Yes, we can!

A little something from the Art Department.  The suit isn’t as fitted as I’d like and I would never wear that tie in a million years, but I’m certainly looking presidential.  Assistant Director Bill Mizel, on the other hand, is looking positively old-timey in his portrait.  Hell, he was so delighted with James Robbins’ work that he couldn’t stop giggling for most of the afternoon…

Bill

Old-timey Bill.

Another set pic sure to get the boards buzzing.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

And some book club discussion on The Devil’s Alphabet (spoilers abound!).  But first – post your questions for author Daryl Gregory!

Ponytail writes: “I was more than half way through when I made a connection with the alphabet part: A = Argos, B = Betas, C = Charlies…”

Answer: Holy smokes!  I didn’t even realize this until your comment.  Which leads me to wonder about the second wave of mutations and whether they were the same sub-groups or if we’d moved on to D, E, and F.

Ponytail also writes: “Sure wish this book had simple quick sketches of the three groups.”

Answer: I had an easy enough time imagining the Argos and Charlies, but had a harder time visualizing the seal-like Betas.

Ponytail writes: “Number one was what caused the disease? I’ll vote for aliens or a virus from a parallel universe.”

Answer: Although the question is never answered, this is certainly the theory that is given the most weight.  I even wondered whether it was one space-time breech responsible for releasing three different viruses responsible for mutating its victims into three different alien-looking life forms.

Ponytail also writes: “Was Aunt Rhonda good or bad? Is she really taking care of them or does she have a personal agenda to get rich off of them?”

Answer: Great question for Daryl.  For my part, I loved the Aunt Rhonda character and had no doubt that the community – and her fellow Charlies in particular – were better off because of her.  Whether she personally benefited more than the others – I’m not sure.  In Rhonda’s case, I felt that power was her reward whether it stemmed from her position as town mayor, her leadership of the Charlies, or the money she made off “the vintage” that allowed her to solidify her role.

Ponytail also writes: “Paxton finally breaking into JoLynn’s computer (I was sure the password was “Paxton”!) to find…what? Aunt Rhonda making lots of money? I didn’t see any answers there.”

Answer: Paxton was investigating the possibility that Aunt Rhonda’s shady practices may have cost Jo Lynn her life.  Was she silenced for finding out the truth?  That’s what it certainly looked like – but it turned out the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death were far more shocking.

Ponytail also writes: “The government seriously acting like they were going to exterminate them all…but not.”

Answer: I think the military’s goal was not extermination but containment.  Moving against the victims of a plague would have been a PR disaster, something the military was well aware of – that Aunt Rhonda sought to exploit.

Ponytail also writes: “The twins running away and hiding…but why?”

Answer: They didn’t want to leave Switchcreek – which is what Tommy and Rhonda had planned for them.

Ponytail also writes: “Zeke and his wife were main characters…then suddenly not (if you know what I mean!).”

Answer: This one took me by surprise.  I was actually expecting them to make a reappearance later in the book with a reveal that the military had captured them (for experimental purposes) and had concocted a cover story to explain away their disappearance.

Ponytail also writes: “Looks like Paxton is going to stay…but then he leaves.”

Answer: I wonder how much of Paxton’s desire to stay was actually “the vintage” talking.

Ponytail also writes: “The twins and their mother…a cover up?”

Answer: Insofar as the twins are concerned, yes.  Paxton learns the truth but realizes nothing will be gained by going public so allows everyone to assume Jo Lynn did commit suicide.

Ponytail also writes: “I don’t think Paxton elected to leave town many years ago. I think his strick preacher father made him go after finding out about his relationship with Zeke and JoLynn.”

Answer: His father may have pressured him, but I got the sense that Paxton wasn’t unwilling.

Rebecca H writes: “I admit, I laughed out loud at that little word-bomb.”

Answer: Agreed.  One of the things I appreciated about the book was its sense of humor.

35 thoughts on “August 17, 2010: A little more from the Art Department! A super secret set pic! Some book of the month club discussion!

