Episode #107 Transcript: Robots versus Fairies

Episode Number: 107
Episode Title: Robots versus Fairies (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hey friends! I’m Renay.

Ana: And I’m Ana.

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

[music break]

Renay: On today’s show, we have some feedback and updates for you, then we’re gonna do a little catch-up and faves section, and talk about some upcoming awards that you might have heard of. Then we’re gonna discuss the first story from the anthology Robots vs Fairies by Seanan McGuire. After that we’ll talk about the 2018 media we’re looking forward to and we’ll do some recommendations.

[music break]

Renay: First off Ana: happy anniversary!

Ana: Happy anniversary, Renay! We are celebrating three years of this very podcast today. How do you feel about it?

Renay: I feel surprised that we made it this far.

Ana: I feel surprised that it doesn’t feel like it’s been three years.

Renay: Also that, yes. Because I keep having trouble adding it up, I’m like, “Wait, when did we start?” and I have to get my fingers out and count, and I’m like, “Wow, really, okay, three years.”

Ana: Three years. And more than a hundred episodes.

Renay: This episode will be 107 when it comes out.

Ana: What? That cannot possibly be right.

Renay: It’s 100% right.

Ana: Yay! Go us.

Renay: Although some parts of last year felt like we were actually eighty years old, because in 2017 time, every day is five years. I am still really proud of what we’ve put together, because it’s been really hard. It was hard to make stuff.

Ana: But we succeeded and we have been constant.

Renay: I mean we’ve totally blown our posting days, but episodes still go up!

Ana: Listen, that adds an element of surprise to the proceedings and surprises are good in these times of trouble.

Renay: Yeah, but some people like to plan their listening. I feel bad. I’m gonna try to be better about it this year, I swear.

Ana: Is this one of your new year’s resolutions?

Renay: Yes. Be on time with your shit.

So we also have a bunch of new patrons, and I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this before. Why haven’t I been giving you guys a shout-out before this, I dunno, I’m asshole, I guess?

Ana: No, no negative self-talk.

Renay: Yes. In this case, yes. We have some new patrons. Thank you guys for coming back to Patreon or trying Patreon out after they fucked everything up last year. Our new patrons are Alicia, Rebecca, Anne Marie, Stephanie, so thank all of you so much. We appreciate you and all the rest of our patrons. We love you guys! You’re the best.

Ana: Kisses and hugs to everybody.

Renay: If you like that kind of thing.

Ana: They are virtual.

[music break]

Renay: It’s time to do a little catch-up and talk about the coming year, and the media of the coming year most importantly. And of course, on brand as per usual, the Hugo Awards. Okay, Ana, how were your holidays? Good? Bad? Ugly?

Ana: My holidays were great. I was in Florida, as you know. I spent Christmas there with Russell’s family and his mom, his dad, his uncle, and his three cousins, and his aunt which just married—another Brazilian in Florida—and that’s why we all went there to meet her new husband. And it was lovely. I’m not sure I liked Florida, but I really liked where we were because it was sunny. It had a beautiful canal with iguanas that came to visit us and that was so surreal. It was lovely.

Renay: I played video games the whole time. I chilled out. I took a break, like an actual break, from working.

Ana: How did that feel?

Renay: Really weird, and—

Ana: DId you feel guilty?

Renay: Yeah, I felt—well number one, I felt guilty, because the last two times I just completely flaked out on all the work that I had contracted, but I couldn’t force myself to do the work anymore. I just needed time off. I need to rest. And I’m still not better. I still feel tired, but like at least I took that break. I hate to think about what I would feel like if I hadn’t taken that break. If I’d forced the issue and forced myself to do the work? Yikes.

Ana: I had a break too when I was in Florida. I did not do any work. I didn’t read anything. I was just chilling, and it was really nice.

Renay: 2018: the year of taking breaks when we need to.

Ana: How do we get Donald Trump to do the same, but forever?

Renay: We don’t. Just strap in for the next three years, Ana.

Ana: No, surely impeachment gonna happen before that, Renay.

