Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 3 Jul 01 09:14
E-mail from Maggie: The line-up was definitely well mixed. You gave enough clues, though, that anyone with more than a passing interest in mythology would have enough to figure a few things out. The Zorya were a little confusing at first, but thinking on them (three sisters, fortune tellers) for a bit cleared up their identities. Hinzelmann I got right away (I speak German), but Bilquis puzzled me until later in the story. The cast was very well balanced in that respect. I mentioned to my husband that there was an Ifrit driving around NYC. He sort of tipped his head and said "I hope he's wearing shades." Nice touch, that. Now I just need to get him to pick up the book... Reading through again has been delightful - there have been many "Doh! How could I have *missed* that?" moments. It's been great fun watching that hand we were supposed to ignore, and realizing that you told us everything all along. Very well done. On another note: After a lot of fussing with PhotoShop, praying to every Deity I can name, and just plain old swearing at the computer, I managed to salvage one of my photos. It's of one of your younger fans, on his web page. http://blake.prohosting.com/~woozle/neil.html Maggie UIN 10248195 http://www.chocolatefiends.com "The Dark was cold until she came, but she was Midnight, kissed by Flame"-Rajiv Mote on rasfwrj
Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 3 Jul 01 09:16
E-mail from Alexx Kay: Hi Neil! Recently finished American Gods, and thought I'd drop you a line, as your work has been very important to me and to my fiancee. She is completely blind, and I often read aloud to her, often comic-book material (while describing the action), since that sort of thing will *never* end up on tape. From your work, I have read her all of Sandman, Stardust, and Neverwhere, plus a good chunk of Smoke & Mirrors. You have given us many many hours of pleasure :-) Thanks (to you or to whoever is responsible for the decision) for having an unabridged audio book of American Gods released so soon. Not that I would *mind* reading it to her, far from it, but there's so much good material, and so little (comparitively) time I can spend with her, that having someone else help out is, well, helpful. I was interested to read in AG that leprechauns were traditionally tall. The only leprechaun I ever met (riding the Red Line on the Boston subway, of all places) was at least six feet, and I had thouht that that was unusual. In fact, when Mad Sweeney was first introduced in the book, I wondered if he had been the one I met, but the one on the subway was rather more garrulous. I can confirm Shadow's observation that when you only catch a TV show on rare occasions, it's always the same episode. Makes one wonder if the other episodes really exist. Maybe the universe really *is* a simulation on a giant computer, and it's only got one episode cached in the area of memory it uses to simulate your life... Hope the rest of the tour goes well, and that you can spend lots of time with your family once it's over. Alexx Alexx Kay Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of my employers firstname.lastname@example.org http://world.std.com/~alexx "Yes, he's dead," I replied, knowing she was about to ask. They always ask. No one is ever officially dead until someone asks, "Is he ... dead?" (That's the law. You could look it up. It's not legal without those three dots.) -- from "The Return of Phil Noir" by Minstrel
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Tue 3 Jul 01 09:49
JaNell -- not to worry. Kelly -- I used the Norse gods because we know the Vikings were here, so there was no leap of faith involved in assuming they"d left their gods behind. And because Odin is such a magnificent god, and such a bundle of contradictions. I'm not certain that the Norse liked him very much. (They liked Thor, of course. Everyone liked Thor.) Abbe -- yes, they're real. Everyone's real. There are even some slavic god websites out there. The main two Zorya symbolized the morning star and the evening star, who opened the gate for their father, the sun, to ride across the sky. A few places mention the midnight sister as well. So the Dawn is literal... Czernobog/Chernobog/charnobog/charnobo/carnobog etc was also in Disney's original Fantasia. Rebecca -- the only one I wrote and cut, because the scene just didn't work, was Jesus. Most of the rest of them that didn't turn up just didn't come on stage. Hathor would have worked if I'd thought that any of the Egyptian traders had arrived with cows, or sacrificed to her while they"d been here. martha -- well, I wanted to hit some of the places people don't write about much. The ones that had surprised me when I came out here. I tried to include a few other places too, but was much less concerned about describing them... JaNell -- I guess. I knew I'd wanted to do The House on the Rock ever since I first went there in 1997 or thereabouts. Rock City just sort of crept into the book as I was driving from Minneapolis to Florida on back roads, and I kept seeing the barns with SEE ROCK CITY painted on them. At one point I thought I'd get Ruby Falls and the tunnels under the mountain into the book... but I didn't. maggie -- I was hoping that it would work like that; that a second reading would be as much fun as the first, from a completely different direction. Glad a picture was salvaged. if you're in Chicago, I'll be around in November for the Humanities Festival, and in 2002 for World Horror Con. Alexx -- well, all too often descriptions of things people are afraid of are euphemisms and opposites (see the Kindly Ones for the furies), so it seemed right that a leprechaun (literally "small-body") would apart from anything else, be tall. And the one-episode-of-a-tv-show-you-don't-watch thing is an immutable law.
