It’s 1927 Manhattan, but a time and place both familiar and strange.  The first world war has ended and the United States is in a Cold War with the British Empire.  Steam-powered automobiles command the streets of a city terrorized by the mysterious underworld figure known as The Roman, so named for his penchant for leaving Ancient Roman coins on the eyelids of his brutalized victims.  Police detective Felix Donovan is charged with the daunting task of bringing The Roman to justice, and quickly learns firsthand the villain’s power and reach.  He and his family are threatened and he is made an offer he cannot – or perhaps should not – refuse.  But Donovan is a man of honor and refuses to be bought.  Instead, he sends his family into hiding and pushes forward with his investigation.

Fortunately for Donovan, he has an ally in the form of a costumed hero known as The Ghost who has declared war on The Roman’s organization.  Outfitted with a host of gadgetry, from rocket boots to flechette-firing weaponry, the Ghost patrols the streets of Manhattan at night, disrupting The Roman’s operations with brutal efficiency.

The dual investigations lead both men through a labyrinthine mystery involving ancient artifacts, a wealthy playboy named Gabriel Cross, a supernatural bargain, and an alluring jazz singer who may prove the key to it all.

Ghosts of Manhattan is a hard-boiled, noir, steampunk, AU thriller with supernatural trappings and echoes of The Dark Knight.  Yes, it covers a lot of ground, but it does so in well-paced fashion, offering up an interesting premise and some intriguing world-building that, I suspect, sets the stage for future adventures in this series.  It’s nicely atmospheric, establishing and developing a unique sensibility reminiscent of both pulp fiction and classic cinema. It succeeds well on this count but its success makes the book’s late “supernatural turn” a little jolting.  In all fairness, one can argue that this was set up with the introduction of the seemingly indestructible golems (which do, inevitably, end up destroyed in spectacular fashion), obviously otherworldly elements operating in an otherwise grounded environment, but, for me, the revelation concerning The Roman and Celeste still felt jarring.

The only other creative decision to give me pause was the choice to maintain an air of mystery surrounding the Ghost’s true identity rather than reveal it from the get-go.  It stuck me as odd given that it was very obvious throughout.  In fact, it was so obvious that, at a certain point, I began to suspect it was a clever misdirect and my assumptions would be upended by a wholly unexpected revelation.  Ironically, when the Ghost’s alter ego was finally revealed, I’d so convinced myself that I was in for a surprise that when I wasn’t surprised I WAS surprised!

Finally, I should make special mention of the gorgeous, eye-catching cover by Benjamin Carre that so effectively captures the moodiness of the story itself. This was one of those instances where the cover actually drew me to a book rather than causing me to banish it to the “maybe some day” pile.

So, what did you all think of Ghosts of Manhattan? Let’s hear your thoughts.  And get those questions in for author George Mann.

Well, the news coming out of Japan continues to worsen.  My friends in Tokyo are reporting that the city continues to experience after shocks, putting everyone on edge.  Electricity is being rationed, ransportation has been badly affected, and stores are having a hard time keeping shelves stocked.  One of Akemi’s friends has heard regular food deliveries won’t resume until the end of April.  Most international and ex-pat communities are leaving.  I asked one of my friends if she was thinking of following suit.  Her response echoed the stories I’ve heard, of survivors supporting one another, demonstrating patience and perseverance in the face of the tragedy: “We are thinking about it, but at the same time, I trust the people here in Japan and their strength, and it is up to us who are able to resume to everyday life to get this country going”.  I asked her how those of us so far away could help, and she suggested making a donation to a reliable organization like the Red Cross (a spokesman on CNN assured viewers that fully 91% of monies contributed go to the stricken countries), or JEN (http://www​.jen-npo.o​rg/en/inde​x.html).  Meanwhile, the American Humane Association has set up a relief fund for animals affected by the disaster: a relief fund for rescuing animals

Meanwhile, the situation with Japan’s nuclear reactors continues to worsen.  Attempts are underway to cool exposed fuel rods at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and avert a meltdown.  What does this mean?  Well, according to CNN, it’s “very bad news”.  BUT what does it mean?!  Well, one CNN pundit called it “the worst possible news”.  Okay, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!  What are the consequences of a meltdown?  For the Japanese people?  For the rest of the world?  Unfortunately, the news outlets are too busy using terms like “worst case scenario” and “disastrous” to properly explain anything beyond their detailed, illustration-laden, accounts of what is being done to avert this “disastrous” “worst case scenario”.  I did, eventually, come across this article:, but with today’s developments, we’re already past the points covered.  On the one hand, we have the end-of-the-world kooks spouting their doomsday theories on conspiracy and survivalist sites; on the other hand, we have various world governments reassuring the public that the effects of any radiation released will be minimal.  Obviously, the truth lies somewhere in between.  I’m just saying, I think it would just be nice to be able to tune into the news and get actual news – say, information, possibly even answers to some fairly obvious questions.

