Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good Times With Gaiman

Magnet # 89:  Seated Coraline

Material: Plastic

Purchased By: Me

Happy Birthday to British sci fi and fantasy author Neil Gaiman, who was born on this day back in 1960. He created the comic book character Coraline, who is pictured on this magnet. Even though I still haven't seen the movie which was adapted from the comic, that didn't stop me from buying the last set of nine magnets from the movie when they were on sale at Hot Topic for two bucks. They had started at ten - I guess you can blame the magnet obsession. But I think I'll like the film, when I get around to seeing it. Now I just have to figure out how to post all of those magnets, and celebrating Mr. Gaiman's birthday is as good an excuse as any.

I've read a comic here and there written by Gaiman, but I'm not overly familiar with his work. In reading up on him for this post, I learned a few trivia facts that intrigued me. For example, he came from a family of grocers and pharmacists. I wonder where he got his incredible imagination from? Maybe it's just not inherited. His first book was, of all things, a Duran Duran biography - I never would have guessed. He also wrote a companion to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But one work of his I have read in its entirety is Good Omens, a comedy about the apocalypse he wrote in collaboration with Discworld author Terry Pratchett. Apparently, it started as a fun collaboration between the two, as they sent the story back and forth by disks, each adding on his own parts, and brainstormed by telephone.  They split the money evenly, and neither is quite sure exactly what parts he contributed.

I had never heard about Good Omens until a few years back when I met Lindsay at Mega Con. Her best friend Richard had accompanied her there and at dinner one night, he brought up the book. I admitted my ignorance, and by the end of the night, he'd presented me with his own copy. Apparently he had to buy the book quite often, as he was always passing it along to folks who had never read it. I guess he wanted others to share in the joy he'd experienced while reading it. Well, if anyone ever gives me a free book, I make a habit of reading it. I'd begun the book, but not yet finished it when, about a month later, Lindsay broke the awful news that Richard had died. He was just in his thirties when an aneurysm had burst in his brain. I was so shocked. Even though I'd only known him a few days, it was impossible not to think of Richard as I read the rest of the novel. I really would have enjoyed discussing it with him and telling him that it was a great read. But, I can at least carry on Richard's semi-cause and let others know what an interesting book this is. Like I mentioned earlier it's a comedy about the anti-Christ, a demon, an angel, and Armageddon. If you're easily offended, it might not be for you. But, if you have a twisted sense of humor and want an entertaining read, give Good Omens a try. It would've made Richard happy.

So, happy birthday, Mr. Gaiman - and many pleasant returns. Know that there are good folks out there whose lives you have truly touched with your writings.  And keep putting out more of the wonderful works you're known for, thus making your intense fan base giddy so that they continue to adore you, keeping you the "rock star" of the literary world.

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