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Renay: Hello friends! I’m Renay.
Ana: And I’m Ana.
Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Hour.
Renay: Today we’re back! We’ve both been having very interesting days, so this episode is going to be excellent.
Ana: I think the whole world has been having interesting days.
Renay: We’re recording this on Tuesday and by the time it comes out, Tuesday’s going to feel like it was nineteen years ago.
Ana: Yes, and who knows who in the White House will remain.
Renay: I feel like we should take bets.
Ana: I would say the next one is gonna be Sessions.
Renay: The president isn’t going to fire him. The president is gonna move him. Because the president is allowed to shift around cabinet members.
Ana: That’s true, but isn’t that what he did about Sean Spicer? He moved him?
Renay: Who can predict anything this administration is going to do? But that is my guess. Your guess is Sessions? So I guess when this episode comes out our listeners can tweet us and tell us if we were right. Okay, we’ll talk about politics for three hours if we continue.
Ana: Oh yeah, we can’t. Let’s move on.
Renay: Let’s get into some feedback and updates. We got several messages since the last episode. From Anonymous on Tumblr; they said, “I like that you have Patreon now, but I don’t have the funds to pledge every month even at the one dollar level. I might have it in the future, but not now. I could do a one-time pledge but don’t know how to do it. Do you have any way to help your fan bees who want to contribute but can’t month to month?”
Ana, I would like to point out that you’ve started a trend. Well, whoever wrote us the first message with the term fan bees started the trend, and then you encouraged the trend.
Ana: I’m not sorry. I’m very proud.
Renay: I don’t know how to answer this question. I guess Paypal? But I feel really weird about being like, “Yes, here’s my personal paypal address you can just send me random money.”
Ana: I would say that there were other ways to contribute as well? Kind of like reblogging our posts, retweeting, and just talking us up. It doesn’t have to be a monetary contribution because we know that not everybody can afford it and we appreciate anything that people will do to help us getting our names out there.
Renay: Listen, I love retweets and I wish our episode announcements got more retweets even though I know I’m really bad at writing tweets, period.
Ana: Or Facebook, Instagram, anything. Any social media helps.
Renay: We’re on Instagram?
Renay: We are?
Renay: Ana has just given me another social media account to manage.
Ana: No, no I take it back. I take it back. The point being contribution doesn’t have to be financial. Any help is much appreciated.
Renay: Currently the US is on fire, so if you were selling or advertising anything, anything, a book, a movie, an album, a podcast: it is very hard to get traction in this environment. We love our patrons. We totally appreciate them. If you can’t become one right now, boosting our episode announcements are pretty much the number one thing that you can do for us. Go into iTunes and rating our podcasts another number one thing you can do for us. Just so we’re not being buried under the news, which is a trash fire every single day.
Ana: Yeah, sometimes it feels very awkward to be talking about media and our podcast or our blogs or books when everything’s on fire.
Renay: You can’t do all news all politics all serious business all the time. You have to have breaks, you have to have fun, and that’s kinda what we use this for. We do talk about politics here because it’s kind of hard to ignore, but we’re also really focused on having fun. So yeah, helping us get our episodes out there, our show, so that new people who want to talk about media and other cool stuff can find us? Helps a lot.
Renay: Next, from Carla: they wrote, “I was listening to your latest episode where you give recommendations for steampunk books, and considering Ana is Brazilian I thought of recommending a Brazilian and Portuguese anthology called Vaporpunk.” Pause. Ana, will you please read this?
Ana: Okay. So I’m gonna resay the name of the title as well, because it would sound differently in Portuguese. So Vaporpunk: Relatos Steampunk Publicados sob as Ordens de Suas Majestades.
Renay: “To be honest, I haven’t read all of it, I bought when I was into the steampunk aesthetics. I love the books by Meljean Brook and Gail Carriger, but then, as Ana, I got a bit fed up with it and turned my reading elsewhere. However, now and again, when I’m looking for short fiction, which doesn’t happen often, I turn to it and have read a couple of interesting stories that deal with the social side of industrialisation and colonization, mainly in a Portuguese setting, Africa, and Brazil. Keep up the good work! I love listening to you.” Carla: thank you for your message. We love hearing from you.
Ana: And this book actually sounds amazing.
Renay: I love that we’re getting book recs in other languages, because I know we’re very English-focused podcast. So I love it when people are like, “Hey, just in case, you can mention this book!”
Ana: I know that we have at least three Brazilian listeners. This could be very useful, so thank you Carla.
