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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.

The Neverending Story

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This week on Novel Ideas, we discuss The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, a fantasy/YA classic that many people remember fondly from their childhood. Of course, we never read it as children. Listen to the episode to hear us talk about classic v. modern YA, Mary Sue characters, fate and luck and how they effect problem solving, and world building. And possibly feminism. We also discuss generic hero boys, Fantastican revisionism, unannoying Tom Bombadil, and the power of love.

The music bump is Frank Mantooth’s version of “Imagination,” a tune that I used for a previous episode but didn’t remember until it was too late. If you never listen again, I won’t blame you.

The Neverending Story – Three Dub


A story full of ideas and imagination that isn’t fully developed and ultimately goes nowhere.

Gabs: 6/10 for the first half, 3/10 for the second half.

Ben: 3/10 for going 200 pages past the point where I cared.

Peter Pan

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Come fly with Novel Ideas to the Neverland, where you will learn that Peter Pan is more of a dick than you remember. That’s right, this week we’re discussing Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. It’s a whimsical, fantastical story that everyone is familiar with in general, if not necessarily in details. In this episode, we discuss why YA is a difficult genre to define, why the protagonist of this story is difficult to define, and why the theme of this story is difficult to define. Basically, we don’t know anything about anything this week. We also talk about very British exchanges, the importance of good form, and why adults should try not to suck ass. And we touch on racism and feminism because we’re, you know, us.

The music bump this week is Frank Mantooth’s arrangement of “Imagination,” because that’s how you fly to the Neverland. Or fly in general.

Our reading recommendations:

Gabs: 6/10 if you’re an adult, 9/10 if you’re a kid

Ben: 8/10 because it’s legitimately funny