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February 2010
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The Week in Geek: March 21 - 28

Johnny-depp-pirates-of-the-caribbean Greetings and salutations!

London folk, our geek-cups runneth over.  The V&A's late-night function thingie and the fine folks over at Echo Bazaar are teaming up this very Friday, the 26th of March for a live-action puzzle game.  Will you be there?  We will!  (Although where I'll scare up a giggling mandrake at this late date I simply don't know.)

Update:  sorry about the late post!  We did attend this event last night and had an utter blast.  The Echo Bazaar people had us running around the V&A solving riddles in order to learn our true identities.  Turns out, I'm an assassin.  But a hopeful one!  Jared discovered he's a doomed gambler.

Are you a lady with a lean dancer's body and natural breasts?  Would you like to be in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie?  You're in luck: the casting call is out!  This whole article must be seen to be believed.

Speaking of casting, Chris Evans, the charismatic actor who made the loathsome Fantastic Four movies slightly less unwatchable, has been tapped to play Captain America.  I'm sorry John Krasinski lost out, if only for the sake of my own crush on Jim Halpert, but Evans seems like he'll fill out that in no way completely ridiculous costume more than adequately.    Also encouraging:  the director currently attached to the project is none other than Joe Johnston, responsible for the charming (if also somewhat leadened) Rocketeer and "better than Jurassic Park II" sequel, Jurassic Park III.  Promising, promising.

The A to Z of Awesome.  Which is your favorite?

PK Interview: Jonathan Oliver (Part 5)

Previously, we captured Jonathan Oliver and made him tell us all about his book, The Call of Kerberos, as well as divulge his feelings about pulp fiction & spill the secret history of Abaddon. 


Rebecca Levene - Cold Warriors What’s changing at Abaddon in 2010?

Abaddon’s been happily ticking away, but this year we want to be bigger, push more buttons.

We’ve been licensing to foreign rights publishers already, and quite a few more foreign rights publishers have approached us. For a while we weren’t able to do anything about it, but now we’ve got more staff, we’re selling to Poland, France… we’re doing everything as eBooks as well.

And new books? What’s coming out that we can get really, really excited about? 

We’ve got Rebecca Levene’s The Infernal Game series. Rebecca's series is something a bit less ham-fisted pulp and a bit more serious. Not serious-serious, but more interesting in a noiry, stylish way. It’s like the Bourne Identity meets The Devil Rides Out. It’s espionage and diabolism.

Continue reading "PK Interview: Jonathan Oliver (Part 5)" »

New Releases: Memory by Donald Westlake

Memory Memory is the final novel from mystery grandmaster Donald Westlake. It will be on-shelf within the next few days as a paperback original, coming from dedicated pulp specialists Hard Case Crime.

The concept of amnesia - and lost identity - is a common one through the pulps. Many of the great (and not-so-great) authors have used this method to create dramatic tension ("Is this woman a friend or an enemy?"), redefine characters ("I'm a good guy now!") and set up a shocking final reveal ("Good lord, I'M the dead man!"). 

Westlake's Memory transforms this basic literary device into an art form.

Paul Cole begins the book in the arms of another man's wife. Unfortunately, the man (armed with heavy furniture) takes exception to that. So by the second chapter, Paul is in the hospital with a bad concussion. Although Paul's breaks and bruises heal quickly, his memory does not. He quickly realizes - and then re-realizes and re-realizes - that his life has changed completely. 

Continue reading "New Releases: Memory by Donald Westlake" »

You looked like a little kid with a beard.

We bid a brief adieu to You Look Like a Little Kid with a Beard last week, but, as one of our favorite sites, we wanted to give a little more in the way of tribute. 

You Look Like A Little Kid With A Beard 

The internet is a little emptier without the Little Kid's commitment to NIN, well-painted miniatures, short stories, convention reviews and cheeky comic book previews.

A few classic, bearded moments over the past three years:

Continue reading "You looked like a little kid with a beard." »

PK Interview: Jonathan Oliver (Part 4)

Previously, we spoke with Jonathan Oliver (editor of Abaddon and Solaris) about his book, The Call of Kerberos, as well as the lingering influence of the great pulp authors. 


