June C, 2011: Five film/t.v. projects I’m looking forward to!

Despite the fact that I work in television, I don’t watch a lot of t.v.  I could say it’s because I’m incredibly busy (which I am) but the truth is that, given the choice, I’d much rather read, cook, work-out, or spend quality time with my dogs.  I do, however, manage to make time for some my favorites (House, Top Chef, Spartacus, and the occasional HBO offerings), squeezing in a viewing while exercising or before lights-out – which is more than can be said for my movie-watching.  After building a home theater, I decided to never again visit a theater and, instead, chose to wait for films of interest to come out on dvd – until the introduction of blu-ray effectively dissuaded me from ever buying another dvd (much less a blu-ray player which, I assumed, would, in turn, be rendered obsolete by the next big thing so why bother?).  As a result, I would be completely lost in any dinner party conversation that shifted to Inception, Avatar, Toy Story 3, Star Trek, and every James Bond installment since Golden Eye.

Still, despite my seeming disinterest, every once in a while the announcement of an upcoming project will pique my interest.  And, occasionally, I may even get downright excited at the prospect of actually checking something out.

What follows is my list of the Top 5 Projects (some in development, some in production) I Most Look Forward To…

Seth McFarlane’s reboot of The Flintstones

After much back-and-forth, a deal has finally been struck that will allow the Family Guy creator to reboot The Flinstones – and I couldn’t be happier.  To those of you who say Seth McFarlane is going to ruin The Flinstones, I say: “Did you watch The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show? Or The Flintstone Comedy Hour?  Or every t.v. special, television movie, and live action feature film made since the original show went off the air in 1966?”  Hell, some purists will even argue that the show jumped the shark with the introduction of Pebbles at the end of its third season.   In my mind, there’s no better candidate to bring back television’s first prime time, politically incorrect animated series than McFarlane.  His sense of humor is perfectly suited to recapturing the show’s original adult sensibility.

The live-action version of Noir

I’m admittedly torn on this one.  On the one hand, I can’t wait to see what Sam Raimi and co. do with one of my top ten favorite anime of all time; on the other hand, I’m bummed that I wasn’t fast enough in snapping up the rights when they were available.  This styling series about two young, female assassins and the mysterious order they work for was one of several anime properties I identified for potential live-action treatment.  Alas, my commitment to Stargate kept me from seriously pursuing it but, all the same, it looks like the property is in good hands.  Don’t know how they plan on translating Noir for a North American audience but so long as they make liberal use Yuki Kajiura’s soundtrack for the original anime, they can’t go wrong.

Powers

One of my favorite comic book series is poised to hit the small screen. Focusing on Detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, partners in homicide investigations involving superpowered individuals, the graphic novels are whip smart and a lot of fun.  Don’t know much about the prospective series beside the fact that it will premiere on FX, but the fact that writer Brian Michael Bendis is listed as an Executive Producer gives me confidence the production will do right by its source material.

World War Z: The Movie

Tired of zombies yet?  No, me neither provided they’re done right – and author Max Brooks did them all sorts of right in his book, a collection of first-person accounts of the zombie apocalypse.  Clever, frightening, and incredibly engaging given the personal nature of a lot of the interviews – a must-read for any fan of the horror sub-genre. Translating Brooks’ unique narrative will no doubt prove a challenge but I’m cautiously optimistic….

Transporter: The Series

Loved the movies for the creative fight sequences and the overall sense of fun that pervaded the action, so when I heard they were going to be doing a television series based on the film franchise, I was interested. And when my agent called to say they wanted Paul and I to showrun – well, I was REALLY interested. European production is already underway while main unit photography kicks off here in North America in July.  The early footage looks great, the scripts are tight, the cast is terrific, and the production is stacked with talent.  Fans of the movies will not be disappointed!

May 2, 2009: One of Those Days. And, The Comic Round-Up.

I’ve discovered that I’m much less productive on a) days when I miss my morning work-out, b) following a sleepless night spent cleaning up after a nauseous French bulldog, c) when I’m distracted by chores such as laundry, taking my dog to the vet, and planting those herb plants my wife bought for me that have been sitting behind the kitchen sink for almost a week, and d)after eating an enormous bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Tracks and Haagen Daz’s Dulce de Leche ice cream. So suffice it to say today was most unproductive.

From a writing standpoint anyway. I did get the laundry done, plant those herb plants, drop off Lulu at the vet (They suspect kennel cough which may or may not explain her inability to keep anything down but want to keep her overnight for observation.), and babysat Brie (the other, tinier French bulldog) for the day.

And did some reading. As I work my way through the vast multitude of comic book titles out there, dropping the many that fail to capture my interest, continuing with the few that do, I’m noticing a bit of a trend. Of the 19 books that have interested me enough to pick up subsequent issues, 14 are Marvel, 4 are DC, and 1 is Other. After today, make that Marvel 17, DC 4, and Other 2.

Dark Avengers #1-4 – Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Art: Mike Deodato

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I’ve always been a big fan of villains (my office décor is “supervillain chic”), so I suppose it shouldn’t be all that surprising how much I’m enjoying Dark Avengers. Former Spiderman nemesis Norman Osborn, riding a vast wave of public support following the events of the Skrull Invasion, has disbanded S.H.I.E.L.D. (the Marvel Universe’s long-standing international intelligence agency once headed by Nick Fury) and replaced it with his own organization, H.A.M.M.E.R. In addition, he has refashioned The Avengers, filling the team roster with killers and kooks and appointing himself leader (after appropriating one of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits and becoming The Iron Patriot). Of course, mercenaries and lunatics do not make the best of heroes, to say nothing of dependable teammates, so a lot of the fun in Dark Avengers comes from the personality clashes and various fish out of water scenarios as these self-serving sorts attempt to, at the very least, put on a good public show. Their trial by fire first op felt more a convenient canvas upon which Bendis paints some deeply rich and textured characters (always his forte). Sure, I suppose the action is important to the average comic book fan but, for me, the success of this title rests entirely in Bendis’s ability to expertly juggle his players. I’m hooked.

Daredevil #116-118 – Writer: Ed Brubaker, Penciler: David Aja (#116), Michael Lark & Stefano Guadiano (#117), Michael Lark, John Lucas, & Stefano Guadiano (#118)

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If one were looking for comparable heroes in the DC/Marvel universes, one would be hard-pressed to find two more like comic book icons than Batman and Daredevil. Both are, at their core, regular human beings who have made the most of the bad hand life has dealt them, relying on their brains and physical prowess to give them the edge in their ongoing battle against the city’s criminal elements. And, unlike the rogues gallery of other heroes, Batman and Daredevil’s foes tend not to be super powered but, like them, extraordinary individuals. Gotham and Hell’s Kitchen are as dark and brooding as the heroes who protect them and thus the stories in both books tend toward the noir and the gritty. But whereas Batman’s multiple titles embrace the big event, crossing and criss-crossing storylines to test the patience of all but the hardiest of hardcore fans, Daredevil is a comparatively cleaner read, tenacious and tightly structured.  Writer Ed Brubaker strikes an effective balance in his narrative, often sparing his prose in favor of allowing the art tell the story. In this latest adventure, long-time underworld figure The Kingpin is forced out of retirement and returns to the big city in search of revenge. His target: the mystical cabal of assassins known as The Hand. But a potential complication presents itself in the form of his old enemy Daredevil. Will the city’s protector stand in the way of The Kingpin’s retribution, or is this a case of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”? The answer may surprise.

I’m enjoying this title so much that I’ve hit my local comic book stores in a bid to amass Brubaker’s Daredevil-run-to-date in collected form.

Frank Castle The Punisher #66-69 – Writer: Duane Swierczynski, Artist:Michael Lacombe

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Of all the characters in the Marvel stable, The Punisher is, in my opinion, the easiest one to get wrong. All too often, writers fall in love with the vigilante persona, reveling in the over-the-top violence to such a degree that the character is transformed into a caricature, the stories silly and simple vignettes leeched of any real drama. But in this incarnation, writer Duane Swierczynski does right by The Punisher, weaving a D.O.A.-inspired tale that highlights a surprisingly sympathetic but still-scary-as-hell Frank Castle. Yes, it’s shocking, and, yes, it’s violent, but it never feels gratuitous, helping to tell the story rather than becoming it.

The Punisher is kidnapped. He awakens to learn he has been injected with a deadly toxin. In order to earn the antidote, he’ll have to kill someone. He doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Well, actually – and much to the horror of those who set it up – he does…

Irredeemable #1 – Writer: Mark Waid, Artist: Peter Krause

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Well, whaddya know. I happen to mention Mark Waid in my last comic round-up and – lo and behold! – here he is again, this time as the writer of Irredeemable from publisher Boom Studios (where Waid presides as Editor-in-Chief). The author of Kingdom Come (one of my Top 5 graphic novels) is back at it, deconstructing superhero archetypes in compelling fashion. Square-jawed ultra-hero The Plutonian has gone darkside and his former teammates need to find out why before he comes after them. Twists and turns abound.

Mailbag:

StevenG writes: “What kind of art style are you looking for for your pitch?”

Answer: It’ll be a verbal phone pitch covering the basic series premise and first (or first couple) of issues. No visuals necessary, but thanks anyway.

JJ writes: “I assume that SGU crew wouldn’t take a long break in the mid-production, because SG1 and SGA movie will may both start producing this fall, right?”

Answer: The production always takes a mid-season summer hiatus. It gives the cast and crew the chance to recharge, the writers to finish up some more scripts, and the Art and Construction departments to build some new sets.
Ultracurious writes: “1. In various episodes (Paradise Lost, for example) he has noticed the sounds of Elk calling in the background. Is this a happy accident of nature where the episode was shot, or added later to sound more ‘alien-y’?

2. Please, please, please! settle this argument once and for all. Why don’t the Goa’uld use Jaffa as hosts?”

Answers: 1. The background animal noises are added later in post-production. By the way, that wasn’t an elk your husband heard but a “space elk”. I can understand the confusion though.

