Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: A Case Report
October 27, 2019 1:05 PM   Subscribe

RIP, Michael Blumlein Science fiction/horror/fantasy writer and medical doctor Michael Blumlein died at 71. His last work was the novel Longer.

Praise from Ellen Datlow, Richard Kadrey, Rudy Rucker.

Rucker also recommends this 2016 speech, which touches on Thoreau, sickness, undergoing treatment as a doctor, and Blumlein's own struggle with cancer.

Blumlein gave a talk this past winter. This 2019 Locus interview might be his last.
posted by doctornemo (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by doubtfulpalace at 1:18 PM on October 27, 2019


I met Blumlein at the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow, and somewhat fanboyed at him over The Movement of Mountains, which he seemed pleasantly surprised to hear anyone remembered.
posted by Major Clanger at 2:07 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

I’m not familiar with this writer, but this excerpt from that last interview charmed me:

“I suspect the other reason people think I write horror has to do with some of my content, where I talk about the actual physical parts of illness, describing what a body looks like, or how it smells, or falls apart – that’s upsetting to some people. Many people don’t want to think about their bodies in that way. They’re not opposed to worrying and complaining about their bodies, but they don’t want to get into specifics like, ‘There’s pus on my tonsils, or my stomach is eating itself, or that golf ball-sized lump on my back is full of cheesy fat, how cool is that?’ – they don’t want to talk about this. Me, I love talking about it. It’s how the body works, and this is fascinating. It doesn’t carry the weight of fear or anxiety for me. What’s important is to find out why something is happening, and how we can make it stop happening, and if we can’t do that, how we can at least make things better. Including those elements in my fiction disturbs some people, because they’re not used to thinking that way.”
posted by eirias at 2:40 PM on October 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

posted by Alensin at 3:05 PM on October 27, 2019

posted by Wobbuffet at 3:10 PM on October 27, 2019

Probably just as well the title story isn't available online. I remember reading it in Interzone back in the eighties and finding it jaw-droppingly horrible and funny and aimed at a totally deserving target.
There probably isn't a strong enough set of trigger warnings for that story though.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I regret never getting a chance to fanboy at him, dammit. (His first published story, "Tissue ablation and variant regeneration: a case report" in Interzone in the early 80s was ferociously angry and a game-changer for me in my late teens in so many ways: in particular it drove home the idea that SF could be politically relevant.)
posted by cstross at 3:32 PM on October 27, 2019 [6 favorites]

His first published story, "Tissue ablation and variant regeneration: a case report" in Interzone in the early 80s

Wait, is that the "let's excruciatingly torture Ronald Reagan for hours (in hideous detail) in order to build homes for the homeless out of his skin cells" story? Because that one was unforgettable, except I never could remember the title.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 6:00 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, no one ever forgets having read "Tissue Ablation." It's in Blumlein's collection The Brains of Rats.

posted by Faint of Butt at 7:01 PM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I remember the title of Tissue Ablation most vividly among the stories in The Brains of Rats, which I picked up on a complete whim at a college bookstore. I lost track of the book sometime in the last few decades, and never looked up his other works, never connected him with a larger genre or system of thinking, but the context embedded in those horrific stories stuck with me and somehow made me think about humanity more. I'm very glad I read them when I did.

posted by pykrete jungle at 9:33 PM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite things about Metafilter is the introductions to authors I probably would never have found on my own in genres I don't often read.

posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 4:35 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

« Older Thanks For The Dance -- New Leonard Cohen record...   |   Kaiju Antihero Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments