My Favorite Apocalypse #2: Radioactive Carrots

*Recorded in April* The pursuit for the best apocalypse of them all continues. Em and E.J. take a twisting road through their favorite apocalpyses...apocalypti...apocali? Also, a brief consideration of what qualifies as an apocalypse anyway.

My Favorite Apocalypse Ep. 2: Radioactive Carrots

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 Lives Matter statement, commentary on its impact on publishing, and how to support black authors, see the opening of episode 4 in this miniseries.

What is the plural of apocalypse, anyway?

  • Signed and approved—the plural of apocalypse is apocolypti. And can it be bad if there are chicken enchiladas involved? There are still no zombies—which is kind of disappointing but probably a good thing.
  • Em chats about the movie version of I AM LEGEND and how fun it was. It was loosely based on the story (novella?) I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson. Em re-reads it every few years. It was the first book that Em read in the apocalyptic genre that made her go, “huh?”  She talks about the difference between the movie and the book and explains the monsters from the book to EJ and how the title makes so much more sense in the book.
  • EJ wonders, as an author, how it would feel if Hollywood takes your story and completely changes it. Em thinks that even though the book was written long ago, that the book and the movie evoke the same feeling. There were a lot of similarities with a majorly different ending. 
  • It reminds EJ of the TWILIGHT ZONE episode where the woman is having her face done (episode: EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. Original: 1959. Remake: 2002)…except if they ended the episode before the big twist.
  • EJ says it’s like the entire point is gone. 
  • Em is a Twilight Zone super fan. EJ, too. The girls geek out about it for a moment and discuss the Twilight Zone episode TO SERVE MAN. EJ watched it in grade school, which led to a Twilight Zone club at school where kids gathered to watch episodes at lunch.
  • Em would have killed for geek friends. She tried to explain it to her jock friends, “You don’t understand! They were serving man! It was a cookbook!” only to be looked at as if she were bananas.
  • Em circles back to THE SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE bc it reminds her of IT’S A COOKBOOK! 
  • EJ points out that maybe Em has a thing for cannibal tales (as a joke!). The girls crack themselves up.
  • They begin chatting about THE WALKING DEAD. EJ thinks Em should give it another shot.
  • Em loved the zombies but bailed when it got to the season where survivors were trapping and cooking each other. She noped right on out.
  • Em tells a story about her dad letting her watch whatever she wanted when her mom was working nights as a nurse. She recalls watching TOTAL RECALL(the original) and her dad pausing it and making her cover her eyes every so often. But she peeked and was mesmerized (scarred?) by the three boobed alien.
  • Pros and cons of three boobs? There are many!
  • EJ’s take on the apocalypse is RESIDENT EVIL. They have the BEST monsters.
  • Resident Evil released in 2002, but seems very 90s. EJ was never a gamer so she wasn’t familiar with the content.
  • EJ says it is so campy and over the top, but the monsters are truly terrible. She would never survive in that particular apocalypse. Em says no one would bc the monsters are constantly evolving.
  • Em tells the story of watching the last installment at the theatre with her sisters at a midnight showing. They were the only ones in the theatre and were so loud and obnoxious—it was great!
  • EJ wants to be Alice. 
  • EJ says she could survive the Walking Dead apocalypse. Em says that she thinks that she could—but isn’t sure she would. After a year of zombies, no electricity, no toilets, or antibiotics, she isn’t sure she’d want to keep playing.
  • Em asks EJ if she ever read LILITH’S BROOD by Octavia Butler. (Possibly disused during the Halloween episode).
  • Em hasn’t re-read it probably in ten years, but she can still remember so much of it because it is THAT GOOD.  Mankind has ended, but survivors wake up on a spaceship manned by a nomadic alien race called the Oankali. Em says it is the most bizarre thing she’s ever read but also the most interesting.
  • The way the Oankali survive is by inter-breeding with new species. They are peaceful and do not force themselves or take over—but they offer their way as an alternative to Earth’s dying planet. 
  • Em says she is making the plot sound campy, but truthfully it is a heartfelt, strange book. It is the kind of book that makes you really want to meet the author because it is so involved that you know the person who came up with the world has a lot of going on with their imagination.
  • EJ brings up COWBOYS VS. ALIENS. EJ says it is TOO MUCH but also SO GREAT. Em is always down for a Weird Western.
  • The movie is ridiculous and you either lean into the weirdness or you get out.
