For the final week of the Neverwhere group read, Carl has decided to ask readers for our free-form thoughts on the book and its conclusion rather than a series of questions and answers.
As I’ve said before, I was aware of who Neil Gaiman was before I stumbled across a paperback copy of Neverwhere many years ago. Friends had recommended his Sandman comics to me and he wrote a couple of episodes for the final season of Babylon Five. And while I hadn’t read Sandman yet (the price point of entry was a bit high for me and my local library wasn’t circulating graphic novels at the time. This has since changed and I’ve got Sandman on my list of things I need to read the entire run of before I shuffle off this mortal coil), it was Neverwhere that provided me with a more affordable and accessible entry point into the world of Gaiman’s writing. So for that alone, I’m grateful because it’s Neverwhere that introduced me to one of my favorite authors.
I’m a bit late on this week’s installment of the Neverwhere read-along. I blame a long holiday weekend and my becoming consumed by the legal thriller, Defending Jacob.
But better late than never, I suppose. This week’s installment of the read-along covers chapters six through twelve. The discussion questions are courtesy of Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings and if you want to hear/read others’ responses, he’s got a full list of other participants there.
While I was aware of Neil Gaiman before the publication of Neverwhere, it was Neverwhere that turned me into a fan. I picked up a copy of the book when it was first published in paperback a couple of years ago and was utterly absorbed by it.
At the time, I didn’t know Neverwhere was similar to another favorite work of mine, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Hitcherhiker’s started out as a radio show before Adams adapted it to the printed page. Neverwhere was a six-episode BBC serial before Gaiman adapted it in print form. Ironically, my vast knowledge of Doctor Who won me a copy of Neverwhere many, many moons ago in my only DragonCon attendance.*
*I keep wanting and meaning to go back, but that weekend is usually the kick-off of college football. And I love college football and am so eager to kick back and watch hours and hours of it that first weekend that I find it hard to tear myself away to enjoy catching up with fellow fans of the genre.
I’ve re-read Neverwhere a couple of times since that first reading and I’ve always enjoyed it. And it’s been a while since I viewed the television version, though my biggest impression walking away was you could almost hear Gaiman saying, “I’ll improve this a lot more when the only budget limitation is my reader’s imagination.” Not that the series is terrible mind you. In fact, I plan to revisit it at some point this summer (probably once this read-along is concluded).
All of that is a long-winded way of introducing the latest read-along I’m joining. Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a Neverwhere read-along. Today’s read-along covers the Prologue through Chapter Five in the book. If you’ve not read the novel, there will be SPOILERs ahead. And if you haven’t, it’s one I highly recommend. It’s not the best Gaiman, but it’s a sentimental favorite for me.