Fantasy Novel Recommendations w/ Author Nicola Griffith + Moon Knight Ep 3 & Comic News | Crooked Media
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April 15, 2022
X-Ray Vision
Fantasy Novel Recommendations w/ Author Nicola Griffith + Moon Knight Ep 3 & Comic News

In This Episode

On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight dive into the world of Fantasy and Science Fiction! First in Previously On (3:17), Jason and Rosie discuss some comics news, including a new Avengers series, a possible new comics origin for Thor in Avengers 1,000,000 BC, Marvel’s A.X.E.: Judgment Day, and DC’s upcoming Death of Justice League and Dark Crisis; they also discuss the title casting in Disney+’s recently announced Percy Jackson series, the MCU’s Ironheart series gaining its directors, and recap episode three of the Disney+ limited series Moon Knight. In the Airlock (53:19), they discuss JK Rowling’s transphobia and why they won’t be covering the latest Fantastic Beasts movie before diving deep (deeeep) into their book bag to offer recommendations for amazing Fantasy and Sci-Fi that just so happens to be written by marginalized, underrepresented, and queer authors that centers marginalized characters. Then, in the Hive Mind (1:15:06), Jason and Rosie are joined by Nicola Griffith, award winning author of Ammonite, Hild, the upcoming Spear, and more, to discuss her process as a writer, conducting research on Arthurian England, and writing with, and about, disabilities. Finally, in Nerd Out (1:48:43) a listener pitches us on The Illuminatus! Trilogy.


Tune in every Friday and don’t forget to Hulk Smash the Follow button!


Nerd Out Submission Instructions!

Send a short pitch and 2-3 minute voice memo recording to that answers the following questions: 1) How did you get into/discover your ‘Nerd Out?’ (2) Why should we get into it too? (3) What’s coming soon in this world that we can look forward to or where can we find it?


Follow Jason:

Follow Crooked:



Rosie’s IG, website, author archive, & Letterboxd.


Spear by Nicola Griffith + Nicola’s website is worth checking out too!


The Listener’s Guide for all things X-Ray Vision!

Harry Potter and The Problematic Author by Maia Kobabe

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Hild by Nicola Griffith

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Spear by Nicola Griffith (out on April 19th)

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton (out on May 3)


Recommendations from our guest & award winning author Nicola Griffith:

Sorrowland (2021) by Rivers Solomon

The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet (2015) by Becky Chambers

A Companion to Arthurian Literature  (2009) Edited by Helen Fulton

A Spindle Splintered  (2021) by Alix E. Harrow







Jason Concepcion: [AD].


Jason Concepcion: Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion, welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast, where we dive deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture in today’s episode and previously on lots of comic book news. Lead casting announcement in the upcoming Percy Jackson series on Disney Plus Plus, the Amcu’s Ironheart series has named its directors, and we will do our recap of episode three of Moon Knight in the airlock. We’re going to be talking about fantasy and sci fi authors, especially by queer and marginalized authors. And then for the Hive Mind, we’re going to be talking to award winning author of many stories, including Ammonite, including So Lucky. And one of Rosie and my favorites, Hild, Nicola Griffith. And In Our Nerd Out, a listener will pitch us on the illuminatus trilogy. Joining me today to talk about all of that and more is The Great, The Powerful, the Godzilla comic book creating, various theory pieces writing, the great content creating Rosie Knight. Rosie, how are you?


Rosie Knight: It’s me. I’m OK. I’ve escaped the content minds. I’ve escaped the content creating minds one day to be here.


Jason Concepcion: The minds. The minds are endless and they never stop and you have to just keep mining the same stuff.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, it’s like being in Star Jewels its just, there’s too many levels. Just keeps going down. Always something else to mine.


Jason Concepcion: OK, let’s get into the news. Marvel Comics announced recently at the Fan Expo in Philadelphia, a new titled All Out Avengers. This seems like it’s going to be kind of in the vein of nonstop Spider-Man created by the creative team. All Out Avengers is of Greg Land, who the artist Greg Land who if you’ve listened to us and know of Greg Land can be divisive and the novelist Derek Landy, this apparently is going to be a kind of like it seems just reading parsing the the press release tea leaves, going to be something of a Ultimates kind of take on the Avengers. More action packed. Certainly, you know, the press release basically says they’re going to just drop you media res into the middle of some pitched battle and it’s going to be like that. Just like fight, fight, fight, fight, fight action, action, action, action. Your thoughts, your thoughts on Greg Land?


Rosie Knight: Well, I’ve had enough of Greg Land photo tracing, I know, but you know, I he’s one of those artists where every so often I’ll see a piece of art and I’m like, Oh my fucking God, that’s Greg Land. That is so fucking good, and I really hope he’s bringing that angle to this.


Jason Concepcion: He can be good


Rosie Knight: He can be good like, and you know what? The thing that I really like about this is it’s doing the thing that Marvel does best, which is where Marvel looks to what indie comics are doing, looks to what we had other licensees are doing, and it’s like, Oh, we should be doing that. And there’s been this incredible spate. You know, we’ve talked about that James Stoker, Godzilla stuff like there is, you know, these unbelievable ice Michael fief. Like, there’s all these different people who are making these comics where when you pick them up, you feel like you’re just in an action movie, you feel even that, you know, I have a lot of moral quandaries with it. But the Keanu Reeves comic that he that he wrote with Matt Kid Mazurka, you know that those comics, there’s just this unbelievable tone. Just boom, boom, boom, boom, action, explosions. It’s not necessarily about like a deep EV or selling an IP for a movie. It’s about the kinetic force of what comic book art can do. Like Young Avengers, you know, we talk about that a lot. That era, if Marvel, they were doing stuff where you just go, Oh my God, how? How did this happen? How did you put this on the page? And I love that the description is that just like action, explosions, no questions. No. So I want to see what that looks like, and I’m hoping it’s going to be weird and an explosive and kind of really exciting because that’s not something I feel like we’re getting as much impact to comics. So I I will be open minded to it, and I will definitely put the first issue on my pull list.


Jason Concepcion: Next. We get a new big news. It’s kind of big news, secretly big news, really huge Red Con.


Rosie Knight: This is definitely big news.


Jason Concepcion: Yes, a new origin for Thor. Marvel has announced that a new Avengers one million B C will release this July and will delve into the newly revealed origin of Thor, our favorite God of Thunder. The image that this announcement was teased with showed the the Phoenix Fauci symbol. No further details were were available, but of course, we learned back in 2021 that. Lady Phoenix was the original host of the Phoenix, well, original, the host of.


Jason Concepcion: One of the earliest that we know.


Jason Concepcion: Right. Right. The host of the Phoenix force in a million B.C. is actually, Thor’s real mom, dunt dunt dunnn. There is that reveal. So this is going to be very interesting. Your thoughts?


Rosie Knight: Yeah, I’m like mixed up this weird stuff. I the Phoenix Force. It’s truly a mortal in the world of Marvel comics, like it will always be that its echo how it holds the Phoenix force every different character. You know, I love the Phoenix force I’m 80s X-Men baby, so I’m here to say I love Thor. I love weird cosmic stuff, so I’m open to it as always, as we always say on the show to the people who listen. Anything like this is always interesting to keep an eye on if you love the MCU, because when they say something like this,


Jason Concepcion: Yes this is big.


Rosie Knight: It could end up in a different way. I’m not saying that in Thor Love and Thunder, Thor is going to suddenly hold the Phoenix Force or or connect with that. But the idea of changing Thor’s origin of introducing something that’s not fully Asgardian. That seems like they could be seeding something. Also that issue Avengers 43 that’s got letters by one of my favorite letterist Cory Petit. So shout out to Corey. Anytime I see his name, I’m like, Yeah, there’s the good.


Jason Concepcion: And to your point, we are entering a a period of the MCU where we can reasonably expect to see the X-Men. Mm hmm. Jean Gray, potentially the Phoenix force arrives on screens, you know, in the in the near term. So you never know. Exciting. Next up asks, How would we pronounces x Judgment Day a x e Judgment Day? What do you think this is


Rosie Knight: I think its free for all? I think it’s because it’s got the periods. I think it’s A.X.E., but obviously the acronym is AXE. So that sounds cool as hell. And they probably also want you to say AXE


Jason Concepcion: from a really a.


Rosie Knight: Wow.


Jason Concepcion: Blockbuster creative team of Keiron Gillen, one of our favorites. Period. And Valerio Schiti, the wonderful artist comes a Judgment Day and this so the press release says quote kicking off after the Eternals boldly attack mutant kinds new home and Krakoa. Why would you do that? Spoiler alert Don’t do that. This complex saga will pay off various plot threads that have to find these franchises in recent years, including mutant clans newfound immortality, the Eternals discovery of long hidden truths about their species, and the Avengers intense dealings with the celestial. So a pretty big crossover event with. And this one, I think for sure, will have some absolutes in the MCU going forward.


Rosie Knight: We we’ve long said, and this is not just us to this is we as the general fan, this is who’s listening. This is people at home. This is people who have only really read a couple of trades. It has seemed like for a long time, a really smart way for them to bring the X-Men into the MCU would be some kind of Avengers vs. X-Men that’s a badass team up explosion. It’s the kind of thing everyone wants to see. And now that the Eternals exist in the MCU, that seems like it’s probably not a coincidence to reimagine that battle, including the Eternals who have often been on the outside of things. I’m sure there’s a different universe, a different timeline that we would be living in, where this would be Avengers, X-Men and the Inhumans. But that’s not the world we’re living in. We’re living in the world of the Eternals, you know, and so I think it’s very telling. I think this is really exciting because I read Immortal X-Men number one, which was Karen Gillan jumping back on the X-Men after a while. And it was so good and so funny and so exciting. It launches the new age of the second age of Krakoa, which they’re calling the age of Destiny because the lesbian icon destiny is back. I love her.


Jason Concepcion: She’s back saying crazy stuff.


Rosie Knight: She’s back baby saying some crazy stuff.


Jason Concepcion: Saying some crazy stuff.


Rosie Knight: The mutants will never win. Everyone knows that’s the rule. Like, you can’t do anything about it. So.


