In the year 3000, the wealthy Abigail Gentean, inspired by dreams of exploration and discovery, creates nine hundred and ninety-nine clones of herself. These “shatterlings” and her original self (indistinguishable from her duplicates) are subsequently dispersed to the far reaches of space – to colonize, investigate, learn and, eventually, meet up every two thousand years to share the memories they have gathered over the course of their travels. Some six million years after the Gentean line first left the Milky Way on their galaxy-spawning odysseys, two clone siblings, Campion and Purslane, enroute to one of these reunions, receive a troubling message. The gathering was ambushed by unknown forces and most of their numbers killed. Only the fact that Campion and Purslane were running late saved them from a similar fate.
Campion and Purslane must place their trust in an enigmatic ally, the amnesiac Hesperus, a robot of the machine people, if they have any hope of finding out why the Gentean Line has been marked for extermination. As it turns out, the shocking answer may lie with the mysterious House of Suns…
Alastair Reynolds is an author with an impressive academic background firmly rooted in science. To be honest, when I heard that he was a former research astronomer with the European Space Agency, I approached my first Alastair Reynolds novel with a certain amount of trepidation. Let me be frank. Most of the SF authors I’ve read who straddle the worlds of science and science fiction tend to come up short in certain key areas of story-telling – namely character, plotting, and a prose style that doesn’t have you skipping whole pages to get back on the narrative track. Still, having heard good things about Reynolds, I was cautiously optimistic when I started reading Revelation Space. Eventually, that cautious optimism turned to relief, then surprise, and, ultimately, utter delight. Revelation Space became a fast favorite because it delivered on so many of the levels I’d found wanting in other hard SF writers. As for House of Suns? Well, in my opinion, it’s even better.
One of the things I love about Reynolds’ books – and it’s a characteristic of the works of Iain M. Banks as well – is their ability to serve up BIG ideas: multi-century spanning narratives, inventive technologies, and unique takes on future/alien cultures. Lesser writers would be content with introducing one, maybe two such cool concepts and making them the center-point of the story. Reynolds throws about a dozen at you, each one helping to build the narrative in its own unique way, from the surrealistic game play of palatial to the Andromeda-dwelling First Machines and so much in between: the information-gathering beings known as The Vigilance, cloning and communal memory-sharing as a means to advancement, ever-evolving machine intelligence possessed of god-like abilities, vast solar system-containing devices known as stardams, the miraculous all-purpose aspic of machine, and, my personal favorite, the time dilated interrogation of prisoners.
Reynolds peoples his novel with interesting characters. I felt for both Campion and Purslane and was wholly invested in their stories although I had a particular affinity for Hesperus who was undergoing his own parallel journey of self-discovery. The one nitpick I had was with some of the supporting players, those surviving shatterlings, who, with a few exceptions (notably Mezereon and Betony), didn’t really distinguish themselves from one another. As a result, the reveal of the mole-in-their-midst wasn’t quite as powerful as it could have been.
Overall, the story was very well-paced, striking a perfect balance between the establishment of some fairly lofty concepts and timely plot advancement. The shifting point of view between Campion and Purslane in alternating chapters was admittedly damn confusing at first, but easy enough to follow once I’d caught on. And I found the Abigail storyline equally engaging.
I’ve heard some complain that they found the ending abrupt or anti-climactic. I disagree with the latter. I loved the fact that despite the building suspense, race against Cascade and Cadence, and looming spectre of vengeance for the mass genocide, the First Machines have developed to a point where they are beyond it. Their decision offers hope for all sentient beings, something that is reinforced in the book’s final moments. Yes, the ending is abrupt – but perfectly so. Campion is told that his lover has survived, housed within the protective gold sarcophagus created by Hesperus in a final act of sacrifice, and as he prepares to free her with the help of a descendant of the race his people almost wiped out, one can’t help but feel that sense of hope and anticipation, of looking forward to something long sought-after finally within reach, a sense of wonder that pervades House of Suns, perfectly distilled and crystallized in its closing paragraph:
“’Then I’ll help you,’the glass man said as my fingers du their useless nails into the fused seams of that golden mask. ‘After which, with regret, I shall have to be on my way.’”
Well, those were my initial thoughts. What did everyone else think? Weigh in with your thoughts and questions for author Alastair Reynolds!
Randomness writes: “Joe wouldn’t you say those aliens from Daedalus variations could just be a random alien race from another Galaxy that just so happened to come into conflict with Atlantis?”
Answer: Yes, that was the original conceit.
Chevron7 writes: “Joe, are we sure that the Joe Flanigan space suit incident was an accident? I suspect foul play.”