Renay: We also got another email about the steampunk episode, from David. “Hi Renay and Ana, in episode 88 you were asking about recs of steampunk that’s more broadly representative. What about Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, which was a 2015 Hugo runner-up for best novel? I’m not sure if you consider it properly steampunk, but it certainly has steampunk elements. Airship travel, the folding mechanical bridge proposal, possibly others. The elf-goblin dynamic portrays issues of racism and nationalism as Maia, the half-goblin outcast, the youngest son of the old emperor, is suddenly elevated to the throne of people who regard him as an uncouth barbarian when all those ahead of him in the succession are killed in a tragic airship accident that may not be accident. It’s an excellent book that got a lot of love from the Hugo voters.”
Ana: We both loved this book very much.
Renay: We really did. I love this book.
Ana: I’m not sure it is—I would consider it steampunk.
Renay: I think the reason I didn’t consider it steampunk is because of the context. Because Maia fits himself into the context of this world instead of trying to undo it.
Ana: For me it was maybe because it’s too fantasy and less tech-y.
Renay: There are tech elements but they’re very much in the background. For instance, if Addison wrote a sequel about Maia reinventing the kingdom and doing more work with the bridge, and riding on airships, and being more of an active agent in changing how the culture works, I might call that what we’re looking as steampunk.
Ana: Maybe we should contact Katherine Addison. Please write this book, Katherine.
Renay: And then come on our podcast and talk about The Goblin Emperor, because we loved it. So everybody who sent in recs for steampunk books, thank you very much. There’s a lot of good steampunk stuff out there.
Renay: So update-wise, as recording we’re almost to a hundred dollars on Patreon, thanks to all the folks who have become patrons recently, we appreciate you very much. We also have changed our five dollar reward level to a digital fanzine instead of a physical fanzine. If you were a patron before July 30th of this year, you will get the physical copy and it will be the only one ever produced because the US postal service is a mess. And we’re still looking for ideas for higher reward levels, because I’m sure there’s people out there who want to give us more money than five dollars a month. Right? I’m sure. I’m positive. Let’s be positive.
Ana: Of course.
Renay: And finally, Ana: what’s the haps?
Ana: I’m going to Worldcon! Worldcon starts on the 9th of August in Helsinki and I will be there! And if you are a fanbee come talk to me! We can maybe get into some recording shenanigans for Renay. I will be hanging out with Thea and with Renay’s co-editors of Lady Business, just after twelve on Friday morning. And if you wanna come over and say hello to all of us, we will be at a place that will be announced on Twitter, I guess.
Renay: If you wanna meet the person who did our show art, you can! Because Ira will be there!
Ana: Ira will be there! And Susan, who does our transcript! Oh my god, the whole team! Apart from Renay.
Renay: Awwww. I’m sorry that I’m poor.
Ana: One day, Renay, we shall meet in person.
Renay: What media have you consumed since we last talked about media that we have consumed?
Ana: I am all caught up with Halt and Catch Fire, which is a TV show from AMC about techie advances in the eighties. Basically it’s about four geniuses, I guess, that are always at the forefront of computer advances, but for some reason they are so fucked up that their plans never work out. So basically they invented the first laptop, but couldn’t get it to run. They worked on gaming and created the first online money-exchange kind of thing, before eBay, but it also didn’t work because of their personalities. And it’s really cool. One of the main characters, played by Lee Pace, is bisexual, and it’s very clear on-screen. So I just watched series three over the weekend and I really liked it. It’s fucked up, but I like.
And I also read: dun dun duuuuuun, Provenance by Ann Leckie, which was incredible. If you want to compare it to the Ancillary books I would say it’s more to Ancillary Mercy than it is to Ancillary Justice. It’s more like a personal story rather than a huge scope story like Ancillary Justice was, but this one is also very different because even though it has a found family element to it, too, but it’s lighter, it’s funny, it’s fun, and it’s a heist in space. Guys, it’s a heist in space, you have to read it. It’s out in September, and that’s it. [laughter] That’s all that I have time to do.
Renay: You’re so busy! Well also, I’m behind on putting things into my eyeballs, because we just recently had a healthcare explosion here. But I did finish a few things.
I read, and loved, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. It is an epic fantasy about a girl who has the power to raise the dead. And the book opens with her raising her brother from the dead. I say it’s epic fantasy because it’s very much about girl finds out she has powers, goes off to the big city, and learns how to fit into her magical order. There’s also what I think is a genderqueer character, there’s also a trans character, and their stories don’t end badly at all? And I realized after I finished the book that I was never worried about them. You know how sometimes you’ll read a book and you’ll meet a queer character and you worry about them, you’re like, “Oh no!” But I didn’t do that here. I was really impressed with the world building. Obviously, it’s me, I’m not super crazy about the romance that the book is setting up, but everything else was lovely, all the friendships. And the main character has important relationships with a lot of women around her. It was a wonderful book.
