Novel Ideas returns with Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, the winner of the Nebula award in the novella category this year. In this episode, we discuss empathy, outsider perspectives, colonialism, and forgiveness. We also talk about the lack of snark, kindergarten level thinking, adult hair touching, and not being a hater.
The music bump is “All is Forgiven” by the Jellyfish, which is thematically appropriate in at least two ways.
106 – Binti – Angry Young Jellyfish at Space Harvard
Our review: Good to very good, a very simply told story. Gabs would like for the story to be more fleshed out, but nothing that is necessary is omitted. No ratings this time because I forgot to get one from Gabs before she disappeared into the wilderness for the month.
Since this is a recent publication, be mindful of our spoiler policy. Short version: we spoil everything.
The Secret Garden
Welcome to the March edition of Novel Ideas, featuring The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In this episode we talk about the genre of the children’s novel, colonialism, subversions, and–need I say it?–feminism. We also discuss why Colin is kind of a dick, plot related illnesses, failed attempts at comic relief, and children’s dialogue. Gabs even did some research about the background of this novel. I know, try not to lose faith in us. We hope by the time you get to the end of this one, you’ve learned the secret behind the magic.
The music bump is Don Byron’s version of “The Royal Garden Blues.”
103 – The Secret Garden – Dickon Around the Garden
An easy classic and an early entry in the non-religious children’s book canon, it’s probably worth your time.
Ben: 7/10. Isn’t bad, definitely won’t change your life. Another classic that is easy to discuss.
Gabs: 8/10. Minus 2 points for Colin.
The Color Purple
The Novel Ideas roulette wheel landed on a classic this month, so we’re back with The Color Purple by Alice Walker. In this episode we discuss racism, injustice, abuse, and other upsetting things. We also talk about the cold open, black comedy, down home cookin’, and laughably ineffective missionaries.
The music bump is Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington’s band performing “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” based on our unresearched speculation regarding how this book became a musical.
102 – The Color Purple – Coming of (Old) Age
Ben: Purple/10. Which is the best rating, I think. I don’t really understand that part of the rating system. But I would definitely recommend this one.
Gabs: 9/10 for literary value. Also worth reading for the purpose of making yourself less shitty.
2017 Hugo Noms
We interrupt this irregularly scheduled podcast with a special, albeit belated, episode. We decided to sit down and discuss the 2017 Hugo Award Nominees for Best Novel. Extra heavy spoiler alert on this episode, as every book we talk about was published in 2016 at the earliest. In addition to touching on every nominated book, we also discuss diversity, writing styles, identity, and the proliferation of series in the SF/Fantasy world. We also talk about scenes that make you feel, writers who have never met a woman before, the future corporate age of exploration, and the cool factor of space wizards wielding laser swords.
The music bump is “Robots” by Flight of the Conchords because, as discussed in this episode of the podcast, all science fiction is about robots.
113 – 2017 Hugo Noms – Diversity of Ideas
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