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The Word of God: Or, Holy Writ Rewritten

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Not since The Da Vinci Code! The only tome ever written by God Himself! INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS! In this compelling memoir, the first and hopefully the last of its kind, America’s most divine author reveals the intimate and shocking details of His sudden elevation to the most coveted and least understood position in the universe. In early 2005 (A.D.), wearying of the world’s Not since The Da Vinci Code! The only tome ever written by God Himself! INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS! In this compelling memoir, the first and hopefully the last of its kind, America’s most divine author reveals the intimate and shocking details of His sudden elevation to the most coveted and least understood position in the universe. In early 2005 (A.D.), wearying of the world’s religious schisms, doctrinal heresies, and manifold editorial sins, Thomas M. Disch took matters into His own hands and became the Deity. As controversial as it is incontrovertible, the moving true story of His awful transformation and its awesome aftermath reveals, at long last, the hidden web that links Disch, Philip K. Dick, Western wear, the Leamington Hotel, and Eternity itself. Read it in fear and trembling. But read it, or else. YOU WILL LAUGH. YOU WILL CRY. YOU WILL PRAY.


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Not since The Da Vinci Code! The only tome ever written by God Himself! INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS! In this compelling memoir, the first and hopefully the last of its kind, America’s most divine author reveals the intimate and shocking details of His sudden elevation to the most coveted and least understood position in the universe. In early 2005 (A.D.), wearying of the world’s Not since The Da Vinci Code! The only tome ever written by God Himself! INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS! In this compelling memoir, the first and hopefully the last of its kind, America’s most divine author reveals the intimate and shocking details of His sudden elevation to the most coveted and least understood position in the universe. In early 2005 (A.D.), wearying of the world’s religious schisms, doctrinal heresies, and manifold editorial sins, Thomas M. Disch took matters into His own hands and became the Deity. As controversial as it is incontrovertible, the moving true story of His awful transformation and its awesome aftermath reveals, at long last, the hidden web that links Disch, Philip K. Dick, Western wear, the Leamington Hotel, and Eternity itself. Read it in fear and trembling. But read it, or else. YOU WILL LAUGH. YOU WILL CRY. YOU WILL PRAY.

30 review for The Word of God: Or, Holy Writ Rewritten

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    I picked this out of the book dumpster more for its pristine condition than anything else. I'd heard of Disch but never read anything by him. It's definitely fiction, but aside from that a bit hard to categorize. Disch mixes real-life elements of his personal biography with fantastical storylines. As the first person narrator, he is God, who is Thomas Disch. Real-life Disch had some history with the sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick, who is one of the main characters; we first meet him in Hell, wher I picked this out of the book dumpster more for its pristine condition than anything else. I'd heard of Disch but never read anything by him. It's definitely fiction, but aside from that a bit hard to categorize. Disch mixes real-life elements of his personal biography with fantastical storylines. As the first person narrator, he is God, who is Thomas Disch. Real-life Disch had some history with the sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick, who is one of the main characters; we first meet him in Hell, where the architect Philip Johnson cures him of his writer's block in exchange for Dick agreeing to travel back to 1939 via a wormhole and kill the novelist Thomas Mann before he can fornicate with Disch's mother to produce Disch. (It sounds complicated but somehow it is less so when reading.) By far the funniest portion of the book was a (sadly) short section where Jesus and the Apostle Peter, not looking like their Biblical selves but like normal modern people, go to Kansas City. Jesus walked over to a shop window to admire a recliner upholstered in Brazilian leather in a shade of burgundy. The interior of the store was filled with other pieces of furniture, the luxuries all crammed together like passengers on a pleasure barge. Heaven seemed drab in comparison. And the carpentry seemed of the best quality. If there was time, Jesus hoped they might visit the workshop where these goods had been made. Later, in their hotel, they watch the TV show Joan of Arcadia. Jesus likes it, and performs a miracle whereby they are able to speed-view the entire series in mere seconds. A man on the street gives them free movie vouchers to see "The Passion of the Christ." (Peter puts the vouchers in his fanny pack.) Neither is sure they want to relive the horrors of those days, and Jesus goes and hangs out in the men's room during the worst parts of the movie. I could have read about Jesus and Peter's adventures in America forever. ----------------------------------- Errata: the spy Robert Hanssen is a character in one chapter (he's a student at the "School for Traitors"). A footnote tells us that Hanssen was a devout Catholic who attended the church St. Catherine of Siena in Richmond, Virginia. But actually the church Hanssen attended is in Great Falls, VA, a suburb of Washington. The church has ties to Opus Dei and is attended by all sorts of government bigwigs like Antonin Scalia, Rick Santorum, Louis Freeh, and the head of the NRA. There's also a typo on the blurb-whoring page, where Karen Joy Fowler is referred to as the author of The Jane Austin Book Club.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mykle

