Episode #68 Transcript: Pound Those Yams

Episode Number: 68
Episode Title: Pound Those Yams (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hello friends! I’m Renay.

Ana: And I’m Ana.

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

[Music: B-3 by Boxcat Games]

Renay: This episode we’re going to celebrate our anniversary. We’re beginning our third year and we are planning on flourishing. We’re going to revisit our recent media, talk about our upcoming media challenges, share some things we’re looking forward to in 2017, and debut a brand new feature, plus a few recommendations. Ana, are you ready to have a great 2017?

Ana: Ahahahaha I am so ready, I need to have a great 2017. It has to be good. Or else.

Renay: Okay, well, let’s do it. Let’s live our dreams.

[Music: B-3 by Boxcat Games]

Renay: Happy year three! It begins our third official year as a podcast.

Ana: I can’t believe it!

Renay: Happy anniversary!

Ana: Wow, happy anniversary, Renay!

Renay: We did it! Even though we’re doing 800 things, we did it!

Ana: And nobody died in the making of this podcast so far.

Renay: So far.

Ana: That we know of.

Renay: So we have some changes.

Ana: We do.

Renay: We’re still analyzing the survey results but we have made a few decisions. We’re going to do our very very best to tell you what media we’ll be covering in the next episode at the end of each episode in case you wanna follow along. We’re hoping to do this for every episode, but it’s gonna be a change because it requires us to be dedicated to a topic. In the past, we’ve been a little bit more flexible and prone to shifting topics around because Ana goes “I can’t read this” or I go “I hate this, oops.”

Ana: There’s not enough time.

Renay: Yeah, that’s also a common theme, but we’re gonna give it a shot and see how it goes.

Ana: We do reserve the right to change our minds though.

Renay: Yes, and that might happen, too. We’re also going to try to expand to Soundcloud for one year to experiment with our reach and some extra features, but all of the other ways of getting the podcast will stay the same, so don’t worry. The way that you get the show will not have to change at all.

Ana: We’re all about keeping things the same but also changing.

Renay: That’s how we grow. We’ll keep examining the feedback that we got for more great ideas, so stay tuned!

[Music: Meet MtFox by Boxcat Games]

Renay: All right Ana, we had the holidays and now we should both get back on track with reading and watching and experiencing culture. What’ve you got?

Ana: Fucking Sherlock is what I’ve got. You know, it started again, season four here in the UK on New Year’s Day, first episode aired. I almost had a stroke. I was so angry at that episode. I don’t know if I should spoil or not but something happened that makes me really angry, and meanwhile the internet is like “Oh this was an amazing episode!” I’m like EXCUSE ME, no it was not! It was terrible! I don’t even know what these people are doing any more. I don’t know how I am surprised at the treatment of female characters in this show, but somehow I was — I had high expectations for it, I was looking forward to it, and then boom! Punched in the face.

Renay: Definitely do not spoil Sherlock on the show.

Ana: I’m not gonna spoil. I hate the first episode. And then last Sunday the second episode aired, it was a little bit better, there were much improvements over the first one, it ended with a really really cool twist and I was like “Damn you Sherlock, DAMN YOU, every time I try to get away, you PULL me right back in.” So now I’m looking forward to the third episode on Sunday again.

Renay: Oh Ana.

Ana: I know. And the other thing that I consumed was the last book in the Daniel José Older trilogy and it was called Battle Hill Bolero. And I had no idea it was a trilogy, I thought it was like a series! Like, you know, the Toby Daye series that goes on forever, and I was reading it and I was like “This seems very final…?” And then at the end of it, there was the acknowledgements, this is the end of this trilogy and I was like “What, MotherFUCKER, noooooo!” I love this book so much! I want to read more! But apparently there won’t be any more! Maybe it didn’t sell enough. Hmmm.

They are really really good. So if you like urban fantasy, if you like those books, if you like reading kick-ass amazing female character,s you should really give this series a try. The first one, Half Resurrection Blues doesn’t have a lot of female characters, and then it gets really really awesome in the second and the third ones.

The other book that I just finished reading this morning is a middle-grade one that comes out in February, and I loved it. It’s very cute, very um… Uh… What’s the word I’m looking for? Maybe delightful? It’s about chocolate and dragons. It’s about a dragon that is turned into a human and she just loves hot chocolate so much. And it’s called The Dragon With the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis, and it is really really really cute.

