Tag Archives: terry pratchett

Galactic Suburbia!

We’re back! Our now fully East Coast podcast has returned to delight and enrage you. You can us at iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.


Alisa moved house; Icefall by Stephanie Gunn acquisition for TPP, new Author Spotlight of the Month gig at TPP

Tansy new novella Girl Reporter released, How To Survive An Epic Journey at Uncanny Magazine, progress report on Mother of Invention.

Locus Recommended Reading List and poll now open for Locus Awards.

Hugo nominations open

Stella Sparks long list includes Claire Coleman for Terra Nullius

Alisa: All Systems Red, Martha Wells; Altered Carbon; Star Wars The Last Jedi; The Expanse S1; AfroFuturism
Alex: Elysium Fire, Alastair Reynolds; Altered Carbon, Star Trek Disco; Norma reading; The Wicked and the Divine vol 5; Terry Pratchett: Tiffany Aching reread.
Tansy: Alanna the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce; Arcanos Unraveled, Jonna Gjevre; Star Trek Disco – read Liz Barr’s reviews; Mary Beard, Women & Power; Ursula Le Guin, Cheek By Jowl, the Pratchat podcast, Steven Universe, Unstable Unicorns

What did you read to commemorate the passing of Ursula Le Guin? Check out the GS Bookclub re-read on our Facebook page.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon – which now includes access to the ever so exclusive GS Slack – and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 156

In which Tansy and Alex share a culturepalooza — witches, spies, hockey romance and magical secret agents! Get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

New on the internet?

@GailSimone asking for recommendations of books/comics by POC, LBGTQ or other marginalised creative teams.


Alex: The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett;
Tansy: Her Every Wish, Courtney Milan;
Alex: The Song From Somewhere Else, AF Harrold;
Tansy: Mockingbird,
Alex: Long Hidden anthology, Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older;
Tansy: Sarina Bowen The Ivy Years: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year;
Alex: Agents of Dreamland, Caitlin R Kiernan;
Tansy: The Hamilton Mixtape,
Alex: Imprudence, Gail Carriger
Tansy: The Miraculous Ladybug

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, 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!

Galactic Suburbia 106

In which the Galactic Suburbia crew discuss the future and present death of blogs, explore our personal relationships with social media (but mostly Twitter), and stage a memorial ceremony for the death of Livejournal. WE LOVED YOU, LIVEJOURNAL.
You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.


! Spoilerifics!! Oh my!

Pet Topic

Future redundancy: The death of blogs?
What blogs do you still read? What blogs are the key places to find out about shiny new things?

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Tansy: Intelligence

Alex: Risk: Legacy; Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett; Beacon

Alisa: yes we really are going to make her throw a book away every single time. She… reinterprets the term’s challenge. But the results are worth it.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


Way back when I was doing my undergrad degree, I did a subject called Popular Fiction. I was excited to be reading popular fiction and calling it work for uni! I was less excited when I got to the first tutorial to discover that, of about 20 of us, I think only 2 or 3 admitted to actually reading popular fiction regularly… everyone else said they were doing the subject “to know what other people read” (I paraphrase).* This made me a bit bullheaded. So did the lecturer insisting on differentiating between the reading/appreciating of literature, versus the consumption of popular fiction. This one still makes me angry, although I do wonder now how much the younger me missed nuances here; the lecturer was definitely cluey enough to understand Austen and Shakespeare as originating in the popular sphere. So perhaps I overreacted and/or misunderstood some aspect.

Anyway, over time I have come to terms with the fact that yes, actually, I am a consumer of popular culture, and that is OK. It does not make that culture bad, it does not mean that I am no appreciating it properly, etc etc. Basically I have grown up, and grown into my skin. So I am quite happy to say that hell yes I consume Terry Pratchett books. I devour them: I read them quickly, in concentrated blocks of time; they don’t require me to stop and worry over words or sentences that don’t make sense. That said, I tend to treat Literature (when I have to read it) in much the same way. At the very same time, though, as Anita Sarkeesian rightly insists, just because you enjoy a product of popular culture doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be critically analysed (again, I paraphrase).


This is the long way round to saying “I read Snuff! It was awesome!”

… and dealt with some big issues in clever ways, as you would expect. (There are some spoilers below.)

Pratchett has dealt with racism, via speciesism, before: human reactions to werewolves, vampires, dwarves, trolls, zombies, etc etc – these have all been coded as racial. And, from memory, generally done well (I could be wrong there; it’s been a while). In Snuff Pratchett makes this the central issue, because the main problem revolves around goblins and whether they ought to be treated as sentient, sapient, creatures. For a long time they have been regarded as vermin, and many people have treated them in ways matching that perception. But now Sam Vimes and family are off for a Holiday, and there are Hints that all is not well in the bucolic surrounds he finds himself in. Not least the difficulty of understanding crockett, and having to confront horses.

