Posted by Peter W. Schramm
The Nebula Awards for science fiction have been annouced. Has anyone read any of them? I would like to know if any of them are any good. I certainly like the title of Neil Gaimans "American Gods." Thanks.
10:22 AM / April 21, 2003
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I have read the Gaiman book, and I suspect that - given some of the subject matter - you might enjoy it.
I was going to offer you a synopsis of the plot, but frankly, this synopsis does the book more justice than I could:
American Gods is Neil Gaimans best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesnt sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style hes been delivering since his Sandman days.
Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadows dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.
Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadows road story is the heart of the novel, and its here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.
More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about whats real and whats not.
Neil Gaiman isnt for everyone. If youre unsure, your best bet would probably be to order a used copy from Amazons ZShops. You can probably find a decent copy for as little as $2. Shipping is inexpensive, though it generally takes a week or so to arrive.
Thanks. Good characterization of the book. Ill find it and as soon as I have some free time (a month from now!), Ill read it.