Hey, everyone, I am Tara Scott and with me as always is Kris Bryant. Welcome to Queerly Recommended. This is episode two. Kris, how are you doing this week?
I am doing well. Thank you. How are you?
I’m good. It is January, finally.
Get rid of that dumpster fire that was 2020.
That was not, that was not a good time. And, I mean, I think we both know that the beginning of the year is obviously, it’s just like, it’s the same as any other day. But I think we all have some hope in our hearts for 2021. I mean, I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high, but also still find the joy in some, some of the things.
So what are you looking forward to most this year? What is giving you joy, as you’re looking forward?
First and foremost, I mean, besides the obvious hanging out with friends, again, you know, doing book events, and getting the vaccine, those were all just standard, I think, for all of us. I think those are gonna be the top three for all of us. So I’ll go to number four. And I think for me, I’m looking forward to the inauguration the most. Hands down, like the just, the— I don’t even know how to say it. I’m just so angry about the last four years down here in the United States. And I’ve just, I’m pissed at Donald Trump. I’m so glad he’s gone. And I’m so— I have become this political maniac that I had no idea that I was so political until Donald Trump became our president down here. So I’m, I’m looking so forward to having somebody intelligent, you know, in the White House using science, logic, reasoning, and just fairness, and I need that. I think our whole country needs to heal. And this is how we’re going to do it. And there’s gonna be a little scuffle at the beginning, but I think this is 100% what I’m looking forward to the most, and I will cry during the whole inauguration. I’ll probably take the day off if I’m not already home, just to watch it.
Mm hmm. Yeah, it kind of feels like the grownups are showing up in Lord of the Flies.
Yes! What was it? “Kill his blood!” Yeah, you’re right. It’s exactly right. I feel like finally we’re all going to grow. Maybe we’re going to be adults for the first time in four years, and not be bullies anymore. And we’re going to get back to being you know, responsible Americans. Maybe. I’m hoping, truly I am. What about you? What are you looking forward to?
I mean, I’m also looking forward to the inauguration. I’m not gonna lie. I know that, you know, I’m a Canadian. And so I shouldn’t have a lot of skin in the game. But we are your nation’s closest trade partner. A lot of what happens there drifts its way on up to here. And so, I am also looking forward to seeing the grown ups come back home.
And I mean, the possibility of travel again, is amazing. But the other thing I’m looking forward to on a much smaller scale is there are new Drag Race seasons that are happening. And so, part of my 2020 survival plan was that—I’m trying to remember when it started. It was either late spring or during the summer, I thought, “I mean, I’ve ever watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I don’t know, I could give it a try.” It’s my brother and his wife, it’s their favorite show.
So when I say— it’s hands down, it’s their favorite show. Their toddler, if it’s on TV will say Mama Ru like she just knows.
It’s her first word.
Right? And so, they said skip season one, which I kind of went back and watched the first episode and I understood exactly why they said to skip it, because the production value was like $10. But it was so, like, I just I loved it. I was sucked in from the first episode of season two. Some of my very favorite drag queens were in that season. We started a group chat that we dorkily called the Drag Race Pit, where I could just like, squee my feelings at them. I learned life lessons.
There was one episode in particular that I adored, and I can’t even remember what season it’s in. It doesn’t matter, because there was just this nugget of wisdom that RuPaul dropped about how other people’s— I’m trying to think how to put it. Oh, I remember. I’m just gonna I’m just gonna say it. So what he said to one of the the drag queens in the Werkroom was—because they were getting in their head about what other people think. And he said, “Repeat after me: what other people think of me is none of my business.” And for me, that was a revelation because I’m a recovering people pleaser who has anxiety and so my anxiety brain is often telling me “That person thinks you’re an idiot.” And now I have RuPaul in my brain saying, “Who cares what that person thinks? It is not my business.” And so there’s, you know, a new season that started just now in the US, season 13. And season two of the UK version is also starting this month. So I say what a gift—
—to the queers who love drag that we have two seasons going on at the same time.