Amid all the videos and photos of the vast devastation, one simple picture of the human element at the heart of this tragedy really drove home for me the sad reality of this almost surreal situation.  It’s a photo of a young girl who looks not all that dissimilar to Akemi, hunkered down behind the window of a radiation barrier, reaching out to almost touch her dog on the other side.  Heartbreaking.

50 thoughts on “March 14, 2011: Ghosts of Manhattan, by George Mann

  1. So I’m on the laptop and the wife has Lady Gaga Born this Way on the tv trying to get our 2 year old to dance for visiting Grandma. Suddenly there’s a knock at the door. The wife turns down the volume and it’s a neighbour from up the street. I see her walking a husky once in awhile. She explains that some people lost their dog and she saw it go into our backyard.

    So the wife & step mom go outside with this lady into our backyard. I’m inside with my son watching. The owner shows up, grubby teen who seemed sketchy saying the dogs been lost since the afternoon. Then the people behind us get into it. Turns out this Shih Tzu is between the fence and the neighbours shed behind my place.

    So theres around 5 women all trying to coax this dog out from behind the shed and the dog isn’t moving. I tell the wife to go inside and grab a hammer. Walk out and directly behind my shed is about 2 feet of space, the fence, then like just enough room for this dog and the neighbours shed. The dog appears to be totally stuck looking up at me like “HELP.”

    So I pop off one of the fence panels and get the shih tzu out. The thing stank, I put on gardening gloves because it was growling at everyone else. Its coat was filthy. I asked this teen how it got so dirty and she took the dog and walked away, no thanks whatsoever. I yelled, “Your welcome,” and she kept on going.

  2. Hello Joe.

    That final picture caused my heart to just sink. It really does drive home the Human tragedy. My heart, and my prayers go out to everyone who has friends and family in Japan, and I hope that everyone was able to contact their friends and loved ones, and hear that they are okay.

    As always, my best wishes to everyone,


  3. Oh – and on a side note – did you happen to catch the National Geographic special Finding Atlantis? Evidently, it’s under about 30 feet of mud in southwestern Spain.

    Maybe they have spare jumpers down there that Rodney and Zelenka could resurrect for you to transport your pooches. 🙂

  4. Dear Everyone,

    Couple things.

    1. As of now, there has been two more explosions at the other reactors. Earlier today, the rods at the 1st power plant were completely exposed to the outside world for over an hour. In twenty minutes, people received a year’s worth of radiation. There is now (supposedly) a cloud of radiation heading toward Tokyo. Not trying to alarm anyone, but if I were there, I’d want the facts. Good news-they say that they’ve shut down the first two reactors. Bad news – the other two are in trouble.

    2. There is a way to send money through the Methodist church website that will give 100% to Japan IF you put in the right code.

    God help those people.

  5. Hi Joe, I saw another (different) picture of the same girl, her mother and the dog, and felt the same way you do. I also saw some footage of some people that found their dog alive in a town that was completely devastated, and the woman who owned the dog was crying tears of happiness at being reunited. Dogs – amazing creatures.

  6. I’ve been frustrated with the news for a long time. This situation is no exception. I always rant, “I gotta’ find a better new source than CNN!”, but I obviously keep going back or I’d be ranting about some other news source.

    CNN’s giving a bit of an impression of the Japanese people as hanging on the words of “officials”, making them seem a bit passive. I don’t think they’re doing it on purpose, just not rounding out their stories with the right touch of humanity over bureaucracy, but it bothers me. Sorry, I can’t quite put my finger just yet on why it’s eating at me so. (I’ve only seen on-line CNN content, but, IME, it’s similar to what you see on TV.)


    I’m eating an otherwise inadvisable amount of kelp right now. It’s a great source of iodine, bordering on too much, but you gotta’ saturate your thyroid with iodine before it’s running around free in your blood to prevent radiation damage. I ain’t saying I know for sure we’ll see radiation out here, but topping off your thyroid isn’t a bad thing in general.

    From the moment I heard who manufactured those reactors…well, a warehouse of paperwork and lots of political finagling can serve as substitutes for good designs…so that’s why my 7 month old baby got a dose of iodine drops today.


    I’ve seen the grocery store videos from Tokyo, heard those rumors 3rd, 4th hand. Here’s what I’m hoping is going on.