I am not done with but almost, so I’m gonna put it on the list, with the book Give Us The Ballot by Ari Berman. It’s a book about voting rights and the decision that the Supreme Court made in Shelby v. Holder that gutted a section of the Voting Rights Act, that made it possible for the South to start suppressing the black vote again. When you suppress the black vote, you can also catch up a bunch of poor whites; people who are disabled. Works real well for people who don’t want people who lean Democrat to vote. And it also goes into the history of the fight for the Voting Rights Act, and all the people who worked to make it possible, all the people who defended it, all the people who made sure it was implemented properly. It’s a very angry-making book. I was supposed to be reading it at night before bed. Mm-mm. Nope. Nope. Can’t do it. Cause I got real angry and I had to not do that anymore. I was going to bed and then wanting to wake Zach up for a rant about gerrymandering.
Renay: Do not wake your partner up at 2am to rant about gerrymandering just protip for anybody who has a marriage. And then I read The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin.
Ana: How does it end?
Renay: I’m not telling you how it ends!
Ana: Okay, different question. Was I right about Alabaster? Is that a no, or is that I’m not telling you?
Renay: That’s an I’m not telling you.
Ana: I was totally right about Alabaster.
Renay: Alabaster’s not in the book really. This is a book about a mother and her daughter. It’s a book about Hoa.
Ana: [gasp] Is there hot sex between Hoa and—?
Renay: You think I’m give you all these answers? You have to wait and read the book, Ana!
Ana: I can’t! I’m just asking the most important questions!
Renay: I can’t say anything without spoiling this book! I’m realizing now that I want to describe it to everybody, but it’s not out yet because I read an ARC so nobody can even read it unless they have an ARC.
Ana: I have an ARC.
Renay: Well you should go read it, and then you would know the answer to all your questions.
Ana: When’s it out?
Renay: August 15th here.
Ana: What?! So soon? That’s what I’m gonna be doing in Helsinki.
Renay: You’re gonna go to a convention and read a book? [laughter]
Ana: On the airplane? I don’t know when I’m gonna have time.
Renay: When do we ever have time to put all these grat books into our face? Anyway, what I will say is that every book that N. K. Jemisin writes, she gets better, and better, and better. I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to handle it in like twenty years. I guess what’s gonna happen is that in 2042 she’s gonna publish something, it’s gonna arrive to my house as my pre-order book, I’m gonna open the box, assuming they’re still using boxes in that decade, and it’s gonna shine so brightly that I disintegrate. The book itself will just make me disintegrate as soon as I open the package. I’ll look at the cover and then I’ll disintegrate.
Ana: That’s so much love.
Renay: Anyway, I think it’s a perfect ending to this series.
Ana: Did you cry?
Renay: I cried. I loved the ending. I loved the middle. I loved the beginning. I loved the antagonist, because of just how creative it was and how it tied back to previous things in other books. I loved all the new world building. It was lovely and I can’t wait for everybody to read it. Ten thousand space bees.
Renay: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, and is published by Marvel as part of the Young Avengers collection of comics that we are reading based on a rec list from my friend Memory. So this comic was about two of the Young Avengers, Billy and Thomas, and how they believe that Scarlet Witch might be their mom. And so they go up against the Avengers and the X-Men by teaming up with Magneto to find their mother who has been missing and is presumed dead?
Ana: Yeah, because the thing is this is a major crossover event for several Marvel entities. so it’s kind of like the mutants and Avengers and then the Young Avengers and it also has lots of time travel and going backwards and forwards. But it ties in with this House of M event that occurred in the Marvel universe prior to this series in which the Scarlet Witch goes completely off script; loses her mind when she loses her two sons? And basically loses control of her powers and ends up removing the power of the vast majority of mutants in the Marvel universe. And then she disappears and everybody thinks she’s dead. And in here we find out what was going on? With the Scarlet Witch, who spoilers, is not dead. She’s actually hiding with Doctor Doom without any memory. And then Billy and Tommy go after her and find their mom.
Renay: I had some feelings about this comic. Ana, what are your feelings?
Ana: I had feelings. [laughter] Complicated feelings.
So I had not read the House of M storyline, so I was thrown in the middle of this huge event. I wasn’t completely lost, because I thought the comic did a somewhat good job of catching up what happened so that I was not completely lost. But it also presented the problem of a crossover event in which there is just too many people, too many things happening. And it did that thing that Marvel tends to do, especially with the X-Men comic, which is the retcon.
Scarlet Witch did not actually do those things. It was actually an entity. And this is not the first time that a really powerful female character is just taken over by an entity to do things. [sigh] It’s bot the first time, that that happens with really powerful female characters.
I liked a lot of things about it, of course I liked the whole Billy and Tommy storyline. And Billy and Teddy, boyfriends. And the art was beautiful apart from the fact when the women were kinda like had huge boobs staring me in the face.
