American Gods: Here are the differences between the TV show and Neil Gaiman’s book

american gods neil gaiman book bryan fuller michael green jesse alexander adaptation differences

Bryan Fuller’s lavish adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantastic book, American Gods, has just landed. And, as expected, it’s absolutely fantastic. The show has quickly become a critical darling, and audiences are loving it.

As with every novel adaptation, though, a question arises: Just how accurate is it? From Harry Potter to the Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson to the Game of Thrones, every large-scale fantasy adaptation has to take some liberties with its source material.

Is this adaptation going to leave fans frothing with rage or praying at the show’s altar?

I’d not yet watched the show when I wrote this – it was mainly done from stuff that Fuller and Green and Gaiman had spoken about in interviews and publicity stuff.

Since writing this, I have watched the show, and it was one of my favourites of 2017. I never did write about it, though, mainly because… I guess I felt like the show was so good, anything I wrote about it wouldn’t quite serve it properly, if that makes sense? In any case, though, I was really disappointed when Fuller and Green left the project – while I’m hopeful for Jesse Alexander’s version, I’m not expecting much. I figure I’ll probably rewatch and write about the first season in preparation for its return, whenever that may be.

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American Gods – First Trailer Released!

American Gods Logo News Trailer

The series is intended to last for several years; the first season, comprising of ten episodes, will cover the first third of the book, ending at the House on the Rock, with the second season being predominantly set at Lakeside. Neil Gaiman, who has taken an executive producer role on the series, stated that  “one of the first things that we’re doing is going we don’t have to make a TV series that only exists from Shadow’s point of view”; the story is going to be expanded, further developing each of the characters and their plotlines. Similarly, Bryan Fuller has said that “it feels like the book would be anywhere from three to four seasons”, noting that Starz has said they “want [American Gods] to last a while”. It seems that we have quite a lot to look forward to!

Also intriguing is Fuller’s comment that American Gods will focus on the “political climate and the sociological climate” of America, with commentary on the perspective of black people and of woman, as well as an episode invoking the gun control debate; the hope, Fuller says, is to use “those sort of hot-topic issues as a platform to have a conversation about faith and our role in the universe”.

I’ve written a little news roundup and reaction piece to the new trailer for American Gods, which was released at SDCC last night; I’ve also included some details which were released by Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller in some recent interviews.

Have to say, I’m very excited about this!

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100 Books in a Year: Postcards from an American God on the Edge of Mars

100 books in a year reading challenge summer marathon books novels september 2015 2016

So, I was talking to my English teacher a while ago (read: she was talking to the class, and I was there) and she mentioned that every year she tries to read one hundred books. This started because of a competition with another girl a few years ago. (The girl won.) I, in my infinite arrogance, decided that I could probably make a decent stab at that if I put my mind to it.

And thus, I shall. From the 12th September 2015 to the 12th September 2016, I intend to read 100 books. Just to make it a little harder on myself, though, they have to be books I’ve never read before.

#8 – American Gods – Neil Gaiman – 5/5

This was the book where I really started to understand the acclaim that Neil Gaiman gets. Obviously, he’s an author who was on my radar; he’s written one brilliant Doctor Who episode, and one reasonable one, and I quite enjoyed Stardust (but I preferred the movie, admittedly), however I’d never quite seen where the bulk of his reputation came from.

And now I do. I totally get it – Neil Gaiman is a fantastic author. American Gods is a very well written book; it’s got a whole host of interesting and compelling characters, and it’s written in such a way that we really get to take the time to get to know the different characters. I’d almost describe it as a meandering style, actually; it’s a fairly slowly paced book, but it uses that pace remarkably well.

I mean, it’s one of those books that’s difficult to talk about in short form; I sort of want to just bullet point stand out moments, but that would very quickly turn into a transcript of the book itself. (Even more so considering I was reading an expanded tenth anniversary edition!) Certainly, something that stood out to me was the twist ending, which I shan’t ruin, but I think it can be considered amongst the more effective twists of this nature, ever. (Yes, it’s hyperbole, but making exaggerated statements is part of the fun of running a blog. Plus, it really is that good.)

#9 – The Martian – Andy Weir – 5/5

Next up was Andy Weir’s The Martian, which I was drawn to because the film looked good, but I never got around to seeing it. Since finishing the book, though, I found out that Andy Weir writes Doctor Who fanfiction, and also wrote rather wonderful short story called The Egg, which you’ll probably have read before, even if you don’t recognise the title. So, you know, definitely an author I’m likely to be interested in.