Answer: At the time, a straight-faced N. John Smith defending the crew member, insisting “It wasn’t malicious.”
sgugeek writes: “I know the cast is on holiday now, but if I mail my fan mail for Ashleigh today, will she get it?”
Answer: Not unless you post it on this blog and she happens to read it.
Michael writes: “1) I’ve read that SGU is moving to Tuesday but has the timeslot been announced?
2) I didn’t recognize Louis Ferreira in that robe and floppy hat, how the heck did he get past security?!
3) Why haven’t you done any commentary, the world needs to hear your genius!!”
Answers: 1) Not that I know of.
2) That was just one Friday. You should see what Jamil Walker Smith wears on a daily basis.
3) I’ll limit my genius to this blog, but thanks for asking.
afg1 writes: “So, then, as regards the SGA movie, there’s no point in you pushing for it until MGM gets better and the SG-1 movie gets made? Is that the idea?”
J. Chris Tucker writes: “Why are you and Paul credited as co-writers on scripts if you don’t actually co-write them?”
Answer: When we first started working on Stargate, we would write a script together, bouncing dialogue back and forth in the room. One of us paced while the other typed. Eventually, as we grew busier, we started working on the script separately, bouncing it back and forth between us. He would write a scene and send it my way. I would rewrite it and write the next scene. He would rewrite what I’d written and write the next scene and so on. Eventually, as we grew even more busy, we started writing scripts separately and merely doing final passes on each other’s drafts. Eventually, we just started writing our scripts separately. The reason we’re credited as co-writers is because while I’ve done mostly originals, Paul has done a fair amount of uncredited rewrites. And so, out of fairness (given that Paul is never credited or receives an extra script fee for what occasionally amounts to page one rewrites), we share the writing credits on the original scripts.
for the love of Beckett writes: “How long will Jelly be at the vet’s?”
Answer: She’s in all day tomorrow. I pick her up Wednesday, then bring her back in on Thursday for the stem cell injection.
otros ojos writes: “Hey, people better not mess with the octopus. (Just saying, based on what Jeffrey Ford’s psychic octopus did in The Drowned Life.)”
Angelus writes: “Judging from the Pineapple Diaries, Louis doesn’t seem very camera shy, Are there any cast members or have there been cast members who don’t like to be photographed and put in your blog?”
Answer: No, so far so good. I tend to head down to set and snap pics on the quieter shooting days and always get the okay from the actors before proceeding, getting them to sign off any pics before posting.
Angelus also writes: “My guess is Bobby doesn’t like to be photographed considering I can’t remember a single time he appeared in your blog?”
Answer: Oh, he’ll eventually make an appearance.
Angelus also writes: “How about guest stars?, Robert Knepper perhaps?”
Answer: No, I missed out on Robert but I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded. Very nice guy. As for guest stars – the same rule applies. I always tell them what it’s for, get their permission, and have them sign off on any potential public pics.
Angelus also writes: “And, Did anyone ever freak out about you posting a picture of them in your blog?”
Answer: No one ever freaked out, but Jason Momoa once suggested I ask him before posting any pics. I thought that was very cool of him and gave him a break – which resulted in him tracking me down to take his photos for the blog, like these ones –
E writes: “What SGA episode are you talking about? Only similar title is “Submersion”.”
Answer: Right. Submersion.
Gabriele writes: “1. Will we see Colonel Samantha Carter again in season two of “Stargate Universe”?
2. Will we see any of the Earth ships in season two of “Stargate Universe” and in the movies?”
Answer: Maybe to both questions.
andrew writes: “Anyone on the cast or crew have an ‘out there’ favorite food?”
Answer: Carl is a big fan of Chili’s. Does that count?
Kymm writes: “What hockey team does Ivon cheer for?”
Answer: The hated-everyone-in-Canda-except-Toronto Maple Leafs.
Luis writes: “Speaking of you and Paul’s Comic Book Series..Hows that going for you guys???”
Answer: Great. Next step: the comic book company is assigning an editor to the project.
Michelle writes: “I offer the following translations for your Atlantis movie diplomacy:
a. MGM is in so much debt, even the SG-1 movie has a .001% chance of getting financed, the SGA movie even less. Why should I waste my time?
b. Flanigan has said negative things about SGU’s ratings and prospects; no way am I fighting to get him a gig.
c. You fans are so naive. The sets are gone. SGA is over. Get a clue!
d. Have you not noticed I’m branching out to fiction and comics? I won’t be around long enough to make an SGA movie.
e. MGM never paid me for the script. I don’t work for free.
