Episode #115 Transcript: Thoroughly Dragged

Episode Number: 115
Episode Title: Thoroughly Dragged (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hey friends! I’m Renay.

Ana: And I’m Ana.

Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Hour.

Ana: The epic comeback.

Renay: Part two.

[music break]

Renay: Hello everybody! We’re back, and we’re going to talk about some media! We’re gonna talk about The Chalk Man—we have some feelings about it—the movie from 1988, Heathers, and then we’re gonna do some questions.

Ana: Yes, this is a Halloween episode, which now is a post-Halloween episode.

Renay: We do them a day late.

Ana: Possibly several days later.

Renay: Shhh. It’s gonna be okay. If you’re feeling bereft because Halloween, the best holiday of the year, is over and you just wanna be mad about stuff, this is the episode for you.

Ana: Absolutely, and I have to say part of it is my fault because I picked the book and I’m so sorry about it in advance.

Renay: I laughed through the entire second half of this book— at Ana.

Ana: Not mockingly, but with love I hope.

Renay: Yes, it was with love. I do have one update before we get started. I would type our Twitter username into places, and at some point I got very tired of typing the last four characters, and so in a fit of frustration, which was probably not frustration now with the handle, but with my life in general, I changed our twitter handle to @fangirlpod. It no longer has the c-a-s-t on the end. I realize now, looking back, “Wow, Renay, you were having some control issues at this point!” But it’s changed. I’m not changing it back. We have a new twitter handle: @fangirlpod. You’re welcome.

Ana: It’s great because now we mix two types of collective of animals. So we are a pod and a beehive.

Renay: A pod hive.

Ana: [whispering] Pod hive.

[music break]

Renay: The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor was published this year! And it’s about Eddie and his group of friends in 1986. It’s also about Eddie and his friends in 2016. And this book; I don’t even know how to describe it. What a journey! Ana chose it because it was supposed to be like a scary, spooky pick for Halloween.

Ana: Yes, and also because it was everywhere here in the UK. When you open the book, there are—I’m gonna count this. One, two, three, four, five, six…. twenty-five blurbs from different authors, and all sorts of newspapers and publications. All talking about, “This is the greatest horror novel of our times,” including one from Stephen King himself saying, “If you like my stuff you’ll like this.”

Renay: The whole premise is that these kids had these little chalk men secret code where they would draw chalk figures to leave each other messages. And then one day a secret chalk man led them to a dead body, and everything changes. Now that, on its face, sounds like wow! Maybe there’s a ghost who writes with chalk or something! I don’t know what I thought. Whatever I thought, it was not what I got when I read this book.

Ana: No, it was really weird in terms of how the story progressed and how it changed back and forth in time. And of course, it is much more about the main character, Eddie, he’s the main narrator, back in 1986. Before even they found that dead body, he had been already obsessed with an accident that he witnessed. It was a very very amazingly beautiful girl, who fell from a ferris wheel if I remember correctly.

Renay: No, I don’t think she fell. A ride at the carnival broke, and it sliced half her face off.

Ana: Exactly. So then he kept just then thinking of how she’s not so beautiful anymore. And eventually she was the person who was murdered. In the meantime, in 2016, this group of friends are about to get together again when one of them comes back into town. But then he disappears and then ends up murdered, too. And there are chalk men messages that they received. First of all, this book is not scary at all.

Renay: Not even a little.

Ana: In terms of a Halloween read that was a huge disappointment.

Renay: I was not scared. I was annoyed.

Ana: I was disgusted with the main character.

Renay: That’s a good emotion to have, because what a main character this was!

Ana: I guess the main point for me when reading this book was just how very uncomfortable I felt because it felt like this really oddly old-sounding type of book, because of the way that the kids addressed girls and talked about “gays”, and there’s a lot of fat-shaming, and pranks and jokes that were awful, but they didn’t change much even when they grew up?  Everything from the main characters perspective just sounded very odd even in 2016. He kept continuously himself as an old man, and yet he was about my age; he was forty-two. And that was very disquieting to me. And then we find out that he’s not really a good person at all. He’s not the killer, but he’s definitely not a hero.

Renay: He is a psychotic hoarder.

