Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Books Media Book Reviews

American Gods 68

I've been fan of Neil Gaiman's work for a long time, and so it was with gleeful abandon that I got an advance copy of his latest work, American Gods. Being an advance copy, there were sections that may receive a bit of editing, but it seemed that this was just about the final form of the book. I mentioned being a fan of Gaiman's work for a long time for a reason -- I may be a bit fanboyish. That's not to say that there were not a couple problems with it -- but those were very minor issues compared with the overall strength of the book. Those who have read Gaiman's work before -- from Sandman to Good Omens (with Terry Prachett) and Neverwhere -- are familar with his knowledge of mythology and the idea that stories are extremely powerful. For those who didn't read it, well, there you go. Mythology and the Old Stories are important and powerful. With that foundation in place, on we go.

American Gods
author Gaiman
pages 480
publisher Morrow, William & Co.
rating 8.5
reviewer hemos
ISBN 0380973650
summary A Gaiman-style (and therefore surreal) walk through mythic America.

*

The note that Gaiman makes on the cover of my book regarding the difference between this book and Neverwhere, his book about Underground London, is a good one.

"If Neverwhere was about the London underneath, this would be about the America between, and on-top-of, and around. It's an America with strange mythic depths. Ones that can hurt you. Or kill you. Or make you mad.

American Gods will be a big book, I hope. A sort of weird, sprawling picaresque epic, which starts out relatively small and gets larger. Not horror, although I plan a few moments that are up there with anything I did in Sandman, and not strictly fantasy either. I see it as a distorting mirror, a book of danger and secrets, of romance and magic.

It's about the soul of America, really. What people brought to America; what found them when they came; and the things that lie sleeping beneath it all."

American Gods is about the mythology of America, but also about its relationship with gods, stories and what America is about. I think that's the story of this book; the story of what America is and what it is about.

The characters, mainly, are Shadow and Odin. Odin has been an frequent character throughout Gaiman's works, and as someone who memorized Odin's stats in Legends and Lore, I've always enjoyed Odin, and think that Old One Eye is an interesting historical figure -- and one who is interesting to get to know a bit more intimately, albeit through a writer's eyes. Shadow's character, is the one character I liked the least. Well, that's not quite how I mean it -- I did like Shadow the character, and I think I'd like him as a person. But it feels sometimes like the Shadow's actions and dialogue are a bit stilted, but that's only a slight flaw in an overall wonderland of reading.

The two relationships I glommed most on to are the ones between Shadow and Odin, and (in a very different way) between Shadow and the other gods and goddesses that he meets. The other curious relationship, if it can be called that, is the one between Shadow and his dead wife. Trust me. It sounds wierd, but it works really well.

In a nutshell, this is the tale of what happens to old gods when they are brought, sometimes without the believers even knowing it, to a country that doesn't really hold a belief in gods - or rather, a belief in traditions. One of the most interesting parts about America, to be nationcentric for a moment, is the lack of traditions in things, compared to the rest of the world. But America has created its own gods, of a sort, and the main plot point is about the intersection of the old gods and new gods. And the most interesting part of the story is there, I think. Because that's where the meat of the book is, and where it transcends being just a story about "god hangs out with guy, creates havoc, guy has dead wife who talks to him, old & new gods want to fight, guy solves problems." (Well, I suppose that is a pretty cool story.)

American Gods delves into larger issues of what it means to hold on to our traditions and beliefs in a world that has dramatically changed, and in which our relationships with each other and what's around us has In summary, this is a book with a good story. More then that, it's a story about relationship to the world around us, and what being human means. It's good. Really good. If you've got even a [metatarsal] of philosphy, or a modicum of interest in reading good stories, buy it.


You can purchase this book at Fatbrain.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

American Gods

Comments Filter:
  • From Amazon [amazon.com], Neverwhere was out in hard cover in 1997. From the IMBD [imdb.com], Neverwhere was on TV in 1996. That would seem to support your statement. This page [tripod.com] tracks some of his work and pretty much says the same thing.
    --
  • by Michael K. Johnson ( 2602 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:29AM (#184259) Homepage
    $subj

  • Confirming the report of the other two posters, Neverwhere was originally written as a six-episode miniseries for the BBC. It's not without its charm, but the book is better. (The effects for Islington were good, but the Beast was a bit of a let down.)