Care to comment if any of those are accurate?”d
Answer: MGM certainly did pay for the script and I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s business as usual with the lion, at least with regard to features and television. The direct-to-dvd market, however, will probably continue to be a big question mark. As for the sets – it’s much cheaper to put them in storage and put them up when needed rather than leave them standing and pay the cost of the stage rental.
57 thoughts on “July 12, 2010: House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds”
Joe, after reading The Algebraist and your comments on Alestair Reynolds, I have both their full collections ready to go – I can’t wait to get started, just as soon as I finish Stephen Baxter’s Flood.
Give Jelly a cuddle from all of us. It is horrible when your furrybairns are ill. I hope Lulu is leaving her alone and not bugging Jelly too much.
✈✈ Will you be mother-visiting soon? Maybe you will get a chance to see Brie and Stewey again.
So – Jamil has an outrageous wardrobe ? Are there any piccies available?
Please give Jelly extra hugs and our best wishes tomorrow for her procedure. I know we all wish her well. 🙂
PS. Can someone please clear up a question for me? Numerous people have said that they have the season 1.5 set of SGU here! But I was under the impression that it does not hit the Shelves till the 27Th? Do different region codes (region 1 blu-ray in my case) have different release dates? Or is it already out, and Amazon has the date wrong? Thanks…
Ok now, I have to ask. So, what does Carl like at Chili’s? That’s one of our favorite restaurants here, and we’re big fans of the chicken crispers and the country fried steak.
The book sounds fascinating. I had tried to find it in our local bookstore, but wasn’t able to. I might have to go into town and see if I can find it.
How was your day??
I hope the stem cell treatment works for Jelly she deserves to have a better quality of life as you can see how much she LOVES life and how much you enjoy having her in your life!!
My Questions for Alastair Reynolds:
1) you use BIG white boards to help organize your thoughts when writing a book but do you use similar items in your everyday life to help stay organized?
2) what are you currently listening too?
3) not a question but just wanted to say that I have enjoyed your books and own almost all of them thanks for being such an AWESOME wrtiter.
All the best for Jelly’s procedure. Human and animal good vibes from our house are heading her way.
Now I know why that book looked familiar when I was browsing the other day. No, I’m not part of any other book club that may have caused the confusion on my behalf. I’m just dense. And blonde. And tired.
Have a good night Joe.
Big doggy hugs to Jelly xxxxxoooooooo
OH! MY! GOSH! That May 28, 2008 blog just might be my most favorite ever of all of them! Jason is soooo cute demonstrating the proper use of and selling of furniture. Too bad the Satedan didn’t come with it. I remember spending a lot of time drooling (and laughing) over the pictures.
Question: “3) Why haven’t you done any commentary, the world needs to hear your genius!!”
Answer: “3) I’ll limit my genius to this blog, but thanks for asking.”
Am I missing something here? Is he talking about SGU’s first season, because you have done plenty of commentary in the past. Particularly in SGA 5th season, you did commentary with the lovely Jason Momoa on Broken Ties, and you did Whispers, and Remnants to name just a few.
I hope Tuesday Little Miss Jelly Belly feels the love coming her way. All day I will be chanting, Jellleee, Jellleee, Jellleee, in support.
BTW: Conan on a couch… Very FUNNY!!! Thanks for the walk down memory lane for us Atlantis fans. 😉
You know what surreal is? Going to Chili’s in Mexico.
Wait, is surreal the word I’m looking for here?
I’m very proud of you for not escalating that/those last questions. They were sooo very ripe for it.
I have a few snarky comments re:*those* comments that I’ll also not say.
All my best to Jelly! Give her big bloggy hugs and kisses from us all!
It’s been a big, long day…I’m actually too tired to harrass you. 😉
We’re keeping Ms Jelly in our thoughts here, as well! Keep us updated, please!
Best of luck JELLY! We’re all rooting for you that the procedure goes smoothly with a quick recovery!
Wishing the best for Jelly.
I just finished “House of Suns” myself two weeks ago.
It was a wild ride, that’s for sure. I figured it was going to be some kind of mystery, but that certainly wasn’t the climax, so I really wouldn’t say the novel is a sci-fi mystery. As I was reading up to the climax (it is hard to actually claim what the climax is, but I think it would be opening up the star dam), I really didn’t understand where this book was going. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but I usually like to have an idea of at least the direction we’re going.
The ending was indeed, rather abrupt. It fits, it was probably a bit tidier than I’d like, but I’ve read worse, much worse.
