Monthly Archives: October, 2015

Leviathan Wakes: redux

I have the fourth book in the Expanse series waiting to be read… but I haven’t read the other three in a long time, and then only once each. So, yes, I am re-reading. And I’m now going to do a Le Guin and REDUX my review of Leviathan Wakes.

Continue reading →

Fringe-y fairies

I’ve rewatched the first season of Fringe and made these, in the last few weeks:


Quite happy with how they turned out. I was meant to have yellow and brown, too – not sure how I forgot to order those – but I made do.

New Galactic Suburbia!

Feedback episode! Thanks so much for all your emails, tweets and voicemails. You can listen to us via iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Tansy: Andre Norton Sargasso of Space; I am Princess X, Cherie Priest; The Wicked & The Divine, by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie; Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Alex: Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie; Newt’s Emerald, Garth Nix; Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deb Biancotti.

You can Skype us to leave a short message about any of our topics or episodes, to be included in a future show.

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UnknownI received this book from the publisher at no cost.

This is a really hard story to talk about without major spoilers. So initially, let me know: the premise is quite clever – man makes machine that may well interfere with the very fabric of reality – and there are some nice points of world building. There’s a point at which you may well wonder whether your version of the text has somehow been corrupted (I did), but it’s actually the story itself, as you discover when you keep going (… unless your copy actually is corrupted…). However, I had some issues, mostly in the characters which I’ll mention in the spoilers section; partly it was in the prose itself, which at times just felt clunky.

Continue reading →

Newt’s Emerald

UnknownI received this book from the publisher at no cost.

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of Garth Nix’s books for a long time. I’ve only recently started reading some Regency romances, though, so the idea of Nix writing one ‘with a magical twist’ was an intriguing one.

The thing with Regency romances is that there’s a fairly standard plot arc – indeed, it applies to most romances, right? Girl and boy, difficulties, difficulties overcome. Of course sometimes that trope is subverted, but it’s still clear that that subversion is happening for a reason. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; the point is that you know what’s probably going to happen, and the fun bit is all the extra stuff: what exactly will the author throw at Our Heroine? Which of the potential beaux will actually be the Right One? How witty can the banter be? How many dresses can be worn, how many snubs borne, how much tea drunk and how many headaches faked?

Um. It’s possible I’m becoming a fan.

Continue reading →

A New Hope

And now we get to the original series. Which is… interesting.

A New Hope: things that were quite good

  • James: “listen to that analogue sound. Beryllium bells!”
  • Ah, the childhood reminiscences. For a very long time, I thought the trumpets for 20th Century Fox were actually for Star Wars.
  • That opening, with those starships? SWOON.
  • At least you didn’t retcon the voices of the stormtroopers.
  • Feisty Leia!
  • You managed to convey so much emotion from a rolling rubbish bin and a few beeps. Bravo, George.
  • The prequels made me feel far empathy for Owen and Boru than I had previously experienced (this may also be due to Age).
  • I am totally fine with the idea of Ewan McGregor growing up to be Alec Guinness.
  • Most of the additions to Mos Eisley are basically ok.
  • The cantina song. Which was nearly our wedding processional.
  • Han Solo!
    • Who totally always shot first.
    • And is responsible for a lot of ladies (and not a few fellas, I would guess) having their first ‘scoundrels are swoon-worthy’ moment.
  • Alec Guinness.
  • Darth Vader v Obi-wan is surprisingly more poignant coming right off the back of the prequels.
  • Han Solo.

What were you thinking, George?

  • You FRIDGED Owen and Boru, George. That was callous.
  • Even though the additions to Mos Eisley are mostly ok, I still don’t know why you bothered. Seriously. Leave well enough alone, George.
  • Stormtroopers are really bad shots.
  • Luke is So. Whiny. “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!” said every self-absorbed adolescent ever.
    • Which I get, there has to be some development, but does he have to be SO mopey?
  • The throne room scene. So cheesy. So very cheesy. Grins for everyone! Teeth out in the hope of a sequel!

Revenge of the Sith

Unknown-1We actually did watch this a couple of days after Episode 1 and Episode 2, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to write about it at the time.

Movie whose name I couldn’t initially remember: things that weren’t too bad:

  • The opening fight scene is quite nice.
  • Christopher Lee. Again.
  • Anakin’s robotic arm is nicely styled.
  • Samuel L. Jackson
    • Samuel L Jackson fighting with a light sabre.
  • Ewan McGregor is way better in this film.
  • You gave General Grievous four light sabres. That was a stroke of genius.
  • Ian McDiarmaid is scenery-chewing good, for most of the film.
  • Yoda’s suffering as the Jedi are killed. True pathos – and in a puppet. Very nice.
  • A Wookie army!
  • Jimmy Smits!
  • Your classics is showing, George, moving from republic to empire.
  • I finally realised that Anakin’s costume journey parallels Luke’s (ooh, spoilers). That’s quite a nice touch.
  • Anakin and Obi-wan fighting is really pretty cool.
  • The parallel of the twins being born with Vader being born is obvious, but still kinda cool.
  • James Earl Jones.
  • Jimmy Smits.

What were you thinking, George?

