steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

A Little Bit of Gaiman and Laurie

I turned on Radio 4 twice today, and both times happened to catch a woman interviewer talking at length about his long and varied career to a multi-talented Englishman who's made it big in the States. In each case, moreover, they have in their past a partnership with a National Treasure. In the case of Hugh Laurie on Desert Island Discs that would be Stephen Fry. For Neil Gaiman on Open Book it's Terry Pratchett, whose Small Gods does service for Jeeves and Wooster in this analogy.

They were both accomplished interviewees, but Mariella Frostrup came up with a real clunker of an introduction to Gaiman. I quote: "The children's books and comics came first, including the award-winning Sandman series; and then, in 1995, came the publication of his novel Neverwhere. This dark, compelling adventure into a secret world, lived beneath the streets of London as we know it, marked the arrival of an auspicious new talent in the realms of fantasy fiction."

If I may slip into Comic Book Guy mode:

a) The children's books did not come first. Coraline and The Graveyard Book appeared later, as did the picture books.
b) Sandman is not a children's comic.
c) Good Omens was published in 1991, thus predating Neverwhere by several years.
d) If Sandman didn't mark the arrival of a new talent in the realms of fantasy fiction, what did?
e) Neverwhere was broadcast and published in 1996, not 1995.

That's quite a lot of errors for less than 60 words, written presumably by paid researchers. I can't help but see a couple of familiar prejudices lurking beneath it, too. Children's books must be an apprenticeship for real books, right? Comics aren't proper fiction, right? And if the facts don't fit our narrative, let's reorder them to fit!

Good interview, but (as CBG would say) Worst Intro Ever!
Tags: books, links
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