2001 Nebula Award Appreciations

Heifetz, Merrilee. “2001 Nebula Awards appreciations: Toastmaster, Neil Gaiman .” Bulletin – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 35(1) (Summer 2001): 29.

I am convinced Neil Gaiman has magical powers.

I don’t mean the powers of a master storyteller, which he certainly has in spades, or the charm of a young, Jewish Paul McCartney who can bring in 700 people at a signing, but the actual ability to make the impossible happen. I cite the following:

In 1984, when Neil first asked me to represent him, he was writing comic books. Even though they were literary, stunning and ground-breaking comics, this still made him virtually invisible to the general book buying public. Nonetheless, he had big plans which included:

* Signing a million dollar book pub lishing contract

* Writing a national best-selling novel

* Signing with a major Hollywood agency who would get him screenwriting jobs and sell his film rights

I was blown away by his graphic novels and the other work he had done at this point. But how did he expect me to get a comic book writer this huge publishing contract? And then to become a best-selling author? Much less, a Hollywood screenwriter?

But he made it all happen, a step at a time, and one thing followed another, making sense and not really seeming miraculous. Until you stopped, and thought about it, the brilliant reviews, the enormous output, the sheer quality of his work – and…well… it had to make you wonder.

And now he has written his best book yet, American Gods, which is about what happens to the gods everyone has brought to our continent over the centuries, and then abandoned as they became assimilated. But the gods, being gods, are immortal and thus still stuck here, eking out an existence as things like prostitutes and cab drivers and …uh…transplanted English comic book writers?