Sam’s back with another game for Danielle which he calls: What’s in a Name? Sam wants to take a moment to look back on some of the not terrible things that happened in 2021, so he pulls four books that were published that year and, using only the titles and author names, asks Danielle to guess the plots of those books. Danielle does remarkably well, and may even have improved on one book, but the real winner is all of us for learning about some new things to possibly read, and some fun alternate plots. So join us for another fun game to ring in the new year!
It’s that time of year again where Danielle and Sam share the media and tropes they are thankful for. This year Sam has a special gift for the world: The word “thanker”. You’re welcome, world.
As they gear up for the holidays and their annual Winter Bizarre, Danielle and Sam are dropping some shorts so they don’t explode from being too busy. So enjoy as Sam puts Danielle through the horrors of a new game show he calls “We know your thoughts, but what do they think?” Which, aside from being just super catchy title, Danielle finds less challenge in the game itself and more in just remembering any of the titles for the media they’ve done on this show.
business. Not that there isn’t business to get into, what with the youngest daughter carrying around a cardboard cutout of the eldest brother, Finn, since he’s traveling in Africa. Meanwhile, the parents are totally checked-out and most of the responsibility of taking care of Celeste falls to their middle, college-aged son, Matt. Everyone refuses to tell Julie anything about why Celeste needs Flatt Finn, and Matt tells her to leave it alone, but leaving things alone is beyond Julie. She starts talking to human Finn on Facebook, but he is equally unhelpful. Meanwhile, Julie decides to mess with Celeste by using Flat Finn to manipulate her into doing things outside of her comfort zone. After some confusing shenanigans involving a fear of heights, or possibly just escalators and elevators, Julie dumps her perfectly nice barista boyfriend because she’s falling in love with Finn on Facebook, something which is clearly a good idea. However, the family’s big secret around Flatt Finn will shake Julie to her core, only not really since it’s pretty obvious and also not really terrible or shameful, but since everyone in this book kinda sucks (except Celeste and Flatt Finn, who only gets a pass because he’s cardboard) there is, of course, drama. So join us for a book that begs the question: Why are there two more sequels, and when can we read them?
Be sure to check out I Drink Your Podcast, especially the Into the Wild episode featuring Danielle. You can find them on Twitter @IDYP_Podcast, Instagram @idyp_podcast, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Danielle and Sam are just so excited for the upcoming Spook Retorts that they need a week off to prepare. So please enjoy this sampling of two of the weekly bonus episodes only available to our Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next week with Spook Retorts, but for now please enjoy these extra tidbits inspired by The Ice Pirates and the Christopher Pike book Bury Me Deep.
It’s Sam’s turn in the Great Switcheroo to share the 1991 Christopher Pike book Bury Me Deep. Jean is your average horned-up teenage girl who was written by an author who’s definitely human and totally understands how human girls work. Jean is excited for a trip to Hawaii with her friends, but finds herself delayed a few days for reasons too stupid to be real. Finally on the plane to Hawaii, the boy, Mike, in the seat next to Jean dies violently, leaving Jean shaken. But there’s no time for trauma when there are cute boys giving scuba diving lessons at the hotel, so Jean puts aside her experience and tires to enjoy the time with her friend Mandy and also Michelle, the random girl who just invited herself along on the vacation and now spends all her time locked in their shared hotel suite bedroom having sex with Dave, the older of the two diving instructors. Jean starts having spooky dreams about Mike, and is drawn to a particular underwater cave off the Island of Lanai. When Jean recklessly dives to the cave alone she finds a human skull and promptly freaks out. Neither of the cute instructors, Dave or Johnny, believe she saw the skull, and upon investigation Dave can’t find it in the cave. Is jean falling apart from her traumatic experience? Are Dave and Johnny more than simply cute dive instructors, and what happened to their missing partner Ringo (yes, Ringo)? What does any of this have to do with Mike? Will Mandy ever be treated with respect in this book? Help Sam solve this mystery (spoiler, it’s not that mysterious) in the conclusion of our first Great Switcheroo!
In this special bonus episode Danielle and Sam pick out weird media which the other person will have to explain, while still not having seen or read the media they’re suggesting. Given the choice would Danielle rather watch the animated film The Elm-Chanted Forest or the sci-fi comedy The Ice Pirates? And which Christopher Pike book will Sam pick to read: See You Later or Bury Me Deep? Listen to find out, and be sure to stay tuned as Danielle and Sam cover their choices in a future episode.
