*My lamb and martyr, this will be over soon.

*Brown blood of courage

*What sound will be on the radio in 2008?

*Like its fierce

*See you

*Make me this anxious

*Just play for the love of playing

*When she needs me

*Writing mushy notes and passing them to her in cla...

*Tell him Hof sent ya

1. I ask you to do one effing thing
2. Did you?
3. The socks betray him
4. There will be none of that
5. Leave notes in his shirt pocket
6. Trained in the gentle art
7. Put me in coach
8. Our species may, in fact, survive
9.Swarm Swarm
10.During the wooing
11.BUT not private enough
12.The bottomless appetite
13.The first time we forget
14.This is a nice litmus test
15.To get the ball rolling
16.She invited you back to her place for coffee
17.Mary Magdalene or Eva Braun
18.It will only smell and make you queasy

   Friday, June 09, 2006

You fear he has forgotten

I just finished a brilliant book.... American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I knew Gaiman from his stint as the prolific writer of the DC Comic title, Sandman. He proved, as a comic writer, that the sequential art can be more than just tights and capes.

In Sandman he took us to places we never imagined and had us look back on the world, from this new viewpoint, to see it was not quite what we thought it was.

Who knew he would also prove to be an innovative novelist. Unlike the story-belching unplanned scrit of Stephen King, Gaiman gives us a chilling story that in complete. He gives us real characters that are fantastical yet grounded. He introduces us to Gods that seem as real as our neighbors. He offers up a protagonist in Shadow that we never understand yet root for until the end.

A story of betrayal, a celestial con, clashes of old and new all centered on a man whose first gift after leaving prison is to find his wife died... in the coital of another man.

If you are ready for a story you've never come across before told by someone who, unlike King, uses details to push us forward (not to fill the page). There is a great subplot that proves quite the mystery. Once you fear he has forgotten the great side story, he springs the resolution on us when we least expect it.

It won the 2002 Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker awards, all for Best Novel. It was also nominated for Best Novel in the 2002 BSFA Award.

I loved the characters and devoured the writing. He spent a long time designing and executing this novel... and it shows.

there are 8 doodles

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Melina said...

American Gods is one of my alltime favorite books. I loved the combo of the gods (like Lowkey) and American culture. Good call on that one!

At 6:52 PM, Blogger E said...

Hof, I've been lurking for a while, love the site, but I gotta throw my two cents in here. Without reading the Gunslinger and the rest of the Dark Tower series, (and by your description of King's work, it appears that you haven't; correct me if I'm wrong) it is easy to say that he churns out tripe. But the Dark Tower series ties nearly everything he's written together into one very large and detailed universe. From The Talisman/Black House written with Peter Straub to Rose Madder to Hearts in Atlantis to 'Salem's Lot, they're all tied to the same world. Sometimes only tangentially, or only by one scene or character, but when taken together, they build a pretty impressive universe. Give The Gunslinger a try.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger hofzinser said...

E... glad to pull you out from the shadows. You are very insightful to know I have not read the Tower series and have heard, from many, that I should.

The one work of his that I did like was from Four Seasons. To this day, I think Apt Pupil is one of the better written short stories in the last thirty years.

I hate how sloppy King is with his stories. He creates subplots that he lets die or ends just because they must end. He generates interesting side characters that wander off to never appear again.

I like novelists that plan out their stories and craft them for me. I want them to work! Damnit!

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Kira said...

I have this book because a friend insisted I HAD to read it and hence gave it to me. It sits on my bookshelf, unread still...but maybe I'll pick it up now. I'm in the middle of a reading frenzy right now because I'm not teaching this summer.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger VegasGustan said...

I was about to go off on you going against King too, but E pretty much said exactly what I was going to...so nevermind. Your really should pick up the Dark Tower Series. "The Drawing of the Three" (the 2nd in the series) is my favorite. Plus, his book "On Writing" is really good for anyone who likes to pick up the pen and put down their thoughts.

I loved Gaiman's Sandman and American Gods was certainly good. His other novels are better if that is possible.

Are you a fan of Douglas Adams?

At 12:09 AM, Blogger A* said...

Clearly I need you to bring me this book the next time I see you! After such rave reviews I feel like I need to throw my hat in the ring here!! :)

So now will you read the stack of books I got you last year?? ;)

At 10:52 AM, Blogger E said...

I completely understand. There are some awfully interesting side characters that, as you say, seem to fade because the story has to end. One of my favorites was the priest from 'Salem's Lot; he has this great confrontation with a vampire where he's holding it back with the power of his faith, then the vampire reminds him of his imperfection, the light of faith dies, and the priest bugs out, never to be seen again. Other characters take over, and the story ends, eventually, with the priest not having died, but never showing up again... until the fifth? book of the Dark Tower. Then, his role in 'Salem's Lot chifts, with the reader's perspective, to a sort of boot-camp. He's had his crisis, and now he can get on with what needs to be done. While that sort of thing doesn't happen with every side character, it happens with enough to show that there actually is a design to the madness.

That said, I can't agree with you more about American Gods. Gaiman's world creation is great. If you like his style, you should try Gibson's Neuromancer, or Stephenson's Snow Crash. They're both cyberpunk, but they show the same attention to detail and world-crafting that Gaimen does.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Dragonfly said...

I grew up on King - but of late find his stories long and drown out.. given up on them completely... (although I do love the Dark Tower too...)

American Gods... this I shall pick up.
Thanks for the insight.


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