The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby Zohar » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:10 am UTC

I love American Gods. I love Sandman. I dislike Good Omens. I don't think you have to love every single book of a specific author. You're allowed to only like one book and nothing else, too.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby Jorpho » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

Wait, we already have a Niel Patterson thread.
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=15621

Anyway, I profoundly despise American Gods and think that it is the worst of Gaiman's novels. If you didn't like it, I strongly suggest trying something else. In particular, I found Ananasi Boys almost made up for American Gods entirely. It might be just as florid in some ways, but what asides it has are either much, much shorter or vastly more amusing than anything in American Gods.

He's got all these fantastic quotes; he's clearly a very intelligent, highly creative person who is not merely creative, but actively creative, plumbing the depths of his own mind as few ever bother to.
I think you will find that his bag of tricks is not quite so bottomless as it initially appears.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby TaintedDeity » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

I've had a Neil Gaiman book consuming session since Christmas and I'm currently enjoying Sandman. I enjoyed American Gods, but I much much prefer his shorter story collections. Go read some of those :P
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby cv4 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

I personally loved American Gods and Neverwhere.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:54 pm UTC

I loved Anansi Boys as an audiobook. I might not have loved it so much as a text. (Could not read Patrick O'Brien in text. Adore the audiobooks. Go figure.) The narration really enhanced the plot, and made clear some things that might have been confusing otherwise.
I remember liking American Gods, but it hasn't stuck with me the way other Gaiman books have.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:13 pm UTC

I loved American Gods as well. Personally, I think Gaiman stories are sort of like eating a candy bar; they're delicious and awesome and tasty and have cool commercials with catchy theme songs, but ultimately, aren't particularly filling. I feel like he's a better story teller than he is story crafter.

I like his work, a lot, but like Pratchett wouldn't credit him with an abundance of diversity to his stuff. Reading his/their work, to me, is like taking a hot bath; very enjoyable, but not really memorable from one moment to the next.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby Ulc » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:08 am UTC

I think Gaiman is really good at the type of stories he does tell.

It's not complicated and realistic books with a lot of worldbuilding - it's just a nice "enjoy the ride" entertaining style of books, and at that, he excels.

I really enjoyed sandman, Death, stardust and american gods, good omens is very high on my list as well, but that is collaboration with Pratchett, so I'm not entirely sure how much to credit Gaiman (and neither are Gaiman or Pratchett themselves it seems). Neverwhere I couldn't get into.

One thing to keep in mind with Gaiman is that if you dislike his style in a certain book, it seems like his style is very much subject to his own choice. American gods and stardust as a example, is two completely different writing styles, and it seems like it's a concious choice on his part - and it seemed the same with neverwhere.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby King Author » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:38 am UTC

Zohar wrote:I love American Gods. I love Sandman. I dislike Good Omens. I don't think you have to love every single book of a specific author. You're allowed to only like one book and nothing else, too.

Yeah, that's why I'm saying "I just don't know about Neil Gaiman" and not "Neil Gaiman is an overrated hack."

Jorpho wrote:Wait, we already have a Niel Patterson thread.
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=15621

Anyway, I profoundly despise American Gods and think that it is the worst of Gaiman's novels. If you didn't like it, I strongly suggest trying something else. In particular, I found Ananasi Boys almost made up for American Gods entirely. It might be just as florid in some ways, but what asides it has are either much, much shorter or vastly more amusing than anything in American Gods.

It's funny, most fans say American Gods is one of the greatest novels and easily Gaiman's best work aside from Sandman. In fact, that's part of the reason why I picked it up -- supposed to be "the modern Huckleberry Finn." Or Tom Sawyer. Can't remember. Either way, looking around the net now I've read it, those who don't absolutely love it seem to absolutely loathe it. I'd say it seems 70/30. I wonder why that is. Why it's so polarizing, I mean.

Jorpho wrote:
He's got all these fantastic quotes; he's clearly a very intelligent, highly creative person who is not merely creative, but actively creative, plumbing the depths of his own mind as few ever bother to.
I think you will find that his bag of tricks is not quite so bottomless as it initially appears.

Yeah, I've heard it said that basically all his novels have the exact same plot, when you get right down to it -- our protagonist, living in what seems to be the normal world, discovers that things are slightly off, is then plunged into either a literal or figurative parallel world, and saves it. Then again, how many original stories are there? Maybe a dozen? Two dozen? And every story ever told is a derivation thereof. Gaiman gets praise from all the great literary minds of today and gets awards out the wazoo; he's found what he's good at. Can't blame him for sticking to it.

