Camp Concentration

Camp Concentration Librarian note The book has the catalog number V on the front cover and the SBN on the spine The ISBN was derived from the SBN This edition does not have a publisher s

  • Title: Camp Concentration
  • Author: Thomas M. Disch
  • ISBN: 0380023482
  • Page: 277
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Librarian note The book has the catalog number V2348 on the front cover and the SBN 380 02348 075 on the spine The ISBN 0 380 02348 2 was derived from the SBN This edition does not have a publisher s summary The summary below is the ISFDB default though the source for it is unknown.Thomas M Disch is one of the overlooked masters of science fiction, and Camp ConcentrLibrarian note The book has the catalog number V2348 on the front cover and the SBN 380 02348 075 on the spine The ISBN 0 380 02348 2 was derived from the SBN This edition does not have a publisher s summary The summary below is the ISFDB default though the source for it is unknown.Thomas M Disch is one of the overlooked masters of science fiction, and Camp Concentration is one of his finest novels The unlikely hero of this piece is Louis Sacchetti, an overweight poet who s serving a five year prison term for being a conchie, or conscientious objector, to the ongoing war being fought by the United States Three months into his sentence, Sacchetti is mysteriously taken from prison and brought to Camp Archimedes, an underground compound run by General Humphrey Haast This is the so called camp concentration of the book s title, a strange oubliette where inmates are given a drug that will raise their intelligence to astounding levels, though it will also kill them in a matter of months Sacchetti s job is to chronicle the goings on at Archimedes in a daily journal that is sent to Haast and other select members of the project Through his writings, readers get to know the various characters that inhabit the camp, geniuses whose intellectual fires burn brightly even while their bodies slowly go cold Although these latter day Einsteins are supposed to be thinking up new ways of killing the enemy, most of the inmates are instead focusing their studies on alchemy, which Haast hopes will allow them to discover the secret of immortalityCamp Concentration is one of those SF books that falls squarely into the literature category both for the eloquence of Disch s writing and the timelessness of his ruminations on life and war This is a thoughtful novel that offers insights into human existence, and it will likely stay with readers long after they have turned the last page Ursula K Le Guin summed up the book best in her cover blurb, which says simply It is a work of art, and if you read it, you will be changed Craig E Engler

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    About “Thomas M. Disch

    • Thomas M. Disch

      Poet and cynic, Thomas M Disch brought to the sf of the New Wave a camp sensibility and a sardonicism that too much sf had lacked His sf novels include Camp Concentration, with its colony of prisoners mutated into super intelligence by the bacteria that will in due course kill them horribly, and On Wings of Song, in which many of the brightest and best have left their bodies for what may be genuine, or entirely illusory, astral flight and his hero has to survive until his lover comes back to him both are stunningly original books and both are among sf s accomplishedly bitter sweet works.In recent years, Disch had turned to ironically moralized horror novels like The Businessman, The MD, The Priest and The Sub in which the nightmare of American suburbia is satirized through the terrible things that happen when the magical gives people the chance to do what they really really want Perhaps Thomas M Disch s best known work, though, is The Brave Little Toaster, a reworking of the Brothers Grimm s Town Musicians of Bremen featuring wornout domestic appliances what was written as a satire on sentimentality became a successful children s animated musical.Thomas M Disch committed suicide by gunshot on July 4, 2008.



    882 thoughts on “Camp Concentration

    • Flowers for Algernon has become a minor classic, and, thanks to the movie, even people who haven't read it often know the story. Poor Charlie Gordon is given an operation which turns him from a mentally subnormal dishwasher into a genius, but the treatment turns out to be flawed. It's a great weepie, and I am one of many people who love it.Camp Concentration is Algernon's evil twin. It's exploring the same basic theme, but I doubt it will ever be as well known. That doesn't necessarily mean it's [...]


    • Camp Concentration – American author Thomas M. Disch’s 1968 science/speculative fiction, alternate history set in the near future where the United States has declared war on the entire world and features main character Louis Sacchetti, a poet who resists the draft and chooses prison rather than the army. But what a prison! The poet is sent to a secret camp where prisoners are given an experimental drug without their knowledge or consent, a drug that increases intelligence but in less than a [...]


    • This book didn't grab me straight away -- it isn't like contemporary novels aimed at a wide popular audience, where the first sentence is a hook, or the author begins in the middle of an action scene to get the reader caught up. Disch doesn't show his hand, or even his prose, right away. But once he has lulled you into complacency and snuck up on you, oh man. Great writing. Here is a helpful list of a few words you may not use every day:nystigmatic: subject to involuntary eye movement.tappet: a [...]


    • In this alternate America, the country didn't stop with Vietnam. It declared war on the world. Scientists work on creating and perfecting the latest in weapons and germ warfare. When Louis Sacchetti, a poet and war protestor, is moved from his prison to a secret underground camp called Camp Archimedes, he is at first bemused and impressed by the good food yet wary. The director of the camp, General Humphrey Haast - or "HH" as Sacchetti calls him - has had Louis brought there in order for him to [...]


