Watched the Day One Mix of The Last Man, our season 4 finale. Great, great episode – and one that will surely have fans pulling their hair out when those final credits roll. Hopefully, they won’t have to wait too long for the season 5 premiere – or there could be a riot. I love these types of time travel episodes in which the ultimate fate of our beloved characters are foretold – some telling, others tragic, all touching. The last few episodes of season four should come with a 3-hanky alert.
Thanks to everyone who has been participating in this month’s lively book of the month club discussions. Keep those comments coming. A quick reminder that we will be discussing Seans Williams’ The Crooked Letter on Monday. Weigh in with your thoughts for a chance to win a copy of the next book in the series: The Blood Debt. Also, now would be a great time to get started on the books for February’s (third week of February to be precise) book club discussion. You have some great titles to choose from:
Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge, edited by Lou Anders who has kindly offered to come by and do a little Q&A when the discussion kicks off.
Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, written by Neil Gaiman.
Children of the Night, written by Dan Simmons.
It’ll be very interesting to see which short stories appeal to whom, and whether Children of the Night proves as delightfully creepy as either Summer of Night or The Terror.
Well, a short entry today as I give it over to the mailbag and try to play catch up.
Deena writes: “I heard that Claudia Black had only filmed for like a week for Continuum…so are we going to get any quality screen time with Vala (or Qetesh)? Any chance for some juicy moments for her?”
Answer: That’s all a matter of personal interpretation. I think she’s got some great, juicy scenes in Continuum.
PG15 writes: “Well, the original poster listed the following as “magical new technology [that] appear[s] out of the blue” (his words): the time travel puddle jumper, the Hyperspace puddle jumper, Replicator-maker, Asguard beam weapons, Yet another 304 battleship…”
Answer: Okay, first of all, if someone is going to criticize us for using a Deus Ex Machina to solve a problem, they should at the very least know what a Deus Ex Machina is. In ancient Greek drama, the Deus Ex Machina referred to the timely appearance of a god to resolve the play’s conflict. Today, it generally refers to a completely out-of-left-field plot device, unrelated to the ongoing action, that comes in out of nowhere to settle the story. So, for instance, feel free to criticize the ending of Ex Deus Machina, but since Mitchell is active in coming up with the solution to use our established technology (the ship and its beaming technology) to beam the building into space before the explosion, you can’t call it a Deus Ex Machina. Secondly, with regard to the criticism that there’s too much techno babble in the show – we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. In BAMSR, we could have just had McKay say something like “Hey, instead of dialing up the anti-replicator thing to break them apart, we can dial it down to have them squeeze together REAAAALLY tight.” – and would have been summarily raked over the coals for having our resident genius scientist sound like an simpleton. Yeah, BAMSR had more of this technobabble than, say, Missing or Reunion, but that was because the episode called for it. Thirdly, to the individual complaining about the fact that Stargate Command and Atlantis have amassed far too much advanced technology over the years and then goes on to offer up some examples… A Replicator-maker? Well, yes, we established the fact that the replicators were originally constructed by the Ancients, so it would stand to reason that if they were created, they were created by some means, no? The Asguard beam weapon? I’m surprised. No complaints about the aliens possessing spaceships? Seriously, where’s the arbitrary line that tells us just how advanced an alien race should be? Yet another 304 battleship…? Again, we’ve established the fact that Earth has the capability to produce ships. Are we to assume that they would only build the one and then shut down production? The weapon on Dakara? The Ancient repository in Lost City? Yes, admittedly, Stargate Command and Atlantis have come across a fair amount of advanced technology – but maybe that’s because Stargate has been on the air FOR ELEVEN YEARS! I will concede that this would indeed be too much advanced technology – if we were writing for Grey’s Anatomy. But since Stargate is science fiction, the audience should be prepared for the occasional scifi element.
Narellefromaus writes: “I was considering I Am Legend as my next book (just finishing Consider Phlebas).”
