More on the Creative Consultant Thing

Joe Mallozzi of Stargate has updated his blog with more information about me joining the Stargate: Universe production as Creative Consultant, what the gig is all about, and what we had for dinner last night, including his most unusual dessert. It’s all pretty accurate, except for the part explaining in what form of money I’d be paid. Although when he commented that I was going to be paid in World of Warcraft currency, my immediate thought was, “oh, so that’s what they’re calling Canadian money these days.”

A casual glance through teh IntarWeebs and the science fiction and Stargate fan sites suggests that by and large people seem positive about this news, which is always nice, so thanks, folks, and I hope I help the show live up to or exceed your expectations. That said, there are always skeptics, and at least one skeptic out there suggests, regarding my participation, that “the only conclusion I can draw is that Scalzi needs some money.” To which my response is: Really, no. It wasn’t a “I need me some cash” thing, it was a “will this be fun, and can I be useful” thing. I’m hoping I will and that I can. Although, to be clear, I’ll take the money, too. I’m not precious about it.

40 Comments on “More on the Creative Consultant Thing”

  1. You seem like a logical choice, so I’m not shocked. I’m sure you’ll do quite well. I am of course jealous as all get out, but such is life. :)

    Congrats, John.

  2. Of course we’re excited about it!!!! This is most definitely the most exciting news I’ve heard about SGU to date!!!

  3. I think you’ll bring a new perspective to the show, which is always a good thing. I’ve watched both Stargate series and the descriptions I’d read about the new one really didn’t interest me. Now you, and Robert Carlyle, are changing that.

    Good luck!


  4. If it’s any comfort, the view I have (which seems to be somewhat widespread) is that your participation is the best news yet that’s come out about Stargate Voyager: 90210.

  5. Kudos for daring to bridge the gap between prose and the visual medium! Science Fiction as a genre can only thrive through this sort of collaboration. I only wish some of the… eh, hem, ‘older’ elements of SFWA would understand that!

  6. Scalzi shilling vegan-bacon would be lead me to the conclusion that he needed money. Scalzi doing consulting work in a field where he well-regarded by both pros and fans just seems like an outbreak of common sense.

    God forbid a sci-fi series would call in a guy who writes sci-fi that sells to consult. Next they’ll start hiring people who can act to stand in front of the camera. Which is obviously a frontal assault on the tradition of sci-fi TV by dirty moneygrubbing capitalist running-dog lackeys bent only on worshipping the (Canadian) dollar.

  7. Congratulations on the new gig. One of my daughters and I spent many years watching the original Stargate and enjoyed the characters and concepts that came out of it; Atlantis, not so much, though I’ll miss it now that it’s gone. If you can bring at least some of the humor and slightly twisted/skewed views from the Old Man series and Android’s Dream to Stargate Universe, it’ll be worth watching (at least until SciFi finds a way to import some of the ECW wrestlers and fellas from Ghost Hunters to make guest appearances).

  8. [Applause]! That’s really exciting to get input on a science fiction show! I’m really glad that you got it. I’m certain that it’s going to be fun!

  9. I’d like to add one more voice to the “Congratulations”seses going around.

    Joe’s book club introduced me to your books. It was my first real introduction to Sci Fi and what can I say, a damn good introduction it was! Whenever I can’t find something new to read, I start back on Old Man’s War again. Love it. That first page hooks me back in every time.

    It will be great to have you on the Stargate team. You may want to consult Joe further on what you will face when it comes to fandom. It’s… um…. interesting…

  10. A serious question or two: have you watched the previous Stargate offerings? Like/dislike/opinions in general? Or is that part of your homework now?

  11. Narelle:

    I know a little about fandom, you can be sure.


    Interestingly enough, my personal history with Stargate goes back to the original film, which I covered as a journalist, interviewing the majors stars, and filmmakers. So I find it amusing to have gone from covering the Stargate universe to participating in it.

  12. Yay! This Stargate fan is happy. I’ve done the SG1 and Atlantis fangirling, and if Universe holds its own, I’ll be tin hatting that, too. Go, Scalzi!

  13. Congratulations Sir!
    This collaboration sounds like it could be fun for us fans of both the SG and Scalzi Universes.
    Looking forward to what transpires!

  14. Hum… I’m mildly encouraged because, sorry to say, I checked out of SG1 about the middle of season eight, and never really warmed to Atlantis for much the same reason. Too often, I found myself muttering “you know, they did this story five years ago — and did it better”.

    OK, I get when you’re turning over roughly the equivalent of eight full-length features a year, you shouldn’t be too surprised when creative fatigue (and some degree of self-plagiarism) sets in. But boring me is the only sin I won’t forgive.

    You could bring a lot to ‘Stargate: Universe’ if you did nothing more than start singing The Smiths’ ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ when required.

    An analogy I’ve drawn elsewhere is that this show is only going to work (at least for me) if it turns out to be more ‘Deep Space Nine’ — which was made by people who deconstructed many of Trek’s most hallowed clichés, despite the tsunami of fan froth — than ‘Voyager’. A brutally efficient cliché recycler that should be declared a crime against humanity.

