Episode #117 Transcript: The Year of Nut Butter

Episode Number: 117
Episode Title: The Year of Nut Butter (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hi friends! I’m Renay.

Ana: And I’m Ana.

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

[music break]

Renay: Welcome to 2019, Ana.

Ana: I can’t believe this year is finally here and we said goodbye to 2018 for good; AKA The Worst Year Ever.

Renay: Because it’s a fresh, brand new year we’re excited to fill it with awesome discussion and timely episodes.

Today, we’re talking about what we’ve been reading, the books we’re looking forward to in the first quarter of the year, Robots Vs Fairies #6, Ms Marvel volume 8, and the one thing that we’ve been obsessing over.

Some quick housekeeping. 2018 Renay and Ana were different people, with more time and more energy. 2019 Renay and Ana have much less of those two things, so we’ve made some big decisions. The first is that this episode marks the last single-story discussion of Robots vs. Fairies. We’ll be doing a whole segment covering the rest of the stories to wrap up very soon. Next, we’re dropping to two media segments per episode, combining our recs section with our What We’re Reading and Watching segment, and we plan to pull way back on adding new features that aren’t directly tied to and supported by our Patreon. If you’re a patron, please stop by and read our posts, because you, like us, have some decisions to make.

Ana: We just wanted to say thank you so much to all of you for being patient with us over the last seven months and for all of your lovely emails that you’ve sent us. We really appreciate all of you.

Also, I believe you are forgetting something very important. It’s our fourth anniversary.

Renay: Happy anniversary to us!

Ana: Yaaaaay! Go space bees!

[music break]

Renay: Let’s hop right into it and talk about what we’ve been reading.

Ana: I’ve been catching up with some of the 2018 books that I didn’t get around to reading. And I just finished The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi: Renay’s favorite. And I have to say, it’s probably my favorite book of his so far. It’s a super great sequel to The Collapsing Empire, and it’s really funny, too. And also full of twists. All of the things that I needed and wanted to read.

I then caught up with the latest book in the Wong and Wells mystery series by Robin Stevens, Death in the Spotlight, in which the two teenage girls—who are detectives—are part of a theatre group in London, and they get roped into another murder mystery. And—which is really really super great—Daisy, one of the girls, comes out as queer in this book! And it’s set in the thirties so it’s even greater that this is happening in this series. Mind you, this is a series for kids, so it’s all the more amazing that this happened. I love these two girls so much and this series as a whole.

And finally, I am reading right now, Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, and I wanted to say—Renay, it was you, right, who recommended this to me—it’s super great. I’m really enjoying it. It’s about a flock of sheep that one day wake up and find that their shepherd has been murdered, and they decide to investigate. And it’s all from the sheep’s perspective so you can imagine their viewpoints being all about them being sheep.

Renay: I love this book.

Ana: It’s really fun and funny so far. And it’s a murder mystery, so.

Renay: I didn’t think I would like it, because I’m not generally a fan of murder mysteries. However, the little framing device of the sheep, really worked for me. And I also found the end, like, very heartwarming.

Ana: Oh, good! I have—I’m still like a hundred pages in. Don’t say anything, but thanks for the recommendation. I think I kept meaning to buy this book for such a long time. It was on my wishlist and I could not find it in the UK. And then when I was doing my Christmas shopping I was browsing at the bookstore and it was just right there! I could barely believe my eyes. What a great Christmas present to myself.

What about you, Renay, what have you been reading?

Renay: So over the holiday, I read the entire Court of Fives trilogy by Kate Elliott. That includes Court of Fives, Poisoned Blade, and Buried Heart. I has read Court of Fives and Poisoned Blades before, but I reread them so I would be prepared for Buried Heart. And I am so in love with this series. I love it so much. It’s so good. It deals with colonialism and being the child of two different cultures and how you navigate that path in life. The romance: I was very very very charmed by it, which is really abnormal for me with YA novels. I know that Kate Elliott hasn’t written a ton of YA besides this, so as her first outing, I was blown away. I don’t have enough nice words to fling at this series.

Ana: I love this series, too. Buried Heart was a perfect ending.

Renay: I’m currently reading The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells, because I have declared that 2019 is the year that I reread books so that I can finish series. And then I just reread books that I wanna reread because I wanna reread them and I don’t feel shame about it. I feel a lot of shame about when I reread, because the whole world’s like, “Rereading?! There’s no time for that! There’s so many books, why would you reread old ones?!” I feel very judged sometimes by the world.