    Notice perishables are in better stock than non-perishables/frozen items. That tells me people are hoarding. Add to that certain kinds of items coming from parts of the country that are shut down (ports and fishing) and you see some very bare shelves. Those bare shelves might be a source of very alarming rumors, but I’m hoping it’s just an imbalance in stock.

    In parts of the country where supplies were hit by the tsunami and travel is difficult, things will be much worse. But I have faith in people’s ingenuity in getting what they need to survive if it’s possible. The people in Tokyo will figure it out.


    The psychological toll of all this is worrisome. The way things just go on and on. People are pretty tough when it comes to rising above an acute crisis, but the brain’s chemistry doesn’t respond well to extended and repeated threats.


    I helped a lost dog today. I saw him crossing the street and he didn’t seem like a pro at it so I pulled over. He did manage to cross again but with an eccentric woman waving the drivers down this time. I got him cornered in someone’s fence and eventually created enough ruccus to attract his owner’s attention.

  7. Twin Destinies…The best episode of the series! I thought it was very much like Time, which had been the best until now. Powerful performance by R. Carlyle.








    This was a perfect episode, except for the last minute. I liked how, like Time, we see the past events in flashbacks instead of Rush simply saying what had happened. I was surprised by Young’s commitment to stay. I knew he was kind of on-board with Destiny’s mission, but to stay himself, and to ask those who had been waiting to get home for so long, to stay was a new side to his character. I was not surprised that Greer would stay, or the L.A. prisoners, but everyone else was very interesting. I would have liked to see more than the “main” cast stay. I know Brody and James were willing to stay, but maybe some of the crew we hadn’t seen very much of would have been a nice touch. D. Blue had some great scenes as well, from his decision to stay aboard, to his utter guilt that his actions killed all but one of his friends. I liked how even though it was another “version” of the crew, he still felt responsible and I think it will be some time before he is quite the same.

    I am torn by Telford here, I like the moments when he remembers his military training and acts like a leader, like on the salvage mission. I don’t like when he acts like an ass, and that got him “killed.” I know he doesn’t like or trust Rush. But the older Rush witnessed everyone die. He was all alone and the ship was soon to be destroyed. You could tell he was hanging on by a thread. Why snap it if you don’t have to. I do like the new dynamic that he is back on Earth and will have to find another way to contribute to the mission.

    The best scene of the night was the conversation involving T.J., James, and Eli involving him joining the “smart club” of the SGC. Nice way to bring up people from the previous series, and making McKay sound like McKay.

    The only thing I didn’t like was that last bit of the episode. It made it sound like Rush intentionally did something to sabotage the Stargate so that Destiny would go back into time and the current crew could salvage the components to keep the mission alive. You could see in older Rush’s face the genuine horror at what he had done to Telford. He felt true guilt and his decision to stay onboard the dying ship and essentually commit suicide shows how much he has changed. That is why I liked the scene at the end of Deliverence with him and Chloe. It showed a better side of Rush. Now at the end of this episode, we see everyone look at Rush with the distrust and disgust that was evident in Season 1. And I think that is a shame. We can have a Rush that is single minded to finishing Destiny’s mission, but at the same time start to think of the crew as his friends, instead of just shipmates.

    Still, an episode like this, which is 100% better that most of the garbage on TV, make it even more insane that Syfy would cancel this in favor of anything, much less the mindless drabble that composes most of their schedule. I am eagerly awaiting the remaining 8 episodes, and hoping that we get some kind of closure after that. Any series that can produce an episode as powerful as tonight’s, deserves it. Bring on Alliances!!!

  8. I am confused (not hard to do). Not sure why the girl is on one side, and not sure if you mean THAT picture is “heartbreaking” since surely they will be reunited since there isn’t any radiation killing it or her. But the entire Japan situation, I don’t even know that heartbreaking covers it. I am just stunned. Prayers and my heart goes out to the people there.

    Not sure if good in Canada, but AT&T, verizon and time warner are having free calling to Japan.

  9. Hey Joe,

    My Dad travelled Asia a lot when I was younger for his work with Holden. He would invite visiting guests over to our house for dinner and we’d learn about their culture and children. Hiro was a regular visitor. He taught my Brother and I a lot about respect for your elders and others. It was something that had always been drummed into us as kids by our parents, but to hear how an entire community did this, it was a new concept to us. So to see the Japanese helping each other out is awe-inspiring, considering the reaction we’ve seen by others in far less disastrous times.