2. Simply put, the Goa’uld don’t see the Jaffa that way. They are their warriors and incubators. That is their role.

Delynn writes: “In the episode “1969″ Teal’c says that if they don’t get back to the future and are forced to remain in the past, eventually his goa’uld will mature and take him as a host.”

Answer: Which was an improvisation on Chris’s part that really doesn’t jibe with the show mythology. But, oh well…

Jennie writes: “In the Atlantis movie, is there any chance for a romantic partner for Sheppard?”

Answer: Oh, sure, nothing is impossible.

Montrealer writes: “You got any Lobo items in your comic collectibles collection?”

Answer: Not a one. Not a fan.

Platschu writes: “1. Can you tell us the name of the 9th episode, if “Justice” became the 10th episode?

2. Can we expect other exotic shooting locations next to New Mexico in the second half of this season? Is it cheaper than building a set or make it in green screen?

3. Will any Atlantis actor make a cameo in SG:U? I will accept a simple yes or no, so if you want to keep the information as a surprise, than don’t say the name of the actor!

4. Do MGM and the writers plan to make a second Atlantis and fourth SG-1 movie next year after the shooting of the second season of SG:U at autumn-winter, or do you have to DVD sales number of the second wave?

5. Have you seen the recut version of Children of the gods? Will it be released really as a three disc set? Can you tell us when?

6. Which actor or actess has surprised you with his or her acting skill after the audition? Has ever happened that a shooted scene became even better as you imagined it on script?

7. You mentioned the SG:U team won’t be international. Was this creative decision influenced by Atlantis, or do the writers support character moments in SG:U rather than different nationalities? Will SG:U deal with different religions, environment protection, not sexual or ethnic minorities or other actual problems?

8. Is it true that SyFy and MGM have ordered season 2 too? There were rumors on the net about it and it would calm down every fan that SG:U is in no danger.

9. How do you expect to reach bigger rating, if the nuber of DVR is still growing? I mean you can make the best SG series ever, but I fear significantly more viewer won’t pay and watch SyFy only for SG:U.

10. Do you miss the “Budapest” restaurant and Hungarian foods?”

Answers: 1. Sure. Life.

2. Traveling all the way to New Mexico to shoot is definitely NOT the cheaper option.

3. It’s possible.

4. It’s way too early to tell. As of now, we’re only concentrating on the two movies on deck.

5. I haven’t. I have no idea what the plans are for its release.

6. The entire cast has surprised us in one great way or another over the past few months.

7. They won’t be international because they weren’t intended to be part of any expedition. They’re the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time.

8. Nope. I don’t expect to hear about a season two pick-up until this winter.

9. Nielsen ratings are down across the board, but that doesn’t mean networks should stop broadcasting shows. It’s simple become necessary to take other factors (like DVR) into consideration when judging a show’s performance.

10. I do but the owners have apparently opened up a new European restaurant close to the studio. Haven’t tried it yet though.

Trekkiegirlt writes: “Arggg! Joe you’re going to practically be in my back yard! I live in Dallas and my family and I go to the White Sands every year and sled down the dunes!
I feel and powerful force pulling me towards the gate!
So how would fans who showed up be treated??? “

Answer: Considering the location is a good dozen miles from civilization in the middle of nowhere, they’d probably think you were nuts and run for their lives.

Major D. Davis writes: “Do you enjoy me commenting regularly at your blog or should i leave?”

Answer: Feel free to stick around. Trust me, I’ll let you know what gets annoying.

Ytimyona writes: “ Any chance we’ll get to see what gets left on the cutting room floor on this blog instead???”

Answer: It’s more than likely that MGM would put it up on their site.

Dankriss writes: “Only one comment why did the guys change the ‘old’ sets…”

Answer: We have a limited amount of stage space and it doesn’t make sense to pay rent on a stage holding a set we may or may not use.

I Need Coffee writes: “Now that both SGU and SGA are “off-air”, are there any plans to publish any of the scripts of the series?”

Answer: I’m unaware of any plans to do so. Sorry.

April 12, 2009: A Lazy Sunday Afternoon (Lazy Being the Operative Word) and the Comics Rundown

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I celebrated Easter Sunday today in what I hope will become tradition: feasting, reading, and watching a Top Chef marathon. No trip back east to spend the holidays with the family this year. Instead, Fondy and I contented ourselves with an exceedingly relaxed afternoon. After a late lunch of sunchoke soup, grilled prawn, lobster tails, broiled scallops, and some southern style butter-mashed molasses sweet potatoes, I finished up next week’s book of the month club selection, The Big Over Easy, and did some laundry, feeling intermittent flashes of guilt for not getting back to that Atlantis script. Ultimately, I decided to take the day off, confident in my ability to complete the draft before my self-imposed May 1st deadline. Really, at this point the key players are enroute and things should move quickly. Aside from the minor hiccups of figuring out the whys and how-to’s of reuniting our heroes, and nailing down the shifting motivation behind the big throwdown, it should be smoooooth sailing. Yep. Back at it tomorrow.

Or maybe Tuesday.

So I continue to work my way through that enormous pile of comic books in my quest to find the best of the best titles that will, hopefully, restore my love of the genre. And – I have a question. Is the Ultimate line some sort of parallel universe? I mean, Wolverine is a pretty busy guy, no? Between splitting his time between both the X-Men and the Avengers, he’s also off on a multitude of solo adventures. What gives? Is there any sort of sync between these various titles?

Well, another 16 books didn’t make the cut. These, however, did…

Ultimate X-Men – Written by Aron E. Coleite, Illustrated by Mark Brooks (and Dan Panosian issue #99).

Issues #98-100

I’m surprised. The overwhelming glut of X-titles were what first turned me off comic books, so I was a little leery about diving back in. But, since I was casting as wide a net as possible, I decided to check out Ultimate X-Men. And came away impressed. Amid all the action, a number of nice character moments and – is this right? – deaths. Pretty gritty stuff.

Ultimate Spiderman – Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Illustrated by Stuart Immonen.

Issues #128-130

Didn’t love the first issue I read but liked the next couple of installments enough to put this one on the list. It reads kind of young but Bendis’s trademark humor is dead on.

Deadpool: Suicide King – Written by Mike Benson, Illustrated by Carlo Barberi.

Issue 1 of 5

One title I loved back in the day was Deadpool. The merc with a mouth was at his very best under the guidance of veteran writer Joe Kelly who spun some of the most delightfully dark humored adventures I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. In this limited series, Mike Benson does a nice job of picking up the torch while Carlo Barberi’s pencils add chaotically comical layer to the proceedings. So far, so good.

The New Avengers – Script by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Billy Tan, Matt Banning and Justin Ponsor & Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend and Antonio Fabela.

Issue #51

Hmmm. Hmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I’ve never been a fan of the magical storylines and, call me a traditionalist, but I’ve always considered Spiderman a loner and not at all a team player. And what is Wolverine doing on the team? Is there more than one incarnation of The Avengers? Scrambling to play catch-up on Dr. Strange, Norman Osborn, H.A.M.M.E.R., the Skrull Invasion (Skrulls, by the way, rank right up there with magical storylines and anything to do with the Infinity Gauntlet and/or gems), and the Scarlet Witch. Yeah, a little overwhelming. Still, as in most of Bendis’s work, the characters – particularly in their quiet moments – really shine. On the fence for now.

I’m noting a heavy Marvel presence…

April 8, 2009: “Was that shred or send?”, the Ball is in my Court, Comic Book S.O.S., More Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? Discussion, and the Mailbag

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“Hey,”said Ashleigh as I walked by her office this afternoon, stopping me in mid-stride. “I shredded those documents.”
“What?”I asked.

“Those documents you dropped off this morning and asked me to shred,”she sunnily informed me. 

“You mean ‘sent’,”I corrected her. “You ‘sent’ those documents.”

“No, no,”she casually shook her head and leaned back in her chair, just a hint of smile on her lips. “I’m sure you said ‘shred’.”

“No, I’m pretty sure I said send. Why would I give you a buckslip with my accountant’s name and address on it, paperclip it to a bunch of documents, and ask you to shred them?”

She shrugged, not the least perturbed, and murmured “I don’t know.” as if to imply “Hey, what’re you getting all annoyed at me for. You’re the one who wanted the documents shredded.”

Anyhoo, so long as the documents eventually found their way to my accountant, shredded or otherwise, I’m okay with it.

Well, the ball’s in my court. Paul handed off the Atlantis script, halfway completed, and it falls on me to finish the job. Tomorrow, I’ll re-read the outline, read what we have so far, and get to work. It’ll certainly be interesting shifting back into Atlantis mode.

Oh, hey, so I’ve picked up a slew of comic book titles over the past week and a half and am trying to get in a good 5-6 issues a night. The plan is to continue following the titles that hook my interest and drop the titles that fail to wow me. So far, not so much wow. Quite a few underwhelming entries and a few fence-straddlers that I’m willing to give another shot to impress. There are a couple I’ve found intriguing but have proven a bit overwhelming in terms of backstory and developments. I thought Hawkeye was dead. Who’s the new Captain America? When did Mockingbird make a return to the Marvel Universe? What happened to Max Mercury? I’m assuming Impulse is Kid Flash? If so, why the hell change to a lamer, younger name? The last time I checked in on Hal Jordan, he was the Spectre. What gives? And again to all you comic regulars out there, if you had to choose your three favorite titles presently being published, what would they be?

Some Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? discussion –

Dasndanger writes: “Anyway…what didn’t I like about Walker? What did I find prickish? Well, yes – his reaction to Deena invading his privacy.”

Answer: Really? I thought he was perfectly justified. How would you have reacted in a similar situation? Wouldn’t you be upset?

Dasndager also writes: “It was the flow of her dialogue…it flowed like an adult’s, not like that of a child her age. (Granted, I do know a couple kids that age who speak like adults, but it sounds just as unnatural on them as it did on her.) It was the stuff at the beginning – later in the book her dialogue flowed a bit better. So, it’s not necessarily WHAT she said, but how she said it, that didn’t work for me at the start.”

