May 30, 2009: Author Jonathan Carroll Answers Your Questions

Carroll Jonathan Italian photo

Today, I turn the blog over to author Jonathan Carroll who  has kindly taken the time to drop by and field your questions about his novel The Land of Laughs, his work in general, and his affection for bull terriers.  If you enjoyed The Land of Laughs and would like to know more about the author, head on over to his blog (here:   http://www.jonathancarroll.com/).  And if you have yet to read any of his books – seriously, what are you witing for?    

Today’s entry is dedicated to budding food critic Leora.
 
Over to Jonathan…

 

Michael A. Burstein writes: “How did you come to bring together so many bizarre, disparate concepts to create this charming, whimsical, and offbeat story?”

JC: At the time I was thinking of writing TLOL, I was fascinated by reclusive artists like Salinger, Pynchon, B.Traven, Joseph Cornell and others. Simultaneously, I read an early novella by Saul Bellow entitled THE GONZAGA MANUSCRIPTS about a man who becomes obsessed with an enigmatic writer and searches for his last, unpublished manuscript. The combination of the two threads gave me the lift off necessary to begin the novel.

AntiSocialButterflie writes:

“1)Why did Thomas not destroy the people of Galen after they killed Saxony? Did he need Saxony to affect France’s creation?”

JC: I don’t think he’s that kind of person. To me he was always cowardly and passive. He allows Saxony to leave with almost no protest. He allows Anna to digest him and pretty much take over his life. Only at the end when he’s really cornered (in Switzerland) does he lash out and do something aggressive. He’s not like one of those characters in a cowboy movie who swears to get even after the bad guys have murdered his family. Also he says at the end of the story he misses Saxony more than he ever loved her, which to me means he’s okay with not having her around. Also, I get the feeling deep in his mind he knows that if he did bring her back, she’d  have a bunch of uncomfortable questions for him to answer about why he behaved the way he did, and he would rather avoid them.

I don’t think he needed Saxony to bring back France, but he did need her for balance and genuine love– two things that would have made him whole (r). But he doesn’t fight for her so obviously those things were not important to him.

“2)Did you know the contents of Marshall France’s books as you were writing the story or were they just some nebulous idea of children’s novels?”

JC: No, I made them up as I went along. I sort of followed CS Lewis’s tenet that “he wrote the kind of books he would like to read.” As I wrote about France’s books, I kept thinking if I were a kid what sort of stories would I like to read? I followed that yellow brick road.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “1. Was there a special reason that you chose to make France the writer of children’s books?”

JC: I think children’s books are often a first step into the world of art for human beings. They come into it with the open wonder of children and the glee of someone who discovers something new to like for the first time. I believe part of the huge wave of love for the Harrry Potter books is kids discovering they actually LIKE to read given the right story and that means a lot of enthusiasm. Also, we tend to look at children’s books as innocent things. But we know after reading TLOL that France’s work both on and off the page was anything but.

“2. Why bull terriers?”

JC: My favorite dogs. They’re funny and beautiful and very very odd. I have had bull terriers for thirty years and will likely have one at my feet the day I keel over for good.

“3. I think that Thomas needed Saxony when he was bringing France back to Galen because the obsession and research was a joint venture, but did not need her to bring his father to Europe in the end since it was all Thomas’ (and his mother’s) personal knowledge so he was able to do it himself. Do I have it right or am I totally mistaken in this? If so, where did I go wrong?”

JC: I think you’re half right, but remember my opinion is no more valid than yours. I always believed he alone had the Marshall France magic ability to recreate worlds. But going to Galen simply made him realize that (the idea of unrecognized or hidden talents fascinates me. What if you were an enormously talented chess player but never learned the game for whatever reason so that talent lay dormant). Remember too at the end of the story we don’t know if he’s nuts or really has done these things, like bringing back his father. I love the idea of first person, untrustworthy narrators. They keep popping up in my books. So I’d take what Abbey says with at least several large grains of salt.

“4. I know that you have written a lot of other books; do Thomas Abbey and Marshall France have any encore performances?”

