Neil-a-palooza!

January 27, 2010 at 12:10 am 9 comments

For the last week or so, I’ve been throwing my own private Neil Gaiman festival. Fondly nicknamed “Neil-a-palooza” for the sake of giving this post a funny name, this festival involved me scouring the LA County Library Catalog for all of their available Neil Gaiman books, checking them out, and reading them in rapid succession.

So much fantasy in so short a time is a little, oh, muddling. Still, as someone who considered herself a Neil Gaiman fan without actually having read more than three of his books, I believe it was worth the experience, just to familiarize myself with the Gaiman canon. Too bad the man is insanely prolific, or I’d feel more accomplished. Still, for those of you who are looking to expand your Gaiman horizons, the books below are a good start:

Good Omens: Apparently this joint venture has been a bit of a cult classic since its publication in 1996, before Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett were quite the phenomena they are now. The story is a mix of Left Behind parody, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, spot-on social commentary, and British humor.  Due to a hospital mix-up, the son of Satan has been misplaced and Armageddon is not going precisely according to plan. One angel, one demon, one witch-hunter and one descendant of a prophet attempt to find the boy, who is not precisely as evil as one might expect.

Marvel 1602: It’s been a while (last…March?) since I’ve read a graphic novel, and Marvel 1602 was the perfect one to break my comic-related fast. Essentially what Gaiman has done is transpose the classic superheroes of the Marvel Universe, including Peter Parker, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and Captain America, into the Elizabethan Age. In addition, he’s made Virgina Dare (the first child born in the Roanoke Colony) into a superhero in her own right. Even though I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe, I greatly enjoyed this comic as a story in its own right.

Anansi Boys: This was my favorite of the bunch, a follow-up to Gaiman’s American Gods. The story is about a man named Fat Charlie who discovers that not only was his father the god Anansi, but he has an odd brother named Spider who appears to have a great deal of power over everyone he encounters. If you liked American Gods (and I LOVED American Gods), you should love this novel as well.

Coraline: Following the great fairy tale tradition, Coraline seems designed to scare the living daylights out of every child who reads it. The titular character moves to a new home and discovers a door leading to an eerie mirror-world, where a woman who claims to be her “other mother” tries to keep Coraline from ever leaving. This creepy tale seems to be Gaiman’s answer to Through the Looking-Glass, and while it remains to be seen whether Coraline will still be considered a classic 100 years from now, it’s a must for any children’s fantasy fan today.

There are about four million Gaiman books I didn’t get to this time around — but hey, at least if I decide to make this an annual thing, I have plenty of fodder for next year’s “Neil-a-palooza”!

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Entry filed under: Children and Young Adult, Collections and Lists, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy. Tags: , .

Beloved by Toni Morrison LT Classics Challenge Liiiiives!

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Corey  |  January 27, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Excellent! Way to go with Neil-a-palooza, buddy. I must say, Neil Gaiman is someone who I feel like I should like very much (he projects as someone whose interests align with my own veryw ell), but I’m always rather disappointed with his stuff. The ideas just seem so amazing and then I never particularly enjoy the execution. I’m quite sad to say it, too, because his ideas blow my mind with their goodness!

    Reply
    • 2. KT  |  January 29, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      Aw, that’s too bad! Have you tried Neverwhere? Sometimes I feel Gaiman is better the closer he gets to what I consider almost steampunk fantasy.

      Reply
      • 3. Corey  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:05 am

        I haven’t tried Neerwhere, just Stardust and American Gods. The 1602 thing looks good, though. I’m all about some Virginia Dare action!

        Reply
  • 4. Mythical Man  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I definitely need to get 1602. Always meant to check that out, but never got around to it.

    Reply
    • 5. KT  |  January 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      Absolutely! If you are a Marvel Comics fan (as I suspect you might be!) you will probably like it even better than I did. I believe there is a series that follows it as well, but it’s not penned by Gaiman and so I didn’t bother. You might enjoy it, though!

      Reply
      • 6. Mythical Man  |  January 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm

        Definitely a fan of Gaiman. I mean, he’s not quite Alan Moore, but he’s good. ^_^

        Reply
  • 7. The Literary Oscars « Literary Transgressions  |  March 8, 2010 at 12:13 am

    […] on Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel of the same name. (Reviewed here at Literary Transgressions on January 27, 2010.) Best animated feature […]

    Reply
  • […] not to say I don’t love dark fantasy — take a look at my Neil Gaiman and China Mieville posts if you want proof, and I could not have gotten through the Sandman series […]

    Reply
  • […] You all know by now that I love Neil Gaiman, but I also love Robin Hobb and (for the young adult fantasy fans) Tamora Pierce. Probably Neil […]

    Reply

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