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Wed
Jan 30 2013 10:00am

Ewoks and Nerdery Sluts: 30 Rock’s Geekiest Moments

Tina Fey and the writers of 30 Rock have never been shy about letting their geek flag fly, both in extended parodies and homages and in delightfully random, obscure references peppered throughout the rapid-fire dialogue. Liz Lemon’s affection for/obsession with Star Wars, for example, is undeniable—as she insists to Jack in a recent episode, “I am not some kind of nerdery slut—I like Star Wars!”—and not since Spaced has a show featured quite so many jokes about Leia, Jedi, Sith Lords, and Admiral Ackbar.

Liz’s deep-seated fan loyalties aside, the show itself has always played the field when it comes to nerdery, gleefully getting down and dirty with everything from Batman and Lost to Ghostbusters and Game of Thrones. So in honor of the series’ finale this Thursday, here are some of our absolute favorite geeky references from all seven seasons of 30 Rock:

[BY THE HAMMER OF THOR!]

Mon
Dec 17 2012 10:00am

11 Odd, Campy, Surreal Holiday Specials That Should Be Classics

11 Odd, Campy, Surreal Holiday Specials That Should Be Classics

Four years ago around this time, I wrote a post about some of my favorite bizarro holiday specials to help ring in our very first Tor.com Cthulhumas/Life Day/Krampusnacht/Solstice celebration. While a lot has changed since 2008, my abiding love of strange and unusual holiday-inspired lunacy is as strong as ever, so please enjoy this updated guide to some classic (or should-be classic) yuletide entertainment….

[From recent to retro, 11 shows to make the holidays a little bit more surreal...]

Wed
Nov 28 2012 11:00am

The Complete American Gods Mix Tape

A single epic mix tape inspired by Neil Gaiman’s American Gods If you’re familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work, then you know that music tends to play an important part in his writing, both on and off the page. This is certainly the case with American Gods, a road trip novel with its own offbeat, colorful soundtrack. When we started our American Gods Reread a few months ago, I decided to keep track of each song mentioned or alluded to in the novel, to see how the music fit in with the events of each week’s chapters. Along the way, I added in some song choices of my own, where they seemed to fit in—in part because it’s fun to think ahead to the HBO series (currently expected to debut in late 2013 or early 2014) and what the show’s soundtrack might be like—I, for one, already have my heart set on a theme song….

The songs below range from classical music to classic rock, pop songs to power ballads, show tunes to traditional folk melodies, and each song plays a part in the larger narrative—I’m still surprised by how much the musical references can inform and illuminate one’s reading of the text, once you start paying attention. I’ve covered each song in relative depth, chapter by chapter, but without further ado, here’s the complete American Gods Mega-Mix, for your listening enjoyment!

[A playlist worthy of the gods...as long as the gods like karaoke]

Wed
Nov 21 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Conclusion/“The Monarch of The Glen”

A reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Tor.com: Conclusion and The Monarch of the Glen

Welcome to the final installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). In our previous installments, we’ve following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Having reached the end of the novel, we thought we’d share some concluding thoughts on the world of American Gods and take a look at Gaiman’s 2004 novella “The Monarch of The Glen,” which picks up with Shadow in the north of Scotland, about two years after the events of the book...

As always, please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

[Glorious monsters, shambling through the swamps of unreason...]

Wed
Nov 14 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 19, 20 and Postscript

Making a mix tape inspired by Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Chapters 19, 20 and Postscript

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[What’s new, pussycat?]

Wed
Nov 14 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 19, 20 and Postscript

A reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Tor.com: Chapters 19, 20, and Postscript

Welcome to the ninth installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week we’ll be discussing the epilogue and postscript of the novel, as Shadow attends to some unfinished business on several fronts (after a quick karaoke break, of course…)

[Yes, there's something the dead are keeping back.]

Wed
Nov 7 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 17 and 18

Making a mix tape from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Chapters 17 and 18

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[Thunderbirds, Valhalla, Texas outlaws, and Talking Heads.]

Wed
Nov 7 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 17 and 18

Welcome to the eighth installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, we reach the Moment of the Storm, as two armies amass and wait for the climactic battle to begin. Pieces fall into place, conspiracies are revealed, and the gods stand at the brink of all-out slaughter...

[Ride the lightning.]

Wed
Oct 31 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 14-16

Making a mix tape out of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. This week, chapters 14 through 16

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[Greg Brown, The Who, The Dead, and the Bad Seeds...]

Wed
Oct 31 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 14, 15 and 16

A reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Tor.com: Chapters 14 through 16

Welcome to the seventh installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, we reach Part III: The Moment of the Storm, as the old gods and the opposition are forced to take care of some business before they can cry havoc and let slip the dogs of all-out war....