JC: Smiling. People who like TLOL have often asked if I think about writing a sequel. Stephen King once said if I wanted to make a lot of $$, I should consider writing THE LAND OF LAUGHS– THE RETURN! But for better or worse, the thought never crossed my mind. Other people have asked if I’d write the books of Marshall France. I always say that would be very presumptuous of me.

AvidReader writes: “1. Mr. Carroll, your work is incredibly unique, defying any attempt to assign it a specific genre label. I’ve heard many describe your books as “magical realism”. How do you feel about this description? And how would you describe your work?

JC: Whenever people ask what kind of books I think I write, I always say the same thing– mixed salads. When you make a mixed salad you include all kinds of different ingredients– radishes, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Cover it all with a good dressing, and toss it to spread the stuff around. The same with my books: they’re filled with many genre tropes– Sci Fi, horror, romance, psychology, but they are not one of those genres specifically. If they work, they’re sui generis– they don’t fit into any one specific category. If they’re failures, they’re just failed wannabes.

“2. I hear you now call Vienna home. I hear it’s a beautiful city. What made you decide to settle in Austria?”

JC: I’ve lived in Vienna for over 30 years. I came here originally because I was offered a job teaching at the American International School. Time passed and eventually the town became home even when I stopped teaching.

“3. What are you working on at the moment? Are there any new books in the offing?”

JC: I’m about 100 pages into a new novel but it hasn’t emerged from its shell fully so I’d rather not say anything about it just yet. Also Neil Gaiman asked me to contribute a story to a big anthology he is putting together so that’s in the works too.

Thornyrose writes:”If not too late, I do have a couple of questions for Mr. Carroll. First, in the book Marshal France’s method of creating characters is discussed. Does this reflect how you approach such a job? When writing a story or novel in general, how do you go about it? Idea and let it run, outline and follow a predetermined course, or reverse engineer from a set point? Another poster mentioned disappointment that we didn’t see excerpts of some of the Marshall France stories inside Land of Laughs. Have or had you considered doing any of these? Are there any plans to follow up on this novel? I have to admit I’m intrigued at the idea of two people with such dangerous powers facing off, and how their battle would affect both their own creations and the real world around them. Also, how much free will do you see France’s creations as having? I found this and the idea of how such creations might evolve as some of the most thought provoking aspects of your story. Finally, what genre or genres do you find most interesting to work in? Thank you for taking the time to participate in Mr. Mallozzi’s blog, and to Mr. M. for making that participation possible.”

JC: I’m one of those writers who doesn’t know what will happen from page to page. I always compare writing (for me) to walking a big dog: you put it on the line, open the door, it flies out and you hold on for dear life going wherever it wants to sniff. I admire those writers who know everything they want to write when they sit down but that is as far away from my sensibilities as Novosibirsk.

As I mentioned earlier, I have no desire to write either a sequel to TLOL or the books of Marshall France. The world of Abbey, France and Galen are far away in the distance, receding more every day.

I don’t think the inhabitants of Galen have any free will at all, but they are content with that. How nice it must be in certain respects to know you are not the master of your own fate, you will die on this known specific day in this way, and that your life is out of your hands. A brilliant friend of mine, a real original thinker, once said to me he loved his four years in the army because he never had to think about anything– it was all done for him. And that was hugely relaxing. So to the Galeners.

Airelle writes: “I guess if I had a question it might be, why didn’t Thomas write Sax into being after he lost her? and maybe why it was written in Parts with subsection, not chapter, maybe that is his way, since this is the first of his books I have read. Thank you Mr. Carroll. Looking forward to your answers.”

JC: Because I wrote the book over 30 years ago, I don’t know why I chose to divide it into sections instead of chapter breaks, so I’ll have to shrug at that question. If you look at one of my earlier answers here, I think it tells you why Abbey doesn’t bring Saxony back. Also you must remember he might be mad and all his story is just a madman’s tale. So we don’t really know what the “truth” is. Saxony helped him to realize his dream in many ways but her great and genuine love did not heal him. At the end I think he is worse off than before he met her. Do we really want to see again the person who showed us our faults through their strengths?