My question for the author would be:
The Absence is interesting, and bringing up star dams, I figured that somebody or something had managed to just put Dyson spheres around all the stars, on their way to being a Kardashev type III after having perfected type II. The fact that opening a wormhole could do that… Well, quantum mechanics being what it is, possibly. My only complaint when I first thought about it was, what about the gravity waves? Yes, I know, it’s science fiction Bryan!
Of course, on second reflection, I guess the Absence will go away once our two galaxies merge 4.5 billion years in the future.
What I liked most about the ending was the sacrifice of Hesperus, although I hope that there is a way to resurrect him (yet again!) in future books. I love that the Machine People were all so hard to trust/rely on/believe. And it was mostly that human fear of anything without a soul that we see so much in movies and TV (cyborgs, replicants, cylons, clone wars soldiers, terminators in general.) I found it interesting that I kept having this nagging prejudice against the machine people throughout the book; but it’s not often that we ever in our real lives have to think hard about how we would feel putting our trust in machine intelligence.
I found myself preferring Campion’s daredevil ways and his loyalty to Purslane; the POV on him was always wry.
BTW did anyone else see Brian J. Smith on Masterpiece’s Murder on the Orient Express sunday in the states? Did they film on the real train and travel to the Mid East and Europe? It was a sumptously filmed mystery, one of the best I’ve seen on Master P.
Also just watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (free on Netflix), it is expletive freakin’ good. Btween the House of Suns, Murder on the Orient Express and Dragon Tattoo I’ve had a super sleuthin’ weekend, whew!
All of my questions about RS-series and House of Suns were answered by going to the FAQ sections on Dr. Reynolds’ website. However, three questions remain:
1. One of the Gentian shatterlings was the original Abigail Gentian. Was the original Abigail in latter day portions of the HOS under a different name (i.e. Purslane)?
2. Would non-FTL space opera work on television?
3. How would one make a clone that was of different sex than the original?
I do believe in the near future that some other studio will buy MGM (or their catalog and movies/shows that are in production) and all will be well. That’s my hope. MGM does have lots of things going for it. Let’s take up a collection.
I’m still not sure why people don’t think you want the SGA movie made. You obviously do. There’s only so much one person can do if the studio isn’t on the same page (yet). And they had the money to make it.
Good luck with Jelly tomorrow. Give her lots of extra pets and scratches.
Crossing my paws for Jelly. I’m undergoing MRI on knee in AM…apparently injured during Ireland trip.
Thinking good thoughts for Jelly! Here’s hoping this treatment will be amazing!
I’ve been trying to find the Very Keller Mailbag you did (the whole post about how Jewel is frakking awesome)… it was so snarky and amazing and I was telling my friend about it today and now I can’t find it to link her to it… can anyone else find it?
@Shiny I did indeed see MotOE with Brian J Smith last Sunday! DANG, that kid can act. Course, I said that to my mum and she replied “if he’s a KID then you are too,” to which I could find no response. Either way, I agree: he’s really frakking amazing! 😀
Where’s the next part of “pineapple diaries”? I love them 🙂
Your review of ‘House of Suns’ make me really wish I would have been able to find it in my library, now I think it might have to go on my Amazon list.
My journey through re-watching Stargate has finally brought me to Atlantis, I was struck again by just how great the first episode was. (And by how beautifully a romance between John and Teyla was set-up…)
Did you ever consider an alternate universe in which Daniel just runs through the stargate against Jack’s wishes, or goes through in some other way?
Speaking of AUs, do you have a favorite? Is there one that you would have liked to have explored further?
Before bringing in Cameron Mitchell, did you ever consider bring Jonas back?
Best of luck to Jelly 🙂
A belated thank you for the hilarious Louis Ferreira videos.
Also, best wishes to Jelly on her stem cell therapy. It’s fascinating that this medical technology on now being utilized on pets for their benefit — as so often, we [we being the scientists] use animals to test on, rather than to treat.
And … how is you Mother doing? Is she keeping up with her physical therapy? It’s a tough go, but it’s worthwhile at the end. (Or you’re just that relieved it’s finally over, I guess.)
Ivon cheers for Toronto…..*pfffft*…. so he’s the one….and you cheer for Montreal, if you had gotten clocked yesterday, I’m not sure it would have been an accident, given the whole Montreal/Toronto rivalry. *snicker*
Fingers crossed for Jelly. I hope all goes well and she experiences some improvement.
I saw on CNN today that Paul (yes the octopus), is getting all kinds of offers for endorsements etc. They are supposed to be making a big announcement tomorrow.
I’ve been trying to catch up on my online TV viewing, and some new shows have started that I want to catch. Did anyone watch Haven tonight? (I got distracted half way through and will have to watch it again). New season of Eureka started, episode one was a huge shake-up eh? I wonder if it will ‘stick’. Plus, The Glades debuted; I’ve been looking forward to that one.