Answer: I thought her dialogue and, in particular, her metafictional soliloquy on the almost rough, comic-book quality of the people in her world hinted to the fact that she was more than just some cute kid.

Dasndanger also writes: “Do I pick up every single book and get the whole story, or do I sacrifice the ones I don’t normally read, and then, HOW THE HELL DO YOU FILE THESE THINGS???!”

Answer: If the crossover story is intriguing enough, I’ll pick up the other titles (and you’d file them by title, not story, although if you don‘t normally pick up those other titles, you can file those single issues within the body of the title you do collect.). If it doesn’t hold my interest, that will usually deep-six my interest in following any related title including the one I happen to be reading.

Hey, last chance to submit those questions for author Brian Michael Bendis!

Today’s pics: Some early shots of Destiny under construction in Stage 4.

Today’s video: Ashleigh reveals how much she is enjoying working with me. Alas, I experienced some technical difficulties and accidentally cut her off, but I can assure you it was all good.

Today’s entry is dedicated to AV Eddy’s buddy Simon.

Mailbag:

Davidd writes: “Joe, I wanted to know what you think of the Vancouver Film School……good? Not-so-good?”

Answer: I’ve heard good things about it.

Ytimyona writes: “Any chance Fire might turn into a 90 minute episode? If it’s a tight script, why not? I hate to see significant parts of the story disappear because of a time limit! If all 20 minutes end up being cut, any chance it’ll be put on the special features of the DVD (like with Morpheus in SG-1)?”

Answer: We’re looking at all possibilities. Like I said, the episode is pretty damn tight and even feels like it’s missing a couple of scenes and sequences I would love to see.

Bailey writes: “You haven’t sold me yet on there actually being an SGA movie, but keep trying!”

Anwer: Actually, I’m not trying to sell you on anything. I’m just relaying where things stand. If I knew the movie was dead, I’d say so. What’s to be gained from keeping everyone in the dark if it isn’t going to happen? I realize there’s a big negative vibe out there and I understand where it’s coming from but from where I’m sitting and given what I know, I’m not at all worried.

Nathaniel writes: “Since you kind of started talking about it a little in this post could you please explain why the different series are “run” by different production houses?”

Answer: SGU, SG-1 and Atlantis are three different productions made up of very different elements in terms of cast, crew, and innumerable other elements – so it make sense that their operations will be separate. Although they’re all part of the franchise, and many of the players are similar (ie. studio and network), they are individual entities.

Nathaniel also writes: “To me this seems a horribly hard way to secure funding. Instead of being the production company that brought you SG-1 (aka a proven track record) your a whole new company.”

Answer: No, the main players remain consistent, specifically the creative and the studio.

My Initials Are RDA Too writes: “It made me wonder if there was a chance of having Joel on a Q&A someday?”

Answer: We already did a Q&A. Questions were sent his way but Joel’s been quite busy of late, working on a little show called Universe. Still, I’m sure his responses will eventually make their way here. This blog aint going anywhere. That I know of.

Daniel Willis writes: “Do you know if work experience has been allowed in the past? I only ask because I wonder if it would be allowed in season 2.”

Answer: Most of the crew has been with us since the start of SG-1. We doubled our personnel when we ran both shows side by side, then collapsed that group into one again for Atlantis’s last three seasons. The new faces we are bringing in for universe have been writers, directors, DP’s and the like. This franchise is a particularly tough nut to crack for entry-level positions given that the people already on staff have a wealth of experience seasoned by many, many years in the Stargate trenches.

JJ writes: “Lou Diamond Phillips also directed his new film Love Takes Wing.
So will he direct an episode of SGU?”

Answer: No plans for Lou to direct an episode at present.

Dasndanger writes: “Me? Well, I’m simple and you know what would make me happy…but not so sure the others will be as easily satisfied. You’ve got a challenge ahead of you, that’s for sure.”

Answer: Well, regardless of how easy you are to please, I have a feeling you’ll especially enjoy the movie.

ChelleDeBoer writes: “Do you have any special or unique family traditions for Easter??”

Answer: Alas, I won’t be in Montreal this Easter but will be celebrating here in Vancouver. The dogs are especially looking forward to the big feast.

Michael A. Burstein writes: “I don’t know anything about Iron Man and Giant Man, but I could probably find out for you.”

Answer: I believe Iron Man killed him (accidentally?) during Civil War.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Re: the short story… how did our hero get out of the room?”

Answer: He was never in a room. I was drawing a parallel between being stuck on a scene as a writer and being stuck in a room as a gamer.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Will Andy be directing Life?

2. I just found out there will be gay characters on SGU. Will the fact that they are gay come up in the story often or will it be an every few episode occurrence.

3. Will Richard Woosley make an guest appearance in Universe?

4. Will Universe have a lot of straight out relationships or will it be subtle like in Sg-1 and Atlantis?”

Answers: 1. No.

2. I’m not sure what you mean by “often”. The story dictates the degree of a given character’s (be he/she blond, left-handeded, gay, or walks with a limp) involvement in an episode. However, if you’re asking whether their sexuality is going to be the focus of every scene they appear in – then the answer is no.

3. Not as of yet.

4. Given their situation – stuck together, stranded on a ship with no seeming hope of getting hope – it makes sense that relationships will develop.

 

 

April 7, 2009: SGU Cuts, That Atlantis Movie, and Some Powers Discussion

Yesterday, we sat down and watched the director’s cut of Air I and II. Even without the visual effects and the music, it was mighty damn impressive. MIGHTY damn impressive! A big congratulations to show creators/runners Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, the entire cast and crew, and go-to-guy Andy Mikita who directed his big ol’ heart out in treating us to one hell of a spectacular premiere. Later in the afternoon, we sat down to watch the director’s cut of Fire. Now I usually dread watching cuts after 4:00 p.m. as, late in the day, my mind tends to wander while my eyelids seem to put on about six pounds a piece, but this episode was absolutely riveting. GREAT – except for the fact that it’s about twenty minutes too long, and this isn’t even taking into consideration a bunch of scenes that Brad actually wrote but had to cut at the script stage for fear that the episode would run long – which it has anyway. And yet even though the running time is long, the episode is tight, moving along at a surprisingly brisk pace. So congrats to Director Peter DeLuise on his triumphant return to the Stargate franchise.

Now allow me to clarify a few things about the Stargate: Atlantis movie. Back in the 2008, we floated the possibility of shooting a two-hour Atlantis movie. The idea was to roll right into it right after episode 20 and then play it by ear. If the show got picked up for a sixth season, those two hours would form the first two episodes. In the event the show was not picked up, then we’d already have a movie in the can. Alas, Project Twilight (which is what I dubbed the two hour event at the time) didn’t come to pass. The series ended and focus shifted to Stargate: Universe. But not ALL of the focus because the intention has always been to make a movie. Actually, the focus has been to make two movies: an SG-1 movie, and an Atlantis movie. Now many of you are asking: “Hey, we hear that production on the Atlantis movie is being held up by the economy and yet, you have the money to make a new series and that SG-1 movie. What gives?” Well, first of all, it’s not a simple matter of us getting a whack of money and being able to pick and choose the projects we want to apply it to. Each production whether it be SGU, SG-1, or SGA, is contingent on their respective deals. And no two deals are alike. Furthermore, part of a project’s production budget is made up of licensing fees from various broadcasters, sales to various territories both domestic and international. Now these entities are a fickle bunch and won’t just buy anything. If they want product A, you can’t just replace it with product B. And that’s just one aspect of the many elements that go into any given deal. The bottom line is that the deal in place for Stargate: Universe has different components than the deal for the SG-1 movie which has different components than the deal for the SGA movie (yes, in spite of the fact that they are both Stargate movies, the deals are different).

So even though the SG-1 movie has been greenlit, I can assure you that plans are still in place to move forward on the Atlantis movie as well. Brad is working on the SG-1 script while Paul and I hope to have a first draft of the Atlantis script by month’s end (we’re already past the halfway mark). No firm production dates for either movies, but if I was a betting man, I’d be looking at this fall. All this to say – there’s no need to get all negative. When there is a need, I’ll let you all know but, at present, we’re making progress on all fronts: SGU, SG-1, AND SGA.

As for that new episode title I promised: Divided.

Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? Discussion:

Sparrow_hawk writes: “. I wasn’t as impressed by Deena Pilgrim – she seemed to be there more as a foil for Walker. I thought that her reasons for working with Walker were well stated in the beginning, but then she became a mere sidekick.”

Answer: I quite liked Deena’s portrayal. Clearly, he has a bit of a chip on her shoulder which suggests significantly more going on beneath the surface. I also enjoyed her single-minded determination to confirm her suspicions about Walker. She surprises him with a kick, asks him point blank, and then resorts to snooping to learn the trust. She had her own little investigation going on and, in the end, closed the case to her satisfaction. She’s tough. And, in subsequent stories, we get to learn a lot more about her.

Sparrow_hawk also writes: “. I know that I’m not supposed to ask questions like this because it is fantasy and I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief, but I’ll ask anyway because things like this bug me: If the police used “drainers” to keep criminals with superpowers under control in prison, why didn’t the forensic pathologist just use one to conduct his examination?”

Answer: I’ll include this question in the batch I’ll be sending Brian’s way. However, I simply assumed that the “drainers” kept superpowers in check (ie. Enhanced strength, speed, flying ability, etc.). Other physical attributes (ie. A third eye, impervious skin, etc.) weren’t “superpowers” per se and, thus, not affected.

Dasndanger writes: “… wondering what the conversation between Walker and Calista was all about. I had a few suspicions, but eventually I had to ask some folks who have read the entire series what the ending meant, and they explained that all is revealed in later issues.”

Answer: I thought it was fairly self-explanatory that Calista, like Retro Girl, is the next in a long line of powerful women throughout history, the eternal champion Sparrow-hawk refers to in her post. I guess you could liken it to the Buffy Summers character who is the recent incarnation of a long line of female slayers, no?