Ana: Don’t let the world judge you.

Renay: Obviously I’ve also been reading a bunch of fanfic. One of the stories that I really loved when I read it is called To Be Known. It is sorta like a crossover between KJ Charles’s Society of Gentlemen series, and her new novel from this year, Band Sinister, and it’s just this charming crossover that really gets the tone of KJ Charles’s work, and that’s—that’s all the stuff that I’ve been reading!

Ana: It’s been a good start of the year so far.

Renay: Space bees. Come to us on twitter, at @fangirlpod, and tell us what you’ve been reading i.e. give me recs. Thank you very much.

[music break]

Renay: A new year means new books and tons and tons of anticipated books lists. And we’re no different! We’re taking part as well. Ana, what is on your anticipated book list for the first quarter?

Ana: So many books, Renay! So many books. The first one is a sequel to a book I really enjoyed at the beginning of last year. It’s The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. It’s a historical crime novel—well, it’s half-half really. Because part of it is set in the twenties and part of it is set in our times, with a girl who is at school investigating the vanishing of a girl. The first book was Truly Devious and I really really liked it! Way more than I was expecting, so I’m looking forward to The Vanishing Stair which comes out now, on January 15. I have it on pre-order.

The second one is a book that comes out on the 26th of February. It’s called We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija, I think. The thing that really amuses me is the description of this book. So it’s kind of like A Handmaid’s Tale kind of thing because it has kind of a like a dystopian society with girls that are brought up and trained to become different types of women that they could be, like they could be working at someone’s house or they could be married—you know the drill. But the way that this is described is “a daring and romantic fantasy debut, perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale.” Daring and romantic fantasy used to describe something that is similar to Handmaid’s Tale; I am not so sure about this. Maybe it’s like for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale that would like a better ending or something like this. There’s something missing from this sentence. It’s just—it’s a really weird marketing copy.

The other one that I really want to read is the new book by Kameron Hurley, out on the 19th of March. It’s called The Light Brigade, and it’s about soldiers that are broken into light in order to get them to the front lines on Mars. I don’t know how that works or how that’s going to work/ I fully expect it to be really really dark and heavy and fucked up, so we shall see.

The next one is The True Queen by Zen Cho, which is the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Crown, and it’s about two sisters who wake up one day and they realize that they have no memory and they need to go and seek the sorceress royale to sort out what happened to them. The sorceress royal? The sorceress royale. I like to say it like this, I’m so sorry for my Brazilianness.

And finally, a book that I am sure no one will be surprised to hear it’s on my list: The Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, which is out in March. And it’s the last book ever in the Queen’s Thief series.

What about you, Renay? What do you have for us? I’m sure I will be wanting to read the books on your list, too.

Renay: The first book is Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles. This is a book about the son of a duke, who I guess resents his father, and his father is giving his new duchess some kind of gift and the son decides to steal it. So it’s a jewel heist, but the son hires this notorious person to help him and he disguises himself as the duke’s son’s friend. And also there’s gonna be banging and there’ll be feelings. It is out on January 30th from KJC Books, she is a self-published author.

Ana: See what I was saying? You start listing things and I’m like, “I already want to read these too, Renay!”

Renay: My next book is The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. This has a very vague blurb, but it seems to be about a tidally locked planet and the politics on this planet are very much tied to the dark side of the planet and the light side of the planet, and who lives where. It comes out on February 12th from Tor. It comes out at the perfect time because now I can read it and take it with me to WisCon in May, because Charlie Jane is one of the guests of honor this year. I am so excited, Charlie Jane is lovely. She’s so smart and has so many great ideas. I can’t wait to see what this book is about because I loved All The Birds In The Sky.

My next book is The Fever King by Victoria Lee. I stumbled across this book when I was looking for 2019 releases. And I had searched for technology and magic or something, and this is the one that popped up for me, because this features like a world with magic, and a main character whose whole family was killed by some type of viral magic and it turned him into a technopath who can interact with technology. Once that comes up that he can interact with technology, the enemy like pulls him into their ranks to train him, and he decides to be trained so he can use their own power against them. Except, uh-oh, the enemy has a son and he’s hot. Here for it! This is out March 1st from Skyskape.