Jason Concepcion: Every time she’s got something to say, I’m like, ugh oh here we go,


Rosie Knight: we go. That’s why Moira Maggtagert. She didn’t want her back. She said No, pre cogs its a bad idea. And so I think this is going to be a massive event. I think the creative team is bad ass. Yeah. If you have recently set up a pull list and have X-Men books on it, you may experience for the first time the the epic highs and devastating lows of an event where suddenly there’s twenty five and you’re in your thing. But it seems like this will be relatively small. I think it’s going to be like immortal X-Men X-Men read, so it’s going to be X title heavy. But this is one I think to keep an eye on because, like we said, blockbuster creative team unreal. But also. Could potentially see some things that we may be seeing in the future of the MCU.


Jason Concepcion: I agree. So it’s interesting to think about like really how close I mean, two of the three teams already exist, right? We’ve got the event names here, Eternals are here, X-Men to come. But I keep thinking so, you know, in the comics, the The Avengers eventually move into the like the the body of a celestial to use as their new HQ. And of course, at the end of Eternals, right about this celestial that is sticking out of the ocean and very cool looking very, very cool. And I have to assume that at some point in Avengers team is going to move in there. Do you have any thoughts about who would be a member of that team when they move in?


Rosie Knight: Sure. Surprisingly, I do. So I think that we’re about to enter the era that we have so smartly how the jacket Avengers. Yeah, they they wore bomber jackets. They included, you know, SAS, who we saw. They included Dane Whitman as Black Knight. They included, you know, one man, somebody who we know is deeply connected to Wanda and vision. You know, I think that there’s a lot of potential Hercules, someone that we’ve been expecting to see in this Avengers for a long time. I think that we could see. I think that we’re on the right track imagining that we’re going to see multiple different visions of the Avengers. But I think that if we’re going to get like a primary just Avengers team, I think we’re looking more at that kind of like jacket Avengers kind of wild era that also is an area that could cross over with, like a Monica Rambeau. Yeah. Avengers, you know, which I think is very likely. So could we see a sword kind of create an Avengers? I want to see them living in that celestial that was like, so cool.


Jason Concepcion: I think it’s going to be a Monica Rambeau. Jane Foster Thor Dr. Strange.


Rosie Knight: Oh, you know what? Falcon Captain America. That would fit with


Jason Concepcion: Falcon Captain America.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: Blade.


Rosie Knight: Oh yeah.


Jason Concepcion: And then whatever they’re going to like. Whoever the new Black Panther is. Yes.


Rosie Knight: Which we will see when Wakanda Forever comes out


Jason Concepcion: so very exciting. Yeah. Can’t wait to pick this one up. Next up, we go to DC DC’s Death of Justice League and Dark Crisis. DC is promoting the Justice League’s demise in the death of Justice League, the final issue of the series. And that’s it. They’re not going to do Justice League anymore.


Rosie Knight: Ever again. This has never happened before.


Jason Concepcion: Over. It’s done. That’s it. Fans were told Justice League Justice League would face a dark army of villains, but now we get our first look at who makes up this villainous group and preview art for Justice League number 75, which is out. It will be out next week. It come from this the creative team Josh Williamson and artist Rafa Sandoval. Your thoughts on on the death of Justice League and Dark Crisis?


Rosie Knight: I’m such a fan of Joshua Williamson and everything that he’s done on this. I really discovered him during his time on Flash, and I just think he’s doing a lot of really exciting stuff. I I deeply respect and appreciate the editorial idea of basically eliminating the Justice League just before this kind of huge trial of the Amazons and introducing this new age of Themyscira. I think it’s really smart. I love creepy dark, dark crisis. I like the, you know, I like the the metal stuff that they were doing with DC. It was really over the top and kind of 90s extreme. Rafa is a great artist, so I think this is really interesting. I it it feels almost a bit like to me, like people aren’t talking about it. And I feel like when it happens, people are going to start talking about it. You know, like this is even though we know as comic book fans, the Justice League is not going to go away forever. Spoiler alert right?


Jason Concepcion: spoiler alert that will be, but it’s


Rosie Knight: still a big deal. Like, remember when they killed Superman? Death of Superman? That’s still talk about that event. Like, this is a thing that is occurring. I mean, it’s Avengers.


Jason Concepcion: I cried at Avengers Disassembled, and this was like the second time in five years that the TV. Yeah.


Rosie Knight: Also, that’s like, really cool. It’s like, I really like Stephanie Phillips. She’s done a brilliant job writing like Harlequin. A bunch of cool stuff. Layla DeLuca’s an amazing artist. Emmanuel Lubezki, you know, like they’re going to have. They’re going to they’re bringing in like an A-Team. And I want to see what the ramifications are, because there’s a lot of books people really love at the moment. You know, the Nightwing wing stuff is like so spectacular, like, I want to know how this affects it. What does it mean for Trial of the Amazons? You know, is it going to be? Is that going to leave a power vacuum that’s going to impact that? Or is this more of a kind of will that be a twist? That means this doesn’t really affect it. I I like to see how these things tie in, so I think it’s really cool.


Jason Concepcion: Next up, Percy Jackson on Disney Plus casts its title role, casts Percy, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series at Disney Plus has cast Walker Scoble from you might know him from the Netflix film The Adam Project and Cheryl. The series, of course, is an adaptation of the Rick Reardon book series and was ordered by the streamer back in back in January. This is relevant because and particularly for today’s episode where we’re trying to focus on creators who. Are elevating voices and working from a personal experience that is out of perhaps what people are, consider the mainstream are talking about disability, literature, queer creators, queer characters, et cetera. And Percy Jackson has both ADHD and dyslexia and and triumphs and takes part in a bunch of rip-roaring adventures. Despite these, his disabilities and has long been an advocate for marginalized and underrepresented voices in one way fiction. And I know that this is something as a producer, Sol is telling us in the proper meeting this is something that a lot of fans of the series have really been waiting for.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, like the movies didn’t necessarily deliver for everyone on kind of the scope of what these can be. So I think a series gives a long, long kind of format. Storytelling is like a better space for telling these kind of epic stories of a kid who’s like half God, half human, you know? And yeah, and he he definitely the ADHD and dyslexia thing is way ahead of its time, and the way that Rick writes it is. It is, it’s it’s it’s helpful. It’s it’s what makes him him. You know, it’s very much in the mindset of how people think about disability now, which is it’s a part of you and it’s a good part of you. It’s just society that doesn’t see it. And I’m a big fan of Rick, not just because of these books, which obviously like we read, they were one of those primary sci fi fantasy kind of books when you were a kid. But he has a he actually has an imprint called Rick Rhoden Presents, which is like specifically focused on publishing brilliant middle grade and kind of sci fi fantasy magical books, but like from underrepresented authors. And I’ve seen so many incredible books come out of that imprint, and I just think he’s kind of doing that thing that you always hope when somebody writes something that’s really special to you, which is the bigger his platform grows, the more good he does with it. And I think something that’s really exciting about a Percy Jackson show on Disney Plus is, I think that that mentality is going to come through into the show, and I’m really excited to see how it translates to the on screen representation as well. And I like that they cost the actual kid. This kid is 12. He’s a baby. Like, that’s what I want to see.


Jason Concepcion: Up next, Ironheart gets its directors. Ryan Coogler is joining as producer this per deadline. Marvel’s Ironheart series on Disney Plus is moving into the different stages of production. Now, of course, Iron Heart is the story of Riri Williams, who is as of now canonically the smartest character in the Marvel Universe, a genius inventor. Kind of like the heir to a lot of the things that Tony Stark has done. She will get her own advanced suit of armor. And of course, we’re down. We’re down an Iron Man right now. We need we need someone in the armor right now, and it very much could be Riri Williams at some point in time. Your thoughts? This is really exciting.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, it’s really exciting.


Jason Concepcion: I love Riri Williams.


Rosie Knight: It connects to one of the things that we love the most, which is like. The reality that Riri is going to be a big part of the Black Panther world, it’s with Ryan being there it seems like that is the case.


Jason Concepcion: We were talking about this in a pre-pro and you had I don’t know if this is your theory, but it was the first I heard of it. You had a good theory about how they may approach Black Panther going forward.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, this is this is my current theory. I think that Marvel really sees the impact that Black Panther had and the way it meant to people around the world, what it meant to black people, what it meant to African-American people in America. And I think that they’re going to use it as a temple space for black heroes. And I think that is going to be the hub. I think that really Williams, who who went to MIT and is like this unbelievably smart student, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that right, Ryan Coogler is producing that show and that Black Panther is one of the few movies will kind of forever that has ever been allowed to film actually on the MIT campus because they said it would elevate the school and promote the the meanings. I don’t think that you’re going to go to MIT and not see really, you know? And we just say, you know, Riri Williams created by Eve Ewing, who’s just so brilliant Mike 80.00, Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin LeBron that like this is a crew. But Eve was such a huge part of bringing really to life and making this character that we just all love so much. You immediately became a fan fave. And also, if you think about reread, the thing I think is really exciting about this is this is not just about new black characters. We’re about to go into armor wars. So we’re going to have this story where Brody is going to be at the center of all because it’s going to be a story about somebody misusing stark tech. And Rudy is going to need as many people as possible on his side who understand Stark Tech, who understand technology. Tony is no longer there. I would love to see rery brought in. That’s a great point. Part of that storyline,


Jason Concepcion: and I don’t think it’s a I don’t think it’s a mistake, either, that MJ, played by the wonderful Zendaya in Spider-Man No Way Home, where she going to college, she’s going to MIT. I think there


Rosie Knight: that can’t be a coincidence.


Jason Concepcion: It can’t be a coincidence. We’re looking at. I would imagine that they will meet. And to your point, maybe this is the we’re kind of witnessing the early formations of what will be a hub for are brown superheroes in the MCU? Let’s go to our recap of Moon Knight episode three, the friendly type written by Beau Tamayo and Peter Cameron and Severe Pirzada and directed by Mohamed Diab. This was I was not expecting this episode to delve. Into Steven Slash Marcs experiences with this kind of like consciousness, dislocation, essentially mental illness in the way that it presents. And this did it in a really evocative and interesting way. Let’s get into the recap, OK? Layla, we we open with what we can only expect to be some kind of cold open of which we will learn more. Layla is having her passport forged, and she is griping about Marc and what just went down with the scarab and how now she has to go back home to Egypt, and she’s not really too enthused about going back to Egypt. Shipping on 10 years doing during which time she has been busy repatriating ancient relics, which is a highly moral, of course, activity, also a very illegal activity and also one which she’s not exactly doing out of the goodness of her heart. She is, she admits, like making money from some of it.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, gotta survive, gotta survive.