I’ve had to think carefully about the way Pratchett portrays the goblins. One of the crescendo moments is a goblin, Tears of the Mushroom, playing the harp for a huge crowd in Ankh-Morpok. That is, a member of a subjected race, wearing ‘civilised’ clothes, goes to the heart of civilisation and plays an instrument that is coded as approaching the zenith of musical accomplishment, and there impresses the (civilised) bigwigs. This could all be seen as uncomfortably close to recreating the classic idea of the western civilising mission.

… Except. Except that the goblins have already been shown, very clearly, to have their own culture and don’t need ‘civilising’. They have a rich language, evidenced clearly by their names (Tears of the Mushroom!); they make art (some of which is so precious that humans who regard the goblins as little better than animals will steal it); they care for one another and about justice. They are wretches in that they are wretched – through no fault of their own. And Tears of the Mushroom plays her own composition, and is in no way dismayed by the audience before her. By the time Tears of the Mushroom plays, the reader should be so convinced about the sentience and sapience of the goblins that any of the characters doubting it should cause serious eye-rolling. Many of the human characters are also convinced early on, which is also intended to convince the audience, just in case you missed all of the other very obvious signs.

Thus what Pratchett is doing is showing, to some extent, an example of the old westernising/civilising mission – there’s no doubt that’s what Miss Beadle is doing, whatever her intentions – and then… not entirely sending it up, but certainly undermining it, and definitely showing that is is quite unnecessary for the sake of the goblins themselves. Although maybe it’s necessary for the acknowledged-as-civilised, to make them realise what they are doing to this race.

There are other issues under examination here too. The place of landed gentry and inherited titles (written after all by Sir Pratchett), with a lovely sneaky homage to Jane Austen; and how a copper manages to love both his work and his family. Pratchett has delved into Sam Vimes’ head a few times in the recent books and I think his ideas about policing etc are utterly intriguing. I especially loved here the abstracted notion of the Street as something that stays with people like Vimes, and helps him to be who he is.

I love the Discworld. I think the books are, as a whole, getting better. I wish I thought there were many more to come.

*I was also less excited about having a Jackie Collins novel on the booklist. In three years of English at uni, this is one of the few books I just did not read.**

** One of the others was Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle.***

*** I also didn’t finish James Joyce’s Ulysses. Peh; bad taste in the mouth.

Galactic Suburbia 64!

In which we talk Smurfette, gender bias on Wikipedia, Redshirts, Regency magic and Captain Marvel. Also, Tansy turns the microphone off a lot so you can’t hear her sneezing. You have much to thank her for.


Shirley Jacksons! Winners announced.

A new Sleeps With Monsters column by Liz Burke: The Smurfette Principle – We Can Do Better

How Kate Middleton’s wedding gown reveals the gender bias in the Wikipedia system.

Journey Planet Issue 13 – specifically special section on gender parity for con panels including our own Alisa

The ComicCon Batgirl returned to SDCC this year, asking DC Comics about why Stephanie Brown has been removed from the Smallville comics.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Redshirts by John Scalzi (read by Wil Wheaton)

Tansy: The Truth by Terry Pratchett, Sherlock Holmes The Final Problem/The Empty House (Big Finish Productions), Captain Marvel & The Avenging Spider-Man #9 by Kelly Sue DeConnick

The Secret History of Moscow, Ekaterina Sedia; Salvage, Jason Nahrung; Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal

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

Galactic Suburbia 57: now with extra Hugo nominations

In which this Hugo nominated podcast is Hugo nominated and discusses the Hugo nominations while being Hugo nominated. Also, the internet is full of things. Some of those things discuss gender, feminism and equality, some have wide ranging implications for the future of SF awards, and some of them are nominated for Hugos. You can download us from iTunes or get us from Galactic Suburbia.


Hunger Games: Build up to make a hit
The reviews are in:
Topless Robot
Our Alisa
“But in the real world, the character Katniss Everdeen faces an even greater challenge: Proving that pop culture will embrace a heroine capable of holding her own with the big boys. It’s a battle fought on two fronts. First, The Hunger Games must bring in the kind of box office numbers that prove to Hollywood that a film led by a young female heroine who’s not cast as a sex symbol can bring in audiences. And second, for Katniss to truly triumph, she must embody the type of female heroine — smart, tough, compassionate — that has been sorely lacking in the popular culture landscape for so very long.”