I saw too many boobs.
Renay: Also, if you looked, all the women looked almost exactly alike. Their faces? Can this dude not draw women? No! Apparently he can’t.
Ana: You have things happening to a couple of the Young Avengers that I’m not sure how I feel about. So for example the only black one is suddenly responsible for a major fuck-up and I felt so bad for him. And did it have to be the one Black character in the entire comic?
Renay: Of course it did. And then—
Ana: They killed Cassie. They killed the Vision. And I’m not sure why. So I have feelings, not all of them positive. We weren’t very much into the previous one that we read.
Renay: The Young Avengers Presents was very disjointed. And then we get this one and the whole team’s together, but every time the Young Avengers get involved in, like, really like Earth-shattering events it feels like it takes away from them a little bit? And you don’t get as much of them and I want comics about them and their adventures, that feel smaller, but still important.
This is a crossover event where these two kids were supposed to be finding their mom and that gets overshadowed by this whole big showdown between the Avengers and the Young Avengers and Doctor Doom and Magneto and the X-Men. And it just gets too busy. There’s too much going on and it robs the Young Avengers of this storyline, especially with Billy and his mom, in a way that I just don’t think serves the characters that well.
Ana: No, I agree with that.
Renay: I did not like the character deaths especially with Cassie. It felt like she died to make men feel things. And then she dies and it’s almost like an afterthought almost. People barely comment on it right after it happens. They just have discussions over her dead body and I’m just like, “What the fuck is happening here?!” This is what I mean by it being too full. And the Vision died in a ridiculous way and I’m so sick of character death being used this way. And I get that it’s comics, but this is my main problem with comics, right? Is that they use character death in such a casual way to make it not matter anymore.
Ana: Pretty much every single character makes a return at some point in the Marvel universe, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t at some point make a return. Which just makes the deaths even emptier.
Renay: And also gratuitous.
Renay: So all the parts I liked about the Children’s Crusade came when it was about the kids and the premise of the book, which is two of them looking for their mother; Their personal relationships with each other; how they make decisions; how they don’t make decisions. All the other stuff just felt like a mess. It just felt like a mess.
Ana: What did you think about the huge point made in the comic with regards to forgiving Scarlet Witch for what she’s done. And the point made was that every single Avenger or X-Men has had a bad past, or killed someone, or has had an event in which they caused misery. And this why they had to forgive her because she was not the only one.
Renay: This comic wasn’t the place for that, because that is a very complicated and nuanced discussion, it just felt like…
Ana: Just thrown out there.
Renay: This was like, “Hey, you guys were shit heads too, back off!” That’s basically what they use this as, and I mean sure, if you want to have a discussion about responsibility and accountability: great, perfect. But when you use one issue and use it as a sledgehammer to guilt people: sure, writers. Whatever.
Ana: This had really good elements; good moments.
Renay: The first four issues? I thought the first four issues were great.
Renay: I really liked those first four issues, and then as everything starts to explode and go off the rails and everybody’s fighting each other the Young Avengers end up in the back of their own story.
Ana: I did like seeing some of my favorite X-Men though.
Renay: Ana’s love for X-Men.
Ana: Wolverine and Scott Summers were such douchebags. Oh, I love them.
Renay: Wolverine in this one, he’s like, “Yeah, let’s kill some kids,” and I’m like, “Are you insane?!”
Ana: Well, okay, the context for that is that obviously being a mutant is so important for them and because we didn’t see the House of M, we don’t see how they were affected by the decimation of their people.
Renay: Yeah, but you don’t go kill kids just because their mother was the one who—to do it.
Ana: I know.
Renay: Wolverine: chill. Take a nap.
And I understand that ultimately Doom was gonna become an important part of this, but I just discovered that I only like Doctor Doom really when written by Bendis or Ryan North.
Ana: When he’s fighting off Squirrel Girl and losing?
Renay: Yeah. But I wanted to like this comic more than I did.
Ana: Yeah, me too.
Renay: I wanted more Young Avengers and guess we’re gonna have to go to the…
Ana: The reboot, right?
Renay: That’s where we’re gonna have to go, I guess, because…
Renay: No. I liked some of what they do and then they get caught up in this whole big universe-changing fights and events and they lose the charm. They just become faces in a crowd while you have your superhero battle.
We love the Young Avengers and we liked part of this, especially the parts with the actual Young Avengers and their story, not the big fight sequences between adults who should know better. But overall, how many space bees are you gonna give this?
Ana: I would give it two? Three?
Renay: I’m giving it three.
Renay: Because those first four issues were great and I really loved Billy and Teddy.
Ana: They’re the cutest!