Mishmee writes: “1. The book centers around the collective works of a children’s author. Did you have a relationship with a children’s author or a book like Saxony and Thomas?

JC: No, I never read as a child. I was a thug who was more interested in stealing things and getting into fights. Reading was for losers. Only when I was about 15 did I “discover” books and suddenly almost every part of my life was affected by that discovery and its resonance.

“2. Thomas chose to work as a teacher, why do you think he was drawn to that profession? Did he see it as the opposite of his father’s profession as an actor?”

JC: Teaching at a private boarding school is a good way to retreat from the world. It seemed to me Thomas did that both because he is a shy introverted man (particularly in contrast to his famous father), and because it is so very different an occupation from what his Dad did.

“3. When Thomas received the letter from his student, it seemed to be a very pivotal moment for Thomas. How did this letter change him and his understanding of himself?”

JC: I honestly don’t remember this part of the story so I’ll have to take a pass.

“4. How do you imagine Galen would be with the return of Frances? What would change, or would anything change there?”

JC: No, I think the people of Galen would be delighted to have their God back and would willingly do whatever he thought was best for them.

“5. When you look at a copy of The Land of Laughs, what comes into your mind? Who do you think about when you look at the book? What feelings and memories does it bring to you?”

JC: Books are like your children– they all have individual personalities in your mind and memory. This book was difficult to write. This one was easy. I was horribly depressed when I wrote that one, etc. As a result, you think of them in retrospect very differently. Because TLOL was my first published book, I think of it now with great fondness but real distance. It’s like a 30 year old child coming home to visit for a weekend. You’re glad to see them and there’s lots to talk about, but they live separately from you now and have been for years. You just want them to be safe out there in the world. Safe and content.

“6. What are you reading now?”

JC: AWAIT YOUR REPLY by Dan Chaon.

“7. What are your top 10 favourite books?”

JC: I’ll give you 3: THE GREAT GATSBY, FIFTH BUSINESS by Robertson Davies, SHANTARAM by Gregory Roberts

“8. What genre of books do you usually browse at the book store?”

JC: mainstream contemporary fiction

“9. What was the worst subject you ever taught and why?”

JC: I coached 7th grade baseball.

“10. Tea or coffee?”

JC: Coffe, always coffee.

May 25, 2008: The Land of Laughs, by Jonathan Carroll

The Land of Laughs

Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. I selected it on the basis of several strong recommendations and a rather whimsical cover depicting an anthropomorphic kite and a six armed creature eating ice cream on a front porch while some malevolent-looking fellow glares out at them from inside the house. Going on the aforementioned, I anticipated some weird and wonderful Alice in Wonderland-like narrative, a gentle Young Adult adventure I could digest like buttered popcorn – light, pleasing, yet ultimately inconsequential.

How wrong I was. Imagine discovering that popcorn is actually caramel coated. And then discovering that nestled alongside each kernel is the tiniest of habanero peppers. And THEN, once you’ve almost finished eating, discovering the fist your neighbor has slipped in through the bottom of the popcorn bag that suddenly spring up and cold cocks you in the face. It’s sort of like that. Except with talking bull terriers.

English teacher Thomas Abbey leads a fairly banal existence, living in the shadow of his famous father, a legend of the silver screen. Then, one day, he decides to change things up. Inspired by the books he loved so much as a kid, he sets out to write the definitive biography of famed children’s author Marshall France. His publisher warns him that the going may be tough, however, given that the last guy to visit France’s hometown received a less than cordial welcome from the townsfolk in general and the late author’s niece, Anna France, in particular. Undaunted, Thomas journeys to the modest community of Galen, Missouri accompanied by his lover, research assistant, and marionette collector Saxony Gardner, an equally avid France fan.

Once there, they meet with Anna who, contrary to expectations, proves surprisingly friendly and immediately warms to the idea of a biography based on the life and career of her father. Thomas begins work on the book and, eventually, romance blossoms between him and Anna.

