The Cultural Gutter

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

“Sci-Fi’s Difficult Genius”

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The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it […]

Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin

The New York Times Sunday Book Review has an interview with author Ursula K. Le Guin. “I read mostly novels, any kind of novels, and poetry, and all kinds of nonfiction, especially some kinds of science, biographies, some history, and books about and by Native Americans, and Tierra del Fuego, and Darwinian adaptation — oh, […]

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 […]

“Black Women Horror Writers: Interview with Jayde Brooks”

Graveyard Shift Sisters Eden Royce interviews writer Jayde Brooks and reviews Brooks’ Daughter of Gods and Shadows. “If you’re looking for a sweeping, dark adventure/quest novel, look no further. This story had what I love to read in a book: strong female characters and the ultimate in high stakes – saving the world. Blend that […]

“The Queen of American Gothic”

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At the New Republic, B. D. McClay writes about Shirley Jackson and a new collection containing previously unpublished stories and essays by Jackson. “Let Me Tell You, on the other hand, is for the already-converted fan, who will be delighted to read so many new stories and essays. The greatest attraction is the 15 essays, […]

“Harrowing Books of Varying Reputability”

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At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

Andrew Nette Thinks About Pulp

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Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as […]

“Floating Eyeballs, Trained Bees”

At NPR’s Monkey See, Glen Weldon reviews Jon Morris’ The League of Regrettable Superheroes and considers the most intriguing comic book heroes of yore. “Truth in advertising: The Eye was a mysterious, giant, floating, all-knowing eyeball that hectored people to fight crime on its behalf. Which they did, and can you blame them?” (Thanks, Pauline!)

“Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Romance Novel Special”

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Pop Culture Happy Hour invites Sarah Wendell, Barrie Hardymon and Petra Mayer  to discuss romance and romance novels. The podcast website includes a list of all the books recommended. And you can check out Sarah Wendell’s website, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, here. (Thanks, @bethlovesbolly!)

“Strange & Norrell: The Language of Birds”

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At Daily Grail, John Reppion writes about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, English magic and the language of birds.

On The Media: True Crime

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On The Media dedicates an hour to the true crime genre.

“The Husband Did It”

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At The Awl, Alice Bolin writes about Gone Girl, Serial, true crime television and “Why it’s scarier for a man to be accused than for a woman to be killed”: “It’s clear we love the Dead Girl, but we don’t empathize with her. If we did, we might ask why we did nothing to protect […]

“Churning It All Out”

At Kris Writes, Kristine Kathryn Rusch has some thoughts about “churning out books,” marketing and the publishing industry: “It’s become a cliché. Any writer who writes fast ‘churns out’ material. Or she ‘cranks out’ or ‘pounds out’ whatever it is that she writes. Because clearly, no writer who writes fast can think about what she […]

“A Christmas Carol,” with Illustrations by John Leech

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Project Gutenberg has a copy of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” complete with scans of the cover and John Leech’s illustrations from the first edition.

Philippe Druillet’s Necronomicon

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A gallery of pages from Philippe Druillet’s Nccronomicon. (Via elmatpe and thanks, Steven!)

Valeria Brancaforte’s Hand-Printed Books

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The Book Design Blog has a gallery of Valeria Brancaforte’s hand-printed books.

Engulfed by the Shadow of Dracula

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“Beware that his shadow does not engulf you like a daemonic nightmare.” Of Vampyres, Terrible Phantoms and the Seven Deadly Sins (Nosferatu, 1922) “All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same […]

“In Defense of Romance Novels; or, Imma Read What I Want”

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At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say […]

Finnish Weird / Suomikumma

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Download a collection of Weird stories from Finnish authors Emmi Itäranta Jenny Kangasvuo and Tiina Raevaara. “The community of weird writers in Finland is thriving, and producing memorable stories that blur and bend genre boundaries with their unbridled flight of imagination. This publication introduces you to suomikumma, “Finnish Weird”, showcases a few of its bright […]

Romance Novels as Respite

Alyssa Rosenberg writes on “Another year, another man who is utterly horrified to discover just how many American women read romance novels.” (via @igallupd)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Gentleman’s Gazette has a piece on the sartorial splendor of Hercule Poirot and of Captain Hastings in the BBC television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries.

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    At Pitchfork, Barry Walters writes about Grace Jones. “One night in 1993, I finally got my chance to see Jones perform at a local gay nightclub and took my friend Brian, whose partner Mark was too sick to join us….She didn’t back away from the elephant in the room: She dedicated one song to artist and AIDS casualty Keith Haring, who had used her body for a canvas on the occasion of her legendary 1985 Paradise Garage performance. That night’s show was remarkable for the simple fact that Jones just kept on going, granting one encore request after another, waiting patiently while the sound man scoured backing tapes to find the fans’ offbeat choices. When Jones got to such minor numbers as ‘Crush,’ it became clear that she didn’t want to leave. She was giving as much of herself as she could to the beleaguered troops, knowing full well that many wouldn’t live long enough to see her again.”

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    At Pornokitsch, The Gutter’s own dame with a shady past Carol writes about five films noir.  “Do you want to watch some film noir? I hope so, because I have five films to suggest. Films about dames gone wrong, poor doomed saps, murders, sex and modern knights errant.”

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    At The Alcohol Professor, The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Billie Holiday in a fantastic two-part piece. Part one traces “the history of Billie Holiday and NYC nightlife through the Harlem Renaissance to Café Society.” Part two covers “Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and the jazz scene in New York City clubs of a bygone era.”

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    The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it has been part of us since ages long past.”

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    Remezcla has a gallery of Lourdes Grobet’s portraits of luchadores with their families and a bit of an interview with her. (Yes, the luchadores are in their masks and often wearing suits or casual wear, which is the best thing). (Thanks, Matt!) “Father and warrior, the masked wrestler is the perfect metaphor for the duality that Grobet’s photography wants to depict. Her work is resonant because she doesn’t try to demolish the myths that envelop lucha libre – she simply nurtures and expands them in an offbeat way.”

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