Dasndanger also writes: “However, not so much love for Walker. Perhaps – if I read the entire series – he’d grow on me, especially once his demons are revealed. But, basically – and pardon my French – he was a bit of a prick. Then again, I guess that’s what he’s supposed to be, but I have a lot of trouble warming to that sort of character…a bit like how I’ve never been able to like Scott Summers/Cyclops.”

Answer: Walker struck me as more of a lovable goof. What was it about him that you considered prickish? The only moment that comes to mind is when he snaps at Deena after she’s invaded his privacy but, in that instant, he has every right to be upset. The fact that he takes care of Calista in his albeit awkward way suggests a lot about the man’s character. Finally, as for Scott Summers – we are in total agreement. I always find him bland as white bread. And the big screen version is even more boring!

Dasndanger also writes: “I found Calista’s dialogue too mature and unnatural in the beginning for a kid her age, and it threw me off at first.”

Answer: I found her precociousness hilarious. Her asking Walker “What’s a clitoris?” is one of the funniest moments in the book.

Michael A. Burstein writes: “For me, the juxtaposition of the artwork with the more adult themes just didn’t work for me. I kept expecting a more PG-rated kind of story, and the first use of adult language kind of threw me for a loop.”

Answer: I was unsure at first but, eventually, the contrast in styles between the gritty noir storytelling and the illustrations that I found quite atmospheric despite being a tad cartoonish.

Lisa S. writes: “ I did have a few problems with this book; I’ll try to go in order in which they appear:

1. Highly cliched small child already mentioned.”

Answer: She may have seemed cliché at first but surely the revelation at book’s end changed your mind in this regard? No?

“2. Pilgrim’s clothing. This was the major WTF? thing for me in this book. I didn’t see Johnny Depp anywhere so this can’t be 21 Jump Street so, why is she dressed as though she just went shopping with the high school senior class?”

Answer: Ha, okay, I’ll give you that. Of course keep in mind that at the time of its publication, that look may have been all the rage. Probably not department issue, but stylin’.

“3. Zora and her ‘there is no God I am my own God’ deal. I get tired of anti-religion digs.”

Answer: I didn’t see this as anti-religion and thought the philosophy behind it was quite clever. It’s not unlike a lot of contemporary motivational groups that focus on the individual ability’s to influence their environment through the power of positive thinking – to the nth degree.

“4. To skip to the end the interrogation scene really got my hackles up. The whole ‘He’s intimidated by boobies. Pilgrim, you have boobies, go stick your scary boobies in his face and he’ll tell us everything’.”

Answer: That’s an extreme interpretation. The victim is intimidated by women, so why not send a woman in to intimidate him?

“5. Oh, and Triphammer felt a little too much like a poor-man’s Tony Stark.”

Answer: I immediately seized on the parallels and assumed Bendis was doing a little iconic subversion here. Also, keep in mind that Triphammer’s dozen or so pages in Powers pale significantly in comparison to the innumerable issues Marvel has dedicated to detailing the Tony Stark character.

Lisa S. also writes: “They didn’t send Pilgrim in there with the suspect because she’s a good detective. They sent her in there strictly because she’s a woman.”

Answer: “Well, no. They sent her in because she is a female detective.”

Mailbag:

Daniel Willis writes: “I live in Australia and I am currently studying Film and Television production. I am only in my first year of a two year course, but I would like to see if it would be possible to do work experience/volunteer work for SGU next year?”

Answer: Sorry, Daniel. The production isn’t looking to bring in new people at present.

Luis writes: “Joe!!! I dont see the Flash you dont like Barry Allen????”

Answer: Already picked it up. Check my April 4th entry.

James writes: “I’m curious Joe if you read green lantern?”

Answer: I will be.

Shiningwit writes: “Brie is VERY photogenic, to whom does she belong? any video of her mingling with your crowd?”

Answer: Yep. I’ll be posting some this weekend.

Tuskin writes: “I have a question, what year does SGU take place? How close is it to the finale of SGA?”

Answer: It picks up where the Atlantis finale left off. Ish.

Becketts Patient writes: “The wraith came into being because the iratus bug turned slowly into a more human form after feeding again and again on humans over thounsands of years. So I wondered now if that was an ongoing process. Whether the wraith are still becoming more and more humanlike by feeding on humans.”

Answer: Like humans, they have attained a point a plateau in their evolution – though that’s not to say that, like humans, they won’t undergo future developments.

Silversi writes: “But question…we watched ‘Irresponsible’ with Lucius last night, and his ancient shield device seemed very strange compared to McKay’s back in the first season. How were the Genii able to dunk his head under water, whereas when McKay had the shield it wouldn’t allow him to even drink?”

Answer: A) Different shield, and B) Air would have to pass through the shield to allow the wearer to breathe so, in Lucius’s case, he was “breathing” water.

Michael A. Burstein writes: “Spider-Man revealed his secret identity during the Civil War series, but that was retconned too.”

Answer: I believe that was one of the last few comics I checked out during my last comic-reading phase. So, what happened with the whole Iron Man killing Giant Man thing? Did that get retconned too? Also wasn’t Aunt May killed off and brought back to life once before?

Deni B. writes: “Does Joel bring the orchestra to Canada or is this done in the U.S.?”

Answer: Brad and Rob usually head down to Seattle for the recording.

Deni B. also writes: “ Elway’s doing ok this morning, although I think it’ll still be a long day because it usually takes 24 -36 hours for the episodes to be over.”

Answer: Give him a recuperative kiss on the nose from all of us.

Dasndanger writeS: “ It’s one reason I’ve considered switching to TPBs for certain books since their stories read better all in one shot, than when they’re dragged out over 4-6 months.”

Answer: Trade paperbacks also collect the crossovers to other titles as well. Crossovers, by the way, are what pretty much killed my interest in reading comic books.

Anne-Marie Sloan writes: “While out and about this weekend, we ate at Horzions up on Burnaby Mountain and ABC Country Restaurant across from Bridge (love the SGU signs we saw). Have you eaten at either place and what did you think???”

Answer: I’ve eaten at both. As for what I thought…not much.

Dreams-of-Skies writes: “Speaking of writing, I notice that you’re playing around with various writing ideas at the moment. Is there anything in particular right now that has you really excited?”

Answer: Well, I’m very excited about this short story I’m working on.

 

April 6, 2009: Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, written by Brian Michael Bendis, Illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming

powers

Comics have come a long way since I was a kid. Back then, it was all about heroes battling villains. Nowadays, in addition to villains, the heroes are battling themselves, each other, and the types of everyday problems usually reserved for the likes of regular Joe’s like you and me (but especially me). The stories have shifted from action-adventure to an exploration of their lives, not only as high-flying public defenders, but as friends, lovers, and private citizens who don’t always save the day, much less their romantic relationships. Writers like Bendis, Busiek, and Waid have deconstructed the traditional superhero concept, reshaping it into a stronger, far more vibrant reimagining. Gone is the simple focus on good vs. evil. Instead, today’s comic books examine the live of their protagonists, both personal and professional, as well as their far-reaching influences on society as a whole.

All too often, when people think of adult comics, they automatically envision topless statuesque women or over-the-top violence. However, were they to dig a little deeper, actually spend a little time looking through the wide selection available, they’d discover a host of titles that are termed “adult” not so much because of their subject matter but because they are written to appeal to educated readers. They are intelligent and subversive, challenging our accepted notions of the genre.

Which brings us to Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? The book’s hero is Christian Walker, a homicide detective tasked with investigating the mysterious death of superhero Retro Girl. Complicating matters for him are his new rookie partner Deena Pilgrim, a fellow officer intent on horning in on the case, and a precocious young girl who has fallen into his lap following a domestic disturbance call. While the high-strung medical examiner bemoans his inability to perform a proper autopsy on the victim (he is forced to take a blowtorch to her impervious skin) and the media outlets cover the story with sensationalist fervor, the investigation uncovers a shocking secret about the All-American-Heroine. The mystery deepens, leads and suspects pursued, and we ultimately learn that Detective Walker is hiding a few secrets of his own…

Yes, it’s a noir detective superhero thriller, and a highly accomplished one at that. Bendis’s dialogue is quick and clever, the setting he has created well-imagined. The bits and pieces of Retro Girl’s past that come to light over the course of the narrative paint a surprisingly sharp picture of a world in which superpowers are an accepted part of life, so much so that the police have set up a special department to deal with powers-related crime. The characters of Walker and Pilgrim are also nicely developed, charming despite their obvious faults, and very likable. The story is intriguing and, although the ending did feel a little abrupt, the narrative offered more than enough twists to make for a very satisfying the read. In particular, I appreciated the book’s sense of humor. Oeming’s artwork, somewhat reminiscent of the WB’s Batman cartoon, contrasts nicely with the dark subject matter, while the book’s untraditional layout (juxtaposing the investigation with media coverage of the event, panels stacked precariously like building blocks occasionally running the lengths of both pages) forces the reader’s attention.

A very different type of superhero tale, but one well worth checking out as an introduction to what is, in my opinion, one of the best series of its kind.

So, those are my preliminary thoughts. What did you all think? Let’s hear your take on Powers. And let’s see those questions for author Brian Michael Bendis.

Alas, it’s late and I’m barely coherent, so tune in to tomorrow when I’ll weigh in on the two Stargate Universe rough cuts we watched today (Air I and II, and Fire), give you the what’s what on the Atlantis movie, and maybe even offer up a new episode title.

 

April 5, 2009: 3 000 000, All In, Dog Visit, and The Mailbag

Brie
Brie
Jelly
Jelly
Brie
Brie
Brie
Brie
Brie
Brie
Brie
Brie
Bubba
Bubba
Maximus
Maximus
Lulu
Lulu

All in!
All in!
Hey, I just noticed that my little blog here on wordpress has just ticked past 3 000 000 views. It now joins the lofty likes of the CNN Political Ticker, Celebrity Baby Blog, and, of course, Lolcats ’n Funny Pictures of Cats – I Can Has Cheezburger? Congratulations to all. But especially me.

