I'm cranking out this post because I'd like to be able say that I got all of the questions for Ask Me Anything! August 2012 done before...October. Wow, maybe I should have not run the game during the same month I was trying to crank on a writing project. Anyway, I think that this post should wrap things up...but if I missed your query, let me know! It's been known to happen. I'm as fallible as...well, something that's really fallible. Mitt Romney, there we go! He's pretty fallible!
(The person responsible for the immediately preceding political comment would be sacked, but as he's the owner of this blog, he won't be. But he will feel a bit of remorse.)
Lynn asked: If Firefly had been allowed to keep running for several seasons, as it should have, do you think they might have brought back Jubal Early (one of my favorite villains ever) for another episode? We didn't see him actually die so I've always wondered about that. What if you were hired to write the Return of Jubal Early episode? How would you do it?
Yeah...the Jubal Early episode is a particularly saddening one for the series to end on, because that's when the crew finally figured out how to accept River Tam for who she was. In that episode she became part of the crew...and then the show stopped. Yes, the Serenity movie dealt with that somewhat, but you really started to get a feel for the show's direction when it got dumped. All together, now: Curse you, FOX!!!
But anyway: I'm of mixed mind on Jubal Early. He's a great character, the best of villains: someone with a clear ethos. He's a bounty hunter with the same attitude as Mal Reynolds, with regard to getting the job done. He does the job, he gets paid. He tries to avoid sentiment; all there is, is the job. Plus he was played with nice, calm, businesslike malice by Richard Brooks, which is always a good thing.
Problem is, as Lynn notes, how do you bring him back. See, after infiltrating the Serenity and nearly getting away with River, Early is making his way back to his ship (meaning a spacewalk) when Mal gets the drop on him, and kicks him off into space. Early is last scene just tumbling through space in his spacesuit. Would he have returned? And how? Space is awfully big, and even in a heavily-traveled part of the 'Verse, I can't believe that something so small as a person in a spacesuit would be noticed by anyone in a ship, unless they had a scanner that was actively sweeping for really tiny bits of space flotsam and jetsam.
Unless, of course, Early has some kind of emergency transponder in his suit, which he could activate as some kind of emergency, last-ditch, probably-won't-work-but-you-never-know kind of thing. In itself, that might not be a bad idea; I imagine that in any spacefaring society, a spacesuited person becoming separated from their ship would be a deeply feared thing. (OK, now I'm drawing a blank, because I know that I read a SF novel in the last few years that featured just that as the society's most feared means of dying. Gonna bug me until I remember.)
And then, any writer of such could just punt the whole deal and have Jubal Early turn up again, very much alive, very much still on River Tam's trail, and just never explain at all how he managed to not float through space until he died. That, in itself, could lend him some kind of mythological status in the underworld of the 'Verse; in the words of another Firefly baddie, it could make his reputation 'solid'. Maybe the "Return of Jubal Early" episode could end with Mal asking, "How did you not just float away into space forever?" and Early just shrugging.
By the way, I just looked up Jubal Early to find out who played him, and apparently Joss Whedon himself indicated that Early was not going to just float around until he ran a tad low on oxygen. So, I wonder how Whedon planned to do it?
(OHHH! The novel I remembered above is Michael Flynn's The Wreck of the RIVER OF STARS. I've still got it, baby!)
OK, moving on. Richard asks: When do you plan to visit Vancouver, Canada? I notice you've visited Toronto on many an occasion...but Toronto is not the only nice city in our fair country!
No, Toronto's not the only nice city in Canada, but it is the only one within a very close driving range to Casa Jaquandor. Unfortunately, the types of trips that require (a) flying and (b) spending at least a week off tend to be out of our price range at this point. But you never know what the future holds. Maybe the book tour for Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title) will include a Vancouver stop! (Wow, talk about getting ahead of myself....)
Seriously, though, I would love dearly to get to Vancouver. It always -- always -- looks like a staggeringly beautiful city. (A favorite movie of mine, Cousins, was filmed there, in a way that made it look really beautiful, and not like a dank stand-in for every other dank place in the United States for four seasons of The X-Files.) Frankly, the only thing that really stops me from wanting to live in the Pacific Northwest is the fact that everything is so far from everything else. I'm spoiled by the idea of living within a day's drive of half the country. But I do miss it out there, even having not been back to the Northwest since 1981.
