3 March 2008

Neil Gaiman fest

By coincidence, I have been wallowing in Neil Gaiman more than usual at the moment taking dips into both Stardust and Neverwhere, but not in book form.

Last night we all watched Stardust on DVD. I had read the book some years ago so my memory of it is a little hazy but there were parts of the book that I did remember that were not in the film and bits of the film that I don't recall from the book. But, overall, it seems like a reasonably close adaption of the book. The biggest change is that the film has a lot more humour and a little less magic (which is a lot easier to do in words!). Even the two teenage boys liked the film and there can be fewer higher accolades than that!

Currently spinning on my iPod touch is Neil Gaiman reading his preferred version of Neverwhere (which I had to get from the USA for some reason). This is unabridged and so runs to ten CDs. I am currently on number eight but with limited prospects of another long-haul flight in the near future to finish it off. Again it is some time since I read the book and so am not too surprised not to have noticed any differences in the text. I did, however, spot some Americanisms which Neil defended when challenged.

There are common themes in both stories (and with others), such as magic, different realms that people from England manage to cross in to, and cross-race/species lovers that you can spot on page one. But they are very different books.

Stardust is a great story that hangs together very well and contains some wonderful ideas (definitely Neil's biggest strength), e.g. the princes having to kill each other to succeed to the throne. Neverwhere also has some fantastic ideas, mostly around London place names, e.g. the Black Friars and the Knights' Bridge, but overall the story lacks the momentum that Stardust has. This is compensated for in the audio book by Neil's reading which makes it well worth getting.

My recommendation, read Stardust (with Charles Vess illustrations), watch the Stardust film and listen to the Neverwhere audiobook.

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