Episodes

Endymion – Part 6

It’s finally here, the finale of the 1996 Dan Simmons novel Endymion! Where we last left off, Father Captain de Soya had been called back to Pacem to receive new orders and a new crew member. It turns out the pope has been having visions from “God” that have told him the location of Aenea on Sol Draconi Septem. The pope is also declaring a crusade against the ousters, and everyone knows crusades are always a good idea. The new crew member, Rhadamanth Nemes, is a type of super solider being created for this crusade, though de Soya has reservations. Meanwhile, Raul an the others are still with Father Glaucus waiting to make their trek across the wraith infested surface to the next Farcaster portal. The Chichatuk return and they gear up, finally ready to face the wraiths (a name Danielle still has massive issues with). Anyway, they cross the surface and leave through the Farcaster never having even seen a wraith, and Sam is incoherent with frustration. Just after they leave, de Soya and his crew arrive in the system, but while he’s still resurrecting, the obviously non-human Nemes heads down to the surface to try and murder Aenea. She uses the same kind of silver skin-suit that Kassad and Moneta had, and she gets to work, murdering Glaucus and the Chichatuk, and shooting flashlight beams out of her mouth much to the delight of both our hosts. Sam is ecstatic that here, in the last part of the book, the plot has finally shown up in full force, and things only ramp up from there as the story races towards an exciting conclusion, then smashes into a wall with a bizarre coda. Honestly, it’s the best that could have been hoped for.

The Lazarus Plot

This week Danielle brings book four of the Hardy Boys Case Files series by Franklin W. Dixon from 1987: The Lazarus Plot. The Hardy Brothers are back! Joe is still sad about the expoldification of his girlfriend Iola, so he and Frank have taken a camping/fishing trip to unwind. However, it’s there in the woods that Joe sees someone who must be Iola! The Hardy Men follow the girl’s trail and come to a seemingly abandoned house that was actually the location of the Lazarus Clinic, which is occupied by the Lazarus group which has some nebulous connection to the terrorist organization The Assassins. The Hardy Duo are immediately captured and the Lazarus Leader puts on an amazing show for them where he inexplicably introduces each of his evil employees and describes their evil plot instead of, you know, killing their Hardy nemeses. Their plan is to use plastic surgery and brain chip implants to copy the Hardy Sleuths and use these bonus brothers to infiltrate the government anti-terrorist spy organization known as The Network. They revived Iola to kill the Hardy Lads, but then when they failed to kill them in the woods for reasons too dumb to elaborate on here, they decided to capture them instead for yet more reasons that make no sense and only serve to infuriate Sam. So join us for another rip-roaring Hardy adventure that’s as fun as it is stupid!

Endymion – Part 5

This week Sam brings the penultimate episode of his deep dive into the 1996 Dan Simmons novel Endymion. When we last left off, it was implied the our hero Raul was dead, thought this was obviously not the case. This part open with us learning how Raul escaped death, both at the hands of the human Pax soldiers, and the jaws of the rainbow sharks. Although well armed, Raul refuses to shoot any of them (sharks or people) but that’s okay, Aenea and A. Bettik have swum out to where Raul was drifting in the infinite ocean to save him, so no worries. The trio escapes through the Farcaster portal and find themselves on Hebron. There no signs of life, in fact it looks to have been recently abandoned in a hurry. Raul is infected with something he picked up in the ocean, so they spend a few weeks recuperating before moving on. After the next portal, they emerge in a vast, but quite sealed, cave of ice on a planet so cold that the atmosphere is broken. This about breaks the limit of Sam’s ability to suspend disbelief, and is quite angry that everyone isn’t already dead. Meanwhile, Father Captain de Soya conducts a thorough, but inconclusive, investigation on Mare Infinitus. He determines that Raul was there, and has identified him by fingerprint, but not much else. He decides it’s time for him and his crew to venture to an Ouster controlled world to find Aenea, and wouldn’t you know it, he picks Hebron. But psych! They never make it there as their ship is pursued by Ousters and makes run for it before they can be resurrected. De Soya wakes up on Pacem, where he faces a very brief inquisition before being told he’s being sent back out on his search again. Meanwhile, Raul comes up with an incredibly stupid plan to escape the ice cave that, even more incredibly, some how works. This leads to yet more dead-ends until they abandon the raft and explore the tunnels through the ice. It’s here they encounter humans living on this world, but will they be friendly or dangerous? (Friendly, immediately they are extremely friendly, sorry for the not-so-spoiler). So join us for possibly the angriest Sam has ever been at a media piece he’s presented. Fun!

