My Favorite Apocalypse #1: Don't Eat the Soylent Green

*Recorded in April* In a world...where no one can leave their home unmasked...Em and EJ face off in a challenge to find the very best apocalypse of them all. It gets weird.

FANTASY+GIRLS
My Favorite Apocalypse Ep. 1: Don’t Eat the Soylent Green Show Notes

Note: This episode was recorded in April, before the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, and the subsequent protests. When Em and EJ talk about the current state of the world, they are referring to the very beginning of quarantine. FANTASY+GIRL Podcast stands behind Black Lives Matter. For our full Black Livse Matter statement, our commentary on its impact on publishing, and how to support black authors, see the opening of episode 4 in this miniseries.

The world is ending and the girls are wondering: Is this how you pictured the apocalypse?
  • Em wonders why our current situation isn’t more Mad Max and less yoga pants. Beyond Thunder Dome scarred her and that is where her mind goes when you say apocalypse. EJ admits to only seeing the Fury Road, but Em says she has no idea if the originals are good or not, bc she was a kid when she watched them.
  • EJ and Em admit that they have quarantine brain. How do you even podcast?
  • The theme of the new series is MY FAVORITE APOCALYPSE.
  • Em goes first. She says her pick isn’t her favorite—but it is one of the more interesting. She says her husband’s fav is ZOMBIELAND. This takes a quick tangent into zombies. Em doesn’t think she would last long. She is more of a SHAWN OF THE DEAD girl. The zombies are slower so she would stand a chance. EJ says fast zombies would be how she died—she doesn’t belong in that world.
  • Em mentions the book THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan and the interesting way that slow and fast zombies are explained in the book. Surprise—it has nothing to do with decay.
  • Your hosts commiserate about what exactly the current apocalypse means and how slowing down isn’t terrible, though they feel guilty saying that since so many people are sick.
  • Em’s apocalyptic pick is SOYLENT GREEN. She sets the scene for the movie that is from the 1970s but takes place in futuristic New York after a climate catastrophe and overpopulation. She first saw the movie in a seventh grade science class when her teacher just showed scifi all day and didn’t teach. EJ is understandably jealous—she had to actually learn at school!
  • No spoilers in the notes for SOYLENT GREEN—but Em recaps the movie and the big plot twist at the end (okay one spoiler: THE SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! THE SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!) 
  • Em tells a Facebook story from a few years ago. She accepted a request from a guy from high school—but she moved 13 times between fifth grade and senior year so she admits to not always remembering everyone. EJ wonders how Em learned anything. Em says she didn’t, lol.
  • The guy ended up being a huge conspiracy theorist, and so Em commented THE SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE on one of his especially outlandish theories and he got mad and unfriended her, but she was just glad someone got the obscure movie reference.
  • Em admits, that if she lived in a post-apocalyptic world and the government was offering weird—but free and nutritious—food, she’d probably just eat it and not ask questions. She asks, Do you wanna know what is in your hot dog? EJ doesn’t!
  • They move on from cannibalism references because the joke doesn’t land, lol.
  • EJ’s turn! She brings it with the book: SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY by Gary Shteyngart.
  • EJ sets the scene by filling Em in on the novel’s setting: a world where society and country are deeply entangled with corporations. She explains that it is similar to when church and state were the same, except instead of church, it is private corporations.  Plastic surgery and medical tech can help you to look and live however you want as long as you can pay for it, which has created an even bigger socioeconomic gap. At the core of the plot between the main characters is a love story. The protagonic works at a medical tech company that is super popular—EJ compares it to the Apple of the future except the accessories are for your own body. 
  • The protagonist is jaded and doesn’t buy into the culture of maxing out your own body which makes him relatable to the reader, but a complete loser in his fictional world. The protagonist falls in love with a woman within his company. Much of the book is told through emails. While the romance is happening, the world in the background is super unsettling.
  • EJ compares it to our current situation and how we are all plugged in all the time. In the book, she explains, you have a pendant and whenever you go anywhere—like a bar—you are logged in and geo-located. Everyone else can see who you are and where you are and what you are about, then rank you as a human. Em says it gives her a Black Mirror vibe. EJ agrees.
  • This futuristic world is overrun with clickbait…which is kind of what we are living with now.
  • EJ gives spoilers for SUPER SAD LOVE STORY.
  • Em brings up MINORITY REPORT and the retina scans that were a prominent plot device of the movie. EJ jokes that we are two seconds away from that.
  • The hosts realize that many of their favorite media and stories are apocalypse themed. EJ brings up BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and the constant Save the World plot.
  • Buffy is so campy and kitschy but eventually you will love it, they agree. 
  • Em asks EJ about the transition in Buffy from the movie to the series. 
  • EJ asks Em is she knows about SCOTT PILGRIM’S PRECIOUS LITTLE LIFE and Em says she is familiar but not fluent.
  • EJ tells of how Scott Pilgrim inspired her love for comics. It all started in Omaha… (Because of course it did!)
  • The co-workers who introduced EJ to comics were not your snotty, comic mean-geek-boys, but were very nice. One of the guys owned every single Scott Pilgrim issue and loaned them to EJ. She’s been hooked on comics ever since.
  • Em asks how the Scott Pilgrim movie holds up to the comics.
  • EJ says it is enjoyable but it is heavily stylized—so you have to be into that. 
  • BRAIN FART! EJ tries to remember the name of a particular anime. [Note from post-recording: It was SUCKER PUNCH.]
  • Em mentions how apocalyptic fiction was very popular for a hot minute and she was here for it…but as much as she loved it—a lot of it runs together for her now.
  • Em describes the book LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer, though she can’t remember the name of it on the episode.
  • EJ mentions another comic she loves by the same author as Scott Pilgrim (Brian Lee O’Malley). It is called SECONDS. Both Seconds and Scott Pilgrim are coming of age tales, though at different points in the differing protagonists’ lives. (Scott Pilgrim is in his 20s while the protagonist of Seconds is in her 30s).
  • Seconds is a graphic novel about a woman and a house elf.
  • Em asks EJ if she remembers the old PLANET OF THE APES.
  • Em grew up watching them becaus her dad owned a video store (shout out to Crosby World Video Rental & Book Exchange!). Em says she doesn’t suggest the old Planet of the Apes. She suggests the remakes. She had fond memories of the old movies but did a re-watch several years ago and the first one was fine, but then they got really weird about atomic bombs and underground societies wearing fake-face masks. She remembered (from childhood) as a comedy. It definitely is not a comedy.
  • EJ asks if Em remember when Rodriguez and Tarantino did a double feature in the early 2000s. Rodriguez did PLANET TERROR. It features Rose McGowan as the main character in a zombie film. McGowan’s character has a leg as a machine gun. Em excitedly remembers the promotion for it and EJ is still here for it.
  • Em never saw the movie but remembers the character (she got a promo sticker at a Blockbuster or something.)
  • Tarantino’s offering was DEATH PROOF. It was a little darker and grittier and a revenge story.  It was good but no machine gun leg.
  • Em asks EJ if she has anything on her TBR or to-be-watched list specifically for quarantine.
  • EJ admits her normal list is backed up and she can’t really add to it. Em agrees. No time for pandemic-themed reads. Em doesn’t want to read virus themed books. She even cleaned her bookshelf and got rid of a book called VIRUS about a mutated form of Ebola. 
  • EJ says she and her hubs went straight from SCHITT’S CREEK (which is perfection) to BETTER CALL SAUL. Now she is on to 30ROCK. EJ is also watching HUNTERS on Amazon. None are apocalypse-themed but all are pretty good.
  • Your hosts realize that they didn’t exactly give you a list of their concise favorites…but more of a random lists of pretty good content! 
  • Em makes empty promises including apocalyptic outfits (spoiler alert: doesn’t happen!)
  • If you have seen Soylent Green, Em wants to know! EJ makes an accidental pun about cannibalism and the girls crack up.
  • On that note—see ya in the apocalypse! 

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