I have a friend who is in love with that show, and I can’t FaceTime, I can’t talk, I can’t even text during that time and the only time we really can talk is late at night and, and she’s always like, “No, I can’t. RuPaul’s on. I can’t. I’ll catch you tomorrow.” And so—
My grandma was like that with Jeopardy!
I’m like that with Jeopardy! Hands down. Don’t text me. Don’t talk to me. Jeopardy is on.
Yeah, that was my grandma. You cannot call during the hour— There were two hours a day you could not call. It was during The Price Is Right or during the hour that showed Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy back to back.
So here’s a truth—
Don’t call Eileen.
—nobody can beat me at Wheel of Fortune and I love Jeopardy and I pretend like I’m super smart on Jeopardy but I’m really not. I, like, kill it at the college level and the high school level. But, like, the real stuff, if I get, like, if I get the final answer I’m, like, dancing around the house. I feel you. Your grandmother and I. Mm hmm.
Mm hmm. Ken Jennings, you are not, in so many ways.
Poor Alex. I mean, in 2020 we lost Alex, Alex Trebek. Oh my gosh. I, I can’t even with that.
So, my journalism teacher when I was in high school, my journalism teacher was on the show, and she actually lost and so she came in to class the next day, the day that she came in or was back from her— from the trip out there. She came back with a slideshow and she was playing Weird Al Yankovic’s “I Lost on Jeopardy,” which is to the lyrics of The Greg Kihn Band, “Jeopardy” or “Our love’s in jeopardy.” So Weird Al did a spinoff of it, “I Lost on Jeopardy.” So she played that and that was hilarious. So ever since high school, I’ve been such a Jeopardy fan, but totally off topic.
No, she sounds pretty cool.
Yeah. Okay, so, so what are you reading/watching now?
Right now, I am—in terms of what I’m watching—I am finally into Season Five of Schitt’s Creek. I am catching up with the rest of the world, because I started watching it earlier this year. Is it— sorry, by this year? I mean, 2020. What is time, anyway?
At some point you started it. That’s good.
Right? Yeah, no, I did. I started at some point. I was staying with one of my best friends in Toronto, who was appalled that I had only gotten a few episodes in and she’s like, “No, you have to press on. These people are monsters, but they learn how to feel feelings.” And so, she sat me down. I think we watched the first two seasons. And I was only there for like a week or something like that? Maybe not even a week, it was insane. So, it got put on hold because I don’t actually watch a lot of TV. Because I instead read one to two books a week. And then I started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and so I didn’t watch anything else for the rest of 2020 except the occasional movies with my husband or with her because we were very big fans of Netflix party. We would put that on—
—or we would put a movie on that way. And then we would also call her and put her on speaker so we could still, like, shit talk movies together.
Ah, that’s awesome.
Which is, I gotta say, for people that are still living the lockdown life, I highly, highly recommend it as a way to do movie nights because it definitely made my heart feel happy to have them again with a friend who lives across the country.
But what I am reading right now, and I am loving it is the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. Have you heard of this?
I’ve only heard of this through you.
Okay, so for you and for the people that don’t know about it, it’s a series. Most of them, I believe, are novellas. So I’ve read the first two. So that’s All Systems Red and Artificial Condition. I’m about to start the third installment, which is called Rogue Protocol. And it’s about this. It’s a— it’s a robot. Basically, it’s a security bot. And it has partly, like— it has some organic parts? Like, basically made of human materials. So kind of its exterior, I think. But you know, it wears armor and it’s mostly comfortable with its its helmet on. And the thing about the security bot is it, it has this governor module. So whoever is in charge at the time can make it do things, but it hacked the module. So in theory, it should be out just murdering people because it’s made to kill. That’s, that’s the point of the security bot. Except it doesn’t want to. What it wants to do instead is watch thousands of hours of TV shows.