Renay: Strap in for the next three years.

Ana: Ah, shit.

Renay: He may get re-elected. That’s one think I’m gonna do less of. I’m going to stress less about politics, because there’s nothing I can do to change things on the national level right now. I don’t need to know everything all at once. Right?

Ana: Yes.

Renay: Twitter makes it feel like you need to up on everything at every second, but that’s not true! You don’t. Nothing is gonna change between something coming out and you waiting until the next day to read it.

Ana: True.

Renay: So that’s my new plan for 2018 in politics.

Ana: That’s good. I like it.

Renay: Because I want to reclaim some of my happy space. I don’t think it was wrong to talk about politics in 2017, because it was a thing. It was part of culture. But I also think that I want to reclaim some of spaces where I talk about media and got to be angry about that bad representation or happy about robots.

Ana: I was so angry about things on such a large scale that I felt bad or didn’t have energy to be angry about things on a smaller scale. But the things on the smaller scale? It’s how the bigger scale happens.

Renay: Did you have any media highlights?

Ana: Yeah, I had a lot of those. Do you know, the one book that I keep thinking about from last year is Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore. It’s the one that keeps coming back to mind. It gave me so much pleasure, that book. And I think it’s the one I would like to hand sell to everybody. It surprises me that it’s not the Megan Whalen Turner one or the Frances Hardinge. The Megan Whalen Turner book, Thick as Thieves, for instance, did not even make my top ten, Renay. Did you notice that?

Renay: No?! It made mine! That’s hilarious.

Ana: How the tables have turned.

Renay: Who expected this?! I was trying to think of the book that stuck with me, and it’s not a 2017 book, it was released way before 2017, but I read it last year. It’s Warchild by Karin Lowachee. And I think it’s really pertinent right now, because we’re in this current cultural moment when war does not seem to be as far away as it used to. And this is a book about war and the cost of war and consequences of war, and I think it’s a very timely book to read to remember why we probably should not wage war. But it’s set in space so there’s a little distance and I just loved it so much. And that’s the one I would want to hand sell. I wish it was easier to hand sell. It was published a long time ago and I’m not sure you can buy the hard copy that cheaply. And I’m pretty sure the ebook is really expensive for when this book came out, which is the early aughts. It’s got a lot of male characters with complicated pasts, Ana. You like that kind of thing.

Ana: But is there female character, too?

Renay: There are female characters sort of in the background, but the main characters are men. I don’t think I could have read it if it had had female characters because there is a sexual assault storyline that affects the plot, and a lot of time I cannot read storylines where women are sexually abused or threatened, cause it’s too close. But if you put male characters in that situation it divorces it enough that I can get through it.

I did like other media. Like my post is only about books, like I didn’t talk about any other media, but there was a lot of movies that I loved. I loved Get Out and I liked the Thor movie.

Ana: Have you seen Spiderman: Homecoming yet?

Renay: I have not, no. I know! It’s a thing. I’ll see it eventually. I liked Wonder Woman a whole bunch, and I finally saw the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Ana: [gasp] I saw that too on my holiday on the plane to Florida! I love that movie! I was so surprised!

Renay: I did not think I would like that movie going into it, but by the end of it I was like, “This is amazing!”

Ana: I want a billion more of those!

Renay: Exactly! I can’t believe it didn’t get a sequel but the stupid Kingsman movie got a sequel. What’s that about?

Ana: I know! Exactly my thoughts. Surely it’s gonna get a sequel because those two were so good together.

Renay: There’s so much fic for that fandom. Ugh. We could have had it all.

I also watched two TV shows, not all of them but I started them. I’m a little bit behind on the first one, which is The Good Place. There are new episodes out that I haven’t seen yet, but The Good Place was like my happy place. It was such a good show.

And the second one that I started watching that I’m not that far into yet is Brooklyn 99 which I actually don’t find as embarrassing as I thought I would. It’s still kind of squicky, in some parts, because poor Jake gets put in all these situations. Mostly through his own fault. But still, I have sometimes to mute it to watch it, but otherwise I think it’s super charming and I love all the characters and I like how supportive it is and it’s just a really nice show.