Answer: What did you think of Consider Phlebas. I Am Legend is a terrific short novel. Haven’t seen the movie.
Gayle Sobers writes: “I also find it hard to have to suspend logic in an already illogical situation. For example, Henry always managed to conveniently disappear before the police could ever get a picture or a fingerprint. I was also surprised there were no legal ramifications for at the very least for Claire (Henry would have managed to disappear) after they tied the football player to a tree and held him at gunpoint tantimount to kidnapping. As for the space time continum hocus pocus, Henry popping in on himself made me actually wonder out loud “can he do that?””
Answer: I believe there is a point in the story where he is arrested and disappears from police custody (?). Still, given this is a life-long affliction, it does stretch credulity that his present self never disappears in public. With regard to Henry and Clare suffering the consequences of their assault on the football player, it is possible that the football player didn’t want to risk the embarrassment of going public. As for whether or not a time traveler can occupy the same time period as his past self – it really depends on the type of internal time travel logic being followed. In the case of this book, it is no big deal. In the case of Time Cop, it is very dangerous.
Jenny Robin writes: “McKay=Vizzini
Sheppard=Man in Black”
Answer: Since the Dread Pirate Roberts is actually portrayed by a number of different people, what are you trying to say about Joe F.’s future with the show?
Maggie writes: “I would like to know if you have any favorite deus ex machina examples though.”
Answer: Sure. Check out the resolution to the climactic battle sequence in Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.
Jedi 43 writes: “…was JF’s fuller beard (as seen in the vid clip for the PCA’s) for a upcoming S5 episode, movie or just because he likes them when not shooting the show?”
Answer: The boys will be beardless for the start of the new season.
iamza writes: “I found an old copy of the The Princess Bride hanging around the house, so I reread that. It doesn’t have the whole Buttercup’s baby story at the end, though it does contain an instruction note from the author to the effect that if readers wanted a copy of the first chapter of Buttercup’s Baby, then they’d have to write to the publisher at such and such an address. I’ll confess I was tempted to do just that, except that the book was published way back when, and the publisher has probably long since changed its address.”
Answer: Yeah. I have these old scifi paperbacks with ads in the back that offer titles for anywhere from 50 to 60 cents a book plus postage and handling. I’m always tempted to send away a couple of bucks to see what kind of response I get. As for the giveaway you mentioned – the 25th anniversary edition offers the reader the opportunity to get their hands on an extra scene (the pre-fire swamp reunion scene). Alas, I sought it out online by following a link to the appropriate page on Random House site – only to discover the page doesn’t exist. L
Philly writes: “Who came up with FRAN?”
Answer: Martin Gero. He also came up with her appropriate name.
Yazid a ecrit: “Est ce que vos chiens sont fans de Stargate ?”
Reponse: Non. Ils préfèrent Iron Chef.
Sort of translation: My dogs prefer Iron Chef over Stargate.
Shawna writes: “Okay, this is utterly random, but the question about deus ex machinas reminded me of the episode Ex Deus Machina, and I just love that title. Sometimes you guys really think up some clever stuff.”
Answer: Yeah, and the other 95% of the stuff aint half bad either.
Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “I am visiting Vancouver for the Creation Con in a few weeks, am particularly looking forward to the Set Tours…Two questions:
1) Will we get to see your office??? or indeed where the spinning happens?
2) I have scanned through your restaurant recommendations over the past few months and Fuel seems to be a constant…As I am in Vancouver or indeed Canada (perhaps only once in a lifetime) would this be your utlimate dining destination?”
Answers: 1) I don’t organize the tours or have anything to do with them – but I doubt it. Which is a shame because, really, the writers’ offices are the most exciting part of the Stargate lot. 2) Yes, do check out Fuel and mention you came all the way on my recommendation. Then tell them Joe wants the corn soup back on the menu.
JoshMeyers writes: “Do you think that SG-1 could ever team up with Sheppard’s team? Have you locked in the D.Jackson episode? How about the SG-1 whole team?”
