Stark Reviews: Lemonade Joe (1964)

Lemonade Joe

Stark says: “Wounds, shock, sore feet, Kolaloka will cure all!”

Ever since I staggered headfirst into a clip from Lemonade Joe on YouTube, I’ve been dying to review it. “Who the hell is that?” I thought, watching a man with a curly moustache prance through a musical routine, “what is this film? Why are those Jan Švankmajer-style wax heads spinning around? Wait, IS THIS A WESTERN?”

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Villain of the Month: Stringer Bell

Stringer revisedWARNING: This month’s post contains spoilers for The Wire.

Ah, String. Easily one of my favourite TV characters of all time, from one of the greatest television shows ever made, HBO’s The Wire. Amid a large and stellar cast of characters, String stands out; only Omar Little gives him any real competition for Best in Show. This is down in part to the suave, physically imposing presence of Idris Elba; he literally towers over nearly everyone else. But it’s also because, like Omar, Stringer Bell is textured and sympathetic enough that you’re almost tempted to consider him an antihero, in spite of his – uh, let’s say casual – regard for human life.

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Review Round-up: The SPFBO Finalists (Approach & Part 1)

51Q4ahBJtTLAfter months of tension and excitement and a lot of reading, we're now in the final round of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. 

Ten bloggers read 30 self-published books each. Every blog selected one book for the final. Now, all ten bloggers are reading all ten books in pursuit of FANTASY EXCELLENCE (or, at the very least, a winner). We're each moving at our own pace, so the best way to keep up is through this page, where organiser-and-author Mark Lawrence keeps track of the scores and reviews.

You can find links to reviews of my initial 30 here.

So... I hate doing ratings for books. Genuinely. For long-term readers of this blog (hi mom!), you'll know that we haven't scored a book since 2010. In fact, in one of the few blatantly self-serving acts of revisionism I've ever committed, in 2011ish, I went through and deleted all the scores from previous reviews. I really don't like rating books.

However, I completely understand the need for some sort of judging system for the SPFBO, which features ten multiclass blogger/judges with very, very different tastes and scoring standards. So, I've embraced the chaos, and used numbers. Basically, this is a disclaimer that my numbers are just my numbers and OH GOD NEVER AGAIN. Also, please remember that the way judging works means I'm reviewing ten books that I didn't 'pre-select', so, naturally, they're not all going to be to my personal taste.

So, all caveats said and done, let's hand out the first batch of arbitrary numbers! 

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The Extinction Event: The Last Word

Jurassic London

Jonathan Edwards - The Extinction Event

We did so many things wrong.

In the introduction, 600-odd pages ago, Anne mentioned that we launched our first anthology, Stories of the Apocalypse without, well… the book. A dozen authors, another dozen family members, a double-handful of supportive friends and a couple befuddled strangers all gathered at Tate Britain to awkwardly scan some QR codes and listen to vague promises of future delivery. We sold three ebooks that day. Not exactly the glorious march into literary history that we had envisioned.

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The Extinction Event: The Beginning of the End

Jurassic London Joey Hi-Fi - The Lowest Heaven
Tate Britain, the redoubtable art museum, opened an exhibit about the 19th century painter John Martin on 21 September, 2011. Tantalizingly titled “John Martin: Apocalypse”, the exhibition was intended to bring this mostly forgotten painter, a flash-in-the-pan during his own lifetime, to the attention of a modern audience by associating his gigantic, Biblical paintings with an emerging cultural fascination with the end of the world.

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Alex Spears on "Dodo Ink and Risk-Taking Fiction"

Eleventh Letter front coverDodo Ink are a new publisher of fiction set up in 2015 by the novelist Sam Mills, book blogger Thom Cuell and myself, with a mission to publish innovative, risk-taking, imaginative and experimental fiction.

We had each had experiences that lead us to believe that there was an audience for novels that didn’t fit neatly onto mainstream publisher’s lists: Thom, on The Workshy Fop, as a champion of fiction from indie publishers; myself, having worked in the industry for several years and seen an ever-increasing focus on acquiring highly commercial properties, at the expense of what is termed the ‘midlist’, authors who are popular enough to command a steady readership and remain profitable to publish, but often not deemed commercial enough to them the tailored sales, marketing and PR attention that could help them develop their careers creatively and commercially. Sam, as a novelist and writer, experienced this first-hand when trying to help her friend Tom Tomaszewski secure a book deal or agent for his novel, The Eleventh Letter, which was deemed interesting, accomplished and original, but not commercial enough in today’s publishing climate.

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Radio Drama: "The Willoughby Obsession" (1980)

Pocket watch

"The Willoughby Obsession" first aired in 1980 on Nightfall.

Thoughts Before Listening

Hallo dears. Today I have decided to listen to something called "The Willoughby Obsession" from Nightfall. This show might be exciting because ‘obsession’ is a very exciting word and so is ‘Willoughby’. Due to racism, I also believe that this will be Downton Abbey, Dr Who and Call the Midwife all mixed together. I’m not sure if my Indian culture will prevent me from understanding all the words. It probably will.

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Jurassic London - One week to go...

10702229_10154688548695521_213867787888387444_nWith The Extinction Event behind us, a reminder that extinction itself is only a week away!

Our books are going out of print on 1 November, so if you're looking for some of the universe's best fiction1, strike now!

A complete list of Jurassic books can be found here.

Or go shopping on Amazon.co.uk.

Or on Amazon.com.

Our chapbooks are downloadable for free on Goodreads (and will remain so indefinitely) 

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1: This is completely true. I'll totally provide references in, like, early November. Until then, just take my word for it.


Adam Kranz on "Fantasy needs more parasites"

(C) Christopher Taylor-DaviesIn 1998, Spanish neurologist Juan Gomez-Alonso caused a flurry of bad science journalism by speculating in an academic journal that vampirism originated as a fictional extrapolation of human rabies. The traits were all there. Hypersensitivity to strong stimuli, like bright lights, garlic, and mirrors. Insomnia. Hypersexuality. A tendency to bite, potentially killing their victims or passing on the condition. Furthermore, the peak of vampire fascination in Europe came soon after a well-documented epidemic of rabies in Hungary.

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This Thursday... The Extinction Event!

6a00d8345295c269e201b7c89e8d77970b-300wiThursday evening we're having a welcome party for The Extinction Event and a farewell to Jurassic London. Please join us and many of the book's contributors from 7 pm at the Yorkshire Grey (London, WC1X) to give the book/press the welcome/goodbye it deserves!

Facebook event, if you like to RSVPing.

There are very few copies of The Extinction Event unclaimed. It is very unlikely that there will be any left for sale on the night, so if you are interested in this special edition, 150-copy-only, never to be reprinted or ebooked, rather stately monolith of a book... you should probably order it now.

The table of contents, details and more pretty pictures can all be found here.