    I saw it at a local authorless book signing to promote Neverwhere's release. (And I still got an autographed copy.)

    There's been a persistent rumor of a Neverwhere movie, but it seems to be overdue...

    --

  • English public transportation is a dream compared to that of the U.S. Outside of large East coast cities, U.S. public transportation consists mostly of shuttles between shopping malls.

    Ok, that's not quite true, but U.S. public transportation really is in a sad state.

    The English however have been everywhere and know where it is, but still dislike everything that is not British.

    Ok, but we dislike everything that's not American even if we don't know where it is.

  • Neil Gaiman has a weblog at http://www.americangods.com/journal.html [americangods.com] where he's documenting the trials and tribulations of writing and getting American Gods published. I haven't read the book, but if it's as good as his funny & informative off-the-cuff stuff on the weblog, I'll be at the bookstore early on the release date.
  • it is about is founding principles.

    It was about principles. But since we ignored history, we forgot why we cared about them, and felt no fear or hesitation when we were asked to sacrifice them.


    ---
  • Odin seems to be a popular figure for modern day mythology. Tom Holt wrote in my opinion an extremely funny book called Expecting Someone Taller; a synopsis of which is that a guy called Malcomn discovers the ring forged by Alberich (from Wagners Ring Cycle) and the gods, lead by Odin and his trickster sidekick Loki, try to convince him that a mortal is not a suitable recipient for a ring which provides unlimited power.

    Well worth a read.
  • I enjoyed Neverwhere, which describes an alternative London, containing magical, strange historical people and animals, existing between the cracks of the real London. I think the ending is a little "and they all lived happily ever after" though.

    I also have to wonder wether he read the short story "Crouch End" by Stephen King before he wrote it. The short story is about a small section of London where dark creatures occasionally break through from other dimensions (bit like Buffy The Vampire Slayer ! )
  • Witty, but hardly true - you forget that the English were masters of 25% of the world at one time, and endured extreme hardship to get there [those of you who have endured the English public transport system would say we STILL endure extreme hardship to get anywhere!!].

    In actual fact the very size of America often means that a large number of Americans have a very limited knowledge of the outside world, so long distances are only valid to Americans if both endpoints are within the US. I seem to remember that a significant percentage of Americans didn't have a clue where Iraq was when they were fighting a war there! The English however have been everywhere and know where it is, but still dislike everything that is not British. You only have to see our disagreements over Europe to see that.
  • So the question is: does the culture of the united states cause this sense of little history, or does the lack of history cause the restless culture?

    I tend to think that it's a bit of both of course, but lately I've been thinking about how cultural values actually reinforce the lack of history. Our culture doesn't encourage people to cultivate a sense of home or of belonging to a place much. The archetype is that you have to leave home to grow up.

    (That shouldn't be too surprising considering that we consist of a nation of immigrants... to some degree, that has to exist.)

    Still, there are pockets of culture in the US that encourage settling, and it would seem that in some of those communities, there IS a sense of history established. Reading Wendell Berry [alteich.com] is one way to start thinking about this closely... he's interested in this sort of thing and documents where he's seen it (and also, somewhat antagonistically, where he doesn't).


    --
  • You didn't mention Stardust in your initial blurb, but I would have to say that's my second favourite book that Gaiman worked on. The other being Good Omens. The idea that nursery ryhmes were powerful really got me about that book. I think Gaiman really found a great way to tie in a traditional fairy tale with a love story, while keeping the mythology of those nursery ryhmes alive and reminding us where they come from.

    I think he's a true hero. :)

  • I haven't read American Gods yet (since it's not out), but the topic of the New Gods of America was covered amazingly well in Harlan Ellison's "Deathbird Stories". For a book written in 1975, it's attitudes on American values seem remarkably up-to-date. You might just think that nothing's really changed in the last 25 years...

    -jon

  • Such a shame we saved the world so many times
    You've got to be kidding! You are probably one of those people who think US won WWII, huh?..

    --

  • America isn't about it's history or culture, it is about is founding principles. What makes America unique is not the IDENTITY of the people who founded it, but there priciples as embodied in our constitution.

