Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil GaimanNorse Mythology written by Neil Gaiman; published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110; (212) 354-5500

Neil Gaiman respects the Old Gods and that is why he is the proper man to write their tales. Gaiman did not just read tales that modern men have written to decipher the Old God’s realities, but he went back and studied the original translation of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, the verses of the Poetic Edda, which was written nine hundred years ago to reveal the stories of the Old Gods.

Think back to the early history of humankind, where men, women and children huddled around the fires at the entrance to their caves, or the giant fireplaces in the stone houses of the Vikings, and then you will be able to come to an understanding of the Old Gods.

Odin, Thor, Loki, Tyr the one handed (Odin’s Son) and Frigg, the queen of the Gods, where we get the names of some of the days of the week, for instance, Odin was called Wednesday; Frigg was called Friday, just to name two of them.

Think of Jesus on the cross and then hear the tale of Odin, the greatest of the Gods, who, for the seeking of knowledge and runes, sacrificed himself on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, where he hung for nine days and nine nights; during that time his side was pierced by the point of a spear and yet he lived and hung on the Tree without eating or drinking, alone in great pain and suddenly, just before death took him he peered down at the ground and the runes of knowledge were revealed to him.

Odin came to understand then, and his ropes disintegrated as the great God fell from the tree knowing the power of magic and having the ability to control the world. Now then, think of Jesus on the cross, with his side pierced by the spear. Who is the older of the Gods?

Neil Gaiman spins the webs of the God’s lives in Norse Mythology, tale after tale. Did he drink mead, the poetic drink of the Gods, while he was writing these tales? It may well be so.

One of the tales is called The Treasures of The Gods. It is the best story about Loki, the Trickster God, I have ever read. It starts with a tragic event and ends with everyone happy, all that is, except for Loki. It also reveals how many of the treasures of the Gods are created, even the great Hammer of Thor.

One of Loki’s greatest tricks is to change his shape and appear as anything or anyone he wants. He used this trick to thwart The Master Builder from finishing Asgard’s great wall on time.

Loki was married but he carried his ways into marital bliss. It was bliss to him but to his wife Sigyn had her doubts. Which were well founded, for Loki would disappear for a time and then, when he returned, he was happy but Sigyn was not. After Loki’s third disappearance, Odin dreamed into Loki’s travels and found that he was carrying on with a Giantess named Angrboda.

Loki had three children with Angrboda. One child named herself Hel; another of the children was named Jormungundu and the third child was called Fenrir. These were Loki’s children with the Giantess; he had two children with his wedded wife; one named Narfi and he was not well-behaved, and another named Vali and he was obedient and restrained. But it is Loki’s children with the Giantess that the story is about. You will understand when you read the story of The Children of Loki. That doesn’t mean you will know what you understand.

The stories in Norse Mythology just keep getting better. Another great story is called The Apples of Immortality. After all, the Gods don’t stay young just because they are Gods. What would happen if someone stole the apples of immortality? Only Loki, the God of Mischief, could have a hand in something like this.

I believe that Neil Gaiman was one of the gifts of the Gods, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to spin such tales from the past. I wonder, in the end, if Neil Gaiman will pay the price for his tales. If the Gods read these stories, they may get want to get even with him.

As I read Norse Mythology, I have come to wonder if Neil Gaiman is really Loki in human form. Gaiman’s stories have tricks in them that only Loki could conceive. Sometimes I think that only Loki or Joe Hill could achieve such a feat, but Neil Gaiman pulls it off wonderfully.

The book will be released on February 7th and I am sure that the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square will have copies for sale. Please don’t miss this book, even if you’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman. It’s a great place to start.

Norse Mythology is one of the best books by Neil Gaiman that I have ever read and I’ve read almost all of them—The Sandman, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, & Black Dog, which is a novella that was born from American Gods. There are other books, books written for Young Adults such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book, just to name two.


Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

When I was in the Detox Unit at the hospital, they taught me about “Triggers.” A “Trigger” is something that brings back the feeling of the old rush that heroin used to give me back in the day and then I am weakened and go see the dealer.

Neil Gaiman’s new book of short stories is called Trigger Warning: Short Fictions And Disturbances. It’s like a trigger that gives the good rush but instead of going out to buy heroin, I want to read another story. His book is that good.

Neil Gaiman says, “We each have our little triggers . . . things that wait for us in the dark corridors of our lives.” As soon as Gaiman said that, I knew exactly what he was talking about and had a desire to read the book immediately.

In this book, Trigger Warning, all of the wonderful places of the imagination are brought to life. Even in the Introduction, also written by Gaiman, I was “triggered” and I couldn’t stop reading. In many books I read a few sentences of the introduction and then jump to the story. In Trigger Warning I couldn’t stop reading his introduction. It was many stories within itself.

There are books of short stories that are like crap shoots. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In Gaiman’s new book of short stories, they are all winners. It was a rush.

You see, my new addiction is reading. There is nothing better than settling down in a comfortable chair or lying on the bed and reading a great book. Trigger Warning is a great book. Neil Gaiman’s talent shines like it did in his graphic novel called The Sandman or his book called American Gods.

When this man sits down to write the story flows and you can tell that the story has been percolating in his mind for quite some time. One of the short stories is called “Black Dog” and it is done so well that, as a writer myself, I could tell that Gaiman must have left it out of American Gods and it wouldn’t let him rest until he let it spill out of the miraculous trap door in his imagination.

Neil Gaiman has been cursed. If he doesn’t let the stories out, they will come to him in his dreams and haunt him, wake him up in the middle of the night and, like a wild beast, chase him to the computer screen or pen and paper until he lets the story out. Imagine being trapped in a body full of moving illustrations that have beginnings and endings and not being able to rest until you let these “trigger warnings” out.

Included in this thrilling group of stories is the novelette called “The Truth is a Cave In The Black Mountains.” This story was also separately published and illustrated by Eddie Campbell and won the Locus Award.

Neil Gaiman originally lived in England and now resides in the United States with his wife Amanda Palmer, who is also a musician and a writer.

You can find Trigger Warning at the Harvard Bookstore, an independent bookstore located in Harvard Square in Cambridge. Neil Gaiman’s stories come from the dark places that live in our minds. When you read them they change your perspective on reality.

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman was released on February 2nd by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007,