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February 2018

Pornokitsch: The Exit Interview

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Jared: Hello, Anne.

Thank you for attending your contractually mandated exit interview. Everything we discuss today will be kept confidential [shared on the internet] and anonymous [you will be named throughout]. We'll be using the contents of this discussion to ensure that our working conditions are optimal and our processes are as strong as possible [we're hoping you drop some juicy bits of gossip].

So let's get started, shall we? How long have you been at... Porno...quiche? Is that how you pronounce that? 

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Where's Pornokitsch?

...well, not here any more. 

We'll be keeping the Pornokitsch Facebook page ticking along - it has a surprisingly buzzy community and is a good way of sharing nifty links. We'll see how long that goes.

Anne's on a social media hiatus, but, when she's not, she can otherwise can be found at @thefingersofgod.

Jared has a newsletter set up. How exactly this manifests itself,... who knows? He's also still lurking about on Twitter at @straycarnivore.

You can find our regulars and guests online at:


The Rose of the Prophet by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

6a00d8345295c269e201bb09f892f4970d-250wiThis is it, y'all. The entire Pornokitsch legacy, resting on one final review. There's no guarantee that I'll ever have a platform like this again. Worse: these last words need to be worthy of the ten years of effort that went into building said platform. These words will represent the entire body of my work: now and forever. Terrifying.

And yet, that's not true, is it?

It is very easy to empathise with that kind of pressure – but it is also utter madness.  Approximately 80% of our traffic already goes directly to ‘old’ articles - and that's soon to be 100%. Most people that encounter Pornokitsch, or me, will never even see this review, much less use it as their means of judging the rest of my work.

Understandably, it is a relief when I acknowledge that this piece doesn’t need to be the ur-blog. I can try something new, experiment with something old, or do what feels right to me without having to second-guess my own legacy. I could even phone it in. This post is not exceptional, and that's liberating: I have permission to fail, and that makes it easier to get on with it.

I don't, however, have permission to wibble endlessly. I promise this does lead somewhere, but let's park this discussion of empowering failure for now.

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Zach Galligan is coming to save us.

Zach Galligan is coming to save us

Zach Galligan is coming to save us. Not the Galligan you know, or don’t know, as the case may be. Not a Galligan at all, not really, but infinite worlds with infinite incarnations are confusing enough without quibbling over a name, without searching for the seam on the hero’s mask. Let him be Galligan, then, for it can be no other—there’s no mistaking those boyish good lucks, that charming smile, the glint of pure goodness that flashes in his eye…and the monsters that forever surround him.

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Thoughts on Various Things

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My Thoughts on Radio Plays I Didn’t Listen to

The Jewels of Kali - Illustrious Acquaintance believed I shouldn’t listen to this because why listen to something that you know is going to be racist bananas on a cracker and just general bananas on a cracker also. WHY NOT LISTEN TO IT THO? Anyway, then we were like, white people always seem to have a thing for Kali, no? Then we felt bad for saying “white people” in “that way”. Then Illustrious Acquaintance thought I should listen to this because Kali might be short for cauliflower and that might be interesting.

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Fiction: 'Four Imaginary Reviews' by Adam Roberts

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Cristina Algarotti, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday (Howells 2018), 292pp

The main character in Algarotti’s new novel is an artificial intelligence, a consciousness spun out of a cat’s-cradle of linked supercomputers (some on earth, some in orbit, one on the moon), called Lah Rïd 7040qb, known as Lala by its developers. The opening chapters are all told from the point of view of Lala: how s/he comes into awareness, his/her friendships with Lance and Kuoh (his/her favourites amongst the programmers and developers). She’s a charmer, is Lala: vastly knowledgeable and sensitive, creative and accomplished. Through her eyes we see the wonder of the world as if for the first time. Algarotti effortlessly sketches in her interplanetary future, its gleaming tech, its marvellous ruins, explosions throwing out lotus-petals of light, crowds pulsing along the superhighways, webbing between Earth and Moon, and humanity’s hopes for reaching the stars.

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The Kitschies

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 11.14.34Disclaimer: It has been five (?) years since I had anything to do with The Kitschies, so, this is a non-disclaimer disclaimer. This has nothing to do with me or with Pornokitsch as a whole. (Anne still makes the trophies though!)

But, god damn, they're fun to watch. Check out this lovely website created by sponsor Blackwell's. And buy all the books - at a discount!

This year's shortlists look exceptional: I've read precisely zero of the books, but have now ordered a half dozen based on their very intriguing descriptions. I've long held the opinion that awards are just glorified recommendations. They don't make things objectively Better or Worse, but they are very good machines for discovering new reading. If you can find an award with taste that matches your own, hold that sucker close. Or, in this case, keep gripping the whole darn tentacle.

On a self-indulgent personal note: The Kitschies was the first of our projects that we initiated,... then left. If these tiny, tentacular awards were ever going to do what they were supposed to do, they needed to live and breathe beyond us, and be bigger than us. That's something we saw at the time, and, as much as we miss them - it was the right call, and we've never regretted it.

We're now a few days away from wrapping up a ten year project (Pornokitsch), and that's not so long after wrapping up a five year one (Jurassic London). Knowing that at least one of our goofy little kids grew up to have an impact on the world... that's what I needed to hear right now. Well done to The Kitschies and to everyone behind them. (And thanks.)

The lists and the links are all here. 


Fiction: '01001001 01000011 01000101' by Robert Sharp

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The book was big and heavy, which meant it would burn well. Ree ran her fingers over the embossed cover before opening it. The leather was a little damp, of course, but not sodden, and the pages inside were crisp and dry. She tore out the first page and threw it onto the fire.

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Review Round-up: Smoke 'em while you got 'em

Some reviews that are united by being... written. And since this site ain't around for much longer, it is now or never! Featuring Margaret Millar's Fire Will Freeze, Bill Beverly's Dodgers, Lauren Willig's The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and Lucas Dale's First Watch. Something for everyone and/or no one, I suspect.

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13631744Fire Will Freeze by Margaret Millar (1944)

Utterly bonkers ‘sealed room’ mystery - think of it as punk-Christie, with an emphasis on surreal dialogue, backhanded character development, and a (surprisingly) fair use of the Detection Club rules. A busload of skiiers - of variable ages, backgrounds and levels of outdoor experience - find themselves stranded in rural Canada when their bus-driver, quite literally, runs away. When the squabbling tourists finally go chasing off after him, they instead find a ramshackle mansion, tended to by a pair of (violently) unwelcoming women.

The mystery unfolds through a series of snarky conversations (everyone is barely holding it together) and accidental discoveries (there are a fair number of bodies about). Millar has one primary protagonist, a young busybody with an overactive imagination. The point of view changes frequently and, as with the best mysteries of its type, everyone is a suspect. The weirdness ramps up quickly, not aided by the frequent shifts in perspective, but Fire is well worth the initial effort.

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