Some years back, I wrote a Stargate audio play, Impressions, for Big Finish. It was recently re-released and it reminded me of a piece of work languishing in the depths of my hard drive that had never seen the light of day – two text samples from a Stargate Atlantis pitch I did for those lovely folk at Fandemonium many, many years ago.

Available now

When pitching for a tie-in book a writer will normally have to produce a text sample to demonstrate that they have a handle on the established characters, their voices and relationships with each other, so here are the two samplers I did for SG:A.

The pitch was accepted by MGM, with their rep calling it one of the most implausible pitches he’d ever approved (which made me very happy!) but in the end I didn’t have time to pursue it due to other commitments. All of which renders this now, essentially, fan fiction and not intended for profit (any more).

Sample One

“I’ve been shot at, kidnapped, blown up, broken down into a proton stream and projected half way across the universe, and I’m fine. Mostly. I mean, apart from the psychological damage. Which is huge, obviously. So how come this feels like the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done?”

“It’s just a submarine, Rodney.”

“No. No, no, no Sheppard. It’s a bathyscaphe. Submarines are roomy compared to this. We’re going to be stuck in this tin can for eight hours before we even touch bottom. You did shower this morning, right?”


“What? I’m just asking.”

“Relax. It’s gonna be fine. And Ronon and I showered before we reported for duty.”

“Not together,” deadpanned Ronon.

“I brought some music to help pass the time,” offered Sheppard. “Thought it might help.”

“Oh God, not Johnny Cash. Please not Johnny Cash.”

“What is wrong with Johnny Cash?”

“Nothing. No, that’s fine. Great. We’ll be slitting our wrists before we’re even halfway down. Is it too late to ask for a sedative of some kind?”

Elizabeth’s voice crackled out of the speaker, making Rodney jump in surprise.

“Are you all right in there? Colonel Caldwell says we’re in position and we’re ready to drop you.”

“Yeah, we’re fine Elizabeth,” said Sheppard. He saw McKay begin to open his mouth and he silenced him with a glance. “Tell the Colonel he can drop us any time. The sooner we get started the sooner we can get out of this thing.”

There was a brief pause and then: “All right, hold on.”

Ronon, Sheppard and McKay grasped their restraints tightly, bracing themselves.

“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” said McKay.

Sheppard’s acid reply was lost, as the bathyscaphe suddenly plummeted twenty metres into the cold green water beneath the hovering battleship. On hitting the surface the vessel rolled violently to the right, and for one moment Sheppard was looking straight down at Ronon and McKay. McKay looked like he was about to be sick. Ronon was smiling broadly.

Then the bathyscaphe righted itself, wobbled slightly as it found its equilibrium, and then began to sink. The conical Lucite porthole turned from bright blue sky to light green and then inky darkness. Except for the hum and whirr of the vessel’s internal workings, it was eerily silent.

Two minutes passed without anyone saying a word, until finally Sheppard said: “Well, I vote for Live at Folsom Prison.”

Sample Two

Elizabeth Weir was tired, hungry and annoyed, but you’d never have known it to look at her. It took all her concentration to maintain the façade of cool, detached professionalism that she radiated at the negotiating table. Long years of painful experience had taught her that a moment’s visible irritation on her part could spark both parties into a spiral of mutual recrimination.

“You see,” one party would say, noticing a stifled yawn or clenched jaw, “even she thinks you’re lying.”

And that would be that for the day, bar the shouting and door slamming.

So she remained rigid on her seat, despite the ache at the small of her back; she maintained eye contact with whoever was speaking, no matter how stupid or duplicitous their words; she smiled whenever a delegate made a lame attempt at humour; and she never, ever allowed the growing knot of fury and contempt in her stomach to show itself on her face. She was supposed to be the calm voice of impartial reason.

Some days that was harder than others.

“I don’t care,” said an old Wraith man whose name momentarily escaped her. “I just don’t see why we can’t arm ourselves.”

“So you can massacre us in our beds?” Janeel made a contemptuous snorting noise and folded his arms.

“So we can defend ourselves from your mobs!”

“Mobs? Don’t make me laugh.”

“What should I call them then? Vigilantes? Death squads?

“Regrettable as these incidents have been, no one has been killed,” said Elizabeth.

Both Janeel and the old Wraith (Tanas, that was his name, Tanas) said, almost simultaneously: “Yet.”

“Then what we have to focus on is preventing any future deaths. Does anybody here really think that distributing weaponry is the best way to achieve that?”

It was meant to be a rhetorical question.

“Yes I do,” insisted Janeel, with an emphatic thump on the council table.

Elizabeth calmed her breathing, resisting the temptation to sigh. In her experience, when people started answering rhetorical questions it was time for a cooling off period.

“I think perhaps a recess is called for. Half a cycle?”

Her suggestion was met by a succession of weary, grateful nods.

As the councillors filed out of the hall Elizabeth noted that the Lantean delegates left by one door, the Wraith by another. Already they had split into separate camps, avoiding each other between sessions. This was not a good sign. Breakthroughs rarely came at the negotiating table. Far more likely that a quiet chat over a cup of tea – or whatever disgusting nutrient soup they drank here – would result in a calm moment of common sense and mutual understanding. So Elizabeth allowed herself a weary sigh, and rose from her seat.

“Councilman, please, walk with me,” she said as she looped her arm through Janeel’s and steered him in the direction of the Wraith councillors.

Now for the difficult bit.