I've posted links to a number of online reviews of Generation Dead over on the right beneath the pictures. My sincere thanks to all of the reviewers for taking the time to read the book and write about it for all the world to see.
And now, for Blog of Doom Part Two: THE NIGHT DANNY GOT TO SEE HIS SKULL (Rated R for violence and gore).
I lost forty pounds the summer after I graduated from college (No, that was not the weight of my skull when it fell out of my head. It's my story, just try and be patient, willya?). I was working two jobs, writing late at night, and spending every moment I wasn't with Kim playing basketball. I really didn't start playing basketball until I was out of college, but I'd fell in like with the game watching the Huskies and then fell in love with the game watching the Bulls beat the Lakers in the '91 playoffs. I learned most of the rules and strategy playing the game on Sega Genesis.
By the end of that summer, I have to say I had skills. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say I had mad skillz, especially for a slow guy of average height, no vertical leap, massive allergies, and who'd never played in his youth. I'd still get lost in a team game, but one on one or two on two with my friend Mark G. I was pretty tough to beat.
I was rarely, if ever, the best player on the court, but I would wear people down with my intensity. I would never stop, I would never quit, and I was a terror on defence. What I lacked in speed, height and vertical, I compensated slightly for with good footwork, quick hands and a good handle. I can shoot pretty good, too. I would scrap and scrum for every single point and play. Basketball and writing were a lot alike for me in that way.
Anyhow, one night I was down at the schoolyard shooting under the lights, half-watching a rowdy five on five game in the next court. A couple other guys were shooting around too and one of them says, "Hey, let's play Canadian basketball." I'd never heard of Canadian basketball, but apparently it meant the three of us were playing against each other, with shooter's outs. I scored two before tossing a brick that one of my opponents rebounded. I moved into position to cut off his lane to the hoop, and then I discovered that Canadian basketball must have gotten it's name because it ended up being a lot more like hockey.
WHAM! The guy whipped around, trying to evade his other defender, and the top of his head, smashed into my forehead just above my left eye. I'm certain now that his head must have been covered with bony protuberances, similar to a Styrachosaurus, because instantly my head split and a long spray of blood fell spurted from me onto the asphalt.
Mr. Bony-Head was sort of wobbling around, but both he and the other each gave me a train-wreck expression. the five-on-five next court stopped also so everyone could get a good look.
"Man," one of them said, "you need to get to the doctor."
"Really?" I said. I felt great, actually. No lights, no headache, just a waterfall of blood in my eye. I walked over to my car (the Storm, this was before the drunk totalled it, and me--and saw Something New.
I walked to my mother-in-law's house, which was right next door to the courts. She started to say hi, and then saw me and kind of shrieked. I was actually very calm despite the gore and the literal vision of my own mortality, and I cracked some jokes and tried not to notice her hands shaking as she sped me to the emergency room.
The hospital is only five minutes away, so before long I was on a table getting stitched up. The doctor thought my injury was really neat so he invited about seventeen of his doctor buddies to form a ring around me and watch him work. That was real pleasant--I fear doctors the way other people fear clowns. Still, I kept up with the joking, leaving them in stitches while they put stitches in me. Twenty-one of them later, and about as pretty as I was when I went in, I was ready to roll.
I passed Mr. Bony-Head on my way out, he ended up with a concussion. I think I got the better end of the deal, especially because after seeing my skull I had all these great ideas for stories, many of them having nothing at all to do with skulls. Plus now I could also see the future, move small objects with my mind, and fly. I'm kidding (about the flying part). But much like the encounter with the drunk driver a few years later, actually getting to see one's skull makes one think about life and how to live it in new and unanticipated ways. At least it did for me.
I still like to play basketball, although it is fair to say I've lost a step. I'm happy to say that my skull has remained inside my head where it belongs in every game since.