From School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Massively popular fantasy/horror writer Gaiman gets a critical treatment previously reserved for authors of the classics. It's doubtful that even the most avid fan couldn't learn something from this great work. Opening with an introductory biographical piece, the book also has a fascinating gem—an article Gaiman was hired to write in 1984 about Fantasycon VIII of the British Fantasy Society. The piece clearly displays the wit and storytelling ability that would later make him famous. His first published book was a "biography" of new-wave band Duran Duran, but what brought him fame was the writing of the "Sandman" series for DC Comics. Gaiman wrote 10 volumes of the series as well as a few spinoffs of this still frequently read classic. He also wrote quite a few other comics in this time period, and each one is given similar treatment to the "Sandman"—a plot synopsis, trivia, lists of important people and places, and a quote from Gaiman or about him. The novels, short stories, and scripts include the same information. Also included are interviews with artists and cowriters, and occasional photographs. The book ends with a lengthy interview, as well as one with his assistant. A must where Gaiman is popular.—Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD
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Fans’ guidebooks have been done for many a genre fiction star, most notably Stephen King, but unlike most of the others, this one’s getting a 100,000-copy first printing from a major publisher. Quixotic? Well, if anyone could justify such a splash for such a seemingly narrow-interest item, it would be the man who, more than anyone else, made the graphic novel commercially viable and whose most recent prose novel, Anansi Boys (2005), debuted at number one on the New York Times’ best-seller list: Neil Gaiman. In each of 10 parts, a different period or kind of Gaiman’s output—early work, the Sandman series, graphic novels, comics, novels, children’s books, short stories, verse, screenplays, and “oddities”—is described in chronology. Connections to other books, characters, and real persons are noted; quotes extracted from Gaiman’s interviews and correspondence are provided; and remarks by his many collaborators are inserted where relevant. An eleventh part contains a highly entertaining 60-page recent interview. Other big attractions are previously unpublished writings, including a comics story and a hysterical “special report,” “Who Was Jack the Ripper?” coauthored with Eugene Byrne and Kim Newman. Because Gaiman’s so congenial, witty, and unpretentious, there’s lots to enjoy here, even for those who know only corners of his tremendous oeuvre. If everyone who has bought even just the Sandman series gets a copy, a second, larger printing will be in order. --Ray Olson
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