Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

October 8, 2012

MRP Day 8 – Galactic Suburbia

Filed under: podcasts,reviewage,the month of relentless positivity — lexifab @ 10:04 pm

Today I turn the Month of Relentless Positivity spotlight onto the Galactica Suburbia podcast. GalSub, as I think probably nobody calls it, is a much-anticipated regular feature on my listening queue. Some ‘casts I will allow to back up, so that I end up listening to two or three episodes back to back, but (like War Rocket Ajax) Galactic Suburbia is one that I tuck into as soon as possible after I finish downloading it. Why?

Galactic Suburbia is an Australian podcast of speculative fiction news and discussion. The three hosts are Tansy Rayner Roberts (specfic author and soon-to-be crime writer), Alisa Krasnostein (small independent publisher at Twelfth Planet Press) and Alex Pierce (who does excellent review-blogging). The discussions roam all over the speculative fiction sphere, from the latest blockbuster SF movie or fat fantasy trilogy to obscure book launches, the latest controversy sending fandom into conniptions on the internet or who is winning what awards this month. The hosts look at their subjects particularly from a feminist standpoint, analysing gender issues, biases and behaviours and calling out examples of problematic choices and old-fashioned misogyny in the spec fic field.

That might make them sound like shrill one-note critics finding fault with everything, which could not be further from the truth. Galactic Suburbia is a fun podcast. While their news segment often focuses on some rather unedifying stuff – crappy publisher behaviour, stupid things writers says in response to critics, flamewars and dogpiles on the internet etc – the hosts usually find the funny or positive side of it. And speaking personally, they’ve introduced me not only to a lot of authors I might never have read or even heard (especially Australian writers, both men and women) but also opened my eyes to a lot of issues – race, gender, disability, religion – that might not otherwise have occurred to me to think about. They’ve helped to expand my field of view, they’ve shown me new things to be interested in and they’ve had a considerable influence on my reading list. Not to mention they get a few laughs along the way.

I couldn’t ask much more than that from a fortnightly podcast.

7 Comments »

  1. Analysing speculative fiction from a genderist perspective seems to me a bit like going through the Uffizi gallery looking at all the patches of yellow paint. Human gender is transient and trivial in comparison to the important questions facing sentient beings; human cultural attitudes to gender are even more transient and trivial. (Not that this will stop me working on the second volume of my “Diary of Space Nympho” trilogy)

    Comment by Dr Clam — October 9, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  2. One person’s ‘transient and trivial’ is someone else’s ‘how long do we have to put up with this shit?’ It’s a pretty meaningless distinction if the transience is measured in multiples of human lifespans.

    And it’s not as if that’s the only way to look at speculative fiction, nor that that’s the only way that GS views it – but that is the point of difference for me between them and other SF discussion fora.

    (Besides that – why on earth is gender analysis any less valid than other forms of critique? If it’s criticism in general that you don’t like, you should just say that, but if not then this reduction makes zero sense to me).

    Comment by lexifab — October 9, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  3. “Why on earth is gender analysis any less valid than other forms of critique? If it’s criticism in general that you don’t like, you should just say that, but if not then this reduction makes zero sense to me.”

    My POV is: Spec fic should be big. Really big. Criticism of spec fic should also be big. Any criticism that focuses on one small part of the vision is, well, small-minded.

    Of course I should probably listen to some of them there podcasts before getting on my equine thingy.

    Comment by Dr Clam — October 9, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  4. Mmm, probably. But in that case this recent essay by Paul Kincaid might be more to your taste:

    http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?type=&id=904&fulltext=1&media=

    It’s a very recent dissertation on the state of science fiction. I can’t much comment on it because I’ve read almost nothing it cites, but it’s interesting (and somewhat controversial) big-focus criticism.

    Comment by lexifab — October 9, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  5. Or at least check the links. Alex’s reviews of “Existence”, “Clockwork Rocket” and “Distress” (the only places our reading overlaps so far in my scrolling down) seem comprehensive and wise and not at all like ‘gender-specific’ analysis.

    Comment by Dr Clam — October 9, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  6. The problem may be, I think, that science fiction has lost confidence in the future. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it has lost confidence that the future can be comprehended.

    Yep, that sounds like something I wrote a few years ago… :/

    Comment by Dr Clam — October 9, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  7. I can’t discuss any of those, of course, because I barely read any long-form science fiction at all, at the moment. I do want to check out Existence and 2312 though. Anything that you would particularly recommend?

    Comment by lexifab — October 9, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

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