Cowboys battle monsters in the lost world of the forbidden valley!
Stark says: GWAAAAAANGI!
By genre? Alphabetical? Autobiographical? Serious question.
Answers in the comments, please.
We don't shout about it much, but Pornokitsch doesn't have advertising or affiliate links. And it isn't Kickstarted, Patreonised or otherwise crowd-funded. In short, we don't take in any money at all. Not a nickel. We're very happy this way.
But... our contributors are awesome. We're lucky to have a team that includes Becky Chambers, Rebecca Levene, Stark Holborn, Mahvesh Murad, Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer - all of whom are responsible for some fantastic books. So if you like what you've been reading, why not check out the rest of their work? And, even better, support them by picking up one or two or three.
After the jump, a smorgasbord of literary talent for your browsing pleasure.
This week's guest is Kuzhali Manickavel. Kuzhali is the author of the excellent, brilliant and totally disconcerting collections Insects Are Just Like You And Me Except Some of Them Have Wings and Things We Found During the Autopsy. Her short story, "Six Things We Found During The Autopsy", is also collected in the brand-new The Apex Book of World SF 4.
Without further ado...
And by ‘weird’ I mean I didn’t understand why I was watching them or I was watching them by accident. Also I didn’t always pay attention or watch the whole thing.
Welcome to New York
Not gonna lie, for some reason I thought this was a Philip Seymour Hoffman movie about bees. But as this movie progressed and there was no Philip Seymour Hoffman and no bees and lots of Gérard Depardieu having the sexuals with lots of ladies (LOTS. Like, LOTS), I began to suspect that neither the bees nor Philip Seymour Hoffman were going to make an appearance except possibly to have sex with Gérard Depardieu which might have been interesting but maybe not also. As far as I could tell, the only instances that Sexual Time with Gérard Depardieu was not happening was when they all took a breather so Gerard D could be rapey and when Jacqueline Bisset and him were yelling at each other. In the end, I have to say that the Philip Seymour Hoffman movie about bees might not actually exist.
A bit clickbaity, sorry - the answer is actually found over on Tor.com, where I'm giving advice on where to begin with K.J. Parker.
If you've chosen to begin with The Folding Knife (one of many excellent ways to begin!), the Tor.com 'reread' can be found here.
The One Comic team tries to avoid being too continually mainstream in our choice of comic to cover, and in pursuit of that goal we've landed on Volume 1 of Sunstone, from Top Cow/Image.
We marked this one explicit for a reason: in Sunstone there's nudity, there are "adult themes" (as they say on the film classifications) and there's some graphic language. Much of this - though not the nudity - is shared in the team's discussion.
But it's not all smut. Sunstone surprised and provoked us in a number of ways. No, seriously.
This week we're handing the reins over to Djibril al-Ayad, editor of The Future Fire. The magazine is celebrating its tenth anniversary. If you're interested in supporting both The Future Fire and its long tradition of critically-lauded anthologies, you can back it (and receive lovely goodies) here.
The Future Fire’s tagline, as it has evolved over ten years of publishing, promises “Feminist SF, Queer SF, Eco SF, Postcolonial SF and Cyberpunk,” all this in the service of social-political speculative fiction and showcasing underrepresented voices.
I’ll try here to recommend five awesome stories that demonstrate what we mean by these five categories (and what we’d like to see more of in the zine). I’d love more recommendations from you along these lines in the comments!
Help Becky Chambers choose which vintage PC game to revisit for her Extended Memory series!
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Becky Chambers' award-winning and absolutely sensational The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is now available in both ebook and glorious hardcover.
The story of The Long Way is pretty well-known at this point, but, in case you want to relive it, here's the Guardian on how this kickstarted debut novel became one of Hodder & Stoughton's summer blockbusters.