Ana: Yes, and how much of it that then influences the fact that we disliked him, because then now we are supposed to dislike him? Because he’s not a good person.

Renay: Listen, I got a bad vibe from this dude as a kid. He had serious mental problems that were not being addressed. I mean, I guess 1986 mental health wasn’t a big deal and people didn’t talk about it. But like he was stealing shit and then hoarding it. Listen, the end of this book, when we find out his ultimate hoarding prize.

Ana: Was the head of the girl that got dismembered. They never found her head, and then in the end, it’s revealed that it is one of the things that he has kept throughout the years, cause he’s a hoarder and her head is inside a plastic bag, I guess.

Renay: When he leaves his home, he doesn’t take it with him, he puts it back into the house! Listen, I don’t even know what to make of this book, because I started the book hating the main character. I just did not like him. I got a super bad vibe. There’s this book by Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear, that’s like, “Trust your fear instinct!” and as I was reading this book I’m like, “I don’t like this character, there’s something wrong! Something is up!” I was right! But like there were interesting books inside this book, that I wanted? For example, I would have really liked to read the book from Nikki’s perspective, the girl that was their only girl in their friend group.

Ana: Yes. The token girl. It’s just incredible to me how much this book reads like IT from Stephen King. He also a token girl, and also had a group of friends and also went between the sixties and the eighties, and there was a monster and a crime, and an older group of bullies and it’s just incredible. Even the main character, if I’m not mistaken, is called Eddie. So I would normally say that this was an attempt at an homage, but even though I hated IT I still loved the kids in that book, and in this book I just hated everybody. And they were all jerks! In the end one friend killed the other, and then they are all responsible for each other’s miseries!

Renay: There were a lot of unhealthy relationships. A lot of them.

Ana: And a lot of sexual abuse, rape—

Renay: Teachers banging students.

Ana: Priests banging students.

Renay: The women in this book? The women in this book—are literally there to be harassed, abused—

Ana: And then really horrible people too, in the end. It’s just really a cast of really awful characters. And I mean there is a public out there for this book, it just wasn’t us.

Renay: I did not like this book, Ana. I did not like it.

Ana: I’m so sorry. It was just so bad—I thought it was badly written, too.

Renay: I have complicated feelings about the writing, mostly because I read it in audio, so when I read stuff in audio I don’t really pick up on the annoying writing bits, but I would often get confused about who the hell was talking. Who was talking?

Ana: Ah, there are no dialogue tags. There’s just huge chunks of dialogue but without us knowing who said what, yeah. Unless you were really following in reading I don’t know how that worked when you’re listening to it.

Renay: I was trying to figure out what the author was trying to accomplish with this book. Was she trying to make a point about secrets? Who we trust? Toxic friendships?

Ana: Toxic relationships? There were so many points being made here that I’m not sure what to think of them. So for example, another thing that gave me pause is that the main character’s father had Alzheimer’s and that has weighed on the character for a long time, because he fears he’ll get it, too. In the end, it is shown that he forgets something. And we know that it’s the beginning of Alzheimer’s for him. Is that supposed to be a punishment? Is that supposed to excuse him? How do we see mental illnesses in this book?

Renay: Given the fact that mental illness doesn’t seem to be addressed at all, by anybody—and then there was the weird thread where Nikki, who left when they were young, because her father was brutally attacked. And the boarder that Eddie has, Chloe—me reading this book like, “Oh my god, what if Chloe is secretly a reporter trying to uncover what happened in this town?”

Ana: That would have been a much better book.

Renay: That wasn’t what happened, no. She’s really only there to get beaten andthe  bad guy tried to murder her!

Ana: So the priest was the killer, and the priest was Nikki’s father, who was abusing her. He had an abusive relationship with other women, and then when the young girl he was having sex with became pregnant, he murdered her. Except he didn’t murder her, because he got her confused with another girl.

Renay: I asked in our notes, “Why is this book so celebrated? Why do so many people like this book?” Like, what did they say about it that made them like it so much?

Ana: The Guardian newspaper says that, “there is strong characterization, plenty of plot twists”—that’s a lie—”and an evocative picture of small town life in the 1980s, and riveting read.”

Renay: Are small towns different in the UK? What’s happening? Listen Ana, do you got something you want to tell me?