But as he struggles to juggle research, writing, and two relationships, Thomas begins to suspect that something is a little off about the community. Something is up…but he can’t quite put his finger on it. Maybe it’s the way many of the townsfolk are anxiously following his progress. Or the downright bizarre reactions to the accidental death of a local boy. Or the fact that he just caught his landlady’s bull terrier talking to himself…

What starts off as a quiet and comical little story takes a turn into Twilight Zone-terrain, then winds its way into a weird magical Wonderland before careening headlong into dark and twisted territory. And yet throughout the wild ride, The Land of Laughs proves incredibly engaging, one of those rare books that draws you in and keeps you reading – and reading – and reading – until you realize it‘s ticking past two a.m. and you have to wake up early for work tomorrow. It boasts unique, well-defined characters and some terrific dialogue, in a shifting narrative that undermines any hope of second-guesses.

At the heart of the story is this notion of an innate ability to control one’s environment. When we first meet Thomas he is a victim of circumstance, a man with little if any control over a life buffeted and bundled by elements seemingly beyond his control. And then, after years of living on auto-pilot, allowing himself to be defined by who his father was, he decides enough is enough and opts to take charge of his life. Despite his publisher’s attempt to warn him off, he forges ahead with the planned biography, developing a relationship with, curiously enough, a woman who collects puppets. In time, he forms a relationship with another woman who, in her own way, collects puppets as well – Thomas, as he eventually discovers, being her latest strung-along acquisition. But in discovering the town’s secret – that its inhabitants are the manifestations of a late, great author – Thomas discovers a power existing within himself. It’s a power he uses to save the town – and, at book’s end, himself. 

Lots to love and lots to discuss. I’ve weighed in with my initial thoughts and would love to hear what everyone else thought. Let’s see those comments – and questions for author Jonathan Carroll.

A Memorial Day dedication to all of the men and women serving in our armed forces.

Mailbag:

Sandra writes: “I was watching “Bounty,” and I noticed several campaign posters on the walls of the high school recommending Peter DeLuise and Damian Kindler for class officers. Were you running for Homecoming King?”

Answer: I was running for President of the Dungeons and Dragons Club. I lost to Carl Binder, a.k.a. elf druid Morgo,  wielding his magic cudgel.

Cat4444 writes: “So which one of the pups posted this Tweet? The post doesn’t say.

stargateeggstinction

They’re really learning to type well. Are you tutoring them or are they just naturals?”

Answer: No, it’s all them. And, ooooooh, look closer. There are a couple of words in there you missed.

Dana writes: “Since when has Teyla become Kanaan’s wife?”

Answer: Didn’t you watch the very special wedding episode? Sheppard gives the bride away. No? Hmmm. Maybe that scene didn’t make the final cut. Okay, in that case, I guess it’s not canon and, at the end of the day, Teyla has yet to make an honest man of Kanaan. Maybe in the movie…a big Teyla-Kanaan/McKay-Keller Weddding! Who’s with me?!!!! YEAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

SciFan writes: “When did Kanaan and Teyla get married?”

Answer: As stated above, they’re not married (yet?). She was holding off in the hopes that something better would come along. Like, say, someone capable of holding down a steady job.

E writes: “Have Brad and Carl shared any updates on SG-1 movie?”

Answer: Not a one. And that’s just as well. I want to be surprised like everyone else when the movie finally comes out.

Trish writes: “I may or may not have entered your dogs into the Mr. Twitterverse competition. Depending on how you feel about it, that is.”

Answer: The dogs thank you. Also, Lulu chews your shoe into a gummy mass.

AnneTeldy writes: “Can you tell us which role he was offered in which episode so we GV-fans can try to imagine him in it?”

Answer: Nope, sorry. I don’t think that would be fair to the actor we did cast.

AnneTeldy also writes: “Mr. M, you said you got my letter and added “I’m on it”. Status update, please? Soon?”

Answer: Soon.

Michelle writes: “ So will there be romance at all in the movie? You don’t have to say between whom. We’ll all make ridiculous assumptions and outrageous demands anyway. Eg, please no McKeller! hee hee”

Answer: Well, now that you mention it, some romance, yes.

Agent_xsley writes: “My question is, has Weir’s story been completed or will we ever see that character again in the movies?”