And I love it so much! And as it goes— So the first book, it’s out with this group of scientists, and it starts to realize that they’re treating it like a person. And they’re growing, they’re growing almost like a fondness for these people. And they have kind of a hard time reconciling with that. And, and, the— continues to refer to itself as Murderbot all the way through and doesn’t understand how, like, “I’m a murder bot, how am I starting to, like, care about these people.” And in the second book, it gets on a transport ship. Not ship. Like, more of like a, like a smaller transport vessel, which is run also by a bot. And their relationship is also delightful. Because they exasperate each other in the most delightful way, and again a lot— So my understanding is as the series progresses, the Murderbot just continues to learn how to feel feelings. And it’s beautiful. It’s fun, and it’s kind of a— you can see through Murderbot’s experiences that sometimes it’s just hard. It’s hard to have feelings. It’s hard to grow attachments. It’s hard to just, like, interact in the world. And I love it.
That’s— See and, and I just finished up with Dexter, which is kind of like—
See, we talked about this. And the sociopath that there really has no feelings and see murderers. I feel like it’s kind of the same thing, but not at all.
Well, and something that I found interesting and I had kind of, like, lightly been considering but not too much. So Murderbot has no gender—
—and no romantic impulses and, in fact, seems to be almost kind of repulsed by some of that, especially when thinking about the comfortbots, which it refers to as sexbots, which I feel like that kind of says it all. Their, their purpose in this world. And I was listening recently. So the podcast that’s a part of Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Sarah recently has been doing episodes with some of us reviewers and she was talking to a group of other reviewers and she was talking about Murderbot. How somebody else pointed out that Murderbot is agender and aromantic. And so, there does feel almost like there is that kind of queerness to it. It’s, to me, it felt affirming hearing somebody else talking about it as well, because it was something that I was wondering. And so, for people that want to experience that, I definitely can recommend checking that one out.
So what are you watching or reading right now?
Well, I’m in the middle of edits, so I don’t really read when I, when I’m in the middle of edits. So, I am watching, I just started watching Weeds. The show Weeds that came out back in 2005. I’m way behind, but somebody, we were— I posted something somewhere about endings. Oh, Dexter, that’s right. I just finished Dexter and I said, you know, “I’m so, I’m still not right with the ending of the show.” And then it kind of turned on me. The, everybody started talking about the best endings of shows and somebody mentioned Weeds. And I thought “I’m not a fan of the actress who plays the mom on the show.” And I honestly, I, I’m gonna get her name wrong. So I’m gonna try.
Is it Mary Elizabeth Stuart? No—
I don’t know maybe.
Oh, no, no. Is it the other one? It’s, it’s one of the two from from Fried Green Tomatoes.
Yes! Yes, so she’s the mom. Anyway, so I started Weeds and I think I’m on season, like, I’m the person who binge watches. Literally, I will be horizontal on the couch for, like, nine hours. And just to have it in the background. I can do other things and still know what’s going on on the show. And right now, I think I’m in season, the end of season three, the beginning of season four is where I’m at. And so, I can just watch that. I’m the person who could literally be on the couch and watch 10, 12 hours of television or a movie. That’s just who I am. I can do that. And, and I always have the TV on for Molly because she like sound. She’s getting to that point where she’s older. And so, if she doesn’t have any sort of sound, and it turns out I was leaving the radio on for her, but that’s not working. So now I have the TV on for her. So that, that helps her and so she’s watching Weeds with me too. That’s where we’re at. So cute. Yeah, we do things together.
I kind of love that you have a little white dog and I have a little black dog.
See, it’s perfect.
I’m just sad that they can’t play together. Because we’re way, way. Way, way way too far apart.
That’s true. And Molly’s adorable. She, she made a guest appearance last month during one of my events. And yeah, she was sweet. She loved it. She’s, she’s adorable.
Okay, so let’s talk about what is your big recommendation for Queerly Recommended for this week.
When we talked about how we wanted to approach this episode, we thought let’s pick something that delighted us the most in 2020. So as we’re looking ahead, as this new year is starting, let’s just take a brief moment to reflect back on what did we love. And for me, the book that surprised me the most was Who We Could Be by Chelsea M. Cameron.