    I don't think so. Yes, one could make a case for Constitution being an important part of american cultural identity (although one could probably make an even stronger case for coca-cola and Hollywood). However, this sort of identity is artificial, and comparing it to the real thing -- organic cultural identity that arises over centuries -- is like comparing Esperanto to some natural language.

    Such artificial constructs usually don't take root, and to be honest, I doubt that a true organic american cultural identity, should it ever emerge, will be based on Constitution to any significant extent.

    Don't take me wrong, I think US Constitution to be a great thing, and I regard its de-facto deterioration as a terrible loss; but cultural identity is not usually based around formal principles, just as most people aren't defined by the principles they hold.

    --

  • You worthless communist pieces of shit would have LOST without lend-lease, the same way that Small Britain would have lost.
    it is possible. Not very likely, but possible, that USSR would have lost without lend-lease. So what?

    In any causal event, multiple factors have to be present for the result to occur; however, one has to distinguish between the degrees of contributions from each factor, and also between the degrees of relevance of the said contributions.

    It's very likely that without the support from the Spanish crown, Columbus would not have discovered America (whether he actually "discovered" it and what that event meant, is a separate topic). He also would not have discovered it if any of his parents didn't meet any other of his parents, because then he wouldn't have been born. Does that mean that you grant the credit for the outcome to all of the abovementioned entities?

    Yes, America helped -- in a small way -- in the WWII war effort. The contribution from many other countries was far, far more significant, both in absolute and in relative terms. To give US credit for winning WWII is like to give Columbus's grandparents credit for discovering America, or like to give the Geneva patent office credit for discovering relativity, or like to give Mendel's abbey credit for discovery of mendelian genetics.

    --

  • America helped in a *small* way? What's that, European revisionist history trying to make up for the actual pathetic performance y'all gave against a *single* nation in dire economic straits? Tell me another.
    Ok, I will tell you another. German advance was stopped in 1942 in Stalingrad battle, and reversed in 1943 after the battle of Kursk. USSR (not Russia) had more resources -- Germany's only realistic hope of victory was in blitz-krieg, and that failed.

    US didn't enter the European front until 1944, by which time Germnany's defeat was inevitable. the purpose of the US military participation was not to help defeat Germany, but to prevent USSR from taking over entire Europe.

    US did help economically, but that's little compared to the contribution of USSR, that being most of the war materials, manpower, and equipment. US contribution was minuscule compared to what USSR put into it.

    *Americans* won that war. With the help of Russians.
    Ah yes, the infamous American highscool education in action. <shakes his head>

    --

  • by Victor Danilchenko ( 18251 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:39AM (#184274)

    ...or at least wiothout a significant past for the majority of population, amerindians excluded.

    I was born in Ukraine. The thing that struck me most about USA when I moved here, is the lack of history. A couple of centuries is all there is -- the country feels to me to be almost rootless, just sprawling on the surface, without a deep connection to history. There is very little here-ness in USA, a distinct lack of historical and cultural sense of emplacement. This to me seems to be an almost tangible hole in the cultural farbic of USA, a rather nagging sense of absence.

    It's a strange feeling. Where americans do feel as if they possess an american identity (as opposed to the old-world national identity), it tends to appear almost artificial -- such people seem to be working very hard on figuring out what being an American is, culturally, instead of just being one.

    Oh well... give it a few more centuries, perhaps a few more wars and revolutions, and this will change.

    --

  • by Levine ( 22596 ) <levine&goatse,cx> on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:26AM (#184275) Homepage
    > from the fiction dept.

    I wasn't aware Slashdot had one-word, non-hyphenated departments anymore!

    Cheers,
    levine
  • When I was in the states I took the opportunity to look through American History books. For instance the chapter on WWII. Basically was page after page of "...and then America..." or "...and then Americans..." etc.

    Not to be rude but what is tought in US High Schools really is /American/ History, you should't begin to believe anything else. If for no other reason you should consider that the European parts of the Alliance had been directly attacked during the war. Economic crisis my ass, when half of your country is either bombed or taken over by the enemy THEN you can start talking about having a friggin crisis.

