Thomas M. Disch - Vector Interview

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Thanks to Michael J. Cross at the BSFA Magazines Index


Disch on Disch

A Recorded Interview: Transcript of an interview which was recorded
at the second Brighton Arts Festival - May 1968

Vector Issue #51, October 1968

Interview, by Michael Kenward

Tom Disch first came to Europe two year ago. Before he came he was virtually unknown to English sf readers. He is now considered to be one of the most talented of the younger generation of sf writers. But sf is not his only field of expression. He has written a thriller, in collaboration with John Sladek, called Black Alice. His poems have been published in various literary magazines, as have some of his short stories. His novel Camp Concentration (Rupert Hart-Davis), first serialised in NEW WORLDS, has caused something of a stir in sf circles.
His books include 102 H-Bombs & Others (Compact), Echo Round His Bones (Rupert Hart-Davis), and The Genocides (Panther). A collection of his short stories, Under Compulsion, will be published later this year by Rupert Hart-Davis.

How did you find thing coming to England where you were completely unknown?


What made you come to England?


Since your arrival you have gained the reputation of being among the "new wave" of sf writers


CAMP CONCENTRATION


Somewhat like "Flowers for Algernon".


There is a similarity between Sacchetti thumping things out on his typewriter and the ideas of "The Squirrel Cage" (NW 167).


Do you feel yourself to be writing in the same way, in a vacuum?


Are you writing for yourself?


BALLARD


NEW WORLDS


English sf is different. Surely it must mean something that most of the good young sf writers seem to be coming to England?


Would you agree that there is a certain amount of stagnation and "incest" in NEW WORLDS?


It seems that much sf today is scienceless. You have talked of the effort that was needed to make "Echo Round His Bones" scientifically self-consistent, do you think that people are becoming less willing to go into such efforts for the correctness of detail.


This is almost an attraction of science fiction that it does require such efforts on the part of the author.


Science in sf, is it important in the works of Ballard, for example?


IMMORTALITY


THE GENOCIDES - This book, which seems to me to be about the futility of man, has earned you a reputation as a pessimist.


You appear to have overcome the problems that immortality today would bring to society, for example the overcrowding that would rapidly ensue.


()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

The interview ends on this enigmatic note as a result of the expiration of the tape used. Many thanks to Tom Disch for his patience. I hope that the result does not make him regret that he ever agreed to the whole idea. It must be added that the transcript was done after Tom returned to the States, hence it is solely my responsibility.

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