    The media loves drama, disaster, death, depravity. CoughFoxNewsCough. Some reporters are bordering on gleeful at being the one to break the news of the next big disaster. Can’t watch it. I’d rather read about what is happening (and more than a paragraph on a tabloid website) as someone has had to put thought into what is printed and not just trying to fill up dead-air. Why is it all about “being first with the big stories” rather than “being right with the big stories”?

    My take on the nuclear issue is meltdown vs explosion and whether the radiation will take the form of Iodine, Caesium, Strontium, Xenon or Barium. From what I’ve been able to read they’ve detected Caesium which is not good. It gets into your bones. Iodine you take a truck load of Iodine tablets and hopefully flush out around 99% of the contaminated Iodine from your system, reducing the chance of cancers.

    The media is always trying to shape our opinions, so they’ll release whatever information they want in order to gain the reaction (to vote, not to vote, to hate, to like, to ridicule). Not sure where to go for reliable information on this right now! I guess Jon Stewart has a connection to physics. Maybe he can pull this off as well!

  10. CNN had a good explanation about what happened with the nuclear plants. Let me see if I can find it on their site. I wanted to “like” this blog post, Joe, but I am feeling so incredibly sad for Japan and their people.

  11. BBC News, Joe. CNN is just getting absolutely ridiculous. It’s never really been about the news, but what they do these days is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Pure sensationalism, nothing else.

  12. Dear Joe,
    just watched Twin Destinies and have to say OMG
    great episode…and more and more i´m feared that these upcoming 8 eps will be the last in this great franchise.The season was stunning this far and i´m hoping that at least we will have a conclusion of SGU in movie form,if not……well I don´t know, I don´t want to be left behind with a cliffhanger.
    Now that you are almost out of the SG-Franchise will you be able to keep us up to date with news relating to the SGU-Movie project?
    Everybody here deserves and wants a conclusion of this storyline,maybe not as it was planned to be told, but definetly satisfying in answering the biggest questions left.

    Best regards

    P.S. What I´ve ever wondered,was there any concrete idea how the Furlings could have looked like?
    (Not that Ewok like teddy´s from Ep. 200)

  13. Could you please send BW a big thank you for yet another awesome hour of SGU?? Loved the episode so much. Though the Telford part confuzzled me. When exactly did the future Telford get to Earth? Hours before our timeline crew was about the attempt dialing, or before, or what?

  14. Joe, I just feel so horrible for the people in Japan. Unlike the Indonesian quake and tsunami that was basically over in a day, with this nuclear situation it’s drawing the entire disaster event out much longer than any in recent memory – there is no starting over yet because there is no end yet. Leaving people – a nation – is such limbo is terrible. Once they can have purpose again (cleaning up and starting over), I think the people as a whole will revive, but right now? Right now it’s the most depressing thing, ever. The bright spot in all of this is how the Japanese do not resort to looting and rioting like we do here in the West after a disaster. Their sense of honor and community really puts us to shame in this regard – what a fine example they set for us all.

    Later today I will join in the Ghosts discussion more fully. First thoughts are this: What I loved most about the book was the relationship between Donovan and The Ghost. I loved it…that’s the sort of thing I read books for. I also enjoyed the atmosphere of the book, and after a slow beginning thought it flowed just right.

    As far as the revelation about the Ghost’s identity, it was more of a sense of satisfaction that I had picked up on the clues, as well as a ‘Finally! I knew it! Now let’s get on with the story!’ I was REALLY afraid he would reveal the identity at the end, which would have just bogged the story down. I actually saw this reveal in a different light than you – he was revealing the identity slowly to the reader so that we already knew who he was, while Donovan did not. So the other feeling of satisfaction for me came when Donovan finally knew what the reader knew…if that makes any sense. (I really should not have started this discussion without getting my thoughts straight in my head – this is a pure flow of disorganized thought… sorry. 😛 )

    The Roman thing and Celeste thing really didn’t give me a jolt. I was waiting for something like this with Celeste because of how she was acting, I knew she had a secret. As far as Roman, I don’t understand why it’s called a supernatural turn. I saw it as more of a sci fi turn, keeping in line with the whole steampunky feel. I can’t find my book right now (I SWEAR I set it next to the computer last night for quick reference, but I was half asleep, so who knows where I stashed it), but as I recall wasn’t it some sort of portal between worlds? Isn’t that more sci fi than supernatural? I thought it was more along the lines of H.G. Wells than Stephen King, at least that’s how it read to me.

    Will get back with more once I find my book…grrrrrr. Also, when are you sending the questions off to Mr. Mann? Do I have a couple days?

    Have a good day, sir, and thoughts and prayers are going out to all in Japan.


  15. The sensationalism of the news has always bothered me–one of the main reasons I read instead of watch–since the newscasters always put their bias on it.

