historical context

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 Yellow Wallpaper

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Our apologies for being late this week, but Gabs has been mobilizing for WAR. Well, basically. Anyhoo, here is this week’s episode, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a short story about medical ignorance, madness, and in a move that is completely out of character for us, feminism. If you want to read it before you listen, you can read it for free here. In our discussion we touch on the historical view of mental illness, gothic literature, and interpretations of the story based on gender lines. We also cover Hollywood, insane LGBT tie-ins, John’s a Dick Theory (just barely missed being the title of this episode), and vibrator play. Oops, I mean “Vibrator Play.” One has to be careful where one leaves their capital letters.

The music bump is “Hysteria” by Muse because lol.