Stock Image


Disch, Thomas M.

426 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0684824051 / ISBN 13: 9780684824055
Published by Free Press, 1998
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From E Ridge Fine Books (Lake Elsinore, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since October 16, 2006

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 7.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.50 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Jacket has edgewear Text block has no markings in book. "The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of’, a perceptive account of the impact science fiction has had on American culture." ; Ex-Library; 9.30 X 6.30 X 1 inches; 272 pp pages. Bookseller Inventory # 6181

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Free Press

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title


From acclaimed science fiction writer Thomas M. Disch comes The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, a keenly perceptive account of the impact science fiction has had on American culture. As only a consummate insider could, Disch provides a fascinating view of this world and its inhabitants, tracing science fiction's phenomenal growth into the multibillion-dollar global entertainment industry it is today. If America is a "nation of liars," as Disch asserts in this dazzling and provocative cultural history, then science fiction is the most American of literary genres. American SF writers have seen their wishes, dreams, and lies accorded the same respect as facts. From the protoscience-fiction tales of Edgar Allen Poe, to the utopian dreams and technological nightmares of European writers H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and J. G. Ballard, to American conservatives Robert Heinlein and Jerry Pournelle, liberals Joe Haldemann and Ursula le Guin, flakes William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick, and outright charlatans Ignatius Donnelly and various UFO "witnesses," Disch emphasizes science fiction's cultural role as both a lens and a medium for the very rapid changes driven by modern technology, highlighting its powers of prediction and prevarication. Much more than a history of the genre, The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of is an in-depth study of its ever-growing interaction with all aspects of culture -- politics, religion, and the fabric of our daily lives -- showing how it has become a cultural battlefield while helping us to adjust to new social realities, in everything from Star Trek's model of a multicultural workplace to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. Disch is full of high praise and trenchant criticism of the genre, but sees its darker expression in the appearance of suicidal and homicidal UFO cults that blur science-fiction-fueled fantasies with reality. Behind the spaceships and aliens Disch reveals the blueprints of the dizzying postmodern future we have already begun to inhabit.


In The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, Thomas Disch does for science fiction what he did for poetry in The Castle of Indolence. First, he treats it not as a playground for idle dreamers, but as a branch of serious literature with significant cultural impact. Second, he brings the perspective of a seasoned practitioner to bear in separating the wheat from the chaff.

For example, if you ever wanted to know why L. Ron Hubbard managed to start a cult but Philip K. Dick didn't, Disch is your man. Beginning with Edgar Allan Poe, Disch elaborates a vision of science fiction as one of the twentieth century's most influential manifestations of America as a culture of liars. Among the frauds are the alien abduction stories of Whitley Strieber, the sadomasochistic dominance fantasies of John Norman, and the co-opting of cyberpunk by postmodern academics and avant-gardists trying to stay hip.

Disch plays very few favorites, and when ideology gets in the way of good writing, it doesn't matter what side you're on. Subliterary feminist fantasies of matriarchial utopias get slammed just as hard as subliterary conservative militaristic wet dreams. Not even one of sci-fi's most beloved Grand Masters, Robert Heinlein, is unimpeachable; Disch correctly nails Heinlein on his consistent sexism and racism, as well as his gradual descent into solipsism. One of Heinlein's last novels, The Number of the Beast, is described as "the freakout to which [Heinlein]'s entitled as a good American, whose right to lie is protected by the Constitution."

What does Disch like? For starters: Philip K. Dick, the British New Wave as exemplified by J. G. Ballard and Michael Moorcock, and Joe Haldeman's Hugo- and Nebula-winning The Forever War, described as being "to the Vietnam War what Catch-22 was to World War II," and which he believes deserved a Pulitzer as well.

Disch may confirm your suspicions, or he may raise every last one of your hackles. But one thing this book will definitely not do is bore you.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

E Ridge fine Books is a general used and out-of-print bookstore with a strong collection of cookery and natural history. Phone calls and email inquires are responded to within 24 hours. Thank you.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

Methods of Payment: We accept Master Card & Visa, Pay Pal or personal check.
Checks must clear prior to shipment.
Refunds: We will be gladly accept all returns within thirty days of order. Please email questions. Thank you.

Shipping Terms:

Orders shipped within 2 business days. Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or over sized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required. Orders valued at $100.00 or more are insured by the seller.

A refund is available within 30 days of purchase date. Please email with request of refund and reason for request.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check PayPal