The Martian has a really excellent, distinct voice to it; large swaths of the book are in a first person perspective, written as log entries by Mark Watney, the astronaut stuck on Mars. Andy Weir infused the character with a certain sarcastic, irreverent wit, which makes the book really enjoyable to read. Often there’s a lot of technical jargon – which I respect a lot, because it draws a veneer of realism over the plot, and really adds to the tone of the novel, but it’d be a lot less interesting if it wasn’t being relayed by such a well drawn protagonist. So, that’s handled very well, in essence.

It’s actually quite tense in places, which is accentuated by the switches between Mark Watney’s log entries, and the third person descriptions of events on Earth with NASA trying to save him. Ultimately, though, what I was most fond of was the closing paragraph, which put forward a really hopeful view of humanity. It felt fitting, and I liked it a lot. (Matt Damon narrates it over the trailer for the movie, as it happens.)

 #10 – Postcards from the Edge – Carrie Fisher – 4/5

I found out recently that Carrie Fisher had OD’d on cocaine while they were filming the Hoth scenes for The Empire Strikes Back. Then I found out she wrote a semi autobiographical book about her experiences, called Postcards from the Edge. So I figured I’d give it a read. (They also made a film of the book starring Meryl Streep, but that’s not exactly pertinent to the matter at hand.)

I’m glad I read this book in the end. It’s very good, and it’s also very honest; there’s a clear sense that Carrie Fisher isn’t holding anything back here, not at all. Throughout the book, there’s a series of different perspectives and stylistic presentations – it’s divided into four sections, and each one is different from the last. It’s all very cleverly done, and you come away from it with a much greater understanding of addiction and recovery (or, at least, of how that process went for Carrie Fisher.)

Certainly, I’d recommend it – it’s a cleverly presented, well-told story, that has some genuinely impactful themes and ideas within it.

Books Read: 10
Days since start: 98
Days until finish: 266
Currently reading: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Click here to see my progress reports and updates on this whole reading malarkey. Have any suggestions for books I should read? Get in touch!

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Doctor Who: The Next Showrunner?

doctor who steven moffat action figures next showrunner leaving replace chris chibnall mark gatiss neil cross toby whithouse neil gaiman russell t davies

It seems that the general consensus of Doctor Who fans is that Steven Moffat has had his day. Obviously, this isn’t the case for everyone – there’s still some who’ll sing his praises. Other’s are vehemently against his staying even a year longer. Some just think it’s time for a breath of fresh air.

(Personally, I’m somewhat ambivalent – whilst some of Moffat’s recent work has faltered, there’s generally a high standard throughout)

Even so, I believe he’s said in interviews that he doesn’t see himself staying any longer than 2016 at the most – which, really, isn’t that far away now. Just 2 more seasons, give or take.

Either way, he’ll be going eventually. The question that’s asked, then, is… Who next?

The likely candidate is Mark Gatiss, not least because of his close partnership with Moffat. He’s got a fair bit of experience in different production roles – producer, director, writer, and actor, meaning he’d certainly be able to understand all the different aspects of the roles. He’s also, obviously, a big fan of Doctor Who, and has a lot of experience as a writer – of all the current team, he’s probably the most experienced as a Who writer.

Other candidates are few and far between really, perhaps because Moffat is using the same writers over and over again – Neil Gaiman and Chris Chibnall would likely be too busy, for example, and Toby Whithouse has perhaps not written enough Doctor Who yet…

Personally, I think Gatiss would be a great choice. In my opinion, An Adventure in Space and Time is the best piece of writing ever to have gone out under the Doctor Who name – if his episodes as showrunner were even half that standard, it’d be a rather impressive run.

His would also be quite a different direction to Moffat’s and RTD’s, which I think would be good – life depends upon change and renewal, after all.

What I think might be interesting would be a sharing of the role, like how Gatiss and Moffat run Sherlock. That is, perhaps, what leads to the overall quality increase there, in comparison to the pair’s Doctor Who work.

I doubt it’d be Neil Cross. Whilst he might have enough traction to return as a writer, I say he’d be far, far too divisive to be a legitimate choice to take over. The choice would, I assume, need to be approved by some BBC bosses somewhere – bosses who would presumably have seen quite how divisive his episodes were, and not want to take such a risk.

Nick Briggs is a name that’s thrown around a fair bit, but I sort of doubt it’d be him. Whilst he’s probably one of the best suited to the job, given his work at Big Finish, he’s perhaps not experienced enough in terms of TV writing?

What’s also interesting to note is that, way back in… 2003 it would have been, when Mark Gatiss had a pitch in the running to bring back Doctor Who, it was a collaborative pitch with Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman – perhaps the three of them, or Gatiss and Whithouse working together, would be the right choice?

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