    My heart breaks for the people of Japan, and they will continue to be in my prayers.

    Also wanted you to know that hubby and I really enjoyed Twin Destinies last night. Everyone hit their marks especially Robert Carlyle, and he hit his out of the ballpark.

    Hope you have a good day!!

  16. Joe, I appreciate that article. It seems lately that far too many people in the public eye are spreading incendiary and blatantly false information to a public who has no way to assess the errors. I am what is considered a “radiation worker” and that is as accurate description of how a reactor works as I have seen in the last week. I heard from a colleague at a synchrotron about 80 miles from Fukishima today and he assures me that even with all the drama the radiation levels have stayed within background levels for an average person.

    To give you a little perspective its less than the amount accumulated by getting a medical X-ray, making a couple of long flights, eating bananas, or handing yellow pottery made before or around the 50’s. As a federally certified radiation worker I can have 20x that dose per year and still be considered safe. Even if I was pregnant I could receive 5x the dose without harm to the baby. Airline pilots receive even higher doses on a daily basis.

    He stated that, for now, it is contained and looks to stay that way. Doesn’t lessen the tragedy of situation but it does pull the focus away from the people who need our help and support and that saddens me.

  17. Thanks for the news links all! When the news people start babbling, I believe it means, “they don’t know”.

    Just watching the before and after satellite images is startling. Japan is a quake prepared country and they still sustained this much damage. Then throw on the radiation problems and it becomes mind boggling.

    Thank you, for posting the donation links.

  18. Tuesday a.m. at GMT -6 time (6 a.m. PDT), what I’m reading is this: Bottom line from Japan’s PM and the experts is that they just have no way of knowing yet what’s happening inside the #2 (most critical) reactor, and the other reactors aren’t yet being checked off as a non-threat. The experts’ analysis is that another Chernobyl is not in the offing, but they’re not saying this (or any other estimate) is set in stone.

    Heartily adding my vote to the group – most if not all of your bloggers, thank goodness – who want facts, not tabloid scare-mongering, even if facts require more time to collect and retransmit. Remembering back to Hawaii approx. one year ago, even the traditionally most reliable networks were trying to make big news out of what basically was a non-event (in Hawaii, not the real tragedy in Chile). And now, when there can be no doubt about the horrific nature of events in Japan, the media asks for our continued patronage of their half-truths. . .? It’s a zoo. Setting up the news like promo trailers for disaster movies is unconscionable. Bread and circuses. . .

    So, in the meantime, what I believe to be the well-meaning majority does what it can, each according to what he feels most led to do — and keeping in mind that long-fermenting rebellions against bloody-handed dictators continue to rage in the Middle East. (Thank you so much, CIA and other nations’ govt-directed firestarters, for the part you played in that.) However, if you lose your moral or mental balance and turn into a survivalist or what have you, you just make another problem for your countrymen and the world at large.

    Forgiveness accomplishes much. . . and I do work on taking my own advice and that of others; and, well, I’ve gone on plenty long enough. Let’s hope the day brings better news concerning the damaged power plants.

  19. News coverage: various terms come to mind, but, the moment someone tasked with reporting on a nuclear reactor utters the words “nuclear explosion”, the word for that is “criminal negligence”. I don’t expect journalists to be experts on everything, but, if you’re that ignorant, you gotta’ step your pretty face aside and let someone a little greasier, but a lot smarter do the reporting.

  20. I’ll back off on the word “criminal”, which implies a role for the state to step in, which I don’t want, but I do want to use a word that expresses my outrage. Using the words “nuclear explosion” when reporting on a nuclear reactor is outrageous negligence. I feel better now.

  21. Nice SGU episode yesterday. Made me wonder if there was a reason why you “restocked” Destiny with a second shuttle. I was also wondering if we would have seen a fully-functional Destiny if the show had gotten a third season. It would have been great to see what this ship could really do at full capacity.

  22. @otros ojos – If someone turns into a survivalist, what harm does that do to their countrymen? More people taking responsibility for their own basic needs seems like a good thing. Centralization of supplies and services without the balance of diversifying options is a burden, not a boon.

  23. Why can’t we evacuate people to other countries or at least onto the US bases which have tons of wide open green space while right across from the bases the Japanese make do with little room. It’s the same for US bases all over the world; not criticizing it but they do have the room to house people and the equipment to move people to safety.

    I’d rather see our military saving lives than fighting pointless wars. Don’t know if you saw it but 60 mins did an expose on the nutjob who lied about Sadaam having WMDs; yes, a McDonalds worker was able to fool Colin Powell into making a case for war at the UN. Creepy stuff.

