C. G. McGinn

Writer

Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

In my experience you either learned about Norse Mythology by some independent means, or through comic books and pop culture. School had the Greek and Egyptian gods covered but I learned more about the Norse gods from the Marvel movies and Final Fantasy 2...which is really Final Fantasy 4...or something.

Before Odin was the All-Father for me, he was an optional boss that--when bested--would be a summon-able ally. He had one attack. One attack that would completely murdered your entire party in one hit. If you couldn't bring his hitpoints down to zero in time you were dead. Odin was the first in a long line of badass 8-bit bosses.

Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology was my education into the myths of the Germanic and Viking people. Going into this book I knew it was going to be good. This was not Gaiman's first trip into mythological worlds. It's sorta his wheelhouse--between The Sandman, American Gods and others that I've just not read yet. And the audio version is read by him, which was delightful. I'm going to stereotype the British now, but hearing a Brit read anything instantly whisks me away to some sort of magical Harry Potter world, even when the book being read isn't Harry Potter.

Norse Mythology is going right onto my Reading List along with a few other Neil Garmin must-reads. If you've never read anything by him--either because you're from the past, or you're too hipster douchebag for anyone successful--then I suggest you get with the times, man, or change your ways and pick up this book.

American Werewolves

On Reading:

Neil Gaiman is a great writer. This probably goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway. And before you accuse me of pandering, please note that I am simply referring to the man's ability to write. I'm not going to jump on Pinterest now and gush about his sexy hair or anything. 

Anyway...

"American Gods" is a novel about, well, gods and how they enter existence through the beliefs of humanity. A god goes out of fashion, they're forgotten and their power wanes. People of the modern age turn their beliefs in abstractions to the more tangible: televisions and technology, and poof, new gods!

I'm not going to review the entire book. What I liked about it was that he weaved several compelling stories throughout the course of the novel that came together in a very satisfying way. Gaiman could have serialized the story, the way King did with "The Green Mile." There were some very distinct breaks that kept the story fresh.

Patricia Briggs has written a series of paranormal tales in the same vein as Supernatural, True Blood and the Vampire Diaries with her protagonist, Mercedes Thompson. You'll know the books I'm taking about because they feature a hot, dark-haired bombshell with tattoos, usually holding a wrench or other tool commonly found in a mechanics garage, amid a goth backdrop. I picked up this book because I needed something light to read between the Historian and American Gods. I also wanted to read something sexy, but I have to say, it wasn't nearly as sexy as the cover would have you believe. I guess that old saying about book covers is true. Regardless, it was a good story in a genre littered with over-sexed characters and full-frontal male werewolf nudity. 

 

On Writing:

Part 1 of the book will be done tonight.

After a long talk with one of my writing buddies, and some careful thinking, I'm not going to go the Amazon self-publishing route. For me it's took risky and I really think this story would do better in more traditional markets. So I'm going to be querying agents once the story is done. My endgame is to make books, physical books, that'll be put on sale in book stores, book store I may one day be in, during book tours.

Hey, that Rhymes.

 

 

Roger Debris presents, History

Reading Books:

The vid has nothing at all to do with "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, but it was what came to mind when thinking of how I would write this entry. The Historian was written in a unique way, which at first will sound like a somewhat gimmicky way to write a story, but was executed really well in this particular story. The story is written as a series of diary entries, letters between characters and research material. The story begins with a 1st person perspective main character in her 50's recounting her early teenage years. But even these parts of the narrative are read as if they were part of a memoir.

The book is about vampires.

Specifically it's about Dracula.

And to break it down even further it's about the half-monster, half-historical figure made famous in Bram Stoker's novel, which was also written as a series of journal entries and corespondents.

I remember putting hundreds of copies of this book onto and off of the shelf in the "Literature" section at a now defunct bookstore, so I didn't expect this story to follow the same trends common in genre fiction. And it didn't. The book focused heavily on the history of Dracula the man, and of his realm in the Carpathian Mountains during the 18th Century.

The main characters, all heavily embedded in the camp of Science, were forced to come to grips with the reality that indeed, the Dracula of history had much more in common with the vampire of story and superstition.

I enjoyed this book but I felt that the last 100 pages were when the book really got good and I wished the earlier parts could have been like the later. This might have more to do with my own preference to genre fiction, and those last 100 pages were very much like a vampire story than hard lit. 