It was a good thing someone mentioned that Brian J. Smith was appearing on the Orient Express; otherwise, I would never have recognized him. I wonder what David Suchet is like IRL.
Joe – did you ever watch the TV series La Femme Nikita?
Have a good one!!
Ahhhh enfin ici!!!! Contente je suis en repos!! ça fait plaisir!!!! ♥ Tous les jour je regarder vos photos sur mon portable!!!
Je suis contente que l’Espagne ai gagner cette coupe du monde, elle le meritait vraiment, elle a fournie un beau jeu collectif, surtout à la fin.
Par contre je suis déçu pour Lance Armstrong qui a perdu toute chance de gagner le Tour de France, j’espere qu’en même qu’il nous montera de belles choses!
Jattend avec impatience les championnat d’europe d’Athlétisme, avec Chistrophe Lemaitre tout juste 20 ans et le 1er blanc à avoir couru le 100 mètre en moin de 10 seconde!!
Vive l été, vive le sport, et vive les jours de repos!! ^^
je vous adore!
Hey Joe – first of all, thank you for answering Bailey‘s question. Whether you gave up on it or not, I still think your response was enlightening. Being the underdog sucks.
Secondly, this is probably the first time I read one of your book reviews. LOL. I am not doing any favours for myself, am I? Seriously though, I read the first few lines and as soon as I saw “nine hundred and ninety-nine clones of herself” and “Some six million years after the Gentean line first left the Milky Way on their galaxy-spawning odysseys”, I was intrigued. I, too, am a fan of stuff where the characters play the long game, as it were. It fascinates me that they can store so much memory and experience, and I always wonder what kind of people they will be given no human can experience such a thing. With my aversion fo reading, I turn to the visual media for such fictions, such as the one-shot manga Hotel (that final number still boggles my mind; also I think I already posted this here but it won’t hurt to post it again), and of course the examples in Star Trek and Stargate, i.e. The Inner Light, The Visitor, Hard Time (from DS9), Unending, Before I Sleep, etc. – sure, not millions of years of human experience, but still a long time.
All of this has let me to want to write a novel of my own based on this very idea, which, thanks to my lack of experience in reading novels, is probably incredibly unoriginal. However, given YOUR bountiful experience in this area, I’m sure you can inform me whether it’s original or not.
The idea starts off pretty unoriginal: a man discovers that, through a genetic oddity, his body can regenerate cells very quickly and thus any injuries will heal almost instantly (though he can’t really regenerate entire body parts, like an organ, an arm, or a head). This cellular regeneration also means he won’t age.
To start things off, he does what all such people does – he fights crime, or at least, tries to. Then, after he gets bored of that, he settles down with the girl of his dreams and have children, who doesn’t carry his gene. They age and die, while he stays the same as ever. The man gets his first taste of how his “gift” can actually be a curse.
Then more time passes, decades, centuries. The man travels the world multiple times, seeing the rise and fall of nations. He becomes a legend, as the man who never ages.
Then even more time passes. Thousands of years, tens of thousands. Humanity begins to change, but the man stays the same.
Millions of years passes and…well, you get the idea. Instead of focusing on a singular event in a massive history/backstory spanning millions of years, I will try to tell a story that, itself, spans millions of years, all about one man who has lived to see it all. Imagine the possibilities. Will he try to kill himself? Will he be too scared to? What if humanity goes extinct and he’s the last one, will he kill himself then or would he not since that would actually make mankind extinct? Will he venture out into space? What will he see there? Will he decide to just up and go away from the Earth, then get bored and go right back to where he started? And then there is the whole concept of the evolution of humanity, biologically, technologically, and culturally – he will see it all, provided he doesn’t get vaporized in a nuclear war or something.
The idea seems to have potential…unless it’s already been done.
Anyways, good luck with Jelly’s procedure! May it be successful so that the matriarch of the family (let’s be honest, she’s the boss of you too, Joe) can stay as such for many more years to come!
1 why in the episode the episode earth didn’t they first thought to use zpm to join destiny?
2 destiny was build before atlantis, don’t we have a track of the ship in the database of the city ?!
just one question stargate extinction (when)?
Questions for Alastair Reynolds:
1. You’re quite a prolific writer. How much time do you spend writing each day, do you have a daily word target and what proportion of your time is spent writing new stuff, revising old stuff and researching cool ideas?
