Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Word of God given an A- in Entertainment Weekly

I like this one:

The late author's newest work, presented as a memoir by a deified Disch, satirizes modern religion via fiction and poetry. Movie pitch: Bruce Almighty as a pitch-dark Charlie Kaufman dramedy. Bottom line: While Disch's frequent references to suffering and the afterlife can be painful to read after his recent suicide, they make for a fitting coda to a career spent perfecting the art of the unsettling. A-.
-Simon Vozick-Levinson

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thomas M. Disch - a last roundup

I'm posting the last of the obits for Tom here. It's time for us here at Tachyon to start getting back to normal. It's not that Jacob and I aren't still sad, but we need to continue doing what we do, which I like to think Tom would appreciate.

I'm waiting to hear back from Tom's estate about the copy edits for The Wall of America. Tom and I were scheduled to go over the edits the Monday after he died. When we get the manuscript back from his apartment, I'll be interpreting his markings. He told me there weren't many changes to what Marty Halpern, the copyeditor, had called out. It will be strange and sad to see that manuscript, which is one of the last things Tom worked on professionally (as far as I know). We're still planning to have the book out in October; again, I believe that is what Tom wanted.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More obituaries for Thomas Disch

Today, in Salon, and I'll continue to post more as they come in. It's a week today since Tom's death, and I can't say I feel a whole lot better, except when I read the outpouring of affection for him from the sf community, and the respect that the mainstream press is according him. He deserves both and more.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thomas M. Disch remembered on Fresh Air

NPR has run an obit and rebroadcast a 1988 interview with Thomas M. Disch on Fresh Air. It's about his children's books, including The Brave Little Toaster, and about the sf community. Tom sounds happy, energized, and erudite, which is how I'd like to remember him.

I am also continuing to update links to the eulogies and obituaries for Tom. I hope that Tom's family, friends, and fans take comfort in the fact that he was so admired, respected, and loved.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A few words about Tom Disch

This is from Jacob about Tom. There are also links to other obituaries and eulogies here.

Word reached me yesterday of the death of my friend Thomas M. Disch. He committed suicide in his apartment on July 4th, and his body was found by a friend on the 5th. Tom had been depressed since the death of his partner, Charles Naylor several years ago. He was fighting chronic debilitating back pain and eviction from his rent controlled apartment. I’d hoped that the publication of his long awaited novel, The Word of God, would help ease his spirit and by all accounts it did, at least for a time. The book itself had been one of the causes of his depression. Tom lost his agent over the book, an incident he later incorporated into the text. Several major New York houses passed on The Word of God, and after Naylor died, Tom put the book away. I suspect that either the back pain had become too severe (our getting Tom out to lunch at a restaurant half a block from his apartment was a major accomplishment), or the struggle against his eviction had taken a turn for the worse, most likely the latter.

I’ll miss our time together. I stopped by his apartment each time I went to New York and we’d make a day of it. Tom was mostly housebound. He’d make me lunch, usually a Western Omelet, and I’d buy takeout Chinese for dinner, unless he was feeling up to going out. We’d sit and talk in Tom’s padded chairs, move to the dining room table for lunch, and then back to the chairs. He’d tell me about his travels around Europe with John Sladek, and about his encounters with Avram Davidson, Terry Carr, and Philip K. Dick. These reminiscences were usually at my request; Tom lived his life in the present. Just before his death he was writing poetry at a prodigious rate, somewhere around five hundred poems in a two year span, and posting them on his LiveJournal blog. He was also keeping up correspondence with a large number of people. And at last, he was writing fiction again, at least two novellas for Subterranean Press with the promise of more to come. I’d hoped that Tom would go back and finish a novel he’d started several years ago about an elephant that falls in love with a cat burglar, or perhaps it was a piano player, or both. Every time he told me about the book, how we all fall in love with people who can do well what we cannot, the way an elephant couldn’t help admiring somebody who could pick locks or play the piano, I couldn’t help laughing.

That his death comes now is doubly troubling. He was due to go over the edits today with Jill Roberts, Tachyon’s Managing Editor, for his forthcoming short story collection, The Wall of America. It is his first such collection in over 25 years. And The Word of God has been out for less than two weeks, with Tom scheduled to do a number of interviews in the next few weeks. The reviews so far have mostly been glowing. Tom’s contributor’s copies probably arrived at his apartment last week. I’d like to think that he saw them and approved, but, like so many other missing details, I may never know.

Jacob Weisman

Tributes to Thomas M. Disch

As the sf and mainstream communities discover the sad fact of Tom Disch's suicide on July 4th, a number of very eloquent and loving eulogies are being offered.

