The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Syfy Gets Diverse; Scifi Benefits

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In a month during which the Oscars have been rightly lambasted for their frequent exclusion and diminishing of minorities and DC/Warner Brothers trumpeted their upcoming Wonder Woman movie’s feminism by showing off Gal Gadot’s ass and talking about how her true power is her loving, nurturing personality, it’s especially refreshing to retire from the eye-rolling […]

In This Green and Pleasant Land

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The green, mist-shrouded landscape of British folk horror seems at first an off place to go looking for science fiction. Stories about, in film, television, and literature (and doubtless in ribald songs belted out at the local pub where Britt Ekland works) of sinister moors, sylvan glades, and ruined old stone circles where unlucky backpackers […]

In an Alternate Galaxy Far, Far Away

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Man, George Lucas really screwed things up for other Star Wars writers when he decided Luke and Leia were siblings. Poor Alan Dean Foster, unaware that Lucas would come up with that one day and make his book full of “Luke’s face flushed as Leia’s body brushed against his” more awkward than it already was. […]

Now Cthulhu is Blofeld

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The moons have aligned and given me the opportunity to slip two October articles in, which means you get (or are inflicted with) a third installment of the ongoing series Punching Cthulhu in the Face, a look at the many ways H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror has been corrupted and misunderstood by other writers. And this […]

The Challenge of the Challenge from Beyond

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Every October (well, since last October) Science Fiction editor Keith Allison turns his telescope toward the cosmic horror of weird fiction’s most illustrious Woodrow Wilson look-alike, HP Lovecraft, and the many ways in which people re-interpreted and mis-interpreted his work, in a series called “Punching Cthulhu in the Face.” Even though it has never produced […]

Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?

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I was fifteen, pulling the ol’ “spending the night at a friend’s house” scam so I could sneak off and indulge in the sundry sins the big city offers to a country boy with a twinkle in his eye and about nine dollars in his pocket. I bummed a ride into town with my friend, Christie. Our […]

That’s What She Said

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One of the (many) challenges of science fiction, both for readers and creators, is conceiving of things for which humans have no frame of reference. HP Lovecraft used to confront us with such intellectual challenges in rather a simple but effective method. In The Color Out of Space, the narrator is forced to grapple with […]

Beneath the Mysterian Dome

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In the latter half of the 1950s, it seemed like every alien race with a saucer was high-tailing it to Earth with dreams of conquest, colonization, and a little lovin’ with the locals. The invaders of the 1950s came in many shapes and sizes. Some were blobs. Others were giant insects. A few were house […]

Understanding the Aliens

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I’ve read plenty of good “first contact” stories, and a few great ones. A personal favorite, The Mote in God’s Eye, goes some distance to portraying the tragically insurmountable gulf that might appear when two very different species encounter one another. But no one has realized that gulf better than Octavia Butler. From the very […]

A Relative Dystopia

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Not so very long ago, I was talking with a friend about science fiction’s infatuation with two things: empire and dystopia. Space opera and military science fiction has a fetish for empire, but we’ll deal with that some other time. Dystopian science fiction, those stories of humanity’s struggle to survive in a bleak (but not […]

Keep Searching

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Every April at the Gutter we mix things up with the editors writing something outside their usual domain. This week SF/F Editor Keith writes about movies. In the early spring of 2002, a trip out west to meet some friends resulted in a weekend that involved everything from drinking in Juarez to being hired to do […]

Yesterday’s Tomorrow: A Visit to Tativille

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Against my better judgement, the lights in my apartment are connected to a wireless network controlled via an app. There are physical buttons, but they are located near the plugs, at ground level and often behind obstructions. When I leave, turning off the light requires digging my phone out of my pocket, typing in the unlock code, […]

Vaudeville on Mars

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In my interpretation of The War of the Worlds, the Martians attack hapless planet Earth not because they need water or are merely imperialistic, but in retaliation for us having sent El Brendel to their planet.Armed with the knowledge of the shtick El Brendel will force upon both his Martian and human viewers, when the 1930 science […]

…In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

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Lando Calrissian enters an underground cathedral, one constructed to force a feeling of awe in a person, one with polished floors meant to force a person to take small steps, precariously balanced, with no choice but to contemplate the power of gods and subservience of man. Lando reacts by taking a running start and sliding […]

A Long Time Ago…

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At the beginning of Han Solo’s Revenge, Han and his loyal friend Chewbacca are running a drive-in movie theater out of the back of their spaceship, the Millenium Falcon. Later, Han is irritated by a musical bottle of wine while Chewie chugs beer with gusto. Later still, Chewie fashions a hang glider out of a […]

Return of the Tripods

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I read, not so very long ago, an article intent on wringing its hands over just how dark and bleak and apocalypse-obsessed modern young adult fiction tends to be. It’s all full of kids getting oppressed, leading uprisings, getting hunted down for sport, surviving the destruction of the earth and trying to make a new […]

Something Kinda Funky

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It is common for a television series to run a particularly spooky episode around Halloween. Even horror or supernatural themed shows put a little extra effort into things when October 31st stalks toward us. And while it may have been a wisecracking space adventure clad entirely in billowing blouses (for the men) and skintight shiny […]

Punching Cthulhu in the Face

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Although his prose and his politics can be problematic for some readers, the influence of weird fiction writer HP Lovecraft is substantial and reaches out from beyond the grave like one of his indescribable elder gods. Although not particularly successful financially — which is really just another way of calling him a writer — Lovecraft […]

The Gentleman Adventurer

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I don’t remember how it was I first came across Adam Adamant Lives!, though I suspect it was the culmination of a plot put into motion the day I was born, my sole purpose for existing being so that I might one day discover a British television show about a swashbuckling Edwardian gentleman adventurer who […]

A Halting Fire

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In the season one finale of AMC’s new series Halt and Catch Fire, the builders of the Cardiff Electric portable Giant computer gather around a conference table to read an unenthusiastically positive review of their new product. It is an unwittingly apt reflection of my reaction to the show in general. What was touted, or […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Mubi has a collection of film posters designed by Eva Švankmajerová, Surrealist painter, writer and filmmaker. Learn more about Eva Švankmajerová with an posthumous interview with Gwendolyn Albert, the translator of her novel, Baradla Cave.

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    At The Toast, Mo Moulton watches Downton Abbey and discusses its portrayal of Neville Chamberlain. “Here, then, is Neville Chamberlain in 1925. He is fulfilling the expectations set by an extraordinary political family. His father, Joseph Chamberlain, ran a screw factory in Birmingham, where he became passionate about urban improvement as a method for bettering the lives of his workers. As Liberal mayor of Birmingham, he was an early, passionate proponent of what became known as “gas and water socialism”: he wanted to put those services within reach of every resident by putting them under the management of local government. So far, it’s hard to imagine the Earl of Grantham having much in common with this energetic, egalitarian entrepreneur.”

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    In honor of Black History and Women In Horror Month, Graveyard Shift Sisters take a look at Audre’s Revenge Film collective, which was founded by Monika Estrella Negra:  “Audre’s Revenge Film was created in order to promote visibility of womyn, queer, trans and intersex folks of color in the sci fi and horror universe.

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    Please enjoy an hour of rare Bollywood synth funk (and an interview with DJ Fitz who put the mix together). (via @BethLovesBolly)

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    Nick Den Boer and Davy Force’s The Chickening is finally available to haunt your dreams forever. (The Gutter’s own Carol posted about The Chickening on the Toronto International Film Festival’s official Midnight Madness program blog here and here).

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    In Gareth Evans’ new short, “Pre Vis,” Hannah Al Rashid, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman throw down.

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