Ana: I don’t know, I didn’t grow up here!

Renay: UK people, let me know: what the fuck’s happening in your small towns in the eighties? Cause my small town was boring as fuck.

Ana: Well, do you know what, I’m listening to a podcast right now about small town murder in America, and it was in 1989, so. It really wasn’t for me, this book.

Renay: I just don’t understand how these really popular books get chosen. Like who plucked this one out of the pile to be like, “This one! This is the one the Claw is going to choose! This is the one we’re going to spread all over the world!”

Ana: I don’t know. One of the reasons I chose it was because it was a horror novel by a woman, too, and I was excited about that.

Renay: This was not a horror novel.

Ana: I mean, it’s supposed to be.

Renay: This is being marketed as horror, but it is not a horror novel. I’ve read some horror novels. I know what a horror novel looks like. This was not a horror novel. At most, this was a really shitty thriller that wasn’t that thrilling.

Ana: Was there anything about it that you liked?

Renay: Like I said, there were books here, where if the book had been from the perspective of Nikki, I think it might have been way more interesting. Or if it had been from the perspective of Chloe, and she wasn’t who she was, if she was actually the reporter that I had hoped she was, it would’ve been way more interesting.  I don’t know if she deliberately made this character boring as hell. I don’t know if she did that on purpose, but… Mm. Mm-mm. Nope. I can like an anti-hero, that’s fine. I’ve liked plenty of anti-heroes in my time. I don’t necessarily need a character to be likeable. I just need a character not to make me feel slimy.

Ana: I’m thinking back—I think it was White Tears. Didn’t the guy from that book make you feel slimy?

Renay: But they were awful, and the book seemed to know they were awful.

Ana: That’s the point.

Renay: Yeah, because this book was just like, “Oh, he’s not that bad, he’s just a dude!” and he’s not just a dude! He’s really creepy, he needs help! He is ill. Going around, collecting human skulls. Creep!

Ana: But do we think that he became like that after he was assaulted? Do you think that that’s what the book is saying? First he witnessed the horrible accident, then he was brutally assaulted by an older bully.

Renay: Sexually assaulted, to be clear.

Ana: Sexually assaulted by an older bully. That scene was just so awful.

Renay: Yeah, out of nowhere? Out of nowhere. And I was not happy. That’s when I was done with this book, but I still finished it, but I was done. Like I don’t even care, I need to know what happened, but I don’t really care. But I also figured out exactly what happens a little bit past, I figured out exactly what’s going on, I’m like, “Fuck. Okay. I guess.”

Ana: Also it really implies in the book that the guy who sexually assaulted him was gay.

Renay: Yeah. It did.

Ana: It made me really uncomfortable to associate being gay with sexually abusing people. And of course then he gets killed, too. I mean, really. There are no heroes, or anything nice happening in The Chalk Man.

Renay: So the chalk thing, I was really into that, I was like, “It could be super creepy, I can’t wait.” All it is is they get some chalk—they all have different colours—and leave each other messages. And then at some point the main character realises that he can manipulate his friends using this chalk and he uses it to manipulate his friends! Real creepy.

Ana: That’s when he found the body of the girl. He took her head and then he spread the messages so they could find the girl, isn’t that what happened?

Renay: Yeah, he literally left the messages himself so that he could go back, leave messages for his friends, they could all get together to find this dead body of this girl.

Ana: Why?! Nobody’s nice. A lot of people died, the girls get fucked, the end. I think this book is really about toxic relationships.

Renay: It has to be.

Ana: I’m going to choose to go with this reasoning. If anybody likes to read about these things, just go ahead and read the book. I guess.

Renay: I’m literally giving this book zero space bees. Zero

Ana: Me too.

Renay: Ew. The Chalk Men is by C. J. Tudor. If you’ve read it, and you have a reading that maybe explains some of the bonkers stuff happening in this book, please send us an email at fangirlhappyhour@gmail.com, and explain it to us. What did you find valuable in this book? We would love to hear your perspective because we’re just grossed out!

[music break]

Renay: In 1988, Heathers entered the world. It stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. It’s about a very snobby group of girls who mistreat each other, and one of them gets so angry that she joins up with a sociopath to kill people.  So I know this movie was making a lot of commentary on suicide and how talking about suicide can trigger more suicides. Do you have thoughts?