Tell me a bit about Abaddon books. I see your books mixed in with Warhammer fiction. Is this what you are? Is this where pulp fiction belongs? 

Abaddon is admittedly a really odd model. It’s franchise fiction without a franchise. We’re giving writers the spark of an idea and asking, ‘can you do this?’

GREAT jpgBut we’re not giving them an idea that we is based on a game or is a film, or anything… we’re just saying: “Wouldn’t it be cool if this kind of fiction existed? Could you write this kind of fiction for us?”. 

No one else has ever really done this – used the franchise model in that way – they’ve always had a product and the book was the sub-product. 

So we’re really taking a chance, but I think it has worked. We’re a strange child… the red-headed step-child of the publishing world, who just refuses to go away. 

Continue reading "PK Interview: Jonathan Oliver (Part 4)" »

Graphic Novel Round-Up: The Big Screen

Two graphic novels that are coming (very) soon to a theater near you. Andy Diggle and Jock's The Losers and Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's Kick-Ass

One of these is awesome. The other... isn't. 

The Losers: Book OneThe Losers: Book One (Diggle / Jock): This double-sized collection pulls together the first twelve issues of this over-the-top espionage yarn. The titular characters are a band of 'burned' Special Forces grunts - dropped by the CIA after a mission goes wrong. The Losers are out for revenge - tracking down particularly dodgy CIA operations and breaking them up. As their digging around starts to turn up answers, they start drawing even more unwanted attention from the Powers that Be.

It took me a while to get into The Losers, but once I got there, I didn't want to put this down. Diggle's writing is already patently cinematic - this is straight out of the hyperkinetic paranoid action movies of the early 2000's. Jock's art and (gutsy) layouts reinforces the pace. Something is always going on and the reader's eye zips from panel to panel. This is a great comic book, and done, right, should make for a good film. (8/10)

Continue reading "Graphic Novel Round-Up: The Big Screen" »

PK Draft: Who illustrates your autobiography?

David Lloyd -Kickback For this week's draft, you're very special. 

Well, you're always special - we love all our readers - but for this week, you're very, very special. So special, in fact, that The Phantom Publishing Company has just rung up - they're ready to print your autobiography as soon as you choose your illustrator.

Who will it be? 

We've got two prizes this week: David Lloyd's Kickback and the first issue of Jamie McKelvie's Suburban Glamour. 

Both are signed by their respective, world-famous illustrator. Per usual, all you need to do to win is participate. Competition ends on 30 March (evening-ish, British time).

Rules & conditions below the jump.

Continue reading "PK Draft: Who illustrates your autobiography?" »

Joe Hill @ Forbidden Planet, 20 March

HornsThe book: Horns. I love Joe Hill's second novel and, judging by the crowd, I'm not the only one. 

The star: We left the "hour-long" signing after ninety minutes, and the line was still going strong. If the endless handshaking & chit-chatting was getting to the author, he certainly didn't show it. He was chatty, friendly and interesting. Happy to have photos taken (many people took advantage of this). He also signed his books with a little doodle, which invariably wins me over.

The crowd: Big. The largest indoor signing I've ever attended at Forbidden Planet. A mixed group as well - from your traditional 'Gothy' horror groupies to signing virgins, here for the Big Name.

The setting: Definitely one of Forbidden Planet's better efforts. Lots of staff on hand and tons of product (including his comic books and his old PS Publishing contributions - but not, oddly, his first two books). Allowing the signing queue to be indoors (presumably due to the weather) was a nice touch. I was, however, entertained by the clipboard that came around for no apparent reason. Could've been FP, Gollancz, the Joe Hill fan-club or the local Scientologists. Only time & spam will tell...

Suggestions: Not many - when I'm kvetching about clipboards, you know things went well. Hill was terrific, the publisher & bookseller team were calm and organized, the crowd was friendly and the book was great.

[Editor's note to collectors: Don't forget that we maintain a collection of Pornokitsch "verified" signatures - inscriptions or autographs gained first-hand or from reliable sources.]