Science-fiction fans are mourning the passing of author Thomas M Disch, whose children’s book The Brave Little Toaster was made into a popular animated series by Disney. Internet reports say the Hugo Award-winning scribe committed suicide at his New York apartment on July 4. In addition to his foray into kid lit, Disch leaves behind a body of sci-fi work that includes the critically acclaimed novels The Genocides (1965), Camp Concentration (1968) and 334 (1972). He also wrote the first novel based on the cult-favorite 1960s sci-fi television series The Prisoner. His last book, The Word of God, will be published posthumously by Tachyon Publications this summer.
Disch was born in Des Moines, Iowa and began publishing in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s. He soon became known as part of the New Wave of sci-fi writers that included Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Broian Aldiss and Frank Herbert, among others. In the 1980s, he made a switch to horror fiction with The Businessman, The M.D., The Priest and The Sub. In 1999, he won the Nonfiction Hugo for The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of. His other works include volumes of poetry and theater and opera criticism for The New York Times, The Nation and other leading publications.
Exploring the secret lives of appliances, the 1987 movie The Brave Little Toaster features the voices of John Lovitz, Thurl Ravenscroft, Phil Hartman, Timoth Stack, animator Randy Cook and the late Joe Ranft, who co-wrote the screenplay. The characters would return in a series of home video releases including The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue (1997) and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1998).