A new Galactic Suburbia episode freshly baked and ready for your consumption! Wow, we’re getting close to having 50 of these…
In which we bid farewell to the queen of dragons, squee about 48 years of Doctor Who, dissect the negative associations with “girly” fandoms such as Twilight, and find some new favourites in our reading pile.
RIP Anne McCaffrey
Charles Tan rounds up a bunch of tributes
48th anniversary of Doctor Who!
Tansy says it with pictures
Weirdfictionreview.com – a website devoted to The Weird and created by Luis Rodrigues. The project is the brainchild of editing-writing team Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
Critiquing the Bigotry of Twilight-haters, not the same thing as defending Twilight
Sarah Rees Brennan
Announcing the Galactic Suburbia Award – we don’t know what it is yet either but we’re figuring it out! Send emails/tweets to make suggestions.
What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alex: The Steel Remains, Richard Morgan; Alastair Reynolds, Blue Remembered Earth; “The Glass Gear” in Valente’s Omikuji Project; also watched Thor.
Tansy: Batman (1989); All Men of Genius, Lev A.C. Rosen; God’s War, Kameron Hurley. Comics: Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman (abandoned); Batgirl the Greatest Stories Ever Told
Alisa: Once Upon a Time; The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood
Note: the post we discuss which looks at the believability of the war in God’s War by Kameron Hurley was in fact not written by Cheryl Morgan, but by Farah Mendlesohn. Which explains why I wasn’t able to find it on Google last night. Thanks to Cheryl for correcting my confusion and my apologies to Farah. (quietly headdesks to self)
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Mmmm coffee cake. I have just returned from Raeli’s Book Week parade. She dressed up as Rhapsody from the Fairies which isn’t overly literary (though she has several of their books!) but she came up with the idea herself, based on a trouble-free costume she already had, so who was I to argue? I was also delighted that her obsession with Cats the Musical has gone viral, as her friend Inigo insisted on going as Macavity. Not sure if he had a copy of TS Eliot with him. 😀
The coffee cake came from the cake stall. Mmmm. Also from the Book Fair, I picked up a classic Alice in Wonderland colouring book and Egyptian sticker book for Raeli for our upcoming plane trip, and got myself a biography of Beatrix Potter purely because I adored the cover, plus she was heralded on it as a ‘Victorian genius’ which blew my mind. A female children’s author who drew slightly morbid pretty pictures (seriously, have you ever read Jemima Puddleduck, that book is MESSED UP) heralded as a genius! And a Victorian rebel, too. Had to buy it.
Anyway, getting distracted. On the way back I was listening to the latest Coode Street podcast in the car, and very pleased to get a shout out from some conversations I’ve had lately with Jonathan Strahan. Am totally working for my Feminist Advisory Committee t-shirt.
Once you get past the 10 or so minutes of discussion about what might or might not be happening with Gary’s microphone (SERIOUSLY, guys, learn to use the pause button!) I was interested to hear further discussion of the ongoing conversation they’ve been having about the core or centre of science fiction, and how that may or may not be the same thing.
Personally I really dislike the idea of science fiction having to have a core, mostly because I’m pretty sure the stuff I think should be in it is different to other people’s – I’ll have my own, core, thanks! And Jonathan acknowledged this, referring to a conversation we had when I pointed out that the younger you are, the more off-putting it is to be told (or have it implied) that you basically have to catch up on 60 or 70 (the younger you are the bigger the number gets) years worth of core material, before your opinion is worth something.
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Over at Justine Larbalestier’s blog, she asks the question: What do you think of the frequently mounted defence of Twilight and some other popular YA titles that no matter what you think of the writing style or content it’s intended for teens so that’s okay. Or at least it gets teens reading?
There have been some wonderful, inventive comments, not overly hamstrung by Justine’s insistence that the relative merits of Twilight not be under discussion in the thread (and fair enough too, it’s one of the easiest ways to derail said conversation).
I commented over there with a blog-length comment, mostly about how I don’t like the way the terms ‘bad writing’ and ‘good writing’ get thrown around (it is actually possible for one person to like a book, another to dislike it, and them both to be RIGHT), and particularly the way that they are used in regards to hugely popular works preferred by women readers. I recall overhearing a young teenage boy informing his mother in a bookshop that Harry Potter was ‘entertaining but badly written’ and I was stunned. Who was he to make such a pronouncement? Was it his own opinion, or one he had heard? How can you possibly dismiss a work as badly written if you find it entertaining?
Surely entertaining is one of those things that writing is intended to do?
After reading all the comments that have come in on Justine’s blog I have been formulating a different response to the question. I understand why people are reacting negatively to the suggestion that ‘it’s okay to let teens read bad books because they’re just teenagers, as long as they’re reading it’s good’ but so many of the responses to that are rubbing me up the wrong way.
Because, you know what? It’s none of our business what teenagers are reading.
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