Ana: How much do you love Rosa? And Amy?

Renay: I love all these characters. I think the only character I don’t like is the one whose name I can never remember who’s like the creepy awkward guy.

Ana: Charles?

Renay: Yeah, he’s the only I don’t like, but everyone else I adore.

Ana: I find Peralta a little bit annoying.

Renay: I don’t mind him so much, because the narrative seems to know how fucking obnoxious he is.

Ana: It centers so many of the episodes on him.

Renay: I mean, he’s the main character.

Ana: Yes. Hm.

Renay: I mean, I’m not gonna argue with the show, cause he’s the main character. The whole show is technically about him. But with the other guy it feels like they play him for laughs and don’t really critique his behavior as much as they do Jake’s?

Ana: How many episodes have you watched?

Renay: I don’t think I’m even done with season one yet.

Ana: I think that gets addressed? It slows down a little bit with Charles.

Renay: Okay good, because I really need somebody to address what’s happening with him. He is a creep.

Ana: Yeah.

Renay: Those are the visual media things that I liked a whole lot.

Ana: I loved those two, too. I would only add Black-ish if you haven’t watched that one yet, it’s fantastic too. It’s just so good, Renay. Because it’s a sitcom. It’s around a family of African-Americans. It addresses head-on so many issues. It starts with a little bit of history, of African-American people in the US, but always goes back to the comedy and the family. It’s just amazing. It’s a family with four children. They are fantastic. I love this show so much. It’s very clever and it’s very funny, and the mother—that is for me the best female comedian I have ever seen.

Renay: Is that Tracee Ellis Ross?

Ana: Yes, Tracee Ellis Ross. I haven’t seen her in anything before that. Do you know her?

Renay: Not from the show, but from other stuff, and—

Ana: She is hilarious. I love her. It’s the best thing in the show. Her faces! Her performance! Her timing! It just – I want to eat her up. Very passionate!

Renay: This went to a place we did not expect.

Ana: I am very passionate about Rainbow Johnson. That’s her name.

Renay: I can’t remember why I never started Black-ish, I think it was the sitcom thing. But I do think it’s all on Hulu now and I have Hulu, so.

Ana: Please go watch it. It’s a fantastic sitcom. Yeah, those were the things that I liked. I liked all of the superhero movies. I didn’t watch any other movies that were not superhero—The Last Jedi, obviously.

Renay: Are we counting that as a superhero movie now?

Ana: Yes. Jedis are superheroes, really.

Renay: Well, award season has arrived and our favorite award, the Hugo Awards, approaches.

Ana: Yes. Disclaimer: we’re eligible for Best Fancast. Close brackets.

Renay: Our 2017 work was—something, Ana, but I’m not sure award-worthy would be…

Ana: Yes, it was award-worthy. I’m not even gonna discuss this.

Renay: So yes, Fangirl Happy Hour is eligible if you find my lackluster posting schedule award-worthy. Feel free to nominate us, I guess.

Ana: Is Lady Business eligible this year?

Renay: We are eligible but we are recusing because we won last year.

Ana: Amazing. I love that about you.

Renay: Because there are other publications doing good work and I think a lot of the Hugo Awards are made up of momentum? Like if you win once, you can win really easily again by just the momentum of your past win and because of name recognition.

Ana: Fair enough.

Renay: There are a lot of really cool things you could nominate for Fanzine! There is the Rec Center, which is a fannish recommendation mailing list by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Elizabeth Minkel. It’s super great! They include lots of fanfic recs but also a lot of commentary, articles, essays, criticisms. You can actually view it online. You don’t have to sign up for it; their archives are open. If that doesn’t qualify as a fanzine I don’t know what would.

Ana: I really love Bridget’s blog, SF Bluestocking? She —and it—was nominated last year as well and I would like to see it nominated again.

