Tag Archives: listening

Galactic Suburbia Episode 20 Show Notes

New Episode now available for streaming, direct download or from iTunes! Can you believe we made it to twenty episodes?

In which we talk World Fantasy, female editors, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree, Connie Willis, Pat Murphy, and more World Fantasy – plus Alisa tells us off for not mentioning how awesome certain books actually are (we totally did).


World Fantasy Award winners

Peter Tennant at Black Static looks at the stats for women being published in recent horror & dark fantasy anthologies
Hathor Legacy compares representation of female authors in two recent horror anthos

Cat Sparks is the new fiction editor of Cosmos, taking over from Damien Broderick

Discussion on the lack of female editors in pro fantasy publications (read through the comments which raise many important points about the post)

Steampunkgate (yes, really)
Charles Stross criticises the “glut” of steampunk and calls it out as a subgenre
Nisi Shawl talks about how the literary side of steampunk just isn’t as diverse and interesting as the other aspects of steampunk… yet
Catherynne Valente rants and then raves about steampunk
Scott Westerfeld gets cranky about the steampunk haterz

Small press turned imprint to publish line of multicultural SF/Fantasy for children:

Jeff VanderMeer reports on Amazon Best of SF/F lists for 2010

What have we been reading/listening to?
Alex: Changeless, Gail Carriger; The Two of Them, Joanna Russ (http://randomalex.net/2010/11/02/the-two-of-them/); Brightness Falls from the Air, James Tiptree Jr; backlog of Tor.com (esp. Robert Reed’s The Next Invasion) and Strange Horizons (esp. Sandra McDonald’s Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots)
Alisa: Fire Watch, Remake (both Connie Willis), White Cat by Holly Black, Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
Tansy: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, NK Jemisin, Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, by Pat Murphy (http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/pseudonyms-and-pat-murphy/)

Pet Subject
Capclave and World Fantasy Convention! Alex and Tansy interrogate Alisa about her trip away, her loot, and her adventures.

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

On my iPod: Cobwebs and Martians

I continue to have a void in my life after catching up with all 200+ episodes of Radio Free Skaro. Most of my favourite podcasts come out in a group round about Monday, and I try hard to make them last, but they don’t, and there is nothing more sad than an emptying iPod. I have been turning back to Big Finish plays to fill the gaps, dipping into my recent haul of these, and hoping I can eke them out because I am determined to not make any more purchases before Aussiecon.

Invaders of Mars (2002) was a bit diappointing, but that may be because I had built it up so much in my head over the last eight years as one I REALLY REALLY wanted to listen to. I loved the premise – aliens invade on the night Orson Welles makes his historic Halloween spoof broadcast of the War of the Worlds – and it has two of my favourite performers of all time in it, Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson.

What I didn’t take into account was that in order to be set in the right time period for Orson Welles, the story had to be based in the US in the 1930’s. Which meant… accents. Dodgy Brits-doing-B-movie-American accents. With a Russian spy thrown in for good measure. Yes, it was shades of Daleks in Manhattan all over again, plus I couldn’t even tell which ones were Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson!

On the other hand the Eighth Doctor and Charley were being awesome, and there were all these cute Orson Welles bits, and by the time the last couple of episodes kicked into gear, I was really enjoying it. I particularly loved the Doctor’s delight at getting to perform some of the scenes in the broadcast of War of the Worlds, once the two storylines collided. But yes. I had to overcome a lot to get to that point.

Cobwebs is a far more recent release – in fact, it was only released this month! Big Finish cleverly had the first episode available as a free download at the same time as their mega First Fifty sale, and then of course I had to get the rest of them, didn’t I? I have to say, I rather like the system BF has for its downloads – you can usually buy the first episode for about $1.50 Australian, and then can purchase the other three episodes by paying the remainder of the price for the full story. While it’s not a discount, it does give you the chance to see if you like the story or not.

Anyway, this story is rather cool because it’s the first time that they have been able to reunite the full TARDIS crew of Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough. Janet Fielding has been notoriously reluctant to return to her role, and only recently realised that by doing so she was limiting what the others could do and chose to come back out of charity! It’s ironic that I got rather excited by this story, as I was never a fan of Tegan (she whined too much and gave Australians a bad name!) though I did adore much of the Peter Davison era. I find that I am able to appreciate Tegan a lot more now than I did when I was younger. I think I’d complain too if I was chucked into some of the situations she was!

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Flesh and Biscuits

Just a reminder that you can hear me reading my story Fleshy at Terra Incognita SF.

TISF is a great monthly podcast which asks writers in the Australian spec fic scene to read one of their own stories aloud. The really cute thing is that Keith Stevenson, the mind behind TISF, actually posts a microphone and recording gear to each month’s author! Luckily I was able to assure him we have a microphone, which saved him the postage for one month…

Fleshy is a story I wrote for 2012, the first of the Twelfth Planet Press anthologies – a collection of near future stories. It’s one of the few stories I’ve ever written which I think of as “real” science fiction – it was even inspired by an issue of Cosmos magazine! I think it was two separate articles that sparked off the story – one about cloning technology and another about making art out of body organs. Possibly I am imagining that second article.

