The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

"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


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”


At the New Republic, B. D. McClay writes about Shirley Jackson and a new collection containing previously unpublished stories and essays by Jackson.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”


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


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”


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”


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

On The Media: True Crime


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

“The Husband Did It”


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


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


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

Valeria Brancaforte’s Hand-Printed Books


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”


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


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

    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


    At Actionland, Heroic Sister Achillesgirl writes about subtitling the 1964 wuxia film, Buddha Palm. And she provides you with the subtitles and a link to the film!


    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


    At Playboy, Jake Rossen writes about the story behind the filming and the restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate. “For a long time no one wanted to see it unless it was accompanied by MST3K’s taunts. Then, in 2011, a collector of film prints uncovered the original negative of Manos and embarked on an inexplicable project to restore the film with all the white-glove attention archivists give to Hollywood classics. His efforts would incur the wrath of a mysterious man with a fake New Zealand accent named Rupert, as well as Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s embittered son, who intends to preserve the Manos legacy at all costs.” (Thanks, Ed!)


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