Renay: There’s also Nerds of Feather. Obviously with Nerds of a Feather, they have a very large team, but the critics there that I follow make it a really great experience. Book Smugglers is NOT eligible in Fanzine, Book Smugglers is eligible in Semiprozine.

Ana: Yes, we are. We are still here.

Renay: I’m trying to think about who else there was. Women Write About Comics is a really good resource, and I don’t know how many people in the SF community read that site. I’ve followed them for a long time and I really like the things they write about? Their editor—her name’s Claire—she’s very smart and she makes it a really welcoming place for deeper criticism about comics. So I think if you haven’t checked them out, you can give them a look, too. The field is super rich. Other things that I wanna nominate include Get Out, Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form.

Ana: Oh yes, absolutely.

Renay: I’m still—I’m back on my bullshit with saying that AO3 is eligible in Best Related Work. Feel free to nominate it. This is a controversial statement because most people don’t think it’s eligible.

Ana: Are you willing to put money on whether John Scalzi will get nominated for…

Renay: The Collapsing Empire? I think he’ll probably get nominated for The Collapsing Empire. It’s a really good book.

Ana: It is a really good book actually so I wouldn’t be unhappy about to it.

Renay: My problem is that I’m not sure I’m gonna have room for it on my ballot. I have so many 2017 novels that I love that I want to list that I’m just like, “Shit, I’m outta space, what do I do? I can’t—what—help!” This is the first year I’ve actually read some novellas, or know of the novellas that might be likely to be on there.

Ana: I know which novella I want to win.

Renay: I mean yes, obviously it’s All Systems Red. But I’ve heard so many good things about the series by J.Y. Yang.

Ana: I was actually editing today their series that we’re gonna be publishing out of the Kickstarter. And it is so good.

Renay: And then Binti: Home is also eligible, and Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts is eligible.

Ana: Yes, it is! It is! All of the novellas we published last year are eligible. Girl Reporter’s a fantastic one, as are all the others.

Renay: I gotta figure out whether people are going to nominate The Good Place in Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form or pick an episode and nominate it in short form.

Ana: Ohhh.

Renay: I don’t know what people are gonna do, but it’s totally eligible! But like, where?

Ana: I think a lot of people don’t realize that it’s a fantasy work.

Renay: But we’re gonna encourage them without spoilers!

Ana: Yes. It’s so good.

Renay: Do you have any ideas for the YA category? Because there’s a YA category this year.

Ana: Jane, Unlimited.

Renay: Yes, okay. I’m putting The Bone Witch on my ballot because Reasons.

Ana: I would probably put the Frances Hardinge there. Thick As Thieves.

Renay: Even though it didn’t make your top ten?

Ana: Yeah. But if I had a separate YA it would have been there. Do you know what I would put there? The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

Renay: It totally fits. This is the first year that there’s going to be a YA award. It’s gonna operate like the Campbell, so you know quote-unquote not a Hugo. As if history cares.

Ana: What’s the name again?

Renay: So this year it’s not gonna be named it’s just gonna be named the YA award. But next year it’s will be called the Lodestar award.

Ana: Okay.

Renay: Lodestar is like a star that guides you. I still really like that name. But I’m really kinda newly excited about awards season. Last year even though I was nominated and I was excited, I was also kinda disconnected from it, because everything was awful so it feels nice to be excited about awards again.

Ana: So lets make a commitment this year to be excited about the Hugos again, like proper excited.

Renay: Let’s do it!

Ana: Yes! Let’s win this thing! … What?

Renay: [laughs]

[music break]

Renay: Robots vs Fairies is a Saga Press anthology edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe that came out on January 9th, 2018. It’s the ultimate literary battle between magic and machine. I wanted us to read this anthology because I definitely think of Ana as a fairy person and myself as a robot person. I like fairies in certain contexts, but robots are my most favorite. Ana, do you agree?

Ana: No! I’m also a robot person!

Renay: I mean you can be a robot person, but you’re mostly a fairy person, come on.

Ana: No.

Renay: Yeah, you are, I’m sorry.

Ana: I’m sad. I’ll take it just for the purposes of this podcast so that we make it more exciting.