“Fleshy” is about a woman whose partner brings home an experiment in cloning technology – which she, living from home, has to live with. It’s a story about ethics in science and in relationships, with plenty of pop culture references in there cos I love them (plus, it being one of my story, tea and biscuits) and it’s kind of icky! It was also the first story I ever had shortlisted in the Aurealis Awards. I’m pretty proud of it, and it was fun to read aloud.

So go have a listen!

Nostalgia & Artifice: a mixed review of Hornet’s Nest #1

Hornet’s Nest #1: The Stuff of Nightmares
an audio adventure written by Paul Magrs
featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor
and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates

The script of this audio adventure feels like it was written as prime bait with which to hook Tom Baker into reprising the role of Tom Baker. It was released by the BBC and not Big Finish, and it shows – it’s a deeply nostalgic imagining of Tom Baker’s Doctor, with more old-fashioned storytelling techniques than we are used to from the recent audio plays. Indeed, it has a lot in common with the audiobooks released in the 1970’s which also featured the mighty tones of the man himself.

I’m still not sure if I like it or not.

It’s very narrative based, rather than being a full audio play. Most of the story is either narrated by the now-elderly Mike Yakes in his discovery that the Doctor has taken up residence in an old country cottage full of “living” works of taxidermy and alien insects, or the Doctor himself, telling Mike of his adventures. There’s a LOT of the Doctor talking, in a fairly high-minded and artificial way – just like the good old days! Which is just fine for the many people who would happily listen to Tom Baker recite the phone book (he does possess one of England’s best and most interesting voices to listen to) and indeed this story is more interesting than a phone book.

Hmm, that bit didn’t sound awfully complimentary, did it?

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Spaceships in Your Ears: The Best of Big Finish

I’ve loved the idea of science fiction on audio since the old Earthsearch and Hitchhiker’s Guide plays (all of which we own on cassette tape) – there’s something gorgeously perfect about huge, high-budget space opera played out on such an “old-fashioned” format – though audio has had a huge renaissance in recent years thanks to the iPod. Honestly how did we ever get housework and exercise done before this?

Big Finish are a company who have been tirelessly working away for the last eleven years, producing high quality audio plays based on popular TV shows and comics with “cult” following. Their core productions are a series of really quite awesome Doctor Who plays, featuring actors from the original roles. As a long time reader of Doctor Who Magazine, I discovered the existence of these plays right from the start, but found them prohibitively expensive, and back in the late 90’s it was still a bit of a hassle to order things from overseas. It was before my long-term Amazon addiction really kicked in!

I did purchase Storm Warning, the first of the Eighth Doctor and Charley stories which formed several formal “seasons” and helped to define that Doctor beyond the disappointing TV Movie, and the first awesome “Gallifrey” series featuring Lord President Romana and her bodyguard Leela (plus two K9s!) and thoroughly enjoyed them, but because of my lack of time/opportunity to listen to audios, I didn’t get further into the Big Finish web of doom.

Since I got my iPod Touch, all bets have been off! I found a whole bunch of Big Finish plays through our local library, which served to fuel an addiction. Once I had run through I returned to the Big Finish site to discover not only that many of the plays are a lot more affordable than I remembered, but particularly that the postage is dirt cheap for overseas, and there are downloadable versions which means you don’t even have to pay postage! I have thus embarked on a frenzy of Big Finish – mostly I have to say I have been going for some of the older plays, some of which are are on such good special prices that it’s cheaper to buy the CDs and get them shipped to me than the downloads!

Here then is a rundown of some of the best Big Finish plays I have listened to recently and why I like them!

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On my iPod: the Ood Cast

Yeah, yeah. I needed a new Doctor Who podcast like I needed a family of squirrels in my laptop. But this one is really gooooood. I resisted many times, even when Nat from Nottingham (of Bridging the Rift) insisted how great it was, but finally I listened to the Ood Cast yesterday and fell in love.

It’s a gang of four performers who write songs and perform comedy skits in response to each episode, as well as chatting more seriously about it in the middle. My heart was won when they did a homage to Mike Skinner’s “dry your eyes mate” with a song all about River Song’s hallucinogenic lipstick. (damn, now I want to listen to the Streets all afternoon) Laura Simpson, the Ood brain behind the songs, is particularly talented, but the whole gang are fun to listen to.

Unfortunately only the most recent 10 eps seem to be available from iTunes, but they can all be found on the webpage. I know I’m going to be catching up with all of them! And next time possibly I’ll move a bit faster when Nat from Nottingham says I need to listen to something…

nobody puts baby in an alcove…

I have a new podcast already – yes, I’m fickle! In this case it’s Will Write for Wine, a brilliantly funny, giggly chatcast starring romance/paranormal/women’s fiction writers Lucy March and CJ Barry. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to Galactic Suburbia – only about a completely different genre. And you know, they drink while podcasting. We so couldn’t do that – we’d end up with every episode FOUR hours long.

