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Skal, David J

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1952-    ) US author whose 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; here and in other nonfiction texts [see Checklist below] Skal's main emphasis is on the Vampire in literature and in the Cinema. [JC]

David John Skal

born Garfield Heights, Ohio: 21 June 1952

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works as editor

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