Yes, it’s thanks to the support of longtime regulars. But the contribution of surfers who stumbled upon us while looking for something else entirely shouldn’t be overlooked. And what were these unwitting visitors seeking? Well, a quick check of the Search Engine Terms for the past seven days reveals that some of the word searches that led these first-times to this blog included: “butterscotch liquor“, “funnel weaver spider mating“, “reconstitute dried cuttlefish“, and “alien hand of god”. Hopefully everyone found what they were looking for.

Well, I stopped by The Comic Shop this afternoon and went “all in”. And by “all in”, I mean ALL in. I picked up every new title in sight. I’ve got to say, nothing quite equals the burgeoning excitement of walking into a comic store. The clatter of the register. The flash of those glossy covers. The scent of nerds. Just browsing the racks takes me back to a youth spent reading The Mighty Avengers and The Uncanny X-Men, cradling each issue as I gingerly turned the pages, devouring the latest installments before carefully bagging and filing them away for future sale to some eccentric comic book collector looking to pay top dollar for Micronauts #1 and the severely underappreciated Shogun Warriors series. Anyway, each book has two issues to impress (Sometimes only one if the writing is that dire which, incidentally, one of last night‘s reads definitely was. The other scored a resounding meh.). If it doesn’t, I drop the title and move on. It’ll be interesting to chart the attrition rate is as it will be to see how all of your recommendations pan out.

A reminder that tomorrow we begin discussion on the first of April’ book of the month club selections – Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?. Haven’t read it yet? Come on! I read it in one night! Author Brian Michael Bendis will be taking reader questions so move your asses!

Today’s pics: Brie drops by for a visit.

Mailbag:

Ytimyona writes: “What does XXX mean?”

Answer: What it means is that I’ve forgotten to replace this place holder with a proper link once I’d transferred my entry from Word to WordPress.

Jeff Ford writes: “Joe: This isn’t a superhero comic, but if you can get Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Kim Deitch, I think you’ll really appreciate the storytelling and, perhaps, the art work as well.”

Answer: Hmmm. No luck at my friendly neighborhood comic shop. Guess I‘ll try the unfriendly ones.

Jeff Ford also writes: “I see you’re writing a short story. I missed this development — have had my head in the sand lately. What’s it for?”

Answer: It’s for an upcoming anthology. Well, that’s the plan anyway. It’s been an admittedly torturous process, but one that has given me even more for respect for the work you do. It takes me, on average, about a month to write a Stargate script from concept to finished draft. To date, I’ve been working on this short story going on six months now. It‘s been grueling and, occasionally, extremely frustrating. Much of it, of course, could have to do with the fact that the story I want to tell is taking much longer than expected.

My Name Is Scott writes: “Hey, if you are interested in the volume 4 of Green Lantern, which is essentially Geoff Johns Wonderland, I have written a detailed-yet-brief catch-up on all you need to know about GL before jumping into volume 4…”

Answer: Thanks, but I think I’m just going to jump right in.

Whovian writes: “I am wondering, do your dogs ever spend time in John’s office?”

Answer: Nope. Whenever they come to work with me, I spend the entire day chasing after them. I’d rather have someone else chase after them – so they go to doggy daycare.

Daniel Willis writes: “Does anyone know how behind the mail bag is?”

Answer: Uh, what was the question?

Bridjess writes: “Is dandelion nice to eat? “

Answer: I don’t know about the flower, but my parents used to pick dandelion leaves and use them in salads. Good but a tad bitter.

Deni B. writes: “Re Joel again, does he give you (the collective “you”) various music choices for the show’s theme? Does he view an episode or scene and then add the music (and then, who decides if the music fits the writer’s intent)? Can you explain the process to me (and ignore my naivete in such matters)?”

Answer: Joel will have a preliminary conversation with Brad and Robert, then he’ll go off and come up with a piece of music that will reflect the mood and tone of the series. Brad and Robert will listen to it, provide notes, Joel will make some adjustments and then, when all have signed off, he brings in the orchestra to record. Individual episodes are either tracked (using our music library built by Joel) or scored (in which case Joel comes up with original music for the episode). The producers will give their music and sound notes during the Day 1 Mix, adjustments are made, we’ll sign off on the final mix and we’re good to go.

Michael A. Burstein writes: “Superman is spending the year off Earth and living on the planet New Krypton, in the comic book Superman: World of New Krypton. The books Action Comics and Superman are covering other characters taking over for Superman on Earth. James Robinson, who wrote the acclaimed Starman series in the 1990s, is writing some of these stories, so that’s worth picking up.”

Answer: I really enjoyed Robinson’s work on Starman. Will definitely check it out.

Michael A. Burstein also writes: “Booster Gold is a great series, especially if you’re into time travel stories. The premise is that he’s fixing time anomalies throughout DCU history.”

Answer: This one sounds particularly intriguing. Was only able to pick up issues 15 and 18. Will check out another comic book store for 16 and 17.

Dasndanger writes: “Another new book that’s just started up with Bendis on it (three issues in) is Dark Avengers, with Norman Osborn as leader of the team, as well as leading what used to be S.H.I.E.L.D., and is now H.A.M.M.E.R.”

Answer: Really? Is he the Lex Luthor of Marvel now?

Dasndanger also writes: “X-Force is a bloody mess, and I love it! A killer X-Men team, what more could you want?”

Answer: Sold!

Dasndanger also writes: “I see you have Amazing Spider-Man – not sure if you know what’s going on there – but the character has undergone a major retcon – and I am loving it! No Mary Jane dragging him down.”

Answer: Retconned as if they never got married? Or retconned as if they never hooked up? Or retconned as if there is MJ in Peter Parker’s universe?

Sprinkles writes: “Will MS be appearing in the Stargate Universe premier?”

Answer: Michael will have a cameo in the premiere.

Zoniduck writes: “Joe, I’m probably the 50th person to link you to this by now, but given the theme for today’s Cake Wrecks blog Sunday Sweets post…”

Answer: Love it! Wonder how they taste?

StellaByStargate writes: “On the Stargate DVDs each episode is divided into chapters for easy navigation. Each one of those chapters has a title. Are those titles created by you, the writers, as the episode is written, or are they done after-the-fact by someone putting together the DVDs?”

Answer: They’re added by whoever is printing the DVD’s.

Major D. Davis writes: “Is Andy Mikita directing Time?”

Answer: Time will be a Robert C. Cooper joint.

Vincenzo1992 a ecrit: “1) Quelle est ta meilleur recette de pancakes ?

2) Combien mesure Amanda Tapping ? et vous ?”

Reponses: 1) Je les fais avec des morceaux de chocolat.

2) Je mesure 5”10.

Translation: 1) I like to make pancakes with chocolate chips.

2) I’m 5”10

March 29, 2009: My Foray into Harlequin Romance, International SF, A Gentle Reading Reminder (the next one is going to hurt), My Final Four Pick, A Fursome Surprise Visitor, and The Mailbag. Whew!

Brie
Brie

Brie meets Bubba
Brie meets Bubba

Brie and, uh, Jelly
Brie and, uh, Jelly

Brie is fascinated; Jelly, bored already.
Brie is fascinated; Jelly, bored already.

She won't sit still long enough for me to snap a proper picture!
She won't sit still long enough for me to snap a proper picture!

Negotiating the stairs is a bit of a chore.
Negotiating the stairs is a bit of a chore.

Presumably she'll grow into those paws.
Presumably she'll grow into those paws.

Hanging with the pugs.
Hanging with the pugs.

Lulu feels the need to remind everyone: "Hey, lookit me!  I'm still cute!"
Lulu feels the need to remind everyone: "Hey, lookit me! I'm still cute!"

Bubba eyes his mortal enemy: that yappy labrador across the street.
Bubba eyes his mortal enemy: that yappy labrador across the street.

Foraging under Jelly's watchful eye.
Foraging under Jelly's watchful eye.

Brie
Brie

I was on fire last night, writing well into the wee hours of the early morning. I’m about a scene and a half away from finishing a first draft of the short story (although the last five pages are going to need a major massage). I even had enough leftover energy to write three more kino scenes, bringing the grand total to five. Here’s a line for you: “They stumble BACK INTO FRAME, hungrily devouring each other like Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia ice cream cone on a hot summer‘s day.”

One of my favorite short story collections of all time is the SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent. Editors James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow have assembled a marvelous mix of stories “never before published in English”, a selection of the weird, the wacky, and the out and out wonderful, all authored by writers you’ve likely never heard of. A mind-bending introduction to some of the best SF being produced outside of North America and the U.K. I was hugely disappointed to learn there would be no follow-up – so you can imagine my delight when I came across a link (compliments of Ellen Datlow: http://ellen-datlow.livejournal.com/) to Lavie Tidhar’s World SF News Blog, a site “dedicated to posting news and links about international science fiction, fantasy, horror and comics.” For those looking to expand their horizons beyond the traditional, head on over and check out recent articles on African and South African speculative fiction, Danish SF, and Malaysian horror (http://worldsf.livejournal.com/). Also, the site provides a link to a free PDF file of Shimmer Magazine’s 10th issue containing a host of international SF stories. But, best of all, is the news that our friends over at Apex Books are taking pre-orders for The Apex Book of World SF (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=86).

Speaking of reading – Let it be known that you have a full week to read the first of April’s book of the month club selections, Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Michael Oeming.  Yes  “illustrated” because the book is a graphic novel, a first for our little book club.  So make the time to track it down, read it, and come armed with questions for author Brian Michael Bendis, one of the most popular writers working in comics today, as he takes time off from scripting the pilot for the Powers t.v. series to visit.  Yep, that’s right.  The Powers t.v. series.  Read the graphic novel and get in on the ground floor BEFORE the series is developed, that way you’ll be able to rail against prospective casting rumors from an informed position.  Discussion on Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? begins the week of April 6th.  