Now, if anybody follows my reviews, they already know that I’m a pretty big Chelsea Cameron fan. I love, love, love, LOVE a few of her books, and I especially love her friends to lovers romances. And in October, I believe, she dropped a tweet that said something along the lines of “Next week, I’m releasing a new F/F romance. And it’s inspired by Anne of Green Gables.” And I lost my goddamned mind because when I was 11, my grade six teacher, Mrs. Higginbottom, who still I hold in my heart as one of the best teachers that I ever, ever, ever had. She recognized that I loved to read and that I was tearing through the library books so fast that I was done with books before our weekly trip to the library. So she would let me go as often as I wanted. And she nudged me towards the Anne of Green Gables books. And I loved them. And I loved them so much that she loaned me her daughter’s videos of the series that was put out the, the version that stars Megan Follows.
Which for me, like, I’m sorry to all of the Anne With an E viewers, like the people who love that. Your love is valid. But to me the only real adaptation is the one with Megan Follows. She is the best Anne of Green Gables. There will never be anyone better. That is the hill that I will personally die on. That’s just how that is.
Fight you! Fight you on it!
Right? And so for me the idea of a romance about this, like, I was primed, I was ready. I— And I knew it was a friends to lovers. It, the idea of like taking Anne and Diana and having them fall in love. I was into it. And then I read it. And it was even better than I could have imagined. I swooned for this book. It has no angst. Cover to cover, it is full of so much love and warmth. And that was just, again in a year like 2020, that was a book that I needed. I needed something that had that much love in it.
And so, the concept is that there are two characters. Well, there’s more than two characters. But, but the two leads are Tessa O’Connell and Montgomery “Monty” Ford, which I think is a super cute nod because, of course, Lucy Maud Montgomery was the author who wrote Anne of Green Gables, so to name one of the leads Monty after her, I think is really adorable.
They’re best friends they have they always have been they always will be. Tessa is the loud, lovable— She’s a total goofball, kind of a walking disaster. Monty is much more serious. She’s much more measured. She’s definitely the grown up of the two of them. Tessa works in a bookstore, like a small independent bookstore owned by two gay men who are also married to each other, which I think is adorable. Monty works in the library. Tessa is going to be Monty’s maid of honor when she gets married in a month. And Monty is going to be Tess’s maid of honor when she eventually, or matron of honor, when she eventually gets married. Except of course, neither of them marries dudes—
—because they don’t know it yet, but they’re completely gay for each other. And so Monty’s engagement falls apart first because her fiance is a douchebag who’s cheating on her, which happens early enough in the plot that I don’t feel like it’s a massive spoiler. And so, she’s really the one that goes through the journey first of recognizing that maybe she’s not straight. And Tessa’s engagement ends for reasons that I’m not going to say, because it would be a spoiler, and I do think that what happens there is really, really interesting. But the whole time I was reading it. I was like, What do you mean? You think you’re just friends? How can you possibly? Oh, you sweet, sweet dum-dum.
So now, what’s their age? What are we talking like? If they’re engaged.
I think they’re 24 or 25.
Okay, so mid 20s?
Yeah, yeah. So they’re in their mid 20s. They’re— It’s a, it’s a small town romance. It’s in a tiny town in Maine, which is really lovely. Great queer representation. There’s an ace side character. Tessa has these two aunts who are trans and they’re married to each other. And so, like, queerness has been a part of her family for a long time. And so again, it’s very funny that she doesn’t recognize it in herself.
And there’s things like when Monty’s engagement ends, she’s quite devastated. She’s not actually devastated that she’s not with this guy anymore, because you can see there’s no chemistry between them. But she’s very much the kind of person—because she’s so serious, she had a life plan. And you know, that like, I”‘m going to be married by this time. I’m going to have kids by this time.” And basically the plan got blown out of the water. And so she has to figure out who she is and what she’s going to do with her life. And so she stays with Tessa and her family for I think, like, three weeks or something like that. And when she says that she’s moving back to her apartment, Tessa falls apart. And I’m like, Yes, this is definitely because you’re upset your friend.