My fourth book is a sequel and I think the last book in The Bone Witch series by Rin Chupeco that I’ve been following. It’s called The Shadow Glass. I don’t wanna say too much because there are spoilers for the first and second books, but I love this series for because of all the powerful women. There are giant monsters under their control, and I really like the framing device. There’s also a very great sibling relationship here. I also really love the romance in this one as well.

Ana: You mentioned romance in I think every single one of your books on your list apart from The City in the Middle of the Night.

Renay: I just wanna read some face-mashing, Ana. It’s been a rough year.

Ana: That’s really interesting, because whenever that happens, that’s the thing that I least want to read about. I wanna read about murders.

Renay: Well, we see now where we differ. You get sad and bad things happen and you’re like, “Okay, I gotta read about killing some people,” and I’m like, “I wanna read about fluffy romance and love.”

Ana: Exactly.

Renay: We all have our own coping mechanisms.

My last book is The Women’s War by Jenna Glass. This seems to be like an epic fantasy where women discover magic that lets them control their own reproduction. It basically results in women deciding, “Hey, fuckos, guess what?” I don’t know how this is going to go, because I think the last novel like this I read—which was The Power by Naomi Alderman. I liked it but it also, like, erased queer people. It was very gender essentialist. So I’m really curious about this one, but I’m also, you know, I have some reservations, because if your book about reproductive politics doesn’t include non-binary and trans people, I’m not sure your world building it that great. Fingers crossed for The Women’s War by Jenna Glass. It is out from March 5th from Del Ray, and also The Shadow Glass is out March 1st by Sourcebooks Fire, because I think I forgot to say. Those are five books that I’m excited about!

Ana: Five out of many, right? [laughter]

Renay: And that’s a great transition point, Ana thank you. One thing that makes me still super livid and that I see constantly still is anticipated book lists filled with white men. I’ve got nothing against white folks since I am white, but I still think that if your anticipated book list is all white and all cis male, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Although I don’t even know why I’m talking to these people, because they would never listen to our show. They are not our target audience, so I’m just preaching to the choir. Anyway, this quarter has a whole lot of books. There are debuts and there new series and there are sequels and there are finales, and it’s a big amazing group of books being published. I’m gonna read part of the list that I collected over the last few weeks to you.

Ana: Okay.

Renay: Obviously Ana and I can’t talk about every book, even if we wanted to, because that would be long.

Ana: We could have an episode with just us reading—

Renay: —the list. That would be so boring!

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: But I’m gonna give everybody a taste of what that might be like, right now. I’m gonna read out the list of first quarter books that I found that I think people might be interested in. The Girl King by Mimi Yu, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, Undying by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, Internment by Samira Ahmed, Cast in Oblivion by Michelle Sagara, Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee, Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark, The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, White Stag by Kara Barbieri, The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear, The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst, The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton, Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh, The Last 8 by Laura Pohl, The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson, New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl, Once & Future by Cori McCarthy & Amy Rose Capetta, and Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi.

That’s a lot of great books that are coming out.

Ana: That is just so many. And I am pretty sure you haven’t found every single book that is coming out, so it really is a matter of self-restriction if your list only has books by white dudes.

Renay: But that is a nice list of books that you could look up. They will be in our show notes, we will list all of them so you can go to Goodreads and add it to your to-read list. You’re welcome.

Those are some of the things that we’re excited about, and some of the things coming out in the first quarter, but if there’s something that we left off the list, if there’s something you think we might like, if there’s something that you’re excited about, you should hit us up on twitter at @fangirlpod and let us know about it.

[music break]

Renay: We’re continuing our journey through the Robots vs. Fairy anthology. Today we are discussing story# 6, called Ironheart by Jonathan Maberry. It is a Team Robot story, and it’s about a veteran who returns from war with a robot heart to his grandparents’ farm, where a bunch of robots used to work it, but all the robots are breaking down, much like this veteran’s heart.

This story made me very upset.

Ana: For what reason?

Renay: My dad is a Vietnam veteran. It was very hard to read this story. Currently the way we handle veterans who come home and are disabled in some way, especially if they’re a hundred percent service connected disabled, so a hundred percent of their disability is a result of their time in service, which in this story our main character Duke, he would be a hundred percent service connected disabled. The ways they’re treated are bad. The wait times for doctors, the way doctors treat them, it’s bad. The system is broken, and of course right now the VA is being run by like Donald Trump’s friends out of his country-club, like illegally, unless that’s changed recently. Who knows! I don’t know what the hell’s going on with our country when it comes to veterans, but literally the only thing that I agree with Republicans on is the way we treat veterans. That’s it.