    Another moment of silence for Thomas Disch, the SF/poetry/children's author who shot himself in 2008, right as this book came off the presses. This is quite obviously his long goodbye, for which he prepared a bravura performance of his best tricks. He is exquisitely literate and writes beautiful, clever sentences. He's got the left-wing gift of arch critique, and no shortage of things to say about the demon Religion. He appears to have a major axe to grind against Phillip K. Dick. He knowledgeab Another moment of silence for Thomas Disch, the SF/poetry/children's author who shot himself in 2008, right as this book came off the presses. This is quite obviously his long goodbye, for which he prepared a bravura performance of his best tricks. He is exquisitely literate and writes beautiful, clever sentences. He's got the left-wing gift of arch critique, and no shortage of things to say about the demon Religion. He appears to have a major axe to grind against Phillip K. Dick. He knowledgeably, effortlessly weaves together bits of poetry, comedy, short story, history and biography in whatever order he pleases and makes the whole thing come off charmingly. I'm reminded of Vonnegut's TIMEQUAKE -- how it was no longer necessary for him to declare the existence of a story, genre or scope in order to sit down and plonk out a book. But for all the wit and thought I enjoyed in this book, there were strong whiffs of pretension, smugness and bitterness that put me off. Works of atheism are written either to enlarge the flock or to harmonize with the choir; this book is entirely one of the latter. I imagine the mood of it must have been informed by the declining health of Disch's partner Charles Naylor. In case you didn't know, after Naylor's death in 2005 (right after this manuscript was finished) Disch fell into depression and finally took his own life in 2008. And yet he tells us very little about Charles in the book, preferring instead to pontificate on his own elevated opinions of everything in his mock-God voice, intermixed with reprints of his poetry. I sympathize with the man, but I'm sad that he chose to close the book, and his career, and his life, by firing off parting shots at people he hated. Of course it's easier for the ultra-successful to be gracious, and writers excel at petty jealousies -- but Disch did all right in his way; he lived in New York, was widely read, well respected by the SF, poetry & gay communities, had a partner he loved for a good thirty years. I don't know that any writer can hope for much more than that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    What an odd, sad, clever and funny book this is. It begins with the boring shooting fish in a barrel activity of satirizing organized religion combined with equally trivial autobiographical details. Finally a ray of light gleams and a short story appears in the text. Then back to more triviality that grows more sadly interesting as the maudlin discussions of death of a man who would not so long after this book was written kill himself. Occasional short stories continue to gleam forth like lights i What an odd, sad, clever and funny book this is. It begins with the boring shooting fish in a barrel activity of satirizing organized religion combined with equally trivial autobiographical details. Finally a ray of light gleams and a short story appears in the text. Then back to more triviality that grows more sadly interesting as the maudlin discussions of death of a man who would not so long after this book was written kill himself. Occasional short stories continue to gleam forth like lights in the fog until all of the sudden they all link up into a cohesive whole that is both wickedly funny as the best of Thomas Disch is as well as interestingly insider gossipy as they concern a fellow SF writer. They are also examples of pathetic jealousy Disch has towards this more successful author and such brilliant pieces of character assassination that they shine light on Disch's own self loathing. Along the way we discover both fascinating facts in a brilliant and hilarious riff on another author's work mixed with fascinating and yet pathetic self aggrandizement by Disch reminiscent at times of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There to see as well are Disch's own misanthropist and illogical beliefs about a variety of topics that defeat some of the invincibility of the satirist's usual position. A fascinating and complex work with moments of awesomeness amidst much dreck. At least it's easier to read than the European intellectuals Disch so admires.