The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

“Mad As Hell: Thoughts On Aaron Sorkin”


At Asking The Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum writes about Aaron Sorkin, the “Oh Shenandoah” episode of  Sorkin’s The Newsroom, The Newsroom writer Alena Smith and women speaking out about their experiences. “What we’re seeing here is Aaron Sorkin becoming an Aaron Sorkin character, making the same arguments as Don.  In his conception of reality, a […]

Interstellar and a certain kind of science fiction


Abigail Nussbaum considers Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar at Asking The Wrong Questions.  “As much fun as it is to watch this sort of story–and the enjoyment is only increased by Interstellar‘s refreshing rejection of Hollywood’s standard save the cat story template, with multiple complications and decision points that give the film an almost novelistic feeling–there’s no […]

4600 Words on Reamde

Over at Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum takes on the task of figuring out Stephenson’s Reamde.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: To Boldly Stay

In her series of essays looking over the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Abigail Nussbaum gets to a more pround change from the original Star Trek than tunic colors. By the second season, the Starfleet has decided to boldly stay within Federation borders.  “[I]t’s clear that The Next Generation became a better […]

The Superiority of Game of Thrones as a Show

Abigail Nussbaum writes about how television has improved George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. ” I can think of no response that more thoroughly encapsulates how much Game of Thrones improves on Martin’s novel–the same death that left me yawning on the page when I only suspected it was coming, riveted me on screen […]

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd Edition will be free online, according to Abigail Nussbaum, who’s been writing tv entries for the encyclopedia.

Home Stretch


I have a theory that television shows get a lot of practice in the cliff-hanger, in hooking the viewer to come back next week, but almost zero experience in creating satisfying endings. Structurally, commercially, the need for such a thing just doesn’t compute. A few genre shows in the throes of concluding long-term stories right […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Michael Aguilar discusses The Giant Claw and making the stop motion wonder of “Godzilla 2014 vs. The Giant Claw, Part I!” (Thanks, Kate!)


    In a 1988 Sight And Sound interview, Patricia Highsmith talks about film adaptations of her novels, from Strangers On A Train (1950) to The American Friend (1977)


    Open Culture has a re-vamped trailer for a film adaptation of  Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ comic The Incal. One that never happened. “[Incal‘s] success made it a logical candidate for film adaptation, and so director Pascal Blais brought together artists from Heavy Metal magazine (in which Mœbius first published some of his best known work) to make it happen. It resulted in nothing more than a trailer, but what a trailer; you can watch a recently revamped edition of the one Blais and his collaborators put together in the 1980s at the top of the post.” (Thanks, Felipe!)


    Hyperallergic has a gallery of astronomical and cosmological illustrations from photographer Michael Benson’s books, Cosmographics: Picturing Space Through Time. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


    A homophobic Tumblr post becomes Queer dystopian adventure fiction in two responses. Behold! (Thanks, Adele!)


    Tony Zhou has a new video up at Every Frame A Painting. This time, he looks at Buster Keaton and, “The Art Of The Gag.”


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