Tag Archives: jk rowling

Watching New Who: The Shakespeare Code & Gridlock

“The Shakespeare Code” – Season three, episode two

The Doctor – David Tennant
Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman
Shakespeare – Dean Lennox Kelly

So, Martha’s first adventure and we get Shakespeare! There’s a lot to like about this episode. Ten is clearly enjoying himself on this one, and Martha does well for her first time travelling, don’t you think? Asking the important questions for us not in TV-land and getting timey-wimey explanations in return.

Yes I like that Martha has a very down to earth and practical approach to time travel, and while she has just as much sense of wonder as Rose, there’s a bit more of – I don’t know, is it snobbish to say she feels more intellectual in how she takes in history? Less giggling, more cynical nodding.

I don’t think it’s snobbish – true, maybe, but just another way to identify the differences between the companions I guess. Martha is better educated and a little more worldly than Rose, so showing Martha reacting quite differently to how we saw Rose reacting is reasonable.

I also think it’s important that Martha raises the race question early, and that the Doctor answers it – it’s a little glib for him to suggest she just walk around like she own the place, because he’s speaking from white male privilege, but at the same time it is important to note that there were people of colour (if not as many as now) in British history, and it’s only a century of whitewashed movies and television that makes us think otherwise. Important that the race issue is addressed in the time travel stories, because pretending Martha isn’t black would be bizarre. I rather like her “not exactly white, in case you haven’t noticed” line because, let’s face it, the Doctor probably WOULDN’T think about that sort of thing.

Continue reading →

Friday Links Wants to be BFFs Forever

I generally try not to get excited about TV shows before they happen, despite that being one of the main themes of the internet, but Lauren Faust (new My Little Pony, Powerpuff Girls) is creating a series of DC Shorts entitled Super Best Friends Forever, featuring Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Girl. And I think this is the cartoon I have been longing for! Sure, it’s going to be girly as hell. That’s the ENTIRE POINT. There’s enough Batman/superhero related material out there with only occasional girl cooties in it. I am hugging this one to my chest.

Possibly I’m also going to share it with my daughters. But only if they’re good.

Tehani at the Book Nut talks about the new TV series Outland, some of the more curmudgeonly criticisms of the show coming from some corners of Australian fandom, and how it has made her reassess her own fannish identity. You can be a fan without the seal of approval from fandom! People express their fannishness differently! These should not be revolutionary ideas, and yet…

Continue reading →

Friday Links in Spaaaaace!

Bitch Magazine brought me two gems this week: a takedown of the “she’s crazy so we’re supposed to hate her” trope in pop culture with particular reference to Terri in Glee, and a profile of the eternally awesome Wednesday Addams.

Ms Magazine, meanwhile, brought to our attention the sterling work of Geena Davis and her institute who have been investigating the dire representation of girls and women in kids TV/movies. (Thanks to Rowena Cory Daniells for this link) Hard data, people! It’s not just Pixar letting the side down, and I think it’s especially important that they are focusing on the effect this has on boys as well as girls.

You all know by now that I am utterly obsessed with the cosplaying Gender Bent Justice League – now find out a little more about the women who came up with the idea, and their fabulously supportive male friends.

While we’re talking about subversive visual imagery, check out this body positive colouring book by Nicole Lorenz: Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace!

Juliet McKenna on the representation of women in fantasy: a very in depth and thoughtful post which makes me wonder why the hell I haven’t read her books already.

In other ‘why the hell haven’t I read her books already’ news, the wonderful Kate Elliott is interviewed at Tor.com.

PublishAmerica announce they’re going to stalk JK Rowling on YOUR behalf, for a price

Angry Robot announces Worldbuilder, a creative commons plan to expand the fictional worlds of their authors. i’m skeptical about this one – I’m all for not harassing fanfic writers, but the idea of commissioning fanfic for a work that hasn’t been published yet is a whole different ballgame. Still, will be interesting to see the results!

What Rowling Got Right: Worldbuilding as Plot

I got to see the last Harry Potter film last weekend and loved it to bits – it reminded me why I liked the books so much originally, and even redeemed some of the bits I didn’t like about the final book. They conveyed far more sweetness & believability to the Remus/Tonks relationship by cutting out most of what was in the book & sticking with a couple of symbolic shots, and the epilogue actually worked as a visual scene far better than in prose.

But really I did that thing I always do when I go to the cinema – I sat there, let the images wash over me, and thought about writing. The big screen always does that to me – we spend a fortune on tickets and then I spend half the time plotting & replotting my own stories. My brain is particularly directed towards technique at the moment because of the stage I’m at drafting Fury, and HP7.2 really helped me by reminding me of the one writing technique that Rowling does better than almost any other writer: worldbuilding as plot.

Continue reading →

It’s the Friday Link Person!

(Thanks to Helen Merrick for knowing this picture was something I needed to see)

It’s Friday! I wrote 5000 words this week! Smug, cheerful and almost caught up with the week’s tasks. To make up for being so disgustingly pleased with myself, I present Friday links!

Via my Mum, who tries regularly to catch me out by knowing something on the internet before I do, and almost always crashes and burns, an interview with a new young Doctor Who writer, Tom McRae, who is not only contributing to the most mysterious episode of the next half of this season, but also is staging an interactive Doctor Who play for little ones. Who believe in Santa.

Jeff VanderMeer presents Women of the Supernatural: A Tartarus Press Sampler, which looks gorgeous, and features a story by Australia’s own Angela Slatter. Kudos to Angela, it’s not every day you share a TOC with Edith Wharton.