Ana: Christian Slater was really hot.

Renay: Since I missed out on his teen heart throb years, I sort of came to Christian Slater when he was older and doing not these kind of movies. So there was this movie called Bed of Roses and he runs a flower shop, and he’s this super nice guy. and there’s this woman who’s afraid of commitment, and he’s a super nice guy and very patient with her. And that’s really how I came to Christian Slater, the actor. So imagine my shock when I go back through his previous films. Like, this one! Or Pump Up the Volume. I was very confused!

Ana: So when was the first time you watched Heathers then?

Renay: I think I was about thirteen.

Ana: Did you watch it at the time? No.

Renay: No, no, it was much later. I did not see it until like the mid-to-late nineties.

Ana: So when did I watch it for the first time? I don’t remember, but I remember I was so into it, I used to watch all the time because I had a huge crush on Christian Slater. I had a folder where I collected pictures and newspaper clippings about Christian Slater, together with Kevin Costner. It was a two for one folder, because if you remember they were together in that movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Which is the best Robin Hood version, don’t @ me. And he was Will Scarlet. And I just loved him. And I loved him in Heathers and I loved Heathers.  Cue: me, now, watching Heathers for the first time in more than twenty years. The movie that I watched now was not the movie that I thought that I had watched when I was a teenager, for sure. I think so many things about this movie went well over my head at that time. Like could I have possibly been in love with Christian Slater in that movie, with that character? So I was very, very surprised that the movie went like it did in my mind. Actually, the story was completely different in my head—in my memory. Like I thought all the Heathers had been murdered, but actually they were all accidents, but they were not accidents at all! I would say that he was a psychopath and Veronica was a sociopath. That’s a distinction I would make between the two of them, and I would say that Veronica is not the hero, because she really wanted those deaths, too.

Renay: There’s one hero of this movie.

Ana: Who is it?

Renay: Martha.

Ana: Oh yes!

Renay: Life threw some shit at Martha and she still stayed kind and nice.

Ana: So much bullying.

Renay: And I know the the way the movie ends, where Veronica survives this dude who wants to blow up the school, and takes over Heather’s mantle from another Heather who had been using it to be a jerk, and decides to use it to be nice to people. Okay movie, sure. I’m sure you can heal all the problems that are plaguing this school with some movie nights with nerds.

Ana: Yeah, but then that basically excuses Veronica, but she was an accomplice to J.D.

Renay: I know! The movie’s like “We’re going to try to like, rehabilitate her a little bit. Here, she’s gonna be nice now!” And I’m like, “Hmmm, are you sure? Because listen, she’s kind of a murderer.”

Ana: It’s really cool to see a girl in that role.

Renay: Yeah, that was neat.

Ana: It was cool. I really liked Veronica, despite the fact that she is a murderer. But at the same time it’s poor rich girl, right? All of her rebellion comes from her parents being clueless and her friends being bullies.  There are other people in that school that were in much worse situations than Veronica, but she knows what she’s doing. Cause there is this one great line that she writes in her diary—like she madly, furiously writes down in her diary that, “My teen angst bullshit has a body count.” And that’s basically what this movie’s about. It’s about teen angst bullshit, with a body count.

Renay: So the school here was a character, because we see a lot of scenes from where the teachers are having conferences with each other. It was very weird watching this movie in 2018.  Public school in America is supposed to be where kids in America find access to education and opportunity and success, but at the same time they’re having to navigate this really toxic culture. Do you try to work within the system to make it better, or do you blow it up? And Veronica tries both. She has a little taste of blowing it up, decides she doesn’t like it, and then goes, “I’m gonna improve it from the inside out.” What a metaphor for 2018! [laughs] The one thing about this movie is that I think that it holds up as a piece of commentary and as a film. Of course the cultural references are outdated, but as a story it holds together. I’ve seen this movie a few times since I was a kid, but I rewatched it and I was riveted. I was really into what was happening on the screen, which is really hard for me unless I’m in a theater and I’m a captive audience and can’t knit or something. So it’s one of those 1980s movies that I think still has something to teach us about being a teenager or feeling powerless.