  • Em brings up the campy comedy show, THE LAST MAN ON EARCH. Em binged the entire thing—she says it isn’t the best show ever, but is highly entertaining. The episodes are only about twenty minutes long and they don’t require much thought. They are dumb and the characters are all morally gray, but it works. If you are looking for something to make you laugh, check it out. However, it does end on a cliffhanger. Em says it doesn’t require being very engaged to watch.
  • EJ says SANTA CLARITA DIET also ended on a cliffhanger and that she will never get over it.
  • Things take a turn as the girls bring up GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. EJ loves Gilligan’s Island. 
  • EJ was obsessed with Land of the Lost. Em asks if there was a remake with Will Ferrell in the early 2000s?  EJ has blocked it from her memory.
  • EJ’s most vivid memory of LAND OF THE LOST is an episode where the family was being haunted by the spirit of their dead mother. It was strange and possibly scarred EJ (lol). EJ doesn’t do scary.
  • BACK TO GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. Your hosts think that HBO should make a Gilligan’s Island remake, but make it gritty. Instead of a movie star—make her a porn star. The Howells would either be Silicon Valley, or disgusting Trump types. Or the complete other direction and have a characters based on Beyoncé and Jay Z. The girls would totally watch it.
  • Em wonders why such a random group of characters were all on the same boat? Why would millionaires like the Howells ever pay for a three hour tour on Gilligan’s boat? IT MAKES NO SENSE.
  • EJ tells Em not to overthink it but Em insists it’s weird—they had coconut phones but no toilet paper! EJ asks if Em remembers the episode where they ate the radioactive carrots. 
  • EJ tells how the Gilligan crew ate radioactive carrots they find on the island for no reason. Em says that maybe their favorite apocalypse is Gilligan’s Island. 
  • EJ explains the episode while Em cracks up. 
  • Em wonders which apocalypse really would be her favorite—but she has nothing. She has major quarantine brain.
  • EJ explains the difference between post-apocalypse and apocalypse. 
  • Em brings up GOOD OMENS. 
  • EJ says it is the first one they’ve talked about where there is actually the apocalypse.
  • Em blanks out bc all she can now think about is David Tenant. (Understandable!)
  • EJ mentions how PREACHER begins with an asteroid that is supposed to hit the earth.
  • Em says that it has been on her watch-list forever. EJ says she has mixed feelings about the show because the comics are so much better. She says the show explains too much and slows down the plot. The comics are bonkers, dark, and strange—which makes it awesome. Although the show IS dark in its own right.
  • Em asks if she hasn’t read the books, will she like the show since she doesn’t have a reference point. EJ says it’s a little slow, but give it a chance. All the characters are assholes, which makes them a lot of fun.
  • Em circles back to BLACK MIRROR. Em’s second favorite episode is about a group of survivors trying to steal supplies from a warehouse while fleeing robotic killer dogs. Nothing is ever fully explained, which is what makes it amazing. (The episode is named METALHEAD. Em can’t remember during the podcast).
  • Em admits that bleak worlds where you just survive for now is one of her favorite themes/tropes in fiction.
  • Em brings up a book—but can’t remember the name of it. The hosts figure out it is STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel. Em hasn’t read it, but it kept popping up in her research and now it is a definite must read for her. 
  • EJ read it first on audiobook and made it almost to the end, but then the library reclaimed it on her Libby app, so she still has twenty minutes and she is dying to FINALLY finish it, lol.
  • Em brings up BIRD BOX and the amazing memes it gave us. She says she really liked it, despite the fact that it kind of became cool to hate on it. She agrees that the ending is cheesy—but when you write in that genre it has to be hard to find a good ending. Bird box is based on a book—Em is talking about the movie.
  • EJ makes the comparison to FARENHEIT 451 (the HBO reimagining).
  • Em admits that she is not the movie critic. She loves movies and a movie has to be really terrible for her to actively dislike it. There are movies she doesn’t care for—but usually she can still find something amazing about it.
  • EJ says she likes to take the Roger Ebert approach to movie critiques, which is judge each movie against what it is trying to be. 
  • The girls covered some good ground! They have enjoyed diving into apocalyptic fiction while living through a pandemic. 
  • EJ and Em decide to try and find the weirdest apocalypse they can and also the most utopian apocalypse. (SPOILER ALERT: They totally forget to do this).
  • Last minute- Em brings up her favorite part of BRAVE NEW WORLD, though she wonders if the book is problematic by today’s standards in its description of some people.  She thinks so, but it has been years and years since she has read. She vows to revisit it and see.
  • That’s a wrap! 

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