Well, March Madness is down to its Final Four and, since my brackets have been busted, I’m free to root with my heart instead of my week and a half old score sheet. Having said that, my pick to win it all this year is “Not the Tar Heels”. Here’s hoping they come through. They’ll have, if need be, up to two chances to get it done!

Finally, we had a little visitor drop by the house today. Alas, she didn’t stick around but it’s very likely she’ll be back. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Brie.

Finally, tune in tomorrow for that Amanda Tapping Q&A you’ve been anxiously awaiting.

P.S. I ate too much today. Well, specifically, too much nutella and ice cream. I have got to show some self-discipline.

Today’s mailbag:

EricaHP writes: “Any recommendations for places to try foie gras in Toronto?”

Answer: Sorry, that’s the other side of the country. I’m not at all familiar with the Toronto restaurant scene.

Ziva Z writes: “When you go to a restaurant, do you take a little notebook with you so you can write down exactly what it is we are seeing in the pictures you show us?”

Answer: Nope. I simply snap a pic of the menu.

Suziesbluefeather writes: “May I suggest that you take some me time for yourself. You seem to have been pushing your self hard lately.”

Answer: Quite the opposite. I haven’t been pushing myself hard enough. It’s hard to believe that, back in SG-1’s tenth season, I actually wrote three scripts (Morpheus, Counterstrike, and Memento Mori) in two weeks.

Ytimyona writes: “What is a “kino” scene?”

Answer: A kino is

Ben writes: “Since the Destiny wasn’t really meant to be inhabited (I recall hearing that at some point, so I’ll be disappointed if the crew finds a spa & sauna deck), will be technologically savvy of the bunch be often mcgyvering useful items and tools out of materials found on board?”

Answer: Actually, the Destiny WAS meant to be inhabited.

Ponytail writes: “Tonight I was watching “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” on the Food Network. That is the kind of places I love to eat at. Joe would you ever consider trying some of those restaurants?”

Answer: Hell, yeah. Incidentally, this is one of Exec. Producer Rob Cooper’s favorite food shows.

Ponytail also writes: “Joe have you ever thought about one night doing a video blog?”

Answer: I have. And will. Eventually.

Riley writes: “and what was that particular argument all about!? Misdirection much?”

Answer: It made an excellent point about what I was referring to yesterday – the hypocrisy of meat-eaters (especially those who enjoy fast food chicken and burgers) who jump on the anti-foie gras bandwagon.

Jedi43 writes: “Quick question, who played John’s dead father in the wake picture in “Outcast”?”

Answer: Someone we hired to play the role (in the picture).

Alex writes: “Where’s the food from?”

Answer: Au Pied de Cochon.

Nodakgirl writes: “Thank you so much, Joe, for remembering us in the Red River Valley fighting the Red and fighting water all over the state.”

Answer: Do keep us posted on how you’re all doing.

Rose writes: “In comparing the “Big Love” response from Mormons and the response of the Disney company to South Park, you were comparing apples and oranges.”

Answer: But my point was that drawing attention to the subject is often counter-productive since it only serves to shine a spotlight on the controversy. As you put it, the response of “some Mormons […] provided the free publicity that Big Love was undoubtedly hoping they would receive”

 

TBA writes: “- Are all SGU episode slots filled now?

– Are there any more cliff-hanger episodes in the season, other than premiere/midseason/finale?

– In SGA’s ‘The Return’, dr. Lee mentions he has a lvl 75 mage on World of Warcraft, which wasn’t possible at the time. Was this intentional, or have none of you ever played WoW?

– Any plans to bring in The Trust again, in either SGU or one of the movies?”

Answers: 1. As a I mentioned in a blog entry just the other day, there are two slots still open. 2. Yes. 3. That’s a question for Marty G. who wrote the episode. 4. Nope.

Thornyrose writes: “Is your concern about burglars affecting your own outings?”

Answer: It kind of has. That and the fact that I’ve lost my culinary wingman (Marty G.), my wife is very busy, and I’ve been cooking at home more.

Lance writes: “The Right can’t claim it wants to throw more people in prison and have tax breaks be their mantra.”

Answer: When did a desire to see violent criminals off the streets automatically make you right-wing? Seriously, is it that much to ask that repeat offenders face some actual jail time? The guy who was casing my house last weekend had some thirty prior convictions – which didn’t seem to have inconvenienced him in the least. Should I have invited him in and politely asked him to mend his ways and refrain from robbing people in the future? Should I have given him a hug and told him I sympathized with his inability make it in this tough world and then helped him load my stuff into the back of his van? Do tell. Also, throwing more of these people in prison doesn’t have to equal higher taxes – simply a more judicious use of taxes already gathered. As has already been pointed out, our prison system is filled with individuals serving time for relatively minor infractions.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. You film an average Stargate episode in 7 days, correct? If not how many days does it take?

2. Will you begin filming Water next week? If not, when?”

Answers: 1. Yes. Seven days to prep and episode and seven days to shoot it.

2. Off the top of my head, I’d say “very soon”.

Quade1 writes: “Joe is Stargate Universe going to explore Greek Mythology??”

Answer: Nope.

Dovil writes: “@riley, I found this article here that nicely touches on at least one of the gaping holes of logic.”

Answer: Yes and no. The writer does a nice job of neatly oversimplifying the hypocrisy charge leveled against most meat-eaters who have a problem with foie gras. It’s not “Either you eat animals or you don’t eat animals.”. Rather, it’s “It’s incredibly hypocritical to criticize foie gras for its treatment of animals if you’re eating most fast food because the chicken and beef that supply these restaurants are treated with shocking cruelty on their way to slaughter.”

 

March 14, 2009: A Non-Celebrity Guest Blog, Your Book of the Month Club Reminder, and An Extra Chunky Mailbag

So a couple of weeks ago, Jason Sizemore over at Apex Books asked me whether I’d be interested in writing a guest blog entry for them (Actually, he referred to it as a Celebrity Blog which, of course, gave me pause because I‘m a celebrity in much the same way that Joe the Plumber or Kim Kardashian are celebrities. In other words, not.). To be honest, I can barely keep up with my own blog but, for whatever reason (ie. I was suffering from anoxia at the time) I agreed to do it – provided I was given a topic. I was thinking something along the lines of “mosquitoes” or “favorite Japanese adult film stars”. Instead, I was offered a choice of three possible topics. I chose one – or a variation thereof. Anyway, you can find my incisive and thought-provoking “Celebrity” Guest Blog, titled “I Should’ve Stuck to Rubber Chickens” here (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2009/03/joseph-mallozzi-i-shouldve-stuck-to-rubber-chickens/). Also, check out the other far more interesting entries on the site.

A quick reminder to all those interested in joining in April’s book of the month club discussions: we’ll be discussing the books in April. And, in case it’s too much trouble to allow your gaze to wander over to the right sidebar for the details, allow me…

Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Brian Michael Bendis (illustrated by Mike Avon Oeming)

From the publisher: “Heroes glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire. Flamboyant villains attempt daring daylight robberies. God-like alien creatures clash in epic battle over the nighttime sky. And on the dirty city streets below, Homicide Detective Christian Walker does his job. Walker has to investigate the shocking murder of one of the most popular super-heroes the world has ever known: Retro Girl. He is teamed up with spunky rookie Detective Deena Pilgrim, and the murder investigation takes them from the seediest underbelly a city has to offer, to the gleaming towers that are home to immortal beings. As shocking, hidden truths about Retro Girl come to light, Walker finds that to solve this crime, he might have to reveal his own dark secret.”

Five time Eisner award winner Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most successful writers working in comics today. Some of his major works include Jinx, Torso, a 55-issue run on Daredevil, and a staggering 110-issue run on Ultimate Spiderman. If you’re looking for a book with a clever story, engaging characters, and witty dialogue, then look no further than Powers which, incidentally, is in active development as a live-action series at FX (they of The Shield and Damages). And fear not, fans. He’s writing the pilot script himself.

Discussion the week of April 6th with author Brian Michael Bendis.

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime, Jasper Fforde

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, and, well, you know the rest. But was Humpty’s fall an accident, or was it murder? It’s up to giant killer Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division to get to the bottom of it. Humpty was quite a ladies’ man, but a few people thought him a bad egg. Jack has a number of suspects, a new partner to break in and gloryhound/antagonist Detective Inspector Chimes to deal with.”

Author of the hugely popular Thursday Next literary detective series, Wodehouse prize winner Jasper Fforde is often mentioned in the same breath as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams for his wildly inventive narrative. His writing has been described as “stunningly imaginative“, “utterly delightful”, and “sheer gut-busting fantasy“.

Discussion the week of April 13th with author Jasper Fforde.

Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow

From the publisher: “Compiled by multi-award winning editor, Ellen Datlow, this collection commemorates the second centenary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. It features Poe-inspired tales by some of the finest talents in the field, including Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, Suzy McKee Charnas and others. This all-star line-up has several Hugo, Edgar, Tiptree and British Fantasy Award winners.”

Over the course of her career, editor Ellen Datlow has received the Shirley Jackson Award, two Bram Stoker Awards, two Hugo Awards, three Locus Awards, and eight World Fantasy Awards. Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe is her latest anthology. 

Mailbag:

Shawna writes: “Now that I think of it, it seems as if, especially in the later seasons, SG-1 went to a lot more random/weird/funny places than did Atlantis. Will Universe have occasional moments of random craziness like that?”

Answer: No plans to have any SGU characters attend a reading of the Vagina Monologues.

My Name Is Scott writes: “Will the Atlantis movie take place during it’s time of release, or will it take place prior to SGU?”

Answer: Both the events of the SGA movie and the events of the SGU premiere take place “around the same time period”.

Laura writes: “On a completly other topic, Joe, I’ve been wondering, what are the differences between all the levels of producers (ie. supervising, co, etc) (besides pay)?”

