Jakob: I have a longstanding love/hate relationship with Neil Gaiman. In the ’90s I had a crush on him because he’s dreamy and he looked like a goth Daniel Richler. So I read the Sandman and Death comics. I think mostly I wanted to look like Dream and date Death. So I enjoyed that stuff. I was young and angsty and clearly his demographic.
Neil Gaiman vs. Daniel Richler in the battle for mid-1990s bourgeois intellectual arm-crossing superiority.
Thing was, his concepts are pretty good but his plots are kind of hodge-podge and unfocused. The Death stories were, upon re-reading them years later, really kind of trite.
Also, he bases everything (sometimes loosely) on pre-existing myths, characters and legends which gets pretty tiring over a few decades of work. Sometimes he hits one out of the park (Stardust) and other times he’s unreadable (American Gods).
The Anansi Boys audiobook, read by Lenny Henry, is excellent, but I suspect reading it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. Neverwhere was pretty good for bad TV, but the book smacked of paying too close an homage to Douglas Adams. The main character really is just Arthur Dent underground instead of in space.
There’s almost always something I like about Gaiman’s work and something I don’t quite enjoy. Something about him trying to fit between Adams and Terry Pratchet and never quite finding his own voice.
I guess I’d just like him to do more stuff that wasn’t on the “old gods living disguised in modern culture” theme.
I’m not sure what Mandi’s thoughts on Gaiman are. But she does have American Gods on her bookshelf. Which how I came to have the unpleasant experience of reading the first thrid of it.