Old Man’s War

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We’re back with what is becoming something of a modern science fiction classic, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. This is a book where humanity is defended by soldiers over the age of seventy-five and under the age of ten. Listen to the episode to hear us discuss universe building, characterization, imperialism, and bioethics. We also talk about the fuuuuture, quip machines, strange alien religions, and, of course, boobs.

Also, next week will be our year in review episode. If you have any last minute comments or questions about anything we’ve covered in the last year, get them in ASAP! If you’re not sure what we’ve covered since last March, go to the Episodes page and look at the titles in “Season Two.”

The music bump this week is a Carl Reike march called “Old Comrades,” performed by a tuba quartet because who doesn’t love that?

Old Man’s War – Six Year Old Adults


Gabs: 6/10. Easy to read, but probably best recommended to science fiction fans.

Ben: 8/10. Solid writing and an interesting universe, plus it made me laugh a couple of times.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

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Welcome back for a very special episode of Novel Ideas. This week we’re departing slightly from our norm and discussing a play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. And we’re doing it with a special guest, our cousin Sara, who is studying playwrighting? playwriting? One of those. This play is a very black comedy/psychological drama about insane people who hate each other, featuring mental illness, unreliable/untrustworthy characters, manipulative behavior, and murder. We also discuss whether “Irish” is a genre, the tendency of little brothers to ruin everything, and how podcasts, unlike plays, are not a visual medium.

The music bump is Delia Murphy’s “The Spinning Wheel,” for Mag on the occasion of her seventy-first birthday.


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This week Novel Ideas discusses Hyperion by Dan Simmons, a far future version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This is probably the most “pure” science fiction we’ve read so far, with various story elements not only taking place in a science fiction setting, but requiring a science fiction setting to exist at all. In this episode we’ll discuss imperialism, mystery, pain, and feminism (of course.) We’ll also discuss whether this book has a protagonist (probably not), violence induced boners, surprisingly accurate visions of the internet, and ridiculous applications of Godwin’s Law. This episode also features our less than soundproof studio and the various comings and goings of roommates, angry post-surgical cats, and Ben’s extremely creaky chair that he can’t sit still in. We hope you enjoy!

The music bump is “Mysteries and Mayhem” by Kansas because those are both common subjects in this book, plus I couldn’t quite bring myself to use “We’re Off To See the Wizard,” but Kansas feels like it’s at least close. Should I even try to justify these decisions? It comes off as feeble even to me…