And the last thing I want to talk about is a new show on Netflix that I watching last night, literally I watched two episodes and I’m already completely in love with it and it’s called One Day At A Time, and it follows a Latino family. They are Cubans! The grandmother is Cuban and everybody else is Cuban-American and it’s hilarious. It also has a lot of conversations about racism and feminism because the youngest girl in the family, she’s fifteen years old and she’s like, she’s a feminist and she talks to her grandmother — it’s just, it’s amazing, it’s just really really good. It’s with Rita Moreno as the grandmother. So those are my picks! How about you, Renay?

Renay: Well, my first book of the year was Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. This is a novel about the apocalypse, basically. It’s about the social system falling over and people having to kill to survive and living in locked communities. It was way different than I imagined it would be. But I still liked it? I’m still thinking about it. It’s my first Octavia Butler that I’ve ever read!

Ana: That was my first too, I really liked that book.

Renay: I am still reading Kimi Ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina. But I’ve finally reached! The romance! In this manga! I’m not done with this manga yet, because someone at my library has the other volumes. I have to wait, I have to be patient. I also spent the holiday knitting Zach a scarf, so I could watch the entire first season of Supergirl. We watched the pilot and we liked it! But then I never had time to like go and watch the show. But I sat down and I watched the whole thing while I knitted this scarf for Zach. What a great show!

Ana: Oh, I haven’t watched it yet!

Renay: Ana, you’ve gotta watch it, it’s so good, I loved it.

Ana: Okay.

Renay: The women are complicated and they have great relationships with each other and the romances like didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out…

Ana: Always a plus.

Renay: And I just like all the characters and I thought the conflicts were really well managed and I love the sister relationship between Alex and Kara. And there was an episode of the first season that featured Barry Allen, the Flash! He was super funny and charming, and that led to me watching the entire first season of The Flash.

Ana: Whaaaat!

Renay: I loved it! I mean, halfway through I realized it was about FUCKING TIME TRAVEL, but —

Ana: Excuse me.

Renay: But the show handles it well —

Ana: Excuse me let’s stop recording, I’m gonna go watch this now.

Renay: Yeah, I don’t know why you aren’t watching this show because it’s definitely about time travel.

Ana: Oh shit, I have got to watch it now.

Renay: It was adorable. I loved the relationship between Barry and both of his dads, because one — his biological father is in prison for the murder of his mother, which is explained in the show, and then he was taken in by his best friend’s dad, who’s played by Jesse Williams, who’s amazing.

Ana: Well, for a moment there when you said about his two dads, I was saying “You’re talking about a couple.”

Renay: I realized at that point that I was like “Wait”, I have to clarify, people are gonna get too excited, I’m sorry, no. So that’s all my stuff, that — I mean, that’s plenty considering two full seasons of two shows.

Ana: That is amazing!

Renay: I also have a finished scarf so it worked out.

Ana: Did Zach like the scarf?

Renay: He really liked the scarf. It’s not done yet, I gotta weave in the ends. It was a super-bulky yarn on size ten needles, and I cast on 39 stitches because it was a reversible rib pattern. People who knit are like “Renay, it was a scarf, are you fucking crazy?” Yes, yes I was.

[laughter]

Renay: I wasn’t thinking, I had baby knitter scarf dreams.

Ana: Awwwwww.

Renay: I needed those two full seasons of that of those shows to finish a scarf.

Ana: But you did it! Congratulations!

Renay: Two TV shows, a few books, and a scarf.

[Music: Classics by Boxcat Games]

Renay: In 2016, we declared some reading reading challenges that went a little sideways due to 2016 being a pretty rough stretch of time! But we’re back in 2017 and like I said, we’re going to flourish and succeed. Ana, what are some of your media challenges that you have this year?

Ana: I only have two official ones, I will be trying to resume my time travel project. I will definitely read Kindred by Octavia Butler this year, and Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, I believe the name is, and I will try to read more if I can.

The other thing that I want to do is more is to read more middle grade. As we know I tried to do that last year and it didn’t really go well. I’ve already read two this year, so I think it might happen, let’s see. And the other thing that I have arranged with Thea is to do an Old School Wednesdays reading of Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, your favorite!

Renay: Yay! I’m excited. Old Man’s War, Ghost Brigade, The Last Colony, Zoe’s Tale, and The End of All Things.

Ana: That’s the series?

Renay: Yeah, that’s it.

Ana: Is it easy to read?

Renay: Yeah, he’s got a very simple style. Is that all the things you have lined up?

