it’s best to keep above the fray.

    Please don’t give them a forum on your blog.


  16. @Kymm –

    Agreed, the travel would be wonderful, while the dancing seems that it would grow tiresome after a while. But it was fun to watch people from all over dancing along with him.

    In high school, my ambition was to do travel journalism – too bad I lack the talent. Still, I love to read about all parts of the world, and plan to see as many places, and experience as many different cultures as I possibly can.

    If you have the opportunity, I wish you good luck and success in finding the ideal combination of work and travel.

    I hope you have a good day.

  17. Mr Mallozzi,

    I’m a Stargate fan from the Netherlands and I haven’t seen SGU yet (though I plan to as soon as they start broadcasting the show here)…

    Seeing as I don’t mind spoilers, I visit your blog on a daily basis, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the SGU cast interviews, photos, episode discussions etc. so far. They seem like hard-working, modest people with a good sense of humor.

    However, I must say SGU is becoming less and less attractive to me every day… And I would just like to point out that I have not been converted by the haters. It’s just that the show has been getting a lot of negative attention lately, and you call attention to that on a daily basis.

    Believe me, I would really like to keep an open mind and start watching SGU through the eyes of an optimistic Stargate fan, but I grow tired of the endless discussions on your blog. Especially since they are pointless; you can’t change the haters’ mind and they can’t change yours. The flamers desperately seek attention and acknowledgement and you give it to them every day.

    I’ve always enjoyed coming here, and I would hate to see my daily laugh turn into a pissing match with the haters. Personally, I don’t think insulting them is the way to go. Reacting to insults by making insults yourself? Forgive me my bluntness, but that strikes me as twelve-year-old behaviour as well.

    Honor the cast you enjoy working with so much by keeping the enthusiastic fans updated on their work on a daily basis. Honor the nostalgic fans by continuing to give the other two Stargate shows attention as well. And please let the haters set up their battle field elsewhere.

    I sincerely hope I didn’t offend you with this message. I admire your work on Stargate, and I enjoy reading your blog – most of the time.


  18. I’ve got to get him to elaborate on his experience exploring the various sewer networks in researching his book…

    If you ever want to conduct your own research, approach any undergraduate astronomy, physics or chemistry student. They’ll teach you things about the roofs, basements, and tunnel systems of their campus even their maintenance staff don’t know. Less smelly than sewers, and less likely to trash your suits (although your shoes will certainly end up scuffed).

    Then ask geoeng grad students, and they’ll teach you all about the urban tunnel systems, both in structure and in weaknesses. Although after that, you’ll never catch the skytrain with the same peace of mind ever again. A big group is touring inside the Canada Line tunnels tomorrow — I admit I’m envious!

  19. This is why I never visit any sites other than this one that deal with Stargate in any way. Yikes. I like to hide from the conflict.

    And no, the scripts will not be old per se. Too much time hasn’t passed for the scripts to be used. Sure, there are always changes, especially in light of SGU and it possibly changing the storylines. I do hope that whomever buys the MGM label does look at it seriously and sees that they have a product that can make money. Otherwise nothing is going to happen. Too bad all these companies actually have to make money. It makes me sad. And keeps Joe employed. Nice to see that people do care about the franchise.

    Joe, both my teenagers enjoy SGU so much, in addition to myself. Nice to be able to talk to the teens about something other than homework.

  20. “Untrue – unless we were told to start shooting the Atlantis movie NOW, which is a wholly unrealistic scenario. When we get the green light to move ahead with production, we would a) need a couple of weeks to prep the movie and b) shoot the movie during the hiatus.

    First of all, Stage 6 presently serves as a swing stage, so the sets that go up there come down after the episode airs. Secondly, it is a lot cheaper to strike and store a set and then put it back up for production than it would be to pay rent on stage space indefinitely.”

