Fiction: Coming Soon / Submissions Update


It has been (almost) exactly two months since we opened for submissions. Thanks to everyone that's been sending stories our way. It has been a pleasure getting to read them.

We're delighted to announce the first group of new stories. Over the next few months, we'll be proudly presenting readers with the following terrific tales:

  • "I Decided That Things Had Become Too Complicated" by William Curnow*
  • "Killing Time" by Jennifer Moore
  • "The Choreography of Masks" by David W Pomerico
  • "Zombie Hitler vs Neil Armstrong" by Marie Vibbert
  • "Dragons of Kraków" by Michal Wojcik
  • "Space Opera" by Olivia Wood*
  • "Ya-Ya Papaya" by J.Y. Yang*

We'll also continue to publish classic reprints as well, including upcoming stories by Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood and C.L. Moore. And many, many more.

And this doesn't mean we're closing up submissions! Please keep sending your work our way. All the details are here.


*We actually snaffled these up before the open subs began, but they deserve to be announced too!

Weirdness Rodeo

Absolutely brilliant piece from the AV Club on the history (and place on the ash heap thereof) of the DVD: 

The popular understanding of the disappearance of the DVD is simple, and probably accurate: Digital storage technology is rendering hard copies of software and content obsolete. Being able to keep your music, movies, games, and books in your hardware system—or better yet, the cloud—is creating a concomitant desire to be done with yet another bulky material object... The irony lies in the fact that the internet isn’t merely the assassin of the DVD, but the progenitor, as well. Whatever their historical assessment, DVDs are primarily known for ushering in the era of bonus content.

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PK Interview: David J Howe and Stephen James Walker of Telos Books

Death-of-the-Day-380x0The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, our guests are David J Howe and Stephen James Walker, from Telos Publishing.

Pornokitsch: Thanks for taking part! Could you tell us a bit about Telos, and the books that you publish?

David J Howe and Stephen James Walker: We are Telos Publishing Ltd, a small independent press run by David J Howe and Stephen James Walker.

We have two imprint areas: the main press, which specialises in non-fiction, particularly guides to film and television; and Telos Moonrise, edited by Sam Stone, which presents fiction in a number of different genres - horror/fantasy/science fiction/crime/romance/erotica - mainly for the e-book market, but also in paperback editions.

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Valour by John Gwynne

ValorI'm reviewing all ten of the finalists for this year's David Gemmell Legend Awards. You can see the list and my approach here, and vote in the Awards here.

The cauldron was a hulking mass of black iron, tall and wide, squatting upon a dais in the centre of a cavernous room. Torches of blue flame hung on the walls of the chamber, pockets of light punctuating the darkness. In the shadows, circling its edges, long and sinuous shapes moved.... It was utterly black, appearing to suck the torchlight into it, consuming it, reflecting nothing back.

There's a Black Cauldron, and it is really, really black. Very black. Very, very black indeed. Utterly black. 

There are possibly two key traits to Valour (2014), and they are both on display here: it doesn't shy away from tropes and it is more than a little repetitive.

Valour takes place in a sort of vaguely Western European mish-mash of a setting. The land was once ruled by giants, but now they're huddled away in a tiny corner, resenting the human occupiers. The human lands are a mess. They were a series of vaguely interdependent kingdoms with a nominal High King, but the events of Malice, the previous book, have upset the status quo. Now the kingdoms are collapsing into war.

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Stark Reviews: Johnny Guitar (1954)

JOHNNY GUITAR - American Poster 3

“Gun-Queen of the Arizona Frontier!” the original movie tag-line proclaims, “And her kind of men!!!”

We’ll ignore those exclamation marks for a moment and stick to the facts: Vienna has opened a saloon on the edge of a small town, right on the proposed line of the railway. Jealous local cattle-farmer Emma Small wants her gone. When her brother is killed, Emma falsely accuses Vienna and her friends ­– a group of honest-ish bandits and silver miners – in a bid to get rid of her and her saloon, once and for all.

Based on the book by Roy Chanslor (who also wrote The Ballad of Cat Ballou) Johnny Guitar is weird, subversive, camp as hell and utterly unforgettable. Here are my two cents...

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Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell

Traitor's BladeAnd we're off! This is the first of ten reviews, as I'll be going through the shortlists for the David Gemmell Legend Awards. You can see the complete list here, as well as a bit about the awards, the books and the criteria I'm using. Voting concludes on 17 July.

