Jul 14, 2008, 12:03PM

Remembering Thomas M. Disch

Revered sci-fi writer Thomas Disch committed suicide recently, and the appreciations have been slowly burbling out since, primarily from the non-mainstream media. Here's one that remembers the writer whose greates legacy may be creating The Brave Little Toaster, although he was a prodigious genre writer in addition.

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Photo by Houari B.

The first thing of his that I read was his paperback original novel, The Genocides, in which an awful middle-American family is casually decimated by a mindless alien race; not surprisingly, in Tom’s version of the universe anyway, the mindless alien race triumphs, and the awful family just does as it should do—dies horribly. Tom’s biggest obstacle in life was probably the intrepid stupidity of science fiction fans and literary critics, who simply didn’t get him. He annoyed people, as writers are supposed to do; and obstreperously set about upsetting all those boring unexamined assumptions that clog our minds and media—about the genres he loved, the religions he loathed, and even the literary lions he didn’t feel should be lionized. (One of his funniest essay titles was “Our Embarrassing Ancestor: Edgar Allan Poe.”)


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