(1940 — 2008)
Thomas Michael Disch was a SF author, critic, editor, and poet. He was educated at New York University (1959-1962), and worked in advertising, 1963-1964. He lived in the UK, Turkey, Mexico, and Italy, as well as in the US.
First SF publication: “The Double Timer” in Fantastic (October, 1962); First novel: The Genocides (Berkley, 1965); First collection: One Hundred and Two H-Bombs and Other Science Fiction Stories (Compact, 1966).
Disch has also written as Thom Demijohn and Cassandra Knye (joint pseudonyms with John Sladek), and as Victor Hastings, Leonie Hargrave, Cassandra Nye, and Dobbin Thorpe.
One critic has said that The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of is “one of the most clear-sighted and significant critiques of the science fiction genre ever published.” Disch is as well known as a poet (writing as Tom Disch), critic, playwright, and editor as he is as a SF writer. He has also published Gothic novels and fantasies, and has an even wider audience due to his children’s books The Brave Little Toaster (1986) and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1988).
In 1973 he edited The Ruins of Earth: An Anthology of Stories of the Immediate Future; in 1975 he edited The New Improved Sun: An Anthology of Utopian Science Fiction; and in 1976 he edited [with Charles Naylor]New Constellations, an anthology of short fiction based on ancient legends, fairy tales, and the Bible.
He wrote 500+ poems as Tom Disch, and collected volumes of them include The Right Way to Figure Plumbing (1972) and Orders of the Retina (1982). Other collections of his short fiction were Under Compulsion (1968) [titled Fun With Your New Head when published in 1971 in the United States], Getting into Death (1973), Fundamentally Disch (1980), The Man Who Had No Idea (1982), and Torturing Mr. Amberwell (1985).
In addition, Disch was a critic and book reviewer for periodicals such as The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times, Washington Post Book World, Playboy, The Atlantic, The Nation, and Hudson Review. A collection of his literary essays, The Castle of Indolence: On Poetry, Poets, and Poetasters, was published in 1995. A children’s book, A Child’s Garden of Grammar, appeared in 1997; and his novel of the supernatural, The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft, was issued in 1999.
- 1979 Best Novelette Hugo
- 1980 Best Novel Hugo
- 1981 Best Novella Hugo
- 1999 Best Related Book Hugo <winner> for The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of.
Disch was interviewed in a 1973 issue (#2) of thefanzine Eternity; in Empire for the Science Fiction Writer (No. 24/1981); in the Summer 1988 (#24) of Interzone; in the December 1992 issue (#11) of Science Fiction Eye; and in the June 2001 issue of Locus (“Thomas M. Disch: It’s All Methane to Me”). At one time a critic referred to Disch as “the finest intellect in science fiction."
Other Awards and Honors:
- 1969 — Ditmar for Camp Concentration
- 1980 — John W. Campbell, Jr. Memorial Award for On Wings of Song, BSFA (Short Fiction) for “The Brave Little Toaster”
- 1981 — Rhysling (Long SF Poem) for “On Science Fiction”