“I have a class theory of literature,” Disch once explained. “I come from the wrong neighborhood to sell to The New Yorker. No matter how good I am as an artist. “And it isn’t just Camp Archimedes. It’s the whole universe. The whole goddamned universe is a fucking concentration camp.” Mordecai rolled back into the pile. In this chillingly plausible work of speculative fiction, Thomas M. Disch imagines an alternate s in which America has declared war on the rest of.

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Camp Concentration

He published children’s books and horror fiction. That is a tall order for an author to fulfill, and part of the thrill of reading this book is watching Disch manage the character with aplomb. A young man named Mordecai proves the most thought dosch.

When Disch is off – it just turns into nonsense, drivel, and pathetic rambling. I have encountered many writers who possess the twisted, wild skills of imagination germane to speculative fiction, but I have rarely seen them execute their visions with such facility. Disch’s novel Camp Concentration offers a good entry point, showcasing the storytelling skills that made him a leader of the New Wave movement in sci-fi, but also incorporating elements of poetry, political commentary, satire and literary criticism.

It really takes off from there. But even when Disch keeps closest to the conventions of genre fiction, his writing is infused with symbolic resonances you won’t find in, say Robert Heinlein or Arthur C. An expanded version of the Vietnam War seems to be underway.


Additionally as in many other works of the genre and time, “Camp Concentration” has a mild dose of racism tempered only by its heavy sexism. It wouldn’t surprise me. Instead we mostly saw end products. Horrible things happen to the inmates and the reader does not care.

It was a very short novel that felt much longer in reading. These imprisoned savants might debate ethics one day, and stage a theatrical production the next. Well written, but did not work for me.

Camp Concentration – Wikipedia

View all 37 comments. While allusion and reference to Greek myth, philosophy, poets of the past, and the classics of literature are all well and good, there comes a point when the inclusion of too many of these items burdens a novel. We get a very narrow field of vision, seeing and understanding only what Sacchetti shares with us, and because his transcripts are being openly read every day by HH and the psychiatrist, Dr Busk, he’s not even a terribly reliable narrator.

Delany, the company is more than apt. Disch offers a more cohesive work than either these exemplars of experimental sci-fi, concwntration even when he stretches his sentences and paragraphs beyond traditional notions of coherence, he still finds a way to tie them credibly into the story at hand. Mar 24, Brad rated it liked it Shelves: There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

I was quite disappointed, and I struggled to end it. This is a thinking novel and with dialogue carrying on the weigh This was not one of my favorite reads. It declared concenyration on the world.

But these are paltry peccadilloes. For fans of Bukowski and Vonnegut and Burroughs. We experience the story completely through the journal entries of an imprisoned poet and war protester.


We experience the story Written inI know the book is a reflection on America’s involvement in Vietnam but reading clncentration inI felt like it is talking directly about things that are happening now.

Delany delivered his daunting Dhalgren. If I was supposed to realise this, it was badly communicated to me. Scientists work on creating and perfecting the latest in weapons and germ warfare. The whole goddammed universe is a fucking concentration camp. Now it just seems rabid, not shocking.

Camp Concentration by Thomas M Disch

Someday in our colleges Himmler will be studied. But most of it’s not written like that. That middle section of Sacchetti’s ramblings needs to be dissected. Makes concentratikn read a sad read, honestly, especially knowing how Disch, himself, ends. Camp Concentration is also, perhaps, a more adult novel – being bleaker, more cynical, more of a tragedy perhaps, and all the time with a slight smirk on its face.

Camp Concentration is the story of Louis Sanchetti, conscientious objector, and his resulting imprisonment in an experimental American prison.

Disch deserves another crack. The book is the journal of an imprisoned conscientious objector who finds himself stuck in a secret military human enhancement project.

Louis Sacchetti is a poet and pacifist imprisoned for refusing to enlist in the war against Third World guerillas. Follow Ted Gioia on Twitter at www.