    And it /is/ true that all countries have rather nationalistic views on history. I doubt that most Europeans history books have the same views on Swedish counqourers in Europe for instance. We do however study other countries as well though. (Mainly Europe and the US.) Sadly nothing about Asia. (Or rather, nothing before Europeans began trading there.)
  • by sphere ( 27305 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:32AM (#184277) Homepage Journal
    Another great book about divinity in the modern era. In this case, Ballard takes a small-time crook and gives him the powers of a pagan god. Imagine what the author of "Crash" would do with divine powers and you get the idea. Well worth reading.
    --
    "Deep in the ocean are treasures beyond compare,
  • One other major difference I've found between the US and the UK is that people born in the US think that death is optional, whereas in the UK, death is just a reality, much like the weather.

    When your country has only been around for a little over three lifetimes, it's hard to get perspective on anything important happening before you or after you. --Ringel

  • There is a list of the booksigning tour dates at http://www.americangods.com/tour.html

    Disclaimer: I work for Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY, so I have an interest in getting people out to the signings.
  • I just got done reading Smoke and Mirrors, [fatbrain.com] an excellent collection of Gaiman's short stories. He has an amazing way of telling stories that are at the same time both familiar and deeply strange. Definitely recommended.

    That collection is somewhat focused on English myth, as much as anything. I kept wondering what he would do with American myth -- or the lack thereof. And now he's done just that. It's not like I don't have too much to read already...

  • KERA, the Dallas PBS station, recently ran a short series called 'Neverwhere.' It was only 12 or so 30-minute episodes. I just happened to catch the first episode, and was so intrigued by the wierd mixture of mundane and fantastic that I kept watching. While the acting was predictably uneven, it nonetheless had a very cool vibe. I hadn't ever figured out where it had come from, since it just showed up one night, ran for its 6 or 12 weeks and then was done, and was never mentioned anywhere. It was about 'Underground London' so I assume it was based on the Gaiman book mentioned above.

    Did anybody else see this?

    And why the Sam Hell is this under 'Science' anyway?
  • Little off topic, but Snowcrash delves into a bit of the topic of modern mythology.
    And damn is it a good book.
  • Principles that most people in the country are more than willing to throw away when the slighest discomfort comes their way. Why else would the public repeatedly elect people because of their promises to enact laws that contradict these principles? (for example, people willing to dismiss the 4th amendment for the war on some drugs, or willing to dismiss the 1st to eliminate a little discomforting speech)

    The more I pay attention, the more I realize why freedom has been so rare throughout history. Most people are unwilling to pay the price necessary for those freedoms - having to deal with things that you don't like. People will talk about how much they enjoy them, then give up bits of those freedoms left and right.

    America is getting close to changing from "The Land of the Free" to "The Land of the Willingly Unfree".
    ---
  • That's a big part of making America what it is. It makes it easier for people to immigrate here, since there's less of a cultural past to find a place in - they can bring much of their culture with them and not have it be so out of place as if it were to a place with a long, rich history and tradition that people feel they need to defend.

    There's also a strong sentiment at least among some of the people that they don't WANT a set of traditions, a common identity, that it takes away from individuality. Sort of a longer-term rebellion.

    There is one American cultural identity, one tradition... the extreme work ethic. That you are what your job is. It's not what you do for a living, it's who you are. You don't practice medicine, you're a doctor. You don't program, you are a software engineer. All the other factors that determine who you are come in as secondary considerations. Think about it - if someone were to ask you "who are you?" or "what are you?", what would you answer? Most Americans would state what kind of work they do first. Perhaps that's why there is so little else, because people are too busy working.

    There's also such an extreme variety of viewpoints, of opinions, that make it hard to get anywhere, when there are always groups out there who totally despise whatever it is you're trying to do...

    But you have a very, very good point, a great observation, that many of us don't think about.
    ---
  • America is getting close to changing from "The Land of the Free" to "The Land of the Willingly Unfree".
    Is the U.S. any less free than before?

    Blacks can vote now. Heck, blacks are people these days. And legally equal to the rest of us.
    Homosexuals/bisexuals/transsexuals don't get lynched often. In some states they even have "civil unions." Try doing that in the 1800s!

    I can say more "bad words" in public than before too. Most of the stuff we rant about as "horribly eroding the first amendment" (which it may very well be doing) wouldn't have been allowed when this country was new.

