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Re: [delany-list] Thomas Disch, what are you on?

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  • Ron Henry
    ... Do you really expect much from random Amazon reviews? ... Can you provide a reference for this review? I d like to check it out. Hogg is a troubling
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 10, 2005
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      On 9/4/05, Guy_Fawkes99 <guy_fawkes99@...> wrote:

      > First an Amazon guy describes The Mad Man as science fiction.

      Do you really expect much from random Amazon reviews?

      > Then
      > David Foster Wallace suggests Hogg is proof of Delany's misogyny and
      > of his being a misognyist.

      Can you provide a reference for this review? I'd like to check it
      out. Hogg is a troubling enough work that I suspect a lot of people
      can read a lot of things into it.

      > Then, Thomas Disch of all people describes
      > The Mad Man as Delany's "nadir" and says that its "doubtful thesis is
      > that HIV is not the cause of AIDS." What the fuck?

      Not only is there a prickly personal history between Disch and Delany
      (a friendship gone bad in ways I have never heard detailed), but Disch
      in the last 20 years has become quite infamous for his sf criticism,
      which many consider full of cheap shots and ad hominems, and generally
      dismissive of the genre as immature and sub-literary. See chiefly his
      book "The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of" (I think that's the title),
      though there is a more recent one, I think, that I have not had a look
      at.

      Ron Henry

      --
      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up
      after being drunk all night."
      -Isaac Asimov
    • Eric Solstein
      The prickly personal history is largely based on a single incident that Delany regards as an innocent misunderstanding and Disch as an intentional act of
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 10, 2005
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        The "prickly personal history" is largely based on a single incident
        that Delany regards as an innocent misunderstanding and Disch as an
        intentional act of professional sabotage. I have put the specific
        details out of my mind, not believing it helpful to even consider
        them, as both men are friends of mine.

        Delany, who I was originally drawn to from a photograph in which he
        looked impossibly friendly and accessible, is exactly that. I know
        he would like to forgive and forget the entire matter. Disch, who is
        the one "wronged," is not the forgiving kind. He will not allow
        Delany rights to "Angouleme," therefore "The American Shore" is
        unlikely to be reprinted. However, Tom is a warm and loving friend
        to both me and my seven year old son, (we are neighbors in Sullivan
        County).

        His "infamous criticism" has much to recommend it, not the least of
        which being very pleasurable reading, with the latest collection
        called "Disch on SF," published just this year. For the record, "The
        Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of," did win a Hugo. And let's face it,
        much of the genre is immature and sub-literary.

        -Eric Solstein

        On Sep 10, 2005, at 4:43 PM, Ron Henry wrote:

        >
        > Not only is there a prickly personal history between Disch and Delany
        > (a friendship gone bad in ways I have never heard detailed), but Disch
        > in the last 20 years has become quite infamous for his sf criticism,
        > which many consider full of cheap shots and ad hominems, and generally
        > dismissive of the genre as immature and sub-literary. See chiefly his
        > book "The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of" (I think that's the title),
        > though there is a more recent one, I think, that I have not had a look
        > at.
        >
        > Ron Henry
        >
        > --
        > "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you
        > dreamt up
        > after being drunk all night."
        > -Isaac Asimov
        >
        >
      • Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
        ... Yeah, I d like to see that also. ... Possibly Disch misread. There is (at least in the first edition) a definite intention, supported by a rather
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 14, 2005
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          > > Then
          > > David Foster Wallace suggests Hogg is proof of Delany's misogyny and
          > > of his being a misognyist.
          >
          >Can you provide a reference for this review?

          Yeah, I'd like to see that also.

          > > Then, Thomas Disch of all people describes
          > > The Mad Man as Delany's "nadir" and says that its "doubtful thesis is
          > > that HIV is not the cause of AIDS." What the fuck?

          Possibly Disch misread. There is (at least in the first edition) a definite
          intention, supported by a rather controversial medical study reprinted as
          an appendix, to suggest that blowjobs are not high-risk behavior, that
          HIV is primarily transmitted through buttfuckery. Delany _is_ correct in
          his suggestion (here and elsewhere) that this study should have been
          followed up, whether to confirm or deny.


          >... Disch
          >in the last 20 years has become quite infamous for his sf criticism,
          >which many consider full of cheap shots and ad hominems, and generally
          >dismissive of the genre as immature and sub-literary.

          Actually, I -- as a huge reader and fan and occasional writer of SFF --
          find Disch's criticism acute and accurate. It is also merciless.

          Disch managed to offend me, just once, and it wasn't with an essay
          but a poem, in which he punctured the (admittedly) muzzy mysticism
          of Herb Varley's short story "The Persistence of Vision" in a way that
          was very cruel, not to Varley, but to his then-wife, who was chairbound.

          >See chiefly his book "The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of" (I think that's the
          >title), though there is a more recent one, I think, that I have not had a
          >look at.

          Oh, well, I'll go the full distance and recommend "Dreams" highly. It's
          ascerbic, funny, and pinpoints everything wrong with the ultramontane
          form of SFF triumphalism. It isn't anti-SF; it's anti-"SF is the One True
          Literary Form for the Twenty-first Century."

          Incidentally, I also highly recommend Disch's more recent novels,
          such as "The M.D.," "The Priest," and "The Substitute." They're vicious
          urban horror novels with a satirical streak a mile wide.

          --Dan'l
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