Ana: I’m keeping it low key so that I don’t destroy my own dreams. The other thing that I’ve challenged myself — because I don’t know if you saw this, but at the end of last year I had my stats and I read a pitiful 60 books last year and that seemed — that’s just like, NO. So I’m trying to read at the very least two books a week this year, and so far I have managed to keep up with that.

Renay: You can do it, I believe in you.

Ana: Thank you.

Renay: Anyway, my challenges for myself this year. Some of it people might have seen because of Lady Business. I have decided to read thirty unique women writers. Last year I wanted to read a hundred unique women writers, but this was when I thought I was gonna read more short fiction and that didn’t happen. So halfway through the year, Jenny from Reading the End convinced me to reassess my goal, and I did, and I cut my goal down to half. So I wanted to read 50 unique women writers and I did it! So this year I wanna do it again but I also want to sleep and not feel stressed so… Thirty is where I set my goal, and if I go over that it’s just cake.

Ana: That’s good.

Renay: I also want to read 110 books. This is what my goal was last year and I did it. I also did it with, you know, a lot of manga, but whatever it’s fine. They count as books!

Ana: Absolutely.

Renay: And they take me a long time to read, because I’m really bad at manga’s reading direction. I have to, like, sometimes reread pages multiple times to figure out what’s happened. My third challenge is to read a lot of space opera. I talk about space opera, I want more books set in space, but I realize that I don’t have a good grounding in the space opera that exists. I made a bunch of lists, I’m going to dig into the space opera offerings that are out there. I have my gift cards that I got for my birthday ready to buy the books because the library have a lot of space opera about DUDES.

Ana: SURPRISE!

Renay: But not a lot by the ladies!

Ana: If you pick a lot of books for you to read, you could pick a couple for us to read here.

Renay: Okay, I can send you the list that I’m going to read from and you can choose some.

Ana: Yeah, that will help you towards your goals too.

Renay: My fourth goal is to read three of the literary fiction books that Jenny recced me last year when she was a guest on the show but those few will probably be White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I have to read some of Jenny’s recs, because she took the time to make me a rec list. For ME! Personalized! So I gotta do it. And I’m going to. Those are my goals right now. I might come up with some more later, but those are my base goals for 2017.

Ana: And they sound very achievable!

Renay: They have to be achievable because I need to not stress about reading challenges.

Ana: Exactly.

Renay: They’re supposed to be challenging but fun. Don’t let your dreams be dreams, guys. Set realistic reading challenges. The end.

[Music: Rolling by BoxCat Games]

Renay: As 2017 begins, a lot of us are going to look ahead to potential favourites that the year’s going to deliver. Ana, let’s go back and forth and share some of the things we’re excited about. Hit me with your number one.

Ana: You know what my number one is.

Renay: I probably know but the listeners probably don’t know, so you have to tell them.

Ana: I bet they know too. I’m not gonna say anything.

[silence]

I’m only joking. My first one is the next Megan Whalen Turner book in the Prince Thief series OBVIOUSLY! It’s Thick as Thieves, it’s coming as soon as MAY, Renay, MAY, that’s like TOMORROW. And I cannot wait to go back to that world and those characters that I love so much. Do you have that book in your list too?

Renay: … No…?

Ana: How DARE you.

Renay: I do have the other two books sitting here, and I’m going to START them after I finish Trickster Rose the second?

Ana: I guess that counts for SOMETHING.

Renay: And maybe if I like them I’ll add that book to the list.

Ana: Yes, and then we can stretch the goal. [laughter]

Renay: NO, we’re NOT moving that goal post, you’re reading that Star Trek fic as soon as I finish A Conspiracy of Kings. There’s no wiggle room at all.

Ana: Okay… All right… Oh god dammit. Well that’s fine I’ll prepare for that. Tell me about your first pick then.

Renay: My first pick is called Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction by Helen Pilcher which is in theory supposed to be about DNA science and cloning could help us replace the species and people we’ve lost, but I expect it’ll read more like an interesting thought experiment that bats around the ethics of the idea with some funny jokes dropped in for extra flavor. It seemed like light enough reading that I can slot it in as my book for bed book, cause I read non-fiction before I go to sleep. This technically came out on January 10th from Bloomsbury, but I’m counting it here anyway because I made this list last week. I’m sorry I plan my podcast homework ahead of time like a square.

Ana: [laughter] Like a square. We just time travelled to the 60s now.

Renay: We did.

Ana: The next book from me is out on February 10th, and it’s A Conjuring Of Light by the V.E. Schwab, the third book in her amazing series and the cover looks amazing too, and I cannot wait to see what’s going on with Kell and Lila.