And, yeah, I just, I love it. I love these characters. I thought they were— I actually haven’t read the books since I was a kid. And so, I can’t really say how faithful it is to anything. But I would, I would treat it almost as if it was more inspired by Anne of Green Gables than, than like a straight, interpre— STRAIGHT interpretation, ha!
To me, it felt like she captured the spirit of them very, very well. And even, like, Tessa’s fiance, Gus, is inspired by Gilbert, the person that Anne does marry in the books. And I just, I loved how it all shook out. It’s so happy. They do both have to go through their journey of coming out. Like, they have to come out to themselves, of course, before they even come out to anyone else.
And, for me, I think the other best thing about this was realizing that there is a sub genre of friends to lovers that I love best of all, and that is the, the best friends who are already deeply in love. And they have, and neither of them has any clue about it. Like, and it’s that recognizing that there’s an extra depth to this. And so it doesn’t necessarily have that, like, some friends to lovers have the angst around, “But what will this do to our friendship?” And to me, like, that’s one of those, like, sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don’t, and it doesn’t have any of that. Instead, it’s just like, “You are my person, you have always been my person. Now we get to live in the same place and bang each other and isn’t that wonderful?”
“We finally realized it.” No, that’s great.
Mm hmm. So what is your recommendation for this week?
Well, for this week, I want to talk about Teenage Bounty Hunters. It’s a series on Netflix and I stumbled onto it. It wasn’t something I was searching for and I had no idea that there was any queer representation in it. It was one of those where I just kind of, I think Netflix has just kind of started, you know how when you pull up Netflix, it just starts something because they know they’re going to catch you with one of these, you know, unless you know for sure what you’re going there for. And so, my recommendation is that if you want something that’s just like real, kind of frivolous, and you know, it’s not gonna, like, you’re not gonna think about it for days after, it’s not gonna, like, change your world or anything. It was just a, it was just a really enjoyable series. Short, short series. It only lasted one season.
And so I’m going to preface this by saying this is not a kids show at all. Even though it’s about teenagers. It is not a kids show. It’s rated MA and rightfully so. So the synopsis is, after banging up their father’s truck, high school students and fraternal twins, Sterling and Blair Wesley fall into bounty hunting for grizzled bounty hunter Bowser Simmons in order to pay for the truck’s repair and without their parents knowing.
So there’s a lot going on. You have these two kids in high school and actually they attend a religious High School. And so, religion’s really into this, but it’s kind of done tongue in cheek. It’s actually really humorous for people who really aren’t any religion or even have a lot of religion in their background. I think it’s funny either way.
It’s kind of an age of, coming of age story. Where, you know, these teenagers, these two fraternal twins, are dealing with so many things at once. You know, they’re trying to make what they’ve learned in their religious upbringing work with real life. They’re trying to figure out “How does this really work? They’re telling us to do this, but I feel this way. Or I want to do this, but I’m not supposed to do this. But I feel so good if I do this.” So it’s kind of, it’s teenagers, you know, it’s, it’s a mixture of innocence and growth. And they’re learning that not everything is black and white in this world. So they can be, like, super fierce about something.
And I love that, the thing I love, I love the dialogue. So they can be super fierce about something like global warming, or the NRA or smoking, but then they get easily sidetracked. And they talk about something shiny that they saw. Oh, you know— It’s just hilarious, because it has exactly how teenagers are. And I remember that, and I see it, you know, with all the kids that I do know, and the twins are great. Like the relationship between them, the actresses, you would think that they really truly work twins in real life, and they grew up together and their chemistry is so on point.
So, like, Maddie Phillips, she plays Sterling and she’s, like, super sweet. And she’s this angelic looking, you know, kind of strawberry blond hair, blue eyes, just adorable. And you know, everybody wants to give her everything because she’s just like, the perfect, innocent, sweet child. And then the sister is Blair. And she, you know, she wants to be bad. She wants to, you know, rebel, and she wears, like, dark clothing. And she seems to be Sterling’s opposite. But they have, it’s— What I love about them is that, regardless of how opposite they are, they have this thing, like, twin speak. And, like, in the middle of whatever they’re in the middle of, whether it’s a conversation with their parents or a conversation with you know, their, their boss Bowser, they turn to each other, and they, like, talk to each other, like, super fast. And they’re like, back and forth. And it’s just so clever, that every time they do it, I just, I smile because it’s so— The whole series is so cleverly written. But nobody can hear them, so they kind of have, like, this internal turn towards each other and talk about things and “let’s do this unless,” and then they turn back to their subjects. And they continue whatever it is they’re doing.
