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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur

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Thomas Disch [Jul. 6th, 2008|04:23 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
Esteemed science fiction author Thomas Disch killed himself on Friday.

I never read any of his novels, but I did have an encounter with Mr. Disch back in the early '90s when I was in publishing. I was talking with him on the phone, trying to get a blurb for a Rachel Pollack novel we were publishing. I was most likely pushing too hard, because the conversation ended with Disch roaring into the phone, "Do you even know who I am?" and hanging up.

Now, you never know what kind of a day someone is having, so I tried not to hold it against him, but I suppose it left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I avoided his novels after that. From what I've heard, it's my loss.

[User Picture]From: lokilokust
2008-07-06 09:10 pm (UTC)
his work deeply effected the way i look at the world.
i consider him to be one of the greatest writes of speculative fiction that he world has ever known.
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[User Picture]From: alexkaufmann
2008-07-06 09:28 pm (UTC)
Let that be a warning to all who would defy Nick by telephone!
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2008-07-07 12:10 am (UTC)
I wouldn't hold it against him. I'm guessing why he reacted the way he did was just exasperation from having to deal with the same sort of situation that "name" authors tend to find themselves in. Once an author gets big enough, they get these sorts of requests all the time to the point where they feel like everybody wants a piece of them to further their own careers. He might have guessed that you were some pushy kid who didn't even know who he was except he was a name author whose blurb would look good on a book. Actually, it sounds like you're starting to experience this yourself. Remember when you wrote about receiving emails praising your work and then asking you to read and/or nominate their work for the Stoker Award in return? After experiencing that sort of thing for forty-plus years, he probably had a short fuse when he felt people were imposing on him, whether they meant to or not.

When I was a history grad student, I saw a lot of my fellow grad students treat professors in that manner. At conferences, they would chase them around in the halls like a pack of wolves bringing down a bison. I unwittingly imposed on a few myself when I asked them to read some research I did. I didn't realize until much later that asking a professor you didn't even know was imposing on them since they often barely had time to devote to their own work. Sound familiar?

Edited at 2008-07-07 12:11 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: damnedrodan
2008-07-07 04:51 am (UTC)
THE BUSINESSMAN was rather good; only one of his novels I've read. Didn't know anything to speak of about the man himself. Sad news, though.
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