"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe."Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman is a contemporary British writer of stories. Of all known kinds.He's especially famous for his Urban Fantasy works, including the renowned The Sandman comic series, which was the only work in its medium to win a World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story note . Two of his novels, Stardust and Coraline, have been made into movies. He's also written scripts for other projects, such as MirrorMask by Dave McKean and the Neverwhere TV series. In addition, he worked on the translated script of Princess Mononoke. His young adult work The Graveyard Book became the first book to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal. When they started running out of awards to give him, they began making up new awards specially for him. He also wrote two episodes for Doctor Who, The Doctor's Wife for Series 6 and Nightmare in Silver for Series 7.A masterful storyteller, he excels at building fantastic, yet believable settings for his stories. His works are marked by extensive use of mythological references and symbolism, often times in "modern" settings. Also a notable One of Us, and despite his work's breathtaking popularity, he has remained remarkably humble and personable, managing to remain faintly bemused every time he finds hundreds of people waiting for him to sign their books or whatnot. Also, he's a highly respectable marsh-wiggle◊ with a very Nice Hat. Or, if you prefer, a Time Lord with a fondness for improbably long scarfs. Adorkable? Very.Gaiman has some affection for Canon Defilement — and is living proof that this particularly negative trope isn't bad. He described Snow, Glass, Apples, a Perspective Flip of "Snow White", as a mindvirus that he hoped would prevent the reader from ever experiencing the original innocently again. His External Retcon of Beowulf pulls a similar trick. The Problem Of Susan is something of a meta-twist on the concept, riffing off of Susan's exile from Narnia: her embrace of adolescence means that, retroactively, she experienced the original adventure as a Darker and Edgier pagan allegory. He is also fairly preoccupied with, though not necessarily an apologist for, Muse Abuse.Stephen King thinks Neil may well be the greatest storyteller alive today, and has said so publicly. Considering that's Stephen King talking, that's saying something.He's married to Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. He has a Twitter account and a Tumblr blog, as well as a more traditional blog, one of the first blogs on the internet (it was originally created to document his promotion tour for American Gods back in 2001, and it took off from there). He's also been known to dispense writing advice to fans (often via Tumblr), which usually boils down to "Write something, and keep on writing."Sang a song about Jeanne d'Arc with Ben Folds on piano. It is magnificent. Also sang the theme song from Fireball XL5 (in honor of Gerry Anderson's passing days earlier) onstage with Palmer during New Year's Eve 2012. It was... quirky.He's a part-time professor at Bard College. He played a parody of his good friend Alan Moore in a student project (he appears around 24 minutes in).He once delivered an awe-inspiring (and quite funny) commencement speech to the 2012 graduates of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.Here◊'s a screen-breaking photo with him, Neal Stephenson and Neil Armstrong. Kneel before the Neils!His latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was released on June 18th, 2013.
His works include:
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- The Sandman, Death: The High Cost of Living, Death: The Time of Your Life, Sandman: the Dream Hunters (a short story illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano), The Sandman: Endless Nights, and Sandman: Overture.
- Black Orchid.
- One issue of Hellblazer.
- Violent Cases.
- Mr. Punch: The Tragical Comedy or the Comical Tragedy.
- Marvel 1602: A story of the Marvel Universe, transposed to the year 1602.
- The Books of Magic.
- Creatures of the Night.
- Harlequin Valentine: Began as a short story.
- "Murder Mysteries" Began as a short story.
- Midnight Days.
- Signal to Noise.
- The Case in the Departure of Miss Finch: Began as a short story.
- The Last Temptation: A collaboration with Alice Cooper.
- Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?.
- Metamorpho The Element Man in Wednesday Comics.
- Gaiman also came up with the concept that Tekno Comix eventually turned into a small line of inter-linked titles. The original pitch differed from the end result in a number of respects, to Gaiman's displeasure.
- Wrote the story "Wordsworth" for the Clive Barker's Hellraiser comic series; it was republished in the short stories collection Hellbound Hearts.
- Wrote the story "When is a Door?" which appears in the Batman Secret Origins Special Volume #2.
- Goliath, a Matrix comic.
- Miracleman: Though the series status is now in limbo, he has an agreement with Marvel to finish the story arc he started with The Golden Age.
Short stories & anthologies
- Ghastly Beyond Belief — The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of Quotations (1985, with Kim Newman).
- Smoke & Mirrors.
- Angels & Visitations.
- Fragile Things.
- M is for Magic.
- How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
- A Study in Emerald.
- How the Marquis Got His Coat Back.
- The Problem Of Susan
- Trigger Warning.
- He also co-edited a short story collection called Stories with Al Sarrantonio.
- Norse Mythology, a retelling of Norse Mythology.
- The Wolves in the Walls.
- The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.
- Blueberry Girl.
- The Dangerous Alphabet.
- Crazy Hair.
- Chu's Day.
- Fortunately, the Milk.
- Princess Mononoke (he wrote the Woolseyist script).
- Beowulf (the 2007 film, written with friend/cult director Roger Avary).
- Death: The High Cost of Living. (In "Development Hell")
- Anansi Boys (upcoming, no due date, but he has at least finished and handed in a rough draft of the script.)
Live Action TV
- Wrote the Doctor Who episodes The Doctor's Wife and Nightmare In Silver.
- Wrote an episode for Babylon 5: "Day of the Dead". Especially notable as the only episode of the show not written by J. Michael Straczynski after season two. The Gaim, one of the alien races in Babylon 5, is named for him. And just to hammer the homage further, they all strongly resemble Dream Of The Endless.
