Fun with skulls

I’m not a macabre person by nature, but I like skulls. I’m not talking about actual human skulls, but representations: drawings, T-shirts, liquor bottles, candles, etc. Sure, it’s a cliche by now, but it’s still fun.

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(Image courtesy of Gerrard King)

Where did my affinity for skulls start? Who knows? Maybe from the image of Hamlet holding up poor Yorick’s skull and talking to it. I always got a kick out of that when I was a kid. (Here’s a picture of Doctor Who‘s David Tennant as the moody Dane.)

Tennant Hamlet Yorick

Obviously I’m not alone. Skulls are everywhere in pop culture, and not just American culture. For instance, the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) holiday is a festival that recognizes the dead, and similar traditions can be found throughout the world. Though the Mexicans seem to have perfected the imagery.

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My own theory: these representations of skulls are a safe way for us to reference our own mortality. We can observe it at arms’ length, poke fun at it, while still acknowledging it. Sure, some people choose to avoid anything that will remind them of death, while others seem to revel in it. For most of us, we can acknowledge it, have a laugh, and then move on.

And now I’m happy to be adding a skull to the pop-culture pantheon. My soon-to-be-released novella, House of Flies, will feature a skull on the cover. House of Flies follows Alec as he battles a fly infestation that drives him to the brink of insanity. It’s a psychological horror story about suppressed grief and the avoidance of death, hence the skull. I can’t describe how cool I thought this imagery was when my designer first showed it to me.

House of Flies

It turns out that there have been more than a few skull-themed covers. The website Science Fiction Ruminations has compiled a collection of skull covers from the recent era. Here are a few funky examples — check out the site for more.

Philip K. dick

Robert Heinlein

Harlan Ellison

 

 

Doctor Who news: series 8 to ‘regenerate’ the show

This blog post below covers much of my own thoughts about the iconic British sci-fi show Doctor Who and the direction it’s been headed in.

As I’ve written before, I’m a huge fan — Doctor Who is must-watch TV for me. But, as much as I’m digging it, the show has been getting kind of repetitive. Specifically, there have been way too many neck-twisting plot zigs and zags, where the story stretches nearly to the point of breaking.

So, hopefully head writer Steven Moffat will use the new Doctor as a chance to reboot the show, and take Doctor Who in a fresh and compelling direction.

Nothing Is True

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Series Eight of ‘Doctor Who’ was always going to be a special one. It will be the introduction of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and following Matt Smith’s exit Christmas Special ‘The Time of The Doctor’, will see The Doctor begin his new thirteen regeneration cycle following his “reset” as a gift from the Time Lords on Gallifrey, which is still missing following ‘The Day of The Doctor’ 50th Anniversary episode.

But whilst speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, Steven Moffat, executive producer for Doctor Who has given a clue that more than just the Doctor will see a regeneration of ideas: ( The interview video can be viewed here on BBC Arts)

“It needed to change. One of the hardest things ever to do, is to notice when your clever new idea is now your very old idea.

We haven’t made much of a change…

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