from fantasy novels by
Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

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Neverwhere

American Gods

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Fantasy

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Neverwhere

Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Neil Gaiman

Prologue “You’ve a good heart,” she told him. “Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go.” Then she shook her head. “But mostly, it’s not.”
One Gradually he realized that the Tube map was a handy fiction that made life easier but bore no resemblance to the reality of the shape of the city above. It was like belonging to a political party, he thought once, proudly, and then, having tried to explain the resemblance between the Tube map and politics, at a party, to a cluster of bewildered strangers, he had decided in the future to leave political comment to others.
Richard had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once.
Six Then he smiled, like a cat who had just been entrusted with the keys to a home for wayward but plump canaries.
“What a refreshing mind you have, young man,” he said. “There really is nothing quite like total ignorance, is there?”

Topics:

Insults

Ignorance

Eleven

The abbot had known that this day would bring pilgrims. The knowledge was a part of his dreams; it surrounded him, like the darkness. So the day became one of waiting, which was, he knew, a sin: moments were to be experienced; waiting was a sin against both the time that was still to come and the moments one was currently disregarding. Still, he was waiting.

Topic:

Time

Thirteen

The boy had the towering arrogance only seen in the greatest of artists and all nine-year-old boys.

Topic:

Artists

text checked (see note) Jan 2005

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American Gods

Copyright © 2001 by Neil Gaiman

Part One

Shadows
Chapter Three Shadow had heard too many people telling each other not to repress their feelings, to let their emotions out, let the pain go. Shadow thought there was a lot to be said for bottling up emotions. If you did it long enough and deep enough, he suspected, pretty soon you wouldn’t feel anything at all.

“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”

Chapter Four

Chicago happened slowly, like a migraine. First they were driving through countryside, then, imperceptibly, the occasional town became a low suburban sprawl, and the sprawl became the city.

Topic:

Cities

Chapter Five

“This is the only country in the world,” said Wednesday, into the stillness, “that worries about what it is.”

“What?”

“The rest of them know what they are. No one ever needs to go searching for the heart of Norway. Or looks for the soul of Mozambique. They know what they are.”

“Roadside attractions: people feel themselves being pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that.”

Topic:

Roadside attractions

Chapter Six All we have to believe with is our senses, the tools we use to perceive the world: our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted. And even if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.

Topic:

Belief

Chapter Eight Shadow wondered who Queen Anne was, and why she had been so fond of Addams Family–style houses.

Topic:

Amusing one-liners

Part Two

My Ainsel
Chapter Nine ”There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
Chapter Ten

The secret is this: people gamble to lose money. They come to the casinos for the moment in which they feel alive, to ride the spinning wheel and turn with the cards and lose themselves, with the coins, in the slots. They may brag about the nights they won, the money they took from the casino, but they treasure, secretly treasure, the times they lost. It’s a sacrifice, of sorts.

Topic:

Gambling

Chapter Eleven

“My friend and I were disagreeing over what the word ‘Easter’ means. Would you happen to know?”

The girl stared at him as if green toads had begun to push their way between his lips. Then she said, “I don’t know about any of that Christian stuff. I’m a pagan.”

Topic:

Gods

Without individuals we see only numbers: a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, “casualties may rise to a million.” With individual stories, the statistics become people—but even that is a lie, for the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless.

Chapter Thirteen “Well, you’re grownups,” she said, in a tone of voice that implied that they weren’t, and that even if they were they shouldn’t be.
Part Three

The Moment of the Storm
Chapter Eighteen

Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.

Topic:

Religion

“The game was rigged.”

“Rigged games,” said Shadow, remembering, “are the easiest to beat.”

Topic:

Games

Part Four

Epilogue: Something That the Dead Are Keeping Back
Chapter Nineteen

One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless.

The tale is the map that is the territory.

“ ‘Call no man happy until he is dead.’ Herodotus.”

Mr. Nancy raised a white eyebrow, and he said, “I’m not dead yet, and, mostly because I’m not dead yet, I’m happy as a clamboy.”

“The Herodotus thing. It doesn’t mean that the dead are happy,” said Shadow. “It means that you can’t judge the shape of someone’s life until it’s over and done.”

“I don’t even judge then,” said Mr. Nancy. “And as for happiness, there’s a lot of different kinds of happiness, just as there’s a hell of a lot of different kinds of dead. Me, I’ll just take what I can get when I can get it.”

Compare to:

Ecclesiasticus

text checked (see note) Jan 2005

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