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Disch alternates his thoughts about how the world would be if he were God with a strange fictional storyline in which the late author Philip K. Dick is sprung from Hell to alter history so that Disch is never born and the Axis win World War II. As fellow sci-fi writers, Disch and Dick had a passing acquaintance in real life. After Dick's death, Disch found out that during one of his bouts of drug-fueled mental illness, Dick had reported him to the FBI as possible subversive. Dick believed he was Disch alternates his thoughts about how the world would be if he were God with a strange fictional storyline in which the late author Philip K. Dick is sprung from Hell to alter history so that Disch is never born and the Axis win World War II. As fellow sci-fi writers, Disch and Dick had a passing acquaintance in real life. After Dick's death, Disch found out that during one of his bouts of drug-fueled mental illness, Dick had reported him to the FBI as possible subversive. Dick believed he was being observed by covert government agents, and that the only way to save himself was to report the "secret messages" in one of Disch's novels. THe FBI rightly dismissed Dick as a crank. Now it is a truly crappy thing for one novelist to inform on another, but Disch seems to have nursed his grudge against a dead man for decades. Disch unflatteringly portrays his Dick character as sexist (accurate), a homophobe and Nazi sympathizer (not accurate). I'm not altogether certain how serious Disch was with this story, but I found it funny in a bizarre way. Disch's ruminations on life and spirituality are not amazingly creative, but he's an entertaining writer, and they are made more bittersweet by virtue of having been put down on paper not too long before his death by suicide.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    I picked this up after I heard the author (now sadly deceased) read from it a couple months ago at the Seaport museum. It is difficult to fit this into any real category or genre, the book is mostly an eloquent and erudite rant about religion delivered semi-sardonically through the voice of the author himself who claims to have been elevated to a divinity. Think Screwtape Letters with a god instead of a devil. Interspersed among Disch’s rambling monologues are short stories and poems – most of t I picked this up after I heard the author (now sadly deceased) read from it a couple months ago at the Seaport museum. It is difficult to fit this into any real category or genre, the book is mostly an eloquent and erudite rant about religion delivered semi-sardonically through the voice of the author himself who claims to have been elevated to a divinity. Think Screwtape Letters with a god instead of a devil. Interspersed among Disch’s rambling monologues are short stories and poems – most of them enjoyable and one in particular (“The New Me”) that was quite excellent – but the key word here is ramble. The book puttered eloquently and aimlessly on until, after an odd two-part story about how Philip K. Dick returns from hell and goes back in time and murder Thomas Mann in a Minneapolis hotel before he can seduce Disch’s mother and thereby prevent Thomas Disch from coming into existence (and somehow allowing Hitler to win WWII), when the author, invoking divine license, decides to end the book. Although pleasurable to read alot of the time the pointlessness was a little irritating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    "What emerges ... in Disch's final work is a portrait of an extremely intelligent, extremely funny and extremely cynical man—but it's the cynicism that won in the end. And I think it's that same cynicism that painted such a starkly-divided picture of what faith is and does in The Word of God. If Disch hadn't been that cynic, if he had allowed for a bit more nuance in his understanding of the things in the world he didn't like, he might still be alive today. But then, would he have still been Tho "What emerges ... in Disch's final work is a portrait of an extremely intelligent, extremely funny and extremely cynical man—but it's the cynicism that won in the end. And I think it's that same cynicism that painted such a starkly-divided picture of what faith is and does in The Word of God. If Disch hadn't been that cynic, if he had allowed for a bit more nuance in his understanding of the things in the world he didn't like, he might still be alive today. But then, would he have still been Thomas Disch? I'll leave that question for people who knew him better—either personally and as a writer. The view from the sidelines (where I am) is that Disch's cynicism demanded a sad ending to his life, and The Word of God is a central part of that tragedy." Read my full review here: http://sfgospel.typepad.com/sf_gospel...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    This book reads like a collection of short stories interspersed with personal commentary or, should I say, personal commentary interspersed with a few short stories. The conceit of naming himself God works as both a biographical and literary framework. Some may wonder if they really need or want to know so much about the author himself but I thought it worked perfectly as a "blog in print" and I'm not a big blog fan. My favorite piece: The other God and St. Peter visit earth to view Mel Gibson's This book reads like a collection of short stories interspersed with personal commentary or, should I say, personal commentary interspersed with a few short stories. The conceit of naming himself God works as both a biographical and literary framework. Some may wonder if they really need or want to know so much about the author himself but I thought it worked perfectly as a "blog in print" and I'm not a big blog fan. My favorite piece: The other God and St. Peter visit earth to view Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ." Elsewhere, one of my favorite writers appears as a recurring character. Don't read this book if you are overly religious or don't like to think.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann Michael

