Neil Gaiman, the brilliant mind behind some of my favorite stories, has confirmed that the rights for a movie adaption of his novel “American Gods” have been sold. In an interview found here he said he doesn’t want to announce anything to steal someone else’s fire but he said that one cinematographer and director is on board who has “many many oscars and is, I think a genius” according to Gaiman, a man as nice as his hairstyle:
tells the story of a man named Shadow (sounds generic I know, but there is a reason why he’s called like this and it is not the usual “need catchy fantasy name”-reason) who takes one of the most bizar roadtrips in history with the trickster Low Key (a cookie if you get the god behind the name).
It is a colorful journey, travelling through the strangest places, visiting all kind of gods and demons and dealing with the foundation of faith and spiritual beings depending on humans. American Gods deconstructs the nature of the American deities in a cynical yet strangely true way, only a british author like Gaiman could come up with.
It is a long story, but really worth the trip.
In my opinion Neil Gaiman is one of the few authors who can weave modern fairy tales. His tales or so familiar, modern, yet strangely timeless. His stories are less about confronting a villain, but more about visiting things familiar to us, that don’t quite behave as usual.
Most of the time reading his books I tend to forget about the main story and just hope the exploration will go on forever. Sometimes it feels as if he were just writing Stephen King style – making it up as he goes along – and you are wondering if there even is a point to be made or if it’s just a string of interesting events until at the very end, everything falls together and fits the overall story, bringing it to a great (yet sometimes abrupt) conclusion.
If you want to learn more about Gaiman and are too afraid to tackle the 600+ pages American Gods I can suggest the followings:
Done by Henry Selick, the director behind The Nightmare before Christmas (no it was not directed by Tim Burton), Coraline is a stop motion movie about a girl who finds a strange pathway into another world, a place like her home, yet so much more alive and beautiful.
A magical paradise… that seems to have no downside…
Smoke and Mirrors
If you see this book, just read the introduction (the boring foreword everyone skips when reading a book), those ten pages should convince you more than this article ever could.
Smoke and Mirrors is a great collection of short stories, ranging from a hollywood scribe to a very unusual visit to the theme park.
In my eyes Gaiman’s greatest work. Sandman is the multiple award winning comic about Dreams – an immortal personification standing above gods. It is one of the most complex layered stories I’ve encountered ripe with references and allegories and despite it’s initial premise – following the incarnaction of Dreams as he encounters various humans, gods, demons as well as his relatives (most notably his elder sister Death) – the story feels more real than many other stories and in a very bizar way it seems so very “plausible”.
Well at least I hope that Gaiman is correct in his portrayal of Death: a person you meet at the end of your days, that you have encountered only once, but who takes you by your hand like an elder sister, like someone who knows you more than anyone else, who comforts you before you depart with her from this world.
The first two volumes might be a little off-putting since Gaiman had to find his rhythm, but in the end all fits together so nicely.
I’d recommend starting with the third volume Dream Country – a collection of 3 stories that stand a little separate from the main arc, but provide a great introduction:
Calliope tells about an author who struggles to write a new book and captures a Muse in order to be able to tell stories again.
A dream of a thousand Cats invites you to witness one of the strangest conferences as cats around the neighborhood come together to share the true story of how the universe has been before mankind dreamt it up – I think this story is one of the most important stories to illustrate the ideas behind mankind.
Finally the award-winning A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the story about the premiere of said play by William Shakespeare. Many years ago Dreams has searched for a scribe to channel his realm of stories onto paper and blessed William with the gift to tell the stories that have moved millions of hearts.
To thank the lord of dreams for this opportunity the actors perform the premiere of the play in front of Dreams and his spirits.
Sandman invites you to a tale about tales, about the end of the world happening in a small café, about a man gaining immortality and meeting with Morpheus every 100 years, about how Barbie dealt with breaking up with Ken, why Destruction is no longer a member of the family… and about the fact that Delirium’s stuff is always there where she looks last, so she looked there first.