Last Friday I felt compelled to look up Thomas Disch, my third favourite science fiction writer. I found a link to his livejournal account. He’d written on it just two days earlier, 2 July 2008. I thought up what I could say to him about how great his work is. I couldn’t think of what to write; he’s a bitter, cynical man and I didn’t want to be cut down for liking him.
Then yesterday he shows up on the Wikipedia’s recent deaths list. He’d killed himself that same day I found his blog. I feel pretty sad about that. The worst way to die.
There’s now 111 comments on his last entry, with people telling him how good he was, or how they miss him. But of course he’s not there to read it. I thought of adding to it, but instead I’ve written this. I can’t claim to be as much as a fan of some of them, but I really liked his work.
People seem immortal when they have a blog. They can’t be blogging, and so immediately visible, and then die. It just can’t happen.
334 is the best novel of his I’ve read. I can’t remember too much, but for the bleak wittiness of it, and the droll way he wrote horrific things. I liked the interconnections between the novellas that make it up too. And I liked the irony of the spaceship on the front, when none of it’s set in space. Poor pulp writers.
I read Camp Concentration and The Genocides earlier this decade and liked them as well. It’s only the Puppies of Terra I didn’t like.
His more recent horror books are the best horror books I’ve ever read (I haven’t read many, I must say) – The M.D. and the Businessman.