    Tom Disch was a funny guy. This book is uneven, but intellectually stimulating and often hilarious. As usual for Disch, there are allusions, fables, a few poems thrown in, and an ongoing allegorical takeoff featuring Philip K. Dick in Hell. Heretical in intent, it is actually not a terribly dangerous book. As God, Disch is more modest than one might expect, and more tolerant than most deities. He's also got his tongue planted in his cheek here. Memoir...fiction...philosophy...cultural commentary, Tom Disch was a funny guy. This book is uneven, but intellectually stimulating and often hilarious. As usual for Disch, there are allusions, fables, a few poems thrown in, and an ongoing allegorical takeoff featuring Philip K. Dick in Hell. Heretical in intent, it is actually not a terribly dangerous book. As God, Disch is more modest than one might expect, and more tolerant than most deities. He's also got his tongue planted in his cheek here. Memoir...fiction...philosophy...cultural commentary, yes. Heresy? You decide.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Disch could really write, as I observed after reading his novel Camp Concentration, and based on this book he has a wicked wit. Unfortunately, as an intellectual Disch was thoroughly unremarkable on the subject of religion. This is basically an angry rant by Disch where he nurses a few of his grudges and expresses his thoughts about religion in the wake of 9/11, Bush's reelection, and the war I Iraq. It also amounts to his suicide note, since suicide is mentioned more than a couple times, and h Disch could really write, as I observed after reading his novel Camp Concentration, and based on this book he has a wicked wit. Unfortunately, as an intellectual Disch was thoroughly unremarkable on the subject of religion. This is basically an angry rant by Disch where he nurses a few of his grudges and expresses his thoughts about religion in the wake of 9/11, Bush's reelection, and the war I Iraq. It also amounts to his suicide note, since suicide is mentioned more than a couple times, and he would take his own life soon afterward. Disch's anger toward religious institutions is perfectly understandable; He grew up gay and Catholic. However, his observations of religion amount to thinking that religious people are just a bunch of delusional nutcases. There is an irony that he seems to buy into most of the stereotypes about the Islamic world while at the same time criticizing the Bush administration. If this book had criticized American Imperialism more substantially we might have had something there. One of the most frustrating and hilarious parts of the book is that he uses sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick as a character. He starts off mocking Dick's famous sexism, which is perfectly fair. Then he tries to portray Dick as some kind of far right fascist theocrat, which is not fair at all. Dick did report Disch to the FBI back when they were supposedly friends, but he also might have suffered from schizophrenia. As such, Disch seems to be a bit meanspirited to mock him so unsympathetically here. The inclusion of Dick seems to be because Dick was famously Christian and Disch seems to believe that Dick reported him to the FBI because Disch was an atheist. Never mind Dick doesn't say anything about this in his letter to the FBI. I would have been interested in Disch's take on Dick's Gnostic Christianity, but his take consists of basically claiming Dick was a Christian the same way as George W. Bush is a Christian. Not exactly the most fair comparison. Still, this book is pretty entertaining, and you have to love how fearless Disch was.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Macpherson

