Minnesota Author Biographies.

Thomas M. Disch

Thomas Disch

From On Wings of Song (1978) by Thomas Disch

Downtown Minneapolis was an amazement of urbanity: its colossal buildings, its sumptuous stores, its swarming streets, the sheer noise, and then, beyond these ascertainable realities, the existence, surmised but wholly probable, of fairies swooping and darting through the glass-and-stone canyons, flitting above the trafficked streets, lighting in flocks on the carved facades of monolithic banks, then spiraling larklike into the azures of mid-afternoon, like a vastation of bright invisible locusts that fed not on the leaves of trees or on the potted flowers decorating the Mall but on the thoughts, the minds, the souls of all these calm pedestrians. If indeed they did. If indeed they were there at all.

Biographical Notes

Birth: February 2, 1940, Des Moines, Iowa
Death: July 4, 2008, New York, New York

Author and poet Thomas Michael Disch moved to Fairmont, Minnesota when he was eight years old and then to St. Paul, Minnesota five years later. He graduated from Central High school in St. Paul, but his previous education was in Catholic schools, which influenced his writing. After high school, he moved to New York City and worked odd jobs in offices, bookstores, at the Metropolitan Opera, for a newspaper, and with a life insurance company. He briefly attended Cooper Union and New York University. The Double Timer was his first published story, which he sold to the editor of Fantastic Stories for $112.50. Disch dedicated himself to writing, while working day jobs to support his nighttime creative work. He wrote numerous short stories, novels, and books of poetry. Disch also wrote book and theater reviews for The Nation, Harper’s, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Weekly. He adopted several writing pseudonyms including Thom Demijohn, Leonie Hargrave, and Cassandra Knye. He taught briefly at several colleges and was the 1995 artist-in-residence at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. Disch won a 1980 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Best Novel for On Wings of Song (1978) and he was nominated for several Nebula and Hugo awards. Disch took his own life in 2008.

Selected Works
The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

The Businessman: A Tale of Terror
Camp Concentration
The Early Science Fiction Stories of Thomas M. Disch
Fundamental Disch
The Genocides
The M.D.: A Horror Story
On Wings of Song
The Priest: A Gothic Romance

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Library Links

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society library

Web Links

Author Index - Author index to science fiction book reviews
"The Dish on Thomas Disch" - Biographical essay
Fantastic Fiction – Brief biography and bibliography
"Letters to God" - Tachyon Publications web page
"The Life of Thomas M. Disch" - Tachyon blog post
New York Times - Obituary
"Remembering Thomas M. Disch" - Tribute article
Strange Horizons - 2001 interview

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