Back Seat Book Club Shows Special Guests

Back Seat Book Club – Interview: Tee Morris & Pip Balantine

Guests Tee Morris and Pip Ballatine, join the BS Book club to discuss steampunk, their novel Phoenix Rising, side projects and a whole lot of miscellenia.


  • Lena
  • Sam
  • Scott

Recorded: 01/16/13

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Four: Phoenix Rising

Author: Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine

Published: 2011

Harper Voyager

Plot Summary – Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopaedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!

Quick Thoughts:

Scott needs to be quiet and read what we tell him to read!

  • Fluffy swords and sorcery is good.
  • Comparison of Phoenix Rising and Lethal Weapon.
  • Yes, that’s what I said.
  • Librarians… quiet, studious, tea lovers.
  • The easiest way to get out of a corset?  Duh, a knife!
  • Corset wearing also depends on level of boobage.
  • Books & Braun = Scott & Sam, especially if Sam can have explosives.
  • Teasing for the 2nd book was teased!
  • Bad-ass Italian assassin lady, of course.
  • Scott sums up the plot in two sentences.
  • Slow start for first couple of chapters, then it steamrolls.
  • In which Prince Lord Fontlebottom Receives a Guest… or Batman.
  • Lena mixes up chapters.  There’s a surprise.
  • The settings are vivid and a great backdrop to the story.
  • A good introduction to Steampunk for the novices.
  • World takeovers via Steampunk, human-boned robots.  Yeah!
  • The hunting scene.  That happened.
  • Adjectives are good, use them.
  • Crazy Victorian secret societies need orgy scenes.
  • It’s a dude-oriented orgy.  You don’t hear that very often, do you?

“She groaned as her face turned to press against the rosewood floor. “Welly, remind me to order a better mattress for my bed. This one is far too firm.”

“Oh, Eliza,” Wellington gasped, now remembering why he was in these lush surroundings. “No broken nose, I hope.”

“S’all right,” Braun slurred. Her voiced dropped to a whisper. “My ample bosom broke my fall.” – 

Your hosts for the episode:

  • Lena
  • Krissy
  • Sam
  • Scott
this episode was recorded: 12/06/12

Remember to vote on the for the next round of books here.

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Three: Hogfather

**We’re close to choosing the next six books for Back Seat Book Club and we need your recommendations!  Leave a comment here, leave us a voice mail  or leave a comment on our Goodreads group** 

Author: Terry Pratchett

Publication date: 1996

Victor Gollancz

Where is the big jolly fat man?  Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho?  The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker…Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won’t be a morning.  Ever again…

The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).

As they say:  You’d better watch out…

Quick thoughts:

  • Lena admits to sometimes being confused by the faculty, the assassins and the auditors.
  • Death was a cool dude.
  • Sam’s favorite character is Susan and… who knew the Tooth Fairy had a land of its own?
  • Jack Frost is a punny guy!  AND he likes ferns.
  • Don’t say “moist” to Sam, please.
  • He’s a sociopath, just not the ravenous, bloodthirsty kind.  That’s a good thing, right?
  • Death of Rats is adorable.
  • Bilious, the Oh-god of hangovers and the sock-eating monster and the gnome that leaves warts on your feet.
  • Children don’t go hoppity-skip unless they’re on drug.
  • Grumpy Albert the gnome, trying to be Death’s voice of reason… but Death is as matter-of-fact as they come.
  • Sure, we’d all burst into giggle fits if Death was handing out presents!
  • Kids need to believe the small stuff to get through the big stuff.
  • Tooth fairy = boogey man?  Old gods do new jobs.
  • Who doesn’t want to hang out with the cheerful fairy?
  • TEE-TIME, we’re calling him TEE-TIME!!
  • Banjo, Bongo… something like that.
  • The Unseen University is not Hogwarts.
  • Not a difficult read, recommended by all of the hosts!
  • Being able to tap into your “child at heart” makes this a really fun read.
  • I want a pony in my bedroom!
  • Soul cake duck??  Twilight Zone Easter bunny, maybe?
  • Who better to be the voice of Death than Christopher Lee?
  • Final thoughts – READ IT.

Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. and yet… and yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some… some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged. – Hogfather

Your hosts for the episode:

  • Lena
  • Scott
  • Sam

this episode was recorded: 10/25/12

Back Seat Book Club Feedback Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Feedback #2

Thanks again to Tad for calling us with his comments.

Remember, in addition to the various contact methods on this website you can also join us on where you can also join the chatter and suggest future books.


Help a pair of podcasters in need. Kevin and Jen of the Walking Eye lost their home. Go to this link to pitch in.

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Three: Hogfather – Companion

Despite the ‘stand alone’ fiction only rule of Book Club, Scott delves into the background of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Emphasis is placed on the prior adventures of Death and company, in the hopes of giving some background for the upcoming discussion of Hogfather



Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Two: Fight Club

Author:  Chuck Palahniuk

Publication Date:  8/17/1996

W. W. Norton

Plot summary –The main character/narrator is the protagonist, a jet-lagged automotive product recall specialist who struggles with insomnia.  He finds a measure of relief by attending several support groups for seriously ill people.  In one of the groups he meets Marla Singer, a woman who attends these support groups for similar reasons, but she is a reminder that he is a fake in these groups.  Soon after, the narrator meets the mysterious Tyler Durden.  After a consensual fist-fight in the parking lot of a bar, they move in together and soon begin an underground fighting club.  This blossoms into anti-consumerist ideas and a second underground group, this one more violent/destructive at its core.  When the narrator sets out to find Tyler, who seems to have gone missing, he is confronted with the reality that there is no Tyler Durden… that Tyler is a personality created during his periods of insomnia.

Quick thoughts –

  • Some of the hosts might not be terribly enthusiastic about this one.
  • Chapter 6 was the original short story… worth reading.
  • Scott wants to compare it to The Stranger (Camus) or anything by Sartre, but it can’t be done.
  • It’s a cult of personality, especially when recruiting for Project Mayhem.
  • If you’re watching the movie… don’t eat brownie mix, or anything, during the liposuction scene.  You’re welcome.
  • Things start to come alive when the narrator begins to realize who Tyler Durden is.
  • Forced edgy, forced clever, but it doesn’t quite work on paper.  The transfer to film worked better.
  • Scott’s scary tales of insomnia.
  • There is a lack of a cohesive world; everything revolves around the narrator, but there were some bright spots of descriptive visualization.
  • Marla Singer – real person or another personality?
  • We make A LOT of comparisons to the film… get used to it.
  • The main character is deeply flawed, but not “deep.”
  • A satire of anti-consumerism?
  • Space monkeys.
  • Soap, as your buried heroes and washing society clean.  Also it’s feeding them their own kids.
  • Working class people taught that they’ll have a level of success, but they learn that it’s just not true.
  • When the narrator is flying around the country looking for himself/Tyler, he’s put up obstacles that keep him from finding what/who he is looking for but there isn’t much sympathy for the narrator.
  • The themes ring true, but the characters do not.
  • It’s an anarchist movement with a surprisingly large number of rules.
  • The parts of the story that are meant to be edgy, come off more as self-consciously edgy or childish.
  • Comments on Fight Clubs started up after the book/movie.
  • Who is this book really meant for?
  • Brief discussion on how the movie ending deviates from the book ending.
  • This is our final stand against consumerism.

How everything you ever love will reject you or die. Everything you ever create will be thrown away. Everything you’re proud of will end up as trash. – Fight Club


Your hosts for this episode:

  • Lena
  • Scott
  • Paul

This episode was recorded 9/27/2012



Back Seat Book Club Feedback Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Feedback #1

Thanks for the voice mail, Tad!  And… thanks for the second voice mail, Tad!

Any and all comments can be left by:

  • Voice mail (618-207-4794)
  • Google Call Me button (on this very page)
  • Add a comment to the podcast post
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Back Seat Book Club Shows

Backseat Book Club – Book One: Ready Player One – Companion

Scott gives a bit more detail on some of his references during Ready Player One.

