The Fifth Season

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This month Novel Ideas discusses The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. This is a recently published fantasy novel, released this summer, so those of you who are inclined to worry about spoilers: There will be spoilers. In this episode we talk about interesting narrative structure, justifiable anger, cast diversity, and slavery parallels. We also mention that Atlantis is not a thing, pirates with ambiguous sexuality, systematic oppression (and why it is bad), and why one shouldn’t ignore a floating amethyst Washington Monument outside of their window.

The music bump is “Lava Lands” by Jeff Lorber, created by his brain, but not violent enough to sunder a continent. Kinda funky though.

99 – The Fifth Season – Brain Volcanoes

Our rating: We were in agreement that this might be the best thing we’ve read this year and not just limiting that to books read for the podcast.

Ben: 10/10. Great world building with deep and complex characters. Not to mention a heavy dose of badass.

Gabs: 9/10 Rings. Lots of unanswered mysteries, but cast diversity is greatly appreciated.

The Subtle Knife

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Novel Ideas returns with the first episode of year three, or Season 3, if you prefer. This week we are discussing Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife, sequel to The Golden Compass, second book in the “His Dark Materials” trilogy. In this episode we talk about trust, power, corruption, and moral ambiguity. We also touch on trilogy naming conventions, Sir Charles’s creepy vibe, trope subversion, and references to other things we have read and/or podcasted.

This week’s music bump is “Under the Knife” by Kansas because “Mack the Knife” seemed too obvious.

The Subtle Knife – EVIDENTLY


This book contains excellent world building and interesting characters, as well as adding to the universe of the story rather than rehashing what was popular the first time around. Read it. But first read The Golden Compass.

Gabs: 9/10 I love this damn book.

Ben: 9/10 All of those things.

The Awakening

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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.

Harry Poddercast Roundtable Part 1

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Welcome to the concluding episode of the Harry Poddercast Extravaganza, our roundtable discussion of the entire series. Or perhaps Harry Potter is just too huge to be disposed of so easily. Turns out, we can’t end it in a reasonable length of time. This is Part 1 of our roundtable, with Part 2 going up later today, or possibly tomorrow morning. In this episode, we primarily discuss characters and issues related to characterization. We talk about love, choice, angst, imperfection, redemption, and some of favorite/least favorite characters. We also discuss Game of Thrones, Parks and Rec, why you shouldn’t mess with old ladies, and Neville being Neville. There’s also a noticeable, but hopefully not too distracting, amount of whiny dog in the background from time to time. Sorry about that, he just wanted in on the action.

The music bump is “One Last Time” by Dream Theater, because I like to make them look like liars. Filthy, filthy liars.


The books are already read, so if you’re listening to this, we hope you know exactly what you’re getting into!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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The portion of the Harry Poddercast Extravaganza that involves specific volumes of the series draws to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. In this episode, we discuss why anyone listening would need a spoiler alert, love, redemption, hubris, character flaws, and realism within a fantastical world. We also discuss Neville’s giant brass balls, love again, the Ron-Hermione shiptease, the stupidity of Death Eaters, and name issues. We’re not quite through yet, there will be one more massive episode where we sit around a table with some friends and break down the entire series. It has been recorded already, and it is exactly what we thought it was going to be. Long, mostly.

The music bump is a departure from the Potter related music of the previous six episodes, but is thematically appropriate. It is “Love Has the Power” by Toto, though I’m reasonably certain they weren’t referring to magic.



Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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The Harry Poddercast Extravaganza continues with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. I keep expecting someone else to pop in and write a guest novel, but so far, I have been wrong. Very, very wrong. However, Novel Ideas did have a special guest this week. Jessica joined us to talk about Dumbledore as a criminal profiler and Harry as Spiderman. We also talked about war politics, horcruxes, spoilers, and fandom’s misunderstanding of the word “slut.” Not to mention Slytherins who aren’t dicks, how to say “fuck you” politely, Dubledore and Gandalf’s budding friendship, and Draco… not being a dick? Next week, the Harry Poddercast Extravaganza comes to a close, but there’s still time to squeeze yourself into our roundtable wrap up discussion if you contact us immediately.

The music bump is the Potter Puppet Pals in “The Mysterious Ticking Noise.”


Possibly the best book in the series! Though I can’t imagine that you would be listening to this episode without having read/listened to the previous five…