Let's step back a few weeks to my recent trip to France. I'm not going to bore with those details again but I did read a bit. I happened to divulge into a great book by Neil Gaiman. American Gods had won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for fantasy and science so I trusted that it had some merit. But what I liked was its departure from typical fantasy. It was set in normal modern time but it certainly was not normal. Not until I was halfway through did I finally realize what was really going on. While I was constantly confused I kept reading because Gaiman has a very poetic way of writing that has each sentence flowing and gushing with a description that at no point becomes overwhelming. I loved Gods so much that since then I have read an additional three books by Gaiman plus a little of his graphic novels. Each reads like a dream, far away and as a whole it is beautiful or frightening and entertaining, but on close inspection you can see that each component is just a wispy strand of colour and length. He writes with such intelligence that I can't help but include my favorite passage from American Gods.
First a quick lead in. The protagonist is about to tell his female friend something so wild and crazy he doesn't think she will believe him. She says she would and convinces him with this reply:
"I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen, I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all mean are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Com Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a babys right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it."
As can be seen, he writes with a certain intelligence and shows that he puts a lot of research and effort into his novels. I highly suggest picking one up and getting lost in a dream world.
Until Next time, may you find a book to escape into.