    His writing style is always lovely. This book left me bored to annoyed. The conceit of being a god writing science fiction wasn't funny or pointed enough. The part where he cast Philip K Dick as an unpleasant jerk who is the villain of the piece, left me puzzled why anyone thought this was a good idea.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Neale

    I haven't read this book yet - it isn't available as an ebook, so I'm waiting for a hard copy to arrive. But Disch was a great writer, and any book that has the temerity to take the p*ss out of Philip K. Dick deserves three stars just for that. I hope to up the stars after reading. Dick was a great writer, of course, but also a shocking fraud - a cross between a genius and a junky spinning a self-justifying story. (And one who had once informed on Disch to the FBI in a state of drug-addled parano I haven't read this book yet - it isn't available as an ebook, so I'm waiting for a hard copy to arrive. But Disch was a great writer, and any book that has the temerity to take the p*ss out of Philip K. Dick deserves three stars just for that. I hope to up the stars after reading. Dick was a great writer, of course, but also a shocking fraud - a cross between a genius and a junky spinning a self-justifying story. (And one who had once informed on Disch to the FBI in a state of drug-addled paranoia. Disch is to be admired for his restraint in saving his revenge until after Dick's death and transfiguration...)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    You'll read this and shrug, and then a day later you realize it's the most insidious, shape-shifting work you 've read in a long time. Because Disch covers the morphing real/unreal, what is it-ness of the book with smooth, liquid prose style, You're going to underestimate what the book is doing. It doesn't spring its meta-tricks on you, so you don't get those a-ha moments of how smart you and the author are. But much legerdemain and bait-and-switch is going on here. It's more than just unreliabl You'll read this and shrug, and then a day later you realize it's the most insidious, shape-shifting work you 've read in a long time. Because Disch covers the morphing real/unreal, what is it-ness of the book with smooth, liquid prose style, You're going to underestimate what the book is doing. It doesn't spring its meta-tricks on you, so you don't get those a-ha moments of how smart you and the author are. But much legerdemain and bait-and-switch is going on here. It's more than just unreliable narrative. It turns you into an unreliable reader.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keith Davis

    A collection of linked short stories connected by a bizarre narrative in which the ghost of Philip K. Dick is released from Hell and sent back in time to prevent the German author Thomas Mann from fathering Thomas Disch, who may or may not be god. Full of Disch's oddball humor and melancholy, but in retrospect it reads like a book length suicide note.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    This is standard Disch fare. An interesting concept where he put himself in the role of God and some different observers to see how the different events in the past and currently play together. I especially liked the idea of a church in hell that was an exact duplicate to the crystal cathedral.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    It's difficult to categorize this Disch book, other than to say it is hilarious, insightful and very well-written.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ben

    Okay, it was funny sure. A collection of stories really, tied together with Disch's narrative, it flowed well I guess, but it just wasn't for me. Interesting concept too… just not played out well…

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jon Wilson

    Well, that was strange....

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Impossible not to revel in theodicy over this very title. And how dare the author kill himself on the 4th of July!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ian Mond

  20. 5 out of 5

    Armaan Nayar

  21. 4 out of 5

    Moon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike R

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ike Rakiecki

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nia Vestal

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hotspur

  26. 4 out of 5

    Enrique

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Argott

  29. 5 out of 5

    Troy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

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