The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jorpho » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:23 pm UTC

I'd really like to read those Sandman books someday. A pity graphic novels are so darn expensive.

(I wouldn't mind paying $20 for a compilation printed on newsprint/phonebook paper, or even an electronic-only version. But of course then they wouldn't make money.)
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:25 pm UTC

20 bucks is roughly what they charge
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jorpho » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

Belial wrote:20 bucks is roughly what they charge


Well, yeah, but that's for each book.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:04 pm UTC

Ahh, gotcha
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:48 pm UTC

My girlfriend got me the first big bound tome thing they released a few years back. Its huge, and compiles the first 3 (i think 3? Maybe 2? 4?) volumes of the series, which is cool, because I lost the ENTIRE FUCKING SET about 3 years ago to a vindictive ex.

So I think i'll buy the second tome soon. They're about 100 bucks each though. They have neato art at the back. And are big, so I feel like Destiny walking around with them.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Malice » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:38 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Spoiler:
Given the nature of the Endless, though, I think Suicide isn't the right way of looking at it. ... I can't really see a personification of an elemental force that knows that if destroyed will be replaced by something with it's memories but slightly different outlook as capable of suicide.


Spoiler:
The thing is, Morpheus isn't just a personification of an elemental force. Has this happened before? Because the new Dream comes from a human child, and his personality is different, and he is no longer Morpheus. There is a death involved; essentially a great, irreversible change from one personality to another. I view the new Dream as a different person fulfilling the same function. Everyone within the comic seems to as well; after all, that's why they give Morpheus a funeral and mourn him so strongly--if it was a simple a change as you imply, wouldn't it be business as usual? "Hi, Dream, like the new duds."? Instead it's a huge event involving the last 3 books of a 10-book series (the wide-ranging results of the death, the death, the close results of the death). Seems like you could call that death, and if you call it death, you call it suicide. (And after all, it is Death who does it, right?).
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:00 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Spoiler:
Has this happened before? Because the new Dream comes from a human child, and his personality is different, and he is no longer Morpheus.

Spoiler:
We don't know the details of what happened to Despair, only that she's the second one and that she was somehow "killed". We know nothing of where her replacement came from (other than she was someone else) and not much else beyond "The person who was responsible for the death of the first Despair will take the rest of eternity to die. Only then will his pain cease... And he had better cause for what he did than [Lyta Hall]." Which, while dramatic, tells us absolutely nothing of the why of it.

So.. yes, it has happened before. Once. This is the second time. Dream already has a pretty good idea of what's going to happen, and though we know nothing of how Despair's successor was chose, if nothing else, Dream had the foresight to choose his.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Belial » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:34 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Well, we do know that the first despair died sometime *after* dream found and lost his first love. Because she was totally in that story in "Endless Nights", chatting up the personification of Krypton's sun. ("And wouldn't it be perfect if a single inhabitant of your star system escaped to another, a lone survivor to mourn the loss of his entire world...")
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Arsin » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:07 am UTC

The only thing of Neil Gaiman's I've read is American Gods, which I enjoyed, but I thought it was ultimately only a decent book and not a great one. It had a few really excellent passages but a lot of the time it seemed like Gaiman thought he was far more clever than he actually was. Plus, the themes reminded me of Gene Wolfe, and then naturally I was forced to compare Gaiman to Wolfe, and found Gaiman rather spectacularly the loser. To be fair, though, as soon as you start comparing something to Gene Wolfe, you're going to to like it less, unless that something was written by David Foster Wallace, in which case you may find two halves of your soul locked in eternal conflict.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:51 pm UTC

@Belials comment on Superman:
Spoiler:
The superman themesong played in my head for that passage, and I had a flash of his fortress of solitude and the ghosts of krypton speaking to him and I got a little tingle when I read that. Because y'know, that was awesome. The Defender of Earth being borne from a passing comment by Despair, the triumphant representation of the human spirit being a constant defiance to Despair! But whatever.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Belial » Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:18 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Spoiler:
the triumphant representation of the human spirit being a constant defiance to Despair!


Spoiler:
Only sortof. They made a point that the endless exist, not only to embody and advance their concept, but to throw the opposite of their concept into sharper definition and meaning. Death gives meaning to life, Dream gives meaning to reality, Destiny gives meaning to will, etcetera.