Renay: It was so well done. It was super positive and supportive throughout the whole thing.
Well, that’s how our Young Avengers adventures are going. I guess we’ll continue onto the next one and hopefully we’ll like it more.
Renay: Over the years, I’ve struggled to get into traditional comics. Part of that because the way you get comics is really outdated.
Diamond is a distributor and you go into comics shops and you order them. It’s a fucking headache. You can do it digitally but I’m really bad at digital comics. And discovery is a problem. How do you discover new comics? Every time I ask my comic guy, “Hey, how do I discover new comics coming out?” he will lead me right over to the shelf and show me the preview books that all the publishers put out, like Marvel and DC, Image, they put out these preview volumes with upcoming comics that you can order. It’s like reading another language!
How do we each find the comics we read? And maybe we can discuss ways that we both find comics and teach each other some new ways.
Ana: One of the things that be a little bit scary is the sheer quantity of it, too. A prime example of this is what we just discussed. For example Young Avengers—this particular volume we read just now—being part of a larger event that was a crossover between Avengers and X-Men. And how do we find out where to start with, for example where to start with X-Men, where to start with Avengers or any number of comics coming out? Not only from Marvel but DC and Image, etcetera.
I have not been following as many comics as before first because money and two because there’s so many of it and discoverability is an issue. My main source is my friend Karen. She knows everything there is to know about comics and then whenever she finds something new she tells me. Or she gives me—so she gave me my first volume of Preacher, for example, or pointed me out toward Atomic Girl and a number of others. But other than that I guess I just pay attention on twitter and I see other people talking about comics. And of course then I follow the ones that I love. But I haven’t been reading as much as before at all.
Renay: It gets really overwhelming. If you’re outside of comics it can feel like the whole industry is just moving past you extremely fast because of the way issues drop, and then trades, and new comics get announced sometimes years before they even debut. And it just feels like the industry’s moving so fast and there’s so much new stuff coming out that it’s hard to keep up and I struggle with this a whole lot. It’s kind of like FOMO constantly.
Ana: What’s FOMO?
Renay: Fear of missing out.
Ana: Oh! I’ve never heard this before.
Renay: Now you know what it feels like. That feeling you get when you’re watching Twitter and all these people are talking about this new great comic and you’re like what? What do you mean this new great comic? Why haven’t I heard about this new great comic? And you’re like “Crap! I’m behind!” That fear of missing out will make you go nuts. It’s the worst feeling and I get it all the time in comics, especially in comics.
So the main discoverability I have for comics is my comic shop where I have specifically asked him to remember comics wit space or robots, or comics with really great female characters. My comic guy’s not the greatest ever. I’ve still not really forgiven for yelling at me about rape in comics in front of the entire shop. Still mad about that.
Renay: But on the plus side, he does remember! He has a great memory. When I ask him he is often ready with recommendations. So on the plus side if you can find a comic shop and your comic shop is run by good people who are not gonna be assholes to you. I just don’t have any other options, like I live in a rural area, I have one comic shop here. If I wanna do issues, that’s where I have to go.
An unrelated rant about issues! I really hate the feeling that you get that if you don’t buy issues you’re not supporting the comic and you’re contributing to it getting cancelled. I hate that. That guilt. My advice is never to get into issues. Stay away. Bad news. I understand that issues are the way that a lot of comics survive, but I don’t think it’s sustainable. How do you feel about issues?
Ana: I don’t read issues. For two reasons: first of all, I don’t like to wait a month to get a storyline, so I prefer to read in trade for a more complete experience. And it’s also costly.
Ana: Especially in the UK where you have import prices.
Renay: I just don’t understand this system. No. That’s wrong. I do understand it, but I don’t understand why the industry is clinging to this system that doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be sustainable much longer.
Ana: So I don’t know what would be the replacement?
Renay: I have no idea. I wish I did but I don’t know enough about comics. But I know enough that economy-wise I don’t understand how going forward we’re gonna be able to afford five dollar issues.
One time Marvel tried to charge me like five dollars for one issue. Not even extra pages or anything. Just an issue was $4.99.
Ana: I guess it’s very expensive to produce.
Renay: I’m gonna get so many angry emails going, “Renay, you know nothing! Stop lecturing people!” But it’s confusing!
Anyway, other ways I get comic recs: I use Edelweiss a whole lot. It’s a publisher resource where they put like upcoming books and review copy on it. Netgalley’s also great for seeing what’s coming up soon. Then I am also that person who is stalking you on Goodreads looking at your excited for, to-be-read, can’t wait shelves.
Ana: I subscribe to Image comics newsletter. They are pretty good at sending you updates on what they have coming up. Same with Marvel. I suppose DC must have one, too. I just don’t care about DC enough to subscribe to their newsletter. But this is a good way, too.