    After reading about the way that Defying Gravity’s crew, having gotten control of the old Blade set following the end of production on Atlantis, proceeded to gut the set down to its bare steel and trashed everything they ripped out (detailed in this article: http://scifiandtvtalk.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/defying-gravitys-stephen-geaghan-future-by-design/) and how Propworx appears to be selling everything from Atlantis including the kitchen sink on eBay, surely you can begin to understand why many of us find that more than a little hard to believe. I can’t imagine how storing a massive set like the Atlantis gateroom, with all the stuff that comes with it, from the two-story walls, balconies, doors and stained glass windows to the computer consoles and the Stargate itself, is actually “cheap.” So by all means, post some photos of the crew carefully dismantling the sets and placing them in storage for future use. Maybe that sounds silly, but that may go a long way towards reassuring people that Atlantis is just asleep rather than dead.

    “If I had known about it, I would have defended her as well. The fact that I didn’t suggests that the attacks on Jewel were much more present.”

    Starting all the way back in Season 1 of Atlantis, the attacks on Torri were just as present. Notably on Gateworld, but also various boards and blogs, where supporters of the Sheppard/Teyla pairing were decrying Torri as an “ugly old hag,” “wrinkly mommy,” and “white trash ho,” taunting Torri’s fans as “dead wood” and “morgue bait” following her demotion from the regular cast, saying that people who preferred Torri and Weir over Rachel and Teyla were racists, and so forth. And that’s just among the mildest comments. Fortunately, most of the really virulent individuals in that faction finally left for good when Gateworld really started cracking down in the past couple of years, but it’s too little, too late. The damage has been done.

  21. Hi Joe,

    Firstly, I would like to thank you and all the cast and crew of Stargate Universe for all their hard work. SGU has become one of my favorite shows and I feel its easily the equal of both SG1 and SGA.

    Secondly, I have a question about the operation of the stargate itself. At the end of SGA, the pegasus stargate is on Earth and takes priority over the Earth gate for inbound wormholes. Now, the Pegasus gate only has 36 chevrons while the Earth gate has 39. Does this mean that if a outgoing wormhole was dialed using the Pegasus gate, some address’ could not be dialed?



  22. Hi Joe thanks for taking my question i called my local tv station kstc-tv here in rda land and they said Stargate Universe is available to them this fall and that they can get it if they want to.

  23. Hi Joe I was wondering and requesting if I may that in any of the 3 shows that we find out or Rodney finds out how to make or recharge dead zpms maybe so they can tell Dr.Rush and maybe have him build something similar for back-up power if needed.

  24. What happened to the booby trapped 50% charged zpm camulus gave the sgc? Maybe it can be used to dial Destiny just once to send some supplies and such?

  25. Why was Wray allowed to leave Home World Command? Whenever Dr. Weir or Mr. Woolsey arrived from Atlantis, the IOA was all over them wanting every bit of information from the outpost. I am sure the IOA is as eager to hear about the occurrences on the Destiny and Wray’s interpretation of them as well as what her future plans on the ship are. Actually why is anyone allowed to leave the SGC? From both the previous series, we are aware that due to the top secret nature of the Stargate program, families and loved ones are left completely in the dark about what happened to the missing people. Funerals are quietly held if held at all, families members may beg for information (Lt. Ford’s sister for one) but go away unsatisfied. This is the biggest problem I have with the use of the stones- these people should not leave the base. It took how many years for Teal’c to be allowed to live off base? Ronon was only allowed to attend Sheppard’s father’s funeral with Sheppard, he was not allowed to wander Earth alone. When Vala used the stones to access Daniel’s body, she remained on base being debriefed; she did not go to the mall with Sam Carter. There is no concern that the actions of the people “visiting” Earth could compromise the program.
    How old is the Destiny? Millions of years old, but Rush, the “expert” ,says thousands? Why don’t they use the stones consistently to get skilled people on board and have those who “go to Earth” bring back new knowledge and skills that will help the entire group? Where is someone who can translate Ancient? Understands FTL drives? Do medical and psychological assessments of the crew?

  26. Hey Joe,

    First off let me say – I totally don’t mind if you don’t publish this.

    I just need to get something off my chest/out there/however you want to say it. I’ve been pondering my words for almost a week and have yet to come up with the right ones to phrase it so I’ll just type.

