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Skal, David J

Entry updated 12 January 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1952-2024) US critic and author who occasionally published as Dave Skal, as in his first work of genre interest, "Chains" in Clarion (anth 1971) edited by Robin Scott Wilson. His first novel, Scavengers (1980), suggests some sf basis for a plot involving Memory transfer in a corrupt world. His second, When We Were Good (1981), evokes a powerful sense of cultural despair in the tale of a sterile world in which Genetically Engineered hermaphrodites (see Gender) fail to represent an emblem of hope for the terminal remnants of normal humanity. A sense that Skal is by inclination a horror writer is intensified by the entropic dismay evoked by Antibodies (1988), a short accusatory trawl through the subcultures of California, where sf characters emit pretentious twaddle about Transcendence, and the military-industrial complex conspires to transform pseudo-hippies into spare Computer parts; all this is told with a sense of gnawing revulsion.

Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of "Dracula" from Novel to Stage to Screen (1990), The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror (1993) and Screams of Reason: Mad Science and Modern Culture (1998), are all extremely competent nonfiction studies (see Horror in SF); here and in other nonfiction texts [see Checklist below] Skal's main emphasis was on the Vampire in literature and in the Cinema. [JC]

David John Skal

born Garfield Heights, Ohio: 21 June 1952

died Los Angeles, California: 1 January 2024


works as editor



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