Information about the author.
Named one of science fiction’s 100 best books by noted genre editor David Pringle, Thomas M. Disch’s On Wings of Song is at once allegory, social satire, political fable, and brilliantly written science fiction of the ultimate out-of-body experience. In Disch’s dazzlingly imagined future America, Daniel Weinraub dreams of escaping the repressive midwest of the mid-twenty-first century through an electronic device with which the user takes flight into cyberspace when activated with a quasi-musical code called “The Symphonette.” Daniel’s adventures take him from Iowa’s God-fearing police state and its “correctional” labor camps for the sinful to Manhattan’s mean streets and “cyberspatial flight paths.”
Exploring questions of guilt and responsibility, the second book in Thomas M. Disch’s Supernatural Minnesota series, The M.D., is a satisfying mix of dark humor, biting social commentary, and terrifying horror. Given the power to heal or to harm by the Roman god Mercury through a magical staff, the caduceus, young Billy Michaels embarks on a lifelong journey of inflicting good and evil on those who cross his path. Wielding the caduceus, Billy, and later the grown-up, greedy physician William, can only cure in proportion to the amount of suffering he inflicts. From paralyzing his brother and mutilating schoolmates to wreaking a nationwide plague and running for-profit concentration camps for the sick, Michaels’s powers spin quickly out of control.
If Charles Dickens has written speculative fiction, he might have created a novel as intricate, passionate, and lacerating as Thomas M. Disch’s visionary portrait of the underbelly of 21st-century New York City. The residents of the public housing project at 334 East 11th Street live in a world of rationed babied and sanctioned drug addiction. Real food is displayed in museums and hospital attendants moonlight as body-snatchers.
Nimbly hopscotching backward and forward in time, Disch charts the shifting relationships between this world’s inheritors: an aging matriarch who falls in love with her young social worker; a widow seeking comfort from the spirit of her dead husband; a privileged preteen choreographing the perfectly gratuitous murder. Poisonously funny, piercingly authentic, 344is a masterpiece of social realism disguised as science fiction.
This spectacular novel established Thomas M. Disch as a major new force in science fiction. First published in 1965, it was immediately labeled a masterpiece reminiscent of the works of J.G. Ballard and H.G. Wells
In this harrowing novel, the world’s cities have been reduced to cinder and ash and alien plants have overtaken the earth. The plants, able to grow the size of maples in only a month and eventually reach six hundred feet, have commandeered the world’s soil and are sucking even the Great Lakes dry. In northern Minnesota, Anderson, an aging farmer armed with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, desperately leads the reduced citizenry of a small town in a daily struggle for meager existence. Throw into this fray Jeremiah Orville, a marauding outsider bent on a bizarre and private revenge, and the fight to live becomes a daunting task.