The Cultural Gutter

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

Return To The Planet Of Monkeys vs. Robots

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It’s time to return to a question I first confronted five years ago in  “A Matter of Evolution: Monkeys vs. Robots” and faced again in“Terror of Monkeys vs. Robots.”  The eternal question of Monkeys vs. Robots. Not just who would win in a fight. That question has been ably considered by James Kolchaka in Monkey […]

“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 […]

Bitch Planet Studies Exploitation With Exploitation”

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At Sequential Art, Ian Dawe writes about Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine de Landro’s comic, Bitch Planet. “The first thing to understand about this comic is that it’s a deep homage to 1970s science fiction, sports movies and exploitation pornography. Artist Valentine De Landro uses the visual language of films like 1974’s Caged Heat, but […]

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, […]

“Who Was Jack Kirby’s Darkseid?”

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At Too Busy Thinking About My Comics, Colin Smith begins an in-depth look at Jack Kirby’s most anti-life creation, Darkseid. “What follows is my attempt to work out the character of Kirby’s Darkseid during those two wonderful years in the early 1970s, when DC Comics had handed The King four spaces in their publishing schedule […]

Mark Hamill’s Sassy Autographs

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There’s a set of Star Wars cards autographed with amusing comments by Mark Hamill at imgur.

The Projection Booth watches Alien 3

Mike White, Rob St. Mary and Cinema Snob’s Brad Jones explore the mystery of Alien 3 and its production at The Projection Booth. “We talked to Vincent Ward who brought the idea of ‘monks in space’ to the game and the late John Fasano who worked on a few drafts of the Alien 3 script. […]

“Frank Rudolph Paul’s Life On Other Planets”

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Juxtapoz Magazine has a gallery of Frank Rudolph Paul’s science fiction illustrations, 1936-9.

Armada and Nostalgia as an Endless Lullaby

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At Slate, Laura Hudson writes about Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada; gaming and greater geek culture; and the perils of nostalgia. “Do we want to tell stories that make sense of the things we used to love, that help us remember the reasons we were so drawn to them, and create new works that inspire […]

Eiji Tsuburaya Made Godzilla Come Alive–And It Changed Film Forever”

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At Vox, Phil Edwards profiles special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya and interviews August Ragone about Tsuburaya’s career. “A director, cinematographer, and producer, Tsuburaya is best known for creating the special effects behind Japanese classics like Godzilla (1954), Mothra (1961), and many other films where the giant monsters called kaiju terrorize the good people of Tokyo. […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’15

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The Summer Solstice is nearly upon us, and I’m sure you all have your wicker men (or factionalist bee helmets) nearly done and your bonfire safely planned. (Remember, Lord Summerisle recommends nude leaping as the crucial component in bonfire safety). And just in time for the arrival of summer, I have a short selection of […]

“The Vancouver Forest That Has Been Every Wooded Location On X-Files

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“The truth is out there… probably somewhere in Vancouver.” Atlas Obscura travels to British Columbia’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve to share all the locations where X-Files shot in the woods.

Mad Max: Fury Road Makes Your Rape Arguments Invalid”

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At Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Carrie S. has some thoughts about the depiction of rape in fiction and how George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road gets it right. “If ever a movie seemed tailor-made to include a rape scene, it’s this one, an R-rated movie with rape at its core. Yet the director, George Millar, […]

Interview with John Boorman

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At the Guardian, Xan Brooks interviews John Boorman, director of Point Blank (1967), Deliverance (1972), Zardoz (1974), Excalibur (1981) and the upcoming, Queen & Country. “If he could rewind to 1952 and reprise the entire trip, he cannot imagine exactly what he would change. Boorman frowns. ‘Actually, I can’t even contemplate it. I’m a completely […]

“We Are Not Things: Mad Max vs Game Of Thrones”