Answer: Weir’s story ended in Ghost in the Machine. The character will not be appearing in the movie.

DasNdanger writes: “So, are the masked Wraith warriors capable of independent thought, or are they totally under the mind control of the more advanced Wraith? And are they completely sentient, or is that debatable?”

Answer: It’s debatable (insofar as we never actually sat down and decided one way or another) but given the way the conversations in the room went, it’s safe to say that the warriors are on the dimmer end of the wraith intellectual spectrum. They are controlled by verbal command and occasional mental prodding.

Major D. Davis writes: “Are we cool or are you in any way irritated or mad at me?”

Answer: No, no. We’re cool. Especially me. Need proof? I wear sunglasses indoors!

Drldeboer writes: “I’m sad to say it’s also a personal memorial day, my mom passed this weekend after a long illness with bone cancer.”

Answer: Condolences, Donna. Hope you draw some comfort from knowing you’re in the thoughts of many of this blog’s regulars.

May 5, 2009: Ashleigh Checks In – To My Office(!), May’s Books of the Month Club Reminder, Welcome Thoughts, and The Mailbag

After yesterday’s entry in which I expressed my, uh, concern about Ashleigh’s return to the production offices following her Mexico getaway (at the height of the pandemic hysteria no less), I found the following comment awaiting moderation:

“Hey Joe!

Am back safe and sound! Hope you had a good week. Listen, I was speaking to Lawren outside your office and had this strange coughing fit. I had to duck into your office so I wouldn’t spread it down the hallway, don’t worry though, I closed your door right away so none of the germs would be able to seep out.

While I was in there I thought what a great place to sit and relax while the guys are away, so I am now working out of your office.

Hope you don’t mind!

Boy, I hope this sore throat goes away soon….”

I called up the production offices and was transferred to Ashleigh who informed me that, for the time being, she’d be working out of my office. “Are you touching anything?”I asked, my voice edged with apprehension. She assured me that she was touching EVERYTHING.

A reminder to all you voracious readers, occasional readers, and those possessed of the ability TO read – this month’s book of the month club discussions fast approaches.

In the SF category, it’ll be:

I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein, by Michael A. Burstein

From the publisher: “You don’t need a collection of antique spaceships or a carefully calibrated time machine to share the memories of the final Holocaust survivor. You don’t have to jump through the gate between universes in search of a lost friend. All you have to do is open your eyes. You’ll remember the future. The future remembers you.”

For those interested, Jason Sizemore over at Apex (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/uncategorized/2008/11/choose-your-apex-store/) has kindly created a discount code our club members can use to get 20% off the HC or the PB versions of the book.  Just enter “MALLOZZITWENTY” on checkout and you’re done.  In fact, it’s active for anything in the Apex store except pre-orders.

Book club discussion the week of May 18th with author Michael A. Burstein.

In the Fantasy category, it’ll be:

The Land of Laughs, by Jonathan Carroll

From the publisher: “ Have you ever loved a magical book above all others? Have you ever wished the magic were real? Welcome to The Land of Laughs. A novel about how terrifying that would be.

Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn’t know who he is or what he wants–in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children’s tales who died at forty-four.

Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France’s hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France’s biography. Warned in advance that France’s family may oppose them, they’re surprised to find France’s daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page…leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.”

Book club discussion the week of May 25th with author Jonathan Carroll.

In the horror category, it’ll be:

The Unblemished, by Conrad Williams

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Playing on humanity’s deepest fears and taboos, Williams plunges the reader deep into a hellish near-future where creatures banished five centuries ago rise again to lay eggs in the few people they don’t consume alive, turning London into a cross between hive and abattoir. Caught up in the grisly madness are photographer Bo Mulvey, who goes looking for excitement and gets more than he bargained for; Sarah Hickman and her beautiful, disturbed daughter, Claire, on the run from a hit man with an amputation fetish; and Gyorsi Salavaria, a cannibalistic child killer determined to become the mate of the invaders’ new queen. Williams (Use Once, Then Destroy) is so good at what he does that he probably shouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore, for the sake of everyone’s sanity.”

