1. Please do not post spam
2. No referral, affiliate and/or survey links.
3. Submit only the original source of the content. No general URL shorteners
4. No racist, sexist, homophobic content, or threats regardless of popularity or relevance.
American Gods (2001) is a novel by English author Neil Gaiman. The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow. The book was published in 2001 by Headline in the United Kingdom and by William Morrow in the United States. It gained a positive critical response and won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2002. A special tenth anniversary edition, which includes the "author's preferred text" and 12,000 additional words, was published in June 2011 by William Morrow. Two audio versions of the book were produced and published by Harper Audio: an unabridged version of the original published edition, read by George Guidall, released in 2001; and a full cast audiobook version of the tenth anniversary edition, released in 2011. In March 2017, The Folio Society published a special collector's edition of American Gods, with many corrections to the author's preferred text version.
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Publisher||William Morrow, Headline|
|19 June 2001|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Awards||Hugo Award for Best Novel (2002), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2002), Nebula Award for Best Novel (2002)|
|LC Class||PR6057.A319 A84 2001|
|Followed by||Anansi Boys|
American Gods (2001) is a novel by English author Neil Gaiman. The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow.
A special tenth anniversary edition, which includes the "author's preferred text" and 12,000 additional words, was published in June 2011 by William Morrow. Two audio versions of the book were produced and published by Harper Audio: an unabridged version of the original published edition, read by George Guidall, released in 2001; and a full cast audiobook version of the tenth anniversary edition, released in 2011. In March 2017, The Folio Society published a special collector's edition of American Gods, with many corrections to the author's preferred text version.
In April 2017, Starz began airing a television adaptation of the novel. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green served as showrunners, and Gaiman is an executive producer. Fuller and Green departed the show after the first season.
Shadow is an ex-convict who is released from prison three days early when his wife Laura is killed in a car accident. Shadow is devastated by her death, and is distraught to learn that she died alongside his best friend Robbie, with whom she had been having an affair. He takes a job as a bodyguard for a mysterious con man, Mr. Wednesday. Shadow and Wednesday travel across America visiting Wednesday's acquaintances and Shadow learns that Wednesday is an incarnation of Odin the All-Father. Wednesday is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods, whose powers have waned as their believers have decreased in number, to participate in a battle against the New American Gods – manifestations of modern life and technology, such as the Internet, media, and modern means of transport. Shadow meets a leprechaun named Mad Sweeney who gives Shadow a magical gold coin after Shadow beats him in a fight. Shadow tosses the coin into his wife's grave, inadvertently bringing her back from the dead as a semi-living revenant.
The New Gods abduct Shadow (utilizing a group of shadowy Men in Black led by the mysterious Mr. World), but Laura rescues him, killing several Men in Black in the process. Wednesday hides Shadow first with some Egyptian gods who run a funeral parlor in Illinois, and then in the Great Lakes community of Lakeside. They are pursued all the while by the Men in Black, particularly Mr. Town, who blames Shadow for the death of his friends.
The New Gods seek to parley with Wednesday, but murder him at the meeting. This act galvanizes the Old Gods and they rally to face their enemies in battle at Rock City. While retrieving Wednesday's body, Shadow is surprised to discover his old prison cellmate and mentor, Low Key Lyesmith, is working as a driver for the new gods. Shadow is bound by his contract with Wednesday to hold his vigil by re-enacting Odin's time hanging from a "World Tree" while pierced by a spear. He is visited by Horus, who is mad from living too long as a hawk. Shadow dies and visits the land of the dead, where he is judged by Anubis. Shadow learns that he is Wednesday's son, conceived as part of the deity's plans. During this time Mr. Town arrives at the World Tree, ordered by Mr. World to cut a branch from the World Tree.
Horus finds Easter and convinces her to bring Shadow back to life. Shadow realizes Mr. World is actually Low-key (Loki) Lyesmith and that Odin and Loki have been working a "two-man con". They orchestrated Shadow's birth, his meeting of Loki in disguise in prison, and Laura's death. Loki had arranged for Odin's murder so that the battle between the New and Old Gods would serve as a sacrifice to Odin, restoring his power, while Loki would feed on the chaos of the battle.
Laura chooses to hitchhike to Rock City and meets Mr. Town, who does not realise who she is, and they agree to travel together. During their travels Laura learns who Mr. Town is and, once they arrive at their destination, kills him and takes the branch. She then meets with Loki and manages to stab him with the tree branch which turns into a spear.
