The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

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

Stories Are Important

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This week SF/F Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns as a Guest Star! Stories are important, we all know this. I hasten to add: and they should be fun too, otherwise why bother reading them? Every once in a while, I run across a new author that balances “something to say” and “have fun saying it” […]

The Dragonlance Chronicles: Innovative, Ubiquitous and Terribly-Written

At Pornokitsch, Jared takes a look at The Dragonlance Chronicles’ influence on contemporary fantasy: “[C]ool or not, Dragonlance has done more than almost any other post-Tolkien property in influencing fantasy. Its narrative and conceptual tropes can be found in every nook and cranny of the genre, and much of the modern low fantasy resurgence can be traced […]

“The Trouble with Skyrim”

At his Invincible Super Blog, Chris Sims has some trouble with Elder Scrolls 5:  Skyrim and compares the game to Assassin’s Creed 3: Brotherhood and Fallout 3.  “What’s the point of giving you an overwhelming amount of content when none of it matters?”   Like this:Like Loading…

High Fantasy for Young Adults

At The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes about The Lord of the Rings and its influence on young adult fantasy, how Tolkien’s fusing of the epic and the familiarly domestic brought us Eragon and Twilight. “Kids go to fantasy not for escape but for organization, and a little elevation; since life is like this already, […]

Fin Fang Foom, A Retropspective

The Belated Nerd looks back at the alien dragon menace, Fin Fang Foom. Like this:Like Loading…

Hobbit Production Video 2

Hobbits on film! Well, not quite yet. Here’s Peter Jackson’s second production vidoe for The Hobbit. Like this:Like Loading…

Journey to the Centre of a Terrible Cover Idea

Good Show, Sir, offers you, the reader, only the worst and most ill-conceived science fiction and fantasy book covers. And if you have some terrible cover art in your collection, you can submit to their gallery. Like this:Like Loading…

Live Action Dragonriding

Dragonriders of Pern as a live action film? Looks like it might happen. Like this:Like Loading…

Highly Animated

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Every April at the Gutter, the editors write about something outside their usual domains.  This month, Romance Editor Chris Szego writes about animated movies.   When I was a kid, cartoons were a real treat. I didn’t watch much TV, but Bugs Bunny and friends were mandatory viewing. We watched the show as a family, […]

Bioware Says, “Get Over It.”

A straight male gamer accuses Bioware of ignoring straight male gamers by having queer romance options in Dragon Age II.  Bioware responds by talking about having options for everyone and straight male privilege. Seriously. Like this:Like Loading…

Winter is Coming

Gianluca Maconi’s gallery of characters makes a great case for a comic based on George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. (via Robot 6) Like this:Like Loading…

10 Comics I Liked in 2010

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget why I like comics and 2010 was a particularly tough year, in comics and otherwise. But here are 10 that reminded me why I do like them. There’s a lot of crime, anthropomorphic animals, gorgeous art, silly fun, people dealing with things the best they can, and plenty of Greg […]

Not Particularly Subtle

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I recently burned through all seven books in Christopher Rowley’s Bazil Broketail series. What I liked best? The broad strokes, literally (here is our hero with a sword, there goes the head of the bad guy, flying through the air) as well as metaphorically. Like this:Like Loading…

The Mysterious Specimen Cases of Alex CF

A severed dragon head, a monkey’s paw, a vampire pharaoh and an interdimensional cat are all specimens collected and mounted by artist Alex CF. Cryptids, oddities and mythical monsters presented with retro-Victorian naturalism. (thanks, Ariel!) Like this:Like Loading…

A Dance With Fans

George R. R. Martin has a few things he wants to get off his chest. Like he’s not lying about A Dance With Dragons completion dates. So deal with it. (via Super Punch) Like this:Like Loading…

Follow-Up Visit

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I love shiny new things. I’m also getting more ruthless about my time than I used to be. Those competing impulses get resolved in a simple activity that everyone does naturally: following writers who have proved themselves in the past. On that note, here are a few follow-up visits to Gutter pieces of the past. […]

All I Want For Christmas Is A Few Good Books

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In the spirit of the season, here are ten, in alphabetical order by author. Like this:Like Loading…

It’s the End of the World as we Know It

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Remember Y2K? All those pre-New Year’s warnings about what might happen to the world’s computer systems?  People were pretty calm about it, but many thought, hey, better safe than sorry, and stocked up on toilet paper and non-perishables. But as it happened, the giant looming what if turned out to be nothing, and the world […]

Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts

Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts: Filled with Electricity! Filled with Emotion!  Conversing with dragons and creatures, is a man!  Dragon Eye Morrison!” (Thanks, Colin!) Like this:Like Loading…

100 Unicorns in the Garden

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Strange things happen to the Armitages on Mondays. Sometimes there’s a unicorn in the garden, sometimes there are 100. Harriet and Mark, sister and brother, are used to the ghosts, the dragons, the Furies, and so on. Life in their small village, and wacky relatives who come to visit? Much harder to take. Joan Aiken […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Sequential Art, Ryan Carey deconstructs and reconstructs Jack Kirby’s OMAC . “In order to better understand OMAC, then, we’ll be taking things one piece at a time here — we’ll look at where the ideas came from, how they related to other views of the future popular at the time, where Kirby was, creatively and professionally, in 1974, and ultimately try to decipher precisely why all of this ended up in the shape it ultimately did.  After that, we’ll concern ourselves with the real nitty-gritty of examining each and every one of the series’ eight issues, before taking a look at how, and in what form, the legacy of both the character and the book continue, and evolve, to this day.”

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    Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

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    A 1,300-year-old Egyptian book of spells has been translated. “Among other things, the ‘Handbook of Ritual Power,’ as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.”

    ~

    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

    ~

    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

    ~

    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

    ~

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