Cultural Gutter: That’s What She Said

This month on The Cultural Gutter, I’m tackling Ann Leckie’s Hugo Award winning space opera Ancillary Justice. That’s What She Said examines the awesome sleight-of-hand Leckie pulls by writing a pretty straight-forward, old-fashioned space opera with one tweak.

Cultural Gutter: Beneath the Mysterian Dome

Over on The Cultural Gutter, I’m celebrating Eiji Tsuburaya, Ishiro Honda, and aliens who want to steal our women! Beneath the Mysterian Dome is a look at The Mysterians and Battle in Outer Space, two of the biggest special effects blow-outs the the Honda-Tsuburaya team created. Prepare yourself for tiny space battle son an epic…

Cultural Gutter: Understanding the Aliens

Last month on The Cultural Gutter, I wrote about Nalo Hopikinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring the importance of diverse voices and experiences in science fiction. Following that thread, this month I’m looking at one of the grand ladies of science fiction, Octavia Butler, and the first book in her “Xenogenesis” series, Dawn. Understanding the…

Cultural Gutter: A Relative Dystopia

Over on The Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about Nalo Hopkinson’s dystopian science fiction novel Brown Girl in the Ring. A Relative Dystopia is a look at how our culture, upbringing, and personal experiences can shape what we define as a dystopian future, and how people of a different race can look at the exact same…

Eyes Without a Face

A fan of silent serials and a precursor to the French Nouvelle Vague, Georges Franju was inspired by the early thrillers of Louis Feuillade when he made the haunting, at times shocking, story of a disfigured woman, a driven scientist, and the horror of physical beauty.

Cultural Gutter: Vaudeville on Mars

Over on the Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about the musical science fiction spectacle Just Imagine. Vaudeville on Mars is a look at the similarities between the lavish 1930 Fox Studios production and the 1928 Soviet film Aelita, Queen of Mars; as well as a celebration of the outrageous costume and set design. All of which is really…

Space 1999: Aliens Are Jerks

The short-lived television program Space: 1999 taught us many things about our depressing universe. Chief among its concerns: reminding us every week that our fellow inhabitants of the galaxy are at least as awful as we are, only with magic powers. Space: 1999 taught me two valuable lessons. The first is that space is depressing…

Cultural Gutter: …In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Over on The Cultural Gutter, I’m following up last month’s article about the Han Solo Adventures with …In a Galaxy Far, Far Away, a look at 1983’s Lando Calrissian Adventures, a trilogy of pulpy space adventures written by a mad libertarian futurist and full of Lando thinking about fine tailoring, fine women, fine cigars, fine…

Cultural Gutter: A Long Time Ago…

Over on the Cultural Gutter, I’m ringing in Yule, midwinter, and whatever other Pagan festivities we can dig up by writing about a topic I normally avoid. A Long Time Ago… Is the first of a two-part article celebrating the oddball pulpy adventures that served as the basis for the Star Wars Expanded Universe. This…

Redline

Redline possessed the same frantic energy, the same boundless enthusiasm, and the same eye-popping obsession with background detail as the best the medium had to offer in the decade of excess that made anime fandom so huge in the United States.

Cultural Gutter: Return of the Tripods

Over on The Cultural Gutter, I’m taking a look at one of my favorite sci-fi book series from my youth. Return of the Tripods chronicles my revisit as a man grown to John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy: The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire, which I first discovered when…

War of the Welles

The country was, in the autumn of 1938, primed for a panic. Amid this air of paranoia, a little known dramatist named Orson Welles stepped behind the microphone for another broadcast of a radio drama, CBS’ The Mercury Theatre on the Air. When I was young still and open of mind, my parents set me…