From Christie to Bolaño: Adam Roberts' Five Favourite Puzzle Whodunits

Adam Roberts - The Real-Town Murders

I love puzzle whodunits. On account of my crime-novel-loving mother I grew up in a house full of them, which meant that—when I ran out of SF titles—I would pick a green-liveried penguin off the shelf and read that instead: Margery Allingham; Michael Innes; Ngaio Marsh; Edmund Crispin. And of course Agatha Christie. I read huge numbers of such books growing up. I still read them today.

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Eartha Kitt, Yzma's Skin Care, and "Snuff Out the Light"

Yzma

"Snuff Out the Light" is a deleted song from Disney's finest movie, The Emperor's New Groove. You'll undoubtedly remember that Groove was oddly... ungroovy. There's a feisty Tom Jones number to introduce Kuzco and a gruelling Sting number over the credits, but, well, that's it. Unless you count this. All in all, kind of a waste of Eartha Kitt. 

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101 Explanations, or why good people are buying a bad thing

1023300-disney-announces-101-dalmatians-diamond-edition

Anne and I were wandering around Knightsbridge (not our normal stomping ground!) and noticed the rise of, well, fuzziness in luxury fashion. It got us thinking: is fur back?

According to this piece in Business of Fashion on the fur trade, well - yes. And it is because of - wait for it - Millennials. The ultimate irony. After being accused of killing everything from diamonds to desktops, Millennials have actually been murdering bunnies.

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Hubble, bubble, toil and feminism: Witches in comics

Caos1

Halloween is upon us and the usual parade of monster, ghouls and goblins are sure to be out in force. Chief among those will be the 'big three': vampires, werewolves and, of course, witches.

Unlike the first two, however, witches have a real-life history every bit as chilling as the stories in literature and film. The persecution of women (and, less often, men) for the crime of witchcraft is widespread and well known, with the most famous example being the witch trials in Salem in the 1690s. 

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Pennywise and Paper-Thin: Why IT’s clown is too two-dimensional to be terrifying

Pennywise by Caspian WhistlerSo, you know the drill: spoilers ahead.

A few months ago, when we rolled out The Official Pornokitsch Taxonomy of Villains ™, I promised two things: An Obsessed, and a Monster. Half of that promise was fulfilled last month with our look at Khan(s). This month, I deliver on the second half by focusing on the most notorious monster of 2017: Pennywise the Dancing Clown, from Stephen King’s It. I’ll mostly be focusing on the 2017 film version, but will reference other versions as appropriate, since the most famous portrayals – i.e. the novel, the 1990s miniseries, and the latest film – all differ in some respects.

So, let me start with the obvious bit, something we’ve all known in the deepest recesses of our beings since childhood:

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Stark Reviews: A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987)

A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines

Stark says: May I drop dead if that thing doesn't clear the head better than whiskey

I bet after I reviewed Lemonade Joe – the bizarre, brilliant Czech Soviet-era comedy musical western – you thought you were safe. “There cannot be another Soviet-era comedy musical western,” you may have said. “That would be absurd, and reviewing it would be willfully niche.”

But then I discovered A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines. What did you expect me to do? I pounced on it like a bobcat on a rump steak.

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Draft Posts and Middling Along

A week on the road and with a really, really tetchy computer, but - I'm back. And straight into the middle of things.

Middle Relievers Don't Win the Cy Young

We tendency to lionise the start and the end of creative projects, and forget about the middle bits. 

We all become 'authors' as soon as we open a Word file, 'artists' as soon as we buy paint, 'bloggers' as soon as we register our domain name. By contemplating creation - simply by having an idea - we re-identify ourselves.

But then, we also leap to the other extreme. A creator isn't 'allowed' to claim that identification until they have successfully created. You're not really an author until you finish a book. (Or perhaps even publish one.) You're not really an artist until you finish a painting. A blogger without posts is a poor example of the breed. This isn't unfair: inspiration might be the easiest part of the project. Socially, we should celebrate the do-ers and which means focusing on the evidence of what they've done.

But what about everything in-between?

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10 Films We've Outgrown (But Were There For Us When We Needed Them)

Grosse Point Blank

We were inspired by this terrific piece on Film School Rejects, discussing the importance of respecting films we've "outgrown". The article points out an unlikely hypocrisy: we uncritically adore our childhood nostalgia, but we're utterly vicious to those films that 'mean something' to us when we're coming of age.

With that in mind, here are ten movies (mostly) that we've outgrown. They were there for us when we needed them, but, um...

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A Tale of Two Khans

Khaaaaaaan by Caspian Whistler

Spoilers ahead for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and S1:E22 of Star Trek the Original Series.

It was the best of Khans, it was the worst of Khans. It was the film that redeemed its predecessor, and the film that tarnished its predecessor. It was the voyage that went where many others had gone before.

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