Episode 3: Isle of the Dead

Isle of the Dead (German: Die Toteninsel) is the best-known painting of Swiss Symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901): it depicts a funeral boat approaching an ancient looking rock island with tall walls in a semi-circle and cyprus pines in the middle.
View on Zencastr

Joe and Mark talk to fellow Canadian SFF writer, Douglas (Doug) Smith.

Doug describes himself as “primarily a fantasy writer,” so it’s no surprise that this famous painting by the Swiss Symbolist, Arnold Böcklin has inspired not only him, but one of his favorite writers, Roger Zelazny.

The three talk about the painting, the fickle nature of how artists are quite often not known in their lifetimes, and how all of these influence can inform one’s own creative work.

Doug explains how he came to know this painting, which he first saw in Berlin, visiting the place where his father had been 60 years earlier, after WWII.

Support our Guest

Douglas Smith is a multi-award-winning Canadian author of speculative fiction, published in twenty-seven languages and thirty-five countries. His books include:

The urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga:

The Heroka shapeshifter novels:

  • The Wolf at the End of the World
  • The Wolf and the Phoenix (in progress)

Short story collections:

  • Chimerascope
  • Impossibilia

He’s also written a helpful writer’s guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction.

Doug’s a three-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award and has been a finalist for the Astounding Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane.

You can buy his books at all major retailers. For free ebooks, discounts, special offers, early notice of new releases, and more, join his monthly mailing list.

Head and shoulders shot of Douglas Smith, smiling at the camera and lookin' handsome!

2 responses to “Episode 3: Isle of the Dead”

  1. sdramsey Avatar

    Great episode! I enjoyed looking up the various versions of this painting and wondering at the artist’s persistent interest in it. And of course, listening to the entire discussion. 🙂

    1. Mark Avatar

      Thanks Sherry! I found the connection with Zelazny kinda’ fascinating!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.