And if there are publishers! For example there are publishers of graphic novels, that don’t produce monthlies or issues, it’s just the whole novel. For example, First Second books, they are excellent and they have really interesting projects coming up so it’s a good way of knowing about them and it’s just subscribe to their email.
Renay: I brainstormed some ways that you could find out about comics, and I don’t know how accurate and good these will be, but I thought about it? Because sometimes I use these.
Number one is to follow people who know about comics. This is the thing that I did, this is how I get into comics. A lot of my friends get into comics and then slowly they sucked me in too. Thanks a lot guys. I mean, yeah, thanks, but also, thanks.
Renay: Then the second one was look for starter packs. The internet is beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing. These days a lot of people are putting out like, “Where to get started with comics!” lists, and because the indies are starting to be more important and do well, you can also find starter packs for less mainstream comics, like the not the big two.
Then there are comics sites, my favorite comics site is womenwriteaboutcomics.com and I’ve discovered super interesting comics there from the people writing their thoughts and reviews about specific comics or specific comic characters.
Then there are comics podcasts, which I actually don’t listen to that much. The only podcast I listen to that touches on comics right now is Nerds of Prey. And there’s also Jay and Miles X-plain the X-men, which you like!
Ana: I love it. It’s excellent. I haven’t listened to it in a while. If you want to understand the X-Men or if you want to—if you love the X-Men already it’s just a great podcast to listen to.
Renay: You can also dig around on Goodreads. You can go in and set your favorite genres and then you can also get emails about new releases in that genre. So if you’re into graphic novels or comics they have those genres and you can sign up for them.
And a new thing that I’ve discovered since I’ve started paying attention to conventions is that a lot of cons now will have comic panels, and people will livetweet those panels, and they will livetweet the recommendations of panelists, who are often very knowledgeable about comics, will make. And I have found multiple comics that sound amazing. This is how I found out about a new comic called Moonstruck that’s coming out from Image by Grace Ellis, which sounds super cute. It takes some legwork because you have to go and google, but it’s a great resource. So if you know of a con that’s coming up and you have people that will be there livetweeting those panels. You can also search Twitter while panels are happening and find what people are saying about the panel. It’s very handy.
Ana: Those all seem like very reasonable places to start.
Renay: And this doesn’t even cover webcomics. I am so behind on webcomics. The only webcomic I read is Check Please.
Ana: I’m behind on that so much.
Renay: There’s so much out there and it can be really hard. Well, I’m just trusting that everybody who reads comics is listening to this segment now and just getting so fired up about how wrong we are or how incomplete our knowledge is, they’re already in their email program writing an email to us right now. Don’t let us down, guys!
Ana: Do it!
Renay: Last year, Ana and I made a bookish trade. I would read the whole Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner if she would read my favorite Star Trek Reboot fic, called War Games by Seperis. As of now, I’ve completed the whole series by Megan Whalen Turner, plus the book that was released this year, which was not part of the original agreement.
Ana: And which I have not read yet.
Renay: To my great disappointment. And finally Ana has completed War Games by Seperis, which is fair because it was like a hundred and eight thousand words.
Ana: I also read prequels to this that you sent to me.
Renay: You’ll Get There In The End (It Just Takes A While)?
Renay: There was another one, too. I said you could skip one of them.
Ana: I read all of them.
Renay: I’m very proud of her for completing the challenge because she is very busy.
Ana: I think this is the biggest piece of fanfiction that I have ever read.
Renay: I’m so proud. I’m so proud.
Ana: About something that I wasn’t particularly invested in. I mean, I used to love Star Trek growing up so much. Not really the original show, but the movies? And definitely the New Generation with Patrick Stewart. And even though I liked the reboots I’m not so much into them as I was the original movies. They are very influential to me growing up.
Renay: I liked the first reboot movie and I thought the second and the third were trash.
Ana: Yes, basically.
Renay: Why would you do this to poor Star Trek? It deserved better.
Renay: They’re good for like generic space movies, but I don’t expect generic space movie from Star Trek. I remember some of the Star Trek movies from my childhood with the New Generation, having really important philosophical center and the new movies don’t have that.
Ana: No, they don’t. They don’t. They don’t.
Renay: I just leave the new movies alone and just read fanfic. It works out great for me because fandom does amazing work. Okay, so I guess we can start with, “Did you like this story?”
Ana: I liked parts of it. Yeah.
Renay: What parts did you like?
Ana: The romance. [laughter]
Renay: The romance is a very small part of this story!
Ana: It’s not a small part of that—but I just devoured it. What do you mean it’s a small part of it? How—it’s the whole thing!
Renay: Well they don’t—they don’t bang that much, Ana!
Ana: Well no, but that’s not the most important thing.
