Tansy Rayner Roberts

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ROBOTECH REWATCH 43: “Debriefing” the Dreamboat

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

dana zorHold your position. Robotech transmissions will now resume.

43. A New Recruit

Ahem, so we’re caught up now to the point where I skipped a disc. Sorry about that! All the episodes should now be rewatched in the right order :D

Dana is doing exhaustive sit ups when she hears her name called over the PA. She is called to Emerson’s office where she finds their prisoner of war standing all pretty in a uniform, his purple hair freshly curled. As established, his memory is completely gone, which is inconvenient for everyone hoping to drag useful intelligence out of him. Despite the fact that Dana broke into a hospital and beat him up recently, she’s now being asked to take charge of him.

Zor is in fact presented to Dana as a recruit, on the grounds that making him part of a secure military unit might help jog his memory and allow Dana to debrief him properly.

From this point on every time someone says “debrief,” it’s important to imagine inverted commas around the words, and Bow-chicka-bow-wow music going in the background. Because everyone is shipping Zor/Dana already, including the top brass.


Issue #1 – Jem and the Holograms

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Jem-and-the-Holograms-1-review-spoilers-1Title: Jem and the Holograms #1

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: Sophie Campbell (with extra covers by Amy Mebberson)

The Buzz: What isn’t the buzz? Nostalgia for classic 80’s cartoon Jem and the Holograms is at an all time high because of the movie-in-development, and so word of this comic got bounced around the web in a girlpower frenzy. (More recently, the news that adorable girlfriends Kimber and Stormer will actually have a proper Hologram/Misfit star-crossed romance in the comic meant everything got even more high-pitched, we’re not even squeeing now, we’re just breaking the sound barrier.

All You Need To Know: They’re truly, truly, truly outrageous. Oh, okay. If you were living under a rock or possibly more interested in Transformers in the 80’s (or not even born yet, shoot me now), Jem is the story of a bunch of orphaned foster kids who have their own rock band.

Lead singer Jem is actually band manager Jerrica in disguise thanks to a legacy of magic super science holograms, and they embark in all kinds of Battle of the Bands shenanigans against the wicked, ethically compromised Misfits (WE ARE THE MISFITS OUR SONGS ARE BETTER) to raise money and keep the orphanage open. They sing, they dance, they have their own film clips, and yes there was a toy line, shut up, it’s awesome.


Galactic Suburbia 116 Show Notes

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Our special 2014 Galactic Suburbia Award episode! Listen to find out our winner and shortlist for our award to honour activism and/or communication that advances the feminist conversation in the field of speculative fiction.

Get the new episode HERE.


Alisa: Haven S5, Tempest’s Reading Challenge

Alex: Tehanu, Tales of Earthsea, and The Other Wind, Ursula le Guin; Jupiter Ascending; Waistcoats and Weaponry, Gail Carriger.

Tansy: D’Artanyan i tri Mushketyora (1979); New Avengers: Breakout prose novel by Alisa Kwitney; New Avengers: Breakout, by Brian Michael Bendis; Curb Stomp #1 – Ryan Ferrier (writer), Devaki Neogi (artist); Princess Leia #1 – Mark Waid (writer) Terry & Rachel Dodson (artists).

NEXT TIME: tune in for our Ursula Le Guin essay spoilerific. We will be covering: “The Space Crone” & “Is Gender Necessary? (Redux)” (both in Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, and Places) and “Science Fiction and Mrs Brown”(in The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction).

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

ROBOTECH REWATCH 42: The Great Hospital Caper

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Hold your position, Robotech transmissions will now resume.

EPS_60_4_9336Episode 47 – Outsiders

Turns out Dana can play piano too! Who knew?

While her boys all sleep soundly, she is up in the middle of the night pining over her strange visions of the purple haired pilot in the Red Bioroid. The narrator suggests that Dana’s human half and her Zentraedi half are at war with each other.

Meanwhile, Global Military Police Lieutenant Nova Satori is on a standard rubble patrol when she finds a surprisingly pretty purple-haired pilot sprawled out on the rocks, waiting for her to take him prisoner.

Apparently the first thing she does is remove his shirt, because he’s not wearing one later when the scientists examine him. Go, Nova!


Issue #1 – Curb Stomp (2015)

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

curb stompTitle: Curb Stomp #1

Writer: Ryan Ferrier

Artist: Devaki Neogi

The Buzz: Ferrier describes it as a timeless street gang story – not quite now, not quite 1980′s, but definitely punk rock. The book was launched by Boom! Studios as part of their general strategy to put more books out there for female audiences – along with Lumberjanes, Bee and Puppycat, and Butterfly.

All You Need To Know: Punk rock girl gangs, diverse cast of characters, brutal suburban violence, and a roller-derby style community of women protecting their own turf.

Story: Machete Betty leads The Fever, an all-female gang (her fellow warriors are called Derby Girl, Bloody Mary, Daisy Chain & Violet Volt) who protect Old Beach, a down and out borough near a wealthy city – when they’re not drinking shots, caring for their families and singing in a rock band. Betty kills a rival gang member in self defence, and the Wrath come demanding a Fever life in return.