I started with Episode 62, in which Lucy & CJ relaunch the podcast after nearly a year away, having both changed the names they write (and podcast) under. Along with fun regular segments like ‘guess that word’ and ‘latest obsessions’ they have a fantastic crunchy discussion about the pitfalls, benefits and psychological confusions that come from reinventing yourself as a writer, and writing under more than one name. The other eps are good too, I am very addicted now. Mango mimosas for everyone!

Jeff VanderMeer blogs about the 50th bookiversary of the very awesome Aqueduct Press and asks that press’s supporters to reblog that link. I’ve been so impressed with the Aqueduct books I have ordered and read over the last year or two – The Wiscon Chronicles, Writing the Other and The Secret Feminist Cabal. (I just searched my whole blog to discover I haven’t actually reviewed this properly, how dreadful! Possibly I was too busy telling everyone how awesome it was on a one to one basis) So yes, Aqueduct Press is brilliant, I can’t go to their website without finding a huge list of books I NEEEEEED, and their shipping to Australia is swift and reliable. Go. Get books. Or at least read this great interview with L. Timmi Duchamp.

Elsewhere on the internet, Pub Rants talks about the problem of e-books and regions, particularly about how hard it is to access US-English editions outside that country.

Genevieve Valentine, meanwhile, documented the experience of seeing the Eclipse movie, so the rest of us don’t have to.

10 greatest TV characters of all time

Thanks to Alisa, I am looooving Boxcutters, a weekly Australian podcast about TV. It is my new podcrush. I am particularly crushing on Nelly Thomas, but they’re all just plain adorable, smart and funny. They passed my own personal pop culture podcast test by recently discussing the Bechdel Test with intelligence and respect, plus they rave about things like Press Gang, Doctor Who and the latest HBO shows. Their unapologetic love of sublime AND ridiculous TV shows, and their sharp critical faculties are a pleasure to listen to, so thank GOODNESS I have something to make up for the fact that I have run out of Radio Free Skaro.

The recent eps have involved an ongoing project to assemble a list of the greatest TV characters of all time. They began by putting together a provisional list for discussion and are now asking listeners to send in their own top 10, and are discussing particular characters in each episode. I’ve particularly enjoyed recent discussions analysing the appeal of Daria Morgendorfer, Darlene from Roseanne, the Doctor, Hawkeye and Lynda Day.

One theme that has come up again and again is that when we choose “the greatest” it is actually an intensely personal choice, either because of how we relate to them now, or how we may have related to them in a nostalgic past.

So I thought I’d put a list together for myself, in lieu of doing the whole current 30 days of TV meme that is doing the rounds of LJ lately. I have been enjoying reading everyone’s posts but I kind of feel like I’ve missed the boat to do it myself.

So, Tansy’s Top 10 TV Characters (that I thought of in the last 24 hours) Continue reading →

Weekend Linkage 03-07-10

Am editing like a maniac, but a successful and productive maniac thanks to shipping one of my children off to play in a creek with her Glammer for the weekend.

When I’m not powering through my chapters, I have been reading:

Annalee Newitz over at io9 on how working women could change the future – a great piece of political & science fictional theory.

Jeff VanderMeer on anthologies from a reader’s POV

JJ of Uncreated Conscience talks about the re-jacketing of Cindy Pon’s historical Asian fantasy – which in paperback now looks like just another teen supernatural thriller without obvious cultural markers. JJ has written a balanced piece which looks at why such a compromise may be the best thing for the author, despite it being so very objectionable from an ethical standpoint.

Ari from Reading in Colour picks up on the same story, with alarm at how much power the few people who buy books for Barnes & Noble and Borders have over the entire publishing industry, and why this is bad news for diversity in fiction.

An in-depth discussion over at Shakesville looks at the bullying and harassment experienced by redheads, especially in British and Australian culture – the discussion is particularly readable for the way that the many (mostly American) participants who were previously unaware of this issue are so open to being educated about it, and it also looks at the way redheads are treated as exotic or comical figures in pop culture. A lot of anecdotal experience here which is quite powerful to read – though could be triggering to those who have experienced bullying or harassment.

Vonda MacIntyre on writing one of the first Star Trek tie in novels.

Oh, and it’s Big Finish Day! Until the end of Saturday, British time, the first 50 Doctor Who Big Finish audio plays are available for only 5 pounds each (including postage about AUS $11). If you’ve been meaning to check some of these out, now is the time! I can particularly recommend Storm Warning (the first 8th Doctor and Charley Pollard adventure) and Eye of the Scorpion (Peri and the 5th Doctor hook up with new companion the near-Pharoah Erimem).