Renay: I mean, are you gonna be on Team Robot? Are you gonna be Team Fairy by the end of this anthology, do you think?

Ana: I think I’m gonna be Team Robot. [laughs]

Renay: We’ll see.

Ana: Maybe you will turn Team Fairies by the end of it.

Renay: Maybe. The way we’re gonna measure this is the number of fairy stories and the number of robot stories, we’re gonna give them a point, and each story gets a point, and at the end we’re gonna add them all up and see who is on what teams based on the stories we liked.

Ana: I love it.

Renay: We’re not gonna discuss the whole anthology in one episode. Our plan instead is to read and discuss one story each episode, meaning that if you want, to you can follow along with us. The first story we’re launching this series with is called Build Me a Wonderland by Seanan McGuire. Ana, did you like this story?

Ana: I liked this story.

Renay: I did, too. I’m more familiar with Seanan McGuire’s fairy stories in the context of the Toby Daye universe, which is very large, and excellent, and everybody should read it or [cough] catch up on it. [coughs]

Ana: [laughs] What I liked this story to start with is that you don’t know if this is going to be a robot or a fairy story.

Renay: Yeah, it’s very tricky. Very tricky. I liked it. I thought it was good.

Ana: I liked it, too. I don’t think I loved it in the end.

Renay: It’s really hard for me to love short fiction.

Ana: No, I like everything that Seanan writes, and I felt this story had a very rounded feel to it, so I really appreciated that cause it’s difficult to do that with a short story. But what I liked the most was that to start with it’s like, “What’s happening here? Is this going to be a robot story or a fairy story?” and it wasn’t until well into the storyline that we realize that it’s actually a fairy story. With some robots.

Renay: With robots as decoration.

Ana: So it’s both, but mostly a fairy story.

Renay: Except now when the robot overlords come, the story’s not going to impress them, because the robots apparently blow up randomly, which made the story both sort of bittersweet but also comedic, which I appreciated.

Ana: And it’s basically set in a park, created by this guy that wants to create a world of wonders with wonderful animatronics making up a wonderland, with a fairy tree and a mermaid cave and—and unicorns! Except for the fact that little by little, the people that work at the park have been replacing the animatronics with actual real fairies and real unicorns and real mermaids.

Renay: The story opens with the main character, Clover, coming back to the workshop to discover that the boss, who they’re working under the nose of, has brought an efficiency expert to judge the park. He gets paired with Clover so she’s required to take him around and show him all the bits of the park, and he is judging whether or not the parts that he sees are efficient enough. I got stressed. I was like, “Oh no, how is she gonna get out this?” Well apparently, the way she’s gonna get out of this is assault?

Ana: [laughs] I know.

Renay: I did not see that coming.

Ana: She just picked up a hammer and knocked the guy out.

Renay: But there was a nice twist to the end of this story that I found super charming. Listen, Ana, at the end of this story I was like “Wait, does this mean there can be a truce between the fairies and the people who are revealed at the end of the story? Can we ship them?”

Ana: Yes, I’m pretty sure it is.

Renay: She hit him in the head with a hammer. I totally ship them now.

Ana: God, Renay. Let’s say he’s actually an elf, and he wasn’t really hurt, and she was a kobold. I had to look that up.

Renay: I didn’t know what that was. I was just like, “It’s some kind of fairy, okay.”

Ana: Yeah. they are fairies from Germany, so proper fairytale characters.

Renay: I love that she was able to jam so much worldbuilding into this one little tiny short story. You really got a sense for the past of these characters just in the page or two that it took for the characters to explain why they were there what they were doing and why it was bad that this elf had found them. It managed to give you like the feel of scope.

Ana: Knowing how Seanan McGuire writes so well and so prolifically I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something that will come out of it.

Renay: I mean I would read more in this world.

Ana: I would, too.

Renay: Clover and the elf banging. So Seanan obviously comes down on the fairy side of the equation. She’s on Team Fairy. Would you give this story a point?

Ana: I would. Would you?