And it was really hard to read this story and go to read through what Duke was going through as the robot heart they gave him to save his life failed. But there was also this strain through the story of Duke being very resentful that the doctors worked so hard to save his life, because the story goes on to say he died five times and they saved him all five times and they were very smug about it. That feeling, that emotion where you just get really resentful at the doctors for saving your life and acting like heroes for doing so, is something that I’m very familiar with. When the quality of life for that person is not going to be good.

My dad was in Vietnam and he fought for twenty years to even get his benefits, and so this story just really hit me hard because it imagines a future in which yeah cool, we have robots and we have robotic hearts. I mean, that’s a reality that we have right now. Robot hearts are a thing, there’s a kid in Arkansas who just got one and it’s keeping him alive. They saved him and they’re working to find him a transplant donor because it won’t hold out forever. But the technology’s here. we have it. So it was nice to see that that technology was here and that we have it, but it was also very depressing to be reading this far future—I think this was set in the 2070s—where we have all this cool tech but veterans are still treated like utter shit.

Ana: And health insurance is still eating up people’s savings, and one of the reasons why everybody’s struggling including his grandparents—who are taking care of him—is that they can’t afford all the treatment and meds that he needs, and that’s another reason why he’s so resentful, too. I agree with you that it’s like it’s the future, and we can’t imagine a better future. It’s so sad.

Renay: Human ingenuity and imagination to build all these farming robots has continued to grow because humans can imagine these great things, but in this world, humans have imagined robots that will do all these things and tasks for humans, but they haven’t got their shit together enough to value human life enough to have universal healthcare and to value people who fight wars enough to take care of them when they come home. and that’s just so brutally awful to me. And I know there’s some stuff happening in this story, happens at the end of it where something about Duke’s blood and him spilling blood while he’s trying to work on one of the farm robots, somehow revives the robot. there’s something happening with that, but it just got overshadowed by the political commentary in the rest of the story for me. Because the toll that healthcare and insurance and everything takes on the people who don’t even have the health problems, but the people around them, is just massive and the pain inexpressable.

Ana: It felt very real, very topical, which is at odds with the fact that the story’s in the future. I’m not sure how to feel about that because on the one hand it’s extrapolating that if we continue on this road, nothing’s gonna change, really.

Renay: I mean, apparently we’re gonna get cool new tech, but humans are still going to be suffering.

Ana: But that’s not outside of, sadly, the reality where we live in. It just feels like things are getting worse and worse.

Renay: I guess it was just really hard for me to read this story now, because I’m watching my dad die in slow motion from the fact that he was so long denied true healthcare from the VA. And then they drug their feet so long on giving him the means to take care of himself. I mean sure, there’s robots in this story, but also this story is just fucking bleak. This kid who went off to war, came home, and then just sent home to die. And it just hit me really close to home, I guess.

Ana: And he has to take thirty-six pills every day.

Renay: No, not thirty-six pills every day. Thirty-six pills in the morning and thirty-six pills at night.

Ana: That’s true. That’s where all of the savings of the family are going, too.

Renay: There’s just no reason for this. If we can pay the money necessary to build these autonomous robots to do these really specific tasks, but we can’t pay for people to have healthcare, what kind of future are we building? Because if you look at this story, there are robots for fucking everything. It’s just so specific that in this future there’s all these different types of robots for all of these really, really specific tasks, but we still haven’t figured out as a people, how to have people have healthcare. We haven’t realized how not to have useless wars that don’t require our kids to come home broken. It felt like it was trying to be a hopeful story, but in reality it’s not. Like the weird ending where the blood is reviving the robot, I mean, I guess, sure, okay? If you want to add some magic to your robot story; that’s fine. So the cool robot toys go on, but humans continue to die. I don’t know. It was just a pretty bleak story and I am assuming a deliberate commentary on the way we treat human beings and veterans in particular.

Ana: Yes.

Renay: Yeah, this was…ow.

Ana: Aww, I’m sorry that it became very personal.

Renay: Yeah it did. I mean, it was personal from the beginning, because the pills, the pills, the number of pills that I’ve watched my dad take over the years. If there was going to be an anthology talking about the costs of war, I’d be like, “Hey editor, you need to hit up Jonathan Maberry and include this story.” It just felt very tonally weird for this specific anthology, because ,I mean, I know we’ve had dark stories, pretty dark stories, but I would call this story darker even than the one by Sarah Gailey for me.