  • Well, if anyone's really interested. There's a copy of an uncorrected proof for sale on e-bay. It was at $51 when I last looked. The link is here [ebay.com]
  • If I remember correctly (and I always do) "Crouch End" is one of King's contributions to the macabre Lovecraft mythos...
  • John Fogerty said it:
    He got the voices speak in riddles, he got the eye as black as coal,

    He got a suitcase covered with rattlesnake hide, and he stands right in the road.

    You got to hidey-hide, you got to jump up run away;
    You got to hidey-hidey-hide, the Old Man is down the road.

    That sounds like the old one-eyed trickster/sorcerer/carrion god to me!

    This was a pretty uninformative review, and it may have been better done by someone who wasn't a self-described fanboy. I suppose if you're already a Gaiman fan you're already lining up to buy the book, but for my part it said nothing that makes me want to do the same. I read Sandman, which was superb as comic books go, but which sucked as literature. (The series had an ending which wasn't so much foreshadowed as telegraphed, and it took a 20 or so issue story arc to get there. The substandard art for that arc didn't help matters.) I read Good Omens because of Pratchett's name on the cover, and frankly, without his clearly discernable contribution I would have considered it not worth the read.

    So why should I read this?

  • I am reminded heavily of Douglas Adams' 'The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul'. Gods are walking among us, wreaking havoc at airports. Ever wondered which god makes those street lamps go out when you walk past them? Adams has the answer.
  • I thought Snowcrash was about pizza deliveries, VR, 1337 hAXOR5, sk8boards, virii and The Mafia?

    Maybe that bit went over my head....

    ----------------------------
  • Immigration provides the US with a cyclical nature, one that is mostly unique to us.

    I realise America's the country under discussion here, but I'd like to point out that this is in no way unique to America. The entire New World is like this. America has had influxes of Dutch, Irish, Africans (well, I don't know how you'd call them immigrants), Italians, Poles, Latin Americans over successive generations. My home, New Zealand, has had immigrant fluxes of English, Irish, Dalmations (Croatians), Polynesians, and now Asians. It's the same here in Australia, to a lesser extent with some, but it's a universal New World thing. I'm not baiting here, but it would do the US some good to realise they're not the only English colony out there:)

    It strikes me that noone's talking about Gaiman, an author I love, but hell, it's the weekend.

    Has anyone read Stardust? It's basically just a fairy tale, and I guess you'd call it a novella. Saying a Neil Gaiman book/comic/story is 'just a fairy tale' may seem apocryphal, so to put it another way, it's very a purified version of his normal fare. The people are simple and live in country bordering Faerie, the land of the.. well, fairies. A young man loses his heart to a faerie as he is about to marry, and the child is returned to his doorstep after birth. The young one goes on a quest. Pretty straight forward stuff. But well worth the read.

    Gaiman and Pratchett have done alot to revive the notion of fairy tales as intelligent adult fare. The notion of storytelling being an art unto itself, not necessarily tied down by what so often passes for "human" dramatisation but is in truth often humdrum, is an old idea which has made a welcome return. Adults should use their imagination and read a few books like these, not just ones about submarines and lawyers. If you don't venture outside what you know, you'll never get to what you don't have.

  • by zpengo ( 99887 )
    How am I supposed to get an early post, and thus increase my chances for getting +1ed, if I have to click "Read More" to actually understand what this whole thing is about? The intro text should tell us all we need to know, so that we can commend/criticize/complain/ramble about the topic and be praised as "insightful" and "interesting"
  • Yes the infamous American education. Just like the biased education of wherever you came from. Every country has it's own version of history deal with it. You have no more grounding in fact than anyone else.
  • Would make sense -- it's quite Lovecraftian, and makes me think specifically of the subway-platform painting in "Pickman's Model."

    In any case, no one has a monopoly on that kind of stuff. It's a universal motif, floating around in the collective unconscious, free for the taking, to the joy and betterment of all. Kind of like MP3's before the RIAA noticed them. But not exactly.
  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:57AM (#184295)
    Just out of idle curiosity, why is /. so cozy with Barnes & Noble (owners of Fatbrain)? Is it just a straight marketing deal, are they the only ones with good prices and not Amazon, or what?

