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Fun with Your New Head

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Contents: The Roaches (1965) Come to Venus Melancholy (1965) Linda and Daniel and Spike (1967) Flight Useless, Inexorable the Pursuit (1968) Descending (1964) Nada (1964) Now Is Forever (1964) The Contest (1967) The Empty Room (1967) The Squirrel Cage (1966) The Number You Have Reached (1967) 1-A (1968) Fun with Your New Head (1966) The City of Penetrating Light (1968) Moondust, the Smel Contents: The Roaches (1965) Come to Venus Melancholy (1965) Linda and Daniel and Spike (1967) Flight Useless, Inexorable the Pursuit (1968) Descending (1964) Nada (1964) Now Is Forever (1964) The Contest (1967) The Empty Room (1967) The Squirrel Cage (1966) The Number You Have Reached (1967) 1-A (1968) Fun with Your New Head (1966) The City of Penetrating Light (1968) Moondust, the Smell of Hay, and Dialectical Materialism (1967) Thesis on Social Forms and Social Controls in the U.S.A. (1964) Casablanca (1967)


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Contents: The Roaches (1965) Come to Venus Melancholy (1965) Linda and Daniel and Spike (1967) Flight Useless, Inexorable the Pursuit (1968) Descending (1964) Nada (1964) Now Is Forever (1964) The Contest (1967) The Empty Room (1967) The Squirrel Cage (1966) The Number You Have Reached (1967) 1-A (1968) Fun with Your New Head (1966) The City of Penetrating Light (1968) Moondust, the Smel Contents: The Roaches (1965) Come to Venus Melancholy (1965) Linda and Daniel and Spike (1967) Flight Useless, Inexorable the Pursuit (1968) Descending (1964) Nada (1964) Now Is Forever (1964) The Contest (1967) The Empty Room (1967) The Squirrel Cage (1966) The Number You Have Reached (1967) 1-A (1968) Fun with Your New Head (1966) The City of Penetrating Light (1968) Moondust, the Smell of Hay, and Dialectical Materialism (1967) Thesis on Social Forms and Social Controls in the U.S.A. (1964) Casablanca (1967)

30 review for Fun with Your New Head

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    One of the tops within the world of new wave American science fiction, American author Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008) published many works of fiction and non-fiction, including nearly two dozen novels and eight collections of short stories. An incredible imagination – a writer worth anybody’s time. If you are new to Disch, this collection of seventeen short stories is an excellent place to begin. To provide a modest glimpse of the author's inventiveness, I offer the following commentary on two of m One of the tops within the world of new wave American science fiction, American author Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008) published many works of fiction and non-fiction, including nearly two dozen novels and eight collections of short stories. An incredible imagination – a writer worth anybody’s time. If you are new to Disch, this collection of seventeen short stories is an excellent place to begin. To provide a modest glimpse of the author's inventiveness, I offer the following commentary on two of my favorites from this collection: THE SQUIRREL CAGE Newsflash: After spending five weeks in a small white room alternating running on a rat wheel and reading Thomas M. Disch, Mr. Q. C. Greentree of Newark, New Jersey has discovered the meaning of life. Q. C. plans to write a book recording his experience. Sound plausible? Well, maybe not, but all kidding aside, Q. C. and his rat wheel are not that far removed from events relayed by this tale’s narrator, a man who is trapped in a padded white cell with stool, desk and typewriter. Is he the last human on the face of the earth? If so, he reasons, then aliens from another planet are the ones watching him and attending to his bodily needs as he sits and pounds the keys of his typewriter. Whatever the context or irrespective of who or what is doing the watching, he has spent hours at the typewriter writing in a variety of forms: poetry, a zoological memoir and a short story about a woman visiting a zoo where one of the caged animals is a man. Then, as if a caged rat running on a metaphorical rat wheel, our author pens multiple variations of what he has previously written. He reckons maybe what he types out on his typewriter appears on a giant screen like the one in Times Square, New York City, a giant screen where thousands of men and women can read whatever he writes. Perhaps they laugh when he creates comedy and lose interest when he shifts to drama; or, perhaps, it is the other way round: they find drama intriguing but walk away, bored out of their skull, when he attempts to make them laugh. Perhaps the narrator in his room as squirrel cage is none other than Thomas M. Disch. Or, even more likely, anyone of us locked into mindless routine like a rat running on a rat wheel. To say more about Disch's much anthologized short story would be to say too much - but at least, you must admit, I included a photo of Q. C. Greentree. Look at him go! - unfortunately, thousands upon thousands of men and women across the globe can identify completely with Q.C.'s endless running. FUN WITH YOUR NEW HEAD The title story is a three page flash fiction in the form of an extended late-night TV commercial, an all-out frontal assault on individual as consumer. One direct quote will do the trick: “Everyone should have his own HEAD, and now everyone can! Heads are cheaper than ever before. They eat less and take up less space too! So why don’t you buy your new HEAD today?”

  2. 4 out of 5

    R.

    The year is 1964... J.G.Ballard: Say, Tom, me lad! Hold up there! And what is it you're working on? Thomas Disch: Oh, just a thing. A little story about economic collapse in the future, the 1990's, and roving bands of anarchic teenagers. Tossed in a cuckolded cloned banker who is repeating existence on an infinite loop. Called "Now is Forever." Hey, where you going? J.G.Ballard: Tea! Yes, rather. Tea. The year is 1966... Philip K. Dick: Hey, Tom. Man. Pull up a chair. Want some...some dope? Okay. Coo The year is 1964... J.G.Ballard: Say, Tom, me lad! Hold up there! And what is it you're working on? Thomas Disch: Oh, just a thing. A little story about economic collapse in the future, the 1990's, and roving bands of anarchic teenagers. Tossed in a cuckolded cloned banker who is repeating existence on an infinite loop. Called "Now is Forever." Hey, where you going? J.G.Ballard: Tea! Yes, rather. Tea. The year is 1966... Philip K. Dick: Hey, Tom. Man. Pull up a chair. Want some...some dope? Okay. Cool. Hey, what are you working on? Thomas Disch: Oh. Just a few quick riffs. Just to line the pockets. One is a meditation on highly-amped paranoia in a superurban cityscape called "The Contest". The other is a quick piece about a guy who rents his brain out to computer labs as storage space because he's in love but, well, we can all relate, poor. Stricken by the poverty bug. Philip K. Dick: Yeah. Dig. Dig. Huh. ... Man, the time. See...it's getting late. I don't mind, dig, but the old lady she... Thomas Disch: Gotcha. Later, then? Philip K. Dick: Why not? The year is 1980... PKD/JGB: Tom! What's up? How's the output? What's the latest? Tom: Guys! Hey! Well, since you asked, right now I'm working on a story about a toaster. A brave little toaster. PKD/JGB: ... Tom: Already got the sequel planned out. He goes to Mars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Graham P

