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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: Today’s the day. We’re going to hold our Hive Five Awards and give three lucky pieces of media our top honor: the Golden Space Bee.
Ana: We return with the best awards.
Renay: The most important genre award.
Renay: This year we only have three categories, because last year was a hot disorganised mess, so unlike other award ceremonies, you will not be here that long, but that’s okay because it’ll give you more time for watching whatever new Netflix show that’s out or reading some books. We know your time is precious and we’ve got you.
Renay: Onward to hand out some Golden Space Bees.
[Music: B-3 by BoxCat Games]
Renay: The way that the Hive Five Awards work is that we look back over the media we discussed in the year and choose our top three. This year’s categories are books, comics, and film. The bottom two of our selection can be different from each other, but the top pick has to be the same. We align pretty often? But other times we have to come to an agreement. Luckily, this year was very undramatic because we have great taste in media.
Ana: So undramatic.
Renay: You sent me an email going, “Only a small fight.”
Renay: And then I wrote back going “I agree,” and that was it.
Ana: Yeah, shake hands. Yeah.
Renay: That’s the extent of our disagreement.
Ana: It was like literally two emails and we sorted this.
Renay: It’s because our choices were so good.
Ana: So and also obvious, too, because they obviously the best books.
Renay: Let’s start with the film category. You go first, and tell us what your second and third place picks were.
Ana: My third place pick was Ghostbusters. The new movie. Of course.
Renay: Not the old one.
Ana: Not the old ones. And the second one was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Those two were pretty great movies. I just recently rewatched Ghostbusters and I think it’s been about six months since I watched it for the first time and… It was still good on second viewing. Holtzmann is still awesome. That scene with the guns is still pretty cool. The Force Awakens believe it or not I’ve only watched it once. I’ve got a copy to watch again. and I loved both of them very much.
Renay: In a very unsurprising development, my third place was Ghostbusters 2016, and my second was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Very surprising! That we agreed completely!
Ana: I mean it could be surprising, really. I think our top first choice could be controversial, because the most popular movies of the year were Star Wars and Ghostbusters, right, at least in our métier.
Renay: The Force Awakens came out in 2015 but we didn’t discuss until 2016 so it— it’s kinda like it has a weird place, people might not think “This is not a 2016 thing you should be discussing,” but really, it came out like the very end of 2015, in December, and then the fandom exploded in the first half of 2016.
Renay: So I still feel like it’s totally fair.
Renay: And I’m not a Star Wars person… I’m a space opera person.
Renay: I just missed the whole bus on Star Wars. Growing up with it and having it be like a defining piece of media…for me that doesn’t happen, so I have this distance from it and that’s why I think it’s sorta notable that it’s on my list so high. I don’t have anyonnection to, like, the franchise itself. Like, I don’t have nostalgia for it. I just saw a really really good space opera. Or science fantasy, whatever you wanna call it. And so that’s why it’s on my list. It’s just a really really great space movie.
Ana: So I wonder if you did have the emotional connection to the franchise, could it have been at number one?
Renay: Yeah. We would have probably had to fight over it.
Ana: Well I had the connection to it and it still wasn’t my first choice. Maybe because our top pick was more emotional?
Ana: Was cleverer? Was beautifuler? Did I just make up a word?
Renay: You probably just did, yes. Why don’t you go ahead and announce to everybody what our number one film of 2016 was?
Ana: Should I arrive at the conclusion? Our top pick for best movie of 2016, deserving of a Golden Space Bee is… Arrival! Yay!
Renay: Yes, it’s Arrival!
Ana: In the meantime, hold on, we have a friend here who’s a little bit disappointed that Star Wars did not make the top one.
[BB-8 robot noises]
Ana: Let me translate: he’s like “These awards are fucking bullshit!”
Renay: Post-award commentary by BB-8. I’m glad I don’t speak droid. That might have offended me. Arrival came out of nowhere for me because I didn’t really know about it until midway through the year. I knew it was based on a short story by Ted Chiang but I didn’t have any concept of what it was about and I went into the film blind. I didn’t read much about what it was going to contain.
It was just such a beautiful, smart film, and Amy Adams was wonderful. And even though it had Jeremy Renner in it, he was not a— not that offensive, and she was great and the supporting cast was excellent and the aliens were amazing! And I just loved it and I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD so I can buy it.
