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Gaiman's American Gods Wins Hugo 194

Posted by Hemos
from the winning-the-prizes dept.
H.I. McDonnough writes "Neil Gaiman won this year's Hugo for his novel American Gods. A much better choice than last year. " If you are a curious, check out the review I did on it.
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Gaiman's American Gods Wins Hugo

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  • by jamie (78724) <jamie@slashdot.org> on Monday September 02, 2002 @09:51AM (#4183855) Journal
    I found a copy of one of his influential stories online.

    Ralph 124C 41+, chapter 1 [twd.net]
    chapter 2 [twd.net]
    chapter 3 [twd.net]

  • Neverwhere (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Monday September 02, 2002 @10:04AM (#4183911) Homepage Journal

    I enjoyed "American Gods" well enough, but I thought it was not up to the par with his earlier work, "Neverwhere."

    With the Norse pantheon and American tourist attraction motifs of "American Gods," I kept feeling like it was trying to be too serious for its airy fantasy blend of Douglas Adams' Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (the second Dirk Gently book), and LucasArt's Sam and Max Hit the Road graphical adventure game. The narrative is just disjoint enough that reading this book aloud would just lose some of the punch, I think.

    Conversely, "Neverwhere" seemed to have fanciful influences from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Mary Poppins, where the delusional whimsy was a cover for the sinister trappings of a far more grave underworld that is best kept out of view. The bounds of the action are easily tracked and scenes segue smoothly, making Neverwhere a great story to read aloud to an older child or a spouse.

    But that's just my opinion, and surely, both are quite palatable, and congrats to Neil Gaiman on his well-deserved accolades.

  • by skroz (7870) on Monday September 02, 2002 @10:09AM (#4183933) Homepage
    Some definitions by the masters

    Ben Bova :

    "1. Science fiction stories are those in which some aspect of future science or technology is so integral to the stroy that, if you take away the science or technology, the story collapses...
    2. Science fiction writers are free to extrapolate from today's knowledge and to invent anything they can imagine -- so long as no one can prove that what they have 'invented' is wrong."

    Isaac Asimov :
    "In my view, the best science fiction, the only valid science fiction and the science fiction I try to write depends on legitimate science rationally extrapolated. If something is wrong, distored and illogical, it cannot be categorized as science fiction, any more than noise can be called music or a used paint rag a painting."

    So by these definitions, Harry Potter ain't SF. Then again, neither is American Gods.
  • by skroz (7870) on Monday September 02, 2002 @10:15AM (#4183954) Homepage
    One interesting side effect of these definitions... what happens to Sci Fi if the science is disproven at a later date? Is "The Time Machine" still science fiction? What about much of Clark and Asimov's work that has been disproven by later scientific developments? Hell, what about 90% of what David "I don't know how to end a book" Brin writes?
  • Re:Neverwhere (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dokta_C (325729) on Monday September 02, 2002 @10:18AM (#4183973)
    If you enjoyed the Lewis Carroll influences, I'd suggest your pick up Gaimans' new book "Coraline". I'd forgotten just how terrifying buttons can be.
  • by Roblimo (357) on Monday September 02, 2002 @10:38AM (#4184083) Homepage Journal
    And yet... Robert Heinlein's old novella, "Magic Inc." was fantasy in the sense that it was based on the postulate that magic worked and was part of everyday business life, but could also be considered "alternate timeline" science fiction, because other than magic working, the story was about American small-town "main street" business and politics as they existed when the story was written.

    "What if?" is the basic question asked by most of the science fiction I enjoy. What it is asked about can be almost anything: "What if dragons not only existed, but could become partners with selected humans?" is an example, as is "What if we had faster than light travel and met up with an interesting alien civilization?"

    - Robin
  • Good news, bad news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adso (469590) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:14AM (#4184233)
    The good news is that an amazing book won the award, the bad news is that it beat out another amazing book: China Mieville's Perdido Street Station.
    This is the first time in years where some books I have read have showed up as nominations ( I read Chronoliths as well, but it was so-so). American Gods and Perdido St. represent (to me) the best things to come out of the SCI-Fi genre in a long, long time.
    My love for these books aside, I think the arguements over whether these books are actually Canonical Science Fiction are ridiculous. The genre will stagnate (if it hasn't already) if authors are limited to space operas or extrapolating the latest sci-tech flavor (hmmm, I got it, nanopunk! or how about genomepunk?). Neal Stephenson has moved beyond the genre for the most part, and his books keep getting better. Gaiman and Mieville's work are obviously pushing the boundaries of what is or is not science fiction and this is something to be embraced.
    As a bonus, both of these books have covers that are actually interesting (Perdido more so that AG). It's nice to be able to read a book in public which doesn't have a cover that looked like someone moonlighting from Harlequin Romances designed it.
  • Re:Magic Realism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by darkPHi3er (215047) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:44AM (#4184398) Homepage
    "I don't really see magic realism as being a 'sub-genre' of science fiction or fantasy. I'd rather see it as a development of the 60s and 70s (through the works of, for example, Calvino, Angela Carter, Marquez, and later, Rushdie) experiments in novel writing."

    exactly, if you want to go back to James Joyce's "Ulysses" and "The Dubliners", 20th century author's have been struggling with ways to mix metaphorical "alternate realities" to so-called "mainstream" writing.

    i think there is a fairly direct link from Joyce to Gaiman, and it passes the writers you mention, with Rushdie and Marquez (if you haven't read "100 Years of Solitude", you missing out on a great (if really twisted) book) being the best commercially known.

    But, there is also much of this literary approach present, in the Sci-Fi genre, in both the "Dr. Who" series and Doug Adams' "Hitchhiker" series.

    You could also make a pretty good case for ELEMENTS of this approach in Heinlein's last few (post-stroke) books; "Friday", "Number of the Beast" and "Cat Who Walked through Walls", as alternative realities abound.

    And some of Harlan's short stories like "Repent Harlequin, Said the Tick-Tock Man" (the story ROCKS, BTW), mix reality and fantasy, though are more psychological in approach.

    I liked "Neverwhere" and found "American Gods" oddly affecting, but Mr. Gaiman's "Neverwhere" seemed to another of the mixture of the "LOTR, D&D, Snakes & Ladders RPG" type of writing that's been leaking out of Britain/Europe for the last 20 years.

    LeGuin does it as well as anybody, "Dispossessed" is a fabulous book, and the gender-bending shows a pretty "alternate" approach to S/F in and of itself. And it was published in 1975.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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