Shadow arrives at Rock City and confronts Loki, now gravely wounded, and the ghost of Odin, who reveal their plans. Shadow travels to the site of the battle and explains that both sides have nothing to gain and everything to lose, with Odin and Loki as the only true winners. The United States is a bad place for Gods, Shadow tells them, and he recommends they return home. The Gods depart, Loki dies and Odin's ghost fades. Laura asks Shadow to take the coin from her and she finally dies.
In Iceland, Shadow meets another incarnation of Odin, created by the belief of the original settlers of Iceland and much closer to the Odin of mythology than Wednesday. Shadow accuses Odin of Wednesday's actions, whereupon Odin replies that "He was me, yes. But I am not him." Shadow gives Wednesday's glass eye to Odin, which Odin places in a leather bag as a keepsake. Shadow performs a simple sleight-of-hand coin trick, which delights Odin and who asks for a repeat performance. Shadow then performs a small piece of real magic, pulling a golden coin from nowhere before walking away from the god and out into the world.
The Terry Pratchett novel Small Gods explores a similar origin of deities. While Gaiman says that he did not read Pratchett's work, he thought they shared a world view due to their same geographic origins and, more importantly, daily phone conversations. He had also sought advice from Pratchett on resolving plot elements of American Gods.
According to Gaiman, American Gods is not based on Diana Wynne Jones's Eight Days of Luke, "although they bear an odd relationship, like second cousins once removed or something". When working on the structure of a story linking gods and days of the week, he realised that this idea had already been used in Eight Days of Luke. He abandoned the story, but later used the idea when writing American Gods to depict Wednesday and Shadow meeting on the god's namesake day.
About John James's novel Votan, Gaiman stated: “I think probably the best book ever done about the Norse was a book that I couldn’t allow myself to read between coming up with the idea of American Gods and finishing it. After it was published I actually sat down and allowed myself to read it for the first time in 15 years and discovered it was just as good as I thought it was”.
While Gaiman was writing American Gods, his publishers set up a promotional web site featuring a weblog in which Gaiman described the day-to-day process of writing, revising, publishing, and promoting the novel. After the novel was published, the web site evolved into a more general Official Neil Gaiman Web Site. As of 2010,[update] Gaiman regularly adds to the weblog, describing his daily life and the writing, revising, publishing, or promoting his current project.
The book won the 2002 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, SFX Magazine and Bram Stoker Awards, all for Best Novel, and likewise received nominations for the 2001 BSFA Award, as well as the 2002 World Fantasy, International Horror Guild and Mythopoeic, and British Fantasy awards. It won the 2003 Geffen Award.
A special tenth anniversary edition, which includes the "author's preferred text" and 12,000 additional words, was published in June 2011 by William Morrow. The tenth anniversary text is identical to the signed and numbered limited edition released in 2003 by Hill House Publishers, and to the edition from Headline, Gaiman's publisher in the UK since 2005. The tenth anniversary edition marks the first time the author's preferred text has been available in wide release outside the UK.
Two audio versions of the book were produced and published by Harper Audio: an unabridged version of the original published edition, read by George Guidall, was released in 2001. A full cast audiobook version of the tenth anniversary edition, including the author's preferred text and 12,000 additional words, released in 2011.
A comic book series, American Gods: Shadows, was published by Dark Horse Comics starting in March 2017. A book of the same name, collecting issues 1 through 9 of the comic book series, was published by Dark Horse Books in February 2018.
In March 2017, The Folio Society published a special collector's edition of American Gods, with many corrections to the author's preferred text version. Gaiman described it as 'the cleanest text there has ever been'.
Starz developed a TV series from the novel with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. The series debuted in April 2017. At the end of season 1, Bryan Fuller stepped down as showrunner and was replaced by Jesse Alexander. Fuller and Alexander had previously worked together on Star Trek: Discovery and Hannibal.
In an interview with MTV News published on 22 June 2011, Gaiman said that he had plans for a direct sequel to American Gods. He had plans for a sequel even while writing the first book. He said he is likely to focus on New Gods in the sequel.
In addition to the planned sequel, Gaiman has written two short-story sequels featuring Shadow Moon. "The Monarch of the Glen", first published in Legends II, takes place in Scotland, two years after American Gods. The second short story, "Black Dog", was collected in Gaiman's Trigger Warning. It takes place a year later in Derbyshire's Peak District.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: American Gods|
|Comic books and|
Links to related articles
List of joint winners of the Hugo and Nebula awards