The Klone and I

This week Danielle brings the 1998 Danielle Steel novel The Klone and I: A High Tech Love Story. Stephanie is your average middle-age mother of two whose husband is a complete tool and decides to divorce her for petty reasons. Luckily, Steph is not one to be kept down, and during a brief trip to Europe she bumps into Peter, who works in bionics. That tidbit will become very important later. Anyway, Steph and Peter start to date seriously, ever her kids are generally on board. However, it’s not long before the unthinkable happens: Peter has to go on a business trip for two weeks. During his first night away, Steph is surprised to see a very strangely dressed Peter show up at her apartment. Peter insists he’s actually Peter’s robot clone and prefers to go by Paul Klone, a name that nearly breaks Sam. Steph decides this is some elaborate joke, even after some surprisingly acrobatic sex and a call from an out-of-town Peter explaining he sent his clone over because he couldn’t fathom her being alone for two entire weeks. Our baffled hosts draw two conclusions from this: First, that Peter has a very low opinion of Steph and maybe all women, and Second, Steph does not seem to be all that bright. Eventually, Steph comes around to the idea that she’s also dating Peter’s significantly more outgoing clone, or klone if you will. Sam will not. Steph is mildly torn between her love of Peter and the excitement of Paul, and yet no one seems concerned that this supposed top secret prototype robot clone is running amuck, stealing Peter’s credit card, crashing his car, and flying across the country to surprise Steph whenever Peter’s out of town. Sam finds it difficult to care about the perfunctory love triangle when the facts of the clone gets virtually no attention. So join us this week for a book that is amazingly at once completely goofy and also, somehow, far too serious.

Endymion – Part 4

This week Sam brings us part four of Dan Simmons’ 1996 book Endymion. It’s been a while, but we’re back with more Hyperion! It’s been so long, in fact, that Danielle has completely forgotten everything that happened in the previous episode including the title, though to be fair, there wasn’t really all that much going on. Raul, Aenea and A. Bettik are all trapped on some mysterious jungle world after barely escaping the Pax by fleeing through the hitherto non-functional Farcaster portal. The Shrike makes a brief cameo, but immediately leaves without dropping any sick beats, which is a huge disappointment. Aenea and crew decide to raft down the river to the next Farcaster, which gives Raul time to feel paternal towards Aenea, which is just all kinds of gross given what we know of their future. They get caught in a storm and “Yee-haw!” a bit, as you do, before finally ending up through the other portal and onto Mare Infinitus. Their big plan is to drift aimlessly across the infinite ocean and hope they come across the next Farcaster portal. Infuriatingly, this works. However, Raul needs to make a brief detour to distract some nearby Pax so they can sneak by. Meanwhile, Father-Captain de Soya and his crew spend two months hopping around to eight different planets, and Sam insists on telling Danielle about each one, even if they don’t matter, because he loves sharing the pain. Eventually, de Soya comes to Mare Infinitus where he hears about an attack a few months ago by a single man. This, de Soya correctly concludes, was Raul, and he’s delighted to have his first lead in months. Unfortunately, Raul was killed in the attack, or at least the book tries to make it look that way, but since Raul is the one “writing” the book, it’s not much of a fake-out. So join us as we delve deep into the relationship between Raul and Aenea, and into more Keats poetry and philosophy (finally!), and, most importantly, try to find out just why we’re being told about those fly-cycles!

La Pluie – Part 2

This week Danielle brings part two of the 2023 Thai drama La Pluie (ฝนตกครั้งนั้น ฉันรักเธอ). When we last left off, Tai had just seen Phat being kissed by Phat’s ex-girlfriend. Shocking as this is, Tai does the adult thing and talks to Phat to clear up any misunder- Kidding! He throws a tantrum and runs off into the mountain wilderness with no jacket or water. Unsurprisingly, by the end of the day Tai is not doing well and everyone else is very worried. Luckily, it starts to rain so Phat hears Tai’s voice, and Tai somehow guides them to his rescue. In a missive twist, Lomfon also hears Tai (and maybe Phat?) in his head. This weird, three-way soulmate phenomenon will go criminally under-examined in this story and is, frankly, a massive missed opportunity to end the show with a throuple. Anyway, drama ensues as Lomfon thinks Tai might be his soulmate, Tai’s bother Thian is hurt by Lomfon’s lack of interest in himself, and Phat becomes uncharacteristically jealous and codependent on Tai. Luckily, the wild coincidences have come to a middle as the following items are revealed, listed here in no particular order: Lomfon was saved from being hit by a car several years ago by a mysterious stranger he’s been in love with ever since. That mysterious person turns out to be Tai. Phat had a next door neighbor several years ago that was going through a rough time since his parents were getting divorced, so he had his grandmother smuggle notes of support back and forth between them, but they never met in person despite literally sharing a fence. That mysterious person turns out to be Tai. Sam basically gives up at this point. Anyway, the rest of the story is pretty much your typical drama shenanigans playing out until everyone is happily paired off. However, Sam and Danielle do create an amazing alternate story about Phat trading a cured animal to a little girl in the style of a back-alley drug deal, so keep an eye out for their next book: Big Phat: Animal Health Dealer.

