Discovering Neil Gaiman

Well, not Gaiman himself. (Though that would certainly make a nice story: One morning, I opened my wardrobe, and there he was! A stranger sitting among my summer clothes! “What are you doing in my wardrobe!” I shrieked, because as you can imagine, finding a stranger sitting among my summer clothes in my wardrobe had come as a bit of a shock. — “I don’t know,” he said, clearly as puzzled as I was.) No, what I mean, of course, is that I’ve discovered his books. And I blame it all on play.com.

Why?

Because there I stumbled across the trailer for the film adaptation of STARDUST.

“Oh gosh,” I thought, “this looks like fun!” I was rather surprised because looking at the covers of his books in the Hugendubel (big German bookstore chain) (or is it chain bookstore? *scratching my head*), I assumed his novels were sort of dark. With no fun included. I mean, look at that:


It definitely looks sort of dark and … well … strange. I mean, would you assume a book with such a cover includes unicorns, pirates, witches, and the like???

This looks so much better, doesn’t it?

But as I said, it was that trailer for the movie STARDUST which first caught my attention. After I’d seen it, I went directly to Fictionwise and bought the e-versions of both STARDUST and NEVERWHERE. And, of course, eventually I also bought the aforementioned movie:


I’ve just finished watching it, and I have to tell you, it was such great fun!! Gaiman piles all of these wonderful, wild ideas on top of each other and creates a lovely tongue-in-cheek adventure / Sword & Sorcery / romance story: shopboy Tristan lives in a village called Wall as it is situated near a wall. And it’s not just any old wall, it’s a magical wall: nobody is allowed the cross to the other side, and a sort of “gatekeeper” keeps vigil at the only hole in the wall.

Tristan is courting the beautiful (but shallow) Victoria, who, however, is much enamoured by the dashing Humphrey. Yet one night, as Tristan and Victoria watch a falling star dash across the sky, she promises him to marry him if he brings her the fallen star. Unfortunately, though, the star has touched earth on the “wrong” side of the wall, in the magical kingdom of Stronghold. And there the star turns into a beautiful (occasionally glowing) girl.

Tristan crosses the Wall into Stronghold, yet he is not the only one in search of the Star: there’s also the wicked witch (who plans to cut out the girl’s heart, eat it and thus gain her youth and beauty back) and the black-hearted prince (who wants the jewel the girl is wearing as this would make him the new king of Stronghold).

STARDUST is an exhilarating and exciting story, full of unexpected twist and turns, wonderful humour as well as a dash of romance.

The cast of the movie is brilliant, too: Claire Danes as Yvaine, the Star; Michelle Pfeiffer as the wicked witch; Robert de Niro as Captain Shakespeare (the wardrobe scene! oooooh, the wardrobe scene!!!); and Rupert Everett (with squashed face and stormblown hair) as one of the (dead) princes.

Apparently, the novel was first published as a graphic novel:

Looks rather lovely, too, doesn’ it?

The idea of the Star turning into a beautiful young girl (in flowing grey gown) reminded me of the Lady Amalthea in the film THE LAST UNICORN. And that girl on the cover of the graphic novel bears a faint resemblance to the humanized unicorn, too, imo.

2 thoughts on “Discovering Neil Gaiman

  1. Andi & Stien

    Oooooh! I absolutely adore that movie! it’s so romantic and funny! And that Prince Septimus (Marc Strong)? Yum!!! 😉

    Oh, btw, The Last Unicorn is one of my all time favourite movies!It’s such a wonderful piece of art! I still have it on VHS, dubbed in Dutch…

    *Andi*

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