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Thomas, D M

Entry updated 3 April 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1935-2023) UK poet and author who made use of sf themes most explicitly in such early Poetry as "The Head-Rape" in New Worlds for March 1968 and the two-part "Computer 70: Dreams & Lovepoems" (March-April 1970 New Worlds), a sequence assembled with other poetry of interest in Logan Stone (coll 1970); or the later "S. F." (in The Umbral Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry, anth 1982, edited by Steve Rasnic Tem).

The Devil and the Floral Dance (1978) is a juvenile fantasy; his first adult novels are densely conceived Freud-inspired Fabulations. The Flute-Player (1979), a fable that depicts the intertwining of art and love, is set in an imaginary state much like Russia (to which Thomas often returns in his fiction, poetry and translations). Birthstone (1980; rev 1982) features a protagonist whose several personalities have autonomous lives, and whose fantasies leak into the world, transforming it. The most successful of these tales is The White Hotel (1981), where a graphically surreal association in the protagonist's mind between Sex and images of mass violence proves – long after a 1920s analysis by Sigmund Freud – prophetic of the Final Solution (see Holocaust Fiction); the book then becomes an extremely dark demonstration of the power of Fantastika to enforce a sense of recognition (see Horror in SF) of the real world: in this case the Holocaust, and in specific the massacre of the Jews at Babi Yar in 1942.

The later Russian Nights sequence – comprising Ararat (1983), Swallow (1984), Sphinx (1986), Summit (1987) and Lying Together (1990) – adds futurity, politics and garish Satire to the generic mix, with an effect of sometimes dashing Equipoise, within an intermittent Club Story frame; and seems, at times, to be sf. Charlotte: The Final Journey of Jane Eyre (2000) is a Timeslip tale, in which Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) visits 1999 Martinique. [JC]

Donald Michael Thomas

born Redruth, Cornwall: 27 January 1935

died Truro, Cornwall: 26 March 2023



Russian Nights

  • Ararat (London: Victor Gollancz, 1983) [Russian Nights: hb/Martin Ware]
  • Swallow (London: Victor Gollancz, 1984) [Russian Nights: hb/Martin Ware]
  • Sphinx (London: Victor Gollancz, 1986) [Russian Nights: hb/Michael Foreman]
  • Summit (London: Victor Gollancz, 1987) [Russian Nights: hb/Kenneth Sims]
  • Lying Together (London: Victor Gollancz, 1990) [Russian Nights: hb/Sara Bascove]

individual titles

poetry (selected)

  • Two Voices (London: Cape Goliard, 1968) [poetry: coll: chap: hb/]
  • Logan Stone (London: Cape Goliard, 1970) [poetry: coll: illus/Gabri Naseman: hb/nonpictorial]
  • Dreaming in Bronze (London: Secker and Warburg, 1981) [poetry: coll: chap: hb/nonpictorial]


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