    In the scope of the SF New Wave, Disch's work had a more absurdist, humanistic slant than most of his peers, and while some of his stories are playful, many of them contain a dark core, exposing the frailties of the poor and the insane, the maligned and the forgotten. The work in this early collection strays off into such themes, while not so much rooted in SF as it is in the horror genre. The most memorable stories in the collection: 'The Roaches' - living in New York City can be quite awful fo In the scope of the SF New Wave, Disch's work had a more absurdist, humanistic slant than most of his peers, and while some of his stories are playful, many of them contain a dark core, exposing the frailties of the poor and the insane, the maligned and the forgotten. The work in this early collection strays off into such themes, while not so much rooted in SF as it is in the horror genre. The most memorable stories in the collection: 'The Roaches' - living in New York City can be quite awful for the lower classes. Amidst tenement living, loud neighbors and dead-end jobs, the main character here is befriended by a cockroach. Soon, she creates a telepathic bond with the insects and she has them do her dirty work. (David Hartwell selected this one in his fine collection, The Dark Descent). 'Come to Venus Melancholy' - a first person account of an off-world computer losing its mind to jealousy and loneliness. 'Linda and Daniel and Spike' - a revolting tale about an imaginary lover who impregnates a schizophrenic woman in Manhattan. 'Descending' - a loser maxes out his credit card in a department store, only to find himself stuck on a never-ending descent on an escalator. To some consumer Hell? 'Now is Forever' - a regeneration machine gives you anything you want, but when there's no more desire and you can have what you want by the press of a button, events take a turn for the worst. This one reads like an apocalyptic version of 'Groundhog Day', the snake eating its own tail, again and again and again.... 'The City of Penetrating Light' - the last man of Earth, an astronaut who was in space when the bombs were dropped on earth, now contemplates suicide, but he keeps getting interrupted by some stranger calling him on the phone. 'Casablanca' - Disch here is channeling Paul Bowles in fine fashion. While the nuclear bombs are dropped on America, an elderly American couple on holiday try to figure out what to do. As the anti-American hatred takes hold, the couple go through a series of mundane horrors that eventually turn nasty as they try to find safety. Written in 1967, this story is far from dated, and probably means more to the reader today than in the year it was written.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    This short, 216 page, sci-fi anthology from Thomas M. Disch features 17 short stories. They are all odd in interesting and unexpected ways. My favorites include The Roaches, Linda and Daniel and Spike, The Squirrel Cage, 1-A, and Fun With Your New Head. Of them, I really wanted to know more about the world of the title story which is presented as a quick three page commercial for a funny product that's good for all ages called a HEAD. While I was reading this collection, I couldn't help but thin This short, 216 page, sci-fi anthology from Thomas M. Disch features 17 short stories. They are all odd in interesting and unexpected ways. My favorites include The Roaches, Linda and Daniel and Spike, The Squirrel Cage, 1-A, and Fun With Your New Head. Of them, I really wanted to know more about the world of the title story which is presented as a quick three page commercial for a funny product that's good for all ages called a HEAD. While I was reading this collection, I couldn't help but think of Mike Russell's Nothing is Strange and Strange Medicine - the tone of the stories are quite similar.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Excellent short story collection from the great Thomas Disch. The star is Descending... a simple but very powerful morality play, perfectly executed. Suppose you weren't paying attention when taking the down escalator at a department store, and suddenly realized that you were way lower than the basement? And that there was no up escalator in sight?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    The late, great, Thomas Disch was probably the oddest SF author I ever knew. He didn't LOOK like an author, but more like the leader of a Hell's Angels biker gang. And yes, he was a biker. But the man did two things that really made you stop and say, "WTF?" He wrote damned good SF stories... And some of the most sensitive poetry I've ever heard. This was a collection of short stories he'd written. They are funny, but with a dark twist to them. One is a story about why you should never EVER get on The late, great, Thomas Disch was probably the oddest SF author I ever knew. He didn't LOOK like an author, but more like the leader of a Hell's Angels biker gang. And yes, he was a biker. But the man did two things that really made you stop and say, "WTF?" He wrote damned good SF stories... And some of the most sensitive poetry I've ever heard. This was a collection of short stories he'd written. They are funny, but with a dark twist to them. One is a story about why you should never EVER get on an escalator and not pay attention to how many floors you've traveled. Especially if you are a thief. Even though the stories in here are dark and twisted, there is a sense that Disch understood Daoism. He understood karma and human nature. That and I can imagine him poking fun at TV commercials by developing the title story, which is a sales pitch for you to "buy a new head... TODAY!"