Answer: Quite honestly, it depends on the production. The producer title can signify anything from a financial backer, sometime contributor, creative decisionmaker, budget manager, or someone who’s agent scored them a vanity credit.

Thornyrose writes: “How are the experiments in home cooking going?”

Answer: Excellent. Today, I made a stuffed pork loin with sautéed broccolini. Also, a mix of ground beef, carrots, peas, and rice for the dogs (and Lulu in particular whose stomach has been a might sensitive of late).

Sparrow_hawk writes: “Wish me luck: tomorrow I’m helping my mother move out of the house I grew up in, where she has lived for 50+ years (and near as I can tell has not thrown out ANYTHING in that entire time)!”

Answer: Good luck! I’d offer to help but I think I did something to my back during yesterday’s weightlifting session. I’m really annoyed because I rented the pick-up and everything.

Delynn writes: “Oh, pretty please can we see David Blue’s shoes? I hear they are quite awesome for footwear!!!”

Answer: Maybe when he eventually swings by to do his fan Q&A here, I’ll get him to post a pic of his favorite footwear. The red strapless pumps are to die for!

Deeinsouthafrica writes: “Talking about self-inflicted alcohol poisoning scenes, what happened to the weird food choice of the day (liquid edition)?”

Answer: We were just talking about that Thursday night. It’s just a matter of finding a weekend where everyone is free. I received a surprising number of volunteers for The Weird Food Purchase of the Day: Strange Alcohols Edition. As opposed to say, the paltry turnout for that time I sampled the fish sauce or the squid ice cream.

Hugh writes: “ If a MALP is sent through every time to check an adress, then they must lose quite a few MALPs to space gates. How do they get them back when they’re just floating through space?”

Answer: Usually, you don’t.

Mika writes: “On the weird foods list, from the outback I can strongly recommend kangaroo (they grin more & have more flavour than cows). If you’re drawn to the legendary witchetty grubs, go for cooked (scrambled-eggy) not raw (barely-not wriggly).”

Answer: I’ve tried kangaroo. There was a place near the studio that used to cook up all sorts of burger. One afternoon, the entire writing department sampled kangaroo, bison, muskox, ostrich, and caribou. With disastrous results. To quote Carl Binder: “There’s a wildebeest stampede going on in my stomach!” As for grubs – if someone were to tell me they actually tasted good, I might consider it. But all indications are that raw or cooked, they pretty much taste like crap.

Anais33 a ecrit: “1) Tout le cast de sgu à été dévoiller entiérement?
2) SGU se passera sur les même endroits de tournage que pour sga et sg1 ?
3) Que faite vous pour que vos chiens n’attrapent pas de tique?”

Reponses: 1) Non. 2) Non. 3) Ils prennent des médicaments spéciaux.

Translation: 1) No, the entire cast has not been revealed. I’m assuming that, sooner or later, they’ll make an announcement about James, Franklin, Brody, Park, Riley, Spencer, etc.

David Blue writes: “Hahahahhaa … you’re awesome.”

Answer: I’m alright awesome. You, sir, are Awesome (note the capital A).

Craig MD writes: “Is there a date set for its television premiere by the way? Or is that still classified at this point too?

Also, while they must be incredibly busy, any chance of getting some of the cast members for a Q and A?”

Answer: Not sure if they’ve announced a date yet. Last I heard, sometime in the fall. And, yes, I’ve approached the various SGU cast about eventually doing some fan Q&A’s. All positive.

dune knight writes: “alright i asked about watchmen because it shows extremely flawed superhereos so i wanted to know if the stargate universe team are a flawed version of SG-1.”

Answer: I wouldn’t describe them as “flawed versions of SG-1”. However, like any human being, they are far from perfect.

Dayna Barter writes: “How do people get added to the writing staff? Are they recommended by agents? Do they send in a spec script? Become a personal slave to one of the producers? Offer up a first-born…right arm and a leg…?”

Answer: This is where a good agent earns his commission. When a series is greenlit, a good agent will contact the production and find out if they’re looking for writers, staff or freelancers. The agent will pitch the writers they represent who they feel would be a good fit. Based on the pitch, provided the production feels the writers are indeed a good fit, the agent will be invited to send in some writing samples that best represent the work of the potential candidates. For our show, one hour dramas, original pilots, and even features work best. We’re not necessarily looking for SF samples and certainly NOT looking to read a Stargate spec. Based on these samples, a writer may or may not be invited to pitch. We tend to prefer phone pitches – around three solid ideas with a beginning, middle, and end. I’ve detailed past pitch sessions gone awry in previous blog entries but, suffice it to say, doing your homework will go a long way toward impressing. Know the show (if it’s already on the air), know the tone, learn how to pronounce the names of the main characters. Depending on how the pitch session goes, the writer may be invited to call back with a more detailed pitch or invited into the room so that we can all break the story. Once the story is broken, the writer heads back home to work on the outline. If the outline is solid, they go to script. And, if they do a great job on the script (instead of a merely serviceable job that will require someone to completely rewrite them) AND we’re looking to add to our roster, they may be invited to join the show’s writing staff. That’s how it works, more or less.

Trish writes: “I’m sorry poor Lulu is still having problems. Would allergy shots work?”

Answer: Don’t think so. The problem is I’m not exactly sure what it is she’s allergic to. I switched her to the fish-based dog food only to have her throw up her body weight last night. I’ll see how she does with beef.

Gilder writes: “Seeking empathy…our favorite independent pizza place burned yesterday. Total loss.”

Answer: Condolences. Carl and I are still mourning the loss of the Budapest Restaurant. Sniff. I’m getting all choked up thinking about it.

Belouchi writes: “I see your point in why it won’t make much financial sense, but given the fact that project twilight is in fact a big budget two parter episode of around $7million USD, I presumed that your marketing department had much more manuverability with respect to what channels they would use to get the product aware. I also thought about the idea since the SG1 movies seemed to rely heavily on advertisement since it was a direct to DVD product and the generated sales incurred would be crucial. Was I wrong?”

Answer: No, you’re not wrong. However, only a certain amount is budgeted for marketing and, rather than spend it on webisodes that reach a comparatively smaller audience of fans who already know about the show, we would be better served reaching out to potential new fans through other means.

AMZ writes: “So tell me Joe, did anything unusual happen to you on Friday the 13th? Or anyone else for that matter?”

Answer: My dog was sick.

AMZ also writes: “I know a lot of Universe info is under wraps at the moment, but I was wondering, when you said Brad’s script Fire had “enough angst to trigger an anxiety attack…”, did you mean angst as in Serious Conflict Angst or more the Rebel Without A Cause/A Lot of Whingeing From Characters Angst? Or was it more a XXXXX type of angst?”

Answer: All three.

Ytimyona writes: “I have a terrible problem with ending my stories, screenplays, and pretty much everything I write, actually. I get going and suddenly find myself with only one page, paragraph, or line left before I go over the limit and can never manage to come up with a satisfactory ending!”

Answer: In the case of the short story I’m working on now, I had the opening scene in my head for ages, married it to a premise I’d been kicking around for a while, and came up with the ending I needed to work toward. Al…most…there…

February 11, 2009: More Big Book of the Month Club News. And the Mailbag!

powers1

the-big-over-easy poe

I’d like to take a moment to invite fence-sitters and prospective first-timers to join our Book of the Month Club.
HOW IT WORKS: I’ll announce the upcoming titles and include a brief synopsis of each and a date for the commencement of discussions. For those interested, the pertinent information is available in the right sidebar under BOTM CLUB SELECTIONS. I’ll pick three books, usually in the fields of SF, Fantasy, and Horror. You, of course, are free to read one, two, or all three. On the Monday of the discussion week, I’ll kick things off with my review after which readers are encouraged to weigh in with their thoughts as well. Readers are also encouraged to post questions for the author who will, more often than not, be dropping by the blog to take part in a casual Q&A.

A REMINDER OF THE FEBRUARY-MARCH SELECTIONS:

Infoquake, David Louis Edelman
From the publisher: “Natch is a master of biologics, the programming of the human body. He’s clawed and scraped his way to the top of the biologics market using little more than his wits. Now his sudden notoriety has brought him to the attention of Margaret Surina, the owner of a mysterious new technology called MultiReal. Only by enlisting Natch’s devious mind can Margaret keep MultiReal out of the hands of High Executive Len Borda and his ruthless armies. To fend off the intricate net of enemies closing in around him, Natch and his apprentices must accomplish the impossible. They must understand this strange new technology, run through the product development cycle, and prepare MultiReal for release to the public – all in three days. Meanwhile, hanging over everything is the spectre of the infoquake, a lethal burst of energy that’s disrupting the biologic networks and threatening to send the world crashing back into the Dark Ages.”

Published in 2006, it was named The Top SF Novel of 2006 by Barnes & Noble Explorations and also received a nomination for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel. Infoquake was the debut novel of author David Louis Edelman, a blogger, web programmer, and John W. Campbell nominee for Best New Writer in 2007.

Discussion the week of February 23rd with author David Louis Edelman.

The Book of Joby, Mark J. Ferrari
From Booklist: “The prologue of Ferrari’s first novel sweeps us into a monumental modern-day fantasy of good versus evil when Lucifer proposes a wager that he has made many times over the millennia—the same stupid bet, according to God. If he wins this time, God will have to destroy his Creation, and they will start over with what Lucifer considers an orderly, “virtuous” universe without free will. God will name a champion, who Lucifer will try to subvert by putting him to the test in the hope that he will choose, of his own free will, to follow Lucifer. Also, the Creator must “forbid all immortal beings in His service from intervening unless directly asked to do so by the candidate.” God’s champion is unsuspecting, 9-year-old Joby, a bright, imaginative boy with a loving heart. And so, the Arthurian legend is replayed over a span of 30-plus years and through incarnations of Arthur (Joby), Guinevere, Galahad, and Modred.”

