Cast your vote for our June Book of the Month Club pick!  We’ve got a nice, wide-ranging selection this month:

1COLDBROOK by Tim Lebbon

Coldbrook is a secret laboratory located deep in Appalachian Mountains. Its scientists had achieved the impossible: a gateway to a new world. Theirs was to be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but they had no idea what they were about to unleash.

With their breakthrough comes disease and now it is out and ravaging the human population. The only hope is a cure and the only cure is genetic resistance: an uninfected person amongst the billions dead.

In the chaos of destruction there is only one person that can save the human race.  But will they find her in time?

1THE DRAGON BUSINESS by Kevin J. Anderson

King Cullin may be known as “the Dragon Slayer,” but he fears his son’s legacy will be as “King Maurice Who Speaks with Proper Grammar.” The boy keeps his nose buried in parchments, starry-eyed at the idea of noble knights and eager to hand royal gold to any con man hawking a unicorn horn. Tonight, though, Cullin will educate the prince in the truth behind minstrels’ silly songs of glory…
Long ago, in a kingdom, well, not that far from here really, young Cullin traveled the countryside as squire to brave Sir Dalbry, along with Dalbry’s trusted sidekick Reeger, selling dragon-protection services to every kingdom with a coffer. There were no dragons, of course, but with a collection of severed alligator heads and a willingness to play dirty, the trio of con men was crushing the competition. Then along came Princess Affonyl.

Tomboyish and with a head for alchemy, Affonyl faked a dragon of her own, escaped her arranged marriage, and threw in with Cullin and company. But with her father sending a crew of do-gooder knights to find her, the dragon business just got cutthroat.


In the far future, a young man stands on a barren asteroid. His ship has been stolen, his family kidnapped or worse, and all he has on his side is a semi-intelligent spacesuit. The only member of the crew to escape, Hari has barely been off his ship before. It was his birthplace, his home and his future.

He’s going to get it back.

1LAGOON by Nnedi Okrafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.


SCHRODER by Amity Gaige (paperback release in the U.K.)

Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder-a first-generation East German immigrant-adopts the last name Kennedy to more easily fit in, a fateful white lie that will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course.

SCHRODER relates the story of Eric’s urgent escape years later to Lake Champlain, Vermont, with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amid a heated custody battle with his wife, who will soon discover that her husband is not who he says he is. From a correctional facility, Eric surveys the course of his life to understand-and maybe even explain-his behavior: the painful separation from his mother in childhood; a harrowing escape to America with his taciturn father; a romance that withered under a shadow of lies; and his proudest moments and greatest regrets as a flawed but loving father.

Finish up Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation!  Our discussion begins tomorrow!

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch…


Akemi is right back at it, into the franchise and enjoying the series.  Although SGU still ranks as her favorite, she has a greater appreciation for Stargate: Atlantis and its much-improved visual effects.  Also, I think she kind of missed McKay.

Of course, as always there was much praise for the job of VFX Supervisor Mark Savela and his team.  Whenever we an establisher of Atlantis, especially at night, it’s always: “Wow!” or “Beautiful!” or “Two moons!”.

She didn’t get caught up in the whole Beckett vs. Keller debate because, by this point in the series, they’re both present and acting members of the expedition.  She likes them both but offered the following comment on Keller: “Everybody would love to have such a beautiful doctor.” Maybe.  “Too bad she doesn’t have a doctor’s outfit.”  I guess.

Still not feeling the love for Sheppard 22 episodes in.  She finds his loose cannon attitude annoying (“Why Sheppard is always so arrogant?  He should listen to older people.”) and, I suspect, very unJapanese.  After Beckett informs Sheppard that the shoot could kill him: “This is second chance for him to die so that handsome guy can become leader.”   Alas, another missed opportunity.

On the other hand, when Ronon gets choked out by the tendrils and collapses, she was genuinely concerned: “Oh, I hope he’s alright?”

