Another for the Don't Bother Reading list

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Another for the Don't Bother Reading list

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Nov 28, 2006, 1:31pm

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. The guy must have been on LSD.

I hate it when an author throws in everything but the kitchen sink to make sure he has something there to satisfy everyone's taste.

And please, don't use sex to move the plot along. That's something Diana Gabaldon needs to hear.

Nov 28, 2006, 1:40pm

American Gods wasn't too bad.

Yes, the plot was weak and it kind of came crashing to an end..

I did like the characters though. It was interesting seeing those mythological beings in a modern world-view.

Nov 28, 2006, 1:54pm

I thought I was the only one in the world who couldn't get through this dawg. Everyone I know raves and raves about Gaiman. I just don't get it.

Nov 28, 2006, 2:05pm

I loved American Gods. If you didn't like this, don't bother with Anansi Boys, it follows on from it.

Nov 28, 2006, 2:16pm

Anansi Boys is a very different book, actually. American Gods is darkish fantasy, Anansi Boys is primarily a comedy. I've heard of people who didn't like the former loving the latter. So it's still worth a shot. But if you don't like Gaiman, the point might still be lost on you.

Nov 28, 2006, 3:59pm

One may think a certain book has a weak plot - for another person it's not the plot but the idea that makes the book interesting; or a plot may seem weak because one doesn't share the same knowledge or belong to another culture or don't grasp the key concepts or...

And - where is the sex (as in sexual intercourse) in American Gods? Or is my memory straying?

Modifié : Nov 28, 2006, 4:09pm

There was some sex, more in passing than actually described. Mr. Wednesday was a horny old dawg. Shadow had an encounter with Bast. And there was one goddess (Biltris?) that had a couple of encounters but she was a SEX goddess. So no surprise there. I think there was a total of ten (?) pages that had sex in them.

While I don't feel AG had a sex driven plot, I'm not one to turn up my nose at a book that does. But then I'm a horny old dawgette. :)

(Edited: dawgeezer?)

Nov 28, 2006, 4:16pm

I know Neil has mentioned in his journal that he really doesn't like to write sex. He's actually a bit embarrassed to even try.

Nov 28, 2006, 4:19pm

Neil Gaiman himself wrote in his blog once that he doesn't particularly like to write sex scenes and doesn't think he does a very good job of it (if memory serves well). That he usually avoids them and leaves it to those who write them well, but that sometimes a story just asks for it and if it is needed he will write it. It's been a few years since I read American Gods and I didn't even remember there was a sex scene in it. So to me it wasn't a cause for annoyance, or excitement...
But then I simply love everything Gaiman has written. And American Gods to me wasn't about a good plot, but about the gods. I love mythology, legends and fairy tales, and I think you probably get more out of his books if you have an interest and a basic knowledge in those things.

Nov 28, 2006, 4:23pm

>And American Gods to me wasn't about a good plot, but about the gods.

I rather felt the same. I liked the idea of the gods roaming the world but didn't think it was spectacularly written. It was an average read.

Modifié : Nov 28, 2006, 4:27pm

Perhaps he's not referring to American Gods.

>And please, don't use sex to move the plot along. That's something Diana Gabaldon needs to hear.

In that particular case, it is a romance novel. Reading a romance novel and expecting to not have at least a bit of a sex driven plot is like reading a cookbook and expecting it to not have any recipes.

(Edited for grammar)

Nov 28, 2006, 5:19pm

>5 lampbane: - I found American Gods pretty funny too; I found Anansi Boys very dark in places. They are and aren't similar, I guess; the use of e.g. mythology and attitude to religion aren't going to be well-received in one by someone who didn't like them in the other, I suspect. I've not yet found anyone who liked AB that didn't like AG, but I've found a few people who greatly disliked both. Their loss.

