lack of characterization

Starship Troopers

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Banned Book Month is over! Novel Ideas returns with the granddaddy of military science fiction, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Or possibly Bobby H. In this week’s episode we discuss the politics of authors as represented by their books, the lack of characterization in this book, the strange lack of war in a book about war, and how despite a paucity of women, this book still acknowledges women better than most classic sci fi. We also talk about the fun, if not so good, movie, colorful windbags, people and their similarity to potatoes, puppies, and other “P” words, and how we would react to giant spiders holding guns.

The music bump this week is “The Ballad of Rodger Young” by Frank Loesser, the sweetest sound in the galaxy.

Starship Troopers – The Fault In Our Starship Troopers


This is definitely a Ben book rather than a Gabs book. Be warned, there are two chapters of actual war in this book about war, most of the rest is conversation.

Gabs: 7/10 for someone looking for science fiction, 4/10 for someone who doesn’t usually read that genre.

Ben: 9/10 for someone like me, which is to say someone with a prior interest in military minutiae and science fiction. Then again, this is one of my favorite books. Maybe closer to 7/10 for a generic sci fi fan.

The Alchemist

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Bestseller Month continues with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, an inspirational (perhaps?) story about a shepherd finding his Personal Legend. This is one of the bestselling books of all time, and despite its English language release date of nearly twenty years ago, it is currently on the NY Times bestseller list in the paperback category. This is the book that will not die. So why is this such an international phenomenon. Well… we have no idea. Listen to the episode to hear us discuss that point, as well as love at first sight, spirituality, and the importance of making decisions. We also get into what time period this book takes place in, whether we are book snobs, and our issues with Fatima’s Personal Legend.

The music bump is “Listen to Your Heart” by A.J. Holmes, Carlos Valdes, and Darren Criss because it’s thematically appropriate.

The Alchemist – Easy Dream Interpretation


This book is blend of mysticism and motivational speaking. If you’re into the inspirational/spiritual genre, you will probably like it. If you think more like us:

Ben: 4/10. Too short to be truly bad.

Gabs: 3/10, mostly due to blah


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This week on Novel Ideas, we discuss Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, a sci-fi steampunk alternate history zombie story about the importance of family. In this episode we discuss characterization, possible racism, the motives of villains, and what about this book could use editing. We also the discuss the possibility of Disney accidentally creating zombies, moms who are also sharpshooters, steampunk naming conventions, and all the ways this book is like Peter Pan. There’s also an announcement at the end about our exciting July project extravaganza (more or that in the next day or two here if you’re avoiding the episode for spoilers).

A quick note: During the episode we wonder what the publication date was for this book, it was in 2009 and nominated for a Hugo award in 2010.

The music bump this week is “The Wall” by Kansas, though I’m pretty sure their version of the wall was not a literal wall containing poison gas and zombies.



Ben: 5/10 Definitely not bad, but not memorable

Gabs: 4/10 Not my bag