Reflections, remembrance, more:
(Thanks to Charles Tan and Ed Champion for helping with this collection)

Ellen Datlow
(Ellen, who lives near Tom's apartment, broke the news of his apparent suicide before it was confirmed)
Jacob Weisman, publisher, Tachyon Publications
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Los Angeles Times
The Advocate
The UK Telegraph
The UK Guardian
Entertainment Weekly
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Weekly Standard
The Atlantic
New York Magazine
Boing Boing

Jeff VanderMeer
Ed Champion
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Scott Edelman
L. Timmel Duchamp
The Tomorrow Museum
Cat Rambo
James A. Owen
Elizabeth Hand
Nick Kaufmann
Nick Mamatas
Jonathan Strahan
John Joseph Adams (and for SCI FI Wire)
Alan Bostick
Stephen Gallagher

Jay Lake
SF Signal
Colleen Doran
Ed Park
William Gibson
Bruce Lewis
Tom Moody
Wet Machine
Scott Woods
Stephen Frug
Mark Kelly
Suzanne Fischer

Mark Laidlaw
Galley Cat
Lasting Tribute
Mike Allen
Reason Magazine
Animation Magazine
Bright Lights After Dark
Tom Tomorrow
Moshe Feder (from File 770)
Todd Swift
Baroque in Hackney
Stephen Bodio
Clark Perry
J. A. Lee
Scott Edelman

Monday, July 07, 2008

The life of Thomas M. Disch

We are mourning the loss of Tom Disch, who was found dead in his apartment on July 5th, having committed suicide. We here at Tachyon would like to offer our condolences to Tom's family, friends, and fans.

Here are some of the obituaries.

Here is Tom's biography, which you can also download.

Thomas Michael Disch was born February 2, 1940, in Des Moines, Iowa. Enrolled in a succession of Catholic schools, he would develop, respectively, a love for classical music and opera, an opposition to the Catholic Church (seen regularly in his work), and a fascination for poetry and ballet. After moving to New York City in 1957, Thomas Disch enlisted in the army just before his eighteenth birthday. He promptly went AWOL, was sent to a combination prison and mental hospital, and luckily was fairly promptly discharged. Returning to New York City, he began evening classes at NYU. In 1962, instead of cramming for mid-terms, he wrote the short story "The Double Timer," which was promptly sold for $112.50. Disch never returned to NYU, and instead took odd jobs as an insurance claims adjuster, a bank teller, a mortuary attendant, and a proofreader and copy editor to support his burgeoning writing habit.

Disch's voracity for writing led him to an astonishing range of publications. He wrote science fiction (Camp Concentration, 334), horror/gothic (The Priest), children’s books (The Brave Little Toaster, A Child’s Garden of Grammar), poetry (Yes, Let’s: New and Selected Poems, Dark Verses and Light), book and theater reviews for The Nation, Harper's, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Weekly, poetry criticism (The Castle of Indolence: On Poetry, Poets, and Poetasters), media novelizations (The Prisoner), a computer game (Amnesia), and the libretto for an opera based on Frankenstein.

Amongst the awards Thomas Disch received were the Braude, Campbell, Ditmar, O’Henry, British Science Fiction, Hugo, Locus, and Campbell awards, as well as the Pushcart Prize. He was nominated for the National Book and the National Book Critic Circle awards. Disch lived in Mexico, Spain, England, and Rome, but for the last twenty years he lived mostly in New York City, where over the last few years he was a radio pundit and theater critic, and was recently working on new fiction and poetry projects.

Entering a newly prolific phase, Disch was slated to publish three books in 2008, including a recently released original novel, The Word of God (July 2008), which was his first new novel in nine years, and a short story collection, The Wall of America.

Thomas M. Disch was found dead in his apartment on July 5th, 2008, an apparent suicide. He was 68.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thomas M. Disch

Jacob and I have found out that Tom Disch has appeared to have committed suicide in his NYC apartment on July 4th. We don't know much yet, but Ellen Datlow has posted on her blog about it.

I'm sitting here trying to think of something else to say, but everything I come up with seems hollow. I'm just really sad.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Big Idea about Dogs

Nancy Kress has been Scalzied today in John Scalzi's regular book feature, The Big Idea. The subject is Nancy's newest bio-thriller Dogs, which is now available here, there, and everywhere. Scazi says, "Your sweet adorable pet: What if it was a raging vector of viral infection? Maybe that’s not something you actually want to spend time thinking about, but that’s okay, since Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Nancy Kress already thought about it for you." So let Nancy do your thinking for you and pick up a copy, stat.

Michael Swanwick wins Locus Award

Congratulations to the ever-amazing Mr. Swanwick for winning a Locus Award for "A Small Room in Koboldtown." The story is also nominated for a Hugo Award, which given Michael's track record (an unprecedented five Hugos in six years), he just might win too.

You can read this suspenseful locked-room mystery set in Faery, along with the rest of Michael's recent short fiction, in his third and latest Tachyon collection The Dog Said Bow-Wow. Publishers Weekly said in a starred review, "In addition to their individual quality, the 16 stories in this rollicking collection amply demonstrate Hugo-winner Swanwick's impressive versatility." It includes not one, not two, but *three* of those Hugo Award winning stories.

Plus, if you order now, we'll even give you free Media Mail shipping. You want, need, must have a copy.