And I had no idea that there was going to be any queer representation at all in this, at all. Like, I just, like I said, it just started I was, like, “Yeah, this is clever. This kind of cute.” I mean, it’s so unrealistic, but still, you know, it’s one of those brainless series that I just thought it was just great.
So is it one of the sisters is queer?
Yeah, so one of the sisters starts off, the sweet angelic one, Sterling, she starts off with a boyfriend, and they’re trying to figure out— Like the first 10 minutes of the show, it’s as a little much, you know, because it’s teenagers, and they’re having sex and trying to figure out sex and, and that’s not something you really want to watch. But once you get past that, it’s great. So she has a boyfriend, and they don’t know how, if they should go all the way. And you know, God’s watching, and should they do this? It feels so good but should we do this and da da da?
So she has this, this boyfriend and she feels, like, nothing for him. Like, the chemistry’s off, he’s perfect for her though. On the page, he’s perfect. And she’s perfect for him. It’s just there’s just no chemistry. And her sister, when her sister finally gets a boyfriend, she talks about how incredible it is. And like, there’s fireworks and everything’s wonderful. And she goes “Wasn’t that like, with your boyfriend?” And she’s like, “Yeah, sure.” And not at all. And it turns out, she has such a reaction to her, like, her enemy, her nemesis in the school. Like, she doesn’t realize it. And so then she has this little thing going on with her, her rival at the at the school, and it’s just, and that surprised me. I was not ready for that. And so I was like, “Oh my gosh! We have representation.” So it was really cute. I’d like to see that storyline grow. But yeah, it was it’s, it’s adorable for that.
Like I said, unfortunately, they cancelled it after one season. So it’s a quick, you know, Saturday afternoon, whatever, like eight-hour, binge fast if you’re like me. I can do it all in one day.
Just pound through it all.
Truly, for the one-liners in this thing, I was gonna write some down and I did write some down, but it was like non-stop. And it wasn’t overwhelming, it like flowed with the whole story. And it was one of those where somebody would drop something and like three seconds, and it would take your mind three seconds to process it and then you just like bust out laughing because it’s just, it’s a riot.
And you see privilege in this and you see people react to privilege, you know, positive and negatively and it’s just, it’s hilarious, you know. And, like, so one of the ones I want to talk to or what some of the, the quotes that I wanted to bring up is one of the girls, she says “I’m not a fan of sex workers, but they deserve to be safe, just not allowed to vote.” So that right there, there’s so much going on right there. And it’s just, it was, it just made me laugh because I wasn’t ready for that. And, and these, like I said, these are kids that like have, they want, they have so much passion that they want to put into something, and they don’t know what this should be. Like, where should their passions go? And, as far as like, environmentally, should they, you know, where does this go? And they pick always the wrong things. So it’s great, it’s great. And, and even when Sterling decides that she is not straight, she tells her sister— You know, her sister says, “Are you a lesbian,” and she says, “I’m more undefined than that. Like if sexuality was a color wheel, I’d be in the blue, pink and purple part.” So there’s just so much going on in this series and I just think it’s fantastic. And I think if you just want, like I said, a weekend or whatever, just to not think about anything other than watch something really cute and clever, this show is it.
So, I actually, I saw the first episode of the show, and it kind of wasn’t super doing it for me. And the funny thing is, the way you talked about the one sister and her rival, I’m like, mmm, I might need to see that. Because I had no idea that that was kind of where that was going with the rival. Because she just came across to me as like—
Oh yeah. Oh, yeah.
—super stuck up. Super perfect, princessy Christian girl, which, like, I grew up with those girls in the church. And now I really want to see it.
