The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

Nettrice Gaskins Explores AfroFuturism In Virtual Worlds

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At IAfroFuturism, Ytasha interviews Nettrice Gaskins about AfroFuturism, art, math, science and virtual worlds. “I had to figure out how to immerse those who weren’t familiar with Afrofuturism using the virtual space. I wanted the avatars in the space to have an experience. I put up a gallery that allowed you to manipulate objects. I […]

Interview with Nalo Hopkinson

TVOntario interviews writer Nalo Hopkinson about utopian literature,  the ancestral experience of slavery, “noticing race” and the ideals of Toronto’s Caribana festival.

“The Pagan Pilgrim”

Ronnie Pontiac writes a fascinating essay on Thomas Morton, inciter of Puritans and founder of the Enlightenment Utopian experiment Ma-re Mount, “the American melting pot boiling hot” in the New World: “In May 1627 Tom decided to celebrate May Day with the locals. There would be food, drink, a maypole, music, dancing, and hopefully wenching; […]

“Anxiety and Optimism in Frank Hampton’s Dan Dare”

“In the very first Dan Dare adventure, which began to be serialised weekly in the Christian boy’s comic Eagle in 1950, we were introduced to the ‘ … Inter Planet Space Fleet some years in the future.’ It’s an odd organisation, in that it’s clearly meant to be Earth’s ‘Space Fleet,’ but it’s clearly really […]

Discussing The Dispossessed with Ursula K. Le Guin

ReadMOre’s Mark Tiedemann has an in depth conversation with writer Ursula K. Le Guin  about The Dispossessed.

Red Skies: Soviet Science Fiction

A thorough and well-illustrated look at Soviet science fiction, from the 1920s through the 1980s. (via SF Signal)

Bioshock and Operation Atlantis

Keith from Teleport City writes about William Stiefel’s Libertarian seasteading dream, Operation Atlantis, and BioShock:  “BioShock imagines a society built on very similar principals a those of Atlantis I, II, and III, but instead of geodesic domes floating on the surface of the ocean, Ryan’s libertarian utopia is a city at the bottom of the […]

RIP, Joanna Russ

Science fiction author and feminist and queer critic, Joanna Russ has died. She was probably best know for her novel, The Female Man and her critical text, How To Suppress Women’s Writing. Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy & Utopia has more about Russ and her work.

Cartographic Curiosities

Step right up for your glimpse of Slate Magazine’s slideshow collection of cartographic curiosities!

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Royal Court Theatre hosts a conversation among former Anonymous LulzSec members facilitated by anthropologist Gabriella Coleman.

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    “Japan’s estimated population at the time of their last census was 127 million, and people have been living on this small collection of islands since the Jomon period (~12,000 BCE.) In an increasingly crowded country with a strong traditional belief in ghosts and hauntings, the question of avoiding a marauding ghost becomes impossible to solve, without outside help.”Atlas Obscura has more (with neat illustrations).

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    At Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.”  “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a title that ends in a question mark.  But there is another, related tradition that goes back further that I think we could place these films in.” (via Dr. Giallo)

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    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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