Tom Disch is Gone


Ellen Datlow has posted the first I’ve heard of it on her livejournal. This is very sad. Disch’s books and stories are remarkable and have been a big influence on me since I was a teenager, plowing through White Fang Goes Dingo. 334 is one of the great works of American sf, although others might pick Camp Concentration or another of his books for that honor. He has always been a writer whose work I looked up to. I only met him once, at a Norwescon in 1982, and my memories are mainly of him looming through crowded convention suites. He had arrived to announce the creation of the Philip K. Dick award, and summed up PKD’s passing with these words (which I believe he cribbed from Dick): “Fucking Death.”


Some months back, I pointed people toward Disch’s own livejournal, where he was turning out poetry at an astonishing rate. It’s all still there, and more besides.

And here is a recent podcast, along with a more recent photograph of Disch.  I remember him looking like the fellow in the photo I posted above, so I’ll leave that where it is.  Today I was in a bookstore buying a used SF Book Club edition of Triplicities.  The cashier said, “That’s a great collection.  He’s a wonderful writer.”  I said, “He just died.  Did you know that?”  And then the most quickly stifled, embarrassed, conversation-ending sort of “Yeah” I’ve ever heard in conversation.  Neither of us knew what to say.  I took my book and left.