The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

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

“Judge John Hodgman: Reckless Endungeonment”

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Judge John Hodgman rules in a conflict between friends and fellow Dresden Files roleplaying game afficionados. “Dan’s become bored with what he sees as ‘safe’ gameplay recently and decided to shake it up, taking more risks with his character. Ryan says this type of play doesn’t fit with their style and is ruining everyone’s fun. […]

Mad Science Throwdown: Princess Bubblegum vs Frankenstein

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“No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and […]

“Zero Charisma, The Guild and the Odd Sensation of Nerd Envy”

Peter Gutiérrez has written a fascinating and thoughtful response to the film Zero Charisma and the webseries, The Guild.

The Stephen King Universe

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This week, Science Fiction Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns as a Guest Star. Screen Editor alex MacFadyen will return next month. You can easily glance off the top of any book by Stephen King–get a few frights and move on. But there’s a hidden world beneath almost all of his books, and not only is […]

A History of Codex Seraphinianus

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Abe Books has a look inside Codex Seraphinianus, as well as some of its publication history. Dangerous Minds interviews publisher, Charles Miers.

Demanding Better Representation

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At XOJane, Chaka Cumberbath demands better representation for Black girl nerds in geek culture: “We can be spunky. We can be vivacious. We can be complicated and beautiful and emotional and flawed and we might be all of those things or none of those things at all, but we deserve to be written. We deserve […]

The Shrieking Horror of Castle Lemongrab

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“Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds but was unable. Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again” (Frankenstein, 110). “He raised her and smiled with such kindness and affection that I felt […]

Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

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A few pages from Guillermo Del Toro’s notebooks and a book trailer for his upcoming, Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections and Other Obsessions.

Interview with the Authors of Taken By The T-Rex

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At The Cut, Maureen O’Connor interviews Christie Simes and Alara Branwyn, authors of dinosaur and monster erotica like In The Velociraptor’s Nest and Taken By The Triceratops. (via @filmclassics)

The Tiniest of Sweaters

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Althea Crome makes amazing and tiny, tiny knit art. Check out her website for galleries of her work and to watch her knit clothing for the puppets in the animated film, Coraline. Indiana Public media profiles Crome here. and see her brain cozy and all the other brains in Bloomington, Indiana’s 2012 Brain Extravaganza! (Thanks, […]

African Action Film Trailers

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Amazing trailers from Ghanian, Nigerian and Ugandan action movies at Viewer Discretion Advised! (via @TeleportCity)

Noir Carnival

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Step right up–Noir Carnival is now available for your reading pleasure! Nineteen stories–“a heady mix of shadows and candy floss, dreams gone sour and nights that go on too long. Let them lure you into the tent“–including one by The Cultural Gutter‘s own Carol Borden. Read more at Fox Spirit Books and check out the […]

“How Patriarchy Screwed The Starks”

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

Cat Armor

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Armor for your cats by Jeff de Boer!

Sex and SF/F

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Kate Elliott asks, “How much sex is too much sex in your science fiction and fantasy?” (Thanks, James!)

“Essential Epic Fantasies: Wrap-Up”

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Pornokitsch finishes determining essential epic fantasy, with statistics, graphs and lists of their selections. Nice to see Homer in there.

Xanadu‘s Persistence of Memory

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I watched Xanadu on HBO dozens of times in the early 1980s. My obsession also included the soundtrack, which I listened to on a Walkman while attired in scarves, leotards, ruffled skirts, and legwarmers. Sadly, my skills at ballet, tap, and jazz did not translate into roller skating, so I pretended I was Olivia Newton-John […]

RIP, Iain Banks

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Writer Iain Banks has died. The Guardian has an obituary.  Neil Gaiman remembers Banks and the BBC gathers remembrances. Here, Banks talks with University Lecturer in Creative Writing Derek Neale.

Pondering The Red Wedding

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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 […]

RIP, Jack Vance

Author Jack Vance died. He is probably best known for his collection of linked stories, The Dying Earth., and he was a tremendous influence on contemporary fantasy and science fiction authors.  The Los Angeles Times   and The Guardian have obituaries. Here Jack Vance talks about censorship on TV Ontario’s Prisoners of Gravity in 1990.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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