Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman, master of modern horrornote
"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
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
. More recently, 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. And most recently, he 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
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
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
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 once delivered an awe-inspiring (and quite hilarious) 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 novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
, was released on June 18th, 2013.
His works include:
open/close all folders
- 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 recently 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
- 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.
Live Action TV
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.
- Adorkable: Just in case any further proof was needed, see this.
- Badass Longcoat
- 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."
- Deadpan Snarker
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- Nightmare Fetishist
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
- Older Than They Look: He's pretty youthful for a guy born in 1960.
- Perky Goth
- Sesame Street Cred: He guest starred as himself in an episode of Arthur.
- 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).
- Back from the Dead
- Blue and Orange Morality: Due to the frequent use of Eldritch Abomination in his works, they usually have their own morality.
- Buffy Speak
- Cats Are Magic
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe
- Cosmic Horror Story
- Commedia dell'Arte: Especially in Mr. Punch and "Harlequin Valentine".
- Continuity Porn
- 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.
- Dark Is Not Evil
- Deconstruction Crossover
- Deliberate Values Dissonance
- 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.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?
- Dreaming of Things to Come
- 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.
- Fairy Tale
- Fractured Fairy Tale
- Genre Savvy
- In Which a Trope Is Described: Used in the novels Stardust and Anansi Boys, and also the Sandman story arcs Season of Mists and Brief Lives.
- Light Is Not Good: Several works have villainous angels, and other similar subverted tropes.
- Meta Fiction
- Those Two Bad Guys: Many of his works have a pair of bad guys with little characterization outside of being an inseperable antagonistic pair. Examples include Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar; Hastur and Ligur; and Mr. World and Mr. Stone.
- Trope Overdosed
- 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.