Posted in Book review, Books, Reading

Book review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2003 Review

Neil Gaiman is one of the most original writers currently publishing. He defies category: how does one classify an author whose work ranges from SF to horror to social commentary to parable and back, all within the pages of one book? His style is reminiscent of Clive Barker and Harlan Ellison, perhaps with a touch of Lovecraft thrown in for seasoning.

AMERICAN GODS tells the story of the war brewing between the “old” gods of the United States — the piskies and brownies and vrokolaks brought over from the Old Country by immigrant believers — and the “new” gods of technology and progress worshipped by the descendants of those immigrants. One human, an ex-con called Shadow, is enlisted by a man calling himself Wednesday to help unite the old gods in resisting the new. Shadow, at loose ends after the sudden loss of his wife, agrees to work for Wednesday, and is plunged headlong into intrigue and strangeness, where people are not who they appear, time does not track, and even the dead do not stay in their graves.

A haunting tone poem of a novel. Highly recommended.

2017 Re-read

Although I had been intending to re-read this book for years, the impending debut of the Starz series (April 30!) finally got this book down from the shelf and into my hands in mid-April.

Seasons of ReadingIt’s funny how time can distort the memory of a once-read novel. I remembered this story as being mostly a road trip with Shadow and Wednesday. While there is definitely a great deal of travel involved, I had completely forgotten the events that take place in sleepy, quiet, wintry Lakeside. I had also forgotten the outcome of Wednesday’s machinations, and how truly noble Shadow turns out to be.

Now I’m prepared for the TV show. It better not be awful.

2017SFFReadingChallenge(Side observation: I expect researching this novel is what eventually led Gaiman to write Norse Mythology.)

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Read as part of the Spring Into Horror read-a-thon.  This is the only book I managed to finish during the time frame.  Join us next time!

Also read for the 2017 Award Winning SF/F Challenge.  You can still join in on that one.


Posted in Book review, Books, Reading

Book review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and DisturbancesTrigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is it a sufficient enough review to say Neil Gaiman is a genius? No? Didn’t think so.

He is, by the way. At least to my way of thinking. He writes the kind of short stories I love: stories that are odd and creepy and disturbing and off-kilter. Is it too much to say I consider him the man who now sits on Ray Bradbury’s throne? No, it isn’t. That’s a fair non-hyperbolic assessment.

The stories in this collection are mainly reprints gathered from various anthologies published over the past few years, with one brand new story in which we revisit the world of American Gods. I had read only one of them before; fittingly, that was “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” from Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, a collection that I encourage everyone to read right fucking now. Well, you can wait until after you read Trigger Warning. But I digress.

Yeah. This book. It’s mostly short stories, with some bits of poetry intermingled here and there. Like all anthologies, some tales resonated more than others, but there isn’t a clunker to be found. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “The Thing About Cassandra” explores the ramifications of telling your friends about your imaginary girlfriend.
  • “The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains” is all about consequences of past actions.
  • “Nothing O’Clock”, a story of the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond and a monster hidden inside Time.
  • “The Return of the Thin White Duke”, about a monster in search of a heart.

And several others. But the stories I loved won’t necessarily be the stories you love. You should have the joy of discovering them yourself. So go out and do that. Right now.

Thank you to LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program for the opportunity to read this book.

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