Previous month:
March 2015
Next month:
May 2015

Composting with Sandworms - 19 May, Chelsea Fringe

DFH_S_01We're returning to the Chelsea Fringe! Last year, we rocked this delightful offbeat gardening festival with "The Evening of the Triffids" - a night of Wyndham-inspired apocalyptic plant construction.

This year The Kitschies are hosting "Composting with Sandworms" -a night of science fiction, exobiology and not-of-this-earthworms, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's Dune and investigating (plant) life on other planets.

The whole crew is back together, with Royal Observatory's Marek Kukula giving a talk on plants & planets and Lauren "Deadly Knitshade" O'Farrell teaching a workshop on making your very own sock puppet sandworm. 

We'll also have books and... whatnot..., courtesy of Dune's publishers, Hodder & Stoughton and The Folio Society. We've even got a super-sexy copy of The Folio Society's anniversary edition (pictured) to give away...

Also, cake. The cake last year was pretty spectacular.

This is an event for readers and gardeners of all ages and interests, but please book now - tickets (and socks) are very limited.

Tickets and details.

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.

Continue reading "Everywhere Else, Sandworms, Subs, Vermilion & Teasers" »

Friday Five: 5 Podcasts for Fantasy Fans

This week's guest is Christian Madera, co-creator of The Once And Future Nerd. The long-running serial features three high school kids - Billy, Jen and Nelson - who find themselves swept into the fantasy kingdom of Iorden. With all the benefits and challenges (mostly the latter) that entails...

[The episodes are about 20-25 minutes each, which is eerily perfect for my morning commute, and I'm having a blast listening to them.]

We asked Christian to recommend a few of his favourite podcasts, and he's obliged rather spectacularly... 

The Adventure Zone Flat_14The Adventure Zone

Elevator Pitch: Three very funny podcasters play a D&D campaign with their Dad.

Review: The Brothers McElroy have spent years honing their comedic banter game on their tongue-in-cheek advice show My Brother, My Brother, and Me. For whatever reason, that show, while slick, funny, and well-done, never captured my attention. But the added Fantasy bent of their Dungeons and Dragons spin-off was the hook I needed to fall in love with their unique style. In The Adventure Zone, Travis and Justin McElroy, and their Dad (himself a broadcasting veteran and geek before it was cool) play through a D&D 5E campaign, with Griffin McElroy taking the role of DM.

They begin with the default quest in the 5E player's handbook, but the campaign soon branches off into a surprisingly fascinating world of Griffin's devising. The snarky asides remain enjoyable throughout, but what really makes the show for me is Griffin's morbidly hilarious combat commentary and smartly specific character work as various ridiculous NPCs. And of course the constant delight the players take in annoying their DM. The first episode is a bit mechanics-heavy, as you might expect, but stick it out through the first battle and you'll be glad you did.

SFW-ness: Curse words and drug references, but it never feels gratuitous

Find it at: or search "Adventure Zone" on iTunes

If you love this, try: My Brother My Brother and Me or Sawbones for more McElroy family banter, Party Roll or Drunks & Dragons for further comedic RPG action

Continue reading "Friday Five: 5 Podcasts for Fantasy Fans" »

Tom Hunter on "Do genre awards actually sell books?"

Dark EdenShortly after winning the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award, Dark Eden by Chris Beckett was listed as #4 in the Amazon UK charts for paid books on Kindle.

Not a subsection Amazon chart but #4 out of all the paid books being bought on Kindle at that time.

Dan Brown was #3.

Why is this important?

One of the first things I was told when I initially got involved with the Clarke Award almost a decade ago was that, while all very nice and lovely, no genre award, especially no UK genre award of which the Clarke was certainly the biggest, and ever had any real effect on actual book sales.

If we weren’t selling books, the logic went, none of the other awards would be either.

Side Note 1: When I say ‘selling books’ I’m using this to mean sales in the kind of numbers and time frames that publishers can actually notice. I’m not really talking about a couple of extra sales at a dealer's table, although those definitely help too!

As someone who first heard of the Arthur C. Clarke Award when it was one of the deciding factors in my spontaneously buying an intriguing new book called VURT by Jeff Noon – it was printed in the back copy too, not even on the front! – I wasn’t entirely sure this perceived wisdom was true, but then again I was a case study of one.

Continue reading "Tom Hunter on "Do genre awards actually sell books?"" »

'Some Famous Ghosts of the National Capitol' (1898)


The Capitol at Washington is probably the most thoroughly haunted building in the world.

Not less than fifteen well-authenticated ghosts infest it, and some of them are of a more than ordinarily alarming character.

What particularly inspires this last remark is the fact that the Demon Cat is said to have made its appearance again, after many years of absence. This is a truly horrific apparition, and no viewless specter such as the invisible grimalkin that even now trips people up on the stairs of the old mansion which President Madison and his wife, Dolly, occupied, at the corner of Eighteenth Street and New York Avenue, after the White House was burned by the British. That, indeed, is altogether another story; but the feline spook of the Capitol possesses attributes much more remarkable, inasmuch as it has the appearance of an ordinary pussy when first seen, and presently swells up to the size of an elephant before the eyes of the terrified observer.

Continue reading "'Some Famous Ghosts of the National Capitol' (1898)" »

DGLA Season: Bring the Noise!

Don't drop the trophyAnd we're off and running with the David Gemmell Legend Awards, the prize that celebrates the year's epickest epic fantasy, and one of the highlights of my personal reading calendar.

