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Posts tagged: james schellenberg

Stories Are Important

after the golden ageThis week SF/F Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns as a Guest Star!

Stories are important, we all know this. I hasten to add: and they should be fun too, otherwise why bother reading them? Every once in a while, I run across a new author that balances “something to say” and “have fun saying it” in a way that really appeals to me. This year, that author has been Carrie Vaughn.


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At The Gutter: The Stephen King Universe

SF/F Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns to The Gutter this week as a Guest Star and continues his exploration of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series:

You can easily glance off the top of any book by Stephen King–get a few frights and move on. But there’s a hidden world beneath almost all of his books, and not only is it frightening, it’s incredibly intricate (see this flow chart). I revisited King’s Dark Tower series and some of the related books, and while I’m not entirely sure it was worth it, here are a few things that struck me.

(Illustration from The Wind Through The Keyhole by Jae Lee)

At the Gutter: The Trouble with Endings, Part 2: The Re-Conclusioning

SF/F Editor James talks about endings in his last piece for The Cultural Gutter.

The trouble with endings, of course, is that they are really difficult to do well. I’ll try to take that warning to heart myself, since this piece will be my last for The Cultural Gutter. And what better way to wrap up a really fun time on a neat project than to look at endings!

James was one of the original crew of editors at The Cultural Gutter. He’s been writing for us since 2004. We’ll miss him and are so appreciative of everything he’s done for The Gutter. Thank you,  James—you’ll always be part of The Cultural Gutter!

Feel free to share your favorite endings or just write a note for James in the comments.

All the current Cultural Gutter editors plus Bride of Frankenstein, Gort, Jane Austen and Godzilla represent in the banner for our indiegogo campaign (which ends today).
(art by Carol Borden, who thinks Jane Austen’s presence is hilarious).

All the current Cultural Gutter editors plus Bride of Frankenstein, Gort, Jane Austen and Godzilla represent in the banner for our indiegogo campaign (which ends today).

(art by Carol Borden, who thinks Jane Austen’s presence is hilarious).

At the Gutter: The Dark Tower, Videogame Soundtrack Edition

Science Fiction Editor James battles the plague and starts to see connections between Bastion and The Dark Tower:

Now, it’s true that a lot of things are Stephen-King-esque (as Grady Hendrix says over at “Stephen King is such a part of the American cultural consciousness that there’s no point in debating his importance anymore”), but Bastion specifically reminds me of King’s The Dark Tower, which is a bit of a different beast than his more horror-focused works. I talked about The Dark Tower on the Gutter a while ago here.

At the Gutter: Riffing Zombies and Incredible Time Travellers

Science Fiction/Fantasy Editor James offers a "compilation of recent thoughts" on Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead; Rifftrax; The Incredibles soundtrack; and Summer Time Machine Blues.

When I watch the movie, I get a really physical sense of dread that accumulates in my chest. It’s almost immediate, considering how quickly the nightmarish events begin in the movie, and it doesn’t let up, really, even after the credits have started rolling. I’m generally not a fan of horror, or at least, I very rarely get that same sense of physical fear from other horror stories.

At the Gutter: Rambles

Malefactors stole Romance Editor Chris’ computer, so SF/F James gallantly took her place this week, taking “a rambling walk through some recent semi-connected pop culture items, starting with a videogame reboot that’s actually worth playing, moving on to nostalgia for a nostalgia-based movie, and ending with a look at child actors, in reality and in novel form.”

(“Couple Walking In The Forest,” by Vincent Van Gogh)

At the Gutter: Blindly Jumping In

This week Science Fiction Editor James dives into two books by authors he’s never read before to bring back the love.

Now it’s true that I did know a fair bit about both authors, so it wasn’t a completely random selection. Also, both were science fiction, so I certainly wasn’t straying too far from my natural inclinations. What surprised me most was how similar the books were, structurally speaking, and how one book seemed to work generally better than the other. Both were definitely fun reads, so maybe judging a book by its cover is not such a bad idea after all!

(image via Bookhound).

At the Gutter: Working in the Groove

James Schellenberg takes a look at two authors getting a lot of attention for very different books— covering boarding school magic and zombies—and discovers what they have in common:

Among Others by Jo Walton just won the Nebula Award for best novel, and Seanan McGuire (in combination with her pseudonym Mira Grant) was just nominated for four Hugo awards in one year, a new record. I figured I should take a look at Walton’s book, along with something by Grant (I ended up reading Feed), to find out what the excitement is about.

What do the two books have in common?

At the Gutter: Opening the Lines of Communication

Gutter Science Fiction/Fantasy Editor James considers AC Crispin and communication:

It’s a classic set-up: humans are exploring space and receive a mysterious signal. Time for first contact! A.C. Crispin takes this familiar idea and runs with it in StarBridge, a smart and fast-paced novel from a few years ago, now released as an ebook for the first time.