David Ohle

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David Ohle
Alma materUniversity of Kansas
GenreDystopia, satire
Literary movementExperimental literature, Surrealism, Absurdist fiction
Notable worksMotorman (1972)

David Ohle is an American writer, novelist, and a lecturer at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. After receiving his M.A. from KU, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin from 1975 to 1984. In 2002 he began teaching fiction writing and screenwriting as a part-time lecturer at the University of Kansas. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, the Transatlantic Review, Paris Review, and Harper's, among other magazines.[1]

While it remained out of print for over thirty years, his first novel Motorman (initially published in 1972) gathered a quiet cult following,[2][3][4] was circulated through photocopies, and went on to become an influence to a generation of American writers such as Shelley Jackson[5] and Ben Marcus.[6][7]

His subsequent novels The Age of Sinatra (2004), The Pisstown Chaos (2008) and The Old Reactor (2013) take place in the same dystopian setting as Motorman. Ohle's fiction is often described as weird, surreal and experimental. His own influences include Leonora Carrington, Philip K. Dick, Flann O'Brien, and Raymond Roussel.[6][8]




  • "The City Moon" (a faux-newspaper he published with Roger Martin from 1973-1985)
  • Cows are Freaky when they Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers (1991)
  • Cursed from Birth: The Short, Unhappy Life of William S. Burroughs, Jr. (2006)



  1. ^ Tankard, Frank. "The Mind of Moldenke", lawrence.com, November 12, 2007.
  2. ^ Bomer, Paula. "Transgressive fiction", The New York Times, October 24, 2014.
  3. ^ Smith, Rod. "Absolutely fabulist", Time Out New York, July 10, 2008.
  4. ^ Reading Room 220. Motorman review, NOLA Defender, August 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Jackson, Shelley. "Gross Anatomy", Artforum, October 1, 2004.
  6. ^ a b Marcus, Ben. Introduction, Motorman (2004). 3rd Bed.
  7. ^ Strong, Benjamin. "A review of The Pisstown Chaos", The Believer, October 2008.
  8. ^ Carroll, Tobias. "The Surreal Life", The Paris Review, August 14, 2013.

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