I suspect some of you know about Galactic Suburbia already (Hi!), but do you all?
Having only started listening fairly recently, I compiled their back issues into four audiobooks (it was way too big for just one), and am working my through, and loving it.
Galactic Suburbia is an Australia feminist speculative fiction podcast, hosted by three switched-on, outspoken, insightful women:
– and Alex, aka Random Alex, a Melburnian fan
Alex, Tansy and Alisa discuss, pontificate on, debate, and squee over SF news and awards, talk about the culture they’ve been consuming lately, review various SF texts, admit to their feminist imperfections, and chat about cons and stereotypes and discrimination and life and their pet subjects. It’s not all feminism all the time, but if you’re not on board with a critical feminist look at the field, this podcast is definitely not for you. (Or maybe it is – you could do with some educating, is all I’m saying.)
I love it that the show is long. They talk all the time about how they’re going overlength, but I love it. You’re not getting soundbites or boiled-down un-nuanced positions; you’re hearing three people (and sometimes their guests) hammering out the nitty gritty of their topics, examining them from every angle, and sometimes changing their minds or refining their positions over time. You get to hear them debating in an informed and passionate way – and sometimes you might find yourself arguing with them, as if they can hear you, when you’re out in public with your headphones on, not that that’s ever happened to me or anything. (I may have also burst out laughing at some points.)
And I love it that the three of them are coming from different places in the SF world – authoring, publishing, and consuming – though of course they’re all fans as well. And that they are fans of different aspects of SF, from ‘hard’ engineering science fiction to magical fantasy. And that you feel like you’re hearing part of their life, instead of actors in a studio: sometimes the baby cries, sometimes the dog barks, sometimes they need to take a break to take care of things. And most of all I love it that it feels like I’m sitting in a living room with them over cake and cocktails, and talking and joking and ranting and arguing about the cultural and fan world that simultaneously captivates and frustrates us immensely.
Also, there is cake.
My only personal criticism might be that sometimes they get to the end of a discussion about a book, and they don’t repeat the name and author so that I can make a proper mental note of it, having had my interest piqued by the discussion. Of course, I am probably just too lazy to go and look at the show notes for myself when I get home from my walk, except by then I’ve forgotten about it. Hrm. Whoops.
Example episode blurbs:
“In which we hit and run the Locus Recommended Reading List, tackle e-books and piracy, and delve into the knotty issue of religion in science fiction.”
“In which we bid farewell to Joanna Russ, talk e-publishing (again) and Alisa reads a real live actual book. With bonus raving about Doctor Who and Alistair Reynolds – in other words, another episode of Galactic Suburbia.”
“In which we surf the wave of feminist SF news that has deluged the internet this fortnight, plus Margaret Brundage, why YA books are allowed to be as dark as they want to be, the Tiptree Award, Connie Willis, were-thylacines, Ted Chiang and Alex finally discovers Bujold…”
“In which we have run out of our supply of feminist ire for 2010 and are reduced to being happy bunnies with rainbows and vanilla sprinkles. Also, we discuss re-reading, re-watching, and our (apparently unhealthy) emotional attachment to beloved books. With zombies.”
You can also catch the team at Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth, where their goal is to, with a few other reviewers, “read as many SF, fantasy and horror stories as humanly possible every year”.
Footnote: Also, I’m really sorry – I’m reviewing and recommending this even though I’m aware there are no transcripts. I think transcripts would be amazing. I suspect Alex, Alisa and Tansy think transcripts would be amazing. At two+ hours per podcast, it would be a massive, massive undertaking to have transcripts produced, and I have no idea if there is that sort of volunteer labour available – I know I couldn’t do it.