Renay: I need to read the second book in that series. I own it. I own it! Why haven’t I read it yet?

Ana: It’s self-sabotage really.

Renay: Because I keep buying books?

Ana: And not reading the ones I tell you too! [laughter]

Renay: That’s true! You’re right. My next pick is Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn and it’s about Polly who wants to be an epic starship pilot and travel through space. But unfortunately her dreams are squashed when her mother sends her to school on Earth instead, which Polly isn’t too keen on because she never had any interest in visiting Earth, because apparently in this book Earth is trash. And at the school they’re attending mysteries start piling up, so it kinda smells like there might be a detective story here too, and this comes out from Tor books on January 17th.

Ana: My next pick is Raven’s Stratagem which is out in June and it’s a sequel? Companion? to Ninefox Gambit, which is my favorite book from last year by Yoon-Ha Lee. What’s next for you?

Renay: The Wanderers by Meg Howrey is about a few astronauts that are placed in a very realistic simulation to see if they have the psychological chops to be placed on a mission to Mars. Jodie brought this book to my attention because she knows that I’m all about books that compare themselves to Station Eleven, and this is my ongoing quest to find the next Station Eleven of my heart. I love that book so much and I’m ready for another one like it and I really just need literary speculative fiction to take pity on me already. Please, somebody, write me a book like Station Eleven that is just as good. The Wanderers comes out from GP Putnam’s Sons on March 14th.

Ana: Speaking of that one, have you heard about a book called Waste of Space?

Renay: No.

Ana: It’s a middle grade that is about a bunch of kids who are sent to – it’s like a reality show, but in space.

Renay: Interesting…

Ana: Yeah, I cannot wait for that one. It’s not on my list, but as you can see I just put it out there.

Renay: Okay, well, return to your proper list. What’s next.

Ana: It’s The Stone Sky, obviously, by N K Jemisin, the final book in her trilogy because I need to know what’s going on with Hoa and Essun and are they going to have hot sex or not? How does it work with people made of stone? Those are all the important questions that one must ask when reading the series about apocalyptic end of the world. How do you have sex with people made of stone?

Renay: Well, I have a feeling that Orbit is not going to put that as a blurb on the next book.

Ana: I think they should. [laughter]

Renay: I hope no one at Orbit listens to this. I’m ashamed.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: I’m ashamed of us!

Ana: Why are you ashamed of us! This is a very important and relevant question! Can we imagine how rock hard he must get? Huh? Huh?

Renay: I KNEW you were going to go there, I knew it was going to devolve!

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: We’ve gotta move on. My next book is another science book, The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics and the Human Cost of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman. I saw it on some incoming books of 2017 list and I thought it sounded really neat. It recounts the effort to eradicate rubella, and it seems to dovetail with women’s bodies and medical struggles, especially pregnant women. I’m curious about the history of how we attacked this disease, especially in the current environment, when parents refuse to vaccinate their kids. Like this is something that will get me going oh my god. It’s like, dear anti-vaxxers, vaccinate your goddamn kids. Stop fucking up herd immunity so we don’t all die of disease which none of us would have to live with again if you not for you assholes pumping Andrew Wakefield’s garbage science into your brains!

Ana: Boom!

Renay: Anyway, unlike them, I like reading about science, and facts, and things that happened in reality that are backed up with data, so The Vaccine Race comes out of February 7th from Penguin.

Ana: You’re raising so many clever books. Meanwhile I’m talking about stone sex.

Renay: And rock dick.

Ana: And rock dick, oh my god. I’m gonna have to include that in my review somehow. I’ve gotta.

Renay: Don’t credit me. Don’t credit me, Ana.

Ana: Anyway, my next pick is again something that no one would be surprised. It’s Star Wars, because of course. We didn’t talk about it, but maybe we should talk about that Carrie Fisher died and that was very, very sad. But she did record all of her scenes in this movie.

Renay: Oh really?

Ana: Yeah.

Renay: That’s gonna be strange.

Ana: It’s gonna be very strange.

Renay: It’s gonna be like when I watched the last Hunger Games movie.

Ana: Oh, because of—

Renay: Philip Seymour Hoffman died.

Ana: Yes, of course.

Renay: It’s always so surreal.

Ana: Yeah, to do that, yeah.

Renay: Yeah, I’m excited about Star Wars Episode VIII, because it can’t be any worse than Rogue One, which I thought was really good on the surface but not really good enough to examine on any deeper level.

