Small Press Shakedown: Martin Appleby of Paper and Ink
It’s called Rupert Orange, I mean come on.

The State of the Kitsch


Hey, here's a slightly rejigged site! Which also gives us an excuse to roll out our annual summary of what's the what around here.

Here's last year's, which was brief and to the point.

There are a lot of reasons we do a thing like this - a blog, a website, a thingazine, whatever you call it. The best of those reasons is that we enjoy doing it. So, as always, when we sit back and reflect upon the previous 365 days, the first question is, "did we have fun?".

...and we did. 

For what it is worth, all the less subjective measurements did alright as well. 2016 was particularly rewarding on an article-by-article level: we had fewer posts last year than in 2015, but the visits-per-post and dwell time for each visit were up. We're going to go ahead and call this whole 'paying really good writers to write for us regularly' experiment a success. 

Things that happened

The top 10 most read articles of 2016:*

  1. Phil Tucker's The Path of Flames
  2. Patrick Rothfuss: "Howlers vs the World"
  3. Taher Shah's "Angel"
  4. Villain of the Month: Cersei Lannister
  5. Josiah Bancroft's Senlin Ascends 
  6. "15 of the Amazing Women Writing Genre Fiction" by Breaking the Glass Slipper
  7. Five Things You May Not Know About London
  8. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" by Adam Roberts
  9. Readers of Gor: Tarnsman of Gor
  10. Who is Judge Dredd and Why is He So Damn Good Anyway?

[2016 posts only, and excludes perennial champion "We are Sansa", as well as our reviews for The Wise Man's Fear, Caligula and Wizard's First Rule.]

The lesson is that we should keep making fun of Patrick Rothfuss on an annual basis.

10 posts is a rubbish sample size, but that's 10 posts from 8 different writers (11, really, since a few were co-written): a combination of guests and regulars, covering a silly range of topics. That's cool.

We published (some) fiction:

Not as much as previously. There are a lot of reasons for this, but, ultimately, fiction is the most time-and-money intensive undertaking that we do. We're going to think about what we can add to the mix that the many other venues aren't already doing, and if we can do it in a way that's worthwhile for the both the writers and ourselves. All thoughts welcome in the comments.

Who did all the hard work?

Your 2016 regulars were Anne, Becky, Erin, Jamie, Jared, Jon, Kuzhali, Mahvesh, Molly, Silvia and Stark.

Guest posts came from Adam Kranz, Adam Roberts, Alex Marshall, Alex Spears, Aliya Whiteley, Ben Smith, Christina Marie, Gail Carriger, Jonathan Green, Justin Landon, Matthew Blakstad, Mazin Saleem, Selena Chambers, Sophie Mayer, Susan Jane Bigelow and the crew of Breaking the Glass Slipper.

Artists included Caspian Whistler, Christopher Taylor-Davies, Jade Klara, Jeffrey Alan Love, Jessica Taylor and Niki Sereno.

Plus an additional shout out to the One Comic Podcast team of Jon, Bex and Jared.

What coming in 2017?

 We will always fiddle. And frankly, we don't plan very far ahead. But here's what we know:

  • The new layout, such as it is, feels like a good way of balancing the longer, more invested features, while still having space for lots of daily or almost-daily short posts and reviews. We'll see how it goes.
  • The author rota will be cycling a bit. We recruit the authors we love, which means we have to give them breaks to do things like write books. It is the nature of the beast, but we think it is worth it.
  • Who knows?

9 years in, we're still winging this: why pretend otherwise?


You're awesome. Thank you so much for tweeting, sharing, linking, commenting, arguing, and, most importantly, reading. You're the best!

If there's anything you'd like to see - let us know! What do you want more of? Or less of? Are there things you're not seeing on other sites, that you've a burning desire to read?


  • Our goal is to have fun.
  • In 2016, we had fun.
  • Year = success.