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Thu, 09 Jul 2009 09:14
As Mark is galivanting in London, I thought I'd write a blog (it's Kieron Smith here, btw!) about one of my favourite writers Neil Gaiman...
I think I came to Neil Gaiman through a very strange route, in that the very last thing I've read by him was The Sandman. My somewhat meandering journey started with his collaborative work with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, and then to Coraline, Anansi Boys (the fantastic audio version read by Lenny Henry) and then the children's books The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls which I read to my son. Along the way I saw the films Stardust and Coraline.
As a result I had a sort of revelation that there was this guy producing all this great imaginative stuff that pretty much defied classification and crossed media and ages more than any other living writer I knew. Then I found out that a lot of Neil's work was in the graphic novel format, and because I don't read that format normally, I gave the Sandman series a go. The first book is odd, probably a little more "out there" than the other things I've read by him, but undeniably good, and I will read more in the series.
To me there seems to be one thing that emerges from all his work -- other than the technical brilliance of the writing and his creativity -- and that is the overriding feeling that the fantastical is there, next to you, only a hair's breadth away, whether it be through a hole in a wall, an old sealed door, in the wall space, or as you slip into your dreams... Neil brings this extra layer to life alive and makes it his own wonderfully, it can be dark but also playful and funny.
I have (I must stress I don't do this normally) a Coraline figurine in her yellow raincoat, on my desk at work, who looks at me quizzically throughout the day, I'm not sure what that says, but I'm glad she's there.
Neil Gaiman is on Twitter: @neilhimself. And I'm on Twitter too: @KieronJS (yes, only about 718,000 followers fewer than the popular Mr Gaiman!)
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