Ana: Okay, let’s move on, because we’re gonna talk about that later. Ohhhh my god.

Renay: I’m gonna make her mad. We’re gonna fight.

Ana: Ohhhh my god.

Renay: My next pick is A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, and I am stoked for this book. It’s the companion novel to A Star Touched Queen and it’s about Maya’s sister, Gauri, who we meet in the first book as a younger girl. In this book she has to pair up with Vikram, a boy we also meet in A Star Touched Queen as Maya’s story sort of aligned with his. This story seemed more locked into a specific time, and Gauri and Vikram have to team up once Gauri is captured, even though he’s a prince of the enemy kingdom. I am super excited about this book because I so loved the first one, and I thought Chokshi was excellent at world building, and complicated characters. A Crown of Wishes comes out from St Martin’s Griffin on March 28th.

Ana: So basically that’s it, that’s what we are looking forward to in 2017! But not all of it, obviously.

Renay: That’s a very small sliver of what we’re looking forward to.

Ana: That’s like such a small portion of all of the things that I want to read and watch.

Renay: Ana. Ana. Ana.

Ana: Yeah, what did I do now?

Renay: You didn’t do anything, but I’m just saying that my to-be-published sheet has like 101 things on it.

Ana: Wow.

Renay: It’s got a lot on there and I just listed five things.

Ana: You didn’t include the Scalzi novel.

Renay: I didn’t include it because this section is for things that you want to read that you have not yet read.

Ana: You have already read that one?

Renay: I’ve already read John Scalzi’s new novel! Guys, it’s so good!

Ana: You have!?

Renay: I have, I’m reviewing it. I don’t know how to write about this book because – I’m struggling because I’m – The review’s due now. I’ve to hand it in to Tor and I’m sitting in front of my screen going “How do I talk about — how — what do I — what? What do I say? I love it? Can I just say that I love it and copy and paste it 500 times and then just publish that, would that be good?”

Ana: So it’s good then.

Renay: Yes, I love it, I love it. So yeah, if you are excited about anything of the things we’re excited about, we’d like to hear from you, or if you want to tell us what books that you’re looking forward to you can let us know on twitter or via email.

[Music: Mornings by Chuki Beats]

Renay: One of the main charges back in the 2016 post-election was that liberals love their online echo chambers. I have issues with this, starting with the fact that I’m not sure how I, personally, am in an echo chamber when I subscribed to Senator Tom Cotton’s newsletter, which is a good way to cast an immovable grim pall over the entire day of the week that it arrives. But I can never resist a challenge, and since a lot of people wanted us to talk about more current events in the world: we’ve created a brand new segment called Outside The Echo Chamber, which is going to be great! Because I suspect the topics Ana and I choose are going to be unintentionally hilarious and/or start arguments.

Ana: I really don’t know how this is gonna go, so, okay, you start. You go first.

Renay: So first up for me, in Calveras Big Tree State Park in California, a giant sequoia that was called the Pioneer Cabin Tree because of the room-like tunnel carved through it was knocked over by a storm. This tree—it just fell over, because nature punched it and it was like “fuck this forest, fuck the Holocene, fuck the people who carved me up, I’m OUT.” So I get really sad about huge historic trees dying, because trees are like legit time travellers. They live so long. To give an example of how emotional I get, the one time I listened to the Criminal podcast about the Treaty Oak in Austin? I cried in public because some jerk off white dude poisoned it with herbicide and it almost died! And it never ever went back to its true huge majesty. And the only good part about that story is that that tree? Like—it lived longer than the dude who tried to poison it. Anyway, I just have a lot of feelings about trees. Protect trees, friends. Also if you wanted, you could always plant a tree sometime this year in honor of the Pioneer Cabin Tree, because it went through some terrifying times and it’s the least man can do, because after it fell over, they found grafitti, because humans are assholes.

Ana: That’s the truth.

Renay: Plant a tree and say a prayer, my friends, because one day the plants are gonna go all The Happening on us, and we’re a hundred percent gonna deserve it.

Ana: Okay.

Renay: What in the world caught your attention, Ana?

Ana: I’m not sure that I am as good as you about getting outside my little echo chamber?

Renay: This is a baby feature? And it’s gonna grow.

Ana: No, I’m saying it’s just really hard to get outside that! Because you get trapped in your twitter feed and your Facebook and it’s always the same thing and you are talking the same things over and over and this is why I try to get out of the house, doing something else. So that’s not news-related but it’s something that everybody can do. It’s called geocaching. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about it.

