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#34 Lindsay Ellis (Axiom's End): Phantom of the Opera, 50 Shades of Grey, air disasters

For more than five years, Lindsay Ellis produced video essays on YouTube, analyzing everything from the Transformers movies to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals to popular tropes in film and TV.

And in 2020, after more than a decade of wanting to be an author, she published her first book — the bestselling sci-fi novel Axiom's End, which was informed by that same attentiveness to pop culture. After 9/11, she noticed, popular alien invasion stories had shifted from "goofy" stories to "dead serious" ones, like Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

"It's an alternate history that takes place in the late 2000s," she says of the first book, which is getting a sequel in October called Truth of the Divine. "Basically, it's what if first contact happened during the Bush administration? ... It's a thought experiment of how would we react if civilization has to keep on trucking the way we have, but now we have this great existential quandary that, at least in the universe of the book, is heavily politicized."

On today's podcast, Lindsay talks about four people she loves to follow on YouTube: A pop music analyst who breaks down one-hit wonders, band-breaking records, and more; a prolific video essayist who wears her enthusiasm on her sleeve; an aviation expert who explains the history of air disasters; and a former Vine star who cooks up brilliant video ideas like it's nothing.

You can get bonus follow recommendations every week — including an extra follow from Lindsay — when you back Follow Friday on Patreon, starting at just $1 a month. Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, Amy, Yoichi, Danielle, Elizabeth, and Sylnai.

Follow us:

- Follow us @followfridaypod on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok and find clips from the show on our YouTube channel

- Follow Eric on Twitter @heyheyesj

- Check out Modem Mischief to hear the true stories of the outlaws of cyberspace

This show is a production of Lightningpod.fm, hosted and produced by Eric Johnson

Music: Yona Marie

Show art: Dodi Hermawan

Social media producer: Sydney Grodin

About the Podcast

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Follow Friday
The podcast about who you should follow online

About your host

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Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson is the founder of the independent podcast studio/consultancy LightningPod, and the former producer of the award-winning tech podcast Recode Decode with Kara Swisher.

LightningPod works with creators of all backgrounds and experience levels to help them achieve their podcasting goals. You can learn more at lightningpod.fm/hire-us