Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Gaiman has become a highly visible writer in the science fiction/fantasy field with pretty impeccable taste, an accessible prose style, a good sense of humor and sense of wonder. This has deservedly gained him vast popularity outside of the genre. I once saw hints once of an ambitious writer. His first two books Neverwhere and Stardust were a little clunky at time showing that they had been pulled together from other mediums, and his comic book work had some amazing stuff in it even though I never fully fell for Sandman (never fully worked for me but certain storylines where remarkable). Then American Gods which was a very ambitious epic possibly a bit derivative of Tim Powers but savage and wonderful as Power’s work, and up there with his peers and friends Kathy Acker and Alan Moore. It was a thoroughly ambitious but accessible novel that rightly placed him in the literary firmament. . Since then it has been comic novels, books for children, movie scripts, and unsuccessful returns to comics, and plenty of blogging and twittering. Now we this charming little book, one that started as a short story and probably could have stayed that way. It has great ideas and characters and was a thoroughly engrossing read but could have been an equally great short story, doesn’t quite justify being a novel. I still have this concern looking over his recent career that we are witnessing a talent in full coasting mode.

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