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • Um...I didn't think that Norse mythology counted as history, either.
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @08:35AM (#184297) Homepage Journal
    I think the US Constitution is a big part of what makes America what it is. Having Law is neat, but even the Law is made by men, and subject to whims of men, and their short-term (and long-term) insanities.

    As a response, everyone seems to want something Above The Law. In some countries, it's a King, in others, religion. These things become a core part of the Tradition of that country, which brings this back to topic.

    In the US, as we weaned ourselves from our European traditions, we attached it instead to the Constitution. With that Uber-Law behind the Law, we gained an extra element of faith in ourselves, which perhaps leads to the work ethic mentioned on another response on this subthread.

    Unfortunately, of late it seems that even the Uber-Law is powerless against Sufficient Application of Money, witness the RIAA and DMCA. The twisting of 'limited' in the Constitution, where it provides for patents and copyrights, is downright obscene.

    It casts a chill on my faith in America.
  • Some people (RMS) are on a anti-amazon kick becuse of the way that they have gone overboard on patents at times (one-click-shoping). B&N is too mega-corp to mention directly so us geeks go with Fatbrain because of the ... well ... fat brain aspect.

    I posted about Global Dreams last week [slashdot.org] and in in the interests of fairness posted the links for all three sites. Amazon [amazon.com], BN [barnesandnoble.com] or FatBrain [fatbrain.com]

  • It should be worth it though. I was on holiday in Helsinki last summer, and quite by accident I happened upon a small sci-fi convention. Gaiman was one of the two (English) speakers, and he read a chapter from the book. I've been waiting to get my hands on it ever since.

    Looks like the wait is nearly over !

    Incidentally, the other speaker was Ken McCleod :-).

  • Appropos to this point, Neil Gaiman has one of his characters in an earlier work say,"Europe has history...American has geography.".
  • Other way around, I think- Gaiman wrote the Neverwhere on TV and then decided he wasn't really satisfied with how it turned out, so he wrote the book.
  • ... and as someone who memorized Odin's stats in Legends and Lore, I've always enjoyed Odin, and think that Old One Eye is an interesting historical figure

    Um... you do know that "Legends and Lore" is just a D&D game rule-book, and not a historical document, right?

    Right?

  • That was my point.
  • If you can find his earlier short story collection "Angels and Visitations" then I recomend you buy it. There is a lot of overlap between it and "Smoke and Mirrors", but A&V has some of his nonfiction works too, and one or two differnet stories that in my mind make it worth the price of admission. ("Six til Six" is my favorite - Neil observing london from six pm to six am, hoping something exciting will happen)

    ----

  • You could also read an Heinlein's Job:A Comedy of Justice, some interesting end of the world-multi religion stuff (don't want to give too much away :) a very interesting read.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:35AM (#184306) Homepage Journal
    I kinda like these book reviews, and think it would be cool to fit at least something in every week. It would be a good thing to add a Books category for submissions, as well. Since Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, et al, aren't exactly what I'd call "Science"

    That said, as a result of the last book review I ordered £60 in Diskworld books from Amazon.co.uk. Hopefully this, worthy of getting too, will be far enough down the road for me to accumulate sufficient wealth to buy it.

    Summer reading I dreaded in H.S., now it's a long lost dream to sit in a park, under the shade of a tree, and read. Best I can do is 30 minute snatches during lunch. So much good fiction, so little time.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • "In a nutshell, this is the tale of what happens to old gods when they are brought, sometimes without the believers even knowing it, to a country that doesn't really hold a belief in gods - or rather, a belief in traditions"

    Did you not read the review or are you just jumping on the bash-the-editors bandwagon? He said what it was about and he said it was a good book. What more do you want, the plot spelled out for you in explicit detail?

    Also, which words did you need a dictionary for? Mythology and Nationcentric are the only two words in there that the average 6th grader shouldn't know, maybe you need to spend more than half an hour with the dictionary.

  • America isn't about it's history or culture, it is about is founding principles. What makes America unique is not the IDENTITY of the people who founded it, but there priciples as embodied in our constitution.
  • A clarification: I am not saying that the constitution is the main component of American cultural identity. What I am saying is that our popular culture and sense of history are irrelevent and always changing. What makes us unique is that we have a system of government that embraces those changes and allows us to grow. American culture looks *forward*.
  • ...Jack doesn't know Jack about Javascript.