So it’s interesting how the whole relationship, how it comes about. Because they used to be friends when they were younger, like in elementary school. And one of the, I think the debate helpers who, she was like, “Look, you guys, you girls used to be so close in elementary school. You know, you got you can be close again.” So she takes their hands and holds their hands together, you know and they like pull away. “I don’t like her,” you know. And so it just kind of takes you back to a time, you know, when when, like, you are growing up and you’re coming of age, and you’re learning things and things are not the way it’s you were raised to think. You know, man, woman, kids, and they’re— And then Sterling, who is this perfect, you know, everybody’s like, “Why can’t you be more like your sister,” what they say to Blair, who is you know, the other fraternal twin. You know, “Why can’t you be more like Sterling.” But really, you know, she’s completely opposite. It’s just great. It’s just it. There’s so much going on there. I love it. I love the dialogue. I think, I think the writing is really good. I think it’s fantastic. I think, I would recommend it. Like I said, for nothing deep other than just, like, something fun to watch.
Mm hmm. I know we’re you’re only supposed to bring one recommendation. But can I throw in a couple of honorable mentions? Because 2020 was a pretty good year for fiction.
Oh, yeah. Oh, for sure. I’ll have more shows. I mean, this, by far was, was in the top for me. It probably wasn’t maybe my favorite. But yeah, by all means bring in some honorable mentions, because I’ll bring in some at some other time.
So the first one that I want to bring up is a contemporary romance called Wrong Number, Right Woman, which is by Jae. And it was a super cute, also similar to Who We Could Be in the sense that it also had no angst. But it’s about a wrong number text leading to a relationship. And very, very cute, takes place in Seattle. I know nothing about Seattle but I hear that it represents this city very well. But the thing that I really loved about it is one of the leads is a fat butch character. And what I’ve noticed in most lesfic is that if there is a butch character, they usually are quite like muscular or really fit or wiry, but, like, you don’t see fat butch characters very often. And in this case, her name is Danny, and she sews her own clothes so that she can have clothes that affirm her identity, but that also fit properly. And I loved that. I just thought it was, like, a really interesting thing that we don’t see very often.
There were two— there were also two things that I loved about this book that really stood out for me and one of them is that the other lead Eliza, her best friend Heather is a trans woman. And we don’t see that many trans women in lesfic, especially from our typical lesfic publishers. And I’ve heard that Heather has her own book coming out and while I can’t speak with 100% certainty to the representation, nothing really stood out to me as a red flag and I was on the lookout for it. Like, it seems like pretty solid, good rep. And I hope she gets her own book because I’d love to see that character find love. She was fantastic.
And the last thing, which made me so excited, because again, it is rare in lesfic, and so I’m going to do the thing that I do whenever I can is, which is praise it and ask more authors to do this. When Eliza and Denny are pretty close to having sex, they actually talked about their most recent STI test results. Holy shit, can you imagine? Safer sex practices. This never happens in lesfic because—
—we are— Right? like we’re just so far behind male/female and male/male romances when it comes to showing safer sex practices. And they’re, like, there are so many young people where this is where they’re first learning about sex. And so I think that is great. Like, normalize this, please have more about it so these sweet baby queer girls can see that it is not only okay, but maybe a good idea to have these conversations.
The other book, the last one. This is what I was hinting at. So in the last episode where we introduced ourselves, I mentioned that in 2020 a really big thing for me was get, getting out of the contemporary romance pool where I was swimming exclusively and dipping my toe into some other waters, which included YA fantasy. And so, probably the best book that I read in 2020. Oh shit, as soon as I said it, I started to second guess myself. I should never do that.
