Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Thomas Disch, 1940-2008

Writer Thomas Disch has died. Apparently bereft over ill-health and the death of his partner, the speculative fiction writer committed suicide.

His "On Wings Of Song" is one of my favorite books. I'm saddened that a writer so important to my growing up is gone. But I feel clueless in somehow not actually knowing before that Disch was gay. I guess I must have assumed it in some way: the sexuality in "On Wings Of Song" is so true and clear it could only have come from a gay man. The book tells the story of a near future--now even closer and easier to see--when right-wing religious fundamentalists rule the land, when food shortages force people to eat doggie kibble, and when people find comfort in artists embracing and re-envigorating outdated forms of art or in transcendant drug-like states. It's a funny book, and a tragic one, but its hints of gay identity meant a lot to me as a young man and I read and re-read it many times.

Thanks Thomas Disch. May you find peace.

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