The surreal swirl of stark futurism, psychedelia, and neon indulgence is…pleasantly overwhelming? Comfortably disturbing? Certainly it’s something that demands one’s attention even as it lulls you into a fugue state.
A long time ago, George Lucas hired Alan Dean Foster to write a sequel to Star Wars, operating under the assumption that Star Wars might not make much money, that the sequel would need to be really low budget, and that Harrison Ford would refuse to reprise his role as Han Solo. On the Cultural Gutter, In An Alternate Galaxy Far, Far Away looks at what Foster came up with
Over on the Cultural Gutter, I’m taking a look at Brian Lumley’s first three Titus Crow novels, in which he turns Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos on its ear. Now Cthulhu is Blofeld examines Lumley’s preference for men of action, eschewing Lovecraft’s terrified academics in favor of two-fisted psychics flying around in magic clocks, shooting lasers at Cthulhu and his minions, which have been reduced to a bunch of B-grade Ultraman monsters.
In 1935, Fantasy magazine contracted five of the most popular pulp magazine authors to write a round-robin style story, with each contributing a page or two before passing it on to the next author. On The Cultural Gutter, The Challenge of the Challenge from Beyond looks at how these five accomplished professionals created something about as good as a fourth grade class undertaking the same assignment.
Over on the Cultural Gutter, I’m celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The world doesn’t need another review of the movie, so Whatever Happened to Saturday Night? is instead a mini-memoir about my first time seeing the movie, at Louisville’s Vogue Theater in 1987, what it meant to me, and how radically the movie — and that old theater — changed my outlook on life for the better .
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: deciding to use “she” as the default pronoun for all characters instead of “he.”
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.