Jason Concepcion: I return, I return most of them and then some of them, I do sell for a profit. Lila’s father, we learn, was an archeologist, which is very much in keeping with the original Moon Knight. Yeah, it’s the original Moon Knight comic.


Rosie Knight: If Layla is on Marlene, who is.


Jason Concepcion: Right.


Rosie Knight: Moon Knight’s often lover and partner, her father was an archeologist. Her father was innate to the origins of Moon Knight, which we also get into this episode. So definitely taking from those comments


Jason Concepcion: and apparently her dad taught her the importance of the forged documents. When smuggling illicit artifacts across borders and and we’re left to wonder what possibly her dad would think of her now and then we flash to the desert. Somewhere in the desert, Arthur Harrow, guided by the Scarab, arrives at a mountain, and we understand that this must be the tomb of Ahmed. Elsewhere we meet Marc Meteora is like he is running into three tough guys, three local guys who have just killed. Some person that has information that Marc needs and they are apparently in some way either working for or affiliated with Arthur Harrow and they have knives and they twirl them flash. And then Marc fights them. And he seems to have things pretty much in hand. But then he sees his reflection in the knife blade, and all of a sudden he’s hurdling through time and we understand that he’s lost time now. This is very interesting because you’d think and we have been primed to expect that when something like this happens, the Steven or whoever the other person is that is, you know, waiting on the bench will then seize the body. But instead, Marc has just lost an unknown amount of time, and he finds himself in the back of the taxi on the way to the airport. And he, as he’s driving by, he sees two of the tough guys that he was just fighting on the street and he goes out and and he goes to fight them again. But then another glance at his reflection in the cycle repeats, and now Marc is somewhere else in the city having just murdered one of the guys. What do you think is going on here? Because this is interesting, this this is the sort of thing.


Rosie Knight: ThiSteven is the interesting moment. So when it first happens, I think we see Steven say, Marc,


Rosie Knight: stop doing that or something and you think, well, Steven’s taking the body. But as Marc wakes up and he’s stabbed this guy, killing him, you know, the body count here is very high Marcs like, Steven, what did you do? Steve like? Right? I didn’t do that. So I think the implication is here.


Jason Concepcion: Jake Lockley waiting in the beach wait in the wake as they


Rosie Knight: are re-imagining these characters in ways that we haven’t seen before. So it could be Jake Lockley. It could be for all we know. Can’t you like a movie where he’s violently? It could be a character we haven’t met yet. It could be a re-imagining of Mr. Knight. But obviously, I think the the immediate answer would be Jake Lockley. And if I was Easter egg hunting, which I always, I would say, Mark waking up in the back of a taxi. Jake Lockley is a DeRay driver.


Rosie Knight: I feel like they want us to think of that. Also a fun Easter egg from the opening for dissection, which is only for people with hard of hearing or who have captions on the forger who is credited as the forger. They name her larguero, which is this really funny like 1940s Marvel Egyptian hero who is also called the man. So, no, it’s not the character, but that was a fun Easter egg. But yeah, I think we’re venturing into. More alters or personalities or you have about when they decide to do. And I think though, it doesn’t really get explored much further here. I think a lot of people who are watching the show are wondering when we’re going to see that because it’s such a key part of his personality. And this definitely hints that we’re on the way there. And also that both Marc and Steven are less comfortable with violence than we first thought.


Jason Concepcion: And then there’s a burgeoning alliance kind of a relationship, at least between the two. If, if, if a rocky one, it will be interesting to see how they both react to the understanding that there are more than them chemistry. Because I don’t I don’t think they’ve grasped that quite yet. Although we are left with the with the absolutely quite clear fact that there’s someone not Stephen, not Mark, who is coming through.


Rosie Knight: I think you actually touched on something, though, that I hadn’t necessarily given the show credit for the the two, the two of them being the primary personalities at this point, as we know, it seemed like a strange choice to me. But now that you mention that, I guess it’s given them time to kind of get to know each other, build a rapport before potentially there is more conflict. So yeah, it becomes a situation where it’s the two of them together, understanding whatever is about to happen next in this episode and the following three.


Jason Concepcion: So Marc has just killed one of the tough guys that leaves him with one more Khonshu comes through as a voice and is like, torture this guy him after refusing


Rosie Knight: to kill him. No. But this one


Jason Concepcion: is really like a kid, like a young kid, and just a bunch of things happen. And basically, the kid, you know, is being held up by like his tie and he cuts the tiny falls to his death. Marc argues then with Steven, he warned Steven, Listen, you got to stay out of my way. Marc wants to ask the other guys for help. Why don’t we ask the other guys for help? You know, why don’t we? Why don’t we tell them what Harrow is planning? And she was like, now they would. They wouldn’t. They would just get annoyed. They’re tired of me. They don’t listen to me. They, if I’m involved, they will just ignore it. But I. But actually, I think I do know a way how we could get their attention without you having to go with them. And it’s a bad plan, but trust me, it’s worth it. So basically, can’t you causes an eclipse. So immediately the gods open a portal and are like, Marc, come here. You need to talk to us because this is a no-no. Just kind of like displaying to the two humanity that we exist. Marc goes through the portal, he finds himself inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Marc meets the avatars of the gods, basically their human representatives on Earth who the gods will speak through on occasion. One of them is Yatsu, who is the Representative Hassler goddess of music and love, and apparently to we are left to surmise an old flame of conscience. You can’t you just like left on read and sure.


Rosie Knight: And yeah, she’s like, That was a time when she used to like my rhythms, you know? Oh, yeah, oh, he means to me. I used to upset The Late Show.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah. The other gods and their representatives include Horus, ICIS def. Osiris and Hathor, of course. Then they take control of their avatar’s bodies, and they invite Concha to take control of Steven slash mark and to make his case about what’s going on and what they should do about it. Arthur Harrow The gods have long hewed to a philosophy of nonintervention in human affairs because, as they say, the humans have just moved past them. They don’t really care about us anymore. So we’ve kind of been, you know, doing things in the background. Can’t you find this to be weak? A weak course of action is like basically cowardly, and he charges Arthur Harrow, his former avatar, with attempting to release vomit. Harrow arrives through a portal to defend himself. He denies that this is what he’s doing, can’t you? Then using the Marc Spector Steven Grant body takes a swing at Arthur heroine stop by one of the gods who’s like, Listen, you can’t do that here. There’s no violence here. What are you doing? Harrow then accuses Can’tyou of essentially exploiting. A mentally ill man, Steven Grant, slashed Marc  Spector, a person who is, you know, quite willing servant, an avatar of control but also one who is not in a place is not in a place to really give their consent to be the avatar of, can’t you? And I think hero from what we’ve seen, I think Asahara has something of a point. But of course, we don’t know the whole story yet, but I would say that it certainly it looks bad for control who is not the most trustworthy of gods. And what we’ve seen.


Rosie Knight: Does Arthur want to like be killing people? Minority Report Yes. Yes. In this moment in this pyramid, is he right? Does he seem like he’s making lots of good points and legitimately Cancelo? Steven Omicron? Absolutely. That’s why I came away from this episode.


Rosie Knight: I was like one Steven Marc. Not very good at like this would have been so easy to just cover up and be like, I’m doing fine.


Rosie Knight: This guy’s trying to release it. He has a compass. They were struggling and they were going through it, and


Rosie Knight: Howard came off looking good. So no surprises that the gods were like Marc.


Jason Concepcion: Marc then admits that to to the room, to the avatars of the gods to continue and into other heroes like, listen, I’m going through it a little bit and I need help for sure. I would like some help. And that was I felt that that was a big step for Mark to take. But he also says, Listen, that doesn’t change. The fact that Arthur Harrow wants to go on a killing spree, wants to kill a lot of people, and he wants to release Ahmed to do that. He wants to just commit genocide on a global scale. And then the gods are like, We go with Harrow and the matter’s closed. That’s it. We’re shutting it down. They leave. But then Jazzi all hangs around, but clearly has some sort of warm feeling for Marc, and she points mark to a clue by which he might find Ahmed’s tomb without the The Scarab, the sarcophagus of St fuU, which apparently has recently hit the black market. Layla and Marc reunite. You get a feeling from these scenes that clearly they were actually in love at one point, and Marc tells her that he’s listen. I’m sorry for hiding how much I was struggling from you, and they come to an uneasy peace. They then arrive at the home of Mogahed antiquities dealer on the banks of the Nile, where they are going to find Sanford’s sarcophagus. Layla and Marc are posing as this kind of like married couple who just want to study this sarcophagus for a second. Mogahed is like, Why are you so interested in Sanford sarcophagus and Mark’s like A.. Don’t worry about it.


Rosie Knight: Marc does another bad job covering up. He’s like, very bad.


Jason Concepcion: Just blagging very, very bad mark. Then, of course. Of course, Marc doesn’t know anything about Egyptology, right? And Layla knows some stuff, but not as much as this third person who is waiting in the wings. Steven Grant and Mark is like, I know that I need to let Steven out so he can read this hieroglyphs so we can understand how to find Ahmed’s tomb. But I really don’t want to do it. But fuck OK, I’ll do it. Steven then talks Marc through the puzzle and the sarcophagus before they can learn anything. Art interrupts and takes Marc prisoner. Then Haro interrupts, offering Maggart the scarab in exchange for Layla and Marc, who’s surely like he’s going to kill soon after. Harrow then vows wows Maggart with a small display of Ahmed’s power. Marc dons the suit, and then we get the big fight, and it is an action packed episode. Moon Knight and Layla verse harass people and and maggots people. Layla, we, we see, can really handle herself, and they are


Rosie Knight: killing people, hiring de Kashaka, killing people.


Jason Concepcion: They’re flat out dropping people to the ground, and we also get a great we get a great front row view seat of how powerful the Moon Knight suit is and can’t use blessing is because he is stopping bullets with his cape. He is taking damage that is not killing him.