  24. My work (I work for the Wal*Mart in North Vancouver) is having a barbeque this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) to raise money for Red Cross for the relief in Japan. So if anyone is in the North Vancouver area. Come on down and have a hot dog and pop.

  25. RE: Ghosts of Manhattan – Just a quickie before the cat comes back in the office… 😉

    The only real problem I had with the book was in the beginning. I found the pacing a bit off, and I had to get used to the writing style (the bird’s eye view of every action). However, this seemed to open up after the first few chapters, and I then I was able to enjoy the description along with the story.

    The story itself was fun, and I loved the action sequences, and the gadgets. Most of all, I loved how the story was left open at the end for a sequel, because if one does come out I will definitely be reading it. Why? Because I really liked The Ghost. He was vulnerable, with no superpowers. He got hurt. He bled. He reminded me a bit of Batman, yet he was very different. I loved his lair, too. But as I said in my previous post, the thing I liked the most was his relationship with Donovan. It’s always good to have a cop on your side, and this team-up really worked for me. My favorite scene in the whole story was back in the Ghost’s apartment in chapter 15, when he’s taking care of Donovan. It was one of those interaction moments I so love, a battlefield scene of sorts, only in a different setting. It just made the story for me, and told me so much about both characters. That’s where I really started to care, and from that point on I couldn’t put the book down.

    Also, getting back to the supernatural element. I went back and checked because I was sure there was a hint of it early on, and sure enough, in chapter 8 Gabriel is having a nightmare about crashing his plane during the war, and making his way to a farmhouse that’s in ruins, and once inside, he hears a noise and tentacles start reaching out for him, at which time he wakes up with Celeste on top of him, trying to wake him up. A nice bit of foreshadowing there, I’d say, and something I did recall once I got to the part with The Roman. So I was prepared for answers to that dream (because it did raise many questions), and therefore wasn’t taken aback when all was revealed.

    Better run…will try to think of more later.


  26. Ghosts of Manhattan

    I agree with das. The ending was definitely science fiction, not supernatural. I agree with Mr. M., however, that golems, rocket boosters, and the flashback to France weren’t enough to set up the SF ending.

    Also, I felt the use of profanity was awkward and uneven. Not that I mind profanity in literature, per se, but in this novel, it was inexpertly used. I felt it was put there to try to shock me as opposed to being an indication of people’s vocabulary and way of thinking. It didn’t work. I wasn’t shocked; I was irritated by it.

    Anne Teldy

  27. Just wanted to say how much i loved twin destinies. It was very compelling, something you dont see much of in tv now.

  28. @ anneteldy – I wasn’t going to say anything about the profanity because I thought it was just me being a prude. 😛 But I agree, it was awkward, and unnecessary, especially for the tone of the rest of the book.


  29. Shiny wrote:

    Why can’t we evacuate people to other countries or at least onto the US bases which have tons of wide open green space while right across from the bases the Japanese make do with little room. It’s the same for US bases all over the world; not criticizing it but they do have the room to house people and the equipment to move people to safety…

    First nobody got the lift capacity to extract the people (about half million) from the disaster zone. There is minimal road access with no air facilities or port facilities. Helicopters are operating at reduce capability since they could not refuel or refitted in the disaster zone. There is also a question of the availability of jet fuel to support intense helicopter operation tempo.

    Logistically it would better to airlift in supplies to the most in need. However communications is a shambles with cut phone lines & disrupted cellphone networks.

    Second most of the people might not want to leave.

    Third most US bases in Japan are airbases that is not suitable to housing people in the open. Operation of high performance warplanes & large air transports is incomparable with a tent city nearby, unless you shut down that base facility.

    Finally since the end of the cold war most military have rundown their combat engineer capability. Notably the phasing out of heavy mechanized equipment to remove obstacles. That include the US, who have more need of mine(explosive) counter measures equipment.

    IMO the Japanese authorities are doing as well as can be expected. Just that they are not gear up to the extend and severalty of the event. But you can only devote so much resources and manpower to a contingency.

  30. If you want science explained, all you need to do is ask your local scientist. I’m acting as the UBC Tsunami Person this week. My top links for must-read solid science to counter fear-mongering are:

    Scientific American – geoscience setting & debunking of some of the myths

    Interview with a nuclear engineer – in 2 parts; interviewed by his daughter, so it’s delightfully straightforward

    The American Nucleaur Society has a radiation dose chart to put the news numbers in context.

    Bad Astronomer – debunking the supermoon nonsense

    I also wrote up a few summaries of tsunami geoscience for non-scientists, particularly as applied to the West Coast, that are of local interest: Introduction to Tsunami and local hazards.

