Stardust and my new author-hero Neil Gaiman

StardustStardust by Neil Gaiman

As many of you know, I have a new author-hero: Neil Gaiman. I’ve started to read everything he’s ever written. OK so I’m only on the fourth book, but I do intend to keep reading until I’ve either read them all or one of his books seriously lets me down.

In Stardust, a foolish boy, Tristan, makes a romantic promise to fetch a fallen star for the girl he has a crush on. Then he actually tries to go get it from beyond the “wall” where there’s a fairy land like no other.

Gaiman breaks all kinds of rules in Stardust. (As an “emerging” novelist myself, I’ve been studying these rules). The story starts with the hero’s very conception! That’s something so David-Copperfield-antiquated that a modern writer rarely attempts it. Stardust also has quite a bit of summary,  a.k.a. telling instead of showing—eek!.

However, it also has a lot of tried and true storytelling elements: a great hook, some fabulously nasty villains and a “quest” plot where the hero goes in search of an object to help him win true love. The hero gets what he wants but not in the way you might expect—all good stuff.

But by far the greatest reason Stardust is such fun to read—and I’m beginning to suspect this is true for most of Gaiman’s books—is the quality and originality of its imagined world. So much fantasy these days just rips off a page from Tolkien’s world or a traditional fairy tale, but Gaiman manages to make Stardust’s magical world feel familiar while at the same time creating characters and situations that are quite different.

So check Stardust out. I highly recommend it.

5_starsOh and the movie adaptation isn’t bad either:

Author-Heroes: At one time or another I was obsessed with these writers, and I’ve read most of their book – Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Ursula LeGuin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Toni Morrison. Who are your heroes?

See other posts on Gaiman’s books:
Neverwhere
Odd and The Frost Giants
Coraline

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6 Responses to Stardust and my new author-hero Neil Gaiman

  1. bdh63 says:

    Love all those authors, and also Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip and Diana Wynne Jones among others. Stardust was such thoroughly wonderful book, thanks for reminding me.

  2. sarazaske says:

    I’ve read Diana Wynne Jones’ Howls Moving Castle and loved it – what else by her would you recommend? And I’m going to check out those other authors now… Thanks for the tips!

  3. susanbright says:

    I had never herd of Neil Gaiman, until recently when someone recommended the book The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Now I definitely have to check him out. Thank you!

  4. sarazaske says:

    I’ve only read a sample of “The Ocean,” but it looks really good. Let me know if you read it. I’m curious.

  5. Pingback: Has Stephen King become too nice? | Sara Zaske's Blog

  6. Pingback: American Gods and the absent Jesus | Sara Zaske's Blog

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