Friday Five: 5 Podcasts for Fantasy Fans
Composting with Sandworms - 19 May, Chelsea Fringe

Everywhere Else, Sandworms, Subs, Vermilion & Teasers

The occasional round-up of stuff, Pornokitsch-related and otherwise. This time in reverse order: us stuff first, then some links, interesting and sundry.

VermilionMolly Tanzer's new novel - Vermilion - is out now, and already receiving rave reviews (not least of which would be the Library Journal tagging it as Debut of the Month). Links to get your copy of this steampunk, gender-bending, alternate history, ghost-busting, Weird Western spectacular are here.

We're hosting "Composting with Sandworms" - an event on 19 May as part of the Chelsea Fringe, London's alternative gardening festival. This year's theme, as you might guess, is Dune, and we've got the Royal Observatory's Marek Kukula and craftmistress Lauren O'Farrell and Dune's publishers Hodder & Stoughton and The Folio Society all on board. We'll be wanging on about this a bit more later, but tickets are already on sale. (And quite limited.)

A reminder: we're still open for submissions for our Weekly Fiction feature. Keep 'em coming. There are also other subs opportunities on the horizon for Jurassic London, you can read more about them here.

Finally - and this is a particularly annoying teaser - but we're doing a big thing on Tuesday. You'll may want to swing by and see what's happening, say, around 2-ish.

Below the jump: links, rants, stats and vampires.

What else is happening? (Special "Not a Single Hugos-Related Link Edition")

Not to get morbid over "the death of the book", but this chart is shocking. According to a rather extensive study from Ofcom, 16-24 year olds now do the majority of their reading digitally. Not only is this a huge jump over any other age segment, it is hard to see how it would magically reverse. The book isn't "dead", but, like it or not, the format in which it is delivered is changing rapidly. What's also shocking is how this was never covered in the trade press - although, there are a plethora of smaller, bespoke, publisher-commissioned surveys that get a lot of attention (and weirdly, they all say that kids and millennials prefer print).

While I'm on a tirade, the latest issue of the RSA Journal includes a fascinating study into ethical consumerism by Timothy Devinney that concludes that "notions of humans doing good just because it is good fail at representing our behaviours". That is to say "if you are attempting to sell an ethical product you cannot expect individuals to sacrifice any aspect of the other things that matter". Which is why, as much as I adore and delight in physical bookshops, independent bookshops and, hell, even non-Amazon online retailers, the tendency to market bookshops as the ethical route is short-sighted and oddly fatalistic. Saving bookshops relies on redesigning them for long-term competitive advantage, and not converting them into charities.

Here's what someone is doing in a similar space:

If Wonder positions itself as a niche search and retrieval system, perhaps the space it fills is one for the people who are more concerned with quality than quantity. Those who seek higher quality and the human touch may just be willing to trade that off for speed. We could probably use a good boutique search engine, and perhaps this is one where librarians won’t be left on the outside looking in. - The Library Journal on Wonder, the search engine powered by librarians

Speaking of digital readers (and retailers) - Comixology released some numbers that indicate that female superheroes are simply killing it. I would've liked a little more poking into the circumstances - these numbers resulted from Comixology BOGOF sale, which would encourage experimentation. That's not to rain on the parade - far from it, either the female superheroes are getting in new readers (further reinforced by the fact that these are digital purchases) or 'adding to the basket' of existing readers. Both are seriously brilliant commercial results, but they're not quite the same - and I'd like to see what happens next.

Kerouac obsessively played a fantasy baseball game of his own invention, charting the exploits of made-up players like Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody and Zagg Parker, who toiled on imaginary teams named either for cars (the Pittsburgh Plymouths and New York Chevvies, for example) or for colors (the Boston Grays and Cincinnati Blacks). - Jack Kerouac was an obsessive fantasy baseball fan

Delilah Dawson on "Please shut up: why self-promotion as an author doesn't work". It isn't quite as hostile as it sounds, what Ms Dawson does is work up to the precept that social marketing should 'pull' not 'push' - a truth for all industries and sectors. Making this a lovely must-read for folks trying to flog anything online. (And, of course, an excellent example of successful self-promotion.)

There’s a whole thing in the air currently about “calm technology.”  Moving fast and breaking things is great fun and sometimes useful but is also kind of teenage and callous.  Calm technology has a tone of maturity about it.  Remember when certain things really did Just Work?  That comes from an approach of simplicity. - Warren Ellis interviewed

The Washington Post ran the numbers and figured out how many bloggers actually live in their parents' basement

Paul Louise-Julie's The Pack looks gorgeous.

An interactive timeline of pre-Dracula vampire literature, introduced by Roger Luckhurst.

PK people in other places

On Midnight in Karachi, Mahvesh Murad speaks with Grasshopper Jungle's Andrew Smith and Hoshruba translator Musharraf Ali Farooqi.

Mahvesh and Jared continue to forge their way through the Dragonlance Chronicles as part of a diligent (if occasionally bemused) reread for

Anne previews this summer's blockbuster movies for Hodderscape - and also gives you all the many reasons you should be watching Daredevil.

Rebecca Levene's Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens (co-edited with Lavie Tidhar) continue to pick up praise - here's a recent review from the wonderfully-named The Hunter's Kind now has both a cover and a blurb (slight spoilers for Smiler's Fair).

With Vermilion out this week, My Bookish Ways interviewed Molly Tanzer. And Molly also wrote a terrific piece for Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds on what she learned while writing the book. In fact, we'll leave with some of her advice:

Talking about one’s own writing can be weird. There are times when it is more and less appropriate, and that can sometimes be difficult for an early-career writer to navigate. But, one of the times when it’s absolutely appropriate is when an editor asks you directly about what you’re working on. Then, go for it. Be excited, be proud. Speak confidently (and succinctly!), even if it feels completely terrifying.