Renay: Yes.

Ana: I have visitors now and they are two — they are my partner’s sixteen-year-old twin cousins. And they’re staying over with us for about a month, studying English. And we subscribed to this geocaching thing and we have been going around — um, you are given geographic locations of hidden caches, around your neighborhood or you can just travel, it’s — everywhere in the world is available. Just go to the geocache website, sign up, and then you just use your GPS on your mobile to find where the next one is and you just go looking for it. And it’s pretty damn cool. We’ve found several around my house. There are literally, around my house, there were four.

Renay: And you can enjoy nature!

Ana: Enjoy nature! And trees!

Renay: Before it turns on us.

Ana: Yes.

Renay: So next for me, I’m really sorry for everyone who thought they were listening to Fangirl Happy Hour, this is now Environmental Panic Hour instead.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: The US has added a species of bumblebee to the endangered list for the first time. The rusty-patch bumblebee is at risk, y’all, and I doubt it’s gonna be the first. Do you like things like, you know, food and eating? Do you like tomatoes? Cranberries? Peppers? If you’re like a fan of those things, the rusty-patch bumblebee is important! Bees are important! Like, plant a small garden, some flowers, go HARD and buy one of those flow hives and become a bee pal. I’m not sure bees’ll ever live to evolve into space bees if we make them go extinct now. Protect bees, y’all. Okay Ana, what’ve you got?

Ana: Okay, this is not again technically outside my echo chamber, but it was something that made me smile today.

Renay: Yay!

Ana: And it was something out of reddit, I don’t usually go on reddit, but people were tweeting about it, and it was someone talking about what if Barrack Obama quit the presidency before next week, and then automatically Joe Biden becomes the new president. And then he has time to do a bunch of really cool things, but also he becomes 45 and then the current 45 will actually be 46 but then he’ll have to print every single thing that he has printed for the number 45 again. [laughter]

Renay: What a thought experiment.

Ana: Oh my god, I was just laughing so much and it make me so happy, this idea. And it’s just simple as that sometimes.

Renay: Ah, Joe Biden, I’m gonna miss him.

Ana: I know.

Renay: I’m gonna miss Obama.

So next for me is a comment that I saw on twitter. It was a tweet that went around and I think I saw the twitter Moments which is a feature that is apparently still there and you can just click on it, and I always accidentally click on it because I think it’s my notifications tab, thanks a lot Twitter.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: And since I ended up there I was just browsing, looking down and seeing what it was and I saw this tweet, and it led to a comment on a livejournal. And according to a comment that he left on his LJ, George R. R. Martin thinks the next book in his massively popular fantasy series may be out in 2017.

Ana: Oh.

Renay: Now, it amazes me that this man is still answering this question from people who don’t seem to grok that writing isn’t an on-off switch, especially for a series like A Song of Ice and Fire. If I were George, anytime someone asked me this question, I would just answer it with like “Soon” and a deal with it gif. Fanboys: You have got to let this man live. He is so tiny, and I know because I met him, and I was taller than he is! And I wanted to, like, bundle him up and protect him from the world!

Ana: Hm.

Renay: The weight of all your expectations is squishing him into a human pancake devoid of creative energy. It is no wonder that he’s not done yet! Who can breathe creatively in that type of demanding fan environment? Like, if this book series was a piece of fanfic and people were doing this, he’d 100% have the right to go “series discontinued” and just fuck up all of your dreams. I don’t know, Ana, what is going on out there? Do these people need fantasy series recs? Because they could read the Inheritance series by N. K. Jemisin, The Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott, which will keep you busy for a while, or the Shattered Sigil series by Courtney Schafer. All of these are done.

Ana: What do all of these series have in common? They’re all written by women. They don’t care about them.

Renay: And that’s why they’re harassing George R. R. Martin.

Ana: I guess.

Renay: If you need more fantasy recs guys, I can deliver you some fantasy recs.

Ana: It’s gotta be by the dudes.

Renay: No, no. There’s no more dudes writing fantasy. They’re banned. It’s only women from now on writing fantasy. Instead of going up to George R. R. Martin and going “Hey, when’s your book gonna be done?” Just come to me instead and be like “What’s a fantasy series I can read?” Let me deliver you from your obsession with George R. R. Martin’s next book, and provide you with an alternate reading path so you can stop asking this poor man this question.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: All right Ana, I’m done yelling at fanboys, what is your next culture thing?

Ana: Well, today is January 11 and we all know how today went in the world of politics in the United States.

Renay: Oh god.

