Talk:Thomas M. Disch

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Split, tone.[edit]

AllanAnderson: Wow, this is a very comprehensive article now. I have two qualms: 1. A lot of the stuff about the New Wave belongs, I think, in the New Wave article - or, in the case of the Moorcock discussion, in the Moorcock article. It would make more sense to have just a summary here of what the movement was about. 2. I think the last few paragraphs give the article more of a magazine-feature tone than an encyclopedic one, with phrases like "sour grapes or not" and conjectures like "This increases his universality though it perhaps deprives him of a loyal fan-base"; they're not exactly violations of NPOV but I think they introduce a somewhat obtrusive authorial voice. HobTalk 03:26, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)

Thanks, Hob! I'm quite new to the Wikipedia, so I'm sure my contributions need massaging. Thanks for the feedback. I can go through the last few paragraphs and try to cut back on my beloved authorial voice. Feel free to go in there yourself, too (not that you need my permission). I think the "Cultural" section could use another name or some sub-headings, as well.

This is all from a big paper I did last semester on Disch and his poetry (or more specifically his poetics). Hence, it probably leans a bit towards Disch the Poet over his many other talents.

I've got some more stuff about some of his specific poems. The "What Wikipedia is not" article says that critical analysis of art is welcomed, so I figured I'd put that in seperate articles. I suspect I lean even more towards "magazine-feature" in these, so perhaps you could let me know what you think. --AllanAnderson 06:35, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm removing the following paragraph, with an eye toward maybe merging it into New Wave (science fiction) and/or Michael Moorcock. I left the previous bits that summarized NW. HobTalk 03:36, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)

At its worst, New Wave combines unrewarding obscurity with grating pretension; at its best, it pushes together old and new ideas in enlivening ways. Much of Moorcock’s work can hardly be called science fiction; it ranges into cloak-and-dagger parody, gender-bending surrealism, and ambiguous philosophy. His “Jerry Cornelius” series of novels in particular combines a veneer of pulpy super-spy story with a subversive progression into an ever more weird and surreal deconstruction of the genre. By beginning within the expected, Moorcock hooks complacent readers then takes them into unexplored territory. (Disch’s flexible use of form in his poetry sometimes serves a similar purpose.) Samuel R. Delany—a rare breed, the Queer Black Science Fiction Writer—is another contemporary who began as a more traditional science fiction writer but whose ambitions took him beyond the usual boundaries.


Is he really dead? Are we sure?

The only first-hand source for this is Ellen Datlow's blog. The website sourced here in relation to his death links to the blog itself. Now I'm not saying that Ellen Datlow is lying, but does anyone know of a more reliable, trust worthy and credible source? The New York Times haven't got anything about him yet and seeing as he's from NY, you'd think they'd be the first people with the story... -- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:41, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Disch, 68, who has been called one of the most important science fiction writers of his generation, fatally shot himself in the head July 5, according to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Los Angeles Times

Are there any surviving relatives/ family members? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

I know that he has a sister, Nancy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:08, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

I read on his blog he had a brother, Gary Disch, who is an author of puzzle books, some of which can be found on amazon —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:20, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Loyal fan-base speculation[edit]

"He did not try to write to a particular community: "I'm gay myself, but I don't write 'gay' literature."[5] This increased his universality though it perhaps deprived him of a loyal fan-base."

What is this last part supposed to imply exactly? That if he were to have shoved more gay themes into his novels he might have acquired a greater following amongst homosexual sci-fi fans? This seems awfully speculative at best. --Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 15:12, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I have removed this. Dybryd (talk) 19:16, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with this removal. It was an attempt to examine the interaction of between different genres or niches, knowing how loyal some readers can be to their favorite area (be that SF or queer fiction). Perhaps it's too much analysis and not enough encyclopedic fact?AllanAnderson (talk) 00:16, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I added the statement about loyal fan-base. I don't object to your removing it, but I think I'm right about it. If you compare his career to Samuel R. Delany's, for instance, there is a difference in what Delany achieved as a gay writer who had no problem being marketed as a gay writer. He found a new audience, had his backlist taken up by a university press, got a lot of critical discussion, and found an entire new audience who reads gay-themed books and who would otherwise not have heard of him. I can recall being in a gay bookstore in San Francisco in 1991, when someone was asking the person at the desk who wrote gay/lesbian science fiction. I was able to mention Delany, Russ, etc., but Disch's books were not in the store and I couldn't mention his name. Disch's book "On Wings of Song" sold poorly, although it won awards and acclaim. Had it been marketed as a gay novel (which it was not), it might have sold better and done more to help his career. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hifrommike65 (talkcontribs) 15:12, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Date of death.[edit]

The only major obituary now online gives July 5, however, all other published sources have said the fourth. Can anyone resolve this? Dybryd (talk) 19:16, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Most of the early returns from this search say he died on the fourth. I don't know the specific bio you're referencing, so I don't know it's comparative reliability, but I'm thinking it might be a typo? John Carter (talk) 01:24, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
The LA Times obit dated the 8th states "fatally shot himself in the head July 5, according to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner." whereas the other sources probably just copied the 1st report. -- Jeandré, 2008-07-12t09:18z

It's still not sufficiently clear. Between the LA Times obit which references the NYC Medical Examiner (as July 5th), and that references the NYC Police Dept. (as July 4th, found on the 5th), as well as the NY Times [1] and the Washington Post [2] that report the 4th, there is still too much uncertainty to definitively pick one over the other, although I'm leaning toward July 4th, based on the combined weight and reputation of the Post and Times. It may become clarified at some point, hopefully. I'm working on the infobox, in which I had to pick one or the other, and I picked the 4th as being somewhat more likely. — Becksguy (talk) 14:47, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

I assume that by now there's an accepted consensus on the date of his death. That being the case, isn't it kind of absurd to have 7 (seven!) references attached to that one point in the article? (talk) 15:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, the controversy may have died down at the moment, but the refs prevent it from flaring up again in the future. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:56, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

add infobox[edit]

Template:Infobox Writer would be good to add if anyone's inspired. Banjeboi 09:39, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

I got inspired enough to start it. More later. — Becksguy (talk) 15:10, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


There's an interesting published essay The Avoidable Death of Thomas Disch that might be worth adding to the external links, but since it's commentary I'm not sure it passes muster... Robort (talk) 12:14, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

(Fixed URL for essay).

The FBI file of Phillip K Dick[edit]

These appear on a number of websites, one of which is It seems Phillip K Dick sent a letter to the FBI with his concerns about Disch, and one particular book (CONCENTRATION CAMP). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Asdfhoppy (talkcontribs) 16:21, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Opposition to Islam?[edit]

Disch seemed to be very antagonistic to Islam in his last years. He wrote an article praising Oriana Fallaci " for her fiery anti-Islam book "The Rage and the Pride" (2002)....She has been virtually the only high-profile writer to say what everyone thinks about the Islamis but is too chickensh*t to say".

And Disch's obituary in Science Fiction Studies states " His Livejournal blog, “Endzone” (<>), drew some notoriety for its occasional anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rants, giving painful evidence of how Disch’s perspective on the world darkened in his final years." This information should be incorporated into the article. (talk) 19:47, 11 August 2014 (UTC)