Ana: I agree with that. It’s one of the best rewatches that we have done. There are some things that you said that are outdated, especially if you watch the new comedies for example, To All The Boys I Loved Before, and you see the cliques at high school, they are completely different now.

Renay: The stereotypes have become more nuanced, but I also think that Heathers deliberately drove home the distinctions between different groups. They really leaned into the stereotype in order to draw distinctions between the different groups and the power that they held within the school.  To go back, JD and Veronica like met each other once, had some—

Ana: Greetings and salutations.

Renay: And then he shows up at her house and then they bang.

Ana: And there is no like, shaming, it’s fine.

Renay: Girl having sex is not a big deal.

Ana: I was very surprised. I did not remember that.

Renay: Unfortunately she’s sleeping with the enemy. There’s also a thread of commentary about parental attention. Veronica’s parents, even the way they’re filmed, they’re very checked out.

Ana: It’s very theatrical, in a way, and every time she sits down to have a meal with them it’s always in the same setting; same positions; the conversations are always the same. They just seem very oblivious to the real Veronica.

Renay: And then you get JD’s dad, who is disturbing! And I really think that “where are the parents?” is the question, because even when the parents are there, they’re not actually there. They’re not paying attention.

Ana: And another thing is they seemed so much older. If you watch teenage movies these days, the parents are younger and cooler.

Renay: And also more checked into their kids’ lives.

Ana: So was that a cultural interpretation of what was happening in the United States in the 1990s, in the late eighties?

Renay: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I mean I know that parenthood in the US has changed a whole lot. Back when I grew up, I was running all over town by myself. I would just get on my bike and go and ride around town, and play by myself. I was a pretty independent kid and I’d just be home before dark. Now I feel like if I did that, somebody would call Child Protective Services, because obviously if the kid’s by themselves, the parents are not taking care of the kid instead of it just being the kid learning how to be a person in the world. But there’s like some kind of happy medium, I think, between that but US just went hard.  Literally we changed our the structural design of our homes. People would go into a house and they’re like “I want open concept.” What open concept means is that the parents who are in the kitchen making dinner or whatever, wanted the kids to be in the living room, sitting there so they can watch them. Like I really like the idea of open concept, but I also find the implications of what it means, like parents would have eyes on their children at all times—kids don’t have privacy—kind of disturbing. Maybe that’s culture overcorrected, like parents were sort of checked out, they weren’t paying attention, kids were struggling, like parents weren’t teaching kids how to human properly, so they just grew into these sociopathic monsters? From there we’ve overcorrected.

Ana: Another side of it is from my understanding, there were a number of crimes where little girls and little boys were kidnapped and it was when people became more aware of paedophilia too, was in the late eighties and I think that might have impacted that, too.

Renay: Could be! There is just a lot happening in this movie that I wasn’t expecting, and so I wasn’t ready to process it. I’m still thinking about this film, even though it’s been over a week since I’ve seen it, and I’m really still processing the commentary on suicide. I mean, I knew it was there so I was prepared going in, but it’s different to be prepare going to know a film was going to really dig into the topic, and then to experience it digging into the topic. The movie’s making this commentary about how we sensationalize this type of violence that people will do to themselves. We’re in such a different cultural moment right now when it comes to suicide, it’s been  difficult for me to process what this movie’s trying to say about it, and I still probably need to think about it a little bit more.

Ana: I think probably it was trying to say is that most people have come to this realization. Because most of the crimes were shown as suicides in the movie, and then that creates a feeling of glorification—of glorifying suicide. Because it becomes like interviews, and sensationalizing it, and you have eulogies at the school and you have special things at schools. And then at that point in time, kids who were feeling left out by their parents or who were being bullied at school and felt like they didn’t have a place probably sought this as the best possible scenario for them. And we know now that that’s exactly the type of thing that suicide prevention centers try to avoid and say, “This shouldn’t be like this.” It makes me think of 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix show, which was so dragged because it glorified the suicide and that’s a counterpoint to this movie, I think.

Renay: We finally recognize that suicide is one of those things that’s catching, which I think this movie tries to deal with. I just don’t think it really has enough time to really go in on it, and that by glorifying it you make it more viral. When it’s in the news it could trigger people who are already sick or have been sick before and they might relapse.