  • "More then that, it's a story about relationship to the world around us, and what being human means. It's good. Really good. "

    Yes, it's high time we all did a bit of introspection and answered for ourselves what it means to be human.

    It's good to flow along with the tide, but you should also know your position vis-a-vis the shore, to reach the shore (unless of course you'd rather drown and never get to know whether there was any shore nearby at all).

  • It's released the 18th. Go to Americangods.com for up-to-the-second times, as well as a VERY extensive journal Neil has been keeping about the book.
  • While I saw on fatbrain that you can preorder it, does anyone know when the book is actually being released?
  • So what's this book about? Hemos didn't really provide me with much more insight about what it is, or how good it is, then the blurb at the beginning from the author. I think I'm going to quit reading the book reviews on slashdot. Everyone launches into ranting about their favorite author with big, and I mean really big, words that do nothing but make everyone whip out their dictionaries for a half hour while they try to decode exactly what the reviewer is saying. I'm not reading this book until someone tells me what the heck it's about!
  • England is where they think 100 miles is a long distance.

    The U.S. is where they think 100 years is a long time.

  • Alas, Mr. Adams has already completed his long dark tea-time of the soul. So sad.
  • That is funny. My family has been here just short of 400 years. I don't have a single immigrant in my tree for over 200 years and I know when and where almost every ancestor has lived in each branch of the tree since they came over. I don't know too many Europeans with a better idea of where they come from and how they came to be.
  • The release date is June 19.

    "What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"
  • Immigration provides the US with a cyclical nature, one that is mostly unique to us. As people rise the socio-economic ladder here, there is a tendancy to have fewer children. The thing that offsets this population loss is immigration. Especially now, with the Baby Boomers set to retire and then die, recent immigrants are providing a necessary population base to keep this country moving smoothly. The key is that as generations pass, there is a continual rise up the economic ladder for people whose ancestors were immigrants.

    The US really isn't a country in the traditional sense. Our country was founded as a union of states and only became a country out of necessity. Our popular culture is a eclectic mix of various previous cultures. The melting pot theory is commonly thought to be antiquated, in my mind there is still truth in that metaphor.

  • America helped in a *small* way? What's that, European revisionist history trying to make up for the actual pathetic performance y'all gave against a *single* nation in dire economic straits? Tell me another. Tell me again how every one of you wankers folded in record time excepting Britain, and that just because the Germans couldn't get to it. If they'd been able to cross the Channel the Brits would've pissed down their leg as fast as the French did. *Americans* won that war. With the help of Russians. The rest of you acted liked victims or bystanders. By the gods, if ever we have have another war I hope we ally with the Germans this time. No pansies for allies and the whole thing'll be over in 6 weeks. Max
  • two words:

    Lend-Lease

    Look it up.

    Max
  • Sir, you are so wrong.

    I am not dissing US participation in WWII, but you must be absolutely uninformed if you did not know that the USSR war effort, and casualties were much higher.

    Having US in Europe since '44 was a great help though, since it helped the Western European countries from coming under Stalin's control.

    Just see what happened with the Checks, Polish, Hungarians, Eastern Germany, Berlin, Rumania, etc.

    So the US contribution from '44 was priceless for the western European countries. If US had not helped towards the end, The eastern bloc might have been much bigger, Scandinavia, Italy, Austria. So US didn't as much protect Europe from Hitler, but from Stalin.

    Europe is thankful for Russia's war contribution, but happy Stalin didn't win the war alone.

  • by NickFusion ( 456530 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @07:30AM (#184323) Homepage
    Gaiman has been keeping an online journal during the creation of American Gods, it can be found here: http://www.americangods.com/journal.html
  • "I am less interested in who my grandfather was, than who his grandson will become." - Abraham Lincoln Knowledge of the past is important, however, focusing on that which can be affected by our current decisions, i.e., the future is much more vital to an individual, not to mention a nation as a whole. Culture does not necessarily equate to History. But to call a nation's cultural identity "artificial" indicates a lack of understanding of what that culture is.
  • I plan on going to the signing at Joseph Beth on June 23rd (I think). I live in Richmond, south of Lex about 20 miles. I couldn't resist replying when I saw someone post from my area :)

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's

Working...