The Martian

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For those of you who were expecting Sherlock Holmes… it has mysteriously disappeared. In its place is The Martian by Andy Weir, a hard science fiction account of a lone man  surviving on the surface of Mars. We recorded this one with special guest, Adam Milton. In this episode we discuss the resourcefulness of astronauts, the geniuses at NASA, the realities of running an organization, and the power of the human spirit. We also comment on the lack of rain on Mars, the likely effects of months of loneliness on our respective psyches, wacky parody sequels, and potatoes. Because potatoes, that’s why.

The music bump is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees because it is Mark Watney’s theme song, even if only through an utter lack of alternatives.

94 – The Martian – Snark Tank

Our ratings:

Gabs: 7/10 potatoes. It’s a good book if you’re stuck on a bus.

Ben: 8/10. Big points for science and snark!

Adam: 8/10. For managing to make science interesting.

Schedule Update

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We have decided on our next episode of Novel Ideas! We will be reading three short stories from the Sherlock Holmes canon, written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The three we have chosen are: Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Final Problem. We’re hoping to record next week and have the episode posted some time during the week of April 13.

Mockingjay

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Novel Ideas is back! At least for this week. The plan had been to get this episode up around the time the movie was released, so expect a lot of hedging on estimates of when new episodes will be released. Adding context makes comments about having more content up by the end of the year more understandable, more amusing, and a bit more shameful. At any rate, here is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, perhaps you’ve heard of it? If you listen, you will hear discussions about PTSD, the morality of war, weaknesses of characterization, and-dare I say it?-feminism. Not to mention messing with the shippers, different varieties of tridents, the curative power of babies in fiction, and why Gale is the worst.

If the audio quality seems off, we recorded and mixed this on a new rig. So Gabs is present via the power of the internet rather than the power of sitting at a table and may sound like she is present via the power of two tin cans linked by a string. Our apologies. Expect more of it. Eventually.

The music bump is “Back on the Streets Again” by the always timely Tower of Power.

93 – Mockingjay – The Bad Guys Would Eat Its Meat

Our ratings:

Ben: 8/10. A more mature story than the first two with less action, but more interesting discussion points.

Gabs: 7.5/10 Peetas. (And zero Gales because he is terrible.) The book has some issues, but damn it, it’s trying.

 

Rumblings and Hearsay

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The Novel Ideas production crew is having discussions about bringing some new things online and possibly “relaunching” the site, which has been dormant for a while. For the exact timing of “a while,” go check the timestamps yourself, we’d prefer to acknowledge a more general form of shame. I’m denying the rumors of our deaths and confirming any hearsay. About anything. You know it’s true because you read it on the internet. Be seeing you soon!

Love,

Novel Ideas Staff (Ok, Ben and Gabs)

‘night Mother

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After an unscheduled delay caused mostly by a certain male sibling’s recent life changes/laziness, Novel Ideas returns with ‘night Mother by Marsha Norman. We read this play because it is award winning and unlike our previous two plays, written by a female playwright. We brought back special guest Jessica Showers (at least at the time of recording) because she works in the theater industry. In this episode, we discuss women and Broadway, depression, conformity, and detachment. We also talk about the possibility of cotagonists, Sno Balls (and how they are the worst), candy, and a few terrible alternate endings.

The music bump is “Communication” by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and was inspired by our discussion of the theme of the play.

‘night Mother – Suicide is Hard to Joke About

Recommendations:

An award winning play that would definitely be worth seeing staged. Is it worth reading? Tougher question to answer.

Gabs: 7/10. Interesting, but hasn’t stuck with me completely.

Ben: 7/10. About the same.

Angels in America

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Our drama push continues this week on Novel Ideas with Angels in America by Tony Kushner, a very long two part play about… AIDS, maybe? This is a massive work, resulting in a longer than average episode where we mostly thrash about and try to figure out what various fantastical occurrences actually mean. In this episode, we discuss change, reluctant prophets, conservatism, and homosexuality. We also talk about why Tony Kushner won’t be appearing on the podcast, stupid alternate titles, chewing down a tree, and try to figure out what’s up with Joe. In the angelic realm alone, we examine the sexual habits of angels (always banging), the genitalia of angels (many and varied), and how angels maintain creation (mostly via jizz, as it turns out).

The music bump is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” not merely as yet another one of Ben’s terrible attempts at humor, but also because it actually appears in the play, though perhaps not in a traditional context.

Angels in America – Angels Be Crazy

Recommendations:

A very lengthy play (actually two plays) that is rather confusing to read at times because it’s supposed to be staged. Still has some power and effect though.

Gabs: 7/8 angelic vaginas.

Ben: 8/10 bouquets of phalli.

Twelfth Night

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Shakespeare is back on Novel Ideas! Well, one of Shakespeare’s plays is a topic for Novel Ideas, Shakespeare himself is a bit bigger get than we are currently capable of. But we were able to get the very capable Dr. Anthony Funari back as a guest to discuss William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a comedy full of cross dressing, something the English still find absolutely hilarious in the twenty-first century. In this episode we discuss queer spaces, Shakespearean comedic heroines, puritanism, and inversion. We also talk about crossing the (drama) streams, Elizabethan drama franchises, unlikely sibling casting, and humorless dicks.

Also check out this link to Tony’s website, The Mad Literature Professor.

The music bump is one of Feste’s song from the 1996 movie production.

Twelfth Night – Star Cross Gartered Lovers

Recommendations:

One of Shakespeare’s later comedies, is both hilarious and full of academic interest, if you’re into those things. Read it. Or better yet, find a good stage production of it.

Gabs: 10/10 It’s so good. Queer spaces –  good. Female agency – good. Puritan baiting – good!

Ben: 12/12 Definitely the best of the “Nights” franchise. But seriously, probably my favorite Shakespeare play. So far.

Tony: 10/10 Very interesting in that it is the transition play from comedy to romance, plus Feste is probably Shakespeare’s best fool.