Ana: Mm.

Renay: Also the anarchist blew himself up. I forgot that. I totally missed, somehow, that he blew himself up.

Ana: I forgot about the murder of the jocks, of the two guys. I thought it was only Heathers.

Renay: I also found that pretty disturbing. The suicides that are not suicides, actually. The movie didn’t really go into this—it sorta touched on it with the jocks. The cop took one at the scene instead of doing an actual investigation, he made a lot of assumptions, and so we can assume that the same thing happened with Heather. The police came, looked at her note, and were like, “Oh, poor little rich girl was sad and offed herself.” The cop when he finds the boys is super derogatory, right? Even in death, authority doesn’t take teenagers seriously.

Ana: And definitely not what they assume to be gay teenagers seriously.

Renay: Heathers actually managed to be a little creepy even though it wasn’t like a horror movie.

Ana: Especially when JD starts to really, truly spiral. There’s a lot of sexual harassment there, too.

Renay: Yeah, this movie needs like, a zillion trigger warnings, but I still like this film. See why it holds up. Five space bees.

Ana: I agree. Ten space bees for this one.

Renay: So Heathers, 1988: still holds up. And also has everybody’s fave from Stranger Things, Winona Ryder.

Ana: This movie was very.

[music break]

Renay: So because this episode is being recorded while we’re really busy, I decided that we would just answer some questions. First, a quick shout out to Sarah, who apparently just finished our entire backlist.

Ana: Thank you! I hope you enjoyed it and I’m really sorry for the audio problems in the beginning.

Renay: Yeah, we had some audio issues. We still have some audio issues. But we’re working on it! First question from Ellen. “I missed you, though you’re both off doing important work and I’m super proud of you. What have you been reading/watching/doing/listening to for self care in these trying times?” Ana, what’s up?

Ana: I think I’ve talked about this before. I just like to watch procedurals and read crime novels and watch crime shows and listen to true crime podcasts. I’ve watched an entire run—there were nine seasons of Lewis, which is like this really basic procedural that was on ITV for many many years. I watched Prime Suspect. I’ve been watching a lot of CSI: Special Victims Unit. I’ve been reading a lot of crime novels. I read one called Before the Fall by the guy—I forget his name now—Noah something? He is one of the writers of the Fargo TV show, and I thought that novel was splendid. I really truly loved it.  And I sat listening to a true crime podcast called In the Dark, which is the one that follows a cold case of this boy that was murdered in 1989. He was kidnapped and disappeared and nobody knew what happened to him for twenty-six years, until the murderer confessed. And the podcast looks at all of the mistakes that were made by the investigation. It’s really fascinating. I really like it. I’ve also actually managed to read a lot in the past couple of weeks, or months even, because it’s been a while since we recorded our last episode. And one of the books that I liked the most was Damsel by Elana K. Arnold. I wouldn’t say that it’s a retelling, but it’s a fairytale that looks at the trope of the Damsel that has been kidnapped by a dragon and is kept in a tower and the prince comes and rescues her. And it’s the most terrifying novel that I have read this year, because it looks at how we look at heroes, how we look at damsels, and what we expect from both of them. And it’s very, very triggery, too. It has the most glorious ending, cause it’s so gory, but in the right way.  Right then, what about you? What have you been up to? I know that you’ve been really busy with your campaign.

Renay: It turns out when you work on a congressional campaign, you don’t have time for a lot of stuff, however one of my friends has been super generous and has let me borrow her library card. I have access to way more audio books! I can do audio, because I can listen to audiobooks while I’m working and that’s pretty much been what I’ve been doing. And as far as self-care stuff, I have been watching Sailor Moon, the anime. Zach’s watching it, too, with me. I’ve also been watching Voltron. It’s very gay.

Ana: I know! I watched the first season, I need to catch up with the rest of it.

Renay: Every time these two characters are on screen together, I’m like, “This is gay!” It’s just very simple and not stressful. I like it a whole lot. We’ve also started Doctor Who.

Ana: [gasp] Oh yes!

Renay: I mean, we’re starting it again, we quit because I got so angry at it. I quit right after Amy and Rory. I was pissed. And I quit. Basically. I think we watched the Christmas special, where Jenna Louise Coleman was introduced, but then after that I was done. We picked up again, we just finished the Christmas special from 2017, I think? Where Peter Capaldi takes over.