Ana: For me what made Arrival so great and so beautiful, part of it was it— because it came at the right time, at the right moment. Because it’s a movie about a life-changing event. At the moment, our world is going through life-changing events. And I feel like there’s so much confrontation going on, the type of confrontation that is not about moving forward? But about moving backwards? And it’s a confrontation that is ugly. It’s people going back to— well, not back to behaviors, but people letting behaviors that have been just below the surface, or for some people just on the surface itself— come into the fore, and the world feels like such an ugly place for me right now. And this movie showed how a life-changing event doesn’t have to be about ugly confrontation. It could be about conversation and communion. And that’s why it affected me so much, I think.
Renay: Our next category is comics. We actually read quite a few comics last year, which is new and different. So Ana what were your second and third choices?
Ana: Number three was The Vision, Volume One: Little Worse Than A Man and number two was Monstress, Volume One: Awakening. Both of them: rather dark and heavy, especially in comparison to what we’ve— what we read overall, like we read a bit of Squirrel Girl too, we’ve read Hellcat, which are fairly light and comical comics, right? And it’s really interesting that those are the ones that we picked as our favorites, for top two and three, at least for me. Those picks are again about what we are going through in time. Both The Vision and Monstress look at civilization, look at what it means to be humans. And although the conclusions are not exactly light-hearted, I feel they are very realistic. And again there’s maybe why it speaks to me, but not to the point of meriting a top one.
Renay: This is a category where we disagreed, and I had to go back and like re-assess but we did. My number three was The Vision Volume One, and my number two is Monstress Volume One. Originally, I had put Monstress at the top, because I liked the art more and then when we had our discussion—it wasn’t really a discussion, it was more like I just capitulated to your request and moved it down—and I don’t think that’s a bad thing? Cause I still really like it and I also find much picking one thing really hard and complicated because you like things for different reasons. Like people who can just pick one overall favorite book of the year: you’re like, unicorns, how are you doing this? Because I have like so many different kinds of favorites for different moods and different feelings that it doesn’t change much if I have to move it down?
And I see what you mean about them being kind of a critique of humanity itself, and what it means to be human in a world that isn’t always pretty, what it means to be human when humanity can be so dark, what it means to be human when humanity can sometimes be very good. Although The Vision and Monstress are really beautiful, the art is amazing and the stories are great and are very important for the times we are in, putting the hopeful story at number one is also important right now.
Renay: Go ahead and tell people what our number one comic is for 2016.
Ana: It’s Ms Marvel Volume Five: Super Famous.
Renay: Again, I’m not sure if that’s a dramatic surprise for most people they’re gonna be like, “It’s you guys, we knew this was coming.”
Ana: I did say when we recorded about it that it was by far my favorite comic of the year and I cried and I laughed. And again it’s about being human but it’s hopeful, it’s uplifting, it’s about communities, it’s about again reaching out to different people: to the other, or to the same and it really fits with the theme that I’m going for in terms of, you know, humanity, and I think it’s a good companion to be right there with Arrival.
Renay: Because it’s also about communicating your needs.
Renay: And moving on to our very last category: books!
Renay: The category I’m sure everyone is like “What are they gonna choose?” I don’t know why it’s not gonna be surprise at all.
Ana: Do you think?
Renay: I don’t know! Maybe? Ana, what are your number two and number three picks?
Ana: My number three is Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. This is a really really difficult category for me, by the way, because all those three could be top ones for me, except the top one has this little extra thing that makes it the winner. And the second one is The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. Again, I feel like we have a theme going on here, right, with our picks, with the books that we liked the most. They are all about change, communication, and about— all of these are about what it means to be human and people confronting their inner fears and fighting conflict and reaching out to try and solve them. Especially with Binti. The Obelisk Gate more or less, there is an element of, “Let’s just kill everybody, destroy everything” which I can quite buy into as well.
Renay: So for me these two are flipped. I put The Obelisk Gate in the number three spot and Binti in the number two spot. Both of these have a lot of death! Lot of death!
Ana: So much death.
Renay: That was not a feature of my consideration when I was going, “Hmmm, what do I choose?” In the end I chose to put The Obelisk Gate in the third spot because although I loved The Obelisk Gate, it was such a good novel, Binti had the core of friendship that I like. There was this really close friendship that we see developed in Binti and I just really really dig watching friendships being born. Especially cross-species friendships.
And then in Obelisk Gate you don’t really have that as much? You have Essun joining a community and learning how to work with them and help each other survive, but it’s not the same thing as a friendship that’s not created under duress. And so that’s pretty much why I flipped them. They’re still both really really really good books, and I kinda feel dirty for ranking them because I think they’re both brilliant. But the friendship in Binti put it a little bit over the top because I just really liked that friendship in that book.
Ana: It’s really great. It’s a really hard choice between those two.
Renay: And then… Our number one pick! Ana, do the honors.