Answers: 1) If circumstances necessitated they team-up – sure, why not. 2) Not yet. 3) Nope.
Judith writes: “1.How come the replicator ship with Weir in it didnt show up on the cheese grater thingy that showed all the ships,why didnt they check to make sure they got all of them 2.How have the ships got the asgard weapon cos she said at the end of season 10 sg1 carter turned them off so that the ori couldnt track them,and as they are based in the milky way they would be tracked by the ori and blown up.3. todd said there werent enuff wraith queens please where have they gone.”
Answers: 1) Given who these replicators are, there’s a very strong possibility that the rogue faction that gave our team the “cheese grater thingy”, made them aware of the fact which allowed them to take preventative action. 2) This has to do with the timeline of events. Ark of Truth takes place prior to the start of season 4. 3) Maybe that’s a question we’ll answer in time.
Fsmn36 writes: “…did the reader know before he went back and got the lottery numbers, that Clare had won? If they had (and thus, presumably Henry), one might say Henry was simply fulfilling destiny–and not changing the future because she already had the money, he just made the situation come true.”
Answer: If the reader had been told beforehand that Clare had won the lottery, then I could have more readily accepted the argument that he was simply fulfilling destiny by giving her the winning numbers (although I would still argue his actions go against his personal stance as established in the “two 13 year old Henry’s” scene).
Mandiehall writes: “What is your favorite Classic Movie? Mine is the Red Planet.”
Answer: Red Planet? The one starring Val Kilmer that came out in 2000? That’s your favorite “classic” movie? How old are you?! Fess up, are you one of those brilliant child prodigies like in Baby Geniuses?
Fran writes: “How long does it take those brilliant Special FX guys to do the Explosions in the show, the battle scenes and all those other cool things?”
Answer: Depends on the shots and sequence. Months.
Lou Anders writes: “First, a big congratulations on The People’s Choice Award – that’s great! Second, honored to have FF1 chosen, if a little guilty that it beat out the wonderful Kay Kenyon. And finally, would be more than glad to answer questions. I’m currently organizing my thoughts (”state of the field” and all that) for the introduction of FF2, so it’s great timing!”
Answer: Thanks, Lou, and we look forward to reading FF1 (February’s SciFi book of the month). We also look forward to peppering you with nuisance questions when the time comes.
Carol Z writes: “A bit off-topic, but wondering why SGA doesn’t have any women writers? Have you found that the Sci-Fi writing genre is innately male-oriented?”
Answer: I would strongly disagree with the last statement. There are many great female Sci-Fi writes out there (Ursula K. LeGuin, Karen Traviss, and Elizabeth Moon to name a few). In the case of our show, we have used female writers in the past and have auditioned some for possible staff positions but, in the end, it didn’t work out – mainly because (like a number of the male writers we’ve also auditioned who didn’t work out) this is a very tricky show to write for with a vast and daunting backstory.
Becky writes: “I thought I had posted a congrats on the PCA yesterday but in looking back at the comments, I see I was remiss.”
Answer: Yeah, I noticed. I thought you were mad at me.
Becky also writes: “On another subject, how likely are we to have a visit from General O’Neill in season 5?”
Answer: At present, a visit by O’Neill is not in the cards. I stress “at present”.
Aelfgyu writes: “In fact, next time you want Latin, contact me! (I also do Old and Middle English!)”
Answer: Damn. I wish you’d made the offer while I was still writing SG-1. Thanks. I’ll keep you in mind for my next Middle English crisis. P.S. How’s your goa’uld?
Mrs. B108 writes: “1)Is the Last Man a reflective episode? 2)Are many lingering questions answered in the Kindred? In turn, does it evoke even more?”
Answers:1) In some ways. 2) A number are, yes.
DanielFanForever writes: “I have a Don Davis question, Joe. I’ve heard that he is a really good artist. That painting/drawing is a big hobby of his. I was curious if he has ever shared any of his art work with you?”
Answer: Yes. One of Don’s pieces adorns Fondy’s office.