JaNell (janell) Tue 3 Jul 01 10:00
I would very much like to have seen the tunnels, St. Elmo, Tiftonia Pit, and several other such in the book-maybe in the (fictional) annotated version (see Topic 115 post). Or maybe in the AG spinoff book someone is already asking about...
Kelly (kellyhills) Tue 3 Jul 01 12:24
Thor was sort of hard *not* to like... :-) Thanks for answering; I think you also just answered why the Greek/Roman gods weren't around in the book (which I saw asked somewhere recently - I think on the www.neilgaiman.com message boards). I've heard referrenced now, a few times, that the Jesus-scene just didn't work. The Salon review actually mentioned that it was "odd" Jesus wasn't around, and I was wondering why the entire Christian 'pantheon' was missing... or were they just hiding? (And I have to wonder which side they would have been on, the old or the new gods...) As much as Media and Technology are worshipped here, Christianity still has a very firm hold... -Kelly
Rebecca (nefertiti) Tue 3 Jul 01 14:37
So Rock City and all of the other rocks had nothing to do with Ragnarock? Nothing at *all*?
JaNell (janell) Tue 3 Jul 01 15:23
<scribbled by janell Tue 3 Jul 01 21:27>
JaNell (janell) Tue 3 Jul 01 21:31
Rebecca, quit stealing my lines! Now I've had to go scribble again.
Joseph Walerko (cerebuspo) Tue 3 Jul 01 21:55
Hello all! I feel like it's taken me absolutely FOREVER to catch up with all the posts and new topics that popped up since I last posted. Neil - All I want to share with you is this (which, by the way, is the gods' honest truth): I was on page 459 of American Gods, exactly halfway through the page, when a thought suddenly struck me and I turned my head to look at the bedside clock. It was 12:01 a.m., July 4th, 2001. I laughed out loud for a full five minutes. Thank you so very much for writing this book. - Joe
Martha Soukup (soukup) Tue 3 Jul 01 22:07
As you're on your way to England, Neil: how do you think your American novel will be received there?
JaNell (janell) Tue 3 Jul 01 22:18
It's all right to talk to people other than Neil here, I hope? Kelly - My thought is, since Christianity does not acknowledge any other gods, the Christian Diet(ies) would simply see the whole thing as a fight among demons, thus not involving them. I've also thought that most, if not all, of the Native American pantheon would view it as a fight among interlopers, and possibly be glad to get rid of the lot of them...
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Tue 3 Jul 01 23:32
Kelly -- neither, really. Or a bit of both. Rebecca -- Well, there's no rock in Ragnarok. Except, possibly, on an almost subliminal level. Joe -- how appropriate. martha -- I have no idea. We'll find out very soon, I guess... JaNell -- absolutely fine with me.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 4 Jul 01 01:01
The only difference between this topic and the other topic is that in this topic, we focus on the book, American Gods. Discuss away.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 4 Jul 01 01:19
Thank you, Martha.
Kelly (kellyhills) Wed 4 Jul 01 01:26
Neither or both? Hmm. Cryptic. :-) JaNell - I don't know; the Jewish Scripture (Old Testament) had the kind of go-out-and-kick-the-other/false-gods-rears kind of thing going; then again, I suppose the key there is Jewish, not Christian, Scripture. Altho, Bilquis was there, and she's from the Scriptures. Curious. :-) (Does Bilquis appear anywhere else, besides being an apparently common Middle Eastern name?) -Kelly
Rebecca (nefertiti) Wed 4 Jul 01 09:55
Sorry about that. I think I was writing so many rocks that the c just crept in there. I guess I was reaching for the subliminal, and instead got my hands on glaringly blatant.