  1. Joe for President! Er, for Prime Minister! Heck, Joe for both!!

    First order of business for our new Mallozzi overlord? Ordering them to get those movies made! 😉

  2. Oh sh**!!!! BAG is back!!!! Blessed are you, Joseph Mallozzi and other producers… Ye shall inherit the blessing of the BAG.. For he has returned to stargate universe. The ratings will soar. It will be the most successful SG season yet!!!! Us fans owe you everything! I cannot believe that in a few short months, BAG will be gracing our TV screens… Hopefully with lines. 😉

    Thanks be to ye
    Major D. Davis

  3. Hmm. I’ve never trusted politicians…and now…now I trust them even less.

    😉

    das

  4. Dear President Joebama,

    Here are things that maybe you can get me. Some things I herd mommy and daddy talkign about but I prolly want them to.

    1. A puppy

    2. My own room

    3. Free insurance like they get in Canadia that nobody has to pay for

    4. Wee baby turtles

    5. A pony

    6. Jewel Staite’s phone number and dinner with Jewel Staite

    Thanks you,

    Louie
    8 years old (definitely not 42 years old)(and a half)

  5. Those two portraits are awesome! You have a fantastically talented art department!

    Why do the “BAG” fans call him bald? He just has a very short haircut. If he let his hair grow long, he could swirl it around the top of his head and have tons of hair!

    I forgot to mention the humor in The Devil’s Alphabet. I stopped a couple of times while reading the book to try and get some biography on Daryl Gregory. I wanted to see what year he was born because some of his “language’ in the book sounded 1970’ish to me and like something me or my brothers would have said. It was very entertaining.

    So some questions for Daryl Gregory…

    Hello Mr. Gregory! Thank you for taking the time to field some questions about your very enjoyable book, The Devil’s Alphabet. I have to ask about that cover! Who’s idea was that face? Does it represent any one of the 3 groups? Maybe the huge Charlies? Those eyes are entertaining in themselves. I don’t know how many times I turned that book upside down!!

    What was your idea behind this book? What inspired you to write it?

    How much fun (or work) was it creating the 3 Changed group’s characteristics?

    Did you toy with any other ideas on how to make a different group?

    I was fascinated by the Argos the most. Just the thought of them standing in a house and driving a car… Which was your favorite group and why?

    I would have loved to see a sketch of the different groups. Why don’t they put any artwork in books? I have a good imagination but it would have been fun to see your interpretation of what they looked like. I opened your new book “Masked” and turned a couple of pages and, waa laa, that’s what I’m talking about! A faint, light sketch of the cover art again. That would have been nice in Devil’s Alphabet too…a faint light sketch of the creatures.

    The fate of Deke and Donna. Why? That was pretty surprising. What eventually happened with the Military? Did they ever go away?

    Was Paxton’s father being a vintage secreting Charlie a way to keep him in town longer?

    I don’t think I trusted Aunt Rhonda through the entire book. I could not decide if she was a good guy or a bad guy. While I understand she was looking out for her people, the Charlies, did she have a personal agenda going on?

    If I understand this right, how long before the world is full of Betas?

    What was the funnest part about writing this book? What was the least fun part?

    There are so many stories going on within this book, how did you ever get the size down to just under 400 pages? I bet it was bigger than a Charlie before you trimed it down! Am I right?

    If you are not planning a sequel, can you expand on the story a little bit? In your mind, do we next get a generation of Beta boys?

    You live in Pennsylvania. Did you use anything from your surroundings in the book?

    How old were you when you wrote your first story and what was it about?

    Now that Masked has published, what are you working on now?

    Thank you again for writing the book and answering questions. Now I’m off to read Masked. I’m going to read your “Message From the Bubblegum Factory” story first before I read “Downfall”. But don’t tell Joe! 🙂

    Thank you Joe for another opportunity to talk to a real, live author! How cool is that!

  6. Great stuff. Love all the pictures.

    Does BAG know the love he has on this blog? Would love seeing some more Herb, too.

    It was a good day today. Patrick was wooing and flirting with all the women at his new school, trying to wrap them around his fingers so he can get out of working with just a cute look or smile. Little did he know they were on to him. They had such nice things to say about him when I picked him up, about his laughing and his great eye contact. They felt like he had all this stuff he wanted to say if only he could get it out. I’ve always felt that way, too, that he and I have almost telepathic conversations. We haven’t found the right communication device (nope not even the communication stones would work here) to “make it so.” When I got halfway down the road the impact of what she said hit me. She saw that my son still had potential. Everything out of the district’s mouths in the last 3-5 years were “well do you think that even 6 signs might be too much for him to learn in 1 year”, or “with his limited intellectual ability…” Comments I’ve heard over and over and over. I felt so grateful that he is there with people who do not see obstacles from Patrick to overcome, but what do we need to do to get this from him (i.e., instead of blaming the student for not learning, look inside themselves about what can they do to get the student to learn). Keep the good vibes coming. I appreciate you all sending them.