“What about Sheppard?”I asked.  “He got skewered by a tendril.  Do you hope he’s alright.”

Grudgingly: “Okay.”

Later, she bumped on his amazing healing abilities: “Why sometimes he recovering very magically quickly and sometimes very slow?  Because he is typical superhero?”

Another favorite character of Akemi’s is none other than Radek Zelenka.  She practically squealed with excitement when he came onscreen like he was an adorable puppy doing something unbelievably cute.  She finds him very convincing: “I can’t believe he is actor.  Looks like real authentic geek!”  Ah, the magic of television.

Overall, a solid episode in her estimation but: “I liked yesterday’s episode more.”

20 thoughts on “April 6, 2014: Vote for our next Book of the Month Club selection! Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis watch/rewatch – The Japanese Girlfriend Edition!

  1. I’m actually not sure about my vote this month. We’ll see what happens.

    Zelenka is pretty adorable. David Nykl is very much a chameleon when he wants to be, though. I didn’t recognize him when he was on Eureka at first.

  2. Sheppard showing initiative at times was one of the best things about the character, Jack has done the same, they’ve usually come out the better once everythings said and done and have done a bit of good in the process. I couldn’t hold that against the character personally.

    Anyway back on the episode, I thought what happened to Keller was so alien, it’s a good reminder that they’re a long way from home, and really anything could happen when you least expect it too. The same really applies to SGU too.

  3. Interesting if you find Akemi doesn’t like Sheppard because of her culture and his not respecting authority?
    It’s one of his most endearing qualities. And I don’t know about the arrogance, I don’t see it at all. I see more leadership and competence. Again, oh well, I’m so sorry she doesn’t like Shep. It kind of makes me sad. Since he’s the main reason I love Atlantis. 🙂

  4. I am convinced that, until Bob Cooper did not kill Sheppard in Vegas, Akemi will be not happy. 😆
    I agree with Akemi, Radek is cute. 😎 I think she will enjoy the tomorrow Rononcentric episode.

    Today’s episode with the great idea of the hive ship that constructs itself, works effectively to take the stick of Woolsey´s…neck? To make him see that in reality the rules not always can be followed to the letter, and you have to pay attention to people and trust her. Something very hard to top in woolsey but the script gets in an effective and quickly way.

  5. i was wondering about the book of the month choices. are they books you’ve read previously or do you only read the one that’s wins the vote?

  6. I can totally understand Akemi missing McKay. I’ve never missed a character as much as I miss Rodney! Although I am very fond of Sheppard. Interesting question, whether Akemi’s dislike of Sheppard has a cultural basis. I think too, though, that missing three seasons means that she has missed a lot of Sheppard’s finer points.

  7. OMG Akemi has to see The Shrine and the famous ‘Beer on the Pier” scene – she’s missing all the good eps!!!

  8. I completely agree with Akemi on the characters. Zelenka is sweet and charming. Ronon is awesome. Like das, I’ll be interested in her take on Todd. He’s kind of in-between on the whole Wraith hair thing. If she likes him, she should really watch Common Ground to get the rest of the story.

    I voted for a book. I need something light.

  9. Okay, frequent fliers (I’m looking at you JeffW): I need help. I’m buying a new carry-on bag for some upcoming trips that will involve domestic and international flights.. Are the airlines really cracking down? If my bag is 23 inches instead of 22, will I end up *shudder* gate-checking it?

    I’m having a heck of a time ordering a bag online. The measurements don’t seem to take the wheels into account like somehow the wheels will magically disappear when you put your bag into into that “your bag must fit into this space” thingie at the airport.

  10. Yes Joe, I agree some her perspective is base on a cultural view point. After all Sheppard is a Major/correction a Lt. Colonel one grade below Battalion/base commander. Who would he “elders” be? Yet going “off world” would seem to be below his rank since he is the senior officer.

