Inkwell: Authors and Artists
JaNell (janell) Thu 5 Jul 01 20:13
A few people at the coffee shop found the 'Civil War' (or should that be 'War Between The States of Being?) taking place in a historic Civil War site very funny and apropos.
Maggie (missy-sedai) Thu 5 Jul 01 21:34
I hope you have plenty of resting time before the next leg of your whirlwind tour! No one has mentioned it here, so I figured I would: There are a number of people in AG who seem to refer to people in your other works - the confused girl with the dog (Delirium and Barnabas?) - the gothy girl (Death?) - the "fuck you" raven (loved him! Very Matthew-ish) - Stone and Wood (They're...painfully...polite <*grin*>, much in the manner of Croup and Vandemar. My friend doesn't see the resemblance, so maybe I'm insane, but they surely reminded me of C & V.) Was this on purpose, or did they just sort of sneak in there?
Jesse (erynn-miles) Fri 6 Jul 01 15:32
I was wondering why Shadow doesn't seem to know who he really is (his real name) throughout the book... Wonderful book, BTW Jesse
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Fri 6 Jul 01 17:11
Maggie -- well, it's possible the girl was Delirium, but there are a lot of girls like that on that street. The goth girl who owned her own top hat -- a tip of the top hat, I suppose, as much of a Samedi joke as a Death one. Raven -- I guess. Much less articulate than Matthew, though. Croup/vandermar Stone/Wood... I don't think so. Croup and Vandemar are never actually polite. They're oily at the best of times, and even then that's just Croup. jesse -- oh, he knows it, at least for the first two thirds of the book. He just doesn't use it. Probably he was teased too much as a kid. Not that Shadow's much better.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 6 Jul 01 17:17
It must have been a pretty awful name. Possibly not much of a loss to give it up.
Jesse (erynn-miles) Fri 6 Jul 01 17:43
Let me rephrase...Does he know that he's the god of Light and LOve? There's a part where he's talking to Czernobog about the difference between them and himself. Czernobog snickers. *They* (THe other gods) seem to know, but Shadow seems oblivious. I need to read it again.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 6 Jul 01 17:45
It seemed pretty clear to me that Shadow had no idea he was anything other than just this guy. But Neil can say for sure, if he wants to.
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Fri 6 Jul 01 17:53
Jesse -- he is?
Jesse (erynn-miles) Fri 6 Jul 01 19:45
I thought he was Baldur...Oh, nevermind.
Jesse (erynn-miles) Fri 6 Jul 01 19:48
But I guess I should have asked "*Why* does he not know?"
JaNell, still in awe... (janell) Fri 6 Jul 01 20:37
Neil, what is the significance of the tree, to the story, and to you? (Is that on topic enough, or should I ask elsewhere?)
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Jul 01 00:10
It's fully on topic.
Angelina Venti (velvetraisin) Sat 7 Jul 01 01:00
Jesse--Just wondering if you've read the entire book. If not, there is a scene involving Bast and Shadow that should explain what's going on pretty well. I think what happened there just kinda erased the name completely. Angelina (who is very enjoying sitting back and watching lovely topic 116)
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sat 7 Jul 01 04:15
JaNell -- well, it's a world tree. They have pretty deep roots, and you can hang things from them. And, of course, they can show you the passing of the seasons. Jesse -- I suppose for the same reason that most of us with names do not identify ourselves with our namesakes. He was born in Norway and had a Nowegian name that embarrassed him.
JaNell (janell) Sat 7 Jul 01 06:57
Neil- But there has to be more to it than that, in the book. At least to me... I'm aware of the different connotations of the tree, as a symbol, in various cultures (Knowledge, and the Tree of Life, in the Bible, for instance). But isn't it a symbol of sacrifice as well, of death and renewal? Were you just telling a story, in which case everything would be pretty straight forward, as your answers imply; or is it mythic, with the corresponding layers and depths of meaning? I'm so confused here...
Jesse (erynn-miles) Sat 7 Jul 01 07:09
Neil- Yes, but isn't he a god? If so, all of the others know they're gods, of course. Why doesn't he?