I think we were a little dismissive of the Pottermore announcement last night on Galactic Suburbia (and Twitter, and and and). Some other perspectives: Hoyden About Town report on some of what is being offered on the new site, while The Guardian explores some of the marketing genius behind the announcement, and the site itself. I think it’s pretty disingenuous to suggest, as several journalists and bloggers have, that this is something that other writers will in any way be able to replicate, but I also think that anything which takes the wind out of Amazon’s sails (heh, sales) as far as ebooks are concerned is fighting the good fight.

(my main thought on all this is… so, those bestseller lists that everyone’s relying on to promote their ebooks, they’re about to take a bit of a beating, aren’t they? Suddenly that 99c price point can’t be looking too hot…)

Speaking of ebooks, I was inspired by Sarah Rettger to download Babs: A Sub-Deb by Mary Roberts Rinehart from Project Gutenberg. As Rettger suggests, this is great fluffy YA fiction, with a very appealing voice, which happens to have been written in the 1920’s. I’ve inhaled a good chunk of the book already, despite the rather annoying quirk of including all of the protagonists spelling mistakes.

Jo Walton on how different people approach the process of reading for pleasure.

Ben Peek takes down rape apologist Scott Adams for his stupid, offensive Pegs and Holes post, with that elegant balance of outrage and cynicism that Peek does so well.

Three female scientists at the top of their field are interviewed about the challenges in their lives, whether they have the same chances as men to build successful careers, balancing work and family, and the advice they would give to the women who come after them. I think the best thing about this article is the focus on three women in similar positions rather than a single woman to represent her whole field, as they provide a wider perspective and often disagree with each other. Because all women aren’t the same – shock!

Penni Russon writes about the choices (and non-choices) about having or not having (wanting, or not wanting) children, in a beautiful post. I always love to read Penni’s posts about motherhood, because the way she looks at the world has such a gorgeous balance of pragmatism and romanticism.

In closing, Jem and I watched this on Sesame Street this morning, and at the risk of over-exposing you to the adorableness that is Neil Patrick Harris, I had to share The Fairy Shoe Person:

Galactic Suburbia Episode 35

New episode up! Grab it from iTunes, by direct download or stream it on the site.


In which “best” becomes “superior,” Pottermore is Pottermeh, one of us wins all the awards, and we visit/revisit classic non-hard works of SF and Fantasy by Bujold, Willis and Pratchett (with bonus Russian fairytales by Valente).


Pottermore announcement made during our podcast…

Theodore Sturgeon finalists

David Gemmell Awards

NatCon professional guests for next year are Kelly Link and Alison Goodman.

Chronos Awards 😀

Sidewise Awards finalists

Translation Awards winners

Stoker Awards announced

Coode Street Horror Special with Stoker winners Datlow & Straub

Gender Spotting Tool – Naff.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Connie Willis’ Passage in progress, the next 3 Twelve Planets.
Alex: so much Bujold (Cordelia’s Honor and Young Miles omnibuses… omnibi… whatever, Fly by Night, Frances Hardinge, Red Glove, Holly Black. Series 2 of V (reboot)
Tansy: Deathless, Catherynne Valente; I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett; Wyrd Sisters audiobook, Terry Pratchett/Celia Imrie.

Next Fortnight: Galactic Suburbia’s Spoilerific Book Club Presents: Joanna Russ. Reading How to Suppress Women’s Writing, The Female Man, “When It Changed.”

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

Beyond the Veil

Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)

Ha, this one is surprisingly easy, and for once I don’t feel the need to give a million different answers to a simple question.

To my mind, one of the absolute worst literary deaths of all time was Sirius Black, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

[spoilers for all but the last Harry Potter book in the post below, on the grounds that some of you are following the films rather than the books and don’t know yet which Weasley twin is doomed]

Continue reading →

Unexpected Revelations of Rats

Day 09 – Best scene ever

Anna Louise Genoese writes beautifully about the type of scene she likes best. I have been able to come up with a handful of best beloved scenes or moments in books that come to mind, but I wasn’t sure if I could spot a pattern until I typed them all out.

*Sophie (and the reader) realising that Howl knew her secret all along
(Howl’s Moving Castle)
*a discussion on witch cliches ends when a house falls on Granny Weatherwax’s head
(Witches Abroad)
*Cordelia producing the traitor’s head from a shopping bag.
*Robin cracking up with laughter when he sees Laurence Olivier in blackface as Othello – one more clue that makes far more sense when Janet learns the truth about him and Nick
(Tam Lin)
*Beauty demanding “Bring me back my Beast”
*Darcy’s terrible, unexpected proposal to Elizabeth, and her shocked response
(Pride and Prejudice)
*Nick learns the truth about his past
(The Demon’s Lexicon)
*Howard seeing words written on the wall of the spaceship, revealing a startling truth
(Archer’s Goon)

So there we have it. I love the scenes of surprise and revelation. I love sudden shocks, I love characters acting suddenly out of character or beyond expectations. I adore to be tricked, if it’s done well. And I love it when clues are disguised as something else, so that the rereading experience is so very sweet.

Which, quite possibly, explains why my favourite scene of all time is actually:

*The Shrieking Shack. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Remus Lupin face off with notorious killer Sirius Black, but he is far more interested in facing off with Ron’s pet rat… everything they previously believed falls apart, piece by piece, to be replaced by a new version of history, and nothing will ever be the same again. (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

For all JK Rowling’s faults as a writer, that scene is magnificent in what it does, what it sets up, what it says and what it leaves unsaid, not to mention the heady combination of revelation, visual effect and raw emotion. It is not really surprising that she was never able to top it.

Continue reading →