Loved reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, the so-called “author’s preferred text” version from 2004 with the extra epilogue chapter. It made a big impression but I never did get round to writing a full review, beyond this passing reference.
Never been a fan of fantasy or sci-fi fiction generally, with a few satirical and philosophical exceptions, and I said the book felt like Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker and Long Dark Teatime) meets Salman Rushdie (Satanic Verses and Two Years) – on several levels. Both exceptions I loved. Now watching the Amazon TV adaptation, with Gaiman as exec producer, I would add Terry Gilliam’s Brazil to that impression. The production is magnificent. The real difference from those other three, is the added bonus of Americana of which I’m also a great fan.
Confusing to say the least. But then, like the book there are so many surreal aside scenes in any temporal order that following “the plot” is tough. I really wonder what anyone not already appreciating the book would make of simply trying to sit down and watch it? Confused myself even further when having watched the 6th episode on the understanding it was the final episode, I was bereft. That’s not how I remembered it and put the impression down to experience and moved on.
But of course it’s 12 episodes in Series 1 (how can there be more than one?) and I’ve now watched episodes 7 and 8 having recapped on 6.
It really is brilliant on belief in stories and reality. Practically theological as far as the eponymous gods are concerned. The allegories and metaphors are pretty thin and transparent, (eg Technology and Media) which is just as well because as I say it would be pretty opaque if not. Gillian Anderson is magnificently cast in her several cameo roles as Media. Even my first full read involved a couple of false starts before I could get to grips with it. I saw one reviewer complaining that the Ricky Whittle’s lead character Shadow Moon was a pretty dumb name and the plot hard to discern. If that’s your entry level then I’m guessing the point of the story will be lost to you.
And I’m also guessing consistent with the original read, the theological and philosophical positions underlying the allegory may not be that sophisticated, despite being heavily researched from every pre-existing strand of mythology. How could it be otherwise given that scope. But it is full of thought provoking material presented with wit and imagination. The more I watch and re-read, the more it looks like a “resource” to be unpicked at leisure afterwards. What I really need is a synoptic schema of all it’s components – I’m probably going to have to create one.
Recommended for anyone prepared to put in the effort.