Ana: I see that.

Renay: There’s one thing to be like fairies and magic and fairies are dark, but there’s a whole other level of digging into how the United States of America treat people in general and veterans specifically, and it was just fucking dark. Because if you look at it, as like a larger metaphor I guess, the robots that people use the farm are robots, right? But the government treats humans like robots that they can just send off to war, bring back, patch up, and if they don’t work they can just toss’em out, put ’em in storage, they don’t matter anymore. I don’t know, I guess I just want some robot stories that are happy. So far we haven’t had many of those.

Ana: I feel like the types of robot stories that we want is not the type that mainstream anthologies are going to be covering that much. I sometimes feel like science fiction of a more—and I think mainstream’s a good word—are often attracted to darkness instead of light.

Renay: Well, we’re going through a pretty shitty political time right now, so I guess I can’t expect, like optimism and hope and sparkles. I mean, even though I didn’t like like-like this story, it was a good story. Again I’m doing this thing where it’s a good story, but I don’t like-like it, it’s just really powerful. I’d say yes, this gets one of my point just because it’s so effective in what it’s trying to do.

Ana: I agree with that.

Renay: It had a very specific purpose.

Ana: And it met this purpose.

Renay: It did! It’s not so much science fiction to me, more like horror. But I’ll take it.

Ana: I mean, there’s fantasy.

Renay: Yeah, it’s a really interesting meld.

Ana: I really liked it. I wasn’t as emotionally affected by it as you were. I thought it was a very good story and I would give a point, too.

Renay: Yeah, I would definitely put a trigger warning for people who know veterans or have veterans in their family on this story. Be careful.

Ana: Fair.

Renay: Two points from us for Team Robot!

Ana: Finally.

Renay: Ironheart by Jonathan Maberry is the sixth story in the Robots vs. Fairies anthology from Saga Press. If you read this story and you had thoughts about it, please let us know. You can send us a message by email at fangirlhappyhour@gmail.com or you can ping us at @fangirlpod on twitter. So if you had thoughts yourself, please let us know.

[music break]

Renay: Ms Marvel, Volume 8: Mecca by G. Willow Wilson is one of the latest collections of Ms Marvel. It continues the story of the civil unrest in Jersey City. Kamala has to face some hard truths about her work as a superhero in her city, and also learn how to share the spotlight with somebody new.

I have a confession to make about Ms Marvel. I’ve been pulling Ms Marvel in single issue since the beginning, but I quit.

Ana: [gasp] Why?

Renay: Well, number one it was money, number two, time, and I guess I’m just really upset with this comic. Not with G. Willow Wilson’s writing specifically, because I still think she does a great job with this comic, but my favorite relationships in the comic were always Kamala and Bruno’s friendship and Kamala’s relationship with Captain Marvel, and those just feel broken in a way that I’m not sure how they’re gonna be fixed. And so I’ve just been really lukewarm on this comic. So when I reread this, that feeling was still here. I really liked it, I thought it was very good for what it was, but the two things that had been plaguing me—

Ana: —are still in the back of your mind.

Renay: Yeah.

Ana: We were just talking about the short story that felt very real and very here and very topical, and I think this is probably the Ms Marvel issue or trade that feels very right here for me. Especially in terms of what’s happening in New Jersey, how the new mayor is a Nazi sympathizer, and then they create a group of people to police the streets and they act pretty much like ICE.

Renay: But they’re called KIND. K-I-N-D.

Ana: It was engaging with the political atmosphere in the United States at the time that it was published, and I guess that was late 2015, 2016 already?

Renay: Volume eight was published in December 2017, but the issues would have been written probably 2016—late 2016, early 2017?

Ana: Yeah okay, so that’s right at the time of Donald Trump winning the presidency and then the whole thing with the ICE and the immigrants and all of those issues are so out in the front in these issues of Ms Marvel. And they were very painful to read. One amazing scene, I felt, was when her brother Amir was taken because they suspect him of being an Inhuman. And his whole speech is about him being a Muslim and there being differences in the way that he’s treated. and then there is one puzzled moment and he’s like, “These people are traditionalists and conservatives. I am a traditionalist and a conservative. why are we not on the same side?” The questioning in these issues were very good. I think those were the first four issues and then they were very dar. And again it’s Kamala struggling with role as a superhero, with her role in her community and whether she can do everything and how she can face off enemies, but also friends turned enemies. And that was really dark and sad and heavy, and then you have two extra issues in which the storyline changes and they were super light and funny.