Superman's tragic origin, and the ever-present despair of his lost people, gives his triumph and spirit meaning, makes it significant, casts his life and achievements in sharper detail. That's pretty much Despair's whole ball of wax.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Malice » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:16 am UTC

Belial wrote:
Spoiler:
Only sortof. They made a point that the endless exist, not only to embody and advance their concept, but to throw the opposite of their concept into sharper definition and meaning. Death gives meaning to life, Dream gives meaning to reality, Destiny gives meaning to will, etcetera.


Spoiler:
The great thing about Dream is that he doesn't just correspond to one of those. He's hope against Despair, Dream against reality, creation against Destruction, and in a way he's even sense against Delirium. He has many facets, and to call him merely "anti-reality" shortchanges the complexities of his role, his character, and his story.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby cephalopod9 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:37 am UTC

He does write quite well, but does anyone else find him... ridiculously pretentious?
I can't quite put my finger on it, but something makes me grit my teeth, just a little. Not that I don't enjoy his stuff or anything.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:46 am UTC

I felt that dream was the human condition moreso then any of the other Endless. Or the human chutzpah, or gumption or essence. Maybe that was mentioned.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jorpho » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:17 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:He does write quite well, but does anyone else find him... ridiculously pretentious?
I can't quite put my finger on it, but something makes me grit my teeth, just a little. Not that I don't enjoy his stuff or anything.


I can very easily see how you can get that impression from American Gods. His other stuff, not so much. Florid, at most.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Malice » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:39 am UTC

Well, he does basically compare himself to Shakespeare...
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Zohar » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:44 am UTC

I don't think he compares himself with Shakespeare... Just because he's writing in "his" style? I don't agree. It's much closer to a tribute. Much like Dan Simmons doesn't compare himself with Homer in Illium.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Belial » Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:56 pm UTC

Malice wrote:
Spoiler:
The great thing about Dream is that he doesn't just correspond to one of those. He's hope against Despair, Dream against reality, creation against Destruction, and in a way he's even sense against Delirium. He has many facets, and to call him merely "anti-reality" shortchanges the complexities of his role, his character, and his story.


Spoiler:
Fair enough, I was shorthanding there. I feel like Dream's place in the cosmic scheme is best described by that one quote of his:
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot".

Basically, truth-in-unreality as contrasted to mundane existence.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Malice » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I don't think he compares himself with Shakespeare... Just because he's writing in "his" style? I don't agree. It's much closer to a tribute. Much like Dan Simmons doesn't compare himself with Homer in Illium.


Spoiler:
The very last story in Sandman (proper) is a story about Shakespeare writing The Tempest. It's pretty clear that Gaiman is doing his meta-thing and saying, "Okay, now we're at the end, was it all worth it to me?" He attributes to Shakespeare experiences and ideas that are probably his (Gaiman's) experiences as a writer. Shakespeare here is, I believe, a stand-in for the author.
I'm not sure if that qualifies as pretentious or not, but there you go.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby cephalopod9 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:37 am UTC

Yeah, it's not out and out "I'm as good as Shakespear", but the whole "oh, I can totally rewrite classical mythology". There's something a little more abstract (weird artsy talk), he seems sort of detatched from his characters. (I've read Anansi Boys, Stardust, Coraline, Good Omens, a little bit of Sandman, one or two stories from Smoke and Mirrors, and the start of American Gods, also saw Beowulf) Maybe I'm just not a big fan of plot driven narative(if I'm using that term correctly...) .
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby ChocloManx » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:58 am UTC

I am in chapter Seven of Sandman, which is all I've read from Gaimen (lulz), and I love it. Particularly the first few chapters.
Some parts make me feel like there is something about my childhood that I should remember. It's hard to describe.

My favorite character is probably Death, or Delirium, or Dream. (whoah I just realized all those dudes' names start with a d :P)
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Belial » Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:27 am UTC

ChocloManx wrote:My favorite character is probably Death, or Delirium, or Dream. (whoah I just realized all those dudes' names start with a d :P)


Hahah. In other vertigo comics ("The Dreaming" and "Lucifer") there are various characters who claim or pretend to be members of the Endless, and they all come up with ridiculous "D" names, too. The 3rd Corinthian claimed to be "Dread", and two Titans claimed to be "Duplicity" and "Deceit"
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Midnight » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:25 am UTC

Belial wrote:
ChocloManx wrote:My favorite character is probably Death, or Delirium, or Dream. (whoah I just realized all those dudes' names start with a d :P)


Yep. Destiny Death Dream Delirium Despair Desire and Destruction. Crazy, innit.



