Michael Thomsen

  • culture September 06, 2012

    The Lives of Things by José Saramago

    José Saramago's work is often thought of as allegorical or subversively political. The Portuguese novelist, playwright, and poet had an instinct for stories that belittled political sentimentality, framing the grandiosity of dreams within the vulnerability of the dreamer. From Baltasar and Blimunda’s tragic lovers drowning in a swamp of political corruption to absurd militarization in response to a mysterious epidemic in Blindness, Saramago’s work reveals the parallel fragility of authority and idealism. The Lives of Things is a collection of six early short stories from the Nobel Prize winner,

  • syllabi November 17, 2011

    Field of Screens

    In fiction, video games act as both the harbingers of dystopia and the means of salvation from bleak techno-futures. Between these two poles lies a vast possibility space, something William Gibson formulated with the idea of cyberspace in his 1982 story "Burning Chrome," a "colorless non-space of the simulation matrix, the electronic consensus-hallucination." Ultimately, when video games appear in fiction, they embody the hallucinations of those who use them, and illuminate the desires that brought them into being.

    Michael Thomsen lives in New York. He has written about sex, video games, and