2. How long did it take you to get your first novel published? Did you get many rejections?
3. The artwork on the covers of your books are fantastic. Do you have any input on the artwork?
3. You’ve steadfastly shied away from Faster Than Light travel for most of your stories. Is that because you try to keep the physics of your fictional universes closely tied to our own universe?
4. An astrophysics question unrelated to your writing that you may or may not be able to answer: If the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation is supposed to be remnant radiation left over from the Big Bang, how can we see it? Shouldn’t it have been shooting away from us at the speed of light for billions of years?
Thanks for answering our questions and writing some awesome books!
My take on the “Brad’s pushing, Joe’s not” thing is that something really really important happens in the movie.
We’ve already heard about MoonBase, and I guess there’s other things, too, which push the earth stuff forward quite a bit. Since SGU’s occasionally nipping into SG1’s world, the writers are having to be careful about what info they can/can’t give us.
I’m guessing this is the reason for the SG1 push, more than the Atlantis one.
Good luck to Jelly! I really pray this has some positive results for her.
Brian Smith was very good in Murder on the Orient Express”. Did anyone see it?
Weird day, one of my YMCA friends’ killed her husband. They seemed to get along so well! It is a big shocker. I feel so bad for her and her family.
@ytimynona – Is this the one you’re refering too?
Hey Joe, great review. Never got around to reading the book unfortunately, but I want to. As per all the questions about the SGA movie not being made I thought just hit me square in the face, and I can’t believe I didn’t mention it before. MGM is in a huge amount of financial debt and can’t afford to finance anything. Sure, you guys can fight to try and get it made, but really there is no point to it. Why?
Because why would MGM fund something small and insignificant when they can’t even afford to fund what could take away a huge chunk of their debt, The Hobbit films. Sure, you could say since the Stargate films are much cheaper, they would want to do it, but with them being cheaper, they make less, and in the long run MGM won’t be any further ahead. I believe Peter Jackson is trying to get MGM to give him some money to make the Hobbit films, and I’m of the belief that he has much more say than all the Stargate people combined (no offense meant what so ever). For the longest time I’ve been thinking it was a conspiracy between you guys about the films, and you were just saying all these things to keep us coming back for more, so I don’t know how I’ve only just realized this.
Besides, if MGM did finance the Stargate films, they are taking a much bigger risk than financing their main money maker. Many Stargate fans are angry at SGU, so they may boycott the film out of that anger. In turn, everyone who has seen Lord of the Rings will go out and see The Hobbit because, come on, it’s Middle Earth.
In closing, the only luck that the Stargate films will get made soon is if Peter Jackson gets his funding, and Brad Wright manages to convince MGM to just let a bit more out for a Stargate film in the process. I believe (and correct me if I’m wrong about this) that is why Brad has decided to go back to MGM and try to get some money.
best of luck to jelly! are you going to get her a little pug walker whilst she rehabs? 😀 seriously though – did the vet give you any time of time frame as to when you can expect to see improvement?
I’ve really been enjoying your book reviews, and this one in particular: House of Suns sounds very rich and challenging. For the time being my leisure reading is very limited, but via your reviews, I can at least get an idea of what’s out there; and your well-considered critiques will be an immense help when I get more time and want a great new read.
From BotM discussions past: I recall reading that someone had the opportunity to discuss The Speed of Dark with another person. I was also able to have a good convo about that book on a long flight a few months back. It turned out the woman who sat next to me has a son with autism, and the conversation went from present-day realities to future possibilities for treatment. She was genuinely intrigued by the book, and made a note of the title and author. Elizabeth Moon not only created a great book but did an incredibly wonderful service for many, many people.
– Just a couple of reflections from someone who can’t presently participate but benefits nonetheless.
Joe, I don’t really want to get involved in the SG-movies debate, but you always reference the poor DVD sales. Has there been any discussion about theatrical releases for either?
Also, what the hell is this? It says release date July 27, 2010. But Season 5 has been out for a long time.
I’ve been reading and following Alastair Reynolds for many years now, and House of Suns was both familiar and refreshing when put alongside his other work. I thought the comment from a Goodreads member summed up House of Suns very well — comparing it to the Revelation Space novels, it was something to the effect that this book was like looking through candy-colored rather than slime-covered glasses 🙂 One of the many little pleasures I got, as a reader “d’un certain age”, was discovering the references to King Crimson — the characters “Cadence and Cascade” and the ship the “Yellow Jester” made me smile.
Sean D. writes: “Hi Joe, can you make those videos available in another format or through another source?”
Answer: Hey, Sean – when I have time, I’ll upload them to youtube. I’ll keep you posted.
…cool thanks! 😀
Joe, I know you’re leaving after SGU, but are there any of the current writers who are interested or likely to stay on for a fourth Stargate series, if that happens?