  15. Sweet, that’s great news. I really think the writers of Stargate have been stuck in a rut of boring ideas, poor plot choices, and failure to be successful in changeing it up in any way. The fact that they’re willing to change things and make SGU new and interesting and ask briliant minds for advise is really great news. The Stargate franchise might be rescued after all.
    I haven’t read any of your stuff but people rave about you. Please fight hard for epic ideas and earthshaking, shocking plot lines in SGU. I hope you have a loud and clear voice when all the writers are discusing the future of SGU.
    Quick question…
    Have you followed the progression of SG-1 or Atlantis? If so, what do you think about it? If you haven’t followed the show, are you planning on doing some catch up and watching it all, i would have a lot of respect for you if you did. It’s quite the chore watching all 316 eps and 2 movies, but i think it would pay off in your case. Best of luck.

  16. Oh, and I wonder if TPTB in the Stargate ‘verse are ready for someone whose creativity includes a book where a major diplomatic incident is cause by lethally insulting flatulence? It would be worth setting the PVR to see that on television.

  17. The current Stargate writers are abysmally awful. Here’s hoping you can straighten ’em out – but you will be working overtime, my friend.

  18. Oh, and please make sure the writers have all seen Battlestar Galactica so they know televised science fiction doesn’t have to be trash.

  19. I will definitely be tuning in to the show. I think the idea of Creative Consultants on sci-fi shows is a great one – Harlan Ellison did a bang-up job on Babylon 5. One of the first things I thought when I watched the show was, “Hey, the station rotates to create gravity. They did their homework.” We’re a fickle breed, us sci-fi fans. (And later on, I read an interview with Joe Straczynski in which he lauded Ellison’s contributions, and even mentioned the whole gravity thing)

    Congrats John. Looking forward to watching the show

    – Jeff

  20. I’m waiting for the episode where they need to shoot something for the first time, and they have to sit through a half-hour Weapons System End User Licence Agreement and agree to it – individually and collectively – before they’re allowed to fire a shot.

    We’ll know whose fingerprints will be over that episode….

  21. MarkHB @25 opined:
    We’ll know whose fingerprints will be over that episode….

    <innocent> Cory Doctorow? </innocent>

  22. Christopher Hawley @26,

    No, that’s the one where the Ori are actually revealed to be RIAA executives, the Wraith as their lawyers and the Stargate network to actually be a P2P file-distribution network that also happens to have an MTP (Meat Transfer Protocol) layer.

  23. The main thing that really killed the Stargate franchise for me is that they started getting cocky about their success – and thus turned everything into snarky in-jokes, reduced the characters to caricatures of themselves, etc., and thereby removed everything that had made them a success in the first place. After the first Behind the Scenes thing (was that SG1 season 7 when they started those?) I found that my season premiere viewing experience was much improved if I did not watch that first.

    As for Atlantis … I should probably just not even start. :p Season 4 The Seer was the one that decided it for me, and although I stuck it out for the rest of the season because I was watching it with someone else, I stopped really paying much attention after that. (I think Harmony was the deciding factor for my friend.)

  24. Congratulations. Now, do you think you might be able to put in a word to get sci-fi producers to hire scientific consultants?

    I hope to never see another scene where a scientist peers at some cells in an optical microscope and exclaims, “The DNA is mutating!”

  25. Hey, they could use the help. Mr. Mullie especially could use a tutorial on wormholes before he invents another show. I mean, these guys love to spew thier invented physics around to the masses, but in reality the science behind it is so much weirder and more interesting. Anyway, that’s my vomit for today.

  26. Had you really not had duck before? Or just crispy duck?

    Either way, you’ve been missing out.

    (Oh, congratulations on the gig too. Is there something wrong with my priorities that I’m more concerned about your eating habits than a new Stargate series?)

  27. After reading about the stereotypical casting of the show, I can see the show will be desperate for your help.

    What is with Stargate and it’s racial typecasting? All of the brown/black people are always in non-leadership roles. Never the scientists or the doctors.

    What Worf has brought to sci-fi, no hack producer has the courage to counter!

  28. Rafe:

    With all due (and sincere) respect, what the hell would satisfy you? I’d like to think any minority actor with a micron of self-respect would tell any “hack producer” wanting to get some ethnic colour on board to shove it up their probic vent. (Sorry for the random and pretty obscure Dr. Who geekery, folks.)

    I certainly hope ‘Heroes’ is going to have a pretty dramatic return to form, but the casting of Michael Dorn as POTUS — can’t get much more of a leader than that! — will have anything to do with it if he doesn’t have much better scripts to work with. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ has a highly ethnically and gender diverse cast. Shame it’s also a steaming pile of crap.

    And ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is a perfect case study in how absurd racial quota casting can get. In some quarters, Ron Moore was outed as little better than a Klansman with a casting couch for not following the original and casting a black actor as Tigh. Becuase, of course, it wouldn’t be in the slightest part problematic to cast a black man as a barely functional alcoholic, with a comulsively unfaithful wife, who gets into a drunken fist-fight over a card game with a woman about ten minutes into the pilot.

  29. Damn, if it was about money we wouldn’t be SF writers, we’d write thrillers, chic-lit or aga-sagas. Personally I’m damned glad to hear that an SF writer is being consulted – it’ll cut down on at least some of the silly crap so often seen in TV SF.

  30. I just wanted to wish you luck. I’m of mixed feelings about Stargate, but I hope you and they have a little fun on the way towards a great show.

  31. I think this is good news, but I’m reminded of what the Comic Book Guy said “Of the four Star franchises: Trek, Wars, Gate, and Search, you’re in the top three”. I’m looking forward to Universe.

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