Says Keithe Brooke, The Guardian: “The Unblemished, winner of the International Horror Guild’s Best Novel award, is cleverly constructed, building relentlessly from intense, intimate terror to something on another scale altogether.”

Says Peter Straub: “This is horror literature unabashed and entire, at full imaginative stretch, beautiful and blazing.”

Says Nick Ryan, Sunday Express: “- top-notch writing skills, poetic vision and beautiful prose raise this way above your Hammer House of Horror… an unusual – as well as highly accomplished – terror.”

Discussion begins the week of June 1st when we’ll be joined by author Conrad Williams.

Finally, thanks to everyone who took the time to post their condolences and well-wishes for the DeLuise family. Peter is understandably preoccupied right now but when he comes back to Vancouver, I’ll be sure to direct him to your kind thoughts. Although I never got to work with Dom (Urgo was before my time on the show), I had the pleasure to meet him at Peter’s wedding. He was an incredibly warm and gracious man. His hilarious impromptu speech that night had everyone on the floor and, as I told Peter, upstaged him at his own wedding! It’s nice to see he has so many fans.

Today’s mailbag:

Daniel Willis writes: “Will sgu have a long, catchy beginning like sg1 and atlantis?”

Answer: Joel Goldsmith is working on the theme as we speak. No word yet on actual length.

David writes: “ I was just wondering as official blog person for SGU why you did not get to go to new Mexico to get those behind the scenes photos for the blog or have you or MGM/scifi assigned someone else to that job.”

Answer: I’m “official” insofar as I’m the one person with extensive behind-the-scenes access and information who maintains a regular online presence. It isn’t a job – more a fun extra I do here and for the SciFi site.

David also writes: “ Why I am grateful for the behind scenes shots of the icarus set, loving it, but do you know when you be allow to post pictures of the destiny set or perhaps even some of the other random sets.”

Answer: MGM wants to hold off on the Destiny set pics because they have something special in the works. As for the other sets – I’ve already forwarded the network some more pics and am waiting for them to sign off on the shuttle.

David also writes: “ About this short story, do you know how widely it will be able for sale and can you tell us any of the other authors taking part in the anthology.”

Answer: It will be published in an anthology that will be widely available. I’ll be sharing the book with a lot of experienced and supremely talented writers in the field of prose fiction – as well as experienced and supremely talented writers working in a, uh, another field of writing.

David also writes: “Any chance of the new cast doing a question and answer session anytime soon on the blog.”

Answer: Why, yes. I’ve asked a bunch and they’re all eager to make a guest visit. But they’d like to settle into their characters first.

David writes: “A friend and I was just wondering what is the most expensive shoot stargate SG1/Atlantis has ever done and how far up the list does new mexico shooting come up the list.”

Answer: I’d say Vegas was probably our most expensive episode to date.

BlondieChemGirl writes: “Where do you get your Amarula? Do they sell it in the states?”

Answer: Not sure if they sell it in the U.S., but I can pick it up at my local liquor store.

PG15 writes: “1. Who does Brie belong to?”

Answer: Not me.

PG15 also writes: “2. Who is/will direct Justice?”

Answer: Off the top of my head – I don’t know.

PG15 also writes: “3. On February 17th, you wrote:

Today was “spin and break” day with one of the new writers. We bounced around a bunch of ideas, came up with an intriguing backstory for Wray (but not before some vehement disagreement on her first name), and, ultimately, fleshed out what promises to be yet another story chock full of wonderful little character moments. And we even managed to come up with an episode title. We are on fire!

So what episode was this about?”

Answer: Life.

 

PG15 also writes: “4. And while I’m at it, on March 16th, you wrote:

Brad then pytched out hys revysed notion for an ydea he’s been battyng around for a whyle now. A great premyse wyth an yntryguing mystery at yts core, a wonderful opportunyty for one of our characters, all wrapped up in a an ultymately touchyng theme.

What episode was this about?”

Answer: A still-untitled story in the back half.

PG15 also writes: “5. Finally, on March 24th, you wrote:

We talked Tekkonkinkreet, Takashi Miike, and Minister Faust before I was called into the writer’s room to help spin a new story on another freelance script, this one a wonderful exploration of the Rush character. By lunch, we had the story broken

What episode was this about?”

