setting as a character

The Martian

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For those of you who were expecting Sherlock Holmes… it has mysteriously disappeared. In its place is The Martian by Andy Weir, a hard science fiction account of a lone man  surviving on the surface of Mars. We recorded this one with special guest, Adam Milton. In this episode we discuss the resourcefulness of astronauts, the geniuses at NASA, the realities of running an organization, and the power of the human spirit. We also comment on the lack of rain on Mars, the likely effects of months of loneliness on our respective psyches, wacky parody sequels, and potatoes. Because potatoes, that’s why.

The music bump is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees because it is Mark Watney’s theme song, even if only through an utter lack of alternatives.

94 – The Martian – Snark Tank

Our ratings:

Gabs: 7/10 potatoes. It’s a good book if you’re stuck on a bus.

Ben: 8/10. Big points for science and snark!

Adam: 8/10. For managing to make science interesting.

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The Night Circus

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Novel Ideas returns to spark your imagination, but it only works if you wait until after sunset. This week’s entry is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, a newer book about… a circus. That happens at night. Honestly, I have no idea how to describe this book quickly without being totally glib about it. In our discussion, we talk  about some of the interesting features of the book, such as whether the setting can be the main character, what makes a compelling love story, and monochromatic characters. We also decided that we want to have a midnight dinner. Sounds fun. And despite our best attempts, we were unable to wring any feminist issues out of this book. Tune in for the second half of the podcast where we sit in stunned silence for twenty-two minutes.

The music bump is Britney Spears’s “Circus” as covered by Dirty Loops, the funkiest Swedish fusion trio working today.

38 – The Night Circus – Your Imagination