Book Review: View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman (Three Stars)


Book Review: View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman

Three Stars

“If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do.”

A few good insights into art and culture scattered among five hundred plus pages of drivel. When Gaiman writes very good drivel, but it’s still a hodge-podge of introductions, essays and reflections.

“Those of us who write fantasies for a living know that we are doing it best when we tell the truth. Truth is not in what happens but in what it tells us about who we are.”

The best single item was “Make Art Good,” his 2012 commencement address at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. Lots of life lessons for the rest of us.

“It’s time for creators to accept that we are becoming dandelions. Dandelions just let their seeds go to the wind, and do not mourn the seeds that do not make it.”

Another “related work” finalist for a 2017 Hugo Award. This category will be hard to score because all of the entries are mediocre. Apparently related works is a giveaway to help authors pad their resumes. Gaiman needs no such padding. His body of work is solid and keeps getting better.

“Technology does nothing to dispel the shadows at the edge of things.”

A data point: to get good at fantasy and art (and presumably related fields) hanging out with other aficionados is essential. “Iron sharpens iron.” It also produces lots of sparks, and apparently engenders comradery and love.

“Let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman (Three Stars)

  1. Maybe your reservations about this book are mostly about organization of the material? I haven’t read a great deal of his work. My favorite is American Gods which I’ve read maybe 3 times. Now on STARZ, the scenes are too short and jump. Also my biggest complaint about The Magicians, too much material crammed into one hour. Thanks for the review.

    • I like American Gods (the book, not the TV gorefest).

      This book is a hodgepodge of speeches, essays, and blogs posts. Not at all indicative of Gaiman’s capability as an author. (That same can be said for almost every finalist in the Related Works category.)

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