Answer: Another story for the back half, this one is being scripted by a freelancer.

Trish writes: “Will ANY of the SGU epi titles be more than one word?”

Answer: For season one – unlikely. Come around season 10, you’re likely to get titles like “The Team Gets Stranded On A Planet With No Sun”.

F-fae-Glasgow writes: “You have probably answered this before however, has the SGA gate become the main gate for Earth?”

Answer: This question will be answered in the SGA movie.

Jenny R. writes: “Good on you for refusing to twitter. I think it’s slightly ridiculous myself. It’s sort of like the annoying parts of facebook on speed. I really don’t need to know what a person is doing all the time.”

Answer: Here are my twitter updates for the day. Enjoy –

– I like bananas.

– I’m looking at the thesaurus sitting on my bookshelf.

– How do you pronounce Totoro anyway?

– I went outside and accidentally swallowed a bug.

– I think I’ll throw out my old business cards.

– I need new socks.

– The dogs are hungry.

– The dogs are always hungry.

– Hey, I can hold my breath past sixty seconds!

– 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time is 7:00 p.m. Pacific.

– When I was a kid, I had a bike with a banana seat.

– My sister had a bike with a basket in the front.

– Hey, where’s my blackberry?

– Never mind. Found it!

Check in tomorrow for the latest fascinating updates.

Banderas writes: “1. What is this Homeworld Command you talked about on the blog yesterday. Is this the Headquarters of Homeworld Security?
2. So there won’t be any SGC in future movies and in SGU. Is there any chance that you will use the new sets as the SGC(at least the Gateroom) for a scene?
3.Is the uniform Col. Tellford wearing, a unique uniform for the Icarus base or it will be a new kind of SG uniform?
4. Is there any Alien+Alien ship concept art already behind the scenes or will you do that later? If yes, does the art department enjoy this “new-kind” of task(at least for SG)?
5. Will we can get some new information about the “Pre-Atlantis” Ancients in SGU?
6. Will there be any Ancient handheld-weaponry on the ship?”

Answers: 1. Yes.

2. I never said there wouldn’t be any SGC in future moives.

3. It’s an Icarus Base uniform.

4. Lots of alien and alien ship concept art that I’ll eventually showcase. And, yes, the Art Department loves this kind of stuff.

5. Some.

6. Remains to be seen.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Do you like cats? Would your dogs like it if you got a cat? Would they get along? Do you even want to buy a cat?

2. Will the Odyssey be involved in the premier of SGU (Cause Caldwell said something about the Odyssey in Eatg)?

3. I was reading over the Brad Wright Q&A that was in January and he said the SG-1 movie would be made in the spring. Why would he say that, i mean, we already know Martin and Amanda would be busy with Sanctuary and you guys would be busy with SGU.:

Answers: 1. I like cats but have no plans to get one.

2. No comment.

3. He said that because, at the time, the plans were to shoot it in the spring. Regardless of who is busy when, we have to choose a time that is most convenient for the production. And, keep in mind, we were producing Atlantis when the first two SG-1 movies were being shot.

Hugh writes: “I was just wondering, do any of you spin an episode and begin to write it before realising half way through that it jsut won’t work?”

Answer: Off the top of my hand, I can’t remember a story we ever took the time to spin that wasn’t written.

MightyStarGazer writes: “So Joe, will we Wraith Fans *waves to Das* ever know more about them? Will we ever learn if they do have a homebase-planet, if the kiddie-wraiths are born or hatched or both (well, except for the drones, obviously they are hatched), and *blush* if the wraiths are… hrmm… compatible, with humans…?”

Answer: Hopefully this is something we could explore in a future Atlantis movie.

PoorOldEgarDerby writes: “ Please settle a bet. Which would receive an incoming wormhole: the Atlantis gate whilst in San Francisco Bay or a pre-existing Tauri gate connected to a DHD?”

Answer: If the Atlantis gate was properly calibrated and synced to the Milky Way network, then it would become the default gate.

