The Cultural Gutter

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

“The Anti-Tolkien”


The New Yorker profiles writer Michael Moorcock. Moorcock’s influence is nothing like Tolkien’s, at least on the surface, but his vision of a speculative-fiction genre that can be psychologically complex is evident in how very sophisticated some of it has become—from True Detective to Jeff VanderMeer, from David Mitchell to Under the Skin. But Moorcock […]

RIP, Michael Ansara


Actor Michael Ansara has died. While Ansara had countless television and movie roles, he is probably best known now for his roles as Kang in Star Trek and the Technomage Elric in Babylon 5,  the voice of Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series and Cochise in the 1950s tv series Broken Arrow. The Texas […]

“How Patriarchy Screwed The Starks”


There are spoilers in this interesting discussion: “Game of Thrones is about how patriarchal systems damage men as much as they damage women.”

Pondering The Red Wedding


The AV Club consider the emotional impact of Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding episode.  Gus Mustrapa considers pranks, punchlines,  Schadenfreude and the Red Wedding: “This weekend a booby-trap three years in the making was sprung. Millions of TV viewers watching A Game of Thrones took the proverbial blow. A good many nerds, having read the books […]

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 Rape of James Bond”

Sophia McDougall writes about “sexual assault and ‘Realism’ in popular culture.” (via @Pornokitsch)

LEGO: Battle of Maldon

LEGO Vikings attack in the animated “Battle of Maldon”, and with Old English subtitles. (Thanks, Kate Laity!)

Master of Infinite Kung Fu

I always have trouble writing about comics that I think are good, just excellent and existing in their own seamless perfection, which means that here at the Gutter I don’t always write about the comics that I love most. I want to do credit to them and save them till I have more time. Sometimes, […]

“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?”  

What Changing An Ending Means

Becky Chambers breaks down the controversy around the ending of Mass Effect 3 in a spoiler-free, accessible and interesting article at The Mary-Sue.

Happy Birthday, JRR Tolkien

BBC 2’s  “In Their Own Words: British Novelists,” with J.R.R. Tolkien.

Taira no Kiyomori

Kenichi Matsuyama, who played L in Death Note, Masura Kato in Gantz: Light in the Dark and who Midnight Madness fans might remember as  Negishi/Johannes Krauser  from Detroit Metal City, is playing the 12th Century/Heian Era, Taira no Kiyomori, in an eponymous 50 episode NHK television series. The Japan Times covers the series’ development and […]

NPR Interviews George R. R. Martin

Callers ask fiction and fantasy author, George R. R. Martin questions on NPR’s “On Point.”  “I never saw distinctions between these two genres. They all seemed to me to be flavors, if you will, of imaginative fiction, romantic fiction The great romantic tradition as opposed to realistic tradition in literature. My father called it all […]

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 […]

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.

George R. R. Martin in The New Yorker

The New Yorker writes about George R. R. Martin, his fans, his angry fans, his fantasy epic, A Song of Fire and Ice, the upcoming HBO series based on it, and his next book, A Dance of Dragons, six years in the writing:  “I’m living the dream here. I have all of these readers who […]

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)

A Prowler Through The Dark

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“In off the moors, down through the mist bands/ God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.”  (Beowulf. Seamus Heaney, trans. 710-1) I have seen many adaptations of Beowulf, from art house films like Beowulf and Grendel and low-budget science fiction like Christopher Lambert’s Beowulf of the future to Neil Gaiman’s Beowulf and its rotoscopery and The Thirteenth […]

Genre on TV: Fantasy, Zombies

HBO has a teaser up for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.  Meanwhile, AMC has a clip up of actors learning to act like zombies for its upcoming The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic.

Summer Fun Time Reading!

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It’s summertime and all the happenin’ sites have advice about bikinis, manscaping, quick cool meals and reading lists. I have no idea what to tell you about beachwear, other than you do look cute in that, but I do have some reading suggestions.

keep looking »
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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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!)


    At Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!, Todd reviews the two part Ghanian director Ninja’s film, 2016. “2016 is a movie that I am obligated to review by virtue of my having long ago joined the internet chorus of people trumpeting on about its insane trailer—and this despite the fact that all of you with any interest in seeing it have most likely tracked it down already. In that case, you already know that it is essentially a no-budget remake of Independence Day set in the suburbs of Ghana. And if that sounds like a massive over-reach to you, you obviously know very little about Ghanaian action cinema, and even less about the films of maverick multi-hyphenate Ninja.”

    Read about part one, here, and part two, here.


    Look, it’s the trailer for “The Abominable Snowman” a new episode of classic Thunderbirds. Huffington Post UK has more: “It’s exactly half a century since we heard the ominous tones of voice actor Peter Dyneley bringing us the Thunderbirds intro ‘5 -4 – 3 – 2 -1 Thunderbirds are go’, and to celebrate, the team are producing three brand new original episodes, based on audio-only recordings made in 1966, which means fans will get to enjoy the original voices, with some 21st century gadgetry thrown in on screen.” (Thanks, Todd!)


    At the Guardian, Elizabeth Day talks with Geena Davis about feminism, sexism in the film industry and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “I mean, it’s freaky when you start examining it. For decades it’s been the same ratio – we’ve all grown up on that ratio. Could it be that women’s presence stalls at about the rate of female participation in the fiction that we watch? Could it be you get to that level and you feel done? That that looks normal? It’s just a completely unconscious image that we have in our heads that women only need to take up a certain amount of space and then we’ve done right by them.”


    At fbomb, Sabrina N. interviews Ashley Armitage. “21-year-old Seattle-based photographer and filmmaker Ashley Armitage’s work is largely a tribute to female friendships and femininity. Her dreamy, nuanced photography lets viewers into the intimate, magical moments of girlhood. They depict beauty routines and sleepovers. They unabashedly celebrate and normalize body hair, tampons and bras. The collection is a celebration of girlhood by one of its own products.” (via @GeekGirlCon)


    You can read every issue of No Magazine. “Be warned before you download and open these issues—they aren’t exactly safe for workplace viewing. If Larry Flynt and the Vienna Aktionists got together and published a punk zine in the late ‘70s, it would have looked a lot like NO MAG. NO MAG‘s publisher Bruce Kalberg, and the sordid turns of his life, were recently covered in LA Weekly‘s piece ‘Beautiful Loser, Tortured Killer.’”  (Thanks, Stephanie).


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