May 26th, 2010


Galactic Suburbia Episode 7

Galactic Suburbia Episode 7 is now available for download or subscription via iTunes.

We have our first guest to the show - Jonathan Strahan, editor, anthologist, fellow podcaster and my good friend - and that's our excuse for the showing running 2 hours long. We're looking at how to bring the show back to about 1 hour, we promise.


Nebula Awards winners
Asimov’s and Analong Reader Poll Results
The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction releases table of contents
Also there was controversy & discussion on the web recently about the table of contents of Before They Were Giants:
Tansy’s post
Alisa’s post
Aurealis Awards live again, much to everyone’s relief.
Will Online Magazines End the Eternal Slugfest Between Genre and Literary Fiction? — Jason Sanford @ Sf Signal
Angry Robot announces new podcast series hosted by Mur Lafferty and featuring our own Kaaron Warren in August

What have we been reading/listening to?

Alex: Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett; The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1, from 2003 (my picks: Geoff Ryman’s “Birth Days;” Carol Emshwiller’s “Boys”, Ursula le Guin on “Genre,” Ruth Nestvold’s “Looking through lace”); David Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy…
Jonathan: Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay; Kraken, China Mieville, Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
Alisa: Liar, Buffy Vols 1 -4
Tansy: The White Cat, Holly Black; A Book of Endings, Deborah Biancotti, Girl Genius Vol 9; listening to Fablecroft reviewing podcast

Pet Subject – Anthologies!

*everyone says anthologies don’t sell but they’re still on the shelves, if in smaller numbers than the olden days. What makes an anthology marketable in 2010?
*What makes us pick up an anthology to read, or choose one from the stack?
*What is the purpose of the Best Of? Is there a competitiveness between the different Best Of editors/books?
*What’s your dream anthology?

Feedback etc:

On identity, baggage and hoarding

The other night I moved the last of my stuff out of my old bedroom at my parents'. That's quite terrible isn't it, considering I moved out of home some 8 years or so ago now. It was only the top shelf of my wardrobe and truthfully it's the stuff that clearly I don't really *need* and perhaps the word *want* should be litmus tested as well. It's sort of funny because maelkann has been very actively persuaded by his parents to move the rest of his stuff out of his room and it's pretty fair for parents to get a room back in their house once a kid moves out. Hell I know I could damn well use an extra room! Why shouldn't we expect that they could use the space too?

I've been slowly sorting through my possessions as well, slowly addressing being ruthless about what I need and what I don't even want. I'm trying to expunge a small amount of possessions each week, either through throwing out, recycling or passing onto someone else who might have use for it. I've tended to not want to address this before, and have just packed up all my possessions in boxes and moved them from house to house with me. Afterall, it is "my stuff" and in some ways I feel that my stuff defines me - it forms my personal history, I suppose. It's where I came from, what I have gathered and what is part of me because it always *has* been part of me. Why yes, I am a hoarder.

And this exercise falls into two parts. One of them is coming to terms with who I actually am right now. A large amount of "stuff" in my study and bookcases is my phd research. And I've been very slowly asking myself a very big question, to which I have already answered the question indirectly by planning and moving in the direction I have set for myself for the next 5 years. Which in no way involves either the content of my phd topic nor actually returning to the work. I don't want to. I no longer have passion or interest in it. And it turns out that happiness in life is linked to not forcing yourself to do things or be that which you don't want to do or be. And so, if I don't want to finish that phd, that's kind of the end of the discussion. Isn't it? And yet actually culling this material is proving ... difficult.

The other part of this also relates to coming to terms with who I am right now. :) Aspects of reality, and how it's transient, sometimes do my head in. What I mean is, all I know is who I am right now - all that came before me contributed to that. And all that I am now will contribute to who I am tomorrow. But does that mean that I need to carry every keepsakes from every part of the journey along the way? Does something that I once loved and now no longer can relate to need to be kept? Will the person I become love it again and wish I hadn't thrown it away? Should I keep it because it represents where I was before? How do I know that the book I have no interest in reading right now will not be the perfect "to read" later on?

Going through my stuff in my bedroom the other night, I came across two pictures that once hung in my room - a clown with a tear and a pink scene of a little girl on a rocking horse in a dress up room. Neither of these two paintings are me, now, at all. And truthfully, I wonder if they were ever me - though I did do a lot of the pink - but both were mostly because they were objects and colours that other people *gave* to me. And I have to admit that much of these posessions that I carry with me is stuff that I have always carried because someone gave it to me. I'm the kind of person who keeps birthday gifts from her 10 year old birthday party even if she never liked them then and they were given to her by people she didn't even know that well. Like, it's stuff that other people thought I would/should like. And parts of an identity that other people think I have. Sometimes very removed from the reality, both then and now. And as soon as they got assimilated into "my stuff", they became the baggage that I literally carry with me from place to place *because I have always had it and therefore it is part of who I am because I have always had it*.

I don't know if that remotely explains the thinking of this hoarder. But I'm spending a lot of time trying to separate out that which I should keep for sentimental reasons and that which I feel sentimental towards only because it has always been amongst my belongings, and for no other reason than that. Do you have to keep presents from people who have long left your life and will never return? If they are never to be part of your life again, does it matter if you no longer remember them? Or keep something to remember them?

The truth is, I had too much crap last time I moved and at that point in time, I was not in a good head nor emotional space to sort and cull. But that move was agony. And when you move is exactly the wrong time to decide to sort your stuff, I reckon. So I want to just get into a routine of regularly culling crap. I used to do it regularly when I had to fit into one bedroom at home. And clutter and possessions just drag you down til they own you. I want to get to place where I only carry possessions that are important to me and that I need. And that in part involves disconnecting myself from the ideas I have about my stuff and looking at it honestly and ruthlessly.

It also involves reading and returning books and DVDs that I have borrowed. And that process, whilst it dictates some of the way I use my spare time in the short term also has this element of freedom about it - as I start to assuage myself of the borrowers guilt. I tend to way overborrow compared to possible turnaround time of said borrowed item.

There's this really cool thing, it turns out - decluttering brings a sense of freedom. Ownership of possessions has this weight associated with it. And so does the mess and untidiness of having too many things that they don't all go away neatly. Clear and tidy spaces bring such an uplifting feeling to me. And so does returning borrowed items and reducing to read/do/watch queues - freeing up of future spare time! In part I think that's what's also brought about this need to finish reading my to read queue and to start getting stuck into doing things with my fabric stash. In time I will turn to the yarn stash but I have been contemplating selling some of my cross stitch kits because I almost cannot see a time when I will ever get all of these projects done.
(And I didn't even say anything about the quandry of looking at WIPs of craft projects you both neither have any desire to finish nor even like anymore ...)