Russian Musketeers Own my Soul (1979)

Monday, March 16th, 2015

kinopoisk.ruSo we remember the crushing disappointment that I felt when the Gene Kelly version of The Three Musketeers turned out to not be a musical?


Enter D’Artanyan i tri Mushketyora (1979), a glorious three part mini-series, featuring all the satin shirts, lace collars and Musketeer shenanigans you could desire, along with an adorably cheesy musical score. THEY SING THEY DANCE.

I had so much fun watching this, I can’t even tell you. Musketeers singing their feelings out is now my favourite everything.


D’Artanyan (Mikhail Boyarskiy) has no sooner arrived in Meung than he is treated to a song about how the Cardinal sees and spies on everything – when the Red Guard chases off the unpatriotic singers, D’Artanyan ends up fighting them.

Rochefort (Boris Klyuev), sadly sans the eyepatch though he does have a bright violet suit and a scar, insults D’Artanyan’s yellow horse, which leads to a splendid scuffle in a street full of sheep. Mikhail Boyarskiy reminds me very strongly of Gene Kelly’s take on the character, and the tone of the movie is very similar to that 1948 version.

As D’Artanyan lies bleeding in a haystack, we meet a sinister, Dolly Partonesque Milady (Margarita Terekhova) – seriously, she’s all blonde curls and black cowboy hat, if she doesn’t sing country-style I will be very disappointed.


ROBOTECH REWATCH 41: Spies Make Terrible Boyfriends

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

George is underdressed for his first date with Dana.

George is underdressed for his first date with Dana.

At ease, troopers, Robotech is back.

Episode 46 – Stardust

The Robotech Masters and their amazing clone friends start their scientific experiments on the human hostages, including examination of their memories. They are particularly interested in social habits and the whole weird mating ritual thing that makes it clear humans are very different to Zentraedi.

The Robotech Masters are surprised to discover how little humans actually know about Protoculture, though this will help them with their task – if the humans don’t know much about the protoculture matrix, they can’t stop the Masters taking it back from the ruins of the space fortress.

(Ha, like humans need to know anything about anything in order to ruin your plans)


ROBOTECH REWATCH 40: Who are the Invid?

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

metal fireHold your position, Robotech transmissions will now resume.

Episode 45 – Metal Fire

Dana blows up at Angelo for his casual anti-alien racism. He obviously hasn’t got the memo about her being the famous first child born to a human-Zentraedi relationship.

Bowie, meanwhile, is moping about the pretty girl he saw on the flagship – and the narrator conveniently provides us with a short bio about her, so we learn before Bowie that she is Musica, sister to Allegra and Octavia, clones created by the Robotech Masters.


Friday Links is a Secret Princess Story

Friday, March 6th, 2015

mockingbirdI haven’t watched Jupiter Ascending, but I have been fascinated by the meta commentary around about whether it’s a bad film or not, and whether it’s an anti-feminist film or not, and so on.

The Fangirl Happy Hour reviewed it very positively and got into some fantastic meta about what the film does well, while still (and this is crucial) not necessarily being a good film. Renay’s rant on agency and how a perceived lack of it is used too often to dismiss female-centred stories is a masterwork of criticism that she’s obviously been building up to for some time and everyone should listen to it.

I’d like to add this Tumblr post which explains how Jupiter Ascending is being criticised for failing to meet the requirements for a Chosen Hero narrative, when in fact it is a Secret Princess story, and that has different narrative beats.

Then we have Kate Elliott at Tor.com, being brilliant about Writing Female Characters as Human Beings – with an articulate, point by point exploration of how writers can do better at this particular skill, should they aspire to do so. She also talks about agency, and how there are different kinds of agency in real life as in stories. The article is full of practical advice and while some of the comments are frustrating, many of them add thoughtful layers to the conversation as a whole.


What I did in February

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

agent-carter-768Online Essays:

Reasons to Love Agent Carter

Instead of the elegant martial arts usually used to explain how a Hollywood-petite woman can be lethal (eg. Black Widow, Melinda May), Peggy is a total bruiser. She punches, kicks, elbows and uses every dirty trick she has to hand. She also has a sense of humour and a full emotional range. She’s a genuine pleasure to watch on screen, whether she’s deflecting awkward work situations with quiet sarcasm, or punching the hell out of a pair of goons on the waterfront. Peggy, I love you, don’t ever leave me.

Kicking Holes in Reality with the Young Avengers (Vol 2)

In interviews, the creators of the series stated that the original Young Avengers is about being 16, while this book is about being 18. This isn’t literally true (Kate, for example, is a hair’s breadth off turning 21) but definitely comes across in the content which explores themes such as sexual identity, informed consent, casual sex/serious relationships, gender fluidity and break ups along with the universe being in danger from Teddy’s inter-dimensional zombie mom, and Kid Loki’s murderous past. There are several bisexual or sexually questioning characters, which is pretty awesome to see in a story for an older teen audience, and in comics generally.


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