Nov 28, 2006, 5:38pm

I think the New York Times reviewer who did Anansi Boys admitted he was not a big fan of American Gods. I think Neil posted a few other reviews that said the same thing, but I could be wrong. I'm just being too lazy to check. ;)

Nov 29, 2006, 2:57am

In the one Diana Gabaldon I have read she did over use sex firstly gratutiously. Which I have no real objection to, I am aware intellectually that it is a irrelevent diversion but on the other hand hey its sex! how can I object. especially in a romance. but secondly and more importantly as a plot element. One half of the cast seemed to be sexually menaced by the other half.

Déc 21, 2006, 3:39pm

I always thought of Gaiman as a horror writer, but then again, I had never tried to read anything by him so I could still be wrong :) I did, however, try to read American Gods earlier this year, and ended up giving up not so far into it. Don't think his style or choice of subject was up my alley.

I might give Anansi Boys a try though....I'm always game for something new.

Déc 24, 2006, 11:36am

Neil Gaiman is a comic book writer and can't do anything better. His stuff is shallow and episodic. I have yet to read a decent book by him and I have read 3 or 4. He also ruined Good Omens the book he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett.

American Gods is the last book of his that I will try.

Conversely, he is a great public speaker, very funny and engaging. Love to listen to him, but his books are IMO only good for kindling. Other's mileage may vary.

Déc 24, 2006, 3:32pm

Well, taste is personal - Good Omens is one of the funniest books I've ever read :-)

Mai 6, 2007, 1:54pm

Well, I rather liked Murder Mysteries by Gaiman.

Mai 7, 2007, 3:02pm

Gaiman's short stories are probably a bit better than his novels. I finally read Fragile Things, and the first story in it, "A Study in Emerald", really had me wanting more. I can't say the same for the rest of the collection, particularly the newish story printed in it, "How to Talk to Girls at Parties." I didn't like that one so much.

Some months ago I was reading an issue of Eternals and I came to realize that his characters have this tendency to talk the same.

Juin 20, 2007, 5:53pm

I find it interesting that you feel he "ruined" Good Omens. Inevitably, any time two authors share writing duties, the fans of one get on the case of the other. My question to you is this: Can you really distinguish which author wrote which parts of the book to enough of an extent to state that one of them bears the responsibility of ruining said book? Please don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to be argumentative. I truly am curious, because I can very rarely tell beyond the scope of a few lines here and there who wrote what.

Modifié : Sep 13, 2007, 1:51am


I take great exception to your statement:

"Neil Gaiman is a comic book writer and can't do anything better."

So you're saying comic books are trash and straight fiction is necessarily of higher quality. It is incredibly short sighted and petty of you to write off and entire literary genre. Actually, comics are not even a genre, but just a slightly different way of telling stories. They encompass as wide a variety of genres and distinct literary styles as traditional novels. I think you'll find that while there are still Archie and Superman comics, if you bothered to read some modern comic books you will find quality and something for every taste.

Now, I am a big fan of Gaiman's and American Gods as well as his other works. So I'd like to address your problems. Besides unsupported insults your only specific criticisms are that his writing is episodic and shallow. I do agree with other posters that Gaiman's true calling is writing short stories. However, when most people criticism's something as being episodic they mean that it has no novel spanning plot or over arching themes. While American Gods includes sections not directly about the main character, they are all in service to a main plot involving the state of ancient Gods in American and reinforce the major themes. And as for shallow, these major themes and motifs include such lightweight fare as what makes a hero, the relationship of fathers and sons, the meaning of death, the conflict between classical and modern values, and cultural identity in a country of immigrants. And he doesn't take the easy road of making even traditionally "evil" and "good" gods wholly good or evil.

Sep 23, 2007, 7:08am

Hmm whatever Gaimen's failings as a writer he is capable of giving distinctive voices to his characters.

Anassi Boys Shows this particularily well.

Sep 23, 2007, 7:54am

I hated American Gods, I could barely get halfway through it before I gave my copy away as a lost cause.