Pretend, just for a moment, that you have attained your most deep-seated desire. Not the simple, sensible one you tell your friends about, but the dream that's so close to your heart that even as a child you hesitated to speak it out loud.

Thus begins Traitor's Blade (2014), and the opening lines do an excellent job of capturing the novel's overall tone. These wistful, deliberately florid lines are clearly a set-up for a joke - and, indeed, by the end of the first page, the romantic vision is shattered by a crude interruption. But there's also something genuine in these lines - the speaker might be overwrought and a tiny bit snide, but there's a truth at the core. A real dream, hiding behind sarcasm.

And thus goes Traitor's Blade - a novel that cloaks itself in satire, but has a firmly romantic heart. It is a tricky balance: not everyone can have their tongue in their cheek and their heart on their sleeve, but Traitor's Blade accomplishes it with surprising skill. Not unlike, of course, The Three Musketeers, which clearly inspired this novel in many ways. Dumas' novel is perhaps better known for its romantic side - the swordplay and the sacrifice. But unlike, say, The Count of Monte CristoThe Three Musketeers is a deeply, wonderfully snarky book, one that very rarely takes itself (or its protagonists) seriously.

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Weirdness Rodeo


I've poached the 'Weirdness Rodeo' name (and category tag) for these occasional ramble-fests. But the content - link-wrangling, odd connections and thinly-veiled contribution self promotion - is the same. I just like the title more. 

Because... data

This year's crop of DGLA finalists, complete with, and Goodreads ratings - plus page count and DGLA history. Sanderson's numbers are unreal. (Download CSV / Download PDF)

Gazing At Millennials In the Desperate Hope That They Gaze Back at You

I view Dazed's soapbox with a fairly hearty grain of salt at the best of times - especially when they chest-poundingly announce the #dazedgeneration (#unironichashtaggingalert) - but there are few good points in their screed. Maybe.

To balance out their woolly qualitative rambling, here's some broad quantitative stuff (all collected by Edison research, and embedded in this beast of a document):

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Got bugs?

Consider this PK 1.5 (or PK 2.0, with a patch to 2.1 promised in the near future).

If you spot bugs, will you leave them in the comments?

The lovely Typepad team are already helping with a few things. But I'd like to get all the bugs squished before we apply the new artwork.

(As always, thanks!)


Four reasons why I probably won't win the Shirley Jackson Award

Ceremony_of_fliesI'm delighted and honoured to have been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, for my novella The Good Shabti, published by Jurassic London (the sister imprint to this very website). However, there are four good reasons why I probably won't win.

The first reason is the Ceremony of Flies by Kate Jonez (DarkFuse). Our protagonist, who calls herself Emily, is an unreliable cocktail waitress, an unreliable road-trip buddy and definitely an unreliable narrator. We meet her serving drinks in a Las Vegas casino, but before long she is on the run in a 1971 Pontiac Convertible, driven by an equally dubious gambler named Rex. Their journey takes them from the bright lights of Sin City, via suburban Barstow, to ever more remote and decaying locales, until she arrives at what might just be the end of the world.

Jonez's parched descriptions of this doomed trajectory are fantastic. There are Joshua Trees and Stucco churches, and flies everywhere.  The soaring temperature is evoked so well I thought my Kindle might overheat.  And there is no let up—Every apparent relief, every opportunity for a cool breeze or a quenching of thirst, is just a further heightening of the characters desperate plight. Is this Emily's personal hell for the many crimes she has committed? Or some wider vengeance?

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PK Interview: Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards of Alchemy Press

The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, we're hosting Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards, from Alchemy Press.

Dead-water-cover-003cPornokitsch: Thanks for joining us - could you tell us a bit about who you are, and what bookish things you're doing?

Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards: We started Alchemy Press in the late 1990s with a National Lottery Grant, so we’re now over 15 years old. Our first book was a slim volume of Damian Paladin stories by Mike Chinn. The press won the BFS award for best collection in 2000 with Kim Newman’s Where the Bodies are Buried. And in 2014 we won the award for best small press, also from the BFS. Among our titles are the series anthologies, The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Fiction and The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic.

PK: What are the stories or the novels that you want to publish?

PC & JE: There is no one genre or sub-genre. We’ve published fiction that ranges from science fiction to horror, heroic fantasy to the supernatural. I guess the underlining theme is “weird” – however one defines that word. And, of course, good writing, good characterisation, good stories. For example, check out our collections by Peter Atkins and Bryn Fortey and David A Sutton to get an idea of our tastes – and especially the stories in our anthologies, too.

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