N.K. Jemisin

2017 Hugo Noms

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We interrupt this irregularly scheduled podcast with a special, albeit belated, episode. We decided to sit down and discuss the 2017 Hugo Award Nominees for Best Novel. Extra heavy spoiler alert on this episode, as every book we talk about was published in 2016 at the earliest. In addition to touching on every nominated book, we also discuss diversity, writing styles, identity, and the proliferation of series in the SF/Fantasy world. We also talk about scenes that make you feel, writers who have never met a woman before, the future corporate age of exploration, and the cool factor of space wizards wielding laser swords.

The music bump is “Robots” by Flight of the Conchords because, as discussed in this episode of the podcast, all science fiction is about robots.

113 – 2017 Hugo Noms – Diversity of Ideas

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The Obelisk Gate

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Novel Ideas apologizes for the delay, but we return with a new episode on N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate. This novel is the sequel to The Fifth Season, the Hugo award winner and a Novel Ideas favorite. We should warn you going in, since this is a recent publication, this episode is chock full of spoilers. In addition to spoilers, we also cover Chosen One plots, dark elements, shades of gray, and family. We also talk about how this story is not Harry Potter, adorable monsters, the importance of the moon, and how none of these characters are actually Gandalf.

The music bump is “The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives in honor of all of the questions from the first book that were answered with more questions in the second book.

108 – The Obelisk Gate – Sympathetic Murderers

Our rating: A worthy follow up to the original with excellent depth of world building and characterization.

Ben: 10/10. I love the world building and the characters and anything else I forgot to mention.

Gabs: 9/10 moons. Darkness is slightly less shocking the second time around, but the complexity is great.

 

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.