Odd is a kid who smiles all the time, even after his father dies. The village people do Not understand him. Then he attempts to use his father’s giant axe, and in the process injures his leg; he builds himself a crutch and drags himself home. His mother remarries a man who doesn’t care for Odd. But Odd perseveres, using the talents he has, he is able to help out the Norse gods, Odin, Loki, and Thor, who have been turned into different animals. This was a fun short read.
Black Orchid tells or retells the story of one of DC comic’s superheroes (or superheroines). The Black Orchid had appeared in DC Comics of the 1970′s. Neil Gaiman performs a twist on the usual narrative of a superhero. The story begins with our superhero getting killed in the beginning pages. Then a former friend uses the woman’s DNA to create a plant/human hybrid, that has different superpowers. It is a very violent story, with death upon death of the both the good and the bad guys. Lex Luther is the main bad guy, while other superheroes/villains make cameo appearances. This title is credited with helping to break the way for less traditional graphic novels.
Apparently the Harlequin is a stock character in European and British theater specifically, the Commedia dell’Arte format – along with a whole host of other characters – including Columbine – his love interest. In this retelling of the Harlequin’s usual story, Gaiman adds a twist to the standard narrative. Even though I was not familiar with the standard narrative, I could see that giving the woman powers and moving her into a main character status is a twist on the standard narrative where the woman is often the object, and Not the subject. Interesting piece.
One of fiction’s most audaciously original talents, Neil Gaiman now gives us a mythology for a modern age — complete with dark prophecy, family dysfunction, mystical deceptions, and killer birds. Not to mention a lime.
God is dead. Meet the kids.
When Fat Charlie’s dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie “Fat Charlie.” Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can’t shake that name, one of the many embarrassing “gifts” his father bestowed — before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie’s life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie’s doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who’s going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun … just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie’s dad wasn’t just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times bestseller, American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny — a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King’s glowing assessment of the author as “a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him.”
“M is for magic. All the letters are, if you put them together properly.” This tasty tidbit is from Neil Gaiman’s introduction to the book, and wonderfully sums up my view of most of his writing. He has a way of stringing letters together which makes the mundane magical, or at the least, a bit odd. I like a bit odd, and so enjoyed this collection of short stories. It also was interesting to compare stories written earlier in his career to more recent ones, both of which are in this collection. I had read a couple of these tales before, and one in particular (The Witch’s Headstone) became a chapter in Gaiman’s 2009 Newbery winner, The Graveyard Book. Short stories are a great introduction to an author, and so if you are one of the five people not familiar with Neil Gaiman, this collection is a decent place to start. Although it is a collection intended for younger readers, the content is pretty mature, including older cultural references I doubt young readers will understand.
When late returning home from a trip to the market for milk, a father explains to his children why he was delayed. A simple setup for an inventive (and hilarious) science fiction adventure story, told as only Neil Gaiman can. Or, possibly, as Douglas Adams would have, because Gaiman seems to be channeling his spirit. The adventures take the father through familiar time-travelling tropes, but the fun is in how Gaiman ties it all together with a neat bow at the end. I especially like his various descriptions for gelatinous aliens. The illustrations are by Skottie Young, and are as funny as the text.
Mom has gone away to a conference leaving dad in charge. She left instructions, but those don’t seem to be working out very well. It is breakfast time and there is no milk for the kids’ cereal and no milk for dad’s tea. So it is off to the store for dad. It takes ages and ages and when he finally gets back he has a story to tell. It involves aliens, dinosaurs, pirates, time travel, hot air balloons, pretty ponies, vampires and so much more. But the milk takes center stage in every aspect of the story and fortunately makes it home for the cereal and tea.
This is Neil Gaiman at his most irreverent and creative. It is a story that just gets more and more preposterous as it goes along. Dad is clearly making stuff up to make his prolonged trip seem more reasonable and he does a great job of it. I loved the rambling nature of the story and the pure silliness of it. The illustrations were wonderful and really helped bring the story to life. I can just imagine the kids listening to dad tell his story and rolling their eyes or breathlessly waiting for the next big thing to happen.
“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”
“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”
Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.
Another wonderful tale by Neil Gaiman. The 7 year old protagonist has his world turned upside down and inside out, when malignant forces seep/invade his world. At the end of the Lane is the Hempstock farmhouse live the 3 crones who protect the world and keep problematic forces where they belong.
I found it delightful how central books were to the protagonists life, the part about jumping into trees or onto poles, reminded me of myself, I thought jumping into a tree would be quite feasible, though I’d never seen a real person do so. I wonder at Gaiman’s connection to his parents during childhood, given that so many of Gaiman’s tales feature disconnected parents. Especially since the dedication to his new wife Amanda Palmer, something to the effect – so you can understand … hmmm.
At the end of the novel, I had to return to the beginning chapter in an attempt to fill in a couple blanks. Was it his Father’s funeral?
The premise of the series of interlinked short stories is that the in-between town aka Bordertown where elves and humans can co-exist has been closed to travel between the realms for the last 13 years, and has now opened up again [its also been 13 years since the previous Bordertown collection of short stories]. What was 13 days in Bordertown itself, was 13 years in the World (of humans). The short stories are really a mixed bag. A couple focused on the theme of immigrants in the US. Many focused on the problem of Elf Superiority – or the racism of the elves.
I didn’t care for Ours is the Prettiest by Nalo Hopkinson (didn’t really fit in this world), nor We do NOT come in Peace by Christopher Barzak (protagonist is soo depressed). But most disappointing was the Neil Gaiman piece was just a short poem, and imho not a very good one, I couldn’t wait til it ended.