Read Dream Country, it's good but it's disjointed compared to the first three (though I guess it WOULD be.. an interlude, of sorts) and I'm angry that no more comics can win a World Fantasy Award because novelists are elitist bastards.
uhhhh fuck.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jesse » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:53 pm UTC

Not true. Comics can still win the World Fantasy Award. While they attempted to have them banned, the motion never quite came to pass as far as I am aware.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Joeldi » Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:38 pm UTC

I just skimmed through the first few posts because I'm only halfway through American Gods and don't want to be spoilered. I just wanted to say that I didn't really like Anansi Boys - It wasn't a bad book, but something about it was all too familiar, I suppose.

On the other hand, I'm really really liking American Gods.
-I only wish I could have read this one before the other, knowing a little more about the mythology and Mr Nancy's character etc. :oops: I went through much of that book picturing Fat Charlie as pasty and as British as they come.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Various Varieties » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:44 pm UTC

I haven't read all of Sandman (only vols 1 to 6 plus Endless Nights, so far) but I read The Dream Hunters a couple of weeks ago.

Stunningly beautiful art, and I loved the book - though I can see why people might enjoy Gaiman's aping of the rhythms and phrasings of traditional oral folk tales in short doses (such as the story of Nada that opens The Doll's House) but find it less appealing over a whole book.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:20 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Just offhand, this comes to mind from Stardust:

"And how much does this cost?"
"Oh that? That'll cost you the color of your hair, or a memory of when you were 3"

While i think Neil Gaimen is far from the best writer, he has an unbelievable talent for metaphor, imagery, and the surreal. I soak up his non sequiter-isms, and despite feeling that he sometimes substitutes them for content (reading gaimen is alot like eating a snickers bar, theres alot of stuff there to be sure, but you also end up with a bit of empty calories... they taste good tho!), i still applaud his style. Thoughts?

PS. Favorite Gaimen moment: When the man who remembers the smell of Wooly Mammoths and the receeding of glaciers is walking down the streets of new york and a building collapses on him and he looks up and screams "NOT YET!"

My advice is to develop your own distinctive style instead of trying to write like Neil Gaiman.
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Re: In need of a specific reccomendation

Postby darwinwins » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:33 am UTC

gaiman needs to grow as a writer. it's like an artist who keeps doing the same thing over and over again. he's the thomas kinkade of the fantasy genre.
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Re: In need of a specific reccomendation

Postby TheAmazingRando » Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:27 am UTC

American Gods, Stardust, Neverwhere, Sandman, and most of his short stories are quite different than each other. Granted, I don't think any of his novels are spectacular, but they're hardly one-note either, especially compared to most fantasy authors. In what way does he do the same thing over and over again?

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Re: In need of a specific reccomendation

Postby darwinwins » Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:43 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:American Gods, Stardust, Neverwhere, Sandman, and most of his short stories are quite different than each other. Granted, I don't think any of his novels are spectacular, but they're hardly one-note either, especially compared to most fantasy authors. In what way does he do the same thing over and over again?

seriously? stardust and neverwhere could be a prequel and sequel to a world. the sandman series's world could supplement the world in which all his books could exist in. his prose is stagnant. i came to this realization after expanding my reading palette.

i like stardust, but the rest of his books, i've forgotten, and i have read all of his novels.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Various Varieties » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:40 am UTC

Most (all?) his novels and comics definitely fall under the general "reality clashes with the fantastical" category (the idea of dual worlds is used most literally in Coraline, Stardust, and Neverwhere), but I think he does that theme well enough and with sufficient variation to stay satisfying.

By "stagnant" you presumably mean that his prose style hasn't developed or changed over the years? I've never directly compared his earliest work to his latest to notice that for myself. Having said that, a lot of his writing definitely has a recognisable deadpan, matter-of-fact rhythm to it (echoes of Douglas Adams), particularly on his blog. But again, all I can argue is that he does it well, and it remains appealing to me. Maybe if he published a 500 page book a year I'd overdose on that patter, but I haven't got tired of it yet!

