cultural context

Binti

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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.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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The Harry Poddercast Extravaganza is back with an extra long episode for the longest book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Holy cow, everything happens in this book. We talk about abuse of authority, thoroughly hateable characters, bullying, feminism, education, and standing up for the truth. We also discuss awkward teenage dating, the wizarding constitution, Neville’s transformation from bumbler into badass, and WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ARCH!? And many, many other things. I feel like I’ve edited two episodes, I can’t even remember how this one started. Our guest star for this episode was recorded over Skype, so there are occasional echoes in the audio, but I think I managed to get enough of it out to not be distracting.

The music bump is Umbridge’s theme from the movie, composed by Nicholas Hooper.

Recommendations:

On a scale of “treacle tart” to “puking pastile,” we give this book a canary cream.

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