The Clarke Award Shortlist:
Christopher Priest’s original post
Cat Valente responds:
“Because let’s be honest, I couldn’t get away with it. If I posted that shit? I’d never hear the end of what a bitch I am”; and further response

Outer Alliance discussion on Gay YA Dystopia & Paolo Bacigalupi

Qld Premier cancels Premiers Literary Award
“Before the election, the LNP pledged to cut government “waste” as part of its efforts to offer cost-of-living relief to Queenslanders.”
Response of Queensland Writers Centre

The Fake Geek Girl at the Mary Sue

Eisner Award shortlist

Kate Elliott on the portrayal of women in pain & fear

Ashley Judd on the media’s attitude to women and their bodies

Valente on the war against women in the real world

Philip K Dick Award

Chronos Award Ballot

Tehani on Aurealis Awards stats, gender

BSFA stuff – Actual winners
The first post that raised the problems with the ceremony.
A response (there for historical sake, though I think since at least partly recanted)
how the Tweets saw it
Cheryl’s take
**The BSFA issued an apology right about when we were recording**

Jim Hines works through his privileged dumbassery
Kirstyn McDermott works through whether her feminism is good enough

Vote for Sean the Blogonaut for NAFF

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alex: Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett; Showtime, Narrelle M Harris, Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy; 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson; The State of the Art, Iain M Banks

Tansy: So Silver Bright, Lisa Mantchev; Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis; Cold Magic, Kate Elliott

Alisa: The Hunger Games (movie and books), The Readers (podcast)

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

Galactic Suburbia: now half a century old

In which we leap happily back and forth (with occasional ranting) over those fine lines between feminist critique and anti-female assumptions, plus share our bumper collection of holiday culture consumed. Happy New Year from the Galactic Suburbia crew!


Hugo nominations open and we’re gonna have our say

Aqueduct Press will be publishing Brit Mandelo’s thesis, “WE WUZ PUSHED: On Joanna Russ & Radical Truth-telling”!

Islamic superhero comic turned animated series The 99 to screen in Australia (ABC3)

Amanda Palmer’s wedding post

Great piece on how the very idea of ‘Mary Sue’ is sexist, ties into this episode’s theme about the criticism of female characters.

The wealth of powerful girl heroes in today’s YA


Alisa: Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal; The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (with cover art by Kathleen Jennings); The Vampire Diaries; Primeval; The 99; Planetary; Homeland and Boxcutters.

Alex: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon, Julie Phillips; Changing Planes, Ursula le Guin; Perchance to Dream, Lisa Mantchev; Twilight Robbery, Frances Hardinge; Chronicles of Chrestomanci vol 1, Diana Wynne Jones. DOA and Going Postal.

Tansy: The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman; Beauty Queens, Libba Bray; Snuff by Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (TV) – Batman (animated) & My First Batman Book by David Katz, David Tennant & Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing (DIGITAL THEATRE DOWNLOAD AWW YEAH).

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

Galactic Suburbia 48

After our producer went to the effort of getting this out almost minutes after we finished recording, this is a belated set of show notes…

In which we save the Tasmanian Devils, take on the Classics, review cars, discover that toy fandom exists, plan to read LOTS of Australian women writers, and Wonder Woman still doesn’t have pants. You can get us from iTunes or from


Coffeeandink on The Erasure of women writers in SF and Fantasy

Mur Lafferty – My Problem With Classics

Open letter to publishers: book bloggers are not your bitches

Kate Gordon’s Devil Auction – help to save the Tasmanian Devils! (kitten pictures with TEETH)

Australian Women Writers Challenge – sign up now

Jason Nahrung posted a list of the books he plans to read for the challenge – let us know what yours are!

In association with this, Tansy produced a list of award-winning SF/Fantasy books by Australian women.

Please keep sending in your suggestions for a Galactic Suburbia Award – we hope to have a plan for this by our 50th episode and are loving reading the tweets and emails so far.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Bellwether by Connie Willis; American Horror Story; Yarn by Jon Armstrong

Tansy: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor; Jingo & The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett, Shortpacked, a webcomic about toy fandom, obsessed people, lots of GLBTQ characters and feminist commentary on pop culture such as this strip about False Equivalence.

Alex: Coode St podcast with Ursula le Guin, and also with Ian McDonald and Alistair Reynolds; Spook Country, William Gibson; One of Our Thursdays is Missing, Jasper Fforde; Pirates of the Caribbean 4!