Rosie Knight: Yada yada nice comic book Moon Cape, you know, he jumps up and you see the the it’s in the crescent moon and it’s all very comic. This is actually very superhero episode in the way


Rosie Knight: that really is what


Jason Concepcion: we get to see how how deadly Moon Knight is with those moon earrings possibly crafted by Clint Barton in the past, Steven Grant. Watching all of this from somewhere else, you know, inside the consciousness of Marc is appalled. And yeah, he’s appalled at the violence that Spector is unleashing, and he manages to seize control of the body. And all of a sudden, the suit morphs into the Mr. Knight variety. He immediately gets impaled by a spear and he’s like, OK, you know what, mark? You take it. Yeah, I got it out. You take it. And so, Marcus just. Back in the body and is immediately like double speared by by some of Margaret’s men. Meanwhile, Lila is at the sarcophagus and she’s fighting one of Margot’s hinges and we watch as Leyla takes off her necklace, which we think is just like a stylish and striking statement piece. But no, it’s actually like a double edged like dagger to dagger that st. She straight up murders a guy


Rosie Knight: sorry back


Jason Concepcion: and then runs to Marc’s rescue, but gets the wind knocked out of her by Margot and Marc needing to run to her rescue. Then, like, just basically snaps all the spears out of his body, which is really impressive displays of healing factor. He then kills Margot with a moon harangue. Layla grabs the whatever was in sentries tune, which we later learned is a map and they and they go off to to find Ammit in the car. Layla and Marc are talking about what Harrow had said about Marc and all the things he had revealed about how Marc was mentally ill and how he’s struggling. But they don’t quite, you know, name it as anything, and she’s upset that she’s like, you know, every time I find out something about you, it’s like, you’re a whole new other person. It’s like, I don’t know you at all. And Marc kind of surprisingly, but also refreshingly, it’s like, You’re right, you don’t know me. Now. Don’t let Harrow, you know, get in between us. Don’t let him poison us against each other because we need to stay strong right now. And after a while, they arrive at a place in the desert where they can read this map, which turns out to be a star map. They have to call Steven again because he’s the only one that can that can put all these pieces together in the way that they need to go together. Marc is annoyed again, but he knows it’s right. Steven takes over in what I think is one of the best single moments of acting like in a Disney Plus Marvel show is Oscar Isaac looking into his reflection as Marc Spector and then wordlessly transforming into Steven Grant with just like a relaxation of his face. It was really, really cool. Steven then swings into action. He’s really excited by all this. He assembles the map while mansplaining ancient Egyptian navigation techniques. But apparently, here’s the thing the map was created thousands of years ago. The stars have moved since then, so they need to know the actual date of when this map was created in order for them to figure out where Ammit’s tomb is. Khonshu comes back and she’s like, Oh, you know what? I remember the night that this was created really well. Give me a hand, Steven. Do do what I do. Let’s turn the stars back to the positions they were thousands of years ago. On the night this map was created, so they do so and people all around the world, we would assume, although we only see people in Egypt, but we would assume all around the world people would see the sky just warping with trails of of stars as the sky gets rewound back centuries and centuries and centuries and centuries. And of course, we understand that the gods had already warned, can’t you, about the eclipse? So they as as soon as they get wind of this, which is quite quickly, they are going to lock you up. Yeah. And she’s like, Listen, when that happens, Marc, I need you to free me. So, OK, they’re going to lock me up. That means you free me the gods and imprison conch. You in a cute little country. You, they just suck his energy. It was there already there, and his energy goes into it. Steven collapses, or Marc or whoever he is in that moment. Or maybe Jake Lockley, who knows. And the gods avatars show Harrow the concrete statue and has like, Hey, can I be alone? Just kind of talk shit? Can he? He can hear me in there right in there? Like, Yeah, we think so. He’s like, All right, let’s just give me a little privacy so I can talk shit to this to country Harrow. It’s quite clear from the things he says now carries a lot of animosity, and probably rightly so from his time as conscious avatar. And then he essentially says, Listen, what I’m going to do with Ammit’s help, i.e. mass murder on a global scale. It’s really it’s really your fault. It’s your fault. One hundred percent your fault for the way that you treated me as your avatar and for the things I had to do as your avatar. And we are on to episode four next week. Your thoughts on this on this episode?


Rosie Knight: Resnick, there’s lots of stuff to dig into here. I mean, this introduces us. One of the things I think is really interesting is this introduces us to like the Egyptian gods, and obviously they are real gods from real history. But in Marvel, those gods all exist. So it’s like the helium bulletin’s is what they call them. It’s basically like a God supergroup. So I thought that was really interesting. A lot of connections to Thor. That’s where ICIS and Osiris all debuted in 1975. Thor two three nine. Like, I thought that was really interesting because I wonder if we’re going to ever get to the space of having like an ancient Egyptian Asgardian kind of space in the Marvel Universe. We know that they mentioned other members in Black Panther, you know, they mentioned Bast. So I thought that was really cool. I like anything that’s like cosmic or mythological. I think the Jake Lockley was it him? Was it not? Is. Fair enough. All to coming through. That’s the big fairy piece. I also think that this is a really big episode for Layla, who is definitely like, huge. One of our favorite characters make our Maui is just so great. She has this real Evie from The Mummy energy. She’s very light, cheeky, and she turns up in Egypt to help mark. Even though he’s mad, disrespectful. He wanted to get a divorce he didn’t tell her. He has like a secondary personality like Steven’s kind of weird and creepy to her, but she was just that. She was like, POW, I don’t care, I’m going to Egypt, I’m going to help you out. And in this, so we really learn in this episode. They’re definitely leaning into the Scarlet Scarab thing, if you actually watch your trailers, there’s a photo of Layla and her dad, and next to it is a scarlet piece of cloth with a scarab on it. So I really think we’re getting that Marlene mixed with this potential connection that she may have to the scarab. I’m I’m really interested to see where things go because this is another show like Hawkeye, where, for example, Anton Moghul who you mentioned, is this in this? Is this kind of art de la Black market dodgy guy. He’s been to Madripoor with Lila that there’s a big drop in the comics. He is a Moon Knight villain. He debuted a Moon Knight number three and he was called Midnight Man, Midnight Man. And so that’s did he really die in this episode, or are we going to see him come back again and kind of be more primary antagonist and look like he didn’t do very well? But in the comics, he gets like disfigured and then comes back as a kind of masked hero who walks alongside the number one mRNA character from this series. Likely a good thing. Ralph Black men, who is like a was Moon Knight’s partner on the fateful trip where he gained his powers. That’s a very problematic character, so if they re-imagined, it would have to be kind of like a Barcoo style reimagining where you take a character that has a really problematic elements and make something really special. The fact that Mozart was there makes me think that we might. Have some kind of Bushmen illusion or situation as we go forward, because also in this episode, Harrow hints at what happened to Lila’s dad on this archeological quest, and we also know. There in Moon Knight’s Oregon, as you’ve mentioned before, he was he was part of a kind of terrible tragedy in the desert, and we know that in this show. Marc Spector was accused of murdering an archeologist, so I think we can put together some clues that there’s going to be a tragic situation going on.


Jason Concepcion: And we should mention that the actor, Gaspard Early L, who played Anton Mozart, passed away this January. Yeah, in a skiing accident at the Madripoor namedrop was interesting because clearly, you know, Madripoor is a city of vast illegal interests, so it would make sense that Stalin took it as we move through there. And of course, it’s a place that has strong ties to the X-Men.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, that’s the wildest thing to me. Like every time they say, I know they established it.


Rosie Knight: Sharon Carr powerbroker Yeah, that’s probably where they’re going. But I always think of the X-Men of Wolverine of Patch. You know, it’s so exciting every time I hear them say it.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah. So just just for people who don’t know in, I think it must have been like early 90s, late 80s Wolverine got his own solo series and how this guy managed to be in the X-Men and then do all the adventures he did on his own while traveling like coast to coast and internationally. I don’t know, but this guy was a very busy guy, and he spent a lot of time living in Madripoor under this persona of patch. Who is this kind of rapscallion bar denizen, later club owner who rub elbows with pirates and various gangsters but was a good guy. And and you know, honestly, most of Wolverine is set there. So whenever Madripoor comes up, I’m thinking, Oh gosh, here comes the X-Men.


Rosie Knight: And we in enforcing the Winter Soldier. They even had the Princess Bar, which is where a patch would always hang out. So like, they want us to make those connections. And I also saw a really cool note that I wouldn’t really have thought of, which is like post shonky. Yeah, jailing is running the ten rings, and that’s obviously going to be deeply connected to Madripoor.


Rosie Knight: Now that Sharon Carter and Layla, I’m like, Yeah, probably. But Gillian and Layla, I’m like, I would like to see that, like, that’s a relationship I want to know about, like. So I think they this is an episode where it seems like it’s just this action packed them random superhero, but it seems like they’re they’re spreading a lot of seeds that could kind of sprout into different things, whether they’re in this show or in the greater MCU.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, I agree, and I can’t help but notice that the episode starts with Marc Spector losing time, passing out, losing time, waking up in a different place, not knowing how he got there. We can only assume that someone else was in control the body, but not Stephen, because Stephen’s not talking about it, and Stephen doesn’t seem to know what what happened either. And here at the end of this, we have Stephen who is in control at time passing out after conscious energy is trapped in in the statue. I wonder when Mark slash Steven wake up? Mm hmm. Where we like, where we are, is that a moment when Jake or whoever that the other personality is comes through? But I think I would expect that we’re going to a new kind of place in the next step.


Rosie Knight: I think so, too, especially if you think about how prominent the museum was in the first episode. And then in the second episode, as he got a Stephen got closer to mark the museum was suddenly he was fired. He suddenly couldn’t be there anymore. And in this episode, when he’s embracing Marc, he’s in Egypt. So the idea of another alter, another personality, another side of himself coming out, it makes sense that that would potentially lead us to a different space.