Ulc wrote:It's not complicated and realistic books with a lot of worldbuilding - it's just a nice "enjoy the ride" entertaining style of books, and at that, he excels.

Maybe that's why I'm not thrilled by his prose. Sandman kinda is that way, I guess (though there were tidbits of an overarching storyline), but you don't notice it because it's all images and dialogue with the occasional, brief narration box.

I'm looking at American Gods again, and it just looks like Gaiman's train-of-thought in the process of making a comic book. That is, he seems to use narration not as a novel writer would use narration, but as a comic book writer would describe to his artist how to make each panel look.

Ulc wrote:One thing to keep in mind with Gaiman is that if you dislike his style in a certain book, it seems like his style is very much subject to his own choice. American gods and stardust as a example, is two completely different writing styles, and it seems like it's a concious choice on his part - and it seemed the same with neverwhere.

How long is Stardust? Because I'm the kinda person who can't not finish a book once he starts. I didn't enjoy American Gods' five hundred freaking pages one bit, but I couldn't not finish once I'd read the first few chapters. I'm not interested in that happening again.

P.S. And thanks a bunch to whatever mod merged this >:( Pretty much guarantees hardly anybody's gonna respond to my lengthy post -- most people just look at the first page (usually first post) of a topic before replying. No. They don't. You've been told many, many, many times how things work here. -ST
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby Ulc » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:40 am UTC

King Author wrote:d that basically all his novels have the exact same plot, when you get right down to it -- our protagonist, living in what seems to be the normal world, discovers that things are slightly off, is then plunged into either a literal or figurative parallel world, and saves it.


Come on here, give the man a break - you've just described nearly half of all the books I've ever read. if you're going accuse him of being unoriginal - fine. But don't do it on the basis of "every single author that has written anything in the last 2000 years is just writing stories that have the same plot as those before them"

Ulc wrote:One thing to keep in mind with Gaiman is that if you dislike his style in a certain book, it seems like his style is very much subject to his own choice. American gods and stardust as a example, is two completely different writing styles, and it seems like it's a concious choice on his part - and it seemed the same with neverwhere.

How long is Stardust? Because I'm the kinda person who can't not finish a book once he starts. I didn't enjoy American Gods' five hundred freaking pages one bit, but I couldn't not finish once I'd read the first few chapters. I'm not interested in that happening again.


Stardust is 250 pages roughly, a very easy read too.
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Re: Neil Gaiman. I just don't know.

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:39 pm UTC

King Author wrote:Yeah, I've heard it said that basically all his novels have the exact same plot, when you get right down to it -- our protagonist, living in what seems to be the normal world, discovers that things are slightly off, is then plunged into either a literal or figurative parallel world, and saves it. Then again, how many original stories are there? Maybe a dozen? Two dozen? And every story ever told is a derivation thereof. Gaiman gets praise from all the great literary minds of today and gets awards out the wazoo; he's found what he's good at. Can't blame him for sticking to it.

Stardust is ... no different, really. Boy discovers parallel world, ends up saving it after a time and many adventures.

To a certain extent, I liked Anansi Boys better as it was less about Earth-shaking or even Town-Shaking events and more about just a guy trying to figure out how to get along in a world after his father dies. And only then finding out he has a brother. Oh, and that his dad was a god, apparently.
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Re: I want to write like Niel Gaimen (The Niel Patterson Thr

Postby King Author » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:10 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:Come on here, give the man a break - you've just described nearly half of all the books I've ever read. if you're going accuse him of being unoriginal - fine. But don't do it on the basis of "every single author that has written anything in the last 2000 years is just writing stories that have the same plot as those before them"

I was being concise. What I was getting at is that his plots are similar to his own plots -- that he only seems capable of telling one kind of story. Which is fine. Some of the best storytellers were only ever able to tell one kind of story, hell, some of the greats only told a single story. What did Tolkein write? What did Fitzgerald write? Douglas Adams has what, twenty books in the Hitchhiker's series now? And they're all very similar -- a bumbling protagonist is lead through a universe full of powerful but incredibly snarky entities and is treated to heaping helpings of dry wit and ironic humor along the way. It's not a diss.

Ulc wrote:Stardust is 250 pages roughly, a very easy read too.

Mmm...I guess I'll give it a shot.

