Galactic Suburbia 130
In 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.
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 (Tor.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
Witches of Lychford
This book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost.
In Witches of Lychford, Paul Cornell takes the idea of witches being people (and particularly women) who are tasked in some way to protect the humdrum population from things they don’t understand. Here, the place is a bog-standard (on the outside) English village, which is facing a very real and common threat: a giant supermarket chain wanting to move into the village and Change Things. On the face of it those things are alarming enough for those who are traditionalist, or who moved to the country to get away from big business and the corporate nature of the modern world. Underneath, though, is a far more alarming truth – that changing things in Lychford, such as boundary markers and the like, could have devastating results for the way the ‘real’ world interacts with the world of Faery and other, more malignant dimensions.
Cornell’s focus is on the three women who might have a chance to do something about this. By far my favourite is Judith Mawson: at 71, she has “a list of what she didn’t like, and almost everything – and everybody – in Lychford was on it.” There’s a point late in the story where she grudgingly tells someone they are not on that list. Cranky old women for the win, I say. Judith is competent but not a superhero; she gets things done and grumbles about it – and sometimes she fails. Also, her tragedy is absolutely and completely appalling.
The other two women were less convincing to me. Having read a few of these Tor novellas it’s striking to see some of the similarities – I don’t know whether it’s deliberate or if it’s just fallen out that way in my reading. But there are some similarities in theme between this and Angela Slatter’s Of Sorrow and Such, and in one of the young women there’s a link to Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway because she spent time in the land of Faery and has been damaged by it. Her friend is the newly-arrived pastor, whose faith has been challenged by events in her past and who is really not feeling like she fits into the parish, where she herself grew up. Lizzie, the pastor, and Autumn both felt rather flat to me – especially coming off the back of McGuire and Slatter. Their issues were less emotionally gripping than I would have liked and they did not especially appeal to me as people, either (or perhaps concurrently). Nor did their role in solving the problems feel like it was fundamental.
Despite this problem of characterisation, I did still enjoy the book. It’s not a significant addition to the fiction on witches, or the real/faery divide, but it’s an interesting story and there are some lovely moments.