Christopher asks: I know you have a great love of music, I wish I did, but never have. If you had to choose between them, and one was to be gone forever. Written words or music?
Hmmmm. A couple of different ways to take this question. Do I lose the sense of sight or hearing? If that's what's being asked, I'd lose sight, every time. I can figure out a way to get stories into my head and out of it without seeing, but losing music? Ugh! That would be truly awful.
But keeping the ability to hear music and understand it, but somehow be rendered unable to read while keeping sight? So I wouldn't be able to process stories at all? That's...horrifying. And there's an interesting story there, I think...hmmmm....!
Kal asks: I would like to send you a Luckie Loonie coin for all the support you give my blog. Can I have your snail mail addy to do that?
Kal, let me know if this offer still stands! Meantime, folks, if you're looking for a blog chock full of geeky goodness, you could do far worse than to wander through the archives of Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness for a while. I don't get everything that he posts -- I'm not sure yet about Selena Gomez, for example -- but I'm sure there's stuff he doesn't get about me either. If you haven't look, go!
Two anonymous queries (not anonymous to me, but they request to be so to you): DO you have a Super Bowl prediction?
Ummm...no, I don't. This NFL season is off to an insane start, even by NFL season standards. Seriously, this could be one of those weird years where the two best records in each conference are 11-5, and where some 9-7 wildcard team gets blown out 49-3 late in the season, and then gets hot and goes all the way to the Super Bowl. I got nothin', in terms of predictions. Weird year thus far!
(I'll say this for the Bills: I think that this year is the referendum on Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starting quarterback in the NFL. If he doesn't play well -- and I mean, really well -- I think the Bills have to make next year the "new franchise guy" year in the draft. The good news there is that by building the team around Fitzpatrick, the Bills have guaranteed that a rookie quarterback stepping in next year won't be doing so for a crappy team. We're not going to be seeing the second coming of David Carr, who might have been good if he hadn't been sacked something like 287 times in his first couple of seasons.)
You haven't been pied in a while. What gives?
Yeesh, it's not like that happens on a daily or weekly basis. I'm a writer and a handyman, not a vaudeville performer or a clown! It only happens to me once, maybe twice a year. More than that and it might get routine, you know?
(But...watch this space. Pies may fly in my face's direction sooner than later!)
And finally, I give the last word to Andy: Were you more of a Dukes of Hazard guy or more of a Knight Rider man????
Knight Rider. All the way. Yeah, I watched Dukes for a few years as a kid, and it was entertaining an all, but I grew out of it fairly quickly, and that one year when John Schneider and Tom Wopat were replaced by...two other guys, playing the Duke cousins or something, pretty much did in my interest in that show. Besides, well...it just wasn't that interesting after that long. There's only so many times you can watch the boys elude Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, so many times the General Lee can jump over something, so many dirt road chases, et cetera that you can watch before it all looks the same. And to be honest, the show's popularity was a bit early for me to grok the whole notion of Daisy Duke in those Shorts +4 of Ultimate Shortness.
I always wondered about all those dirt roads, too...was Hazzard County's annual infrastructure budget all of $1.67? Surely they could afford some road grading and paving, if they could afford to buy the Sheriff a new ride every week.
But Knight Rider? That appealed to me a lot more. There was the James Bond-ish kind of thing going on, with Michael Knight ending up someplace else and in some other adventure each week, and of course, as teevee cars go, KITT trumps the General Lee, every day of the week and multiple times upon the Sabbath. Knight Rider was more my speed, and it was so for a lot longer, than The Dukes of Hazzard. Oh, and by the time I realized that women were Teh Awesome, Knight Rider had Rebecca Holden. Whoa nellie!
And that, I believe, should do it for Ask Me Anything! August 2012. Hopefully my answers in February will be more quickly forthcoming! Thanks for the fine queries, folks. As ever, everything was thought provoking and fun to write about!