Pop Culture Happy Hour No. 264: The Martian and How-To Stories

Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who faces seemingly insurmountable odds as he tries to find a way to subsist on a hostile planet.

…wherein I join PCHH host Linda Holmes and regular panelists Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon to talk about where the beloved hit movie fits into director Ridley Scott’s oeuvre and its fidelity to Andy Weir’s novel.

I suggested How-To Stories as a companion topic, since The Martian — in both its incarnations, albeit moreso in prose than onscreen — goes into unusual detail about the stuff its stranded-astronaut hero Mark Watney must do to survive on a planet that (so far we know) does not sustain life. We all struggled to come up with suitable examples of favorite stories in this genre, and to thread the needle between a How-To and a Procedural. I could’ve talked about several different Michael Mann films, but particularly Thief, Manhunter, Heat, or even The Insider. As is often the case, I didn’t think of that until later.

C’mon, WordPress; surely you can let me embed the podcast in a manner more appealing than this: http://www.npr.org/player/embed/446865775/447011278

The 2005 Bruce Springsteen concert recording I mention can be purchased here. What’s embedded below is an audience tape of the same show; it’s good, but of lower quality than the official, mastered-for-release version that’s available for sale. I sprang for the Apple Lossless Audio Codec files; a bargain at $12.95. There was a time, when the Internet was in its infancy, that I would pay $46 for a two-CD set capturing an entire concert. I spent $69 on a high-quality recording, on three CDs, of one of Springsteen’s three-and-a-half hour performances on the 1980 tour for The River. The reason I was broke all through college and for many years after was not because I spent all my money on drugs. Or textbooks.

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