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Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

My first full guide for Wirecutter!

That's right: not only did we revamp the entire Wirecutter website with a cool new look and fancy mobile friendliness, but I've also published my first official guide for them! Check it out:

 Ironically, I also shaved my beard off this morning, so my author photo is no longer accurate.

Ironically, I also shaved my beard off this morning, so my author photo is no longer accurate.

How science fiction helped me understand my mental disorder.

My first week at the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, I decided to kick things off with a bang: an 8,000-word short story that never ended.

Clarion is a highly-renowned training ground for sci-fi/fantasy writers, so naturally, I wanted to make an impression. Hence, I introduced myself to my cohort and award-winning instructors by writing a recursive metafictional time travel story. The main “plot” was only about two pages, followed by another thirty pages of footnotes, each with multiple internal references to other footnotes, all to explain the theoretical science behind the causal loop that lead to the main characters’ spacetime-crossed romance. This had the effect of taking the reader on a self-directed non-linear journey through characters’ pasts, presents, and futures, in an endless circle of effect-cause-effect that was unique to each reader.

That was 2013. Me and the other 17 members of my cohort still talk regularly; some of them have already become award-winning authors in their own rights. And to this day, not a week goes by without at least one of them giving me shit for that story. But I have a good excuse for my obnoxious ambitions:

I have ADHD, so it made perfect sense. To me.

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Podcast Party: Talkin' Art & Tragedy with the New England Unsettler

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with Elias Kozniak on New England Unsettler radio show, a self-described audio journal of minor sabotage.

The two of us chatted at length about the commodification of the Boston Marathon bombing; the role of art in reaction to tragedy; and the terrifying normalization of militarized policing. So ya, know, all fun topics!. (No really, it's a blast, I swear!)

Semi-related, Elias is also a dopeass songwriter and I'm kind of obsessed with the awesome sigil magic he invokes on the show's logo, but that's a topic for another time.

You can listen to the podcast below, or subscribe to the Unsettler on iTunes for weekly Communiques about fringe theory, deep ecology, radical politics, the unusual, and the underground.

Communique 006: Marky Mark & the Dunkies Bunch

Elias goes deep with writer, storyteller, and musician Thom Dunn on Hollywood commercialization of tragedy and the militarization of local police forces in the years since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Is there room for reflection in the culture industry, or is it all toxic schlock? How can the stories we tell make the world a better place? Can Mark Wahlberg just fuck off already?

Talking points: Brother West on militarized policing, a different kind of reading, Sean Boo-urns, stories are about people–they’re people!, reading our Miranda July Rights, reflection in the mainstream, obscuring the lesson, whom does optimism benefit?, Darth Vader police chic, cooks with AR-15s, state vs capital: a lover’s spat, a very American Hustle, talking tragedy profiteers and merchandising, Thom and Elias are friendly dummies, what kind of lefty are you?, toxic schlock, Heavyweights with SWAT LARPing, we believe the children are our dystopian future, fun in a bleak way.

On “Hamilton,” Brexit, and Irish Independence

In June 2016, my wife and I headed to Ireland for a week-long vacation. It was my first time on Emerald soil, despite my unabashed affection for my cultural heritage. While I certainly wish I’d had the chance to visit earlier, there was also something poetic about making the trip during the centennial celebration of the Easter Rising, the first major conflict in the struggle for Irish Independence.

We certainly didn’t expect to hop on a plane to Ireland the day after the Brexit vote. Nor did I think anything at the time about the fact that I listened to "Hamilton" for the first times ever as we drove through Ireland that week, and in that specific political context.

So naturally, this got me thinkin'...

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Tennessee's shameful new "therapist bill" isn't just anti-LGBTQ. It's pro-suicide.

Hey Tennessee. It's me, Thom. And I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the honesty of your embarrassing new "therapist bill."

I understand that passing thinly-veiled anti-LGBTQ legislation couched as "religious liberty" protection is all the rage these days — lookin' at you, North Carolina and Mississippi and South Dakota and Georgia and Indiana and so on ad nauseum infinitum.

I also understand that it's hard to find a cool new way to spin your discriminatory language and actions, after so many others did the same before you — and, oh yeah, reaped some pretty awful economic consequences in the process.

But you, Tennessee. "The Volunteer State." You just willingly volunteered the awful, heartless truth at the core of this entire struggle:

See, that Senate Bill 1556 that you just passed? It's not just anti-LGBTQ. It's shamelessly pro-suicide.

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My latest comic book, "iCthulhu," is now on sale!

Grayhaven Comics' latest anthology issue, The Gathering: Sci-Fi Volume 3 is now on sale, and features a short sci-fi action comic by me and my good friend Dave Ganjamie!

Dave and I were bouncing ideas around when he made the intentionally-absurd suggestion of doing a "Futuristic Lovecraftian steampunk horror story." I decided to take this challenge literally...and thus, iCthulhu was born!

Our story is just one part of a 48-page anthology featuring tons of great creators, and the whole thing will only cost you $3.50, so what are you waiting for? Buy it before it becomes a rare and valuable collector's item!

 A little sneak peek at Dave's awesome artwork...

A little sneak peek at Dave's awesome artwork...


A Louisiana Literacy Test For Black Voters, Circa 1960

You have 10 minutes, and if you got one answer wrong, then sorry, you can't vote today.

Granted, the above test is not explicitly racist. But even the worst apologist can't deny the inherent classism of it. Technically speaking, this test was only administered to voters who couldn't prove a certain level of education. Which is kind of arbitrary, no? That's not like carding someone to buy alcohol. There's no visual indicator of someone's education, is there?

Well, sure, if we consider that education is a privilege, not a right, one that is much more easily accessible to people of a certain class. And in Louisiana in the 1960s, most of those people "of a certain class" were of a certain pigment as well...

(and hey, don't get me wrong: there a lot of dumb people in this country, and that they have a voice in our so-called democracy could be seen as an impediment on progress. But as appealing as it sounds to oppress those faces, suddenly your progressivism borders eerily on fascism...)

The First Ever Photograph of a Human

Here's some fun weird history for your Friday enjoyment!

From Wikipedia:

"Boulevard du Temple", taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839 in Paris, was the first photograph of a person. The image shows a street, but because exposure time was over ten minutes, the traffic was moving too much to appear. The exception is the man at the bottom left, who stood still getting his boots polished long enough to show.