JaNell (janell) Wed 4 Jul 01 18:30
<scribbled by janell Thu 5 Jul 01 07:55>
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 4 Jul 01 19:45
(Please remember that this topic is for the discussion of Neil's book. Please post things that don't have to do with American Gods in topic 115. Please.)
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 4 Jul 01 19:45
From email@example.com Wed Jul 4 19:40:04 2001 E-mail from Robyn Pearson: When were the quotes at the beginning of the chapters inserted? Did you gather those over time knowing you'd want to use them in a story or were they something that you went out and found after the book was written? And on a couple of other notes...Hope we'll still be on for Sushi next time you're around the SF area!..and good job keeping Tori's album secrets (but still giving cool little hints!) --------------------------------------- Robyn Pearson (aka Wednesday) firstname.lastname@example.org "I believe in eating. I think women especially have this fear of eating, and I think there is a whole euphoric plane you can rise to when you have a good meal. You sit down and with every bite you honestly just say thank you." - Tori Amos
Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 5 Jul 01 00:19
Neil, once you've settled into the England thing, I will want to hear how they've been receiving the book--
-N. (streak) Thu 5 Jul 01 05:29
Neil, the central concept of American Gods, that of deities being created by humans and hanging around even after they're not being worshipped any more, is one that appeared regularly in Sandman and (if I recall rightly) some of your short pieces as well. What is it about the concept that you enjoy or find compelling enough to return to it like that?
Will Entrekin (willentrekin) Thu 5 Jul 01 06:29
Finished American Gods within the week it came out, and I wanted to tell you Neil, how very much I enjoyed it, and meeting you (and it was so very much worth waiting to be the first person signed on the tour to hear you say, 'Oh, hi, Will,' so thanks for making my day). I can't say it replaced Stardust as my favorite of yours, but it really is an odd, sweeping, epic, *fantastic (in every sense of the word)* book. Just so you know (as if you didn't already). I was surprised when I read that you'd cut a scene with Jesus. I'd noticed his conspicuous absence, but I'd figured that, well, he didn't need to be part of things so much as the other Gods; a lot more people worship Jesus right now than believe in, say, Odin, for example. I didn't notice Allah mentioned, or Buddha, either, so I figured that was the deal. That's it. Don't have a question, really, but I figured that was considered discussing. And on a completely different note without quite being a tangent, have fun at your UK signing dates, Neil. I'm interested to know how your homeland receives you now you're an International Best-Seller, and what they think of such an American Book. -Will, who's *so* happy American Gods sold so best in the country.
Stuart (sjs) Thu 5 Jul 01 07:11
I'm not nearly as timely as <willentrekin> in my reading -- I read 'Neverwhere' last week. Because of this topic, I started AG yesterday. Neil -- I saw where you did an American rewrite for 'Neverwhere' (I think I'd have prefered the original, Britishisms and all). Now that your story takes place on the other side of the ocean, did you have to do a British rewrite?
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Thu 5 Jul 01 14:37
Hullo Foodporn Robyn -- a bit of both. I was sort of hunter-gathering things for the tops of chapters for a while before the book -- I'd jot them down to remind me. And sometimes I'd start a chapter and just put one down. And then when I finished the book I had about four chapters which didn't have a quote at the beginning -- or in a couple of cases, the quote would have cost real money and not really delivered. (E.g. "lalalalalala I want to live in magic America with the Magic people" -- blur)so I'd find something to replace it with. Streak -- it just seems like a tool you can use to open a lot of different things with. Like a swiss army knife. Will -- well, if the Jesus scene had worked it would have stayed in. It was meant to imply that Jesus was -- as various characters state -- doin' just fine thank you very much. Stuart -- check out topic 104 (and before that, 73) for various long answers and explanations on Neverwhere. And no, i didn't british American Gods. They know about pants and sidewalks and parking lots. But the spelling is UK spelling -- which was more or less how I wrote it. ... Very very tired. in the UK. So far people seem to like the book...
Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 5 Jul 01 15:24
Get some rest. We'll ask more questions later.
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