Ana: There was a press conference. There were leaked documents, or the possibility of leaked documents. The only thing I’m gonna say about this, and then I will urge people to go and look for this, hashtag goldenshowers.

Renay: I mean, I laughed about this too, but I think that the more important detail that picked up from this was that this dude was so racist.

Ana: It’s so gross, right. It’s just so PETTY.

Renay: That this was the thing he chose to do.

Ana: I don’t know what’s going on. The press conference, Renay, was a nightmare thing to watch. I just — it’s embarrassing. It’s horrifying. Terrifying.

Renay: Everybody enjoy for the next four years.

Ana: Eight, maybe.

Renay: Oh god, welcome to 45’s presidency and his era.

All right, in lighter news: Hasbro is apparently letting people vote on replacement tokens for Monopoly in one version of the game. I was very torn over the last vote, because on the one hand: a cat token. On the other, that iron token was a piece of my childhood. But also do people who play Monopoly actually iron? Aren’t they still playing the game of Monopoly they started last week so they don’t have time to iron? Cause Monopoly takes forever.

Anyway, I’m really tempted by some of the new token options. My faves are the tortoise, t-rex, hashtag, rubber duck, bunny slipper, rooster, helicopter, and the kissy face. I assume the kissy face is the token of the asshole who bankrupts everyone every single time they play would use and it would be gutting and 100% appropriate because that’s how corporations treat people: sarcastically, as they grind us into dust.

But, some of the tokens are ridiculous. Like the cell phone token looks like they walked the mold for it right out of a 1999 movie, like this big square thing. I have opinions about Monopoly tokens, guys. Just live with it. If you’re really invested in the tokens of a game that has been robbed of its critique of capitalism by capitalism, then you should vote at votemonopoly.com like I did.

Ana: That’s so cool.

Renay: I mean, let’s be real, the worst part about this whole thing, is that they didn’t — they didn’t have a bee token. Which is a shame, especially since bees will be extinct soon and then we’ll be dead. You’d think they could commemorate the bee.

Ana: I’ve got a great one now.

Renay: Okay. Hit me.

Ana: This one I woke up and I saw something on my Facebook that almost made my ovaries explode.

Renay: Oh no.

Ana: It’s a video.

Renay: Oh god.

Ana: By Idris Elba

Renay: Yes!

Ana: Did you see that?

Renay: I saw it!

Ana: Oh my god! So, basically, it’s if you go omaze.com/idris, you can donate to a charity called W.E. Can Lead, for a chance to win a Valentine’s dinner with Idris Elba himself. But the thing is there is a video of him introducing this idea, and it’s him, like, really beautifully sitting next to a chair saying that “you could be sitting here,” and you know the voice. And then he goes “You can pound my yams,” and I was like “Fuck, I would totally pound those yams.”

Guys, donate to charity, a really cool charity for a chance to have Valentine’s dinner with Idris Elba. I bet they’re gonna make FUCKING MILLIONS.

Renay: They definitely know how to lever the internet’s love of its internet boyfriends.

Ana: Absolutely.

Renay: At least we’ll always have this video.

Ana: I think I have already won just by watching the video.

Renay: Thank you for ending with good news.

Ana: I’m gonna cheat and I’m gonna include just one more.

Renay: Okay, go.

Ana: Just like really quick, really quick really quick, just gotta say – I gotta say: Hugo Awards nomination are open.

Renay: Hugo award nomination awards are open, and PS Fangirl Happy Hour is eligible in the Fancast category. More importantly, me and the folks at Lady Business created a spreadsheet where you can add stuff, please go look at it because there’s a lot of great things, and if the things that you love are missing: put them on there so more people can find find the things that you love. Fans helping fans.

Ana: Yeah. I’m so proud of you that you went straight to talking about Fangirl Happy Hour!

Renay: Listen, I’m gonna have an anxiety attack about it later.

Ana: Yeah, okay, that’s fine. [laughter] Let’s move on.

[Music: Slow Down by Chuki Beats]

Renay: And now we’re here at the end and it’s time for recommendations. Ana, what’ve you got for us this week?

Ana: I’ve got already what I think will be one of my top ten books this year, probably gonna win all the major awards for YA, probably. I give it a ten and it’s the first ten in a — a year.