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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby mister k » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:41 am UTC

I think the difference is in the style of the tale rather than the content of the story itself. Its certainly true that Gaiman is a big fan of "ordinary person explore extraordinary world", but stardust is a fairy tale, American Gods an oddyssey, Neverwhere an adventure story, Anansi boys a comedy of errors (sort of) and Graveyard book a childrens story. I'd definitely recommend Graveyard book if the ambling nature of American Gods put you down- Graveyard book is a far more tighly told and enjoyable story. I'm not a massive fan of Anansi boys, but thats maybe because I felt like Pratchett's influence was too strong on that book. I actually enjoyed all of Gaimans works though, so yeah.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:47 pm UTC

I decided the reason I dislike Anansi Boys is because I dislike the vast majority of media that could be described as 'comedy of errors'.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby Jorpho » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:58 am UTC

I finally got around to The Graveyard Book recently. I can't say I cared for it much; a Newberry winner, perhaps, but definitely not Hugo material by any means. (There have been much, much better Hugo short story winners along these lines before, at least; remember That Hell-Bound Train, or Gonna Roll the Bones?) It reminds me of Interworld drained of its Saturday morning cartoon effusiveness, and there's definitely some more recurring motifs from his earlier works. (Remember Croup and Vandemar from Neverwhere, particularly their final scene?) But it's well put together and wholly readable, at least.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby Jessica » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:56 pm UTC

I wondered if Interworld was worth my time. I'm enjoying reading the graveyard book - I'm not done, but that's because I'm far too slow of a reader these days. It's very Gaiman.

I also picked up a book about Gaiman to read. Should be fun to get some non-fiction in.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby Metaphysician » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:24 am UTC

I am currently reading American Gods and something I've heard from many fiction writers keeps popping into my mind. Good writers use lies to tell the truth. Gaiman excels at this. The major point I'm getting from American Gods thus far is that all of the mystical myths, legends, tales of God and gods and magic are all true in that they reflect humanity, they are a mirror, when we look at them, we see the things we share with all humanity reflected back at us. The fantasy is real in that it is a part of us.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby Jorpho » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:25 pm UTC

Metaphysician wrote:The major point I'm getting from American Gods thus far is that all of the mystical myths, legends, tales of God and gods and magic are all true in that they reflect humanity, they are a mirror, when we look at them, we see the things we share with all humanity reflected back at us. The fantasy is real in that it is a part of us.
This is hardly something unique to Gaiman. Campbell and Jung and others have been saying that sort of thing for much longer.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby Metaphysician » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:17 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:The major point I'm getting from American Gods thus far is that all of the mystical myths, legends, tales of God and gods and magic are all true in that they reflect humanity, they are a mirror, when we look at them, we see the things we share with all humanity reflected back at us. The fantasy is real in that it is a part of us.
This is hardly something unique to Gaiman. Campbell and Jung and others have been saying that sort of thing for much longer.


Well philosophically speaking this idea is something that has been said and discussed for a least hundreds of years. I just enjoy the way Gaiman says it, at least so far, I haven't read a whole lot of the book yet, but what I have read, I like.
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Re: The Collective Works of Neil Gaiman

Postby Jesse » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Metaphysician wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:The major point I'm getting from American Gods thus far is that all of the mystical myths, legends, tales of God and gods and magic are all true in that they reflect humanity, they are a mirror, when we look at them, we see the things we share with all humanity reflected back at us. The fantasy is real in that it is a part of us.
This is hardly something unique to Gaiman. Campbell and Jung and others have been saying that sort of thing for much longer.


Well philosophically speaking this idea is something that has been said and discussed for a least hundreds of years. I just enjoy the way Gaiman says it, at least so far, I haven't read a whole lot of the book yet, but what I have read, I like.


If you're really interested in this, it's worth grabbing a book of essays on Neil Gaiman's stuff. One of the essays goes into the links to Campbell & Jung etc. It's full of fantastic essays (including a really good look at gender in Sandman) and really deepened my appreciation of Gaiman's work.
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Re: I want to write like Neil Gaimen

Postby Annihilist » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:45 am UTC

Malice wrote:Neil Gaiman is an excellent storyteller. His stories aren't very original, but that's not the point. He is a fairly awful writer, most of the time. His best stuff is Sandman, where somebody else provides the illustrations and he simply provides the story. His worst stuff is probably his poetry. Oddly enough, the best thing of his I've read (outside of Sandman) was a short story about Los Angeles which was very well-written and touching and not fantasy at all.

I imagine that once he figures out how to write a movie, they'll be pretty damn good. So far it hasn't really worked for him, although I'm not sure why.
American Gods is incredible. I love it. I see it as being a fair bit darker than Anansi Boys
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