Jason Concepcion: And it’s also interesting to me and who knows if this means anything. But when this unknown personality came through, it was when, to your point one, it kind of hints that maybe certainly Marc is maybe less has less of an affinity for violence than we were expecting. Mm hmm. Which will end. And it was also moments where it seemed like. The body of Steven Slash mark was in its most perilous state, which would kind of. It suggests maybe that whoever the other personality is, that they are somehow letting Steven and Marc run around and do things until until like there is an emergency and they need to take control. Yeah. So it would suggest that whoever that other personality is, they are. Moving pieces around in a more direct way than either Steven or Marc and have more of a full picture maybe than Steven or Marc.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, it definitely there is a hint here. And for the beginning, I thought from the beginning I thought it was contrived, but that we know that that’s not the case now. And also, something else interesting to think about is like, who is keeping them alive? Who is giving them the power. If Khonshu has been trapped in the comics, mark being separated from country usually leads to him leading losing his powers or having to regain them in a different way by meeting the price of Khonshu by gaining an artifact. So I think that the idea that there may be more puppet master alter or a different person who is more in control and is allowing them to kind of have their fun where they can until it becomes dangerous would make a lot of sense.


Jason Concepcion: When we’re back, we’ll be discussing fantasy and science fiction and interviewing the great author Nicola Griffith.


Jason Concepcion: [AD].


Jason Concepcion: Welcome to the airlock. This podcast is coming out on Friday, April 15th, and it is the same day that the latest Fantastic Beasts movie is is releasing in theaters. We won’t be covering that just because, you know, I have covered a lot of J.K. Rowling content over the course of my career, and I’ve enjoyed it, but I just don’t think that I can. I can possibly give her money anymore or take part in any kind of situation that would potentially give her money, particularly with the kind of climate in society right now towards trans people and and the increasing peril and aggressive language that that the LGBTQ community writ large is being faced with. So we wanted to take this opportunity to just talk about other authors, other creatives in the sci fi fantasy space with a focus on queer creators, creators of color. It just took a more diverse set of of sci fi and fantasy creators. That’s what we wanted to do. So with that, gosh, do you have any thoughts on the new Fantastic Beasts movie and J.K. Rowling in general in this whole situation that we find ourselves in?


Rosie Knight: Yes, I do have. I do have thoughts about it. I am exactly on the same pages here. You know, this is something that was a large part of my childhood. I am the age that I was in school and was basically analogous ages to that to the kids in the books. It was a book series that meant a lot to me. I worked in a bookshop, so I would be able to go to the opening nights when I was still not legally even old enough to really work. I it was something that meant a lot to me, but it’s something that I now can no longer enjoy, something I used to cover. It’s part of what my my knowledge base is the same as you that was part of my career. And there’s just, you know, there’s better stories out there told by people who aren’t actively harming communities that I love and care about. And we’re going to talk about them and it’s going to be amazing. And I feel incredibly lucky to share this space with you, someone who cares about this stuff and understands exactly why we’re focusing on something else.


Jason Concepcion: I just think it’s terribly alarming.


Rosie Knight: Its alarming.


Jason Concepcion: This is not to say that it was not dangerous and and potentially toxic harmful rhetoric previously, but I think like the events of like the last six months, even just make it feel much more pressing and and something that I kind of like actively needs to be pushed back against.


Rosie Knight: I think the situation is that the reason that it’s always been so dangerous is that having prominent figures with huge followings who are seen as respectable or liberal or whatever else saying these things are why these legislations can be brought and it’s why they have the support. It’s why people know these terminologies. It’s so it has an active effect that is negative and dangerous and sometimes fatal. And I absolutely agree with you. It’s it’s time to push back on it, and it’s time to celebrate other stuff that lifts people up and and open spaces for people and changes people’s lives in a positive way rather than a dangerous one.


Jason Concepcion: In the realm of books I love that turns out that the author was a shithead. Ender’s Game Ender’s Game is like one


Rosie Knight: was one of the things I was thinking about.


Jason Concepcion: That is a friend’s older brother, like recommended it to me and it like crushed me, like I was sobbing at the end of that book. And then it became quite clear, like in not recent years. But I would say in the last like eight years or so that Orson Scott Card had some really terrible views, particularly on on the issues of homosexuality and LGBTQ issues. And it just man, I just had to drop that. I just had to drop that series and not not interact with any Orson Scott card content anymore. And I got to say, I love Ender’s Game. I think it’s a great book still, because none of that toxic ideas that he have are, you know, it’s been a number of years since I read it, but it seemed present in the book at the time.


Rosie Knight: I will say just that. He calls, if I’m not mistaken, like the aliens in that are called


Jason Concepcion: oh the buggers.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, buggers, bugger is like slang for gay sex, in England.


Jason Concepcion: Oh God.


Rosie Knight: So he really, when he built it, it’s the same. My mind was like, This is so funny because you don’t really think of him as like a sci fi author. But one of the first books that I ever really remember that was like deep, and this was when I was a little a little kid. When I was deep into that fellow, you were really going into space is Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, who it turns out was like a massive anti-Semite. But like when I was a kid, I remember that book he he goes up in the the elevator, right with his family, and they go on the U.S. They end up on a space station. And that was one of the first interactions I had with sci fi. But again, you learn these things and then you’re like, Well. Me find someone else, and luckily, there are like a ton of amazing creatives who are who are doing the opposite, who are using doing the thing that people have always done with sci fi witches and fantasy, which is to make analogous stories about real world oppression and find like a important way to kind of talk about it.


Jason Concepcion: My personal philosophy is when things like this occur, and particularly with with a particular focus on J.K’s work in the Harry Potter series, which which is again a story series, a series of books that I really love and and through which I found a community of like minded people whose company and relationships I still enjoy. My personal philosophy is like, OK, no more money. I’m not going to support this. I am not going to be buying the legacy of Hogwarts game. I’m not going to be covering the stuff. But when it comes to like, what happens, can I reread the books? That one is more, I kind of feel like seizing these works. From there, author is like a kind of like a revolution for me, it feels like a revolutionary act of like, fuck you, you don’t own this anymore in the sense that like the people whose lives were touched by this and who found other connections through these stories, they should not now have to vacate this space because it turns out our bad. What should happen is they should then seize this space from you and continue in their cultural relationships, the the bonds that they have with the communities they’ve created. And they should just like, seize this story from you. So that’s how I feel about it when it comes to like, you know, there are chapters still in Harry Potter that I like to read, but I will never give her money anymore. I just can’t.


Rosie Knight: I think there’s a lot of like power in that and a lot of also a lot of those conversations, like there’s amazing non-binary cartoonist that we were talking about Maia Kobabe, who made a Harry Potter fanzine called Harry Potter and the Problematic Author that was all about that kind of journey. And I think it’s really important to have those conversations and kind of talk about what it means like to separate that from the eyes. I mean, I personally don’t get any joy out of rereading them anymore, but I used to there was there was chapters in Harry Potter that that was the only way I could go to sleep as a kid was to read the chapter where he’s on the night bus and he’s got the hot chocolate and the hot water bottle. Yeah, and he’s on his way, you know, that was. And it’s it’s sad to lose those things, but that’s the power of the singular author, right?


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, power of it. Let’s move on to just what we’re reading and any kind of stories, authors, wonderful tales, creators that we want to lift up right now. Do you have any recommendations?


Rosie Knight: Yeah, I talk a lot. There’s a there’s a brilliant book that I read a lot of why books, which I guess comes from that legacy of these books that we’re talking about, that we really enjoy. There’s a book I read that I still haven’t forgotten about that. I’ve re-read a couple of times called Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, trans author, trans lead character, and it is just so wonderful. It’s about a boy called Yadriel who wants to become a brouhaha and tries to summon a spirit to prove it, but ends up freeing. A different spirit. And then it becomes this kind of really dynamic exploration of love and friendship and legacy, and I just that book is so wonderful, and it’s very much to me like the kind of power of when somebody gets to tell a story that represents who they are, but is also just absolutely unburdened and is just allowed to be completely free and adventurous and fantastical. I think that’s kind of the power. Ironically, actually, a lot of Harry Potter and stuff was missing because Harry Potter is like it takes from a lot of different stories, but those stories were often the same stories of being told by the same people. So Cemetery Boys is a I always tell everyone, just go and buy that book. It’s it’s so good.


Jason Concepcion: One book that I read recently that I just absolutely love is The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. I think it’s her debut novel, and it is a really wonderful. Here’s that word again multiverse story high concept in which people from let’s just call it like Earth one travel to various closely related dimensions in order to see, Oh, of there, are there any technology that they’ve developed that can help us like, deal with the ecological disaster that our current planet is under? Or, you know, help us, you know, grow food more efficiently, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Is there anything we can learn from these other worlds and glean and bring back to our world all through that? There is the I there is, you know, you’re left to wonder as you read the early parts of this story like, OK, but is it happening, universe? Are there? Are there people from the other earths coming together? And so all of those questions are things that get answered. It’s a really amazing story about about class, about about race. It is a wonderful sci fi tale, really like heartbreakingly told just really good, really good book, really surprising, and a great multiverse story that unfolds in a way that you’re not expecting.


Rosie Knight: Mm hmm. One of my favorite things that I always talk about when people ask about, like what’s like a good queer comic or what’s like a good story that kind of focus on different kinds of people. Tillie Walden, who is like one of our greatest living cartoonists and who is painfully talented for someone in their early 20s, made this unbelievable hundreds of pages long webcomic called on a Sunbeam, which you can also buy in a beautiful bound edition. But they never took down the free webcomic, which I love, and it is the most sprawling, strange, beautifully illustrated story about these kids on this spaceship and this kind of ongoing journey that’s about them and about the Giannis they’re going on in their relationships. But it’s also about the journey of growing up, but it’s also just a really cool, weird, quiet space story. But there are elements of magical school fantasy to it. The spaceship kind of grows and shifts, and it’s it’s so wondrous. And when you read it, you don’t really realize until the end. But there is a very specific focus on a certain kind of character, and there is a very specific centering of like the usual male heroic protagonist. And it is it’s one of the most sort of subtly radical books that I’ve read in a long time. And it’s also Tilly’s. Ah, is so beautiful and intricate like this is one of those comics where you can really go back and just read it a million times and you always notice something different.


