Robin Wallace-Crabbe, “Marooned by the past.” , The Australian, 10-27-2001, pp B11
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (Hodder Headline, 504pp, $29.95) is his best, principally because there’s something true beneath its froth of sci-fi invention. This truth is the presence of ancient gods of the kind Richard Wagner liked, who accompanied travellers to the new world and became alienated there, out of sorts in a civilisation dominated by the internet, credit cards, television, the whole box and dice of pseudo reality. A man named Shadow gets out of prison. His wife has just died in a crash. On empty, he is adopted by Wednesday — on the surface just one more mad old guy. Shadow doesn’t want Wednesday’ s attention, but he is offered something like a job, so he goes with the flow towards pronouncements of a great storm coming. Next he’s zooming among the planets with a bunch of retiree gods while riding a road novel phantasmagoria. We accompany long-ago convicts to the US and get to rob banks while bouncing from black humour to the tragedy of techno life.
“Pandora.”,Independent, 11-13-2001, pp 4
A brilliant money-making scheme from Hodder Headline. The publisher is running a promotion on American Gods by Neil Gaiman, promising it to be “as good as Stephen King or your money back”. The offer has so far elicited only two responses, reports TheBookseller, and neither has grasped the refund principle. One customer did not want to return the book but asked for a refund anyway, while the second wrote: “I simply cannot justify spending only pounds 10 on the novel, it was that good. I thereforeenclose a cheque for pounds 7.99, bringing the amount I have paid up to the full pounds 17.99 cover price.”
Mark Graham, “BRIEF REVIEWS.” ,Denver Rocky Mountain News, 11-02-2001, pp 29D.
DARK DREAMERS: Facing the Masters of Fear
Photography by Beth Gwinn; commentary by Stanley Wiater; introduction by Clive Barker (Cemetery Dance Publications, $40).
When you read a scary book, do you ever wonder what the author looks like or feels as he or she puts the words on the paper? You may find a little photo and a biographical blurb on the dust jacket, but aside from Stephen King and a few others, we know little about those who scare us because, as Clive Barker says in his introduction to Dark Dreamers, “(the authors are) people who have in many cases chosen their profession because it allowed them some place to hide.’ ‘
This new coffee-table-sized book will give readers insights into many of their favorite dark fantasy authors, artists and moviemakers.
Beth Gwinn has spent two decades photographing nearly all the significant (and some upcoming) practitioners of the genre, and her subtle portraits speak volumes. In addition, interviewer Stanley Wiater accompanies each photograph with a short quote from the subjects, revealing something significant concerning their feelings about their art. Among the 105 creative masters portrayed in the book are such luminary authors as King, Barker, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Dan Simmons and Neil Gaiman; artists such as Bernie Wrightson, Gahan Wilson and H.R. Giger; and filmmakers Wes Craven, John Carpenter and Christopher Lee. Despite their varied poses, these “dark dreamers” seem to share a common look. As Barker writes in the introduction, “Whatever shape genetics has lent our faces, whatever lines experience has etched on our skin, there is a certain dreaminess in the eyes of many of our company.”
If you’re a dreamer yourself, you’ll want this guide to the stuff dreams are made of. Grade: A