    I want to say that I’ve been watching SGU since the beginning. Yes I am sad that Atlantis is gone but I realize that it happens and you move on. So therefore I have been being fair and giving it the season to sell itself to me (normally I have a 3 episode and out policy).

    Until last week I was undecided on which way I would fall and was content to give it until the season finale to make a choice.

    See last week I packed up with a couple of friends and drove the two hours north to Burnaby to watch “Pain” with fellow Stargate fans. Unfortunately I was not able to make it through the episode that night or since that night.

    For the first time ever I actually had to get up and walk out of an episode. I honestly didn’t even make it through the opening title.

    See a number of years ago I was involved with a guy who was quite jealous of my online fandom that I was involved in. So slowly but surely he cut me out of that fandom and started isolating me. (I only realize this looking back unfortunately). Gradually he became more controlling and eventually became both mentally and emotionally abusive and in one memorable instance actually tossed me about like a ragdoll dislocating my shoulder.

    Seeing that sequence between Lt. James and Scott had the unexpected power to throw me right back into that time. That time where I was the one demanding that this guy choose between me & his other woman. Where he was grabbing me and shoving me out of the way to try to get past me.

    That scene left me shaking and getting up to flee the cafe in which I sat. Once I was outside I spent a good five minutes bawling my eyes out over the unexpected flashback. I then spent another 45 minutes trying to calm my nerves enough that I could walk back into the cafe and not break out in full on tears again or have another panic attack.

    While I don’t blame you guys for the flashback I am very disappointed that you all felt it was an OK thing to portray onscreen. Now while there may have been a perfectly plausible explanation later in the episode (like I said I have not been able to watch the entire thing, even if I skip that portion) but it still disappointed me that there wasn’t even so much as a “this episode might contain objectionable material” warning on the front of it.

    I get that you made the choice to go a ‘different’ direction with the series. That is fine. I just feel almost….violated….by this entire episode.

    So for me this will be the end of trying to give SGU a shot at a spot in my ‘must see’ list. While I will not badmouth it I will state that I am disappointed in it. There had been things I hadn’t been overly fond of in other episodes and the series and I hadn’t really ‘clicked’ but I was hopeful.

    I wish you (and everyone associated with it) all good luck and many successes. I am sad that I won’t be able to claim it as a favorite show but I just can’t move past this issue.

  27. Mr Mallozzi, I just want to ask:
    Is Joel Goldsmith still working on SGU soundtrack? I’ve read on Gateworld that he is, but that was last October. And I haven’t read anything about that since that time. So I just wonder if he is working. If you don’t know, please ask him. SGU’s score is beautiful and it would be pity if he didn’t release it. Hopefully he’s gonna release it soon and hopefully you will do mailbag tomorrow :). Thank you very much.

  28. Joe, Just saying thank you to Mr Cortes for doing the Q&A, I enjoyed reading his responses, didn’t get to the book in my stack yet, but will soon for sure, thanks for telling me about asking any follow up ? on his website. appreciate that.
    -and meant to tell you I hope that banana bread was as delicious as it looked on yesterdays post. Pictures,,aw, maybe thats why diets don’t work, I CAN SEE THE FOOD and almost smell how yummy,,lol…but seriously thanks.
    -Have you read any of the Philip K Dick award nominees that you felt shouldn’t have been(not necessary to name names)? Thanks for all your suggestions on books to read. My library continues to grow.

  29. “I encourage you not to engage with those critics who have created an anti-SGU site. As an Executive Producer, you elevate them while they lower you to their level. It’s not a trade that you can ever win, so it’s best to keep above the fray.”


    I don’t think Joe’s responding to the self-righteous haters is along the lines of ‘punching down’ or ‘wrasslin with pigs’. You’ve got people making personal attacks not only on cast members, but on their relatives as well. Their relatives! That’s just plain wrong, and no self-respecting person should stand for it.

    Someone’s got to draw the line in the sand…out of common decency if nothing else, and I for one am glad Joe’s doing it. If we’ve learned anything from the SG series, it’s that as a leader you’ve got to protect your own.

  30. Thanks, Mr Cortes. I’m really looking forward to reading Perfect Circle — the blurb on amazon sounds terrific.

    Any chance any of your films will ever get made into movies? I have a feeling they’d do rather well!

