Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008) was an American writer, poet, and critic. His early works were often bleak and nihilistic, with titles like The Genocides and Camp Concentration. It is therefore somewhat ironic that he is best remembered for his children's book, The Brave Little Toaster, which was made into a Disney film.
Disch's first novel, The Genocides (1965), attracted the attention of Brian W. Aldiss and Michael Moorcock, and soon Disch was a regular in Moorcock's UK magazine New Worlds, which was leading a literary movement that would soon become known as New Wave Science Fiction. Disch's success in the UK lead to him being selected to write a novel based on the quirky British TV show, The Prisoner.
In addition to his fiction and poetry, Disch worked as a theatre critic for the New York Times and The Nation. He later published well-received books of literary criticism. In the late 1980s, he also wrote for one of the last Text Adventure video games ever published, a work called Amnesia.
Works with a page on this wiki:
- The Genocides
- "Things Lost" (short story)
- The Brave Little Toaster
- The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars
Selected other works:
- The House That Fear Built (1966, with John Sladek)
- Camp Concentration (1968)
- The Prisoner (1969, based on the TV show)
- Highway Sandwiches (1970, poetry collection, with Charles Platt and Marilyn Hacker)
- Fun With Your New Head (1971, short stories)
- 334 (1972)
- Getting Into Death and Other Stories (1976, short stories)
- On Wings Of Song (1979)
- Here I Am, There You Are, Where Were We (1984, poetry collection)
- The M.D.: A Horror Story (1991)
- The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World (1998, nonfiction)
- The Voyage of the Proteus (2007)
Tropes in his other works:
- Alien Invasion: In The Puppies Of Terra (a.k.a. White Fang Goes Dingo), highly advanced energy beings take over earth with no difficulty at all. They're a race of aesthetes—they behave exactly like late-Victorian gay males—and they abandon Earth when humans will simply not cease thinking about disgusting things.
- Alien Kudzu: The Genocides has the Earth transformed in a monoculture for alien crops, and the aliens consider humans to be pests and try to exterminate them. They succeed.
- Downer Ending: The Genocides ends with a chapter of Fauxlosophical Narration pondering the extinction of humanity.
- Fingore: In "Descending" the main character finally makes it to the bottom of an apparently endless series of down escalators, way past the exit level, only to discover that the up escalator is out of order. He promptly has a mental breakdown and sticks his fingers under the bottom treads of the down escalator.
- Garden of Evil: In The Genocides, aliens gradually transform Earth so that their uncanny, tree-like Plants cover the entire land surface. Doing away with the human race makes this project easier to complete.
- Mr. Seahorse: In a variant, the short story "Emancipation" featured a man who gets surgically altered so he can breast-feed his child, in a future where gestation routinely occurs in People Jars.
- Persecution Flip: American tourists in Morocco in the story "Casablanca" quickly become unwanted foreigners after the US is annihilated in a nuclear exchange. The reason? The companies behind their credit cards and travelers checks have also been destroyed, and they only have small amounts of the local currency.
- Pest Controller: In the short "The Roaches," the main character discovered that she possessed the ability to telepathically communicate with and command cockroaches. Let's just say that it turned out to be not so good of a thing in the end...