Ana: I just completely did not watch any of the Peter Capaldi Doctor Who. I started watching the new one because of Jodie Whittaker, who is amazing. I feel like I have lost nothing. So if you don’t wanna watch Pete Capaldi’s run, don’t do it! Just go straight to Jodie!

Renay: We’ll see, because it depends on what’s available.

Ana: Oh, right.

Renay: I don’t know, I find Doctor Who a little bit stressful, but also not because it always turns out fine. Bookwise, I read The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi and it made me so happy.

Ana: Oh good! I need to read that.

Renay: It made me so happy, Ana. Although there’s a cliffhanger again. But it made me so happy! I love this series so much! And I read the sequel to one of my favourite fantasy novels from last year, The Bone Witch. The sequel is The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco. They are YA epic fantasies and they’re amazing. I love this series. I can’t wait to see where it goes next. It has queer characters and women being amazing.

Ana: Thea really likes her books.

Renay: I’ve been knitting some stuff; some scarves that I owe people.

Ana: Hello.

Renay: And also I’ve been building a lot of houses in the Sims. Building houses in The Sims, it’s been great. Especially when I get stuck on a problem, like if I’m trying to make something or solve something, if I just sit down and take thirty minutes and go into The Sims and build a house and think about the problem, by the time I’ve finished the house in thirty minutes, I know what to do. I know how to solve the problem.

Ana: Actually considering the question was about how, what do we do to destress, right? To decompress? The most important thing that I started doing is that I started going to therapy.

Renay: Highly recommend!

Ana: Yeah, so it’s been four sessions now, and I really love my therapist. She’s great. We have a good rapport. Everytime I step down in that office I’m like little pressure cooker ready to explode, and then I offload, and then I go back into the world and then I go back again, I’m a pressure cooker again, and then I offload, and then— She also uses a lot of mindfulness, in her therapies, so she’s been giving me tips on how to cope with stress.

Renay: So next question is from Kate: “Have you read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green yet?” No, I have not, Ana have you?

Ana: Confession time: I did not even know Hank Green had a book out.

Renay: That’s how the world is right now. I’ve not read it yet. I do own it. I did buy a copy, like immediately.

Ana: Is it fiction?

Renay: It’s fiction! He wrote a book! It’s got robots, apparently.

Ana: What?!

Renay: I know!

Ana: Hank Green?

Renay: Yeah!

Ana: Okay, so you’re gonna read it, and if it’s good you’re gonna tell me and then I’ll read it too.

Renay: The answer to that one is definitely no, neither of us have read but I am, but hopefully if it’s short enough Ana will soon. Womble asks, “While you were away, which book really stood out for you?”

Ana: I really, really loved Sadie by Courtney Summers and I loved the way that it uses our obsession with real crime podcasts and the death of a girl. The actually really released the podcast before the novel, so you can listen to six episodes of the podcast leading up to the novel. Podcast is called The Girls, it’s still available, you can download it. And then you read the novel and of course you have a completely different take and the novel has excerpts from the podcast, but then when you come to read those excerpts while reading from the girl’s perspective, then the podcast has a completely different meaning. The way that the investigation is done the way that people talk about the girl, because you read, you listen to it before you read from her perspective, you create an image of the girl, because that’s what the image that everybody around her have of her.  You go and read from Sadie’s perspective and she’s going out in the world, to kill the man who killed her sister, but then she disappears herself. So the podcast investigates Sadie, and then we go and read the novel and we see what happens to her leading to her disappearance. So it’s a very gut-punching novel, but I think it’s one that it’s important for us to read. So that is one of the novel that’s stood with me. I read it a couple of months ago. I have not been able to write a review yet because I don’t know how to write a review for this novel. But I really loved it and I loved the way that it uses the podcast as something that you can listen to before you read the novel. Both of them are available at the same time now, so if you have any interest I recommend first listen to the podcast, then read the novel.