  • In the opening credits you say there are heroes on both sides. Why are you confusing the young people with this even-handed post-modern crap?
  • Your droid general sounds like he has emphysema. Or possibly TB. If he was in an 19th-century dress and sounded like that, you’d know there was a death scene coming up. DROIDS DON’T COUGH, GEORGE.
    • ETA: Thanks to Grant I’ve discovered that Grievous is actually a cyborg, who coughs because Windu shot him. In the Clone Wars cartoon. Which just transfers my annoyance: nice little plot point for those in the know, but for the rest of us it’s just confuses. Bad, George; bad.
  • Unknown-2Why wouldn’t a queen let a female senator continue to act in a role she’s clearly been good at just because she has a baby? No, seriously George, why is this a problem?
  • Tell me, George, how exactly is destroying the Sith going to bring balance to the Force? Balance implies, well, balance – stuff on both sides. Without the Sith doesn’t that mean it’s going to be all one-sided? I’m not saying I like the Dark Side, but balance is not the word you’re looking for here.
  • Anakin’s petulance moves his well-founded angst and concern for his mother away from Macbeth or Hamlet and more towards many ten-year-olds I know (and, let’s be honest, Luke in Episode 4).
  • Ian McDiarmaid’s make-up after being beaten up is really, really bad.
  • Anakin goes Total Evil way too quickly.
  • You reduced Padme to weeping and fretting. From elected queen to senator to weeping and wailing. This is not an adequate plot arc, GEORGE. Very disappointing.
    • Also Anakin treats Padme as property. I understand he’s evil but that’s still not cool.
  • “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” Do you even see what you did there, George?
  • I wrote “No respect for traffic patterns” in my notes. I don’t remember what I meant, but still, TRAFFIC PATTERNS, George.

But finally, my biggest gripe, George, is that you did not include Han Solo anywhere in these prequels. You included Boba Fett for heaven’s sake, and Chewbacca, and ANTILLES, but no Han. No moment in a bar where a grizzled man claps a hand to a young boy’s shoulder and says “this is my nephew, I’m teaching him about smuggling”? Why, George? Why?

Ancillary Mercy

This book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost.

Spoilers ahead for Ancillary Justice (reviews here and here – yes I loved it enough to review it the second time around) and Ancillary Sword.

Unknown-1Sooo… first thing to admit: it took me reading someone else’s review to realise that Justices, Swords and Mercies are all the sorts of ships that Breq is in charge of. How embarrassing that I did not realise that.

Secondly: yes, I love this series, I love Leckie’s work, I love Breq and the world she inhabits. My love is true and remains unshaken.

Further note: I’m just going with ‘she’ to refer to everyone, when I have to. I think there’s one person whose gender is actually confirmed (… maybe…insofar as that ever can be in these books) and it just does violence to my brain to go with he/she when Leckie herself (ahaha) goes with SHE. So nyer.

As with Justice to SwordMercy starts almost immediately Sword finishes off. I quite like this, since it means there doesn’t need to be any tedious filling in of blanks. It also means I’d like to see an omnibus edition where you can just read the whole lot, start to finish. It wouldn’t even be that much bigger than a complete edition of The Lord of the Rings. Breq continues to have issues with Anaander Mianaai, ruler of the Radch and therefore of civilisation as the Radch defines it… Continue reading →

Domnall and the Borrowed Child

This book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost.

UnknownI did not love this book.

It’s perfectly adequate as a re-hashing of the ideas about Faerie stealing children and possible consequences and so on, but I don’t think it’s as clever as it thinks it is.

I think the idea of only the old and somewhat pathetic faeries still being around is meant to be – amusing? challenging? – but instead it just comes off as a bit confusing, because the reason for that isn’t really explored; sometimes an info dump can be useful. Additionally I think what happens with the mortal woman is meant to, I dunno, challenge expectations or something. Didn’t really work.

Domnall comes across as a bit boring, rather than the somewhat sly, hard-working and long-suffering fae that I think was the intention. And if he wasn’t meant to be that, and was instead meant to be the lazy good-for-nothing whose butt is kicked to get more done – well, that didn’t really work either. The sidekick that he accidentally ended up with didn’t have enough character to be a funny, ambitious, or appropriately sidekick-y sidekick, and there were a couple of uncomfortable moments between them too (of a sexual nature – nothing too squick, don’t worry).

The plot itself is serviceable, and if that sounds like damning with faint praise… that’s probably about right.

Galactic Suburbia 130

Party Down 2009 Key artIn Which We Have High Expectations Of What Lies Beyond Equality, but in the meantime there’s Party Down. Get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

We apologise for the sound quality of this episode, which had a few glitches that even the Silent Producer could not magic away, notably Alisa’s emergency phone call which the mike occasionally picks up. (Everything’s fine now.)

What’s New on the Internet

7 Jewish Authors Get Personal About Anti-Semitism (Alisa finds 7 new authors to read)

SF Editors Picks – Recommendations on great new SF/F/H stories by top editors.
Twitter @SFEditorsPicks
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Mind Meld w/ Tansy & Tehani – Books That Made Me Love SFF

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Scandal S1 and S2; Party Down S1 and S2; Coode St Podcast Ep 251: Kristine Kathryn Rusch and women in SF; The Serial Dynasty podcast

Tansy: House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard; Alias by Brian Michael Bendis ( reread leading up to the show on Nov 20), SHIELD 50th Anniversary comics – Mockingbird [woo since we recorded this they announced it was going to series with the same writer!], [Don’t call her] The Cavalry, Agent Carter, Fury, Quake

Alex: Aurora: Beyond Equality; Up the Walls of the World, James Tiptree Jr; Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, Samuel Delany

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