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Scarber Deggans

    This collection is nothing near the quality of Camp Concentration, but does show some of the budding promise of this New Wave speculative writer. Overall, none of the stories in this collection really stand out in comparison to today's speculative fiction envelope pushers, but for their time the stories were likely a little more edgy. At least Disch manages to deal with more inner-space than outer-space, exploring the psychological aspects of speculative fiction more than the technobable popular This collection is nothing near the quality of Camp Concentration, but does show some of the budding promise of this New Wave speculative writer. Overall, none of the stories in this collection really stand out in comparison to today's speculative fiction envelope pushers, but for their time the stories were likely a little more edgy. At least Disch manages to deal with more inner-space than outer-space, exploring the psychological aspects of speculative fiction more than the technobable popular in the decade before this book's publication. I've been looking for anthologies that fit into the category of 'science fiction and fantasy for people who don't like science fiction and fantasy' and I don't believe this quite qualifies. It's a good collection if considered within the domain of its contemporaries, but Disch is not quite Harlan Ellison. This is worth the read if you're interested in the big change in speculative fiction that hit in the sixties, but won't do much for the casual reader. For better works of his from this time period, see Camp Concentration and The Prisoner.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott Golden

    This is a strong collection of science fiction/fantasy/horror stories from a writer that deserves more recognition than he received during his lifetime [especially from the Disney Corporation]. Many of the stories here involve solitary figures struggling against overwhelming odds in a moment of personal crisis; unlike so much of popular fiction, these protagonists do not win, and the focus instead is upon how they handle their defeat -- or, as the case may be, their impending doom. It's tough st This is a strong collection of science fiction/fantasy/horror stories from a writer that deserves more recognition than he received during his lifetime [especially from the Disney Corporation]. Many of the stories here involve solitary figures struggling against overwhelming odds in a moment of personal crisis; unlike so much of popular fiction, these protagonists do not win, and the focus instead is upon how they handle their defeat -- or, as the case may be, their impending doom. It's tough stuff -- and it would not necessarily be unfair to say that it reflects a particularly pessimistic outlook on the part of the author (a notion which may, in part, explain Disch's lack of popularity) -- but nevertheless provides its own type of pleasures for the adventurous reader. Strongly recommended. [Review intentionally posted on the 8th anniversary of Mr. Disch's death]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Disch is terrific short story writer. Sometimes these are close to the macabre parables and tales of Poe and Kafka and other times are strangely poetic sui generis sci fi. There is a bit of reliance on trick endings but the craft is so good I wasn’t bothered.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna Prejanò

    "Le Teste sono così divertenti! Ascoltate la Testa senza corpo parlare di Libertà, Morte, Bellezza e Dio padre. Fate innamorare la Testa di voi." Per fortuna ci sono libri come questo che non ho ancora letto. Spero siano tantissimi.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I guess I'm not mad enough to 'get' these weird stories. I am pretty sure that I'm glad of that, given how disturbed I was by the bits that I did understand. The one I did appreciate is "Moondust, the Smell of Hay, and Dialectical Materialism." I do think that if you like the more bizarre PKD and New Wave SF you'll like this collection, but I def. won't go so far as to recommend it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Meditationseed

    Super Cool! (Fun with Your New Head - 1966) A short and subtle tale that blends consumer society and the most precious commodity we have: our brain, our mind. Reading is fast, language is easy and there are only few lines. But it's funny and deep.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elise Rogers

    "Le Teste sono così divertenti! Ascoltate la Testa senza corpo parlare di Libertà, Morte, Bellezza e Dio padre. Fate innamorare la Testa di voi." Per fortuna ci sono libri come questo che non ho ancora letto. Spero siano tantissimi.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jillybeane

    Some of these stories only make sense with a lil critical thinking; some of them don’t make any sense at all no matter how much you think about them. Still a fun read, full of Wait, What? moments.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ernest Hogan

    Early stories from a great writer. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharla

    I read this as a kid, it was my mom's. There was one story in particular that has stuck with me all these years (probably close to 30!!!) and for that this remains one of my favorite story collections, essentially for one story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    TrumanCoyote

    [FIRST READING: * * ]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Dreisbach

  20. 4 out of 5

    proto

  21. 4 out of 5

    W. J. Grim

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  23. 4 out of 5

    Plch

  24. 5 out of 5

    Phineas Gregory

  25. 4 out of 5

    Farzana

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Bampi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lance

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tex-49

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rich

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