From the Chicago Tribune:

Creating words and worlds

Neil Gaiman, author of the fantasy series “The Sandman,” said Tolkien “exists outside the orthodox canon of literature. You can’t put him in a box.”

Like Lippert, Gaiman believes that Tolkien’s commercial success is what drove his critics to jealous fury. “If the book had never become a huge commercial phenomenon, the book would have remained well-respected. There’s something about fantasy that rubs critics the wrong way — and so does popularity.”

For Gaiman, though, Tolkien’s achievement is inarguable. “The Lord of the Rings,” he said, “sits like a towering monument among imaginative literature. Tolkien was a philologist who started out creating a language and then ended up creating worlds to put his language in.”

Tolkien, who spent his adult life as a professor of Old and Middle English at Oxford University, from all accounts was bedazzled by languages. As Gaiman noted, many people believe that the chance to create new languages — the dialects and pronunciations of various Elven tongues — were what really drove Tolkien to concoct his mythical world. The story was secondary. And it is the painstaking intricacy of that world — its lists of inhabitants with odd-sounding yet resonant names, its complex weave of legends and songs and dark foreshadowings — that make it enthralling for millions of readers, even those born into a cyber-world of which even Tolkien could not have dreamed.

Full citation: Julia Keller, “Three ‘Ring’ Circus over Tolkien”. Chicago Tribune.


There’s a positive review of the American Gods audiobook in this Times Picayune article from December 16th.


Penguin Putnam has put out a trade paperback of Good Omens with new cover art.


The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has nominated Doll’s House, Season of Mists, and Death: The High Cost Of Living for their best Popular Paperback Graphic Novels of 2002.


From USA Today from December 5th:

Neil Gaiman, author and Web logger. He’s hooked on Amazon’s British site, where he can get books, videos and CDs not available in the USA. “I can introduce my friends to the joys of shows they would otherwise have to wait years for,” he says. His favorite non-book site is Thai Supermarket ( “And as an Englishman, The British Express ( is the best place in America for ordering a good British cup of tea. Or at least the teabags.”

Full citation: Janet Kornblum. “Notables of Net share favorites.” , USA Today, 12-05-2001, pp 08E.