Renay: The book that stood out to me, is not a book, it’s a series. It’s obviously the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, because all four of them are out now and I have gotten through three of them. They continue to stand out for me. I continue to think about them. They continue to make me just really really happy. They remind me of why I care about people, even people that disagree with everything I stand for and think I’m garbage. They just remind me of humanity, which is really funny considering it’s a series about a murderbot. Then there’s going to be an actual novel, and I’m very very curious where she’s gonna take it. I’m very excited for this novel and it’s probably not even halfway written yet, I don’t even know when it’s coming out, but I’m very excited for it. The next three questions are from Susan. Susan asks, “What colour are space bees?”

Ana: Sparkly grey.

Renay: I think space bees are the same black stripe colour, but their bodies can be different sparkly colours, and their wings are iridescent. So they’re rainbow.

Ana: I like your space bees better than mine!

Renay: I mean, I bet we could make yours pretty, too.

Ana: As long as they sparkle.

Renay: That’s the requirement for space bees. They have to sparkle. I downloaded a pattern earlier this year before everything exploded for a little plush space bee, and I was like, “I could turn this into a space bee. I just need the fabric for it,” and I literally spent a lot of time debating on what type of fabric I would use for these bees.  Next: “What is your favorite thing about your co-presenter?”

Ana: My favorite thing about Renay is that she’s the smartest person I know.

Renay: Awww, that’s nice! My favorite thing about Ana is her generosity and patience.

Ana: Awwww, do you really think so? I’m patient? And generous? That’s nice!

Renay: You really think I’m the smartest person you know?

Ana: Yes! You taught me so much! You woke me! You woke me up!

Renay: She did this on purpose you realize. She did this on purpose.

Ana: I love you, Renay.

Renay: I love you too, Ana. We see you, Susan. And we also love you too.

Ana: Yes.

Renay: And her last question: “What thing are you most looking forward to before the end of the year?”

Ana: The end of the year. I’m so ready for 2018 to be done.

Renay: [deep breath] I’m trying to think. [silence]

Ana: Do we have any movies coming that I’m looking forward to? Not really.

Renay: I think what I’m looking forward to the most is that I ordered volumes one and two of Space Battle Lunchtime from my comic shop.

Ana: Haven’t you read the first one?!

Renay: I have read the first one, but I don’t own it! But I’m going to now!

Ana: Excellent.

Renay: That’s all the questions we had. Thanks for asking questions. you guys.

Ana: Yay!

Renay: You’ve gotten a slight update on where we are in media.

[music break]

Renay: It feels good to be back. Hello, pod. Hello, Ana.

Ana: Hi, Renay. Hello, pod hive.

Renay: Our show art is by Ira. Ira is brilliant, and you can tell them I told you so by tweeting them a pun at @itsjustira. They love puns.

Ana: They sure do. Our music is by Chuki Beats and BoxCat Games. Our transcripts, which our transcription queen Susan has been faithfully completing even though we both have been away putting out fires, can be found at fangirlhappyhour.com. There will be more soon, because there will be more episodes soon. Fingers crossed. It will happen.

Renay: Hey, you. Yeah, you. Listen to this. You haven’t been drinking water, have you? Go. Get some water. Water. Do it. Water. Do it. Thank you.

Ana: I, on the other hand, don’t have anything nice to say because the after Brazilian elections, my hopes for the world are currently as dead as democracy in Brazil.

Renay: Thank you for your patience with us, space bees. We miss you.

Ana: See you next episode.

[music break]

Ana: Feeelings~! Ohh, feeelings~!

Renay: [laughs]

[beep]

Ana: Your coke bottle is still there. [claps]

Renay: Yeah, I mean, actually, how many days has it been? 304 days with no soda.

Ana: Excellent!

Renay: Of course, I have been eating garbage cause who has time to cook?

[beep]

Renay: I think I get to choose the book for next time, however.

Ana: Yes.

Renay: [laughs]

Ana: I think this is very fair. Just let me know what we wanna read.

[beep]

Renay: I’m really interested to hear your feelings about—

Ana: Why?

Renay: Because your feelings! I wanna hear’em!

[beep]

Renay: I guess I can knit in the theatre. Is that cool? Do they let you do that? Now I’m curious.

[beep]

Ana: What me to spoil the ending for you?

Renay: No, I don’t.

Ana: Oh, damn.

Renay: Nice try, though.

[beep] [beep]