broadcast professionalism

The Great Gatsby

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Welcome back, old sport. It’s so good to see you yet again at one of our extravagant parties, old sport. This week’s discussion topic is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Old sport.) Listen as we analyze racism, how to identify a protagonist, hypocrisy, and the danger of being tied to your past. We also look at verbal tics, what is actually the “midwest,” and the various ways in which Tom is a dick. Though it’s short, this book is a pretty rich source of material. You can read it in less time than it takes to go see the movie, so consider doing that before you join us.

The music bump is “Beale Street Blues,” a popular piece of music from around the time the book was written, and furthermore, a piece of music that gets specifically mentioned in the text. This particular recording was made a few years later, sung by the still amazing Ella Fitzgerald. No relation to the author, but I hope I didn’t need to tell you that.

Doomsday Book

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Novel Ideas returns with Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, a novel by one of the most well regarded authors you’ve probably never heard of. Connie Willis is a Grand Master of science fiction and one of the most decorated science fiction authors in the history of the genre. This book is her classic tale of time travel and plague. But mostly plague. In this episode we discuss the many fantastic characters, our lack of desire to live in the middle ages, and morality as it relates to cultural context. We also lament the death of every character (more or less), the death of a beloved family pet, and worry about happened to that poor cow. There will also be history nerdgasms and quite a bit of broadcast professionalism on display.

The music bump is “Messe de Notre Dame” by Guillaume de Machaut, a contemporary of the novel’s 14th century time line who also happens to share the name of an often referenced character who never actually shows up in the book.

40 – Doomsday Book – Everybody Dies

Bonus Episode!

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Time for some holiday bonus content from the Novel Ideas podcast! In this episode we delve into topics that are somewhat outside of our area of expertise, with an especially high level of broadcast professionalism. If we sound kind of strange, it’s because we left the fan on in the room where we recorded and scrubbed the noise out using the finest available free software. We had fun recording it, we hope you enjoy listening to it.

The bumps are… self explanatory, assuming you listen to the whole episode.

33 – Bonus Episode – One Does Not Simply Walk Into Game Over

Ready Player One

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After trekking through numerous levels filled with puzzles, monsters, and platforms spaced just so, Novel Ideas returns with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is a book about video games, nerdery, and the 1980’s. Also about corporate interests, environmental disaster, and the 80’s. Also also about friendship, the superiority of real life to virtual life, and the 80’s. But mostly this is a book about the 80’s. In this week’s episode we discuss all of those issues, as well as the 80’s, with only brief intervals to make our own nerdy references. (And don’t forget the 80’s.)

The music bump is “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo, appearing in the intro to the book as well as the intro to¬†Jim¬†Halliday’s rather narcissistic posthumous treasure hunt.

31 – Ready Player One – Extreme Nerdery


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Welcome back to Novel Ideas! This week’s episode features Foundation by Isaac Asimov. This is one of the gigglier episodes we’ve recorded thus far and we hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as we do. Have your research materials, by which I mean Wikipedia, handy because this one is reference heavy. In fact, we almost have enough references to start our own encyclopedia. We cover science, religion, science as religion, the nature of fandom, the lack of women in classic science fiction, and every historical reference we know. Prepare to enter our sphere of influence as we nonviolently project our power across the internet.

The music bump is “Space Fanfare” by Joe Spaniola, performed by the Air Force Band of the Rockies. Because this story is in space and stuff. Also, this piece features one or two recognizable themes because we needed more references.

16 – Foundation – Decline and Fall of the Female Character

A Wrinkle in Time

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This week we talked about Madeline L’Engle’s classic YA fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. We got a little carried away this week and forgot to leave our spoiler policy on air, so know that we will spoileverything. If you’re the sort of person who is bothered by this, you might want to go read the book before you click on the link. For those of you brave, stubborn, or just plain different enough to continue, join us as we trip balls with the Murry family and friends. Hear what local ambient noise thinks about the book as dogs, trucks, and leafblowers join the podcast through our very not soundproof studio walls.

The music bump this week is “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News because that is the one thing humans have that IT doesn’t.

06 – A Wrinkle in Time – Tessering Balls