  7. Eight hours to surgery appointment, Joe. How about a blog dedication to “Mr. Gilder”, since he’ll be anxiously waiting while I’m blissfully unconscious? 

  8. Coucou!!!

    J’ai eu mon permis!!!! je n’y crois pas O_O!!! c’est incroyable!! un miracle super!!!!!!!!! =)

    J’adore le photoshop de vous en président, trop la class, je pense que je vais devenir citoyenne américaine =)…tiens pourquoi vous n’êtes pas devenu président? vous avez tout le charisme pour en tout cas =)!!

    Pleins de gros bisou!!! A plus tard!!!!!!!!!!

  9. @ Lou Zucaro –

    No problem, son! 😀

    AND…

    WE GOT RAAAAAAIIIIIN!!!!!! WOO!!

    *does Snoopy dance*

    Finally – after two months of barely a drop of precip – it’s pouring outside! POURING! Bye-bye shredded wheat grass, hello green grass! My trees are breathing a sigh of relief! All the bird poop has been washed off my car! It’s so wonderful! I’m like a little wilty flower come to life again!!

    Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo…

    I’m singing in the rain,
    Just singing in the rain.
    What a glorious feelin’,
    I’m happy again!
    I’m laughing at clouds
    So dark up above,
    The sun’s in my heart
    And I’m ready for love.

    Let the stormy clouds chase
    Everyone from the place,
    Come on with the rain
    I’ve a smile on my face!
    I walk down the lane
    With a happy refrain,
    Just singin’,
    Singin’ in the rain…

    Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo…

    😀

    das

  10. Thanks for the laughs everyone! School has started, so it’s been busy. I had no idea that high school band required ME to work for them part time. I’ll adjust….or they will 😉 .

    PBmom: I hope Peter really likes his new school!

    Gilder: Good luck with your surgery.

    Lou Zucaro: kind of creepy but in a funny way 😀 . “Joebama”, too funny!

    Joebama: too much teeth. Politicians smile with the lips!

    I tracked down brother-in-law to sign probate papers on MIL’s estate. I’m not sure why UPS couldn’t find BIL’s residence, Google had it on its map. Now I have to wait on severe bipolar, extremely medicated, SIL to sign her set of papers. This could take a while…… Why is it so hard to give money/property away?

  11. Questions for Daryl Gregory –

    As has already been pointed out, The Devil’s Alphabet is a very unique novel. Its partly horror, partly fantasy, partly science fiction. I’d like to know how the idea for this story developed. Were you originally going to write one type of story and had it develop and morph in the writing stages, or did you always plan to write a book that crosses several genres.

    Because the book is so unique, did you encounter any obstacles in getting it published, or was it straightforward because of the reception to your first book?

    I was taken by surprise by what happened to Deke. Was this something you’d planned from the beginning or something that developed during the writing process. And, a bigger question, how do you write? Do you always know where you’re going and going to end up or do you let the story guide you?

    Finally, and this is cheating I know, but what do YOU think caused the TDS?

  12. @ T’loc – Danny Trejo is the cousin of friends of mine…they’ve never met him, but I think their mom has. I think they’re AFRAID to meet him. 😆

    I just gotta say here – NEVER underestimate a Mexican with a machete. Mom has a Mexican ‘gardener’. He started out just weeding the gardens and stuff…then he got a machete, and CLEARED AN ACRE OF WOODS…IN TWO DAYS! With only a machete. Chopped down brambles and saplings and vines and all the undergrowth – now the woods are just big trees and moss and ferns – it’s lovely. He scares the hell out of me with that thing, though…one swing and he could take off my head!

    I must show him this trailer. 😀

    das

  13. @ Gilder – All my best to you and Mr. Gilder! Hope all goes well with the surgery! Which it will…then you get to be pampered for a few weeks. 😀

    das

  14. BAAAAAAAG!! Love it!

    But wait..wait a minute now.

    BAG is not taking notes! And where’s his trusty briefcase??? He never leaves home without it.

    What kind of trick is this, Mallozzi? Are you sure you have the right BAG and not his evil twin Other BAG who works at Global Dynamics? Or his arch enemy SAG who’s based on Atlantis? Hm. Don’t know what to believe now.