Renay: They were light and funny but they also ended kinda dark, because Kamala is debating whether now that Red Dagger is in Jersey City, maybe she’s not needed. Maybe she can take a break.

Ana: Yeah.

Renay: This is definitely engaging with ICE, secret police, people stealing power, because if you’ve been watching the news you’ve been watching Republicans basically try to steal elections. That’s a thing in here, like, undermining democracy, so I kinda see Kamala’s journey here as like being an activist and being just so burnt out and wondering if you’re even valuable anymore, if your work is even needed, and debating whether you should step back. That’s real to me, because I’m having that debate right now with myself. Poor Kamala, that’s hard. It’s hard!

Ana: She’s so young!

Renay: Yeah! To do that work being that young and having all that responsibility on your shoulders and wondering if maybe you’re not wanted. Not even not needed, but not wanted.

Ana: That’s a recurring theme of Kamala’s arc that has been going on for a while now, and it’s kinda reaching a momentum that I wonder where it’s gonna go next. Have you read beyond this one?

Renay: No, I haven’t. I read the first four issues and then I just started collecting issues and I wasn’t reading them, and that’s when I stopped pulling it. What I really want to happen and I don’t know if G. Willow Wilson will do this is that Kamala seems very on her own at the very of this trade. Red Dagger’s getting all this attention. and what I really want is for her to have help, in a way that feels like organic to her character obviously, but because as an activist you need help. you can’t go it alone all the time. And she had that with Bruno and since she lost Bruno she’s just been doing everything herself. I really want to go back to the place where Kamala knows how to accept help.

Ana: Yeah, because one of the things too is that Bruno knew her secret, and she doesn’t have anyone else to confide in. So, imagine that: losing not only her best friend, but someone who Knows, and then she doesn’t have anybody else that she can just relax and be herself—her full self. That is fucked up that they removed Bruno from the equation.

Renay: But I really hope that Kamala can find her way back to feeling effective. Another thing that was really on the nose was the radicalization of a white boy.

Ana: Yes.

Renay: G. Willow Wilson went there! She went right to it! She was like, “Yep!”

Ana: Poor white boy.

Renay: Meanwhile Amir, who’s done nothing, is sitting in lock-up.

Ana: Exactly.

Renay: Oh, she wasn’t fucking around with this trade.

Ana: I agree.

Renay: I’m gonna give Ms Marvel Volume 8 five space bees.

Ana: I’m gonna give it four, because it’s still not as good as volume 5.

Renay: [laughter]

Ana: Which was my favorite so far.

Renay: You’re gonna compare all of them to volume 5?

Ana: Yeah.

Renay: I can’t wait for the day that one of these volumes takes over volume 5’s top spot. Volume 9, will it be volume 9?

Ana: Will it? Will it? As long as there is some kissing between Kamala and Red Dagger.

Renay: Oh no.

Ana: I ship it.

Renay: Ms Marvel Volume 8 by G. Willow Wilson is out now from your local independent comic shop. If you have thoughts about this collection, we would love to hear them, we wanna have very many discussions about Kamala because we love Kamala very much. So if you also love Kamala, hit us up.

[music break]

Renay: One of our new segments that is going to stay is our Obsessed segment. Nobody’s come up with a better name for this segment, Ana, so now we’re just gonna keep it.

Ana: It’s fine.

Renay: It’s our Obsessed segment. What we are obsessed with! Ana, what have you been obsessed with the last few weeks?

Ana: I am a vegan. I have been vegan for four years. Four? Five years? One of the things that I never liked in my life was dairy products. I sometimes ate some butter. I was never into cheese. I always felt cheese was something really gross. I don’t like the taste of cheese except for parmesan cheese. That was me.

And now I’ve became vegan, and sometimes I really crave cheese for some reason. I tried out some of the vegan cheeses out there, most of them from Violife. It’s the one we can find a lot in the UK, and they are made from coconut oil, and they are awful. I cannot stand them so they have never been a part of my diet.

So last November I went to Amsterdam and we went to a vegan restaurant there called Mr. & Mrs. Watson. Which is highly recommended if you are a vegan and want to have something to eat in Amsterdam then this is the place to go. And they had a vegan cheese board. The cheeses were made of nuts, most specifically: smoked almond. There was one that was just a smoked cheese; there was one that was kind of like a brie; another one that was a Roquefort, and they were amazing. That kickstarted my obsession with vegan cheeses or vegan nut cheeses to be more precise.