Jason Concepcion: Next, this is specifically why we’re going to have our guest in our next segment, come on. But Nicola Griffith’s Hild Yeah, talked about in various places from 2013. Nicola is a wonderful writer, queer writer, disabled writer who writes really empathically and wonderfully in just like ways that are completely evocative. There are scenes in Hild that I think about all the time. I reread all the time because they’re just about, you know, like I came to like, I think a lot of people comic books and sci fi and fantasy because like, there is this feeling of like outsider ness like you’re looking for, you’re looking for a place where your own personal strangeness, the way you don’t fit, like the pieces about you that maybe don’t fit, you’re looking for that world where they do kind of fit that. And this is like Page one of Hild describing the character Hild, who at this point is a three year old girl. She like time at the edges of things, the edges of the crowd, the edge of the pool, the edge of the wood were almost past, but none quite belonged. And that’s basically the entire book is how this character who is a woman in a world where women are not viewed as having any kind of power and their work is seen as somehow lesser work, there’s a great, really evocative, very small moment where, like a certain warrior who is having a dalliance with one of the women characters offers to like, help her, you know, bring some of the washing in. But as long as it’s night and no one, no one will see that he is helping her with, like, women’s work, you know, in exchange for them hanging out longer. Like, there’s all these little moments that bring you into the power of the people like who are overlooked. And it’s just like a really, really, really, really amazing book. Really, really amazing book. That’s like there’s some great plot turns really heart like pounding like suspense and action. But all these also these really like internal quiet moments about noticing the way people interact. Noticing the way people treat the main character known as how they treat each other. Notice how they act when they’re anxious. It’s it’s a lot about noticing. Yeah, which is what I love about it.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, there’s so much detail. Nicola has an amazing I love that book so much, and Nicola is another amazing book coming out called Spear, which is kind of this queer Arthurian reimagining. And it’s not out yet. So I won’t get too deep into details, but it definitely comes from that same space of the edges like we’re on the edges and the journey is to find the other people who are our family, who are also on the edges to find that community. And I think that’s such a powerful thing kind of about all of these books and what we look for. My next record’s going to be like one of the most. This is one of the books I think about the most I’ve read recently, which is called PET by Akwaeke Emezi, and it is like. This is like the kind of transgressive fiction that I feel like doesn’t often get published, but they did, and it is a kid’s book, but it’s also an adult book and it is set in a futuristic world where where monsters don’t exist. But then a monster escapes out of an artist’s canvas, and suddenly this young black trans girl who is the protagonist begins to question whether or not these monsters do exist and whether or not what the society has done by kind of shunning them. And it’s really analogous to all this incredibly deep stuff. And as you read it, as an adult, I feel like there’s so many terrifying, emotionally wrought layers to it. But it also imagines a world where in, you know, the beginning, a black trans girl is safe. And in that way, it’s this incredibly utopian. It’s that use of radical imagination that we all talk about. A lot like to make a better world. You have to imagine it. And I feel like in a way, Hild does that in a historical way where it rewrites history and broadens the scope of who was involved, which is just true because the people didn’t not exist. They were just written out. And Pat does it in a way where it helps us to imagine, like a future. And I just that book I think about so much. I feel like it’s one of those books where in years to come, it will become a kind of, you know, I always think about very different book, but Neil Gaiman Stardust, that’s a book where you could give it to a kid and you give it to an adult. And two people would read it in totally different ways. And Pat really feels like a great contemporary version of one of those kind of timeless ageless stories.


Jason Concepcion: And then my last wreck, I’m going to go to nonfiction. There are a lot of harrowing things going on right now in the news, and it can be like difficult to like, process everything. Susan Sontag, the essayist, philosopher, writer, novelist, thinker, wrote a really moving and wise and powerful book called Regarding the Pain of Others. It’s really like a long essay, and it’s about how in modern life, it’s kind of a companion to her essay on photography. You just think about what it means to like, regard images that have been mass produced and moved from different places. And it and it’s a companion in that it posits that in the modern world, like it’s never been easier for us to see and engage with images that depict other people’s suffering, other people’s pain, et cetera. And so like, how do we deal with that? How do we sit with that? What do we do? What does it mean if you can’t quote unquote do anything? Is it enough to just look at it and think about it and feel something about it? I found it very moving and very wise, and it’s a book that I think about a lot all the time still.


Rosie Knight: And I’m going to end with. We’ve talked about, you know, the the the boy wizard, the boy who lived. It’s it’s something we talk about a lot. It’s a it’s an overarching story of all time. But I have read a book that comes out in May called The Marvelous by Danielle Clayton, and it feels like it could be, and it should be that next kind of cultural phenomenon. But oh wow. It’s a global reimagining of the magical story like magical school story. It’s about a girl called Ella who goes to this Arcanum training academy for Marvelous, and she is a conjurer at this school in the sky, but she’s the first ever conjurer to attend. And that means that she is the target for people who don’t trust her magic who are suspicious of it. And it is this kind of it’s so magical and it gives you that feeling of walking through the halls that those magical, cozy feelings you want. But it’s also a book that deals with racial integration. It deals with generational trauma, but all the while it is, it feels like this huge moment for fantasy kids from all around the world study at these schools, you know, there’s there’s different notions of what it is to be magical and to be from a different place that is feels just miles away from the stereotypes of old. And I think it could be a big moment for people like us who love these books. And hopefully for kids who love these books, I feel like the marvelous could be that book.


Jason Concepcion: Out May 3rd. Really excited for that. Up next, our discussion with the author Nicola Griffith.


Jason Concepcion: [AD].


Jason Concepcion: Welcome to the Hive Mind, where we explore our topic in more detail with the help of expert guests this week, we’re absolutely thrilled to have Nicola Griffith, the award winning author of So Lucky, Hild, the Odd and other books, and of course, the upcoming novel Spear, which is available April 19th.


Rosie Knight: Hello Nicola, thank you so much.


Nicola Griffith: Hi, it’s great to be here.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, thank you so much for joining us and taking the time. We’re both really big fans of your stories and we’re so stoked to talk to you, something that we often do when we talk to people on Harry’s site. What was your origin story with fantasy, with sci fi, with kind of stories that made you want to write stories?


Nicola Griffith: Wow, that’s a bit like saying, Why are you who you are? Panic. Panic. OK. Basically, my first introduction to story was like, I’m guessing, like most people, my mum telling me stories at bedtime and she would make up stories and then she would read me kids books. That is kids’ versions of myths, Greek myths and legends. And so my first introduction to story was obviously all made up. I think most kids, they like things that are completely not real. Yeah, but they can’t really tell me which everything is new to a child, right? You’re three. You’ve never seen a bunny before, so you don’t know a bunny can’t talk. So we’re talking rabbit. It’s like, that’s perfectly normal. But I never, some part of me, I don’t think ever let go of that. I I feel that way also about nature. I felt the same kind of thrill going for a walk under the trees that I do getting lost in a story is the same kind of journey for me. It’s a getting lost, finding my own way and discovering things about me in this other place, whether it’s a story or an actual geographic location. And to me, story writing stories is really the very best way to capture both those things. And I think is probably why almost everything I write has a lot of nature in it. I hope that makes sense. I hope I’m answering the question because.


Rosie Knight: I love that. That was it was like listening to a wonderful story we’re both just like oh, Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: Nicola, big fan of your stories. As Rosie said, particularly Ammonite, which is your first novel, I believe about it’s sci fi colony, a sci fi story about an all women’s colony in space, and Hild, which I found randomly in a bookstore under one of the, you know, the suggestions from that, from the workers at the bookstore. And I just happened to pick pick it up, and I loved it. I think one of the things that I love about your writing is how how you bring the reader into the way characters notice things, in particular the way characters who aren’t. Close to power are in power. Notice things that the people in power don’t. I think in particular, there’s a scene in Hild where where Hild is has noticed that Edwin the King is nervous about something is having a lot of meetings, but she can’t quite unpack what. And then she asks one of his guesses guesses one of his warrior companions. So what’s going on in the meetings? And the warrior companion is like, I don’t know, it’s boring old men talking about stuff. So she said, OK, let me get this guy some food men off and open up when they’re when they’re when they’re not hungry anymore. And then she just talked to him about different things that perhaps he’s noticed, and then she’s able to kind of through this unwind what it is that is gnawing at the king. And then she’s able to in a in a very powerful way, use that information in a way that’s a little manipulative, but also is very smart in the way that she’s getting the thing that she wants, but also getting the king, the thing that he wants. How much do you think about that when you’re when you’re writing? It’s it’s just something I love about the way you write.


Nicola Griffith: Most of those scenes. I remember that particular scene very well because I remember thinking, OK, she needs to get something to eat, like, what the fuck did they eat? Then I had to. I did OK, right here they ate has right. Let’s look at pie and heroine. So yes, I do remember that scene really well, and she was very young, as I recall. So I was discovering it kind of withheld. I knew she needed a moment where she had to bring everything she had learned together in this one, like she had to behave like a seer as though she had magic. But of course she doesn’t because it’s not a fantasy book, even though it reads a bit like that she had. She had to make other people think that she was magic and she had this prophetic gift. And so before I wrote that scene, did I know exactly how she was going to do that? No, I really had no clue. I just had a feeling. I just knew what the place felt like and how she felt and what it might be like to be surrounded by all these. Yes, it’s with swords and spears, and then she’s got nothing except will now. By this time, she has a little sex, actually a little bit. So I suppose it’s a bit like saying how. Where does inspiration come from? I don’t really know. It comes from a lot of work and putting clues together. Basically, you’re seeing in this book through Hill my process as a writer, which is part serendipity, part smart, part research and part just trusting that it will be there when you step off the edge that you’re building your bridge as you walk. There’s this chasm and you’re heading towards it, and you just have to have faith that there will be something there when you get there.


Rosie Knight: That’s really interesting. And it kind of I kind of talk speaks to one of the things I really wanted to know. How did you kind of discover Hild? Because I’m from England, I’ve been to Whitby a lot. I was a goth when I was a teenager. I loved Dracula. It was really important place to me, but I’d never heard of. I’d never heard of him and I’d never heard of this story. How did you discover her? And then what made you want to tell the story of Hild and bring it to a wider audience?


