SF Reviews background image SF Reviews logo image
Contact SF Reviews   |   Get the Newsletter 

Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

American Gods

Copyright 2001 by Neil Gaiman

In Association with Amazon.com In Association with Amazon.co.uk
SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this on the 17th July 2001.

Shadow is in prison. He's served six years for his violent crime. He's due to be released on Friday, he'll be reunited with his wife, whom he loves with all his heart, and his best friend Robbie Burton has a job lined up from him.

But on Wednesday, the warders prepare him for early release. His wife has just been killed in an automobile accident, and as he shortly finds out the job is gone as well.

On his way to his wife's funeral, he's accosted by a stranger who offers him a job. It's really not something that he wants to think about right now, but eventually he will take the job, and this will lead him into an adventure across the mythological landscape of America, defending the ancient gods of the old world, in their present weakness, against the greed and rapaciousness of the new American Gods.

Neil Gaiman has synthesised a new American mythology from all those disparate beliefs of the America's immigrants and native Americans, and maybe this will slowly permeate the American consciousness and reduce the isolation and alienation of the American sub-cultures. I don't really think so, but the novel is still one heck of a read.

Great writing, stylish, but not as great as the 27 blurbs on the front pages would suggest. It's fantasy, not SF; it's for the general public, not SF for SF readers. Since I have little interest in fantasy, the book didn't make as much of an impression as I'd hoped, and already I remember few episodes, except for the twists. It's lovely lyrical stuff, but it's not SF. It's also in my view, too long.

Loaded on the 19th August 2002.
Cover of American Gods

Reviews of other works by Neil Gaiman: