Tag Archives: tor dot com

In Which I Talk A Lot About Nerdy Things And Everybody Listens

I’ve had a busy few weeks of pontificating on geeky pop culture things — I mean, professionally, as opposed to the normal all-of-my-free-time that I spend doing precisely that — and so I’ve got a few new articles / essays / thinkpieces / posts / whatever-you-wanna-call-’ems up on Tor.com:

So check ’em out, leave your comments, and then eagerly await the next installment of “Thom Talks Nerdy.”

The Multiverse On Stage

Over at Tor.com, I talk about Nick Payne’s Constellations, a play which I unfortunately have not seen, but one that I have read and would absolutely love to see. Except that maybe in the world of this simultaneous-multiverse-hopping-romance, I have actually seen the play somewhere. Plus every other parallel reality happening possible. It’s kind of nuts, and kind of beautiful, but I describe it better over there, so check it out:

“SFF Onstage: Nick Payne’s Constellations” on Tor Dot Com

Where Does Nick Fury Get All Those Wonderful Toys?

I recently read through the original Stan Lee – Jack Kirby (and later, all Jim Steranko all the time) run of Strange Tales: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, which first introduced the cigar-chompin’ one-eyed Nick-Fury-as-Super-Spy to the Marvel Universe. I’ll be honest, I don’t always love older comics because their hokey nature and heavy exposition, but these were some pretty awesome spy stories. And even better they were filled with some of the most unabashedly ridiculous spy gadgets imaginable. Everything was so over-the-top and psychedelic, and with absolute no regret or embarrassment about it. And so I shared a list of my Top 10 SHIELD toys over on Tor Dot Com, mostly hoping that Joss Whedon’s now SHIELD TV series will feature every single one of them.

“Nick Fury And The Top Ten Toys of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on Tor Dot Com

Superhero Politics

Instead of the usual political opinions, I tried instead to write a piece that explores politics without being overtly political. Although my editors at Tor were initially hesitant of the controversy, they were ultimately pretty pleased with the product! And so, my latest article at Tor Dot Com explores the centrist politics of Brian K. Vaughan’s Superhero-Turned-Mayor-Of-New-York-City epic Ex Machina, which actually takes an impressively (if ultimately depressing) nonpartisan view at the ups and downs of American politics, only with lots more punching and invaders from alternate realities (obvi).

Ex Machina and the Great Political Machine of Brian K. Vaughan” on Tor Dot Com

All Actors Are Robots (no but seriously)

In an effort to combine my seemingly disparate interests, I pitched an idea for a new column to my editor at Tor.com, focusing on the depiction of sci-fi and fantasy in the world of theatre. People don’t typically think of plays as being bastions for weaving elegant tales of aliens and dragons and cyborgs (oh my!), but in fact, you’d be surprised! (In theatre, we just cover up the “genre” gimmick by giving it some pretentious name like “magical realism” or “futurism” etc).

Anyway, here’s the first of such columns, exploring RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a Czech play from the early 20th century that actually introduced the word “robot” to the world.

“SFF Onstage: Rossum’s Universal Robots” on Tor Dot Com

Batman and Robin Will Never Die!

Is there anyone alive who doesn’t agree that Batman is totally awesome? No? That’s what I thought.

It’s also well documented by anyone who’s ever met me that I have a serious fascination with comic book writer / chaos magician / Scotsman / rockstar / occasional fictional character Grant Morrison, who, by sheer coincidence, has been guiding the adventures of the Dark Knight for the past 7 years or so as the man behind the pen. The good folks at Tor.com were kind of enough to let me indulge my Morrison obsession and love for clever poetic puzzles, and I re-read his entire story (so far) to provide a critical analysis of what appears to be his deconstruction of the identity of Batman — both as a symbol or piece of mythology, and as the man himself behind the mask, Bruce Wayne.

This undertaking proved to be much more epic than I had originally anticipated, but I’m still quite pleased with the end results. So check it out, even if you haven’t read all of Morrison’s Bat-epic (but really, you should probably do that).

“How Grant Morrison’s 7-Year Batman Epic is Becoming the Ultimate Definition of Batman” on Tor Dot Com

An America / Universe / 12 Colonies / Other Fictional World That We Can Believe In

Judging by Facebook feed, we are now officially in the throes of Election Season. Which is kind of like mating season for most animals, but with more blood, and more assholes. And so to lighten to the mood (read: FURTHER contribute to the orgy of political posts that are currently consuming all of your various news outlets and social feeds), I’ve compiled a list for Tor Dot Com of my preferred third party options in the 2012 Presidential Election. This whole two-party system is whack, anyway; when do I get to vote for the Jedi Council?

“Ten Great Alternative (Fictional) Political Leaders” on Tor Dot Com

BONUS: This is the single greatest speech ever written in cinematic history. Oh man.