Afbeelding van de auteur.

Thomas M. Disch (1940–2008)

Auteur van Camp Concentration

154+ Werken 7,103 Leden 180 Besprekingen Favoriet van 26 leden

Over de Auteur

Thomas Disch was a popular & prolific poet, playwright, essayist, & novelist. He is the author of many works of science fiction & the poetry collections "Dark verses & Light" & "Yes, Let's: New & Selected Poems". (Publisher Provided) Thomas M. Disch was born in Des Moines, Iowa on February 2, 1940. toon meer He dropped out of the architecture program at Cooper Union, and then left New York University after he sold a short story entitled The Double Timer. His first novel, The Genocides, was published in 1965. His other novels include The House That Fear Built, 334, The M.D., The Priest, The Word of God: Or, Holy Writ Rewritten, and Clara Reeve written under the pseudonym Leonie Hargreave. He won several awards including the 1969 Ditmar Award for Camp Concentration, the O. Henry Award in 1975 for Getting into Death and in 1977 for Xmas, the 1980 John W. Campbell, Jr. Memorial Award for On Wings of Song, and the 1981 British Science Fiction Award for The Brave Little Toaster: A Bedtime Story for Small Appliances. He was also wrote poetry, opera librettos, plays, and criticism of theater, films and art. His collections of poetry include Here I Am, There You Are, Where Are We; The Dark Old House; Yes, Let's: New and Selected Poetry; and Dark Verses and Light. He won the 1999 biennial Michael Braude Award for Light Poetry for A Child's Garden of Grammar, the Locus and Hugo Awards for 1999 for The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World, and the Puschcart Prize for The First Annual Performance Art Festival at Slaughter Rock Battlefield. His criticism appeared in several publications including The Nation, The New York Daily News, and The New York Sun. In 1987, he wrote a script for the television series Miami Vice. He shot himself on July 4, 2008 at the age of 68. (Bowker Author Biography) toon minder
Fotografie: photo by Bernard Gotfryd, 1986 or 1988

Reeksen

Werken van Thomas M. Disch

Camp Concentration (1968) 1,123 exemplaren
334 (1967) 691 exemplaren
De uitroeiers (1965) 546 exemplaren
On Wings of Song (1979) 504 exemplaren
The Prisoner (1969) 352 exemplaren
The M.D. (1977) 331 exemplaren
The Businessman (1983) 259 exemplaren
Fun With Your New Head (1968) 238 exemplaren
Echo round his bones (1967) 221 exemplaren
The Priest: A Gothic Romance (1994) 196 exemplaren
Zwarte Alice (1968) 195 exemplaren
The Ruins of the Earth (1973) — Redacteur; Medewerker, sommige edities; Introductie — 162 exemplaren
The Man Who Had No Idea (1983) — Auteur — 135 exemplaren
The Wall of America (2008) 129 exemplaren
Triplicity (1967) 111 exemplaren
The Puppies of Terra (1966) 110 exemplaren
The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft (1999) 94 exemplaren
The Brave Little Toaster (1986) 84 exemplaren
Fundamental Disch (1980) 83 exemplaren
On SF (2005) 63 exemplaren
Strangeness (1977) — Redacteur — 52 exemplaren
Neighboring Lives (1981) 45 exemplaren
Bad Moon Rising (1973) — Redacteur — 23 exemplaren
The Prisoner Omnibus (2002) 23 exemplaren
A Child's Garden of Grammar (1997) 22 exemplaren
The New improved sun: An anthology of utopian S-F (1975) — Medewerker — 20 exemplaren
About the Size of It (2006) 15 exemplaren
Abcdefg hijklm npoqrst uvwxyz (1981) 10 exemplaren
The Proteus Sails Again (2008) 10 exemplaren
Orders of the Retina (1982) 8 exemplaren
Descending 8 exemplaren
Now Is Forever [short fiction] (1972) 8 exemplaren
Burn This (1982) 8 exemplaren
MECCA METTLE. CD included. (2005) 8 exemplaren
Angouleme {short story} (1971) 7 exemplaren
The tale of Dan De Lion (1986) 7 exemplaren
The House that Fear Built (1966) 6 exemplaren
Ringtime (1983) 6 exemplaren
Thomas l'incredulo 5 exemplaren
New constellations: An anthology of tomorrow's mythologies (1976) — Redacteur — 5 exemplaren
The Roaches 5 exemplaren
Problems of Creativeness (1967) 5 exemplaren
The Demi-Urge (2014) 4 exemplaren
In Xanadu 4 exemplaren
La stanza vuota 4 exemplaren
Casablanca (1967) 4 exemplaren
Understanding Human Behavior (1982) 4 exemplaren
Things Lost 3 exemplaren
The Squirrel Cage 3 exemplaren
Le Livre d'or de Thomas Disch (1981) 3 exemplaren
Torturing Mr. Amberwell (1985) 3 exemplaren
Leichen [Erzählung] (1971) 2 exemplaren
The Shadow 2 exemplaren
Highway Sandwiches 2 exemplaren
Narcissus 2 exemplaren
The Pressure Of Time (1970) 2 exemplaren
Haikus of a Pillow (1980) 2 exemplaren
Alfred the Great (1969) 2 exemplaren
Fiction, N° 11, Automne 2010 : (2010) 2 exemplaren
5 Eggs {short story} (1966) 2 exemplaren
Logor koncentracije 1 exemplaar
Poussière de lune: nouvelles (1973) 1 exemplaar
334 [novella] (1972) 1 exemplaar
198…199 1 exemplaar
Amnesia: Commodore 64 (64k) (1985) 1 exemplaar
Amnesia: Atari 800 (64k) (1985) 1 exemplaar
Emanzipation [Erzählung] (1971) 1 exemplaar
Mutability 1 exemplaar
The Flneurs of Mars 1 exemplaar
Terra all'infinito 1 exemplaar
Nada 1 exemplaar
Celebrity [short fiction] (1990) 1 exemplaar
1972 1 exemplaar
Et in Arcadia ego 1 exemplaar
The Fugitive {poem} 1 exemplaar