JaNell (janell) Sat 7 Jul 01 09:12
Jesse - I thought he'd figured that out by the end, surely... I'm beginning to wonder if Neil's being contrary in his answers... or if we're all reading in too much. Which just goes to show that, whatever an author meant to convey, that's not necessarily what individual readers will get out of it.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Jul 01 11:03
Some things in books can't be explained in so many words. Which is why it takes a whole book to say what you want to say instead of a short essay. But that's my reply, not Neil's!
Erynn Miles (erynn-miles) Sat 7 Jul 01 11:17
I think he's being vague possibly because he wants us to research some things for ourselves. And what Martha said. I can't wait to re-read The Book. It will probably be a completely different story the second time around...or third....
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Jul 01 11:22
I recognize where a lot of what Neil put into this book came from. I've missed at least as much as I've recognized, I suppose. My feeling is that the book has to work as its own myth, separate from the existing myths Neil used to craft it; and the myth the book makes, makes its own symbols and associations and feelings. Just as (if Neil doesn't mind being compared with Shakespeare for a bit), Shakespeare in many of his plays used existing stories, but made something new from them. Hamlet can be looked at as the old Revenger's tale it was made from. But some of Hamlet is simply Hamlet; and even in the many bits he took from earlier tales, everything old is new again because of the way he uses it. If Neil doesn't mind the comparison.
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 7 Jul 01 11:27
I have to tell you all how very much I am enjoying listening to this book on tape. George Guidall is SO good - he seamlessly becomes each character, including accents, intonations, cadence, and appropriate pitch for gender (and species!) and motivation and emotion and it just goes on and on. I would really love to know more about the process of making audio books, but that's another topic. What I really wanted to say is how much more I am getting out of the book listening to it this way. It's like I've never read this book before - what was I doing while I was reading it?? - with very few exceptions, it's all new. Of course, now I am paying much more attention to clues and nuances that I missed the first time around. Like the very brief and subtle "Down there" (I think it was) in Shadow's dream. Which I now understand perfectly well, of course. The other thing I am paying attention to is, who are the gods, and finding that I am woefully far from my education regarding mythology of various kinds. It never occured to me that Shadow himself might be a god! But it's all setting me up for all sorts of synchronicities in real life. For example, a friend and I took a play day on Thursday, and one of the places we went was the Rosicrucian museum where I finally got to make the connection between Annubis and Thoth. I am sure that the people standing around me when I made this discovery thought I was some kind of nut. And, I was listening to the part of the book where the Ifrit is driving a taxi in NY, and he mentions to Saleem (is that how you spell it? Can't tell when listening to a tape!) the city of Ubar, and seems to imply that's where he's from, which puzzles Saleem since it's an ancient city and no longer in existence. Then, I come inside and while I'm eating dinner, I'm reading _Declare_ by Tim Powers, and I get to the this passage that says that Wabar is also called Ubar and "...that Wabar had been a kingdom of djinn..." Fortunately, I've been doing a lot of driving lately, which is providing me with lots of opportunities to immerse myself in the book.
Dan Wilson (stagewalker) Sat 7 Jul 01 11:35
Hrm... granted, this is Neil's question to answer... but I don't think Shadow could be a god... after all, when he's taken "behind the scenes" he acts as any other mortal would. Even after his experience on the tree, Mr. Nancy is concerned to get him back to the world of mortals quickly because it's not good for Shadow to spend too much time behind the scenes. If Shadow was a god, then it wouldn't matter a pair of dingo's kidneys if he was behind the scenes or not. It may be that his bloodline allows him to spend some time back there, but he certainly isn't a creature of belief ... ...although the comment of Anubis that the gods believed in Shadow is one that I'm still trying to puzzle out.
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 7 Jul 01 11:53
One thing is for certain: this book gives us a lot to puzzle over!
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sat 7 Jul 01 12:37
JaNell -- certainly there has to be room for things to mean more than they literally mean, or what is fiction for? I'm not entirely sure that things are as either-or as you seem to suggest. Martha -- thank you. Linda -- I was really enjoying it on tape myself, and I wrote it. George does an amazing job. The only character he took at a different sort of angle than I would have done was Laura. Dan -- It may well be my place to provide answers, but I was happy enough providing the book. I think everything's in there.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Jul 01 12:46
Neil, your first comment in that post is ever so much more economical and useful than what I just said. Thanks. I know you weren't able to use all the god interludes you wrote, in the final version of the book. How many extra were there, and how did you make the cut?
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