Renay: Yes, I would. That means for the first time we’ve voted, both, for Team Fairy.

Ana: Okay.

Renay: I’m keeping track of these number, Ana.

Ana: Team Fairy so far is winning.

Renay: I liked it, and I’m notoriously picky about short fiction. I think that’s notable. Ana can attest how picky I am about short fiction.

Ana: She’s very picky.

Renay: Everybody should go and pick up this anthology and come and read these stories with us.

Ana: Yes, do it! And then at the end of it we can just do a huge poll and see who wins. The robot overlords or the fairy overlords.

[music break]

Renay: It is a new year and there is brand new media out there waiting for us. We’ve both chosen five items to talk about, because as everyone knows, if we didn’t, you’d be listening to a five hour episode, or probably more likely, not listening to a five hour episode. So Ana, I’m really excited to hear what you’re excited about.

Ana: It’s Black Panther, the movie. How excited are you about this? Are you very excited?

Renay: I’m very excited. Apparently movie tickets went on sale and it became the most tickets sold before release of any Marvel movie.

Ana: Oh wow, that’s incredible. I have done four books and one of them, the first of them, is Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s the third book in the Illuminae Files trilogy.

Renay: Do you have a copy of this book in your house?

Ana: I do not. I had Illuminae. I had Gemina Files. But I do not Obsidio and I’m dying.

Renay: Cause I was gonna be like, “If you have this on your shelf, you need to read it immediately and send it to me now.”

Ana: I do not. I’m so sorry. But I’m sure you’re gonna read it for the podcast, too, right, yes because everything that I picked is like amazing.

Renay: Oh my god.

Ana: The other one that I’m very excited—is a UK release, I think it’s coming out in the US too, it’s Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift. And I’ve got a copy of this one. The cover is really beautiful. It’s set in Paris. It follows a misfit and geologist named Helly, who goes to Paris and then time travels! It’s coming out in early February and I think I have two books to read before I can get to this one. I can’t wait. I’ve been mean to read E.J. Swift. She has had a trilogy of books out that people have really enjoyed. It was the one that started with Cataveiro? And they were kinda like dystopian science fiction and climate change type of things. And I have them here and I just have not been able to read them yet, but this one because it’s coming out so soon and has time travel, I’ll make a point to read it.

The other one that I’m really excited about is The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Have you heard about this one? It’s a YA novel.

Renay: Yes, I have.

Ana: It has a beautiful cover and it’s a dystopian novel set in New Orleans and beauty is a commodity and there’s something about revolution and the power of beauty and a young girl just coming to her own.

The other one I only learned about it today, and it’s Space Opera by Catherynne Valente. It’s Eurovision, but in space. I don’t even care. I just wanna read it.

Renay: The cover is super fun looking.

Ana: Exactly. And I love Catherynne Valente’s writing, too, so I’m excited about this. And this is my list! It’s exciting, eh?

Renay: A lot of good media that you’ve got coming up.

Ana: I love your list, too. Tell us about it.

Renay: So my favourite pick is A Wrinkle in Time by Ava DuVernay. This adaptation is of Madeleine L’Engle’s book, it’s coming out very soon. Listen, I’m ready. I reread A Wrinkle In Time so much as a child. However, does it hold up? I don’t know, because I haven’t reread it in a long time. Mostly I’m excited to see how DuVernay adapts it to be more representative of how families are structured now versus then. I really hope it does well because guys, I really need them to make a sequel. The Wind in the Door. I need it. Everyone go see this movie, okay?

Ana: I didn’t even realise that this book has a sequel.

Renay: It’s called the Time Quartet. And I guess these are pretty heavy-handed with the Christianity stuff, but I’ve been secular so long that I don’t see it. I don’t come at the book from that perspective. Even as a kid, when I was more familiar with Christianity, I didn’t come at it from like a Christian perspective, I guess. But I think people might want to be warned before they pick up the book itself.

Then my second item is Pacific Rim: Uprising. I know that John Boyega is in this film and literally nothing else about. And I plan to go into it wholly innocent and untainted by spoilers because I have been waiting for so long. I’m so ready.