La Pluie – Part 1

This week Danielle brings the first part of the 2023 Thai drama La Pluie (ฝนตกครั้งนั้น ฉันรักเธอ). Tai is your normal twenty-something, except he has a not-uncommon condition where when it rains he goes deaf, except for the voice in his head which is his soulmate and they can talk in their heads, but only when it’s raining. Got that? As amazingly bonkers as that premise is, unfortunately, the first half of this series isn’t all that interested in answering the many, many questions Sam and Danielle have about this horrifying universe. To make matters worse for Tai, his parents, who are also voice-in-head-when-it-rains soulmates are getting divorced, and it’s caused him to reject the soulmate voice in his own head and he refuses to meet that mystery man. The concept of time, as usual, is a shambles in this TV show, especially as it’s told primarily through flashbacks, but at some point Tai takes a cat to the vet and discovers the super-hot veterinarian Phat is actually his soulmate, and he starts to regret rejecting him. There are also some shenanigans where Tai hears Phat making-out with someone (what a constant horror-show this world is) and pegs him as a bit of a playboy. At another point, Tai’s ridiculous brother Thian blows up at someone named Lomfon in a bookstore for picking up a book. Tai’s smooths things over but, uh oh, it looks like Lomfon may have a crush on Tai, but double uh-oh becuase Lomfon and Thian are in the same film class and Thian might have a crush on Lomfon. It’s at this point Sam taps-out and all but begs for the high-school relationship drama to end and the crazy rain shenanigans to resume. For better or worse, Danielle leaves him wanting more as she promises that part two ratchets up the insanity. But just before ending, she leaves us with this cliffhanger: Tai, after hooking up with Phat, accidentally walks in on him being kissed by his ex-girlfriend, dun dun dunnnnnnnnn! Join us next time for the thrilling, and truly insane, conclusion.

Holiday in Handcuffs

This week, Sam rounds out the Winter Bizarre with the 2007 ABC Family movie Holiday in Handcuffs. Melissa Joan Hart (character name unknown) is always trying to please her very demanding parents, but this year she’s excited because she’s bringing her successful boyfriend to the family Christmas trip to a rural log cabin. However, after tanking a job interview, Melissa is dumped by that same boyfriend mere hours before they were supposed to leave. What’s a girl to do? Easy: Kidnap the nearest available man, in this case Mario Lopez (character name also unknown). This sets Melissa on a wild ride where she has to convince her family that the very-much-not-happy-to-be-there Mario is actually her boyfriend, so they can all just get off her back, okay. This is, obviously, a perfect plan, and through a series of truly convoluted events, and aided by some remarkably oblivious family members and a Mario Lopez who could really be doing more to escape, Melissa mostly manages to keep up the ruse. However, things start to get serious when Melissa sees how much her family all love Mario, and Mario develops Stockholm Syndrome. Crazily enough, the movie doesn’t end when Melissa gets busted for kidnapping, but somehow there’s still a lot more to the story. Other highlights include: A strange family tradition involving a “key master”, a surprise interest in art from both characters, some sporadic narration, and a drunken grandmother threatening to shoot police officers with a flintlock pistol. Seriously, this movie is just all the bananas.

Next Stop, Christmas

Danielle kicks off our Winter Bizarre/Switcheroo season with the 2021 Hallmark movie Next Stop, Christmas. Angie is your average New York doctor whose life is terrible because her parents are divorced and, despite having good friends, is single. The horror. Luckily, the universe is here to fix Angie not living the life planned for her. More specifically, Christopher Lloyd gives Angie a magic ticket so that when she gets on the train to Yonkers, she falls asleep and wakes upon a much older train ten years in the past with her then boyfriend, soon to be rejected fiancée Tyler. Angie is, understandably, upset but goes with it and decides to use the opportunity to enjoy her last good Christmas (in her mind). However, things are not as rosy as she remembers as her parents are having marriage issues and she’s oblivious about how distant she is from her sister. It’s around this time that they run into Angie’s childhood friend Ben, and here’s where Sam smells a love triangle, but it’s really more of a Ben pining over Angie for far too long, verging on creepy. Angie quickly deduces that her rejection of Tyler’s proposal is why she’s back in time, and she also decides to parent trap her mom and dad into fixing their marriage. She accomplishes this in the most ludicrously infuriating way, but for some reason still isn’t returned to her own time. This tees the movie up for an ending that is so full of dread and psychological horror that Sam and Danielle can only conclude that the powerful time-imp Christopher Lloyd is exacting revenge for a stiffed tip.

Book Reshorts: The Great Unboxening

Duck Books had us on as guests for his episode on the book Slugs. During that episode he had a quiz for us where the winner would receive a box of various snacks and treats from Japan. Sam won (though Danielle disputes the results), but he said he was going to send each of us a box anyway. Well, he made good on that threat so we decided to podify those boxes of snacks! So join us as we open, taste, and greatly enjoy a wonderful gift of snacks from across the ocean.

Warning: This episode contains some minor sounds of chewing and eating, misophones should probably skip this one.

For context, check out the Mind Duck Books episode where Filip, Danielle, and Sam all discuss the book Slugs on which this movie was based. Find Mind Duck Books on Twitter @mindduckbooks, Instagram @mindduckbooks, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.