    If anyone has questions about the science of what’s going on, or have heard things they aren’t quite sure are true or not, please ask me! I research the fluid dynamics & geophysics part, but if it’s outside I can link you to another scientist writing clear, honest explanations.

  31. @das Thanks for the support; I almost didn’t mention the profanity either, but it really effected my opinion of the book. The tone was similar to the Saint novels, except for the profanity, and I adore the Saint. I didn’t adore this book.

    By the way, das, your love of Pendergast led me to jump the series to the top of my “To Be Read” list. I’m glad I did. I’m getting the third in the series this weekend.

    Anne Teldy

  32. hi, joe,

    would you answer this question? in ‘moebius’, the scene where jack whips away the ZPM and tells sam she has packing to do… when jack walked away, behind sam, did he *goose* her?


  33. Ghosts of Manhatten. First, I want the cover as a poster. Incredible! I had several people comment on it, and get excited about the book when they saw it and the title.
    Second, the book itself. As a long time fan of pulp heroes like the Shadow and Doc Savage, I was sort of expecting a certain tone and pacing to the story. It took me a couple of chapters to adjust to the differences. This isn’t a bad thing, but it kept me from falling into the story wholeheartedly. I agree with you in regard to the secret identity issue. Besides being pro forma for the vigilante superhero to be rich, there wasn’t much of an attempt to mislead the reader. I also found the sudden appearance of the Moss Men to be a bit odd for a steampunk story. The moreso since they appeared, with no real explanation of how they operated or were created.
    The Roman made for an interesting villian, so long as he remained mysterious. Again, it was obvious early on that he was in fact an actual Roman who had lived through the centuries. I would have thought someone who had survived that long could have managed his goals without the ostentatious displays of sadism and murder that his minions carried out. And Celeste’s connection to the Roman really didn’t make sense to me. If I have an extended family watching an immortal villian through the ages, the heck with waiting till he calls on an alien/demon/extradimensional entity to extend his life. Kill the Roman, and you don’t have to worry about sacrificing a family member to kill the creature. And I didn’t understand why Celeste would not reveal the truth to our hero before she got herself captured. After all, the more information he had on the Roman, the better his chances of success in finding and killing him. By playing the “I can’t tell you” card, she sealed her own fate, and nearly cost him his.
    As far as the characters themselves went, I found Celeste and the Roman as revealed to be the least interesting or fleshed out. I loved Donovan’s character. The physical and mental courage of the man, his dogged determination, are exactly what I like in a hero, especially in a pulp hero. And I was delighted by the ambiguity of his killing of the Roman. Did he or did he not do it in self defense?
    As for Gabriel/The Ghost, I’m ambivilent about him. He’s not the classic pulp hero, absorbing damage or even avoiding it by outwitting his foes. I like the fact that we do see him battered, and often out of control of the situation. But other than the peeks at his wartime experiences, we don’t get much of a feel for the man vs. the vigilante.
    Reece, however, makes a wonderful villian. His constantly eluding capture, his enjoyment of what he did, all make the reader craving for him to meet his end. And it was a proper ending for a pulp villian.
    One last comment. I did find the supernatural elements a bit jarring. The steampunk aspects of the world seemed a bit sketchy to me in the first place, and the shift to a supernatural element to the plot threw me off. Presumably we’ll see sequels that will integrate that into the Ghost’s adventures more effectively.
    All said, an up and down read. But I did love the final chapters, supernatural elements or not. And like all good pulp heroes, Gabriel is no longer encumbered by romantic attachments, and can concentrate on his self imposed nocternal profession. I look forward to seeing another of his adventures.
    As i finish this, the reports from Japan continue to look grim. In all honesty, as bad as the nuclear reactor situation is, I’m far more concenred about the people who are still without food, water, or adequate shelter. At this point many people are starting to die for no other reason than exposure. I don’t expect anyone other than those working in the immediate area of the plants to suffer immediate effects of radiation exposure. For the vast majority of people, it will be a long term issue, to be dealt with in due time. I’ve already donated some, and will definitely check out the Humane society’s link for further donations. I also second Mr. Burnstein’s coment on that final photo. I wonder if there will be a followup to that photo.
    Thanks as always for the post, and best of luck packing for the big move.

  34. Thank you Mika, for putting out some legitimate information. Hubby has been tearing his hair out (what’s left of it), listening to the so-called experts on the radio and tv. I don’t know where they find these. They start out by having a little knowledge, then go so far off the track to the point of being ridiculous. The interviewers don’t help matters much either… good onya!