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ed.angelina | 1 andere bespreking | Mar 23, 2024 |
I know some readers don’t class this novel as science fiction at all—it’s not really about the future, it’s not at all about predicting the future, and so on—but I’ve reread Camp Concentration a number of times now and, for me, it’s an example of what SF can be at its very best.
    It is the near-future here (or the near-future from 1968 when Thomas Disch wrote it) and there’s a large-scale war in progress. The story itself is set inside a complex called Camp Archimedes, built deep underground in a disused goldmine and which is simultaneously both prison and research facility. Its inmates (who volunteered for this as a way of escaping life in a conventional prison or US Army brig) are human guinea-pigs deliberately infected with Pallidine, a preparation containing a bacterium derived from the one which causes syphilis. In real life, syphilis has often been linked with genius—as if the spirochaete which causes the one also somehow unleashes the other—and so it is here: “Sometimes I think maybe it wasn’t such a big mistake. I’ll say this for the stuff they gave us—it beats acid. With acid you think you know everything; with this, you goddamn well do.” There’s quite a price to pay though: in the space of just a few short months this Pallidine not only raises your IQ to genius level—it also kills you.
    Into this antechamber of Hell comes poet Louis Sacchetti, jailed as a conscientious objector to the ongoing war, then transferred to Archimedes and assigned the task of keeping a journal as an additional, independent and more subjective record of the experiment as it proceeds. By the time he arrives, some of the inmates have been there for months already and, as their minds soar, are very close to death. And they seem to be wasting their genius: the aim of the programme was to devise entirely new kinds of weaponry for the military, yet the prisoners seem to have become obsessed with … alchemy. Yes, this is what Sacchetti stumbles into: Camp A’s collective genius is being frittered away on concocting an Elixir of Everlasting Life, on attempting to cheat death using alchemy.
    I love everything about this book. For a start, there’s the richness and imagery of Disch’s prose (his journalist Louis Sacchetti is a published poet). Then there’s the subterranean setting: laboratory-like, hermetic, a former goldmine. In fact there’s a lot of alchemical symbolism, but just as in medieval Europe where alchemy was sometimes a cover, a harmless-looking front for more covert experimentations, so too here. Much of the medieval version, too, was really about the transformation, not of base metals into gold, but of the alchemist.
    Camp Archimedes also resembles a stage—claustrophobic, artificial, the prisoners’ every word and deed minutely scrutinised—and the play being acted out on its boards is familiar enough: selling your soul to Satan in exchange for knowledge and all that. But, with the liquid gold of Pallidine coursing through your veins, might you become cunning enough to outwit even the Devil?
… (meer)
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justlurking | 29 andere besprekingen | Feb 28, 2024 |
This is in many ways a powerfully written novel of dark humour mixed in with horror. A huge story is packed into 541 pages, covering among other things. inherited genetic disease, climate change (very prescient for something published in 1991), mass plague and tyrannical governmental response, corporate corruption, the tobacco industry, eating disorders, religious fanaticism and racism. All these themes are woven into the narrative with sometimes breathtaking virtuosity and the characters are for the most part strong and individual.

The story begins in the 1970s with six-year-old Billy, who lives with his dad and his dad's second wife, Madge, and her older son Ned, and elderly mother. Billy, who attends a Catholic kindergarten, refuses to accept the assertion by the overbearing nun in charge of his class that Santa Claus is an invented figure based on paganism. We learn that Billy actually sees Santa and converses with him - though before long, Santa is revealed to be another guise of a creature that introduces itself as the god Mercury. I wasn't quite sure if this was just one more persona it took on, although as it is fairly consistent throughout the book, maybe it actually is meant to be the god. Except this version of Mercury is rather malevolent. He transforms a 'poison stick' created by Billy's step-brother Ned from twisted twigs and a sparrow's skeleton, into a caduceus, Mercury's staff and traditional symbol of the medical profession, and imbues it with the ability to charge itself with power. This power can be dispensed for good, for example, to give Billy's family members good health. But there is a catch: to charge the caduceus Billy must dispense curses as well, and the power gained is in proportion to the awful nature of the curses. Being a six-year-old boy, Billy not only dishes out curses to people who have upset him in some way, he also bungles majorly on occasion, for example, condemning his step-brother to endure many years as a 'locked in' patient when Ned inadvertently receives one meant for boys who had beaten up Billy.