Renay: Oh, well, the other stuff, sure, yes.
Ana: It was their connection! The pull and and the trying to understand each other and the getting inside each other’s minds and connection in their relationship. And when that—that was severed, it’s like so hard. He has to go and rescue Kirk, like a Regency heroine. [laughter]
Renay: So for people who have not read this fic, because I’m assuming that nobody that doesn’t read fanfic knows what the hell we’re talking about. The whole premise is that in the first film, Original Spock melded with Jim and basically because he had melded with Jim in his world, Jim in the new universe picked up the bond that he and Jim had in his universe. Long story short, Reboot!Jim and Spock end up married.
Ana: In the Vulcan way. Pon…
Renay: I’m not explaining Pon’Farr to people. They can google it. And the story that we read, that I had Ana read, the main one that I wanted her to read, was about what happens when the Federation and the Romulan Empire are on the brink of war. And how the crew of the Enterprise deals with that encroaching war and also the Vulcan colony after the Vulcans are wiped out and their new xenophobia.
Ana: Which affects directly the bond between Jim and Spock, because for them it’s about purity of their race and they have been severing the connection between bonded mates that were not both Vulcan.
Renay: Like as a mystery, I thought this story was really well done.
Ana: It was. It was. I wanted to have seen more of the other crew. It’s very much centred on Jim and Spock and then the mystery. We barely see the other ones apart from maybe Uhura and Bones. But not as much as I would have liked, not as much as I liked seeing for example, in—in the movies that I loved.
Renay: They are replaced in this story mostly by some original characters. There is a cadet. She is super great. Like when I think about original female characters that I love she’s at the top of the list.
Ana: And then I liked how Jim sometimes thought of her as a kid, as his kid, and I’m like, “You’re not that old.” But that actually fit my mental image because even though this is reboot, it was still Shatner and Nimoy in my head throughout. They are my Jim and Spock. However, at some point during this Nimoy was replaced by Quinto. I did not replace Jim. So it was Shatner and Quinto throughout this whole thing in my head.
Renay: I just wanna let everybody know what Ana is saying here is that she has imagined both Shatner and Nimoy having—just excellent sex. But also Shatner and Quinto. This is what her mental imagery is producing. I am so excited! [laughter]
Ana: At some point, at some point, I need to update my mental image of Jim, because William Shatner was just being awful on Twitter just the other day and I’m like, “Must you destroy my memories of Star Trek? Please shut up!”
Renay: Old white men: Collect your people. Come and collect them.
Ana: [laughter] Renay, that’s awful. [laughter]
Renay: What?! It’s true! Not all of them hit sixty and turn into curmudgeons! So the ones that don’t need come collect their people! Help’em out! They need your help. They’re struggling.
Okay. Fanfiction gets a lot of guff. People insult it. People treat it like it’s a lesser form of writing.
Ana: No, the writing in this was excellent! Both in terms of writing skills, the prose itself, but also the development of the arc and the story and everything.
Renay: So how would you compare this to, say, a traditionally published science fiction novel?
Ana: Same levels. Probably even better than most.
Renay: I mean this is what I wanted you to learn.
Ana: I knew that already!
Renay: I wanted to show you the reason that some of us will read three books a year and then read one million words of fanfic.
Ana: I kind of like knew that already, even though I had not read extensively.
Renay: Well you know that now! I think when we started this process and we agreed to this thing, you were still pretty like, “Fandom? Fanfic? What?” I’ve trained you well in the last year.
Ana: But I think for me is I find it really difficult to go beyond canon.
Renay: What is canon, anyway?
Ana: I know. Maybe I am one of those old cum—how do you do you say that word? Cumudge—how do you say it?
Ana: Curmudgeon. Maybe I am an old curmudgeon.
Renay: I don’t think so.
Ana: But it was really good. Especially the romance. The final scene with them with the beach. Was like so hot. [laughter]
[sighs] Quinto and Shatner. I’m so sorry.
Renay: Ha, I’m not. That’s amazing. I don’t think I’m ever going to get you into fanfic like I am, but what’s gonna be really funny is that what happens when I start publishing fanfic for Thick as Thieves? What are you gonna do? Are you gonna be tempted at all?
Ana: I think I will. I don’t know.
Renay: I’ve already—I’ve already blown your position out of the water by tempting you with Thick as Thieves fic. Although you might not like the novel and then you might never want to read anything by Megan Whalen Turner ever again.
Renay: Well I’m not Megan Whalen Turner. My fanfic is not gonna be the same level at all. It’s gonna be about kittens, and Costis, and kittens.
Ana: Okay, so this Sunday I’m gonna read this book. It’s my vow.
Renay: What are you recommending today?