- American Gods. Airing in 2016 on Starz and created by Bryan Fuller.
Tropes of which Neil Gaiman is an example:
- Adam Westing: Specifically, his guest appearance on The Simpsons in 2011 where he claims he Never Learned to Read despite being a famous author. Ditto his appearance in The Guild.
- As Himself: In the second Shadow Police novel, The Severed Streets, Neil—with his involvement and permission—appears as a supporting character who has some information regarding the magic of London that the protagonists find useful. He also aids a villain in murdering one of the protagonists. He also appears in "The Original Dr Shade", a short story by Kim Newman.
- Adorkable: Just in case any further proof was needed, see this.
- Comically Missing the Point: An intentional example; when someone said to him, "I want to be a writer when I grow up. Am I insane?", Gaiman answered, "Yes. Growing up is very overrated. Just be an author."
- Deep South: On his blog Gaiman has actually expressed displeasure at the typical view of people in the American South, and asked why it took him 22 years not only to visit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but to visit literally ANYWHERE in the US South outside of Atlanta, GA on his book signings.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Even after all these years of being recognized as one of Earth's greatest living writers he still seems to think of himself as a relatively normal person and is genuinely bemused at all the attention people give him.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Terry Pratchett. Gaiman is visibly upset and fighting back tears in the documentary Back in Black made after Terrys death, saying "I miss him so much".
- Limited Wardrobe: He dresses all in black in all public appearances. Until a few years ago he wore a black leather jacket in public appearances too. He used to claim to own the world's largest collection of black t-shirts, too.
- Messy Hair: In all his author photos, he sports an untidy dark mop. This is probably the inspiration for the looks of several characters he's written, including The Sandman, Richard Mayhew, and Tristran Thorn, not to mention the picture book Crazy Hair. One of his "about the author" notes includes the sentence, "He thanks you for the offer of a comb, but doubts that it would do any good."
- Older Than They Look: He's pretty youthful for a guy born in 1960.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: He guest starred as himself in an episode of Arthur.
- Shout-Out: Tori Amos says Hi by the way.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Neil Gaiman would like you to know he did not participate in spying on you. Especially those photos.
Tropes common in his work:
- All Myths Are True: This is the basic premise of American Gods, but it's common in other works.
- Animal Motifs: Used most prominently in Anansi Boys, but ubiquitous throughout his work.
- Apocalypse Cult: Shoggoths Old Peculiar has an (initially) Unfazed Everyman American tourist who visits the picturesque English town of Innsmouth and converses in a pub with the friendly Cthulhu-worshippers who live there. He ends up with a bad hangover and a "feeling of nameless dread" (TM).
- Blue and Orange Morality: Due to the frequent use of Eldritch Abomination in his works, they usually have their own morality.
- Commedia dell'Arte: Especially in Mr. Punch and "Harlequin Valentine".
- Contemptible Cover: Ghastly Beyond Belief certainly has a lurid cover. However, the book was something of an Affectionate Parody, so this may be what the authors were hoping for.
- Continuity Porn: He can reach Don Rosa levels of this, especially when he's writing for DC. The Books of Magic ties together almost every magic-based character in the DCU circa 1991note , with the last Book even cameoing sci-fi characters like Tommy Tomorrow, The Legion of Super-Heroes, and Flash villain Abra Kadabra.
- Creator Thumbprint: His novel protagonists follow a specific pattern: young-ish males who are pretty much completely unfamiliar with the fantasy realm in which they find themselves, who survive and triumph by a combination of luck, compassion, and a lot of help from a more knowledgeable, often female character.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: It's entirely possible for main characters to meet with a Humanoid Abomination and have a perfectly pleasant time, not even realizing exactly what they were dealing with.
- The Everyman: The hero of his works is often this. Notably, the Anti Anti Christ in Good Omens winds up being described as "human incarnate" rather than "demon incarnate" as expected.
- Eye Scream: A recurrent theme.
- In Which a Trope Is Described: Used in the novels Stardust and Anansi Boys, the Sandman story arcs Season of Mists and Brief Lives. even the occasional Tweet.
- Light Is Not Good: Several works have villainous angels, and other similar subverted tropes.
- Old Shame: Invoked in promotions for the Humble Bundle, a collection of rare stories and books rereleased to raise funds for charity. These include his infamous debut book — a biography of Duran Duran — and a short story, “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle", which Gaiman claims "is so bad I've never let it be reprinted. Not even to give young writers hope that if I was that awful once, there is hope for all of them."
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Deconstructed in a blog post in which he proposed replacing the polarizing term "Politically Correct" with the more accurate "Treating Other People With Respect."
- Reference Overdosed: For more information click here.
- Surreal Horror: This cannot be stressed enough. The guy made buttons scary, for crying out loud. And, that's among the least of the screwy, nightmare, weirdly juxtapositioned tomfoolery he pulls on you. It's almost a relief when you get to see it upfront and in-your-face in such places as Delirium's realm, rather than sneaking up to randomly grab you from "normal" environments... like say, in Neverwhere. Or American Gods. Or anything else.
- Trigger: Invoked in the title of his short-story anthology Trigger Warning.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Many of his works have a pair of bad guys with little characterization outside of being an inseparable antagonistic pair. Examples include Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar; Hastur and Ligur; and Mr. World and Mr. Stone.