Then my third item is called The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco, which is a sequel to The Bone Witch which I read and loved last year. The Bone Witch is a YA epic fantasy that came out last year about a young girl who is a necromancer, and she finds out she has these powers because she manages to raise her brother from the dead. I highly recommend it if you like epic fantasy, and stories about girls learning how to handle their power, and I’m super excited for the sequel.

My next one is the Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory, I think is how you pronounce her last name. And this is where two people get trapped in an elevator. And one of them is a desperate dude who needs a date for a wedding, so he uses their entrapment to implore this woman to go on a date with him to this wedding so he has a plus one. And she agrees because he’s cute. And it’s basically like fake dating, which is a trope I love in fanfic, but it’s an original fiction.

Ana: Do you really like fake dating?

Renay: I really love fake dating, Ana.

Ana: Oh my god, there are so many romance novels with fake dating. I could maybe make you a list.

Renay: You could make me a list, Ana. You indeed could.

And then my last item is called Red Clocks by Leni Zumas and it’s about several women in a small Oregon town after abortion is made illegal across the country and there is a new amendment called the Personhood Amendment which gives rights and privileges to embryos. Ana’s looking at me like, “Renay, why are you reading a horror novel like the Handmaid’s Tale again?” and Ana, I can’t answer that question for you. I don’t know. One of the critics that I liked he really loved it: he thought it was great and he liked the writing and I trust his opinion so I’m gonna give it a shot.

Ana: I did not see that coming. And then I saw Red Clocks written here I just thought it was a cool book about time travel for some reason.

Renay: There’s something about the red, which I love, that goes through all these books like this, sort of. Because you have the Handmaid’s Tale and they have the little red habits. And there was a book a few years ago called When She Woke that also had red on the cover. I think if the people got caught in that book getting abortions, they dyed their skin red, they skin was red, and now you have this book and it’s called Red Clocks and I’m curious about how the color red is going to show up in this book.

Ana: That’s really interesting. That’s awesome.

Renay: So that’s mine! I’m excited about all of them.

Ana: Of course we are excited about more than five pieces of media for this year.

Renay: Do you keep a list of things that you’re excited about?

Ana: No, I don’t.

Renay: You just memorize it?

Ana: No, I don’t memorize anything.

Renay: Then how do you keep track of what you’re excited about?

Ana: I don’t.

Renay: Then how do you know when things are coming out?

Ana: Surprise, bitches! It’s a combination of checking my radar and things I have on pre-order and books that I have gotten from Netgalley and Edelweiss and downloaded to my kindle. And then through that I created a 2018 folder within my kindle to know what I have to read.

Renay: That makes sense. I keep a spreadsheet and at this point in time there are fifty-five 2018 items on it.

Ana: Wow.

Renay: That’s books. That’s not even films.

Ana: Shit.

Renay: I don’t even know how many films I have. I think it’s at least ten, but I have at least fifty-five books.

Well, I’m curious about what everyone else is excited about. If you have anything you think we might like on your list, please let us know about it via email or on Twitter.

Ana: This is Renay totally not subtly fishing for more recs and more lists. Renay, you are terrible.

Renay: But everybody loves me.

Ana: Of course we do.

[music break]

Renay: It is time for recommendations! Ana what is your recommendation for this week?

Ana: I have two.

Renay: Shocking. Okay, what are they?

Ana: So I don’t know if I recommended this before, but there is a Netflix show called Travellers. And season 2 landed just after Christmas and I watched it while I was in Florida and I really love it. It’s about time travellers from the future, who download themselves into the bodies of people who are just about to die so that they just don’t take over the bodies of people that are still alive. And then they continue their lives here in the 21st Century as they try to avoid the future from happening and being destroyed—the world being destroyed. So they’re coming back from the future with a mission, and each group becomes a team and each team has a specialist in them. There is a historian who comes and he has all of these factual things that will happen, so that he can for example bet on dog races to get money to spend on their missions, for example. It’s so good, so much fun. It’s just so thrilling. Season 2 was just as good and it ended on a horrible cliffhanger, and I don’t know how long I have to wait for this. But if you like time travel I would really recommend it.