Darn, I was wrong on 3 of my 5 movie speculations. I haven’t scored 40% on a test since sophomore thermodynamics. But anyway the 2 I got right are revealing enough, thanks. 🙂
Give Joe a break, eh? *w* He asserts that he’s not much of a hockey fan, which is easy enough to believe when he refers to the Montreal Canadians and not the Canadiens. – Hair-splitting, I suppose, but . . . I think I might be more of a Habs fan than Joe is. I yelled till I was hoarse during their unexpected, incredibly exciting run for the Cup. – Well, I was already hoarse from cheering for the Bruins. Mais vive la Québec. My brain might have exploded had the two met in the semis.
As for Joe getting clocked on purpose, of course it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen when two or more men (and sometimes women) start talking sports. So yeah, I suppose I need to concede your point. Especially considering those involved. *w & big grin*
– I’m also interested in seeing if the new development in Eureka “sticks.” Could make for some very cool stories, maybe a bit edgier, but I hope the show keeps its high level of offbeat humor.
@ Tammy Dixon – Are you talking about the new one that aired Sunday? I recorded it, but with my sister arriving and all, I just haven’t had a moment to watch it. I did manage one Doctor Who this morning, however, and it made me cry. 🙁 😛
I have to point out that it’s “Gentian”, not “Gentean”. Gentian is a flower, which explains why the Gentian Line is called the House of Flowers, and every cloned member has a plant name. That was the second thing that struck me. The first was that, at the beginning of the book, I thought it was going to be an Iain M. Banks Culture knockoff. Of course it wasn’t, though the universes are similar in some respects. Also, I believe the Line met every two hundred thousand years for the Thousand Nights of exchanging information. That’s what it takes to make a circuit of the Milky Way, and would fit the six million year lifespan of the Gentians.
You pretty much outlined everything I thought about the book (I haven’t read any of Alistair Reynolds’ previous books, although I plan to now). There’s not a lot I can add, except that Reynolds’ characters seem much more accessible because they don’t have the god-like powers to change gender or appearance at a whim, and their long lifespans are due to stasis chambers and cryogenics, not genetics per se. I like to think Abigail Gentian was Purslane, or Campion, even though she could have been any of the clones (yes, it’s possible for clones to be male or female from the same stem cells, but something else had to be in play for Abigail herself to become either sex).
It was more realistic to me that Reynolds didn’t bother to give the minor robots, ships, etc., personalities. They were merely smart robots, not sentient beings (except for the Machine People, who were sentient). And it was interesting that all the civilizations and races in the galaxy were descended from humans, even the Machine People who would have had their origins in human technology. I wonder if Mr. Reynolds believes that humans are alone in the universe (which I fervently hope is not the case).
The aspic-of-machines was very clever, and actually not all that fanciful, when you consider the advance of nanotechnology today. I could see people in the future smearing aspic of nanobots in order to heal flesh or create machines.
The one thing I didn’t understand in the story was Palatial. What was its significance to the story? Were the Ghost Soldiers supposed to be precursors of the Machine People? Who was the little boy, and what happened to him? Even though he supposedly became a drooling idiot when extracted from the game, did he actually become Valmik, the Spirit of the Air, and eventually Valmik/Hesperus? Those are the things I wish had been just a little bit clearer.
Also, did Mr. Reynolds get the idea for the Gentian house from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California?
Finally, best wishes and good luck to Jelly.
Das: Was it the Dr. Who episode with Van Gogh? Watching someone struggle with a mental illness is painful. It was a great episode, though.
Yes, the Masterpiece that recorded Sunday had Brian J. Smith in it. All the actors were sensational! They made Poirot seem kind of Asperger. Interesting approach.
Have fun with your sister.
Joe, apparently Todd’s name in the upcoming Stargate Atlantis: Legacy book series from Fandemonium is “Guide”.
Can I ask your opinion on this: Do you like the name?
Personally I prefer Todd. It just, I don’t know, fits him, I guess. The yet-to-be-released book series takes place after Season five.
Have you read/heard anything of them?
Are they worth the read?
And do you think they should be considered canon? I mean, seriously, Guide the Wraith. What’s up with that?
@ Tammy Dixon – Gah, yes! It was the Van Gogh one! I’m sitting there, drinking my coffee and blubbering like a big fat baby. 😛 So glad Mr. Das had already left for work. 😛
Hubby and I are eager to watch Poirot – so maybe tonight if he gets in early enough (I have White Collar and Warehouse 13 set to record – I have when I have two shows on at the same time).
