Neil Gaiman is an award winning author, of both children’s and adult’s fiction, with rather messy hair and a spectacular imagination. He also writes for screen, radio and comics.
The first Gaiman novel I encountered was Stardust. Having been brought up on a literary diet of Harry Potter, J.R.R Tolkien and Paul Stewart, it is unsurprising that I was enchanted (excuse the fantasy pun) by Tristran Thorne’s foolhardy adventures beyond the wall. Fairie is the most dangerous, alluring fantasy world I have ever come across, with its seductive laughter and eerie colours; it lures you in, and you don’t want to find your way out again.
As well as alluding to fairytale and folklore, Gaiman also plays on the mythical relationships between Gods and Men. American Gods and Anansi Boys are two examples of myth and the modern world colliding with magical consequences.
Another beautiful literary amalgamation is Good Omens, co-written by Terry Pratchett. If you enjoy Armageddon and good dose of dark comedy, this is the book for you. This collaboration, and many of Gaiman’s solo novels appeal to my dry, droll sense of humour. While reading Good Omens I both laughed aloud and smirked in quiet appreciation. Satisfying spine-tingles are another side effect of reading his books. However, Coraline should not be a children’s story! Crawling down a tunnel into a parallel universe of button eyed people is the stuff of nightmares.
I have a huge amount of admiration for Gaiman’s creations, but they do make me despair at my own writing; it will never be as witty or imaginative. My fantasy worlds will never be as seductive, the characters so beautifully developed. My obsession with fantasy and fairy tale means that I foolishly continue to try and emulate his style. Wish me luck.
Words by Becci Tate Fitzjohn
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