  35. @ Anne Teldy – The third – Cabinet of Curiosities – is one of my favorites. You will learn much more of Pendergast’s family, and it’s delish! 😀 Mr. Das is reading it right now, too. If I’m not careful, he might develop a bigger crush on Pendergast than me! Already he’s walking around the house, talking in a mellifluous southern accent. I guess he thinks he’ll get lucky that way. 🙄



    Yeah, sometimes it works. 😛


  36. Shame such a good episode only got 930k viewers. Guess the Syfy channels audience prefers generic badly done garbage like Being Human to a quality episode of Stargate Universe. Oh well..

    Some thoughts.

    Loved the way this episode was done, in a way the trust shown to Rush from the crew has increased, he isn’t just that outcast no one likes anymore. The way that Matt stuck his hand in the wormhole to buy Rush some time speaks volumes. They need Rush, and in some ways, can learn to like him.

    Liked the way that 12 hours in the future Rush showed that kind of emotion after accidenly killing Telford. Okay would rather Rush died than Telford, more Lou Diamond Phillips the better, good to see LDP sorry Telford is alive.

    You could almost feel sorry for Rush in his despair, knowing he wouldn’t be accepted aboard Destiny after doing what he did(Even if it was by accident). Thus going down with the one thing he kinda considered his dream.

    Liked the way that Young and Rush are bonding and not in a fist to face way, maybe if the show went on long enough they could of been friends well better ones.

    And lastly. I would totally stay aboard Destiny if given the chance, when you realise the scope of a mission like that, it’s something that would be worth speanding your life doing. To find out the mystery of the universe, the very thing we all exist in, who wouldn’t? Okay Il’d miss family friends, and my pets, especially cats lol, but yeah..


    I don’t think you’l ever see a fully functional Destiny, but more a Destiny that works, without much worry. They pretty much said it themselves, they have no idea what half the stuff(Parts) do..

  37. All I can offer is a prayer…

    May God wrap His loving arms around the people of Japan and grant them peace during this fearful time, strength when all hope seems fading, rest and refuge when tired and weary, and comfort their souls.

  38. And lastly the special effects in this episode were amazing, gives you a holy beep type reaction when watching because they were just that amazing lol

    By the way. Good the way that Varro aka Mike Dopuds character got some screentime but kinda annoying when half that screen time was him carrying stuff and him opening a door to get flames. He needs more speaking lines.

    Loved Varros reaction to the flames too, well placed humor there, even if it wasn’t intention, made me smile lol

    Sorry for the double post, kinda forgot to add this.

  39. Thanks, Mika, for the links!

    Joe, sorry to be all spammy, but I wanted to point out one more media option. Limit it. My life is particularly unstressful right now and the news is having negative effects on me. Your life is not unstressful with a move in the works. I’m not as good with finding the right links as Mika, but I’m pretty sure moving is a major risk factor for depression.

    About the time of the train bombing (bombings?) in Spain, I had to go on a media fast. There was just too much other stress at the time. I remember feeling guilty because those people suffered so much and I couldn’t even watch it, but, from this distance, I can see I was doing the victims no honor by pushing myself.

  40. I was depressed when I saw this, but according to the news, the dog I thought was dead isn’t… both were rescued:

  41. Whoa. Hubby and I just caught last night’s Stargate Universe ep. THAT was intense! Great ep! I never thought I’d say it, but I will miss this show. 🙁


  42. @DP

    Thanks for pointing out a weakness in my argument. I guess what concerns me about survivalism is the “me, mine, and no one else” attitude that (according to my history textbooks) showed up with some frequency during the Joseph McCarthy years. It’s true, I know, that not everyone would behave in a callous and selfish manner. (Remembering 9/11 here – much heroism and caring on display.) So, yes, good point about benefits like increased self-sufficiency that really would be a very, very good thing for our, and other, nations.

    Also, agree wholeheartedly that those who are already stressed sometimes need to take a “news holiday” of sorts.

  43. Joe every time I read your words on episodes this season, I wanna go to syfy, and punch all of those bastards in the face.
    Especially after Twin Destinies.

    But Joe, I was thinking, did the crew from 12 hours previous actually die, or did they exit some where in the distant past?

    They used dozens of people and had 40 minutes, so did they get everything they needed?

    If I had time, I’d get the stuff I’m supposed to get on the list, and I’d double other stuff, like the communication stones, laptops, kinos, the berserker drone, clothing.

    I wanna punish syfy some how for canceling my show.

  44. Joey – I think this is supposed to be the 14th. Just noticed it while snooping about.

    *Note to self – buy Joe a calendar.



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