Ten years ago American Gods was released. The story by Neil Gaiman is about the old gods who were dragged across the ocean to America by their believers. They have to contend with the new gods that society has produced like manifestations of the internet and media. An unwitting protagonist, Shadow, is at the center of the battle. If you haven’t read the book and the title sounds familiar, you might have heard the recent news that American Gods is coming to HBO.
To mark the tenth anniversary, a new hardback edition of the book was released on June 21. It has more than 10,000 words that were left out of the first draft of the novel; the jacket states it is the author’s preferred text. And said author just wrapped up a tour connected to the new edition. The last stop was in Los Angeles on June 28. Patton Oswalt and Neil Gaiman sat down in the cozy Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. The show got a late start as the 1,500 or so ticket holders filed in. Most were in merry moods though, and all forgot about the wait once the interview started. Oswalt is a funny man, but he did the smart thing and let Gaiman do most of the talking. That’s what the audience was there for after all. Gaiman talked about how American Gods came to be, what it was like to move to the U.S., his love for Daleks and Doctor Who, and about his travels in China. It felt intimate, like we were sitting around a giant campfire and hearing tales. Gaiman of course read from American Gods, and the selection he chose – the most L.A. Bit from the book – resulted in the most hilarious reading of a sex scene pretty much ever captured on video.
I think I can speak for the crowd when I say that we could have listened to him talk and tell stories for hours. It was my first time hearing Neil Gaiman speak at an event like this, and I won’t miss such an evening again. You shouldn’t either.