1980s-culture

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One of our biggest dreams since childhood has been to go for an awesome ride on the back of Falkor the Luckdragon from The Neverending Story, but we’ll happily settle for a cuddle in the meantime.

Indianapolis-based artist Laura Hosler of Game Guardians makes, among other wonderful things, this beautiful plush version of Falkor. He’s made of three types of faux fur and features hand-sculpted and painted polymer clay eyes as well as metallic glitter paint for the scales along his back. From snout to tail he measures nearly 4-feet-long and his body is wired so he can be worn over the shoulders or wrapper around just about anything.

Hosler opens Game Guardians for orders once a month, so be sure to keep an eye on her Etsy shop if you want to take home your very own Luckdragon or perhaps a fantastically sinister Gmork.

[via Nerd Approved]

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“I’m not saying I’ve been everywhere and I’ve done everything. But I do know this is a pretty amazing planet we live on here. And a man would have to be some kind of fool to think we’re all alone in this universe.”

Even the Jack Burton and the legendary Lo Pan would be impressed with this awesome Big Trouble in Little China created by tattoo sleeve by tattoo artist Paul Acker, owner of Deep Six Tattoo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It features stunning portraits of the main characters from John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic, including Jack Burton, Wang Chi, the Three Storms, Gracie Law, David Lo Pan, and even one of Lo Pan’s many-eyed guardians.

“Sit tight, hold the fort, keep the home fires burning. And if we’re not back by dawn…call the president.”

[via Geekologie]

Satanic Panic
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What are we to make of alleged ritual satanic abuse and the moral panic that spread in the 1980s and 90s? Christian Sager joins Robert for an exploration of religion, fear and demons of the mind.

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My review for John Shirley’s 1980 novel, City Come A-Walkin’. Originally posted on Goodreads. Using the Italian cover here because look at it.

TL;DR - ★★★☆☆

An entertaining read with some fascinating concepts, even if those concepts are muddled by the narrative execution. Required for anyone interested in cyberpunk literature.

Story:

It has been said that Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash was either the final cyberpunk novel, or the first postcyberpunk novel. John Shirley’s City Come A-Walkin’, first published in 1980 (with the story set in 1991) occupies a similar position, but on the far end of the timeline – it either presaged the cyberpunk sub-genre, or it was the novel that kicked it off. Maybe we could say that CCAW served the role of the opening band at a show with multiple headliners.

CCAW follows Stuart Cole, a proud San Franciscan who is contacted by a technopathic artificial intelligence in a Jungian mold. The honesty of the protagonist was refreshing; this is an early-middle-aged nightclub owner who has been thrust into the role of mercenary for a client that never sleeps. Cole has love handles and debt, he’s not fit for the task, and the reader feels this as Cole’s situation escalates. He’s scared, he makes mistakes, he weeps in high-stress situations where there is no conceivable way out. He is the most honest “everyman” action character I’ve ever read (or watched, for that matter). He doesn’t see himself as the protagonist of a thriller – he sees himself as an aging small-business owner.

His partner in crime is Catz Wailen, who is probably one of my favorite characters in an SF/F story. Though I must admit that I’m probably biased: she’s unapologetically bold, asks no one’s permission to be herself, and yeah – I share the sociocultural views that she and her band belt from the stage every weekend. I want to be like her when I grow up.

The themes running through the work touch on individualism, collectivism, free will, loneliness, and what it means to belong. These abstracts work as the emotional girding for the concepts of intelligence, collective unconscious, the afterlife, and morality.

Storytelling:

CCAW may have presaged the new wave (new new wave?), but it was in other ways very much a product of its time. Repetition, redundancies, and awkward phrasings abound in the narrative; dialogue is introduced that serves no purpose; there are some very odd choices for character descriptions (one woman’s “cynical blue eyes” and another man’s “narrow Oriental back”, among others, utilizing that old school physiognomy in place of authentic character work).

That said, the narrator never sacrifices his voice for the sake of clarity or appeal. This is one of the most rock-n-roll novels I’ve ever read, surely deserving of the label “punk literature”. The emotions are naked, the language is raw, and the reader is trapped in this driverless cab of a book with a morally obtuse intelligence at the wheel.

It’s a fun ride.