Writing Books:

I'm thinking about starting a Character Blog. This would be separate from this blog, which, despite what you may think is about a real life person. If it develops into something, I'll publish it as it's own work. Regardless of where it goes, it will be a good exercise in character development. It would also be a good way of giving you, the reader, a taste for how I write and what I write about. I realize that this little endeavor is based on a lot of talk on my part, with very little concrete proof of my talents. Unless you're part of my writing circle, you really have no idea what the hell I'm doing besides, well, this. This will either help entice or repulse you from my work. Regardless, you'll know what you're getting yourself into.

The link will be posted on the site's homepage soon. I'll also update this entry with a link should you be reading this after-the-fact.

In other news, Part 1 of the story is almost complete. I've probably said this before but it's much closer than it was the last time I said it. I'm on Chapter 6, and it will probably be the last Chapter of  Part 1. Of course, I think I might have said that about Chapter 5, so who knows.  

Up Next...

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

and

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Summer Vacation is Over

Well, for me it is anyway. Going back to work tomorrow. I can honestly say though that I feel somewhat accomplished. Granted, I did spend a considerable amount of time gaming. I beat the hell out of Arkham City. But i was also able to get some concrete ideas written down for the Dream story. I now have a much clearer picture of where things are going. The world these characters exist in feels more like a real place and a lot less like the clouded visage of a dream.  

This week was more about world building and research than it was about writing. I think it will all make for a much better story.  

In a way I am glad the vacation is ending. I'm ready to get back to work. There's a lot to do and i think i have just over a week before classes start. I'm also getting a new tattoo on Saturday and I'm pretty excited. Who would have thought I'd be a tattoo guy? I certainly didn't. In homage to the subject of the tattoo, I started following Neil Gaiman on Twitter.  

That seems to be the long and short on the end of this little break from the day to day. Until another idea pops into my head... 

In which We Discuss ​Comic Books and Coolness after the Fact

Ninja High School was the obscure comic I was into back before high school and throughout college. It was unique in that it was American Manga during a time when manga was the stuff of black & white World Wide Web scans, and VHS bootlegs. The days of Anime sections in every video store, and even Manga sections at the comic shops were still several years away. What also made Ninja High School special, at least to me, was that is wasn't until a few years ago that you could Google the title and find more than a Yahoo Group and a couple other pages on the Web that actually knew anything about it. Even today, the amount of information in this Information Age would barely equate to a Ninja High School village, to the overcrowded cities of Batman, Superman or even Hellblazer. 

While I was scouring the globe for Ninja High School, other comic nerds of the day were reading Batman and a trove of other superheros. The Hipsters of the day we probably reading Sandman and seeing the irony in Neil Gaiman's use of the word "book". Some would also be reading Hellblaze, which would later be made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves. For those of you confused and thinking I'm talking about A Walk in the Clouds, I'm referring to John Constantine, the magic wielding occultist who battled demons, traveled to the places between Heaven and Hell, and even did a lot of drugs with Euro-Hippies.

It's a safe bet that I was probably not allowed to reach Hellblazer when I was of the impressionable age of 13-15ish. I'm sure I could have if I really wanted, but instead I settled for American Manga, Ben Dunn's "Ninja High School". 

They have comic books on computers now! Did you know? A new day has dawned and now you can purchase comics on any number of tablets. This'll probably end up putting small-time comic book businesses, well, out-of-business the same way digital books put Borders out-of-business. This is sad to me, as I have many of fond memories walking downtown to ML Comics in Marlborough, and later, in college, going to Casablanca Comics in Windham Maine to shoot the shit with the guy who ran it and pick up some more of that American Manga.

Although going digital did cause me to start expanding the scope of my comic book intake. It got me into Batman and I'm completely hooks on DCs New 52 reboot, or whatever it is. I've also started reading Hellblazer, which is another awesome book. I recommend both to anyone who likes...well...who likes Batman and/or British occultists..

It's funny how the things that were cool or mainstream way back when, were the things I was never really into back then. And now, here I am, thinking those things I rejected are cool after all. It's the same way with music. I hated Nine Inch Nails when they were popular. Now: I like their old stuff. None of that Year One bullshit. What does that say about what is popular now? Will I be a Justin Beiber fan ten years from now? Oh God, I hope that's not how these things work.

I have two Lava Lamps. One was a Christmas gift back in high school and the other was a gift from my wife a few years ago. Lava Lamps were big in the 70's. I wanted the High School one because it was retro, and retro was cool, like bow ties and the Beatles. The other day my wife's sister saw the two Lava Lamps on my desk and stated, 'we used to have those'. This would be perfectly normal if she were a child of the 70's, but alas, she's a woman in her early 20's, Here I thought I was somehow cool in a retro sort of way, only to discover that the generation ten years my younger, found the same cool-factor in the exact same thing. How does that old saying go? The more things change...