[american gods] neil gaiman

2 04 2008

some of you may know him for his celebrated series [the sandman], his collaborations with [dave mckean] in children’s picture books, or recently screened [stardust] – if you ever read the credits. what you maybe don’t know is that [neil gaiman] is a fantastic – in more than one way – writer, author of short novels as the already mentioned [stardust], young-adult fiction like [anansi boys], [neverwhere] and [smoke and mirrors] and children stories like [coraline] – soon to be a feature animation picture. well, [american gods] outgrows the previous categories, it is something different altogether.

those who know gaiman’s work in [the sandman] series, are already familiar with his more than extense knowledge of mythology – in [american gods] he goes one step further. so far, this has been his most successful attempt at creating a world for all these gods – forgotten or not – outside the comic book field.

30-something-year-old shadow has spent the last three years of his life in prison. the day he is finally granted his freedom and is about to go back to his life he discovers he no longer has any life to return to… and when he thinks he already has enough problems a suspicious one-eyed man starts stalking him and pressing him to be his errand-boy. from then on he will be beaten to a pulp – several times -, bet his life on a checkers game with a vindictive slavic god of destruction whose hobby is smashing heads with his sledge-hammer, talk to TV characters offering a peek of their tits, work at a funerary house run by ibis and anubis, hang from a tree for 9 days… only to end up half-freezed to death under a lake full of old rusted cars. worth it? get to the last page to find out.

I’m leaving an excerpt I found interesting, hope it helps make up your minds. :)

(from girl-sam character to shadow, after he states she wouldn’t believe him)

[I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren’t true and i can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not. I can believe in santa claus and the easter bunny and marilyn monroe and the beatles and elvis and mr. ed. listen – I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkedly lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day white buffalo woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communication and that the decline in good sex in america is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks ad I still believe that they are better than the alternative.I believe that california is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the martians in war of the worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were edith sitwell and don marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed siberian shaman. I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really tasted better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t open the box to feed it it’ll eventually be just two kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with hr girlfriends and doesn’t even now that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of casual chaos, background noise and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what’s going on wil lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, life is a cruel joke and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.]

a note on neil gaiman: here’s what you find by means of a note on the author.

[neil gaiman is a messy-haired white male author trapped in the body of an identical white male author with even less-tidy hair. his books and comics have won many awards.he thanks yo for your offer of a comb but does not believe it will do any good. despite being english, he lives more in america than he does anywhere else in the world, and is currently somewhere in his mid-forties. he wrote this book specially for you.]