    • What should be shocking instead arouses a curiosity. Camp Concentration details a government experiment where prisoners are injected with a compound which makes them progressively hyper intelligent before the syphilis component in the injection leads them to madness and death. A poet who had been imprisoned as a conscientious objector to the forever war is asked to chronicle the process. The inmates stage a play Faustus (by Kit Marlow) and the poet pens a play Auschwitz: a comedy. The whole ente [...]


    • This was published in 1968 and it feels like something written at least a decade or two later. I am rather surprised by how much this book is sticking with me. I finished today but I dreamt about it last night. It was the first thing I thought of when I awoke this morning. I wish more people knew of this book. I find it hard to believe that so few, at least here on , have read this. As other reviews have mentioned, this book is not perfect. I would rate 4 stars if considering that but I am choos [...]


    • WARNING: This review contains vulgarity. Just so you know. Thanks."Well, you read it. How'd it go?""Well.""Three stars well?""Yep.""Only three.""For now.""Because ?""Because I am going to have to read this again. That middle section of Sacchetti's ramblings needs to be dissected. I need more time with that portion, and I need to read the whole thing again at a time when I can focus on it and only it.""So you're three stars is kind of bullshit?""Yeah. Kind of. But I can't give it anything else at [...]



    • Un libro difficile da affrontare, sia per il tema trattato che per il tipo di scrittura. Ci sono pagine per le quali non trovo un aggettivo migliore di delirante; d'altra parte è esattamente quanto voluto da Disch nella sua analisi introspettiva del protagonista che, ricordiamolo, è rinchiuso in un campo di detenzione in cui i prigionieri sono usati come cavie.Forse non ho capito appieno tutto quello che l'autore voleva dire, potrei volerlo rileggere in futuro. È curioso che anche l'altro lib [...]


    • Someone has something insightful to say about venereal disease and philosophy of mind and his name isn't David Cronenberg! Saints be praised!Seriously though this will leave you starved for science fiction written by a WRITER as opposed to a thinker or a schemer.


    • Una lettura non facile, ma senza dubbio affascinante,Ci sono dentro tutti gli anni settanta del novecento, con tanto di deliri psichedelici, complotti delle big pharma e del governo. l'esercito e la guerra.Molta poesia.Non si può prescindere da questo libro comunque, anche se non è il miglior romanzo di fantascienza, serve comunque a dimostrare come il genere comprenda una tale varietà di stili e tematiche che lo rendono sempre vivo ed attuale.


    • Camp Concentration by Disch and Otto by Tom Ungerer/review/show/A pair made in a sort of hell, I guess, birthday books read back to back. I don’t understand why Otto is badly written, when the author is obviously capable of writing good text in English. If you want to write some sort of nightmare for children – even worse, a nightmare that really happened – one has to be very careful, I imagine and this isn’t. It uses badly cliched English that is inappropriate for any readership, let al [...]


    • This book was incredible, no doubt about it. I'm honestly surprised that it isn't more well-known; it was insightful, deep and thought-provoking, while still offering vivid characters, imagery, vocabulary and scenery. It was very depressing and morbid, but still a fantastic and chillingly interesting book to read through.


    • I find that it isn't easy to run across books by Thomas Disch, he's a fairly obscure pulp scifi author. After reading two of his books, I understand why he's both critically acclaimed in reviews but not a common find in the bookstore. The mechanics of his writing obscure the overall story and tend to create a slog for the reader. The other Disch book I have read to date is "Puppies of Terra". Both books have a very inventive plots and a few solid characters but appear to act as a soapbox for Dis [...]


    • Thomas Disch's Camp Concentration, published in 1967, is the most erudite work of speculative fiction I've ever read, beating out even the various books and short stories that I've read by Gene Wolfe. The book's narrator, you see, is a poet, and he casually deploys scores of allusions, some of which I recognized and others I couldn't follow. Disch is the only writer besides David Bentley Hart that I've seen use the word “chthonic,” which is, along with “phthisic,” one of my favorite word [...]


    • I am, perhaps, prejudiced (and maybe still in shock). Tom was a friend. I am glad I didn't read his SF, though, while he was still around: I would have proved a blathering fanboy and an unworthwhile conversationalist.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. Tom's prose is knife sharp, and allusions to Dante, Marlowe, Rilke, Goethe, et al. abound (they h [...]


    • ‘Camp Concentration’ reads to me as a novel very much of its time. It was first published in 1968 and is set in a near future that is now decades past. The narrator is a conscientious objector to America’s latest war in Asia, this one apparently including the use of tactical nukes in Malaysia. After an initial period in a normal prison sharing a cell with criminals, he is transferred to a mysterious underground base. There, he learns that the other prisoners are being experimented on and i [...]


    • I like sf books that take place in the present day, or rather, the present day of their composition. Camp Concentration was published in 1972. An expanded version of the Vietnam War seems to be underway. Robert MacNamara is mentioned frequently, and Disch assumes that his readers will know what Dwight Eisenhower looked like. Sachetti is a jailed conscientious objector, a "conchie" who finds himself transferred from a federal prison to the luxurious Camp Archimedes. HIs new digs are spacious and [...]


