self-referential

Fahrenheit 451

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Banned Book Month continues with a classic dystopian novel that taught me an important lesson, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. What I learned from this book is how to spell the word “Fahrenheit.” It’s a tough one, guys. In this episode we discuss Bradbury’s unique writing style, accurate futurism, the difficulty of determining cause and effect, and the origins of dystopian stories. We also talk about manic pixie dream girls, sage characters, the impossibility of being universally liked, and what plagues the youth of the future. Also, this is one of our more self-referential episodes. You don’t have to be familiar with our previous episodes and books to follow the conversation, but be prepared for references to: A Handmaid’s Tale, Divergent, Hunger Games, Brave New World, The Giver, Childhood’s End, The Road, and Harry Potter. And possibly a couple of others I forgot to write down.

The music bump is “The Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson in reference to the poem “Dover Beach,” which plays a prominent role in the book. This selection narrowly edged out “House on Fire” by Kansas, but I decided to zag instead of zig.

Fahrenheit 451 – Dystopian Origins

Recommendations:

A well known book that offers an obvious theme and plenty to talk about, but written in a style that is rather difficult if you don’t enjoy artistic prose.

Gabs: 6/10 for importance as a classic, 2/10 for actual enjoyment.

Ben: She totally stole my bit. 7/10 for assigned reading, 3/10 for entertainment.

World War Z

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Welcome back to the zombie apocalypse. Or almost apocalypse. This week on Novel Ideas, we read World War Z by Max Brooks. This book is a little bit different from other books that we’ve read in that it doesn’t really have characters or a plot, but is instead written in the style of an oral history. Because of that, we changed our format slightly for this week’s episode. We talked about the movie, the breakdown of society, the nature of celebrity, and gender balance. We also discussed zombie tropes, the fact that dogs hate zombies, historical zombie fiction, and zombie war psychology. Basically, we discussed everything zombie related we could think of.

The music bump is “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden, used to bait zombies at the Battle of Hope.

Recommendations:

An interesting and compelling book about 80-90% of the time. It drags just a little at the end, but not enough to put a damper on the experience of reading it. The book includes some excellent world building in telling a well covered genre story in a different way.

Ben: 8.5/10

Gabs: 8/10