We’re back with what is becoming something of a modern science fiction classic, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. This is a book where humanity is defended by soldiers over the age of seventy-five and under the age of ten. Listen to the episode to hear us discuss universe building, characterization, imperialism, and bioethics. We also talk about the fuuuuture, quip machines, strange alien religions, and, of course, boobs.
Also, next week will be our year in review episode. If you have any last minute comments or questions about anything we’ve covered in the last year, get them in ASAP! If you’re not sure what we’ve covered since last March, go to the Episodes page and look at the titles in “Season Two.”
The music bump this week is a Carl Reike march called “Old Comrades,” performed by a tuba quartet because who doesn’t love that?
Old Man’s War – Six Year Old Adults
Gabs: 6/10. Easy to read, but probably best recommended to science fiction fans.
Ben: 8/10. Solid writing and an interesting universe, plus it made me laugh a couple of times.
Posted by Ben and Gabs Roman on March 4, 2014
Novel Ideas returns, still a tad off schedule, with Under the Dome by Stephen King. Yes we’re a week late. Yes we’ve switched up our order. But we made it. And we’re hoping to get back on track for a few weeks before our schedule mid-March disruption. But more on that later. Listen to the episode for our discussions on antagonists, black and white characters, feminism, and difficult thematic questions. We also talk about Stephen King-isms, people who don’t swear, functional bullshit detectors, and bursting a rage bubble.
The music bump is “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, chosen for possible thematic relevance.
Under the Dome – Worst Comedy Ever
Gabs: 8/10. A fun and compelling read, where you don’t stop to ask questions until after you’ve finished.
Ben: 8/10. A very entertaining book, assuming you aren’t scared of its sheer mass.
Posted by Ben and Gabs Roman on January 27, 2014
Novel Ideas returns with Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This episode was recorded several months ago to buy us some breathing room if we ever needed it. As it turns out, my time issues effect editing more than reading and recording, so I believe having this episode available has prevented zero missed podcast weeks. Good intentions and all, right? At any rate, listen to the episode to hear us talk about World War 2 tropes, friendship, homosexual undertones, and torture. We also discuss improv skills, Handsy McHandsfuck, shipper distractions, and experience our own brief distraction.
The music bump is “Beautiful Friendship” as performed by the Hanna-Fontana band. It has nothing to do with the thing the name sounds very similar to…
Codename Verity – What Do You Call A Female Bromance
It has been several months since we read this one, so we’re forgoing numerical ratings this week, but I can sum things up thusly:
Gabs: Thought it was good. Actually features several strong female characters in a setting where women usually aren’t featured.
Ben: If it’s about spies, I like it; if it’s about friendship, I don’t like it. Except I might like it anyway.
Posted by Ben and Gabs Roman on January 6, 2014
Novel Ideas returns at a strange interval with The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Our apologies for our odd posting schedule as of late, Ben’s day job leads to a rather turbulent schedule between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so editing and posting episodes tends to get pushed back. We’re hoping to at least be able to post on Mondays through the start of the new year. I guess we’ll see. At any rate, check out this week’s episode where we discuss marriage, feminism, the rejection of societal norms, and the adult readability of classics. We also talk about space penises, Victorian titillation, the romantic death trope, and why children are boring.
The music bump this week is Frederic Chopin’s Nocture opus 15, number 3 in G Minor, also subtitled “Solitude” for its possibly awakening Edna’s…. awakening, I guess.
The Awakening – Who Gives a Hell About Kissing
Ben: 6/10 I liked it more than not and provides some food for thought, though I didn’t find it especially compelling.
Gabs: 8/10 Minus two for the ending.
Posted by Ben and Gabs Roman on December 9, 2013
Novel Ideas returns with Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. Not to mention the second movie, which you may have heard, was released recently. We apologize for missing last week, illness and a new work schedule have been conspiring against us. In this episode, we discuss masculine and feminine character traits, PTSD, overly silent conspiracies, and inaction in the face of evil. We also talk about classic dick moves, Peeta as a potential creeper, whether President Snow is a vampire, and many, many prequel possibilities.
Ben’s holiday work schedule is fairly likely to result in more delays with editing and posting episodes, so the schedule may look a little jagged through the end of the year. Posts are most likely to occur on Mondays rather than Tuesdays for the duration. We’ll try not to miss any more weeks without putting it on the schedule in advance, but bear with us.
The music bump this week is “Fire in the Hole” by Steely Dan.
Catching Fire – Scalene Love Triangle
A very good read, as long as it isn’t the first book you ever read, with markedly more sophistication than the first book.
Gabs: 8.5/10 with the extra half point awarded for going beyond typical YA fare.
Ben: 9/10 I think I may have liked this one better than the first one, mainly due to the added political elements.
Posted by Ben and Gabs Roman on November 25, 2013
As promised, Novel Ideas returns with episode number two for this week: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. This is a book that is not easily summarized, as its narrative follows eight different women through various episodes in their life, not particularly linked by any continuous plot threads. Listen to the episode to hear us talk about genre vagueness, embarrassing parents, marriage, and character authenticity. We also discuss losing your mojo, baby hatin’, murder by anorexia, and what really defines your “second best bed.” And of course, feminism, though through a very positive lens this time.
The music bump is “Mah-Jong” by Chicago (yes, that Chicago).
The Joy Luck Club – China Is Not America
Ben: 8/10 One point for each cotagonist.
Gabs: 9/10 Just as enjoyable as Ender’s Game, but in a very different way. Also gets a gold star for being full of interesting, complicated women.
Posted by Ben and Gabs Roman on November 14, 2013