It’s contemporary YA, it’s called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and it’s been touted a Black Lives Matter movement book, because it starts with a young black guy being murdered by the police. And his best friend, who is the main character of the novel, is in the car with him, and what happens next. And it’s a harrowing, very difficult, book in many ways, but it’s so so so beautiful, so well-written, and it has one of the best families I have ever read in my entire life. Her dad is super cool, her mum is awesome, her brothers, her uncles — it’s just, it’s a book about families and identity and communities and it’s amazing. It comes out at the end of February. I’ve already read and reviewed it and I think this book is gonna go places. I bet it will. I’m putting my money on it. How about you? What do you have for us?

Renay: My recommendation is pretty different this week and it also comes with a request. As some may know, my partner had a heart defect that was a pre-existing condition. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act prevented him from being denied coverage and allowed him to treat the problem and now he’s part cow!

I have an autoimmune disease and also recorded anxiety and depression, and without the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could reject me too because they love rejecting people for pre-existing conditions before the law went into effect. Knee problems when you were fifteen? Rejected. Strep throat as an eight year old? Rejected. Saw a therapist to help you make a hard life decision? Rejected. Insurance companies are not our pals, and the Affordable Care Act forces them to level up to basic human decency.

Here is a list of things the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, does. It expands Medicaid in states that accept it. Without my partner, I would be on Medicaid. Prevents insurance companies from dropping you unexpectedly for anything less than fraud. It covers preventative care at no cost. It allows people to stay on their parent’s insurance until they’re twenty-six. I was dumped off my mom’s insurance at twenty-three and spent over five years uninsured, so I’m a big fan of letting people stay on their parent’s insurance as long as possible. It prevents insurance companies from charging you more based on health status, gender, or salary. It prevents older folks who often need more care for being charged over three times what a younger, healthier person is charged. So not five times as more, not ten times as more, three times is the maximum they can charge. So if you’re eighty, you’re not gonna pay more than three times what a young person would pay.

The Affordable Care Act does a lot more than this this, this is just the skimming off the top, and it’s at risk by the GOP, who wanna repeal it even though they have no plan for a replacement. And they won’t, because they’ve had multiple years to develop one and they haven’t. They’re too greedy to come up with anything better than the Affordable Care Act. I can guarantee you, some of your favorite creators making art that you like use the Affordable Care Act. They’re going after the Affordable Care Act, and they’re drooling over the potential to defund Planned Parenthood, to gut Medicare and Medicaid, and to start fiddling around with Social Security.

My request is that if you’re a US citizen and you live in a state with Republican senators or congressmen is that you call them and you tell them that you want them to WORK with Democrats to IMPROVE the ACA, not repeal it. Tell them you don’t support repeal and delay, or repeal and replace, because you have seen no evidence of a viable replacement. Tell them to protect Medicaid and Medicare and Planned Parenthood. Ask explicitly if they plan to protect these health care programs. If the staffer taking your call doesn’t know, thank them and ask them to find out, and let them know that you’ll call back to check. And then keep calling back. If you have Democrats as reps, calling is just as important. Tell them that these programs matter to you a lot because you believe everyone deserves access to affordable healthcare. Let them know that you support them pushing back against attempts to gut these programs. Thank them and do it once a week. If you don’t know how to call your reps, email us and we will help you. Calling is very scary and it’s a very high anxiety task for me, so I understand it may seem like an insurmountable thing to do, but you’re not alone and we can help you.

My mistake was treating like democracy like it was something that was always going to be there. It’s not. Democracy is a verb and we’ve gotta treat it like one.

Ana: That’s amazing.

Renay: All right, now that I’m done yelling about politics: Ana, please tell the people what we’ll be discussing on our next episode.

Ana: On our next episode, we’ll be hosting the High Five Awards!

Renay: Yay!

Ana: Yay!

Renay: We’ll be picking our favorite things from media that we discussed in 2016, and you know, talking about like we did last year and giving out our beautiful awards. So make sure to listen to hear what things we loved the best.

[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]

Renay: That’s our show for this week. Ana, thanks for being rad as usual.

Ana: I am the radish to your grape juice.

Renay: I’ll allow it.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: You can follow us on twitter, hit us up at fangirlpodcast. We definitely want to hear from you! Our email is fangirlhappyhour@gmail.com. You can subscribe to the podcast via itunes or wherever quality podcasts are hired. If you’re feeling generous with your time and give us some iTunes-based space bees we appreciate it.

Ana: Our music this week is by Boxcat Games and Chuki Beats. Our super cute show art is by Ira and you can find links to all their works in our show notes. You can also find links to some of the stuff we discussed today there, too.

Renay: As always space bees, thanks for listening. Take it easy.

Ana: See you next episode.

[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]