Thor Meets Captain America

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"Thor Meets Captain America"
Author David Brin
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published inThe Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Publication dateJuly 1986 [1]

"Thor Meets Captain America" is a science fiction and alternate history novelette by American writer David Brin. It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 1987 [2] and also won a Locus Award in 1987 in the novelette category. [3] The graphic novel The Life Eaters is based on the story. [4] This story was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in their July 1986 issue; it was later reprinted in the anthology Hitler Victorious. [5]

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. It has been called the "literature of ideas", and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.

Alternate history Genre of speculative fiction, where one or more historical events occur differently

Alternate history or alternative history (AH) is a genre of speculative fiction consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain "what if" scenarios at crucial points in history and present outcomes other than those in the historical record. The stories are conjectural but are sometimes based on fact. Alternate history has been seen as a subgenre of literary fiction, science fiction, or historical fiction; alternate history works may use tropes from any or all of these genres. Another term occasionally used for the genre is "allohistory".

David Brin novelist, short story writer

Glen David Brin is an American scientist and author of science fiction. He has received the Hugo, Locus, Campbell and Nebula Awards. His novel The Postman was adapted as a feature film and starred Kevin Costner in 1997. Brin's nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association and the McGannon Communication Award.


The title is a reference to the Marvel Comics characters Thor and Captain America.

Marvel Comics Company that publishes comic books and related media

Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide's parent company.

Thor (Marvel Comics) Marvel comic book character

Thor Odinson is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, which is based on the Norse deity of the same name, is the Asgardian god of thunder who possesses the enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, which grants him the ability to fly and manipulate weather amongst his other superhuman attributes.

Captain America Comic book character

Captain America is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by cartoonists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 from Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics. Captain America was designed as a patriotic supersoldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II and was Timely Comics' most popular character during the wartime period. The popularity of superheroes waned following the war and the Captain America comic book was discontinued in 1950, with a short-lived revival in 1953. Since Marvel Comics revived the character in 1964, Captain America has remained in publication.

Plot summary

Just as World War II began to turn against them, the Nazis were suddenly championed by the Norse pantheon. However, Loki joins the Allies, and they prepare a last-ditch sneak attack against Valhalla called Operation Ragnarok. The story follows Captain Chris Turing, who is part of the team which is going to attack Valhalla and starts out with them traveling to their attack destination in a group of submarines hoping that what remained of the United States Surface Navy would be able to distract the Nazi and Norse pantheon forces. Originally the plan was to include only Chris' team and their commando escorts, but Loki informs them that he will accompany his troops to Gotland as well. Due to Loki's previous actions in aiding the Allies and the way he ended the Holocaust by saving the inmates of the concentration camps, Chris agrees and convinces Major Marlowe to allow it.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Nazi Party a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945

The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.

Æsir Principal pantheon in Norse mythology

In Old Norse, ǫ́ss is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon is known as the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage war against each other, which results in a unified pantheon.

While waiting for them to get to their destination, Chris recollects his memory of World War II and how the Nazi Germany was about to be defeated by the allied forces until they received the aid of the Norse pantheon. Loki notices Chris and allows the captain to ask the Norse God three questions. Loki answers the questions asked, and in one answer mentions how he does not think that he is older than Chris and also implies that the Nazi extermination camps were established for reasons other than for "Nazi racial purification", but refuses to answer any further questions to clarify this. The group arrives at Gotland, and during the operation Loki disappears as Æsir forces led by Thor defeats the troops.

The survivors of Operation Ragnarok are taken prisoner after the failed mission and are given to Thor by his father Odin. While in custody, Chris recollects more of his memories of World War II and recalls how as a child he wished that he would have an event like the war that he could partake in like his father did. He ends up discussing the history of World War II with his captured troops, and argues with the group about the suggestion the United States should have simply bombed Germany in order to end the war as soon as possible. He also takes an opportunity to mock one of his human captors about how the Nazis have become mere puppets of the Æsir.

Odin Major god in Norse mythology

Odin is a widely revered god in Germanic mythology. In Norse mythology, from which stems most surviving information about the god, Odin is associated with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, war, battle, victory, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, the god was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, and in Old High German as Wuotan.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. Most of the country is located in central North America between Canada and Mexico. With an estimated population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.

After these conversations, Chris is taken to be interrogated by Thor. Thor tries to get Chris to reveal the whereabouts of Loki, but the captive captain does not tell him and does not know. Chris ends up insulting Thor, insisting that they are aliens, and as a result Thor orders his death before revealing that the Norse pantheon were invited "upon the wings of death itself."

Extraterrestrial life Hypothetical life which may occur outside of Earth and which did not originate on Earth

Extraterrestrial life is hypothetical life which may occur outside of Earth and which did not originate on Earth. Such life might range from simple prokaryotes to beings with civilizations far more advanced than humanity. The Drake equation speculates about the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. The science of extraterrestrial life in all its forms is known as astrobiology.

O'Leary later tells Chris that he was told by Loki to give Chris an answer to his final question: necromancy. Chris realizes that the death camps were built not for "racial purification", but for human sacrifices to fuel magic. The captain also realizes that the Norse Gods were created by necromancy due to Loki's admission that he is actually young. After realizing that he has gained superhuman powers from Loki, Chris attacks the guards and dies in an attempt to resist the Norse Gods after managing to destroy Odin's Spear. In doing so, he hopes that his actions will give hope to other heroes who will eventually rise up to overcome the Nazis.

Author's notes

In the author's notes for this story, David Brin records that he was invited by Gregory Benford to write a piece for an alternate history collection, entitled Hitler Victorious, but voiced the opinion that he could not think of a single event which, if altered, would have let the Nazis win the war, and, contrariwise, that they had required a number of lucky breaks to get as far as they did (see also: alien space bats). Benford’s reply was “I bet you could think of some premise that would work, David”. This story was the result. [6] Brin also notes in the afterwards of his story that he wrote this story as a possible explanation for why the Nazis "do so many horrible, pointless things". [7]

Related Research Articles

Loki Norse Diety

Loki is a god in Norse mythology. Loki is in some sources the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Narfi and/or Nari. By the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In addition, Loki is referred to as the father of Váli in Prose Edda, though this source also refers to Odin as the father of Váli twice, and Váli is found mentioned as a Son of Loki only once.

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In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is a series of events, including a great battle, foretold to lead to the death of a number of great figures, natural disasters and the submersion of the world in water. After these events, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors. Ragnarök is an important event in Norse mythology and has been the subject of scholarly discourse and theory in the history of Germanic studies.

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  1. Thor Meets Captain America title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. "1987 Hugo Awards" . Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  3. "The LOCUS Index to SF Awards". Archived from the original on 6 July 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  4. Brin, David. "My Graphic Novels" . Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  5. "Brin, David. "Thor Meets Captain America"" . Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  6. Brin, D The River of Time (1987) ISBN   0-553-26281-5 p238
  7. Brin, David. "Thor Meets Captain America" . Retrieved 24 March 2012.