    • 'Campo de concentración' es una novela distópica publicada en 1968 por Thomas M. Disch, uno de los abanderados de la new wave americana; o lo que es lo mismo, esa ciencia ficción apartada de los elementos que la habían caracterizado hasta ese momento, es decir, la aventura, y centrándose en argumentos más adultos y serios.La historia está narrada por Louis Sacchetti, un poeta que se ha negado a alistarse y por ello ha sido encarcelado. Y es que los Estados Unidos están en guerra con casi [...]


    • “Beauty,” he said solemnly, “is nothing but the beginning of a terror that we are able barely to endure.” And with those words George Wagner heaved the entirety of a considerable breakfast into that pure, Euclidean space. It’s hard to put into words why these two sentences filled me with despair reading this book, but let me try. First, Disch has a mentally ill man quoting Rilke. If that wasn’t a cliche then, it certainly is now. Second, I really can’t believe that Louis, the narra [...]


    • “In summary: I like this book, and I think anybody who likes books about painters and devils would like it too.”(pg.83). Some of the sixties new wave leaves me cold (Sorry Chip Delaney this means you), but when it’s on, some of the best literature of the era came out of it. This starts out like Kafka rewriting Flowers of Algernon with hints of the Prisoner (which Disch wrote a novel for) before becoming a surreal dreamscape and then winding into an ,I thought, satisfying twist. Wonderfully [...]


    • Freaky sci fi book. Government prisoners in a secret camp are given a drug derived from syphilis. They die from it, but on the way become geniuses. Scary. Intense.


    • This was not one of my favorite reads. Well written, but did not work for me. The novel felt very stilted in the writing and never really made sense to me. The easiest way for me to describe the book is slog. It was a very short novel that felt much longer in reading. Part of the problem for me is that this is a very old novel and it did not age particularity well. Horrible things happen to the inmates and the reader does not care. This is a thinking novel and with dialogue carrying on the weigh [...]


    • The most notable thing about the dystopic view of an alternative America in Thomas Disch's novel is the status of the narrator. This topic is important to me in part because of my familiarity with Vladimir Nabokov's postmodern novel Pale Fire for which the issue is paramount, but while thinking about that book my view of the status of other narratives was called into question. I mention this because Camp Concentration is told in the first person as the journal of Louis Sacchetti, poet and draft [...]


    • Thomas Disch was never as fashionable (for want of a better word) within the science fiction community as he deserved, and at the time of first publication Camp Concentration was perhaps (to take a very long view of things) outplayed by Daniel Keyes’s slightly more reader-friendly novel Flowers for Algernon which had been published some months earlier, explores the same theme of artificially enhanced intelligence, is hard-hitting in its own way but then is also, undeniably, outstripped by Disc [...]


    • I read this one twice before: once in my teens, one in my twenties where I finally got all the allusions and vocabulary, and "today" after having lent it to a friend who raved about it. I remember almost nothing about the turns and twists of the plot, just the basic premise. Let's see how it holds up.Pretty well, actually. There's some question how much the author is faithfully writing from the point of view of a self-indulgent literary figure and how much the author is actually indulging in bei [...]


    • I suspect people will think I give this "only" 3 stars because I don't like Disch's "strong language" that he uses against the Establishment. I admit - I do not adore the snarling vitriolic writing from a number of authors.But I grew up reading Nietzsche and Voltaire and Sade and since have read Celine and bits of Burroughs. Now it just seems rabid, not shocking.When Disch is on - the prose is erudite and succinct, making the work great. When Disch is off - it just turns into nonsense, drivel, a [...]


    • Told entirely in journal form Camp Concentration recounts its narrator's experiences as an inmate in a Near-Future US concentration camp or human Zoo where the military has treated him with Pallidine a wonder "drug" which heightens human Intelligence but causes death from a new form of syphilis within months. Along with his fellow-inmates the narrator understands he is being used as a kind of self-destructing think tank experiencing the ecstasy of enhanced intelligence and the agonies of "retrib [...]


    • Another interesting SF premise - super geniuses created by the military via a fast acting and deadly disease agent. Much like any work including geniuses, the author has to try really hard to make them "sound smart." Usually, as is the case here, this entails sesquipedalian writing and references to obscure 16th century Croatian poets. Also an odd, somewhat contrived, ending doesn't serve the book well.


    • El libro tiene una premisa interesante, sin embargo y por desgracia, se pierde en largos y constantes soliloquios que no ayudan al avance de la trama presentada, a su vez hay citas y más citas que a duras penas uno podría comprobar la veracidad o falsedad de estas.En líneas generales, sentí el libro demasiado denso y a su vez poco claro, con un final que no terminó de cuadrarme, donde el autor parecía más empeñado en hacernos conocer su desmesurada sapiencia, y no tanto narrar su histori [...]


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