Nicola Griffith: I discovered her the day I discovered Whitby. I’d been living in Hull. I don’t know if you ever spent any time in Hull. Very depressed and quite depressing city in the north east of England, where at the time when I was living, that unemployment rate was 25 percent. Wow. And it literally smelled because the drains were all falling. I mean, it was just a terrible place to live, and I’d been having a bit of a hard time. So one weekend I escaped and went up the coast and went to Whitby, and I’d heard, obviously I’d read Dracula, I’d heard of Whitby, so I was expecting all the steps. I was expecting the abbey. What I really was not expecting was what happened when I got to the Abbey, which is this back in the day is changed. Now there’s much more control about who can go in, but back in the day you just kind of walked through it and there was this stone threshold, and I remember crossing that threshold and it was like history just came fisting up through me and I was just it just turned me inside out like a sock. Suddenly, this like, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the there’s a kind of new agey theory that that some parts of the Earth, the the the layer between the world and the other world is very thin. Mm-Hmm. I think Whitby is, if you buy into that is one of those thin places. There’s a real sense of imminence and otherness there. And so I just walk into it and it was like it was like sticking my head into a perfectly ordinary wardrobe. I’m finding I was in Narnia. It was just I was blown away. And so I had to. I had to know, what is this place who built this place? Where does it come from? Why here? What’s it about? What does it mean? And so I went to the little tourist place attached to the abbey, which is much bigger now and amazing. But then it was just like a tattoo little place next door, and they had a few little brochures. And I read that the Abbey had been founded 4300 years ago by this woman called Hild, and I knew a bit about history at this point, and I thought, well, 4500 years ago, that was the quote Dark Ages. So how come a woman in the Dark Ages, when might was right and women, supposedly which is chattel and had no power? How how could she possibly have created this amazing place and done such things and still be known today? Well, partially known today. And so I went to try to find a book about her and there wasn’t a book about. There’s no scholarly monograph, there’s no TV series, there’s no cartoon. There’s not even a racy romance novel. There was nothing bringing silence. The only thing I could find was venerable Bede’s history of the English church and people and and that has less than five pages about her. And most of that is really typical ST stories that could apply to anybody so that it’s not real information. And there was there was no information. So now by this time, I’m on fire with curiosity. So I researched that book on and off for, I would say, 15 years. Wow, because I went to Whitby in the 80s and it was in the back of my mind all that time and then. Gradually, sometime in the 90s, I started picking up history books and actually reading and working my way back through notions of history. So I started with old fashioned mid 20th century history. And by the time I’d finished researching, although to be frank, I’m still not finished researching. I’m going to be researching this for the rest of my life. By the time I got to the point where I was ready to write the book, should I say the first book I? I was talking to the people doing the research before it was published in 2008. Early career researchers, they were discovering blogs and so you could you could just go online and find these people and what they were doing and talk to them in the comments. And they didn’t know who I was. They didn’t know whether I was amazingly famous or nobody or a lunatic. And so they were very cautious at first, so I would have to elicit information from them. They didn’t like risking stuff. They didn’t like to say something unless they could give you 10 footnotes. And so I remember one time I was trying, I was trying to find out what the Anglo-Saxons. Thought about dogs, what was that attitude to dogs? And there was like, we know nothing about dogs. I said, OK, so if Hill had a Pekinese, then she wouldn’t have had a Pekingese. That’s just no. And I said, Well, there you see, you do know something. So what kind of dog might she pet? So. And then we went from there. But oh, it was like blood from a stone at first getting its information from these people. So anyway, that’s how it began. That’s how I really needed to do it. And I can say there was just no information. So I researched everything. I researched flora and fauna and building techniques and textile production and agriculture and the weather. Everything, everything was different then, and I and I decided I was just just build the seven center. I was going to build the whole goddamn century. And then I was going to put Hild in it and see how she behaved. What happened? Talented, she could have done this. And the only way to do that was by making her a child so I could discover along with her, but that that wasn’t a deliberate choice. It what happened was I basically got drunk one day and I thought, Oh, you know, screw this. It’s my birthday tomorrow. I cannot go another year without starting this goddamn book. I thought, Right, I’m going to start then. No idea what’s going on. I’m going to write a paragraph. And and so I began. And there she was. She was this three year old girl under a tree, and I thought, Holy shit, that that’s the key to everything. And then I was off. So, yeah, a mix of hard work, guessing and alcohol. I suppose it’s how I did that.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, it sounds as if and I’m guessing from from the content of your other works that this that the process of creating Hild was very different than than what you’ve done previously or even since, with some of your more personal kind of works in different genres, would you say that? Is that the case?


Nicola Griffith: They’re all different, and yet they’re all the same. I rarely write a book without some part of it having grown in my writer’s brain and my back brain, some little factoid that stuck to another one and is sort of mutating in there. And then a few years later, this this thing springs out full blown. So, so in that sense, the process is the same, but almost every single thing I write is trying to answer a question. Hmm. So, so Ammonite, for example, my first book. The question I was trying to ask trying to answer was the question I saw being asked all the time in science fiction and not answered satisfactorily, not giving me the answer I wanted, which is basically, are women human? I mean, because most science fiction books, if you had a world only women, they behaved like half a thing. They didn’t behave like whole human beings. And I thought, you know, I don’t buy that answer at all, so I’m going to have to figure this out. So I wrote Ammonite basically to answer that question slower, but came from a different kind of question. A much more personal question actually about who are you when you have nothing left? Is there such a thing as an essential self? And then the three adult books that came from those came from a dream. I had this this dream that there was this woman completely naked, sprawled on the carpet of an absolutely empty apartment, but sprawled in a really, you know, like a lion on the velt, actually not afraid of anything sprawl. And it was absolutely empty apartment. I mean, the wouldn’t even light fixtures. It was that empty. And I was thinking but odd in my dream. And then the next thing I know this woman wakes is woken up by a gun to her head. And instead of going off reaching out, even she just sits right there with a big flashlight and breaks the guy’s neck. Boom, like that split second, no hesitation. And I woke up. Whoa. Well, who? Who was who is that? Yeah. And how come she could do that? What? What would make it possible and what kind of person could do that? And so the three our books were all about answering that question. How she got to be that person in that place at that time. So, yeah, it’s always a question. It was like, how did this Abby be like this? How could help do what she did? I think I think the only book I’ve ever written that is not about answering a question, but more about just getting stuff out because it needed to be out was so lucky. My book about the woman diagnosed with M.S.. Yeah, and it’s not autobiographical in the sense the character’s name is not really very much like me, although I did give her an English accent because I was going to be doing the audio narration and I couldn’t bear to. Yeah. So actually, in that sense, she’s like me, but that book has always made me slightly uncomfortable because it’s not my usual thing. And also, it doesn’t do what every other book I’ve ever done does, which is to basically center what most people would consider the other, because it’s so lucky it’s the only book about the difference of the character and her being disabled. All my other books got disabled people, we got queer people, we got women, et cetera. And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make any difference to the character. Then we will have blue eyes rather than green eyes. It’s it’s a nothing. We’re so lucky was very much that the difference was a something. It was the thing.


Rosie Knight: With Spear you kind of. You definitely continue that former vision, which is every kind of character involved in a kind of this in this case, an epic kind of reimagining of Arthurian law. So what’s what’s that question that Spear is answering?


Nicola Griffith: How do I retake Camelot for real people?


Rosie Knight: Hmm.


Nicola Griffith: Because the matter of Britain, the whole Arthurian cycle, it’s essentially a national origin story. And so it’s got this. Nativist supremacist Manifest Destiny crash baked in and and I thought, you know, I love that legend. I love this notion of Camelot. I don’t I don’t care about it being a specific time or a specific place for me. Camelot is all about the dream. Mm hmm. It’s about the the fight for justice and equity. And so I needed to find a way. To write that, but still make it a Syrian, so that’s how I did spirit. That’s why I wrote spare and also because it seemed like a really nifty idea. I just want honestly to, to be honest, I really thought it was going to be a short story. I thought it’d take me two weeks. I set the Hild sequel aside. I thought, OK, I’ll get this done and to get back to me. And this thing just roared out. I mean, it just I can’t tell you after I wrote SPIR and then I went back to me when I wrote more in the first year of the pandemic in one year than I have ever written. I read 200000 words. Wow. I think they were all good words. I wrote Spear and I wrote a lot of meme. I finished meme with, which is a very large book. And I just it just I was just really fired up. And the pandemic meant that I didn’t have to stop to do things like even go to the doctor because no one was going to the doctor and have to go out for dinner with anyone. I need to go to conferences. I just got to stay at home and live in this early medieval world, and it’s wonderful. So yes, there was a confluence of all the things I love, all the things I love about health, but also then completely free of a lot of hills exterior stresses. I mean, parity is not. She doesn’t have to worry about taking care of anybody when she’s young and free and makes the most of it. And I loved that it felt really good.


Jason Concepcion: You wrote a New York Times op ed in 2018 about your role as a queer writer with disabilities and how that influences your work and how important it is to be a representative for other people in the space who are looking for stories. Has anything changed since that time?


Nicola Griffith: Oh, it’s been amazing. Yeah, it is changing a lot. I’m really I’m thrilled. Actually, I’ve seen just, I would say in the last five years, an absolute explosion of disability literature. Mm-Hmm. It is. It’s incredible, particularly in, first of all, in the white space. Yeah, lots of white triplet. And now there’s in the science fiction and fantasy space. There’s an awful lot of literature about disabled characters with disabled characters, should I say it? So it’s incredible. I’m still seeing a lot of resistance in more mainstream literary presses. They what they want. If you’re disabled and you’ve got a disabled character, they want the book to be about the character’s disability struggles. They don’t want to just see them going to write and whacking someone’s head off with the thought that, you know, they want, that they want authenticity. And their notion because they are ablest and most of us are honestly able is they think that the authentic experience is suffering. You know, I’ve seen the same thing with literature, especially memoir from immigrants and refugees that all people want is their trauma story. Give us your trauma. They don’t want to know about the success and the joy in any of that stuff. So I’m still seeing that resistance. And also I’m seeing I would like to see more changes should I put it in criticism. I would rather see more people with disabilities reviewing fiction with disabled characters as opposed to non-disabled people. I mean, I get so tired of seeing these books by non-disabled people about disabled characters who kill themselves. Yeah, and I’m calling it wonderful and authentic, and I’m thinking, Oh, well, I shouldn’t say what I’m thinking. It’s unprintable would have to be considerably bleak, but I’m not happy. I mean, I remember having a conversation with a writer who’d been sent one of these books to review. I think for The Washington Post magazine, the New York Times, she’s like, I’m having a really hard time with it. So we talked about it and I said, You need to say it in her to say why it’s wrong, why it’s bad. And that was very difficult for her, because her her. Stance to reviewing is always lift up the writer and I said this, you cannot lift her up with this, lift her up from every single thing in the book, except this. Yeah, and and she did, and I was so pleased. I was really grateful. I’m glad, but that’s what we need. We need more of that.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, I agree. It’s actually really shocking. I’m disabled and that same trope of the honorable sacrifice. There was a there was a y a book when I was a young kid and I had a lot of community within the disability activism movement. But there was a book that would be given around and it was a white book written by a man who had a son who had cerebral palsy. And at the end that the son gets set on fire and he dies. And the book is told from his perspective and the perspective is he is glad that he’s dying because it will be like good for his family. And that was a book that they legitimately gave to disabled kids to people I know who had cerebral palsy like. And that is still going on 20 years later, and it kind of blows my mind.


