The Wall of America

Overview


These surreal, satiric stories pay a mesmerizing visit to the shadowy zone that lies between our everyday lives and a perilously tangible near-future.

In “The Wall of America,” the Department of Homeland Security has put up a border wall between the United States and Canada. But the NEA has plans for the wall as well, turning it into the world’s largest art gallery. After the Rapture, working-class life for “A Family of the Post-Apocalypse” is not as different as one might ...

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Overview


These surreal, satiric stories pay a mesmerizing visit to the shadowy zone that lies between our everyday lives and a perilously tangible near-future.

In “The Wall of America,” the Department of Homeland Security has put up a border wall between the United States and Canada. But the NEA has plans for the wall as well, turning it into the world’s largest art gallery. After the Rapture, working-class life for “A Family of the Post-Apocalypse” is not as different as one might imagine, despite the occasional plague of biker-gang locusts. Between addiction and art is “Ringtime,” where a criminal is trapped in a recursive compulsion to visit other people’s memories while he is forced to record his own for an eager audience. A Somali schoolgirl living in post-WWIII Minneapolis goes on a bloody crusade to rid her town of a familiar predator, one who might just be a monster, in “White Man.”

Vivid, starkly imagined, and strikingly articulate, this disquieting collection is a journey that skillfully straddles the line between playful absurdity and pointed irony.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of the most remarkably talented writers around."
The Washington Post Book World

“...bitter and sharp...not to be missed.”
Locus

“...darkly satirical stories that evoke laughs as they twist the knife.... No subject is sacred....”
Roanoke Times

“The stories are rich, sardonic, despairing, and mischievous by turns, capable of being emotionally resonant and laugh-out-loud funny in the same breath.”
Sci Fi Magazine

“...extraordinary wit and gusto....”
LA City Beat

“There’s a certain sophistication in Thomas M. Disch’s writing, especially with his tendency to combine dystopias with a light-hearted and almost playful tone.... [T]he stories come out fresh and unique.”
Bibliophile Stalker

“A certain mordant joie de vivre compounded equally of hard-boiled and reluctant romanticism, Schadenfreude, self-knowledge, disdain, elitism, compassion, fatalism, ingenuity, and willed naiveté.”
Barnes&Noble.com

“...a worthy volume from a writer who we really needed to be alive today, skewering hypocrisy and sometimes unearthing the sunny side of suffering.”
Los Angeles Times

“...mesmerizing.... Vivid, starkly imagined, and strikingly articulate, this disquieting compilation is a journey that skillfully straddles the line between absurdity and irony.”
Book Buzz

“...this collection of 19 later short pieces by author and poet Disch (1940–2008) lovingly tears into the realities and fantasies of American life.... [T]hese tales show Disch at his masterful, acerbic best.”
Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Decrying but not despairing, this collection of 19 later short pieces by author and poet Disch (1940-2008) lovingly tears into the realities and fantasies of American life. Belief and delusion walk side by side as primal fears of vampirism overtake so-called civilized society ("The White Man") and alien abduction hoaxes are used to rescue abused children ("The Abduction of Bunny Steiner, or, A Shameless Lie"). Art is commerce in "Canned Goods" and it's transcendence in "The Wall of America," and Disch offers delicious revenge on those who exploit art as mere entertainment ("One Night, or, Scheherazade's Bare Minimum") or treat it condescendingly as a charity case ("The First Annual Performance Art Festival at the Slaughter Rock Battlefield"). Though sometimes light and slight, these tales show Disch at his masterful, acerbic best. (Nov.)

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Plasteel Spider Factory
I don't think I've had this much fun reading a fiction collection since Harlan Ellison's Slippage came out ten years ago.
Book Buzz
Vivid, starkly imagined, and strikingly articulate, this disquieting compilation is a journey that skillfully straddles the line between absurdity and irony.
Enter the Octopus
Somewhere, Tom is laughing—and maybe saying "I told you so."
Los Angeles Times
A worthy volume from a writer who we really needed to be alive today, skewering hypocrisy and sometimes unearthing the sunny side of suffering.
Barnes & Noble.com

A certain mordant joie de vivre compounded equally of hard-boiled and reluctant romanticism, Schadenfreude, self-knowledge, disdain, elitism, compassion, fatalism, ingenuity, and willed naiveté.

Roanoke Times
Darkly satirical stories that evoke laughs as they twist in the knife.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781892391827
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas M. Disch was a novelist, poet, and book critic. His work was featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Harper’s, The Nation, and the Hudson Review of Books. Disch was a major figure of science fiction’s new-wave movement. His books included Camp Concentration, On Wings of Song, The Word of God, and The Brave Little Toaster. His nonfiction book about poetry, The Castle of Indolence, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1996. John Clute famously described Disch as “perhaps the most respected, least trusted, most envied, and least read of all modern first-rank SF writers.”
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