The other one that took me completely by surprise. And Russell and I were trying to find something to watch and then we decided, “Oh, let’s watch a couple of pilots from different shows and see which one appeals to us the most, and then we can decide which one we watch—oh let’s try this one.” Nineteen hours later, we finish watching the entire first season of This Is Us. I have never cried so much watching a TV show. I think it’s beautiful. I am completely in love with all of the characters, with this whole family of characters. And the soundtrack is amazing and I don’t even like music! And here I was adding songs on youtube from this show, and I really, really love it. And if you like families and drama—it’s like a soap opera, there is no other way to describe it, it’s a soap opera but it’s so beautiful. And it’s about the lives of three siblings in our time, and then it goes back and forth to show the lives of their parents as they meet and they have the three kids, and bringing them up, and it’s just about a family.

What do you want to recommend?

Renay: So Horizon: Zero Dawn is a video game that has robot dinosaurs and animals. And the trailer doesn’t really give a bunch away. And little did I know, friends, how amazing and deep this game was going to be. The main character—her name is Aloy. And she’s a member of the Nora tribe and when she’s born, she is for some reason that we don’t know, cast out at birth and given to another outcast for him to raise. And Rost raises her and effectively becomes her father, and starts training her to take part in a race called the Proving, which will allow her to show that she is strong and clever and will allow her to take her place within the tribe and end her exile. You can’t really talk more about it because it’s full of spoilers. I understand why the trailers looked the way they did, because it’s so easy to spoil this game. But this is definitely a science fiction game, even though it looks like a fantasy game and it’s using fantasy tropes and fantasy character designs, but this is a science fiction story. It’s super diverse and it explains why it’s diverse. It has this super-special red-headed green-eyed main character and explains why she’s like that. And it has a ton of robot animals and dinosaurs and it explains that, too. I love this game so much. I finished it in two weeks.

Ana: Is that a good number of days?

Renay: Well, this game if I played it like an hour day, would have last me a few months.

Ana: Oh wow, okay. So it’s that good?

Renay: I love this game so much. I love it. I want everybody to play it. I love it so much, Ana. I love it so much.

Ana: You are writing fanfiction.

Renay: Yes! I have not loved a game this much since Final Fantasy VIII in 1999.

Ana: Wow.

Renay: So yes, I loved this game. You’re probably gonna hear about it a whole lot. So many awesome ladies, Ana! So many awesome ladies!

Now that that’s out of the way, all my gushing, what are we gonna discuss next time?

Ana: Oh, we are gonna be talking about Jeff Goldblum.

Renay: [laughs]

Ana: Oh, sorry, Jurassic Park. That’s right! It’s a vault episode and we will be watching Jurassic Park. The original.

[music break]

Renay: If you would like to support our show you can support us on Patreon.

Ana: If you can’t support us on Patreon, you can still help us out by following us on our social media at @fangirlpod on Twitter, and fangirlhappyhour on both Facebook and Tumblr.

Renay: Our show art is by Ira. Our music is by Chuki Beats and BoxCat Games. Our transcripts are by Susan, and you can find all the available transcripts at fangirlhappyhour.com. And we swear there are going to be new ones very soon. Have a snack, contact your reps, and remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Ana: And maybe join us in our resolution of maybe not getting too angry about politics.

Renay: Thanks for listening, space bees.

Ana: See you next episode.

[music break]

Ana: I think we should maybe establish that as a sport: winging it while exhausted.

Renay: [laughs]

Ana: We excel at it.


Ana: Stop everything. She’s Diana Ross’ daughter?! As in, the Diana Ross?

Renay: I guess?

Ana: [gasp] It is! Shut the fuck up!! That’s amazing! I love her even more! I’m actually crying! I have no idea why.

Renay: This really affected you.

Ana: Messed me up.

[beep] [beep]