mystery

The Fifth Season

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This month Novel Ideas discusses The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. This is a recently published fantasy novel, released this summer, so those of you who are inclined to worry about spoilers: There will be spoilers. In this episode we talk about interesting narrative structure, justifiable anger, cast diversity, and slavery parallels. We also mention that Atlantis is not a thing, pirates with ambiguous sexuality, systematic oppression (and why it is bad), and why one shouldn’t ignore a floating amethyst Washington Monument outside of their window.

The music bump is “Lava Lands” by Jeff Lorber, created by his brain, but not violent enough to sunder a continent. Kinda funky though.

99 – The Fifth Season – Brain Volcanoes

Our rating: We were in agreement that this might be the best thing we’ve read this year and not just limiting that to books read for the podcast.

Ben: 10/10. Great world building with deep and complex characters. Not to mention a heavy dose of badass.

Gabs: 9/10 Rings. Lots of unanswered mysteries, but cast diversity is greatly appreciated.

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And Then There Were None

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We’re back! We have returned from our own fake murder to finish doing justice to evildoers and to record this podcast about Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This is a whodunnit about mystery, murder, and politically correct modifications of the title. Okay, the book isn’t actually about that last part, but there is a bit of a history there. Fair warning, before you click this first link, you may want to make sure no one will wander by and see it out of context. Borderline NSFW. Anyhoo, the book was first published as this, then this, and for the US edition, this. In the episode, we discuss the mystery genre, vigilante justice, anti-semitism, and class issues. We also talk about 1930’s futurism, bad qualities in a judge, PC modifications, and what the Stephen King version of this story might look like.

The music bump is the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme that the book uses as scaffolding for murder. Which probably should have been the title, but I didn’t think of the phrase until just now. Oh well.

And Then There Were None – People Who Only Kill Dillholes

Recommendations:

Kind of lukewarm. We may have a subtle and inherent bias against mystery novels.

Gabs: 6.5/10 Tightly plotted and readable but without the extra oomph I need for a mystery to stand out.

Ben: 6/10 Probably originated many of the obvious tropes within, so I won’t hold that against it. Too easy to read to recommend against it.

Hyperion

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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…