Saint Sava (saint_sava) wrote,
Saint Sava

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American Gods.

Neil Gaiman's on a tour for his newest book, American gods, and I happened to have the amazingly good luck to catch him at an engagement at UW. (Woof!) Despite having to deal with a crowd of about seven hundred people, Neil developed an instant rapport and liquid conversational style that made the lecture much more like a friendly conversation.

Neil started out by reading a passage from the book (pp. 35 - 43 in the hardback), then took some questions from the audience. Most of the questions were respectably narrow-spectrum; a couple were puerile (possibly relating to questions asked of Terry Pratchett, who was in the same room a couple of months back), but one elicited a satisfying avalanche of an answer: "What's the worst book you've ever read ?"

Neil answered the question directly, stating that it would be Terence Haile's Space train, and gave a short, and hilarious, synopsis of the plot: a super-high-tech train is developed to run between London and Birmingham, England. Problem: the train exceeds the Earth's escape velocity, goes orbital, and encounters huge space crabs between the earth and the moon. Rather embarrassing, considering that lords and dignitaries are on the train's maiden run. So the train's out past the moon. How do they get it back ? Someone turns the trick by reversing the polarity of the train tracks. The train makes it to Birmingham on time.

But he also told us of the latest book he read -- by an author with whom I am familiar, and strongly believe that everybody should experience: Henry Stephen Keeler. I'll not repeat or sum up what has been better done by by others, but Keeler is regarded as a literary anomaly; it has been said that the best synopsis of a Keeler novel is "nevermind."

Finally, after giving a short list of the statuses of his projects, including a big-screen adaptation of Sandman, Neil signed books for everybody -- no mean feat going on no sleep as he was. Plus, "Y Mabinogion" came up in casual conversation while I was waiting to have my copy of American gods signed. Odd.

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