Anyway, it’s definitely in my top two. It’s like, for sure top two is The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. And this one, I was excited about it when I first heard about it, because I was like, “Holy shit lesbian pirates. That sounds amazing!” But it was actually even more interesting than that. So this is a world with a lot of threat, it can be quite dark at times. One of the leads is, definitely identifies as a woman. The other lead was assigned female at birth and is nonbinary. And the thing that I find interesting with that character, is that her relationship with gender, like I liked, I like seeing that character because it aligns sort of a little bit more with mine, where you know, like, I have days where some days I do feel more feminine. Some days I feel a little more masculine. It can be it can just be fluid. And that was definitely how it was with that character. But there’s also another side character who’s nonbinary, and we never learn anything about what that looks like. We don’t know what that’s like for that character. And so seeing more than one way that a person can be nonbinary, I found very, very interesting. And so yeah, this is a world with magic. There are mermaids—
There are witches. There is a sea, as the— The other thing I loved was that the sea is like its own character.
Oh, that’s cool.
We sometimes get scenes from the perspective of the sea, which I don’t really remember seeing elsewhere. And it was super cool. So yes, I definitely recommend that one.
That’s cool, though. I love like, it’s hard for me to read anything that I, because I’m kind of like you. I, I lived in contemporary romance forever and every so often I’ll read like historical romance. And then even before I found lesfic, I was reading historical romances, the bodice rippers, you know, the go to Rainy Day Books, the half-price bookstore, or whatever, and just like pull off the shelf and just read them. I think my whole college life was reading these books.
Oh, yeah. And like, Patricia Pellicane.
Like there’s so many of them, right? Yeah. And so now, like, for me, if it’s, if it’s sci fi, stuff like that, I feel more comfortable watching a movie or I don’t know that I can visualize everything. I like to see everything in front of me. My brain doesn’t work. I’m not as creative when it comes to like other worlds. And I can’t keep track of names if they’re not normal names or if it’s not like a normal solar system or anything like that. It’s hard for me to follow. Like, I plan, it’s, I can’t do. But I can watch a movie about it. Like if I see it in the movie. So I’m down with all of any sort of dystopian anything, any movies, or shows. And if there’s any sort of queer representation I’m in. I mean, I will totally watch it.
Now I want to ask you about The 100.
Um, you know, um, did I like it? I love the whole concept of it. I think it’s a great concept. I loved, like, the first couple of seasons. And I was sad how that queerness played out. I was, I wasn’t happy with it. And of course, you know, we have Clexacon that’s based upon that whole concept of, you know, not necessarily fanfic, but the whole, you know, getting the characters together. And I love it for that. I love it for what it’s done for queer representation. I love it that it’s, that it blew up into something that’s, like, you. Have you been to a Clexacon?
No, not yet. I want to at some point. I was hoping this would be the year and then well…
Yeah, it’s just. I was really looking forward to 2020 Clexacon and it looks like 2021 Clexacon might be virtual as well. But you never know. But I think right now it’s leaning towards it.
But I mean, think about what that has done for, for representation. Just somebody saying, “You know, what? We need this. Let’s do a small con about it.” Because there’s so much fanfic, and there’s so much, just following, people wanting to have this relationship and this representation. And all of a sudden, it’s a huge conference, you know, that goes on. A convention. And it’s amazing. And when I went there, where was it? Vegas, I think it’s always in Vegas. I could be wrong. I think it was Vegas. It was amazing. Like, it was so packed. And everything. There were, you know, it was TV. They did a lot of casts from different shows. This thing grew, it just, it’s massive. It just grew and, and I’m so excited for the world to, to see it to experience it. They’ve only been around for, I think this is maybe the third or fourth year. So, it’s just going to get bigger, and there’s gonna be more people and, and we’ll talk about this in an upcoming episode, possibly the next episode, but we will be discussing and Wynonna Earp because I’m an Earper and there’s a lot of Earpness that goes on at Clexicon.
And so I think that, yeah, the series itself, going back to The 100, I love the concept and everything about it. I feel like it was kind of cut short. So I’m hoping, I know that a new season, I say new season started recently, but I have no idea. It could have been April, it could have been September. I don’t know for sure. But highly, yeah, I loved it. I mean, just because of that. Because I think we’re all grasping for for representation. And that’s why there was so much to-do about you know, the Christmas movies this year. Because we want that representation. We want to feel like we’re a part of every