And then I found a place in the UK called Tyne Cheases, cheese spelt C-H-E-A-S-E and they make the most amazing cheeses! And I’ve had like the smoked one, the one with dill, the one with rosemary, the one with chives, the one with garlic, the one with onion. There is one that is a cream cheese which is made of cashew nuts and it has pecan nuts and also a caramel made of dates. If you wanna try a vegan cheese please try nut cheeses. I know this is probably—if there are any vegans out there then you probably know this and it’s not new to you, but it’s new to me and I am obsessed! No, Renay, do not give me this look. They are not nut butters!

Renay: Listen—

Ana: No!

Renay: It sounds—

Ana: No!

Renay: —like nut butter to me.

Ana: #No

Renay: I eat a lot of nut butter, and this sounds like a nut butter to me.

Ana: Nut butter is basically just the nuts that have been crushed. This is made of milk made of the nuts and then they are treated with probiotics and some flavorings added. Like for example, the smoked cheese is made with smoked paprika and salt and that is it. They are not nut butters. This could be the great schism of 2019.

Renay: Are vegan cheese cheese or nut butter?

Ana: God.

Renay: No, I’m really glad you found a cheese that you like! That’s really exciting!

Ana: I’m not sure how fattening they are, or how fatty rather, and I don’t care.

Renay: Well if they’re made of nuts, if their base ingredient is nuts, aren’t nuts pretty…?

Ana: Yes, but they are good fats. They are better fats than the fats out of dairy, so.

Renay: Better fats than the stuff that I put in my body that you look at with horror. Because of you I’ve been making better choices.

Ana: Oh?

Renay: In 2018, I was like, “I’m gonna quit soda. I’m just gonna do it. I’m gonna quit,” and I haven’t had any soda in over a year. I quit on January 1st of 2018 and I haven’t had any since.

Ana: Congratulations!

Renay: Your obsession with delicious vegan stuff is paying off for you and other people around you so congratulations.

Ana: Thank you! If you find any nut cheeses, please try and eat them, and you will see that they are not nut butters.

Renay: They are probably going to be nut butter, guys, but I’ll defer to Ana on this point until I try them.

I promise that I am not obsessed with nut butter, my topic is video games! I’ve been obsessed with video games. Not necessarily just playing them, but also looking them up and finding cool ones coming out. For Christmas my partner got me a Nintendo Switch. So if you don’t know what the Nintendo Switch is and I know Ana does not: it’s like a console that you can hook up to your TV, and it’s got a little cradle and the console part sits in the cradle, but if you want you can pick up the console from the cradle, put the controllers onto the console, snap them on, and play as a handheld. One of the games I bought was Okami HD. Okami is a beautiful, beautiful game where you play as Amaterasu. You’re a white wolf and you get to go around and beat up monsters and make things bloom and it’s just a very beautiful game.

I’ve just been going back through all the games that I used to love and playing a bunch of different games, like I’ve been playing Okami like I said. When my friend Daniel came he bought me Super Mario Odyssey which is basically you as Mario running around with a sentient hat.

Ana: …What?

Renay: So he’s paired up with a sentient hat, and if you throw the hat at things the hat will possess the things you throw it at.

Last year I played a bunch of Mass Effect: Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn. I know I’ve talked about those games before. I love them. They’re so good. I love both of them so much.

I’ve just been amazed at like the scope of games now. I’m going to send you a trailer of the teaser for The Last of Us Part II. Like six year old me would have been, “You’re a fucking liar” if someone told them that this game would exist when I was an adult. I would have been like, “You’re a goddamn liar.” I would never have believed you. I’ll put it in our show notes, too. The Last of Us came out a few years ago from Naughty Dog, it follows a girl who is being taken across the country by a man. And it’s after the zombie apocalypse, except these zombies are different. The first game was pretty gutting, it was very much like a dystopia game. I didn’t play it. I watched Zach play it, but the sequel looks pretty amazing because the little girl in the first game has grown up into a woman and I guess she’s gonna be the main character. There are other games that I want to play like Rumu, about a little cleaning robot, and I’ve been playing a lot of Sailor Moon Drops. Ana’s like, “What’s that?”