Nicola Griffith: Look how long it took for queer lit to change from from the lesbian giving it up so her bisexual girlfriend could have been a normal life. I mean, really, that went on for eighty years. So in this sense, I think crip lit is doing relatively well. It has a long way to go, but it’s following many of the same paths, I think, as Queer did.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Nicola Griffith: So there is hope. There’s hope it’s coming. I just wish it would hurry up and get here a bit quicker.


Jason Concepcion: What are you reading now? What what if for our listeners, maybe who are thinking, Oh, that sounds, I’ve been waiting for a story like this. This is something I’d like to read.


Nicola Griffith: Well, right now, I haven’t been reading all of its stories. Let me see. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction about small, tedious things in early medieval times.


Rosie Knight: I love to hear it because I know what that means


Nicola Griffith: Well, for example. I mean, this is actually more about Spear than the Hild, but I just read a really good book and is from 2008, all about Arthurian literature and all the tropes that have been used and how it’s so it it’s a whole set of different articles that each article takes a different stance. But it’s fascinating to see how much really serious scholarship has gone into hunt for a legend. I really wish, and I should say, I’m really glad I hadn’t read that book before I wrote Spare otherwise. I mean, I thought, Well, how are, you know, not taking it? But let me see, what have I read in, particularly the queer and fantasy space in the last year or two? It’s I read Alex Harrow for the first time last year, so I read her novella A Spindle Splintered, and she’s got a new one coming up, I think in a couple of months called the Mirror amended, and that’s it’s really great. It is another kind of retelling. And so I want to get back to this notion of retelling in a minute. Also, Samantha Shannon, who wrote Priory of the Orange Tree. Yes. I’m drawing a bit of a blank. What I tend to do when I’m in writing mode is I read nonfiction and then I reread old favorites and poetry and we post. So, yeah, basically subscribe to poetry magazine and just read that every month, you know, I read a couple of those and then go to sleep.


Jason Concepcion: Speaking of rereading things that you love, I’m often drawn to some scenes in hell just because, you know, they’re so evocative and one that I go back to again and again is the moment when the Edwin King asks Hild to give her a challenge. She has to carry, you know, and she has to pour a cup for the king while carrying this extremely heavy talk armband that he has given her, and she finds a very inventive way to carry this out. Surprising everyone. And it’s a big moment, and there’s other big moments like this. And when I’m reading them, I was thinking God for a child to be there and bluff the king. To the point that the king is saying, OK, well, we’re going to do this thing that you’re telling us to do, but if you’re wrong, I’m going to feed you to my dogs. What is it like to write these scenes where you’re just putting this child into these, into these positions of great, great peril? Because I’m always so much more nervous than she is.


Nicola Griffith: Well, that’s heres the thing about kids is that. I suppose part of me is trying to write Hild as, say, a seven year old with the heavy cup and the torch, the armoring, trying to write her the way I would like to have been. Oh, you know, as a kid, I mean, I was one of those. I was always in fights. I like to climb trees, you know, I was I wanted to live a big life. I wanted to to do amazing things. And to me, Hild is that opportunity to do that. And so I didn’t have a lot of fear as a seven year old, and so I give Hild the kind of fear and caution I had as a seven year old, which is she kind of knows that she’s in great danger, but it doesn’t freak her out. You know, she doesn’t have a thundering heart. She doesn’t get sweaty. She she’s not part of her body. Doesn’t really believe it. Her mind does because everyone tells her. But really, deep down, she knows she’s immortal, like all kids do. We’ll be right. Yeah, way to go. So she’s she’s like that. But then when I write the scene where someone threatens her that way, it gives me a shiver. I go, Yeah, I can’t. I can’t wait for someone else to read it. You know, I there. I love those moments in work when it’s going. I have playlists and I tend to type in rhythm like and then something happens and I go, Whoa. And I always imagine the music swelling. It never does, because it’s at the time that way. But yeah, it feels like that feels like this huge, amazing moment. I love writing it’s. It’s such a it’s it’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life, and I expect to have it till till I drop dead, which hopefully won’t be for a really long time because I’m having too much fun and I have too much too much to write.


Jason Concepcion: Speaking of can ya, what, if anything, can you tell us of Mean Wood?


Nicola Griffith: It’s long? It is through about 30 per cent longer than Hild?


Jason Concepcion: Oh wow. Wow, wow. Wow.


Nicola Griffith: Its long. And it starts almost immediately. Let me see when. How many? Maybe four months after the end of help. And then it goes for four years. And talk about endless regime change. Yeah. Mm hmm. Wow. So she learns a lot about war. She has. She has some very difficult times, but also she has these amazing, joyous moments and and the book does end with a great sense of excitement and discovery and adventure. So that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about that.


Jason Concepcion: We can’t wait. We can’t wait for it. Thank you, Nicola, for joining us. It’s been wonderful to talk to you.


Nicola Griffith: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.


Jason Concepcion: Thanks so much to Nicola Griffith for coming on the show. Up next, Nerd out.


Jason Concepcion: In today’s nerd out, where you tell us what you love and why Dave, a.k.a. Mr Fire to his students, pitches us on the Illuminatus Trilogy,


Dave, a.k.a. Mr Fire : Hello nerds, I’m coming to you today to talk about one of my favorite forms of nerdery, which is books. Specifically, the Illuminatus Trilogy, written by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea Wilson and Shea were editors for Playboy. Specifically, they were dealing with letters to the magazine. Apparently, some people really were reading it for the articles, and many of the letters that they received were about conspiracy theories, and the two of these guys decided between them that they were going to ask the question not which of these conspiracy theories are true, but rather what if all of them are true? And these books, this trilogy is conceived as a sort of journey through what if every single one of these conspiracies were true? What if not only someone other than who we think killed John F. Kennedy? What if a bunch of people killed John F. Kennedy altogether? What if John Dillinger is still alive? What if Adam Whitehouse killed George Washington and replaced him in order to bring the Bavarian Illuminati into power in the United States and either spread or stop the spread of cannabis being grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? What if the five were spreading secrets with their song Kick Out the Jams? All of these things, all of these conspiracy theories are treated as completely real in these novels. The three books that make up the Illuminati trilogy The Eye in the Pyramid, the Golden Apple and Leviathan all kind of work together, spinning this wild drug fueled narrative, building towards a gigantic music festival that has the names of hundreds of made up bands, some of which are now real bands. They altogether craft a story of talking dolphins and an Atlantis that’s real built with Lovecraftian monsters, novels from Pension and Vonnegut are referenced. This is the kind of stuff that will blow your mind and probably heard it more than just a little. These books are extremely important to some of our favorite comic writers and TV writers, Damon Lindelof. You’ll see elements of this in Lost in Friends. You see this from Chris Carter in The X-Files. Alan Moore has called Robert Anton Wilson an inspiration. We see this also from people like Grant Morrison and now with the rise of what may be the Illuminati in our new Doctor Strange trailer. We know that this may be the origin of that term coming back into the narrative once again. So check out these books. They’re great. You will absolutely love them.


Jason Concepcion: Thanks, Dave, for submitting. If you want to be featured, send your nerd out pitch to instructions are in the show notes. Big thank you to Dave for his nerd out and of course, Nicola Griffith for joining us. And of course, for the Great Rosie Knight for co-hosting this podcast today. It’s been a wonderful day of discussions that I hope are meaningful to some people. Rosie it is plug time. What are we pluggin?


Rosie Knight: Hello, it’s me. You can find me. I’m back after two seconds and you can find me @RosieMarx on Instagram. I recently visited a very incredible community cinema called Vidiots that’s being built in Eagle Rock, in L.A., I’ve got a little fundraiser running through my Instagram, so feel free to go there and learn a little bit more. I’ll have a big feature coming up about them at Nerdist. It’s a really incredible space that’s going to be a video store where you can actually rent DVD and blu rays, as well as a community cinema that will have a space for local people to screen films, to speak, to talk, to know each other, and it will have a huge, beautiful screen to screen movies Vidiots is continuing like this unbelievable legacy of female owned female helmed video store in Santa Monica that’s been there since the 80s, so just generally good stuff. So go check out Vidiots. Support them they’re in the support mode at the moment because they’re still building the new location. So yeah, that’s that’s my big plug. It was it was  very cool.


Jason Concepcion: I’m really excited for for Vidiots and it seems like it’s such a really wonderful project to get behind, and that already has like a lot of really wonderful people supporting it.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: That’s a cool one. Check out our videos on the uncultured YouTube channel. Catch the next episode, April 22nd when we revisiting WandaVision in anticipation, this is going to be really fun. I’m excited to rewatch WandaVision and I’m excited to talk about it because the Multiverse of Madness is coming, folks. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which I think we both expect to see a lot of the repercussions of the events of WandaVision in that movie. Be sure to send out your nerd out submissions to and instructions are in the show notes. And don’t forget, we love the five star ratings, folks. We love them. We absolutely love them. We thrive on them. Please send us the five star ratings if you’re thinking about like a four. Don’t even think about it. Give us a five. We need the five baby. X-ray vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lorde and Saul Ruben. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulis. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. And Alex Relford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme music. Byeee.