Here are how a few people have reacted to the book:
"It is a quietly profound, humane tour de force that tackles politics and gender issues with refreshing optimism." - Guardian
"Humane and alien, adventurous and thoughtful, vast in its imagination and wonderfully personal in the characters it builds. But above all else, it is joyously written and a joy to read." - Claire North
"A joyous, optimistic space opera. Although it isn’t shy about tackling Big Questions, Planet is a heart-warming debut novel that will restore your faith in science fiction (specifically) and humanity (in general)." - Tor.com (uh, me)
"Does The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet really live up to the buzz? The answer is a resounding, and unconditional, YES!" - SFF World
"A refreshing, joyous book that skips neatly around convention, and – with the flick of a page – sucks you utterly into its world, so much so that you become reluctant to leave the Wayfarer and its crew" - Stark Holborn
"This is an impressive debut from an exciting author. If the series continues in this vein, we’re sure to have a new sci-fi classic on our hands." - We Love This Book
"Imagine smashing the groundbreaking, breathtaking science fiction of Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch saga against the salty space opera of The Expanse; The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet lacks the wall-to-wall action of that latter, and some of the former’s finesse, yes—nevertheless, Becky Chambers’ debut is a delight." - Tor.com (not me)
"What it is, rather, is a book about friendships, about chosen families and how they form, about being on someone else's side, about banding together while still being yourself. It's about people making a living in a hard universe, together. It's full of heart, and I loved it.... It was the most emotionally satisfying book I've read so far this year." - The Eyrie
"In a perfect world, all books would give me the warm fuzzies the way The Long Way To A Small, Long Planet did. It is a delightful novel, full of witty repartee, nice people being nice to each other and developing warm and important relationships be them romantic or not. I can’t wait to read more from Becky Chambers." - The Book Smugglers
The first two-thirds of Zot! (1987 - 1991) are certainly enjoyable enough. Scott McCloud creates a fun, thoughtful, and zany superhero pastiche featuring the invulnerable teenaged Zot and his Earth-pal, Jenny.
Zot fights surreal foes who are rarely menacing, except in their ability to provoke existential crises. The 'villains' often embody abstract concepts, and rare do little more than rant and, er, make art. These portion of Zot! are oddly charming, although not spectacular - perhaps because, as a superhero epic, we're expecting more in the way of action. Or, at the very least, palpable tension.
The superhero stories pick up some assistance from the notes at the end of each arc. I'm generally not so fussed about this sort of whatnot, but McCloud is nothing if not a thoughtful creator. Especially as a reader that's not familiar with art and its history, having McCloud explain his influences and ambitions was surprisingly useful. Similarly, McCloud draws thoughtful connections between Zot! and its autobiographical inspirations as well - how his personal life changed his work (and possibly vice versa).
If Zot! stopped two-thirds of the way through, it would've been an educational read, and an enjoyable one. And that's about the end of it.
But... then there's the final third of the collection, the 'Earth Stories'. Which elevates Zot! to being one of the best comics ever created.
All-American icons don't get much more iconic than Archie, so the launch of a new Archie #1 felt like a suitable subject for the One Comic team's attention. Written by Mark Waid and with art by Fiona Staples, the creative credentials are impeccable. But how do you relaunch something as timeless and specific as Archie?
And on the subject of timeless - Jared looks at some eternal comicbook romances. Aw.
This week's Friday Five guest is Zen Cho, author of the Crawford Award-winning short story collection Spirits Abroad and editor of Cyberpunk: Malaysia. Her debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, is out soon from Ace (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK), and has already been receiving (well-deserved) rave reviews.
Zen's short story "The Four Generations of Chang E" is collected in The Apex Book of World SF 4, released at the end of August.
Zen's chosen the topic of "Five fictional girls and women that I will love forever" - please join in with your own favourites in the comments!
Anne from Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert of Prince Edward Island put in an order for an orphan boy to help them out on the farm, but they get a girl instead. Thus begins one of the most enduringly popular works of children's literature, featuring one of literature's best girls, the eponymous Anne.
It's hard to write a character who is meant to be universally charming and make her universally charming, but Montgomery somehow managed it. This comes not just from Anne's whimsy, but the fact that Anne is actually pretty good at life. She's orphaned at birth and exploited throughout her childhood, but she manages to hang onto optimism. She saves babies with ipecac and turns down scholarships so she can look after the people who took her in. I'd read another fourteen books about her. There's no one quite like Anne.
...and the moment we've all been waiting for. Let's pick the winner of my vote! After 12 blog posts, 10 book reviews and 6,000 pages of reading, I can now announce who won approximately 1/7,000th of a Gemmell Award!
Ok, granted, the voting closed on 17 July, but since the official winner won't be announced until Saturday, I have two days where my 1/7,000th can feel particularly meaningful. Plus, I've got a lot of rambling to do.
Let's get to it.
Secret Cinema's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back has been extended until 27 September 2015. Anne and I went last weekend, and it was the greatest, most fun, most joyously geeky outing we've had in a long time.
We laughed. We cried. We got frisked by Stormtroopers. It was awesome. Go.