Ana: It’s… Dun-dun-duuuuuuuun! [beatboxes] Ninefox Gambit by Yoon-Ha Lee!
Renay: Ninefox Gambit! The book that when I first heard of it, I was like, “I gotta read that!” And I was the one who went, “Yeah let’s read it for the podcast!” and I faced my fear and asked for an advanced reader copy, which is no small thing for people who know me. I was right. I was like, this is going to be awesome.
Ana: You were right! And I am so thankful for it, because it is my favorite book of the year.
Renay: How— listen, unicorn person, how are you doing that?
Ana: Are you talking to me?
Ana: Or are you talking to your cat?
Renay: I’m talking to you!
Ana: With the favourite book of the year?
Renay: How do you just have one?! How do you do that?
Ana: Well I don’t have one, I have ten. But I think if I had to pick one, which I just did, it would be this one. I’ll tell you the reason why. There are many reasons. It’s a clever book, it has a clever narrative, it has some of my favorite— personal favorites, it has an unreliable narrator. It has questions of memory, of an identity. It has weirdness with regards to how the world and reality can be changed according to what people are doing, and ultimately this is a book about overthrowing an oppressive government and I can really get behind this right now. So that makes it my favorite book of the year. And it’s really well written, and it’s funny, engaging, has two fantabulous main characters. I could not ask for more.
Renay: When I first started Ninefox Gambit I was like, “Okay, I’m maybe not smart enough for this book. It’s one of THOSE types of books.” But I stuck with it and I’m so glad I did, because what a great story, that’s just taking all these different ideas and putting them together and creating this really interesting world that feels tangible. Just the way that it’s written and the way the characters interact with each other is so brilliant. It’s really hard to summarise this novel. It’s pretty much impossible for me to do it. I’m just like, “It has robot pals and you should read it,” and that’s a really good rec! Because it does have robot pals and they’re great and you should read it.
Ana: I second that.
Renay: And I cannot wait for the sequel, which comes out this year. If you hear a really high-pitched screaming sound that’s gonna be me because I got my paws on a copy. I apologise in advance but I’m really excited because I know it’s my brain melt outta my ears. I cannot wait.
Ana: It’s the Raven Stratagem, right?
Ana: I cannot wait either. There are so many books to look forward to, sequels to those three books, actually, there’s a new Binti novel coming out in about two weeks.
Ana: There’s— there’s the trilogy ender, The Stone Sky I think that’s the name, the third Broken Earth book by N.K. Jemisin. And then there’s a new Yoon Ha Lee. Together with the new Megan Whalen Turner book, these are probably my most anticipated books of the year.
Renay: So everything we love, there’s more of it.
Ana: Oh my god, that is so beautiful.
Renay: There’s your hope for 2017, guys: for everything you loved there’s gonna be more of it.
Renay: So, that is our award ceremony, our Golden Space Bees went to Arrival, Ms Marvel Volume 5: Super Famous, and Ninefox Gambit, so congratulations to all our Golden Space Bee winners.
Ana: And of course, we cannot finish this awards without mentioning the book that has not won an award because it doesn’t need an award because it is the best book of all time, it’s the Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. It doesn’t need to be awarded because it is what it is and what it is the best book of all time.
Renay: Listen guys, I tried to stop her, I tried. What can you do? Have you met her? Have you met her?! Yeah, you have, okay. You know what I’m going through over here. To close us out, tell people what we’re gonna be discussing on our next regular episode.
Ana: We’re gonna be discussing Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Timekeeper by Tara Sim, and Star Wars: Rogue One. I can’t wait to talk about all of these three things with you, especially Rogue One, I know it’s gonna be a little bit tense, that conversation there. Let’s see how this goes. And I hope our listeners can follow along.
[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]
Renay: That’s our show for this week. Ana, thanks for discussing media with me for two whole years.
Ana: Renay. You are my queen bee.
You can follow us on twitter at fangirlpodcast for more antics, and if you have thoughts or jokes or funny stories about animals we want to hear from you. Our email is fangirlhappyhour at gmail.com. You can subscribe to the podcast via itunes or wherever quality podcasts are acquired. As always, we seriously appreciate all iTunes ratings given that I don’t even know who uses itunes anymore.
Renay: Well, it’s true.
Ana: Our intro music is by Boxcat Games. Our segment break music was made by Chuki Beats, who creates excellent hip-hop beats over on his youtube channel. Ira made our adorable show art, and Renay, our very own Renay, made our Hive Five award graphics. You can find links to all of their work in our show notes plus some of the media we discussed.
Renay: Thanks for listening space bees. Stay awesome.
Ana: And see you next episode.
[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]