Here's the schedule:

  • Voting on the longlist has begun now and closes at midnight on Friday 15th May
  • Voting on the shortlist opens on Monday 1st June
  • Voting on the shortlist closes at midnight on Friday 17th July
  • The presentation takes place at 8pm on Saturday 8th August

Everything is a big public vote, so get involved and vote away. Vote vote vote.

As is my personal tradition, I'll read and review all ten books on the Legend (Novel) and Morningstar (Debut) shortlists. I'm going to aim to do this between 1 June and 17 July, but, as evidenced by previous years, that doesn't always happen. (These books are long.)

Before 1 June, I'll put up the introduction and criteria post. This brand new website is full of words and I aim to parse the hell out of them, until I come up with some sort of judging framework. It'll be fun!

Continue reading "DGLA Season: Bring the Noise!" »

Tim Clare on "Odd John: Conspiracies, Utopias and the Glamour of Fascism"

Odd JohnOlaf Stapledon’s Odd John came out 80 years ago, and it’s a fascinating, troubling novel.

I first read it as part of my research for my own novel, The Honours, which is set in 1935. I wanted to find out what sort of SF people were reading that year, and I’d heard a lot about this strange, progressive, controversial story about a boy born with superhuman abilities who comes to herald a new, albeit abortive, dawn in human evolution.

What I hadn’t heard about was the weird, roiling contraflow of idealism and extremism from which the novel emerged, the secret societies and open revolutions, and the allegations of an international eugenicist conspiracy desiring nothing less than global enslavement which persist to this day. Odd John is a remarkable novel which perfectly encapsulates the strangeness, terror and optimism of an era, a work both prescient and chillingly retrograde, and one which – like all successful fiction – permits interpretations quite contrary to the author’s purported intent.

In 1928, Gollancz published H. G. Wells' book-length manifesto The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints For A World Revolution. In it, Wells argued against the dogmas of ancient religious institutions and antiquated divisive notions of patriotism, advocating a new order based around science and rationalism, brought about by informal groups of likeminded citizens coming together to move the world towards a free, equitable and unified utopia.

Continue reading "Tim Clare on "Odd John: Conspiracies, Utopias and the Glamour of Fascism"" »

Friday Five: 5 Next Generation Netflix Defenders

Today is officially Daredevil Day - yes, officially. The UN has issued a… thing ('edict'? doesn't sound very UNish, does it? And 'proclamation' sounds like something Regina would issue in Once Upon A Time). Let's start over.

So the UN has declared Friday 10th April 2015 to be Daredevil Day in honour of the launch of the first Marvel Netflix series.

And, while obviously you're all off watching all thirteen episodes back to back, when you're done, here's a subject for you to consider. After Daredevil comes Jessica Jones, then Luke Cage, then Iron Fist before they all get together to be The Defenders. But what then?

Who else should Marvel Studios bring into the Netflix fold to be part of the more street level part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Here are five (well, technically seven) suggestions...

Cloak and Dagger

CloakLet's just get the fact that the name/concept connection is outrageously forced out of the way first so we can focus on how great the pairing was from its very first appearance. Tammy and Tyrone are runaway teenagers who made it to New York only to fall victim to a mob plan to test new designer drugs on the youth that have fallen through the cracks. Most of the victims die, but Tammy and Tyrone emerge from the tests changed.

Tammy's light daggers are formidable weapons, and also the only thing able to keep the darkness that Tyrone is able to channel 'fed' - unless he lets it consume life energy. His darkness also allows him to teleport and to consign enemies to a dark dimension. Their origin is one of the grimmest in the Marvel canon, and even allows for some typical Marvel angst - Tyrone is tortured by the fact that Tammy is forced to stay with him to prevent his darkness feeding on innocents, even though she could, in theory, return to a normal life. 

Appearing initially in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Cloak and Dagger had their own limited series, a well-regarded meeting with the New Mutants, and went on to an unfortunately sporadic career in the Marvel U. An attempt to retcon their origin to make them mutants when mutants were The Big Thing is probably, hopefully gone by the wayside, and it's past time that they got the kind of attention that a TV series would give them. 

Continue reading "Friday Five: 5 Next Generation Netflix Defenders" »

Weekly Fiction: Open for Submissions


We're looking for short stories to publish on Pornokitsch.

What we want

  • Contemporary, relevant fiction that's fun to read!
  • We like technology and pop music and superheroes and fairytales and apocalypses and dinosaurs and the Gothic and zombies and fairy tales and the Blues and high school and bug-eyed monsters and ghosts and duels and and coming of age and Victorians and truck stops and romance and monsters (we love monsters)and spaceships and cities and magic swords and mysteries and and and and and...
  • Genuinely, we do not care what genre it is in. It doesn't even need speculative or fantastic elements to it. How's that for broad?
  • Please do not include anything that's linked to an existing world. The one exception would be if that existing world is public domain. (If you want to send something set on Wells's Mars or in the Castle of Otranto, that's cool. Just make sure we know that's what you're doing.)
  • A good story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. And characters. 
  • [Added from Twitter] The complete list of what we've published on this site in the past is here. And, of course, any of the anthologies from Jurassic London. They're pretty bonkers, but may give some hint of the stuff we like. (Maybe?)

Continue reading "Weekly Fiction: Open for Submissions" »