[“We are not here to ride the magic bus. We are to blend in.”]

Fri
Oct 26 2012 10:00am

Beetlejuice: A Ghostly, Gothed-Out 80s Fairy Tale for the Ages

Beetlejuice: A Ghostly, Gothed-Out 80s Fairy Tale for the Ages

I’ve been rewatching Beetlejuice, a movie I’ve been madly in love with since I was 9 years old, and trying to figure out what makes it work as well it does. I think to understand Beetlejuice, and why it’s a high point of Tim Burton’s career, it helps to understand what it could have been: a much darker, less comedic film that comes off as the insane, creepy evil twin of the 80s classic that many of us grew up with.

In Michael McDowell’s original script, we’re introduced to the Maitlands, our charming young protagonists, only to watch them die a violent, graphic death, trapped in their car and screaming for help as they drown. Later, as ghosts, they exhume Betelgeuse, a psychotic manifestation of a winged demon who spends the rest of the movie trying to straight up murder their house’s new owners and defile their older daughter (the younger daughter is merely mutilated).

[It gets weirder. But then, it gets better!]

Wed
Oct 24 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 12 and 13

A reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Reread: Chapters 12 and 13

Welcome to the sixth installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, a road trip in a Winnebago takes an odd turn, and Shadow navigates a series of surprise reunions with women from his past...for the most part, they don't go very well. Plus, an episode of Cheers turns deadly....

[Sometimes you want to go/Where everyboooody knows your name...]

Wed
Oct 24 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 12 and 13

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 12 & 13

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[Life is a Cabernet, old chum. And I love a Cabernet.]

Wed
Oct 17 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 9, 10 & 11

A Reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Tor.com: Chapters 9, 10 & 11

Welcome to the fifth installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, we begin Part II of the novel with Christmas on the road with Wednesday. 'Tis the season for a lecture on grifting over turkey and cranberry sauce, with a little seduction of the innocent on the side—then Shadow’s off to idyllic Lakeside to stay out of trouble. Or at least, that was the plan...

[“I shall wave to you as you ride the gray dog north.”]

Wed
Oct 17 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 7 through 11

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 1 & 2

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[An Irish wake, Christmas with Grace Jones, Voodoo, Vegas, and the Stooges]

Wed
Oct 10 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 7 and 8

American Gods Reread on Tor.com: Chapters 7 and 8

Welcome to the fourth installment of our ongoing American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, we join a getaway already in progress, so bring on the talking ravens, Egyptian gods, and a leprechaun who turns up like a bad penny....

[“Say ‘Nevermore,’ ” said Shadow.]

Wed
Oct 3 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 5 and 6

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 1 & 2

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[Waltzes, serious Ringo worship, and two really catchy songs about death...]

Wed
Oct 3 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 5 and 6

American Gods Reread on Tor.com: Chapters 5 and 6

Welcome to the third installment of our American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, we rejoin our roadtripping companions as they prepare to leave Chicago a little poorer than they found it...

[A caper, a blizzard, and a ride on the World’s Largest Carousel...]

Wed
Sep 26 2012 11:00am

American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 3 and 4

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Mix Tape: Chapters 3 & 4

As a side project to our  American Gods Reread, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the various songs quoted and referenced throughout the novel. Every epic adventure deserves an epic soundtrack, after all, and Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about great music, so: whenever a song pops up in the text, I’ll be here to discuss each track in the context of the novel and theorize wildly about the connections between song and story.

For the most part, I’m planning to stick with songs that actually appear in the book, but as we progress with the reread I’ll be keeping an ear out for tunes that fit too well to be ignored, and I’m hoping you’ll help me out with suggestions in the comments: if there’s a song or artist that needs to be added to the list, let me know! By the end of the novel, we’ll hopefully have created a divinely inspired mega-mix worthy of Wednesday himself, featuring everything from rock and roll and the blues to show tunes and karaoke standards....

As with the reread, all page numbers mentioned correspond to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text) and there are spoilers below the fold. Please feel free to pump up the volume.

[This week: Leadbelly, Dylan, vikings, demons, and the undead (including Elvis).]

Wed
Sep 26 2012 11:00am

American Gods Reread: Chapters 3 and 4

American Gods Reread on Tor.com: Chapters 3 and 4

Welcome to the second installment of our American Gods Reread, a rambling literary road trip through Neil Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novel (soon to be an HBO series). Each week we’ll be following the adventures and misadventures of Shadow Moon and his employer, the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, through a landscape both familiar and deeply strange. Please be aware that there will be spoilers in the post and comments.

This week, we pick up with our protagonists just in time for one of them to get lucky, while the other endures the final hours of what just might be the harshest Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in recent history....

[Strange things are afoot at the Motel America.]