Feedback from Kitty of Panel2Panel:
Reasoning With Vampires
Kitty’s post about why Marvel has no equivalent hero to Wonder Woman

TANSY RECS for DC comics that don’t treat women appallingly:
Birds of Prey (start as early as possible, either with the Chuck Dixon issues which are pretty good, or the Gail Simone run which is #56-108)
Power Girl: A New Beginning & Aliens and Apes – Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner
Catwoman run by Ed Brubaker
Stephanie Brown Batgirl: Batgirl Rising, The Flood etc.
Secret Six, Gail Simone
Batwoman. Anything with Batwoman.
I HAVE NOT YET FOUND THE PERFECT WONDER WOMAN TRADE TO RECOMMEND. But I do think anyone interested in comics history could get value from reading her first year of adventures, available as Wonder Woman Chronicles Vol. One

Marvel dude saying we don’t have to have female characters

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

I Shall Read Midnight

(Sorry, couldn’t help myself with that post title.)

Is it heretical of me to say that I didn’t like this as much as other Pratchett novels? I feel bad for saying it. It’s certainly not that I disliked it – far from it – but I didn’t feel like it flowed as well as some of the other recent stories have.

Overall, I have loved the Tiffany Aching books a great deal. I love that we have followed a character from the age of eight or so, as she discovers that she has to do something that will set her apart from everyone else, and then goes through with it anyway. I love that that character is a girl. I love the way Pratchett has played with and inverted all sorts of tiresome notions from fairy stories and society more generally in writing these stories. I also love that Tiffany is a witch, because I adore the very concept of Headology.

Plus, Nac Mac Feegles for the win.

My issue is not with Tiffany. She continues to be a largely awesome character, who while dealing with adolescence can see the light at the end of that particular tunnel; who has mostly come to grips with being a witch, the burdens of that job and the expectations and responsibilities, while still being human enough to get intensely irritated by them sometimes. Many of the other characters were also brilliant – HELLO Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, making a comeback appearance! And a new witch, Mrs Proust, who is… all sorts of interesting. I would like to see her interacting with Vimes and the Guard. Or possibly Sybil. Plus the wonderful Preston, who is a totally ridiculous guard.

Also, Nac Mac Feegles. And more of Jeannie, the kelda, whom I love to bits. I love her attitude towards the Feegles… possibly because it reminds me of the way I would like to think that I deal with my students, it occurs to me.

Part of my trouble with this story is with the plot; not the details, but in some of the ways it gets places. There’s a feeling of disconnect between some sections, of moving too abruptly from one idea or action-scene to the next, which made me less than comfortable. I liked the vibe overall, though, of dealing with gigantic issues from history (quite literally) at the same time as dealing with very personal issues. The combination of “all witches are eeevil” with “how will I live with being a witch?” made a lot of sense, and the two complemented each other nicely.

My other minor issue was a feeling of repetition. Now I know, and usually enjoy, Pratchett’s habit of repetition – of phrases turning up again and again, of repeating information with slight changes in phrasing or emphasis. But, and I can’t point to exact instances so you’ll just have to believe me, here it fell a little flat. Perhaps there wasn’t quite the same twistiness, or… I don’t know. It just missed the mark a few times.

Still, it’s an enjoyable book, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. Because, yo, Nac Mac Feegles.

Galactic Suburbia 46 – bemusedly belated

Howie needs a Hat

This was meant to post last week!! I don’t know how it got stuck in drafts!!

In which we celebrate the World Fantasy Awards, take on the Kickstarter phenomenon and why people like to support authors/artists directly, Alex is betrayed by Isobelle Carmody, Alisa still can’t finish Tansy’s novel, and we indulge in a feedback frenzy. You can download us from Galactic Suburbia or get us from iTunes.


World Fantasy Awards!

Realms of Fantasy sinks for the third time

Graham Joyce calls BFS Extraordinary General meeting December 9th

Authors kickstarting their own projects:
Matt Forbeck – 12 novels in 12 months.
Laura Anne Gilman’s novella
CE Murphy’s novella
(mentions also of self publishing projects of Tracy & Laura Hickman, and Liz Williams)
Catherynne Valente’s Omikuji project looking for subscribers in order to keep the project going.
And Tobias Buckell talks about how just because you’re self publishing doesn’t mean you have to be a …

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts, The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood

Alex: the Stone Key and The Sending, Isobelle Carmody; I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett; end of Life on Mars S2; This is Not a Game, Walter Jon Williams; Distress, Greg Egan

Tansy: Ally Condie, Matched; Lisa Goldstein, The Uncertain Places; Gail Simone, Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation; Geek Tragedy, Nev Fountain

Feedback: well overdue!

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