  15. Hi Joebama, (thanks Lou!)

    I have to agree with Tammy Dixon, don’t show all your teeth at once, and I can not believe you missed the absolute most important feature of all, which became such a HUGE issue in the ’08 campaign – where is your LAPEL PIN!!!

    BAG has kinda become like FIGWIT was in LotR, right? Funny what the fans pick up.

    Smiles, Julie

    @Gilder – Good wishes and blessings today!

    @PBMom – Absolute tears of joy for Patrick! I hope the District is still following everything you write so they can see how wrong they were, for shame!

  16. Hi Joe,

    Please answer?…

    Is it Camile Wray or Camille Wray?

    The casting call says Camille, mgm site says Camile. So confused!

    Other people online might respond with saying it’s this-or-that but I’m hoping you can confirm it.

    Thanks!

    Sean

  17. @das If that’s all it takes to make you happy I coulda come by and hosed you off myself. 🙂

    Elminster

  18. I thought The Devil’s Alphabet was a great book. I too was expecting horror and loved the fact that it went off in a completely different direction. I sympathized with most of the characters (Aunt Rhonda and Deke were my favorites) but couldn’t find much to like about Pax who just seemed very selfish. Even when he was being unselfish, it felt like he was acting against character due to the vintage. But that didn’t stop me from really enjoying the novel and picking up Mr. Gregory’s first novel, Pandemonium.

    Anyway, some questions for the author….

    1) What influenced the writing of The Devil’s Alphabet. Someone already mentioned Flannery O’Connor, but I’m wondering if there were any other works (either written or film/t.v.) that helped shape this story and your writing in general.

    2) What has your experience writing for comic books been like? How would you compare it to writing a novel? Do you find comic book editors are more restrictive? Do you have a preference between the two?

    3) How long did it take you to write The Devil’s Alphabet? Are you the type of writer who sets aside time to write and writes or do you only write when the muse sings to you?

  19. Joe, i cant believe you are encouraging this absurd behavior. the whole save balding asian guy thing went outta control. the fact that he has all these fans behind him is not a testament to the creative decisions taken, its fueled rather by silliness. if you let fans feel they have a say in this show then dont be upset when they show their dark side.

  20. @Gilder: Post as soon as you can and tell us how you’re doing!

    Joe? When does the new season of SGU begin? I can’t find it anywhere!

  21. Hi Joe. I’m not new to Stargate but am new to fandom and I have a bunch of questions I’m curious about that I wonder if you can answer. If you can’t or I’m being rude I apologize and you can just skip this comment.

    1. Why was Atlantis canceled? Was it because of the ratings? The cost of the show? Or were you guys just tired of it and wanted to try something new?

    2. Who canceled Atlantis? I haven’t been able to find any information on who did.

    3. Do you find it frustrating that you guys (I mean the shows producers) are being singled out by alot of angry Atlantis fans who blame you for the shows cancelation?

    4. If SGU is canceled, what are the chances of SGA coming back?

    5. Why couldn’t you guys have done what you did with SG1 and SGA, run two series simultaneously, Atlantis season six at the same time as Universe’s first season, and passed the torch that way?

    6. Do you regret anything about the way you handled the news of the Atlantis cancelation?

    7. Do you think any one on your side, either people involved in the production, the studio, or the network, knowing what they know now, regret canceling Atlantis for SGU?

    8. How confident are you that Universe well get a third season? What kind of ratings do you think the show will have to pull in to get picked up? Do you think the move to Tuesday nights will help. If yes, why?

    9. From reading your blog posts, I feel as though your interest in making the Atlantis movie has waned. Is this because you’re losing hope or is it because of the sour taste left in your mouth by the fact that the anti-SGU is mostly made up of Atlantis fans?

    10. Also from reading your blog, I get the feeling that even if Universe does get picked up, you might not be around for that third season. I may be misreading you but are you prepared to say if you’ll be back if the show comes back?

    Sorry again if these questions are rude or inappropriate. I’m just curious. And you should also know I’m not anti-SGU and am a fan of Universe too.

    Thank you

  22. Sorry forgot. One more question.

    What do you think is working against Universe becoming a break out hit and what can you do to change that?

  23. BAG’s legend is growing, Dixholster (if that’s your real name) and nothing you or the Lucian Alliance can do will stop BAG and his many Syfy show clones from taking over the galaxy. Mwa ha, mwahahahah, mwahahhahahhaaa!

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