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 Geologic History of Westeros and Essos

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Learn all about the geology of Game Of Thrones at Generation Anthrophocene.

“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.”

Beach Reading

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It may not entirely feel like it, but it’s finally summer. Commercial fiction gets its second biggest bump of the year during the summer (the biggest is at Christmas, obviously), and  because the Romance genre is the largest section, its uptick in sales is the most noticeable.   That’s because mild and humid as it might […]

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 […]

The Religions of Westeros

George R.R. Martin talks about the religions in Game of Thrones.

How HBO Makes Money With Game of Thrones

Slate is wondering, “If premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime aren’t judged by the Nielsens, how do they define success? And how does a niche program like Game of Thrones—beloved by fans, but watched by a tiny fraction of the viewing public—make money?”

Two Interviews

John Hodgman talks to George R. R. Martin and Fresh Air talks to Maurice Sendak.

Unsatisfactory

Call me an online oddity: I ran out of steam, years ago, on doing the whole harsh-criticism thing in my review work. For a couple of reasons, summarized as “enthused librarian who points elsewhere for sad talk.”

Future Self, Meet Past Self… Now Fight!

I just finished re-reading A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin’s first volume in his (currently very hot) fantasy series, and I quite enjoyed it. Looking back on my notes from my first read-through ten years ago, I was startled to discover that I found it ho-hum and/or offensive! What gives?

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 […]

See You Later (Scifi) Suckers!

Lately I’ve noticed a few examples of a trend: authors who got their start writing science fiction have switched to writing fantasy. Why might this be? Probably because it’s become a bigger market!  

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 […]

Game of Thrones 15 Minute Preview

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HBO offers a 15 minute preview of its new series Game of Thrones, based on the George R. R. Martin series. Given how long the series is so far, a 15 minute taste seems about right. And if that’s not enough, Gutter favorite Peter Dinklage talks about playing Tyrion Lannister. (Thanks, Dr. O!)

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)

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.

Navigating the Mores of Fan Fiction

Hal Duncan navigates the mores of fan fiction. With stops at the kerfuffled shoals of Diana Gabaldon and George R. R. Martin’s blogs.

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)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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