Tag Archives: n.k. jemisin

Friday Links Buys Quite a Lot of Books Actually

10 good reasons not to feel guilty about reducing book buying in 2012

Is it me, or are these weeks coming around REALLY FAST? 2012 is prancing by, and what do I have to show for it? Well OK, one published novel, four completed short stories, a novel in progress that seems to be working and a handful of awards nominations, but apart from that??

The soccer season has started, and for once I’m not talking about Arsenal, which has been elating and frustrating me in equal measure since last September, but about young Raeli, kicking off for another season, this time in the Under 7’s. The good news is, her spikes still fit, which was something of a relief because I don’t have the cash to buy her new ones.

In the mean time, I have LINKS for you.

My honey sent me an email this week saying ‘you are a superhero’. Which, OBVIOUSLY. But it turned out he was referring to this, an article about how curating the internet is becoming more and more important, and the people who do this work are, well, superheroes. I have to say, I like the term ‘curators’ as it feels a lot less elitist than ‘gatekeepers’. Though of course, ‘doorbitch’ is still my favourite. HEAR ME, INTERNET? I AM YOUR DOORBITCH.

At the Intergalactic Academy, a great post by Phoebe about a current trend to discredit/challenge the genre credentials of teen dystopia novels because they also have romance in them and thus might SNEAKILY be contaminated with girl germs. Only, of course, she says it better or I wouldn’t be linking to her. I know we don’t read the comments but some important discussion did happen in these – in particular, addressing one of Phoebe’s key points about how you probably shouldn’t be refiling these books as ‘romance’ without knowing something about the romance genre, and it’s actually a bit more complicated than “I SUSPECT THIS IS A KISSING BOOK!”

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin

The trouble with discussing the books I read on the Galactic Suburbia podcast (as I did with this one in episode 20) is that I forget to blog about them – or I remember, but the sticky note gets ignored for ages because I feel like I’ve already discussed it…

I didn’t want to let The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms go without comment, though, because it’s one of the most interesting, original and intelligent fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time. It works against so many of the cliches and expectations of fantasy fiction, and while I think it doesn’t always succeed at everything it tries to do (it is, after all, a first novel), it made me genuinely excited for the genre.

For a start, it’s a complete story. Jemisin is writing a trilogy, but she has chosen to interpret that has being three individual novels set in different parts of the same world, with different protagonists and narrative threads. This is something I would love to see more of, as there is really nothing more satisfying than reading a novel that is complete in and of itself.

The premise of the novel is that the magical royal family of the hundred thousand kingdoms all live together in a city called Sky, forming an odd culture because only members of their family can live there – and so everyone from the king to the servants are all linked by blood. Part of this family’s power comes from the enslavement of the gods, who are trapped in mortal bodies. Portraying gods as characters is always a difficult task, as with any non-human race: if they are too alien it is hard for a reader to connect with them and their priorities, but if they are too human it seems inauthentic. I was impressed at the portrayal in this novel of various eternal creatures, and I did appreciate that while we have a clear cut heroine and some clear cut villains (everyone who wants to do bad things to the heroine), the story made it clear and believable that the culture had a different morality to our own. Many gods-as-characters in fantasy worlds are a little too amusing or shiny, like the children’s book versions of Zeus or Athena. I loved that the gods of Sky were so raw and complex and unpredictable, with humans only really able to understand them a small piece at a time.

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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!