Perhaps if I too expanded my reading palette I'd achieve Enlightenment like you and see through his fan-cult? :P

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby harpyblues » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:47 am UTC

Read Neverwhere and then read Anansi Boys. One of the reasons I couldn't stand Neverwhere because it was sort of stilted and a little too formulaic (in other words, it was newbie stuff). Anansi Boys was sort of a light read, but it was a hell of a lot more polished than Neverwhere. Someone else mentioned a lot earlier that Pratchett's series were a lot like that when you compare the first of his books to the more recent ones. Gaiman hasn't really stagnated. He's grown overall in it.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jesse » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:18 am UTC

I liked Neverwhere better than Anansi Boys (Which is the worst of his books according to me).

I have an incredibly large reading palette (402 books last year) and I still like most of his stuff. I think if it was all I read, then I'd get bored of it. Same with any author.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Midnight » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:57 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:He does write quite well, but does anyone else find him... ridiculously pretentious?
I can't quite put my finger on it, but something makes me grit my teeth, just a little. Not that I don't enjoy his stuff or anything.


s' cause he's british. At least, that's what I like to believe--especially cause I find calling him a limey bastard makes him seem less pretentious.

also, to Jesse (tangent alert!) why keep an exact count?
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Bassoon » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:06 am UTC

Midnight wrote:
cephalopod9 wrote:He does write quite well, but does anyone else find him... ridiculously pretentious?
I can't quite put my finger on it, but something makes me grit my teeth, just a little. Not that I don't enjoy his stuff or anything.


s' cause he's british. At least, that's what I like to believe--especially cause I find calling him a limey bastard makes him seem less pretentious.

also, to Jesse (tangent alert!) why keep an exact count?


Somewhere in Good Omens, there's a line pretty much saying that same thing.

Also, why not keep an exact count? 402 books is rather huge hurdle.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby cephalopod9 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:46 am UTC

Midnight wrote:s' cause he's british.


Having finished American Gods, it seems to me that both it and Anansi Boys hit a part of the plot where I could see where things were going, but they seemed to be taking longer than necessary without really adding much. It could be that particular type of Englishness that I find... extremely boring, like aliens can be setting people on fire, and I just don't find it that interesting*. I don't think that's it. It feels more like he's not as clever as he thinks he is. Made me want to say
Spoiler:
look, I know he's not going to lose because he's the hero, so
get over yourself and tell me how it ends already.
Which is not to say he is not a good writer, or that I don't like his books, just that I find him pretentious.

*I feel I should clarify this is not so much a fault of the authors' as it as an incompatability between me and the style of writing.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jorpho » Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:41 am UTC

I certainly agree that American Gods was thoroughly, gratuitously pretentious. But I found that the little segues in Anansi Boys added much more to the depth of the story than the pointless and meandering asides in American Gods. (For some reason the bit about the elevator stands out in my mind.)

I really ought to read Coraline so I can go see the movie. EDIT: Well, what have we here?

By the way, why does it seem like no one ever speaks of Interworld?

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Pseudoku » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:36 pm UTC

When you're including mythological beings and gods from a wide range of different cultures and religions, it can be sort of hard not to seem like you're trying to be as epic as possible. Gaiman is pretty firm in the belief that you're always playing in someone else's sandbox, at least a little, and he tends to go all out with his sand castles, between Sandman and American Gods/Anansai Boys, anyway.

Pretentious though? I don't know about that. He just tends to focus on fantasy, and when you mix that with a noticeably poetic prose style, it can give the impression that everything you do is larger than life.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Jorpho » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:57 am UTC

Well, that was fun. Rather strongly reminiscent of Barker's The Thief of Always, perhaps with hints of Mahy's The Changeover and Dahl's The Witches. In short, not terribly original, and perhaps not worthy of the high praise on the first page. But at least it doesn't take long to read.

Now I can go see the movie.

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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Actaeus » Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:03 am UTC

I've been meaning to read more Gaiman, but I heard the Graveyard Whatever was boring.

I heard that from a librarian.


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