  • Snow Crash
  • Scott Pilgrim
  • Fatal Fury
  • Count Zero
  • Summer Wars
  • Cory Doctorow
  • War Games
Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book One: Ready Player One

Author:  Ernest Cline

Publication date:  8/16/2011

Random House

Plot summary – In the near future, the world is falling apart, the recession has all but crumbled the nations of the world and OASIS, a virtual reality universe of both games and everyday life (and escape from life).  Ray Halliday, the creator of OASIS, dies, and leaves a cryptic will stating that his entire fortune, and OASIS, to the first player to uncover a series of clues and pass through secret gates.  Wade is a 17 year-old high school student who finds solace from his impoverished home life in the many worlds of OASIS and is the first to find and complete one of Halliday’s clues.  Life takes a drastic and fantastic turn as he is not only thrust into the spotlight but also targeted by a big bad conglomerate that also has its eyes on winning Halliday’s prize.

Quick thoughts –

  • The bastard offspring of Snow Crash and Scott Pilgrim with 80’s references for the sake of 80s references and a happy ending.
  • It’s like a big MMO, where you can watch everyone else’s winnings and failings.
  • The character of Wade is likable because he’s a pitiful, relatable “loser,” who tried to rise about his surroundings.
  • Cline’s conversational style of writing was easy to follow and necessary because the main character is only 17, with comparisons made to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games as other books that have that same conversational style.
  • The camaraderie between the game-playing characters started as very remote and wary and turned into close friendships, even before the characters met in person was also relevant in today’s society and seemed to be drawn from how many people live and meet today.
  • The characters are all flawed, and remain so through the story, which speaks of the more realistic tone of the story.
  • Which 80s references felt necessary to the plot and which one seemed more like name-dropping for the sake of adding as many 80s references as possible?  They Might Be Giants: “No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful”
  • Was the depiction of Shoto and Daito a representation of the Japanese nerd stereotype or did it cross the line into a racist stereotype?
  • Wade infiltrating IOI is one of the best parts, but it’s also filled with flaws.
  • If Ready Player One is made into a movie, how do you translate the game play into a film format for the big screen?  And, would this movie work as a video game?
  • Can the characters be called socially autistic or socially awkward because of their environment?
  • A fun story, a quick read, enjoyable but not too deep.
  • The hosts couldn’t come to a concession to who this book is for…teens/young adults, gamers, adults who remember the 80s references, anyone who’s looking for a light, fun read.
  • Did the hosts pick up any 80s things while reading… a bit of Rush, The Last Starfighter, Tron, Duran Duran, Oingo Boingo, Back to the Future theme.
  • Is Ladyhawke awesome-awesome or 80s cheesy awesome?
  • Frankie Says Relax!
  • SilverHawks!
  • What do you call Dolly Parton doing the backstroke?
  • All this is lost, like tears in the rain.
  • Leg warmers, blue with little white hearts.
  • Massive social statements in Family Ties.

I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is -real-. — Halliday

Your Hosts for this episode were:

  • Lena
  • Scott
  • Paul
  • Becca
  • Sam

This episode was recorded: 8/31/2012


Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Prologue

*NOTE*  Books #3 and #4 have been switched.

Welcome to the introduction episode of Back Seat Book Club!

Back Seat Producers is e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g and we’re happily starting a monthly Book Club podcast.

The regular hosts will be

  • Scott
  • Lena
  • Becca
  • There will also be various additional hosts for each recording, depending on schedules and books

The first six books on our schedule are:

1.  Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Audible link

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link

Author link

2.  Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Audible link

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link

Author link

3.  Hogfather (Discworld #20) – Terry Pratchett

Audible link

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link

Author link

4.  Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1) – Philippa Ballatine & Tee Morris

Audible link

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link

Author link

5.  Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

Audible link

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link

Author link

6.  The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

Audible link

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link

Author link

Here is our Goodreads Back Seat Book Club group link.

We’re tentatively scheduling each episode/review for the first Saturday of each month.  We encourage comments on the website.  You can also leave us a voicemail at 618-207-4794 or use our free Google “Call Me” feature in the upper left of this website.  We also have a Back Seat Book Club group that is open the public.  We hope you’ll join us and let us know what you think.  We plan on having feedback episodes for each book and, hopefully, author interviews whenever we can get them.

Also, Back Seat Quickies is going to start including book reviews, so if any one wishes to send us a quickie, please do!

Thanks and we hope you enjoy our new podcast!