Ana: I recognize the individual words! [laughter]

Renay: So if you play a lot of Candy Crush and you love it, you might be like me and you may have dropped Candy Crush, deleted the app from your phone, and switched wholesale to Sailor Moon Drops, which is Candy Crush but themed with Sailor Moon. I love it a lot more than Candy Crush because you can make friends in Sailor Moon Drops, and then you can send your friends hearts and your friends can send you hearts and it’s just very nice. And very hard. There are a lot of events that are very hard. Ana, you could play it. Sailor Moon Drops. It’s fun!

Ana: I bet that would take over my entire commute if I let it.

Renay: It would, yes.

So that’s what I’ve been obsessed with: is all of these games that have been coming out, that have come out. Like, it’s just a world of riches for games now. I’m just gonna warn the internet because Kingdom Hearts comes out this month. Kingdom Hearts 3. I played the first Kingdom Hearts, I pre-ordered it. I was there from the beginning. It’s been eighty-four years.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: Because that’s how long we’ve been waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3. We’ve been waiting a while. And I know I’m excited. I know a lot of our listeners who play video games are probably excited, too. Hey guys! And now I have to figure out where I have time to replay the first two games so I can be prepared.

I love games, Ana, I’m sorry you don’t have time for them. Games now are so amazing and filled with story that I think some of them you would really love. And they’re not games that go on forever like Candy Crush or whatever, they’re specific narrative stories. Games have just come so far and I’m so amazed at the skill with which some people make games. Games!

If there are any games coming out in 2019, space bees, that you know of, like space games or adventure games, please let me know about it. If you have any recommendations for older games, also let me know about it: I have a Playstation 4, a Playstation 3, a Wii, a Switch, a DS, a Gameboy Advance, a GameCube…

Ana: Oh my god…

Renay: I have a lot of consoles. I also have Steam! I have a Steam Link so I can play Steam games. So definitely if you have Steam game recommendations please let me know about that as well.

[music break]

Renay: Our show is made possible by our patrons. Thanks to all our patrons at all pledge levels. Our show isn’t only made by us. So many people help make Fangirl Happy Hour what it is. So starting right now, we want to highlight our patrons at our five dollar level each episode.

Ana: So a huge thank you to Alicia, Amanda, Amy, Ann-Marie and Brandy.

Renay: To Claire, Dearhbla, Elisa, Elissa M. and Hedwig, thank you.

Ana: Thanks to Jen, Jocelyn, Karen, KJ and Lara.

Renay: And last but not least, thanks to Margot, Mark, Philip, and Transcendancing.

Ana: Our show is better because of the people who support it. The people who listen, and the people who critique and challenge us to be more thoughtful consumers of media. We’re grateful to all of you.

Renay: Thanks for listening to Fangirl Happy Hour. We’d love to hear from you with your thoughts about the media or topics we discussed, or any recs you have. You can email us at fangirlhappyhour@gmail.com, or hit us up on Twitter at @fangirlpod.

Ana: Our podcast team includes our show artist, Ira, and our transcription queen, Susan. You can find their work on our website at fangirlhappyhour.com. Our team also includes all our Patreon supporters, newsletter subscribers, and you, currently listening to this podcast.

Renay: Don’t forget to drink water, contact your reps, and be kind to small animals.

Ana: Do not let the world judge you.

Renay: Thanks for listening to our show, space bees.

Ana: See you next episode.

[music break]

Renay: I mean you just put the cursor at the end of your name and hit enter and then tab.

Ana: Enter… and then tab. [gasp

Renay: Now you know for next time!

Ana: [laughter] Why—

Renay: “Augh. It’s really frustrates me that I can’t do all of these super technical things with audio.”
Ana: “I don’t know how to do the square thing.”


Renay: Oh god, is there a plane?

[mechanical whirring]

Ana: … Yes.


Renay: Did you just go to your kitchen and chop up a body?

Ana: [laughter] What?!

Renay: That’s what it sounded like!

Ana: Maybe I’ve taken the whole true crime podcast to an extra level.


Ana: This is however, this is gonna be my advice for this episode. Make time for time.

Renay: …What?


Ana: Let’s invite him.

Renay: Well, I did, but I did it via Twitter. Maybe you should have got him, you’re more important. So maybe you should do it.

Ana: I see.


Renay: You’re gonna be so fucking bored! You’re gonna be like—what do you mean this is relaxing?!

[beep] [beep]