    Never totally understood the love of McKay, as he is the example of unrequited arrogance. He is a fun character and yet perhaps voted most likely to be stuffed in a locker in high school.

    I am surprised there was no mention of Robert new roll. During the commentary, they discussed how this straight edge would have to bend with-out braking. Yet I see no comments. Did Akemi focus too much on the other manly characters? Poor Jewel having to spend all that time on her back covered by all that latex.

  11. I had to go with Lagoon. I’ve lived too long with too few stories of Nigeria.

    Though I did take the time today to imagine a crinkly piece of artwork as a scene of knights and caped figures and a steed extending his head to ease the fall of a knight sent airborne. I’d already heard that sermon about David and Bathsheba. Maybe one Sunday I can daydream of Nigeria instead.

  12. @Sparrow_hawk:

    I’ve had longer bags (even up to 24″), mostly without problems; it all depends on the aircraft. And there are certain aircraft that will be a problem even with shorter 22″ bags. For example, just about any regional jet will require most roller bags to be gate checked. Some of the older aircraft also have certain storage bins and seats that won’t be good for stowing your bag. So check your equipment (aircraft).

    You’ll also want to avoid bulkhead seats (if you also have a laptop bag), since you won’t be able to put your laptop bag under the seat in front of you. You’ll want to avoid rear bulkheads (where the bulkhead is behind your seat), since on most aircraft, those seats DON’T recline, and if the person in front of you reclines, well then you’re “in an ever decreasing space” (I’ve been rewatching SG-1 Season 9 😉 ).

    You may want to avoid the seats in front of the exit row seats, since on some aircraft, those seats won’t recline either. The thinking seems to be that the exit row needs to be kept clear.

    Maybe this break-down by aircraft will help:

    Roller Bags need to be Gate Checked:
    CRJ 100/200
    CRJ 700/900 (depends on bag thickness)

    Older aircraft:
    MD-80 (avoid AB seats…bin is too small for roller bags on that side)
    737/747/757/767 (shouldn’t be a problem…unless it’s a bulkhead)
    A319 (can be small…check seat configuration)

    Newer Aircraft:
    777 (no problems)
    A320/330/340 (depends on seat…some don’t have stowage)
    A350/380 (no problems)

    As for cracking down, I haven’t had American (or any US carrier) give me a problem. The only airlines that forced me to check my roller bag (when there was space on the aircraft) were Air Canada, Alitalia, British Airways, Sas, and West Jet. It could be lack of status with those airlines but they all insisted that it was due to the aircraft stowage. In the case of WestJet, they had the space (it was a CRJ-900), but they told me at check-in that I had to check my bag anyway.

    And good luck on the travel! Are you going any place interesting?

  13. Thanks, JeffW. That was a great help! You certainly know your planes. If anyone else has tips or horror stories, I’d appreciate knowing. I’m flying SAS for this trip and will probably be flying British Airways next year with other domestic travel in between if I can manage it. I was more worried about the United connecting flight at the tail end of my trip.

    And, yes, going to interesting places: cruising from Denmark to Stockholm, Oslo, the Shetland and Orkney Islands and ending in Iceland. But not for a couple of months yet.

  14. Joe,

    Slightly off topic and I’m not sure if I’ve asked this before or not, but….

    In The Ark of Truth: Who baked those macaroons that Carter gave to Mitchell? They looked quite tasty. Did you try one of them? Was there enough for the crew working that scene that day?

    These are the kind of strange things I think about now when I watch anything SG these days. Is that weird? 😉

    -Mike A.

  15. @ Sparrowhawk – You sound like my sister. She’s going to NZ and Australia later this year. My nieces are going to Japan. Me? If I get out of Jersey it’ll be something. 😛 I don’t care, though, because if I do go anywhere I can shove a whole crapload of suitcases in my car and nobody can stop me! 😀


  16. @JeffW – I had no idea I was doing morse code. I was just getting bored of using a solid line of dashes for my topic change line.

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