  31. @ zac

    “Why don’t they use the stones consistently to get skilled people on board and have those who “go to Earth” bring back new knowledge and skills that will help the entire group? Where is someone who can translate Ancient? Understands FTL drives? Do medical and psychological assessments of the crew?”

    Because the People aboard the Destiny must sleep. The Body would not work after Days awake

  32. Hey,

    I have to concur with Mirjam here, I’ve always had fun reading this blog and slowly it seems to be becoming a battleground for the sgu haters. I just wanted to say, I hope we can just leave them be and not mention to much of them here anymore.

    Joe, keep up the good work and I’m really enjoying SGU! 🙂

    @Mirjam, I though I was the only Dutch fan who read this blog. 😉
    But the show is already being broadcast here, on the Dutch Syfy channel. If you have digital TV! 🙂

  33. Agreed Pascal

    I’m over the SGU haters coming here… I just scroll past the two main ones but sometimes it’s hard to avoid reading parts of their posts.

    I’ll console myself watching the kino webisodes again.. until this all dies down.

  34. @ Pascal, I thought the same thing. 😉 Who knows how many more Dutch fans are quietly lurking around this blog? Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, I don’t have digital TV… But I will bide my time and wait ’till Veronica starts broadcasting the show.

  35. Have y’all seen Google’s page with all the kids doodles for Google? Check it out if you haven’t Google is giving you the chance to vote. Some of the comments from these kids are so cute.

  36. Just woke from an amazing scifi dream. Unfortunately, the main plot device was complicated and self-limiting…*sigh*

  37. @das

    Uggh if I was a fanfic writer i’d totally do that. I just recently started reading SGU fan fic and im really loving it. I might start writing some fan fic over the summer if I find the time. 🙂

    Oh and Mr. Mallozzi…

    Will Major Davis be appearing in the second season of SGU? If not, do you think you could write him in as someone who accompanies people on their personal visits, it would make sense given his job, right?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  38. Hi Joe, even Mr. Cortes’ way of answering questions has me intrigued. I’m buying the book(s) tonight!

  39. @Nick Danger

    I kinda have to agree with Mr. Nick on this one. I mean, I used to get all mad and mention them and make fun of them in my posts on GW, but as a result I got a member infraction on GW and I began to realize im just fueling the fire. [The site] lives off attention, if we just ignore them, I think that is the way the battle will be won.

    However, im not saying let them come post here. If they come infect Gateworld and your blog, then I agree to deal with them strictly and decisively, however, if they are just being but, then I think we shouldn’t go after them, as it just makes them respond even more viciously. Let the 12 year olds be 12 year olds and let them play their silly games by themselves and not ruin the mature fandom.

    Ok… (breathes) I feel better now that ive said that! 🙂

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  40. crayonbaby” wrote:

    …And no, the scripts will not be old per se. Too much time hasn’t passed for the scripts to be used. Sure, there are always changes, especially in light of SGU and it possibly changing the storylines….

    IMO actor availability and set unavailability plus budgetary considerations will make previously written scripts non-viable. So basically anything in extending the SG1/SGA storylines will be like a reboot or reset. Maybe the new Stargate franchise owner will nix the cheap TV movies for more substantial mini-series. We shall see after the July MGM debt repayment deadline.

  41. Hi, Joe

    I’m loving SGU so far, despite the slow start that initially had me missing the faster pace of SG-1 and Atlantis. Every episode since “Justice” and “Space” have had me hooked, and the show gets better with every episode and plot development. I now make a point of name-dropping Robert Carlyle and “his new TV show” whenever I can… including to the immigration woman when I flew into Vancouver last month, who knew that Stargate was a locally-made show… but thought it had been cancelled. I made sure to correct her.

    A few questions I hope you won’t mind answering:

    1) Is the Destiny’s countdown to FTL an on-set screen that needs to be reset for each take, or is it added in post? It looks “real”… but that’s never a guarantee with Stargate!

    2) Is the Destiny meant to be the same shape as the chevrons on its stargate?

