The ToB, presented by Field Notes, is here!

It's the 2023 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes! And it's finals week! Dig in!


Credit: jmawork

How to Defuse an Atomic Bomb

What a tangled web we weave.

You have infiltrated my lair, though if I were you I’d consider my mission very far from “accomplished”—very far indeed.

I have been expecting you, Mr. Bond. I tracked your every move: Montenegro, Puerto Vallarta, eHow, all the way here to the inner chamber of my undersea base.

I trust you were warmed by the welcome mat I laid out for you? Though your gadgetry made quick work of my man-eating apes—an exploding banana is hardly the level of sophistication I would expect from your Q—you are slipping, Mr. Bond.

And yet still you persist. Very well, Mr. Bond—as you wish.

After the apes, poor Zorba…Zorba, my assassin, who now lays at the bottom of the Marinas Trench, his tensile thighs forever frozen in his final choke hold.

Yet where Zorba failed, I shall not.

You see, Mr. Bond, the moment you overrode my parental controls and tapped into my computer system, a timer was set—and with it, your imminent demise.

Your first attempt at thwarting my bombs was little more than a shot in the dark… Google provided far too many results, did it not, Mr. Bond? How to pick? What to choose? Or were you feeling lucky, Mr. Bond?

The timer, you wonder? Ah yes… The device in the center of the room will detonate in exactly five minutes—and that means your deadline does approach!

Your governments have failed you, Mr. Bond. They have received my repeated electronic missives, requesting they deposit a sum of 30 million U.S. dollars into the bank account of Mr. Kabir Bello, of the deposed royalty of Namibia. Have they responded? No.

And so we have entered a more… explosive situation—and the clock is ticking! promised its namesake’s wares, yet you found nothing. You tried and were redirected to a shopping guide on terriers. You could not find the one thing you were looking for: HOW TO DEFUSE AN ATOMIC BOMB.

Until you finally made your way here, Mr. Bond, to this very web page. For that you can thank the newest addition to my army of henchmen: an SEO consultant. Oh, what a tangled world wide web we weave!

Try saying that three times fast, Mr. Bond. Your failures will only lose you time!

Perhaps you will check your email. Will you find your elusive answer there? Or will you find only a thousand deadly spam messages with subjects such as “HOW TO DEFUSE AN ATOMIC BOMB—FIND OUT HERE”?

Ah yes, and in case you’re wondering what became of your lovely companion, you can click here. Do you believe you can overcome my army of pop-up windows? I think not.

Goodbye, Mr. Bond! I’ll see you in the comments!


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack