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Gaiman's American Gods Wins Hugo

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  • by mikeplokta (223052) on Monday September 02, 2002 @10:33AM (#4183800)
    Would you like some cheese with your whine?


    It amazes me how narrow-minded scifis are about what is pure and what is not.


    American Gods is no closer to being "pure" science fiction (whatever that may be) than last year's winner, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. So it's possible that he just thinks it's a better book, and isn't pursuing some purist political agenda.

  • by iapetus (24050) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:05AM (#4183917) Homepage
    Apt thread title. :)

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - according to Arthur C Clarke, anyway. The line dividing science fiction and fantasy is a *lot* narrower than some purists would like us to believe - while there are plenty of sci-fi books/shows in which the science is an integral part of the story, there are just as many where it really is indistinguishable from magic, and where you could substitute the rayguns and spacecraft with wands of lightning and flying ships without really affecting the story.

    You've mentioned one example yourself, which you're trying to excuse just because it falls under the 'sci-fi' banner - Jedi have mystical powers. So why on earth is it fine when Luke summons his lightsaber to his hand, but evil when Harry Potter summons his broomstick to his? Jedi even experience a life-beyond-death that is firmly set outside the Christian world view - but that's okay because it's science fiction?

    And frankly it's sheer arrogance to say that you haven't read a book and then try to make value judgements on it. You refuse to read Harry Potter books because they're fantasy? Fine, your loss. But don't go telling me whether they deserve a Hugo award, because you don't know.

    Oh, and don't check out American Gods. It's full of terribly un-Christian things - gods from a variety of pantheons, magic, that sort of thing. I'm sure you'll be able to tell us how good it was without reading a single page anyway.

    And while you're at it, you'd better steer clear of C S Lewis and his Narnia books, because fantasy is bad, right? Don't let the fact that he's probably one of the most convincing Christian authors of modern times get in your way.
  • by tuxedo-steve (33545) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:19AM (#4183976)
    Troll 1. v.,n. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames. (Source [tuxedo.org])

    Now, ignoring the Usenet bit, tell me the poster wasn't trolling with this:
    Neil Gaiman won this year's Hugo for his novel American Gods.
    A much better choice than last year.
    (Referring to Harry Potter).

    Slashdot editors and story submitters really need to start restraining themselves from editorialising in the story itself. That's what the comment section is for. That's what would be professional.

    This isn't intended to be a troll. Now mod me into oblivion.
  • by palmech13 (59124) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:20AM (#4183988) Homepage
    I've been a fan of Gaiman for a few years, and can remember being excited at finding Neverwhere ("a whole novel!") a few years back. But it just wasn't that good. The whole thing felt a little flat, and while it did seem to want to be a bit like Alice in Wonderland, it just didn't come close. See Coraline for a better attempt.

    American Gods, on the other hand, was a fabulous book. Lots of Gaimanesque details and twists, but felt like it hung together much better. Anyhow, differences of opinion I suppose.

    Congrats to Gaiman. It is well deserved.
  • by sputnik73 (579595) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:21AM (#4183996)
    While I am basically fond of American Gods, I did have a few quarrels with it. For those of you who haven't read the book, it's in the vein of the Odyssey in that you have a protagonist who is sent from one locale to another, dealing with gods and operating at their whim. The particular gods square off in two different camps - the modern gods and the old gods. The old gods are the standard mythological gods that we all know and love. The modern gods are the modern items we all need in our lives - television, the Internet, beauty, etc. My problem with it was that Gaimain seemed, at some points, to be making up rules for his world, not because they seemed like the way things would be in such a world, but because they were useful rules for him to have in order to advance the plot. In a word, some sections felt contrived. That being said, I thought the writing was superb and that not only was it an entertaining read, it also had very comedic moments. I also really enjoyed the ending [which I will not give away] but let me just say that it was a fun little twist that really wrapped things up nicely. And while I did enjoy the ending, that may have been partially responsible for my feeling that the book was a bit contrived. Oh, also look out for the inclusion of a dead woman walking the Earth. Clive Barker had a similar character in The Damnation Game and both texts do a nice job of showing just what problems someone who is dead runs into when they're not allowed to lie in the ground. All in all, it was one of the better books I've read in the previous year and would suggest you pick it up. After all, it's in paperback now and that's nearly free!
  • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot.castlesteelstone@us> on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:30AM (#4184036) Homepage Journal
    Sci Fi is NOT fantasy.

    Actually, in a very roundabout way, it is.

    The line between what is "science fiction" and what is "fantasy" is often a moot point. They're both books about worlds that are not and probably never will be, and have (almost) identical target audiences. It used to be that they were just one catagory, but then fantasy broke off on its own--although they still carry the same stigmas, and they still are stocked in the same sections in some stores.

    As for the so-called witchcraft in Harry Potter... there's no more real withcraft in there than there was in Star Wars or anything C.S. Lewis ever wrote. In fact, there's more anit-Christian moments in American Gods.

    You should give Harry Potter a chance. It's a fun book, with more than a few christian or nearly-christian themes, even if God is a bit absent. But if you refuse to give "Harry Potter" a chance because of its "witchcraft" themes, can you at least be consistent and stay away from Star Wars, Star Trek, American Gods, Babylon 5, everything Asimov wrote, and just about all the other avenues of Science Fiction ever written? They ALL have rather blatant anti-Christian messages, and are filled with blasphemy, aside from a very small minority.

    As for Harry Potter being a fad... there's still two or three books in the pipe, as well as another movie coming out next year. You don't see anything in the media about Harry Potter now because (1) it's not longer news and (2) the next movie/book isn't out for awhile, so advertising would be moot.

    (Oh, and on a side note, I'm rather certain that seeing the future, preaching, guided-action, levitation, and telekinesis are all historically "witchraft" activiites, while shootling lightning bolts from one's hands didn't get there until D&D and its contemporaries entered print.)
  • by bons (119581) on Monday September 02, 2002 @12:11PM (#4184214) Homepage Journal
    If you don't like the results, go to the Worldcon [worldcon.org] and vote [worldcon.org]. It's not that hard. Preregister in advance to save the money, find some friends, get a hotel room, and have a good time.

    Some people take their fun way too seriously. The hugos are a classic example of this. It's just a vote by a group of geeks attenting a yearly international party. Your local mayor probably gets more voter turnout in the local election.

    See you at Torcon [torcon3.on.ca].

  • Re:Sheesh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kalidasa (577403) on Monday September 02, 2002 @02:12PM (#4184743) Journal

    Yes, because we know that anything that is popular is automatically bad. And of course we know that anything obscure and unread by the masses is automatically better.

    You really think American Gods is obscure and unread by the masses? Sorry, but unread and obscure books don't get on the New York Times Bestseller List.

    I will never, ever, understand why certain people must hate anything that a lot of other people happen to like (see also: movies, Titanic).

    Titanic is a bad movie, period. Has nothing to do with its popularity. Most of the people who liked it have very underdeveloped taste. Star Wars was a good movie, and it was quite popular. Apocalypse Now was a great movie, and it was popular. So was the Godfather. So was Schindler's List.

    Let's see: which is better, Power Rangers or Dune? I'd gather that Power Rangers is a lot more widely known. . .

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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