    3) And why does the stargate have chevrons at all, if they’re not used to dial the gate?

    4) Amanda Tapping and Gary Jones are the only two actors (as far as I know) to appear at least once in every season of all 3 Stargate shows. Will they keep their record with SGU season 2?

  42. Hi Joe,

    Have you read any novels/online stories by Kelly Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld series and others)? I think she may be a fan of Mr Cortes too. 🙂

    Ryan writes: “Will we see anymore brief cameos from random stargate people in the future?”

    Answer: Daniel Jackson and Jack O’Neill will be making appearances in the next few episodes

    As Human has already aired, can I hope this might mean Daniel Jackson and/or Jack O’Neill may be making one or more appearances in season 2 of SGU? 🙂

    Many thanks


  43. imadaman writes: “A question about Morgan Le Fay. Do you think she’s dead? Died with Adria?”

    Answer: Like Oma Desala and Anubis, Morgan Le Fay and Adria are locked in perpetual combat, a timeless stalemate.

    Ah, but Joe, you forget the Ori gain (most) of their power from their followers, and Adria being the only Ori, she engaged in this “Semi-Eternal” battle with Morgan after the AHG were “cleansed”, and after that, they “cleansed” the Milky Way from the Ori worshippers, which means she lost even more of her power.

    @Rex Carter
    Alas, as you said, it’s booby trapped, so I do think it’d blow up most of the solar system when used. And 9C address requires more power than it can provide… At least, as far as I know/speculate 🙂

  44. Joe, continue to love the show, one question though how did Eli, Chloe and Scott get back on board in Sabotage? All the episode seemed to suggest was that they where suddenly able to get a connection to destiny. Did I miss anything?

  45. Joe: Do you realize by you keep talking about the “BAD SITE” you are making more people go to it? I support SGU and want it to succeed but out of pure curiosity I visited it to see what was going on. Given a choice of a good story or a trash talk story guess what people usually choose?

  46. @RedFlames: I hear ya matey! That uni stuff is starting to bite big time *sigh* “I will have a life…. eventually”.

    How does the FTL actually work? I can’t remember having seen it explained on screen.

  47. @ daniel, we saw the whole plot in Lost. Sabotage was the result of the actions in lost

  48. Hi Joe

    But what about me… **whimper** …was my birthday on the 16th. (See May 15th’s posts)


  49. @sven, yes but at the end of Lost they couldn’t dial into the Destiny and then Destiny jumps, then in Sabotage they are able to dial in once the FTL breaks. I suppose Destiny hadn’t gotten very far and so was still in range of the planet Eli and co where on. I guess that makes sense, but Eli mentions something about a message from Destiny flagging up that they’d be able to dial.

  50. …..would like to get filled in, anyone ????? What is the restaurant metaphor, hater site “thing” ??!!! Does it refer to a specific blog entr ?
    ….I feel like I’ve missed something important 😀

  51. Hello, i know it is rumoured that MGN is having alot of money troubles at the moment, so it is hard to put an exact release date on the 2 new stargate movies.

    But do you have a ball park time? are we talking 1-2 years or are we talking much longer?

    I know Amanda Tapping is very busy at the moment with Sanctuary and Michael Shanks with Smallville, are you sure if you leave it much longer you will be able to get all the cast together to do another SG1, and new SGA movie?

    Excellent turn around with SGU btw, to be totally honest i thought the first 10 episodes nothing really happened, and im a big stargate fan so was dying to like it, however the last few episodes have been very good, so well done on the turn around 🙂

  52. Another wonderful Q&A! Thank you to Carlos J. Cortes for taking the time to answer all those questions! He sounds like another nice author.

    I went on Barnes and Noble a couple of times to order the book, but they had weird information on their site (no longer in print, or out of stock). When it finally showed up as available it was too close to the deadline. I think I’ll try again and get it anyway. Sounds very interesting.

  53. Cool! The sun is shining. OMG I don’t believe I just had a twitter moment and I don’t DO twitter!

    Just wanted to say I’m loving what you guys have done with the back part of season 1. Hats off to you all cast and crew alike:)

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