The book is divided into a number of parts which skip through the stages of Billy's life from the time of President Nixon's impeachment to an imagined 1999 (the book was published in 1991). The first four sections are an enjoyable page-turning read. In the first, Billy uses his newfound powers with tragic results. In the second, he is still living with his father and family and, undeterred by what he has already done, uses his powers for both good and for evil - with an outcome that although not directly due to his curses can be seen to stem from them when his father is killed in a traffic accident while rushing Billy to hospital after another boy injured him in revenge for what Billy has done.

In the third section, Billy is living with his mother and her second husband, Ben, plus Judith, Ben's daughter by his own first marriage. Judith is bright and engaging but suffers from anorexia. At her instigation, he begins calling himself William. This section focuses on Billy's 13th birthday and his birthday dinner to which an obnoxious spokesman for the tobacco industry, who indirectly funds Ben's work, invites himself, sparking a confrontation where Billy once again uses the caduceus with devastating results. William is now focused on becoming a doctor and is working hard at school to that end, with the intent of using the caduceus for finding cures for diseases, and curing Judith of anorexia. In part 4, he's older and is trying for accelerated entry to the program that will get him into university a few years early. He has become more adept at using the caduceus - as shown when he deals ruthlessly with a teacher who stands in his way. When his mother becomes pregnant, he uses the caduceus to grant good health to the unborn child despite a hint from Mercury that it can only work within the genetic limits of the recipient, with disastrous and tragic results.

In part 5, the book takes an odd turn with the introduction of Madge's long lost first husband and the father of Ned, who does some very bizarre things. Many years have passed since the ending of part 4, and William is now married with sons of his own. Although he is doing well and the supposedly non-profit organisation he runs has produced a vaccine against AIDS, society in generally is crumbling under the pressure of a new and highly contagious disease for which his organisation is trying to find a cure.

We gradually learn in retrospect that he has been using the caduceus, initially to come up with the AIDS vaccine but, in the last ten years, to sow the seeds for the new and devastating disease, for no real reason other than it presents a fantastic business opportunity. Despite this, William has a 'clear conscience' and has no problem at all with the nationwide devastation he has caused - he has been buying up property in a particular area since he was a young man, with the intent of turning it into a vast isolation 'camp' for the unfortunate victims of the disease he presumably was planning even then to unleash.

Ironically, it is in performing an unselfish action - and there is no explanation as to why someone so callous does so - he is hoist on his own petard when he tries to help a woman shot at a roadblock for trying to escape (she has the new disease) and is arrested and sent to a detention centre where people with the disease are imprisoned.

One of the issues some readers might have with this story is the huge number of characters including various second husbands and wives and step-children. Mostly I managed to keep them clear, helped by the strong characterisation, though this started to become more difficult in the final section. However, in my opinion there is a much greater flaw. Part 5 - comprising the book's final third - falls apart in a bloodbath unleashed by a newly introduced character, and the epilogue gives a spurious 'explanation' of that character's behaviour. It is almost as if the author wanted to kill off just about everyone in a unwarranted grand guignol finale, rather than work out the implications of everything that had gone before with the wider storylines of the plague etc. There is also the odd behaviour of Madge's first husband, which introduces further complications, and the dark humour surrounding his and Madge's fate. The main problem however is that in this section, after being the focus of the story, William is largely passive and is a victim at the mercy of others, eventually pushed off to the sidelines. This final section in my opinion constitutes a large flaw after the earlier absorbing story, which was heading for at least a 4-star rating, and therefore reduces the book's overall rating to 3-stars.
… (meer)
 
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kitsune_reader | 7 andere besprekingen | Nov 23, 2023 |
The ending is such an abrupt about face in terms of mood/theme that it feels like either there was some clue it was a dream/delusion I missed or there was some weird editorial intervention to give it a happier ending.

Most of the book is kind of a mediation on inevitable death and what beforehand could make it worth it. There's some parts that resonated, some that didn't (I should have guessed he'd do it from the title, but comparisons to Dachau are always going to be pretty tasteless) There's some homophobia and racism from the narrator, but although there's no non-narrator voice it seems pretty obvious he's supposed to come across like a dumbass. There's also 1 pretty explicit mention of rape which is handled weirdly.

There's quite a bit of references to other classical literature and art, some of which is untranslated.

There's definitely interesting stuff here and a lot of it is pretty ambitious in trying to talk about a difficult subject but too little resonated for me the other qualms
… (meer)
 
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tombomp | 29 andere besprekingen | Oct 31, 2023 |

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Statistieken

Werken
154
Ook door
148
Leden
7,103
Populariteit
#3,456
Waardering
½ 3.6
Besprekingen
180
ISBNs
215
Talen
9
Favoriet
26

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