Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meet the Man with the Midas Touch

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meet the Man with the Midas Touch

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Whetstone

Loved by followers of cult fiction, Neil Gaiman is broadening his audience, as David Whetstone discovers.

In his good-natured way, Neil Gaiman spills the beans about something which has always irked him a little.

About 15 years ago he collaborated with Terry Pratchett on a novel called Good Omens. It did very well and has been translated into many languages.

"But most of the world decided that what must have happened was that I wrote a very serious novel and Terry Pratchett put in all the jokes," he says with mild indignation.

"I thought that wasn't the way I remembered it happening. But I did think that maybe it would be fun to do a funny novel that would also have scary bits in it."

Neil Gaiman is on the promotional circuit again, meeting his disparate groups of fans. They range from the devotees of the cultish Sandman graphic novels, for which he was once best known, to those of a more literary bent who enjoyed his last adult work of fiction, American Gods.

Then there are those keen on his work for the screen, particularly the TV serialisation of his novel Neverwhere, another collaboration, this time with Lenny Henry who became a good friend.

In Newcastle, prior to a signing session at Forbidden Planet, he says a question by Lenny ( "Why aren't there any black people in horror movies? ( also set him on track to his latest novel, Anansi Boys.

"I started thinking: what would be a horror story that I could populate with black people and that would draw on African culture? I sort of got interested but I came to realise that what I had wasn't a movie or even really horror." For much of Neil Gaiman's work you have to invent new genres and Anansi Boys is one of them. It's adventure, fantasy and comedy in one, but with a dash of horror, particularly if you hate spiders. …

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