Ana: I’m recommending Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn, the sequel to Heroine Complex from last year. And it’s a fun, light, funny novel that is about two superheroine best friends that grow apart, but then find the way to each other? It’s also about Aveda Jupiter finding herself again after everything she knew about herself kind of like doesn’t work anymore. And learning to be a good friend, and learning to fall in love with her crush from high school, I guess. It’s so cute. It’s funny and it’s very hot, and I love this book so much.
What about you? I can see that you have like three recommendations. Three. Three. One two three.
Renay: I’ll do the two that are shortest first. People might be aware of Steve Mnuchin going to the Senate to be interviewed, and Maxine Waters, who is a congressman from California, asked him a question, and he started answering the question by complimenting her, and she starting saying, “Reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time.” When people are trying to run down your time and not answer your questions you can reclaim your time as part of the rules of that body. And somebody wrote a song using that as a prompt. It’s like this gospel style piece of brilliance. It’s beautiful and the song is by Mykal Kilgore. It’s brilliant and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s gonna be in our show notes, please go watch it, give him a thumbs up, retweet him, spread this far and wide. This song is now my new motto for 2017. It’s my theme song.
The second short one is a short film called In A Heartbeat by Beth David and Esteban Bravo. It was going around my twitter feed yesterday. It’s this adorable film about a boy who has a crush and his heart escapes and goes chasing after the boy he likes, and… It’s so cute Ana. I don’t even know how to explain how cute this short film is. It’s like bittersweet but heartwarming and adorable and the animation is so great, and the colors are beautiful. Everybody go watch it. I’s very short. It’s like four minutes or something.
And then my last actual recommendation is The Sims 4. A game that I can’t get Ana to play. Ever. For any reason. So a lot of people will meditate or whatever, for calmness, to reach zen. But me: I go build houses in the Sims 4. I love The Sims 4 so much. I used to play the original on, and I played Sims 2. I missed Sims 3 somehow, but Sims 4 is wonderful. I will build like four, five houses a week. It’s so relaxing.
Ana: So you build houses and then do what?
Renay: Well, you can share the houses. I share a lot of houses. If you are a Sims 4 player, you can find me on Origin at bottleofshine or #heyheyrenay. we can become buds and we can trade houses.
Renay: It’s so hard to explain to people who don’t play The Sims why The Sims is so great.
Ana: I have no idea.
Renay: I have The Sims Get Together. I have The Sims City Living. I have The Sims Get To Work. I have the Parenthood pack, and I have like Backyard and Patio stuff, and those are the only ones I have, gamepack wise. I’m saving up for more. I’m so excited. I want all of them. I want all the game packs and all the stuff so I can build amazing houses. Anyway, if you used to play the sims and you got away from it, it’s time to go back, because it’s great. And they do have toddlers now. So. Toddlers are in game. If that’s a concern. For some people it’s a concern.
Renay: Sims 4. Ten space bees. Okay Ana, tell people what we’ll be talking about next time.
Ana: We finally get to read and discuss the first volume of the new Hawkeye starring Kate Bishop, please we’ll have a very special interview you don’t want to miss. You may think you know who it is, but we bet you’ll be surprised.
Renay: Congratulations space bees, you made it to the end of episode 90!
Renay: Ira made our show art. Susan creates our transcripts which you can read at fangirlhappyhour.com. Our interstitial music this week—a word I learned from Jenny on this very podcast—is by Chuki Beats and Boxcat Games.
Ana: You can join us on Twitter at @fangirlpodcast. Please email us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can also find us on Tumblr and Facebook. We are over on Patreon too, where you can support our work. Thank you so much.
Renay: Drink some water, go to bed on time, remember to snack regularly, and although the healthcare fight has ended FOR NOW, there’s plenty to contact your reps about, so schedule in thirty minutes a day for some civic engagement.
Ana: If you read Star Trek fanfic, just try, just try, just once, to picture Shatner and Quinto shagging. You’re welcome.
Renay: Thanks for listening space bees!
Ana: See you next episode.
Renay: I guess you’re—the pitch of your voice, my cat is like, “Nope, don’t like it!”
Ana: I wonder what parties are like in the White House at the moment. If all of these men just sit down sucking their own cocks the whole time.
Renay: What are you looking at?
Ana: Twitter. [sigh]
Renay: Oh god, that’s a heavy sigh. [laughter]
Renay: That’s like the original sin for this podcast. You don’t read?!
Ana: I actually rewatched Age of Ultron the other day. I liked it more. Twist.
Renay: Well guys, it nice knowing you. The Fangirl Happy Hour had a good run, but it’s over now.
Renay: As Ana has just admitted a sin so bad that not even I can let it go.
Ana: I give the best life advice! [laughter]
Renay: That’s gonna be your legacy.