This week Danielle takes Sam through the truly bizarre finale of the 2020 Ernest Cline novel Ready Player Two. Wade Watts is trapped in the OASIS in his ONI VR headset by Anorak and his “infirmware” and is being forced by Anorak to find the seven shards hidden by Halliday on various media worlds Kira—the late wife of Ogden and romantic obsession of Halliday—had a hand in creating. And if that sentence doesn’t sum up Ready Player Two, nothing does. The purpose of this latest scavenger hunt is still unclear, but Wade now has 12 hours to complete it before he dies, so naturally he completely ignores the help offered by his biggest fan L0hengrin. Wade and his friends set off to various media worlds, including the not-much-of-a-challenge school world, and the fever dream of the Prince world. Eventually, Wade figures out that Anorak wants the shards because he—the A.I. consciousness of Halliday—wants to use the shards to resurrect an A.I. consciousness of Kira which Halliday created without her consent. Anorak wants to live in eternal bliss with this A.I. Kira even though she never loved Halliday, even when reconstituted virtually. We won’t spoil how the space ship full of frozen embryos figures into all this, but it’s wild. Anyway, Wade and his friends find a convenient magic sword that Ogden, and only Ogden for some reason, can use to defeat Anorak, and embark on a pretty simple heist to free Ogden and bring him to the Oasis to fight Anorak. All of this is pretty standard, but then Wade discovers there are A.I. scans of every person who has used an ONI device, and his solution to this is probably the most ridiculous, and most irresponsible, part of the whole book, which is really saying something.
This week Danielle starts Sam on a VR adventure with the 2020 Ernest Cline novel Ready Player Two. In this sequel to Ready Player One, Wade Watts is the freshly minted owner of the OASIS, a massive virtual realty universe that dominates the cultural and commercial landscape of a dystopian Earth. That’s when Wade’s late predecessor, Halliday, sends him a hitherto unknown technology: The ONI, a neural interface VR system for the OASIS that kills you if you use it too long. This all sounds great to Wade who immediately launches it as a commercial product, and this is why Danielle and Sam feel that you probably shouldn’t pick the successor to your multi-billion dollar essential planetary infrastructure via pop culture scavenger hunt. At this point, a new scavenger hunt appears in the OASIS, seemingly just for Wade and created by Halliday (seriously, does he have any other ideas?). Wade is tasked with finding seven shards but is stumped by the clue and so kinda just ignores if for a few years, like a true hero. During that time, Wade finds his friends divided over the ethics of the ONI devices, and Wade drifts away from Samantha, his girlfriend for all of a week, due to her reservations. Finally, a fan of Wade’s, L0hengrin, clues him into where the first shard is, and helps him recover this first quest item. Things only get weirder from here, and that’s without mentioning the Olympic swimming pool’s worth of 80’s and 90’s pop culture references to slog through, or the spaceship full of frozen embryos. Sam has many questions, and while there are few answers in part one, we can only hope part two will shed some light on his most burning question: How big a jerk was Halliday? (Spoiler: absolutely massive).
This week Sam shares the conclusion of the supremely weird 1967 Dodie Smith book The Starlight Barking. Pongo and his brood are still wrestling with what’s going on while the rest of the world, aside from dogs, sleeps. Finally deciding Cruella de Vil might be involved, the dogs, a cat, and Tommy sneak into her house, some with the intent of just straight-up murdering her. Although the air is filled with pepper, Cruella is asleep and the dogs are relieved that’s she not involved, and, much to Sam’s consternation, that’s the last we’ll hear of her during the story. Back at Downing Street, a mysterious light appears on the TV and commands all the dogs in England to appear in Trafalgar Square at midnight to receive an explanation for all the strange goings on. When asked questions, the voice provides answers that are less than useless before rushing off. At midnight, the dogs gathered in the Square experience euphoria and then utter terror as a bright light descends into the square. It’s the Lord of Sirius the dog star come to offer all the dogs a permanent home on Sirius to live forever in total bliss. The star lord’s reasons for making this offer are crazy, as is the stipulation that it will be an all-or-nothing deal so all dogs are to go or none at all. For some reason, the dogs elect Pongo to make the decision on their behalf. Despite all the supposedly high stakes, Danielle and Sam are really much more interested in the pressing question: What the heck happened to the missing Roly Poly?