Fantasy Illustrator Mark J. Ferrari’s first novel has been described as witty, thought-provoking, audacious, and unforgettable. It’s also received several requests as a potential Book of the Month Club candidate. Who says I don’t listen to the fans?

Discussion the week of March 2nd with author Mark J. Ferrari.

Dogs, Nancy Kress
From the publisher: “The threat of terrorism and biological warfare become all too real in this riveting thriller when the danger comes from a family’s most cherished pets. Tessa Sanderson, ex-FBI agent, has moved to a sleepy Maryland town to escape her tragic past. When the town’s beloved dogs begin viciously attacking pet owners, federal CDC agents determine that the dogs are carrying a mutated flu affecting the aggression center of their brains, for which their is no known cure. Tessa offers to help round up and quarantine the dogs, even though some unconvinced locals are preparing to protect their pets by any means necessary. But she has another reason for getting involved—someone has been sending her threatening emails in Arabic claiming responsibility for the virus, and Tessa is resolved to go deep undercover to expose this deadly conspiracy. Combining hard science with thoughtful narrative, this chilling tale of science fiction explores the complex relationships between dogs and their owners.”

As a pet owner, the premise for this book really intrigues. As a science fiction fan, the fact that it’s written by multi-award winning author Nancy Kress (3 Nebulas, 2 John W. Campbells, a Hugo, and a Theodore Sturgeon) makes it an absolute must-read.

Discussion the week of March 9th with author Nancy Kress.

Now, in an effort to build on our burgeoning book club, I’ve decided to make two small changes that will hopefully make it more accessible to those considering getting involved.

First off, I’m going to start including the occasional graphic novel or trade paperback. There are a lot of intelligent, provocative, and incredibly well-written (and, yes, well-drawn) TPB’s out there and, while it would be nice to welcome comic book fans into the BOTMC fold, it would be even nicer to introduce non-comic book fans to some of the sensational work being produced in a field they may not have normally checked out.

Second, I’m going to announce upcoming titles sooner in order to give you all as much time as possible to track down and read the books. To that end, here are April’s selections:

Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Brian Michael Bendis (illustrated by Mike Avon Oeming)
From the publisher: “Heroes glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire. Flamboyant villains attempt daring daylight robberies. God-like alien creatures clash in epic battle over the nighttime sky. And on the dirty city streets below, Homicide Detective Christian Walker does his job. Walker has to investigate the shocking murder of one of the most popular super-heroes the world has ever known: Retro Girl. He is teamed up with spunky rookie Detective Deena Pilgrim, and the murder investigation takes them from the seediest underbelly a city has to offer, to the gleaming towers that are home to immortal beings. As shocking, hidden truths about Retro Girl come to light, Walker finds that to solve this crime, he might have to reveal his own dark secret.”

Five time Eisner award winner Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most successful writers working in comics today. Some of his major works include Jinx, Torso, a 55-issue run on Daredevil, and a staggering 110-issue run on Ultimate Spiderman. If you’re looking for a book with a clever story, engaging characters, and witty dialogue, then look no further than Powers which, incidentally, is in active development as a live-action series at FX (they of The Shield and Damages). And fear not, fans. He’s writing the pilot script himself.

Discussion the week of April 6th with author Brian Michael Bendis.

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime, Jasper Fforde
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, and, well, you know the rest. But was Humpty’s fall an accident, or was it murder? It’s up to giant killer Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division to get to the bottom of it. Humpty was quite a ladies’ man, but a few people thought him a bad egg. Jack has a number of suspects, a new partner to break in and gloryhound/antagonist Detective Inspector Chimes to deal with.”

Author of the hugely popular Thursday Next literary detective series, Wodehouse prize winner Jasper Fforde is often mentioned in the same breath as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams for his wildly inventive narrative. His writing has been described as “stunningly imaginative“, “utterly delightful”, and “sheer gut-busting fantasy“.

Discussion the week of April 13th with author Jasper Fforde.

Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow
From the publisher: “Compiled by multi-award winning editor, Ellen Datlow, this collection commemorates the second centenary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. It features Poe-inspired tales by some of the finest talents in the field, including Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, Suzy McKee Charnas and others. This all-star line-up has several Hugo, Edgar, Tiptree and British Fantasy Award winners.”

Over the course of her career, editor Ellen Datlow has received the Shirley Jackson Award, two Bram Stoker Awards, two Hugo Awards, three Locus Awards, and eight World Fantasy Awards. Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe is her latest anthology.

Discussion the week of April 20th with editor Ellen Datlow.

That’s it! Plan a head, pick up a book, and start reading!

Mailbag:

Mamsue9 writes: “Will you be a guest at the San Diego Comic Con? Would you consider being a guest at Shore Leave 31?”

Answer: Alas, no, I won’t be at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. And, while I appreciate the consideration, I hope to keep travel to a minimum this year so that I can stay home and spend quality time with the dogs.

Herbertsommerfeld writes: “Have you heard anything about the show Defying Gravity that is being filmed at Bridge?”

Answer: Not much. I know they’re in the FX Stage.

Blademos writes: “Hey do you think a network like ABC,NBC,CBS or even FOX would take chance on a show like SGA?”

Answer: Afraid not. As much as many of us would have loved to have seen a sixth season for the series, the reality is the show has ended and not even the most successful of petition drives will bring it back. L

Quade1 writes: “BTW did u get the motivational poster??”

Answer: Not yet. Is it the adorable “Hang in there!” kitten?

Green writes: “I didn’t get past the first bit where the device dies three times.”

Answer: Three versions of the jumper in three different timelines = three after-effects of the device overloading.

PG15 writes: “My major quibble though, is what happens with Past!SG1 and Future!SG1? The Past version just seems to disappear after they delete the Aschen from the database, and the future versions are jumping ala Scott Bakula?”

Answer: The past and future versions merge in subsequent jumps. I know, that needs to be clear.

Gollysunshine writes: “And Daniel was where for this episode? Doing what? Out having a holiday or holding up the background?”

Answer: The entire team is present throughout as evidenced by the fact that when the team first travels to the past, Dr. Lee expresses surprise at seeing Daniel who was apparently reassigned.

Jedi43 writes: “I thought Y,T & T was going to be a Atlantis episode? Why all the SGC people?”

Answer: It was originally and SG-1 story whose structure I considered using for SGA.

Tim Gaffney writes: “I forgot to include this link: http://video.westminsterkennelclub.org/player/?id=1002561

It shows the 40 something French Bulldogs that competed to be the one to compete in the Non-Sporting group.”

Answer: Thanks for the link, Tim. I forwarded it to my wife. While the pugs aren’t exactly show material, Lulu does come from a champion line.

Suziesbluefeather writes: “The only thing that I didn’t really get was the awareness. Why would the team in the present and in the future be aware of the changes?”

Answer: The conceit is that their exposure to the device has essentially placed them in the unique position of self-awareness – unlike anyone else who wasn’t in the jumper in the time.

PG15 writes: “ 1. Of the SGU scripts written so far and the notions that are “on the table” (or board), does any of them involve our people visiting alien civilizations?

2. What’s John Scalzi been up to with the show? Has he been in the writers room, spinning stories?

3. Any new permanent writers yet?

4. How many SGU scripts have titles BESIDES the ones you already revealed to us (Air 3-parter, Fire, Water, Earth)?”

Answers: 1. No comment. 2. John is/will be reading and providing notes on scripts. 3. Not yet. 4. We have 12 titles so far.

Juralas writes: “If they’re the past versions, they were the ones sent 14 months back, but now they’ve become the present versions?”

Answer: Eventually, all three versions of the team merge.

Jinx writes: “But it fades out before there is resolution….”

Answer: The attack of Byzantium Tech (thanks to the tip from the alternate timeline Mitchell) is the resolution in that it thwarts Baal’s plot to take over the planet. In the final scene, the team from the past makes their final jump – back to the present where they will merge with their alternate selves.

Michelle Lumsford writes: “And I would have driven myself bonkers trying to figure out if Vala’s taking the coin over and over was supposed to have some secret significance.”

Answer: It was meant to illustrate the cross-effects of the different timelines. Present Vala misplaced the coin long ago and we learn, from Past Vala’s filching of the coin, that she was responsible. However, the fact that her present self does find the coin at episode’s end is intended to suggest that the three timeline versions of our team have merged – birnging Vala’s long lost coin along for the ride.

JJ writes: “So SGU will start shooting in this week right?”

Answer: Nope. Next week.

Mackenzie’s Momma writes: ”Silly question(probably) do you read any other genres than the Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy?”

Answer: Sure. I’m a big fan of David Sedaris.

Planet_tv writes: “In Enemy at the Gate was Teyla’s son with her on Atlantis or in the Pegasus Galaxy with his father because I don’t thing she would up and leave her son especially with what she said at the end of The Prodigal (If the answer to this is in the movie can you say the answer will be in the movie or something like that)?”

Answer: Although we didn’t see them, Kanaan and Torren made the trip back to Earth with Teyla.

Kuonji writes: “Have you ever done a Neil Gaiman book? Or Terry Pratchett?”

Answer: I’ve read and enjoyed books by both. I think they’re terrific authors.

Meils writes: “Jo, if you like detective novels with a weird twist then investigate the death of Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III in The Big Over Easy.”

Answer: Oh, I plan to. And so will a lot of readers here.

Chevron7 writes: “I’m curious though about your Theatre Room. Is it very geeky?”

Answer: Not particularly, although the walls and ceiling are black.

Charlie’s Angel writes: “ Have you read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami?”

Answer: No, but I do have The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle sitting on my to-read pile.

DasNdanger writes: “Does Sheppard really have respect for Todd, but puts on a Wraithy personality when dealing face-to-face with him, in effect speaking to Todd in the language he understands best (as is hinted at in EatG when Todd says Sheppard knows how to talk to him), or is the hostility we see in Sheppard the way he truly feels about Todd?”

Answer: I believe that there is definitely an undercurrent of respect there (as evidenced by the end of Infection), but there is no way Sheppard will tip his hand publicly, especially to Todd himself.