Anyway, I’m excited to see Brian in something different and I will certainly tell you what I think!
*that was supposed to be ‘I hate it when I have two shows…’
@RebeccaH: Palatial was a subplot that went with Abigail. It showed just how close Abigail had herself been to madness. And I think that it’s Purslane who is actually Abigail. Or at least the Wings of the Swan was the original ship for Abigail. Now why it was still the fastest ship (and rather old at that), that’s another good question, evidently there was a drive to keep the ship at the best (and being a collector…). But I think it points to Purslane being Abigail.
Valmik was a machine person before the Golden Hour, so I think that excludes the little boy from being Valmik. And when was the editing down that took the boy’s name from Abigail?
The Ghost Soldiers was just a part of Palatial. If anything, I would say that it was the boy’s family line that turned into the machine people. But that’s just conjecture on my part.
If/when there is another book, I suspect that we’ll get some of those answers. What kind of a response that will happen once they go back through the rabbit-hole, one can only guess. Especially since it will be a matter of a bit of time, even traveling through a wormhole.
Pineapple Diaries TOO FUNNY!!!
Just made it through the 2010 GateCon Vancouver convention. HAD A TON OF FUN!!!! Met tons of great actors and am praying that they will do another convention, since originally they were leaning towards this being the last. But enough arm twisting from the fans and the actors has hopefully changed their minds.
While staying downtown for the convention I got to try out a few restaurants:
“Thida Thai” on Davie Street (my first time having Thai) not bad and a great recommendation from Andee Fizzell (when a Wraith queen tells you what to eat you do lol).
“The Winking Judge Pub” on Burrard, nice little English pub that came complete with shots from Dr. Beckett and Agent Barrett for our group (highlight of the weekend).
And a Japanese place not far from the hotel (can’t remember the name, and still not sure if I like Japanese food).
Ever been to any of these!!!
Oh and one of my roomies for the weekend tried Japa Dog and LOVED it!!!
@ Guide the Wraith. What’s up with that?
Of all the names to choose from why Guide? If the meaning is meant to be literal like someone who *guides* others through the unknown then maybe it would somewhat fit him, he has helped the Atlantis personel quite a bit in his time.
And as Todd was a given name by Sheppard, he hasn’t openly said *Call me Guide*.
Count me in the I prefer the name Todd camp.
Have book (on my Kindle) did not read. On trip to YVR, slept cause I could not sleep the night before. During Gatecon – way to many things to do..not just see, but to do. Return home, again Kindle in seat pocket and my eyes were examining the insides of the lids cause I had to leave hotel at 3:30 for 6 am flight. what is WRONG with this picture. aarrggh.
Gibbs slap to head:
I forgot to mention 3 of us went to ReFuel and had Crispy Duck, Foie Gras, and the pea soup (which I would NEVER order or eat elsewhere). Never having tried Foie Gras, I was a bit anxious, but it is DELICIOUS!. And the duck was just surperb! Next trip has to be timed for the corn soup.
Crossing all crossable parts for Jelly’s event.
Now for the laundry…
Fox Home Entertainment have re-package all the Stargate box sets into regular size cases. It’s the flimsy perforated multi-disc case that self destructs from regular usage in a few months.
@Kymm – I get that you were trying to be funny but I didn’t find that amusing at all.
(slinky away guiltily). I know you reminded us. But I still forgot the botM was yesterday. I’m not even sure where my copy of House of Suns is. I’ll dig it out asap, and put it on the to read list right after Masks.
thanks for the nice fat mailbag. It’s helping me settle back into a daily routine. At least till next month when I disappear into the wilds of Ontario for a week or so in a internet-less cabin. Missing the blog for the week is already giving me withdrawal symptoms…
@ Chevron7 – yes, I was trying to be funny, and apparently failed miserably, I am sorry you were offended.
I’ve read one of his books. Century Rain. Great book. Great writer.
“Paul has done a fair amount of uncredited rewrites. And so, out of fairness (given that Paul is never credited or receives an extra script fee for what occasionally amounts to page one rewrites), we share the writing credits on the original scripts.”
I’ve a little confused – Paul has done uncredited rewrites on some scripts – so you share credit on them – doesn’t that mean he is credited? – do you mean to say he wouldn’t be credited if it was only your name in the written by credit?
Without checking to confirm I think i’m right in saying that yours and Paul scripts are always tagged as “Written By Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie”, ever any discussion of reversing the names scripts primarily written by Paul to indicate to the audience who the “primary” writer was?
Sorry if the above appears to be prying, I don’t mean to, just always fascinated with the mechanics of whose doing what in the production and when etc.