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At Terrible Minds, Chuck Wendig writes about Mad Max: Fury Road and Game of Thrones. “So, two very popular storyworlds. Two portrayals of a world where women hold dubious power and are seen as ‘things.’ One of these is roundly criticized for it. One of them is roundly celebrated for it. Game of Thrones catches […]

“A History of Race in Science Fiction Films”

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Graveyard Shift Sisters reviews Adilifu Nama’s Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film and looks at the history of race in science fiction films from teh 1950s to the present. “Adilifu Nama concocted a thorough read that blends a critical look at science fiction cinema’s milestone works in conjunction with American sociopolitical history, specifically […]

“I should’ve listened to the robots”

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Swell songs on disreputable topics: “Gom Jabbar “ by Chica Non Grata and “Bad Clone” by Victoria Squid.

Interview with Joanna Russ

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The Journal of Popular Romance Studies interviewed author Joanna Russ in 2007 about slash fiction: “Her 1985 essay, ‘Pornography By Women For Women, With Love’ helped to set the terms of the discussion for feminist scholars who followed, and it is widely cited in fan studies. Russ argues that fantasy has to be read in […]

“Space Is The Place: AfroFuturism On Film”

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At Hyperallergic, Jeremy Polacek writes about the history of Afrofuturism and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s exhibit, “Space Is The Place: AfroFuturism On Film”:  “Afrofuturism is an empowering rubric, an approach and aesthetic that clarifies and connects history and the hope, creativity, and pain there within. Afrofuturism is wry, wise, and leveling — it believes that a brighter, more […]

On The BBC: The Left Hand Of Darkness

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BBC Radio 4 is presenting an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness. You can listen to the first episode here. There are also other features, including an interview with Le Guin. (via Pornokitsch)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Pitchfork, Barry Walters writes about Grace Jones. “One night in 1993, I finally got my chance to see Jones perform at a local gay nightclub and took my friend Brian, whose partner Mark was too sick to join us….She didn’t back away from the elephant in the room: She dedicated one song to artist and AIDS casualty Keith Haring, who had used her body for a canvas on the occasion of her legendary 1985 Paradise Garage performance. That night’s show was remarkable for the simple fact that Jones just kept on going, granting one encore request after another, waiting patiently while the sound man scoured backing tapes to find the fans’ offbeat choices. When Jones got to such minor numbers as ‘Crush,’ it became clear that she didn’t want to leave. She was giving as much of herself as she could to the beleaguered troops, knowing full well that many wouldn’t live long enough to see her again.”

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    At Pornokitsch, The Gutter’s own dame with a shady past Carol writes about five films noir.  “Do you want to watch some film noir? I hope so, because I have five films to suggest. Films about dames gone wrong, poor doomed saps, murders, sex and modern knights errant.”

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    At The Alcohol Professor, The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Billie Holiday in a fantastic two-part piece. Part one traces “the history of Billie Holiday and NYC nightlife through the Harlem Renaissance to Café Society.” Part two covers “Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and the jazz scene in New York City clubs of a bygone era.”

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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 has been part of us since ages long past.”

    ~

    Remezcla has a gallery of Lourdes Grobet’s portraits of luchadores with their families and a bit of an interview with her. (Yes, the luchadores are in their masks and often wearing suits or casual wear, which is the best thing). (Thanks, Matt!) “Father and warrior, the masked wrestler is the perfect metaphor for the duality that Grobet’s photography wants to depict. Her work is resonant because she doesn’t try to demolish the myths that envelop lucha libre – she simply nurtures and expands them in an offbeat way.”

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    At Autostraddle, Heather Hogan has “a Recap of Jem and the Holograms’ Truly Outrageous Lesbianism.” (Thanks, Sara Century!) “If you are a woman over the age of 30, I have some information that is going to send you cartwheeling back to 1987 to high five your young self and shout “We knew it! We knew it!” right in your own tiny gay face: Stormer and Kimber from Jem are truly, outrageously, canonically queer….This is good news. Great news. But it’s not really news news. Of course Stormer and Kimber are gay. They’ve been in love since 1987!”

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