The Wall of America

Thomas M. Disch

These surreal, satiric stories pay a mesmerizing visit to the shadowy zone that lies between our everyday lives and a perilously tangible near-future. Vivid, starkly imagined, and strikingly articulate, this disquieting collection is a journey that skillfully straddles the line between playful absurdity and pointed irony.


The Wall of America

by Thomas M. Disch

ISBN: 9781892391827

Published: 2008

Available Format(s): Trade Papberback

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.

“…bitter and sharp…not to be missed.”

“…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 and

“…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

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.”

Praise for Thomas M. Disch

“One of the most remarkably talented writers around.”
Washington Post Book World 

“Diversely gifted…entirely original…joyously versatile…a unique talent.”

“When it comes to Thomas Disch, label makers scratch their heads…. This literary chameleon redefined science fiction with novels that have been compared to the best from Orwell to Huxley, wrote best-selling children’s books about talking kitchen appliances, earned censure from the Catholic Church for an off-Broadway play, published light verse, twisted the pulp conventions of gothic fiction, experimented with interactive software, and demolished the American poetry establishment, UFO cults, and other sacred cows in brilliant critical essays.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Praise for The Word of God

“Tom Disch is the Devil! He says he’s God, but he’s not. Read this book against my warning, and at your peril. Every page you turn will send you deeper into the abyss. Tom Disch is America’s own Mephistopheles!”
—Alice K. Turner, author of The History of Hell

“Of course, Tom has always been Jovial…but an actual divinity? Only now must I relinquish my birthright atheism, in recognition of the presence of a literary god. An obscure Vietnamese cult worshipped Victor Hugo, and I was tempted, but that was long ago, and they have passed from the scene.”
—Norman Rush, National Book Award–winning author of Mating and Mortals

“I first came to believe in God when he successfully cured my cancer in 1969. A few years later he again answered my prayers by laying his hands on my first wife’s belly and ensuring that our child would be a son. On almost every occasion when I have prayed sincerely and selfishly to God in whatever country I have been in, he has answered me with his generous blessings, most recently when he cured my diabetes in what I call the Miracle of the I-35 Dairy Queen. I cannot worship nor give my heart to a more beneficent or loving God than He. I have thanked God on every occasion I have been presented with a major literary prize or when those I consider my literary rivals and enemies have been denied awards or been struck with deadly diseases.”
—Michael Moorcock, author of Stealer of Souls and Behold the Man

“A lovely, funny, interesting, incisive, and wonderfully blasphemous novel.”
—Jeff VanderMeer, author of City of Saints and Madmen and The Third Bear

“It has been the happy fate of myself, my twin brother Greg, and our two younger sibs, Gary and Nancy, to have grown up with a god for an older brother. Sometimes it has been difficult to get along with such a perfect know-it-all, but didn’t Jesus’s siblings have the same blessed problem? What can I say? We adore him.”
—Jeffrey James Disch

“I had never thought of Tom as stooping to God before, but it turns out to have been a good idea. It’s good to hear from a Voice up there that knows the score, knows how to share His laughter with those who are mostly victims of His terrible laugh, knows that He too is art of the Joke. So please stay on high. Do us all Worlds of good.”
—John Clute

Visit the Thomas M. Disch website.

A Family of the Post-Apocalypse
A Knight at the Opera
Canned Goods
In Praise of Older Women
In Xanadu
Jour de Fête
Nights in the Gardens of the Kerhonkson Prison for the Aged and Infirm
One Night, or, Scheherazade’s Bare Minimum
Painting Eggplants
The Abduction of Bunny Steiner, or a Shameless Lie
The First Annual Performance Art Festival at the Slaughter Rock Battlefield
The Man Who Reads a Book
The Owl and the Pussycat
The White Man
Three Chronicles of Xglotl and Rwang
Torah! Torah! Torah!: Three Bible Tales for the Third Millennium
Voices of the Kill

Other books by this author…