March 17, 2009: Expert Analysis vs. Dumb Luck, Questions for Kate, Some Stargate News of Note, and May’s Book of the Month Club Selections

Story Editor Alex Levin drops by.
Story Editor Alex Levin drops by.
Kate, our Stargate Art Department Draftsman wants to hear your questions!
Kate, our Stargate Art Department Draftsman wants to hear your questions!

 

Director Peter DeLuise toasts the fans.
Director Peter DeLuise toasts the fans.

i-remember-the-future

the-land-of-laughs

Hey, look who’s back in town!  It’s our former script coordinator Alex Levine.  Alex, who is now working as a story editor on The Border presently in production in Toronto, dropped in to say hi – and coordinate the annual March Madness pool.  Although I love college ball, I haven’t been paying close enough attention so I set aside a few hours yesterday to do some research and fill out my sheet.  I’ve got Memphis taking down Gonzaga in the final.  Baron Destructo, a pretty big college hoops fan himself, went significantly more conservative, picking Louisville over North Carolina in the big game.  My writing partner Paul, meanwhile, couldn’t be bothered with doing his homework and elected to choose his teams by picking random numbers out of hat (part of a complicated selection process in which the odds are properly weighted in favor of the higher seeds).  I’ll be interested to see how our sheets compare: expert analysis vs. dumb luck. 

I was strolling down the corridor today when I happened across Kate from the art department who, if she is to be believed, is an occasional reader of my blog.  I asked her when she was going to swing by and do a fan Q&A and she dismissed the notion, presuming no one would really care what the resident Stargate art department draftsman had to say.  I assured her that fans would be VERY interested in her work and informed her that I’d start accepting questions for her today.  So if you have questions for Kate (And I’m sorry, but asking her out doesn’t count as an appropriate question) post away.  What does a draftsman do?  What kind of drawings or plans has she produced?  How did she land the gig?  What’s it like working with Joseph Mallozzi?  Informative stuff.

Hey, speaking of “Looks who’s back!” – Look who’s back!  Why, it’s Director Peter DeLuise, heavy into prep on episode 4, Fire. 

Let’s see, let’s see…what else might be of interest to you…

Well, I was down on set and got a sneak peek at the Universe trailer the network put together.  Coming sooner than you think to a t.v. screen near you… 

The first part of our mid-season two-parter is called Space…

Oh, and Paul has started writing the SGA movie and is about seven pages in. 

In an effort to give everyone as much time as possible, I’m announcing the May book of the month clubs early.  Yes, we still have the April books of the month club discussions forthcoming (Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? – Discussion the week of April 6th with author Brian Michael Bendis; The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime – Discussion the week of April 13th with author Jasper Fforde; Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe –
Discussion the week of April 20th with editor Ellen Datlow.) but, looking ahead to May…

In the SF category, it’ll be:

I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein, by Michael A. Burstein

From the publisher: “You don’t need a collection of antique spaceships or a carefully calibrated time machine to share the memories of the final Holocaust survivor. You don’t have to jump through the gate between universes in search of a lost friend. All you have to do is open your eyes. You’ll remember the future. The future remembers you.”

For those interested, Jason Sizemore over at Apex (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/uncategorized/2008/11/choose-your-apex-store/) has kindly created a discount code our club members can use to get 20% off the HC or the PB versions of the book.  Just enter “MALLOZZITWENTY” on checkout and you’re done.  In fact, it’s active for anything in the Apex store except pre-orders.

Book club discussion the week of May 18th with author Michael A. Burstein.

In the Fantasy category, it’ll be:

The Land of Laughs, by Jonathan Carroll

From the publisher: “ Have you ever loved a magical book above all others? Have you ever wished the magic were real? Welcome to The Land of Laughs. A novel about how terrifying that would be.

Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn’t know who he is or what he wants–in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children’s tales who died at forty-four.

Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France’s hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France’s biography. Warned in advance that France’s family may oppose them, they’re surprised to find France’s daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page…leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.”

Book club discussion the week of May 25th with author Jonathan Carroll. 

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gal and blog regular Patricia  Lee.  Happy 50!