Our coverage of Book Expo America continues with Saturday’s most popular event. Hundreds of fans packed the panel room to get a chance to see Neil Gaiman in person. Standing ovations, cheers, and enthusiastic applause welcomed his entrance into the panel room. He shared details about his new releases, upcoming projects and fodder for philosophical thoughts. Here are the highlights:“I Felt Guilty About Dads…”His new children’s story coming out in September Fortunately, the Milk, features a dad who went on a simple errand and ends up saving the world from alien domination. This work is righting the wrongs of a previous children’s story about a boy who traded his boring dad for two goldfish. “I needed to do something dads could be proud of,” Gaiman said. This book was written in small sections over the course of a year.Why Fiction Is DangerousGaiman declared “fiction is dangerous because it gives people empathy.” He also stated fiction can cause people to go into the minds of others and learn about alternative ways of thinking. Fiction can give people ideas about what in the world needs to change and the imagination to make it happen.These ideas were supported by two related anecdotes. The first was about attending a science fiction convention in China a few years ago. In the past the government banned or restricted access to science fiction due to criticism of communism, but times were changing and new ideas were being introduced. The second was about the reading material of the world’s movers and shakers. Many of the leaders of Google, Microsoft and other technology companies grew up reading science fiction.
The Ocean at the End of the LaneLater this month adult fans can get their hands on his new novel. The story is told from a 7 year old’s point of view. Gaiman started writing in 2003 after speaking to his father about a brief childhood memory. A gambling addicted lodger who stayed with Gaiman’s family killed himself by driving the Mini off a cliff. The tone of the novel is much darker than his previous works. The concept was originally planned as a short story but it evolved over time.Works In ProgressThe script for the TV version of American Gods is still under review by HBO. He started writing the script by inserting everything not featured in the novel. HBO sent it back wanting more material based on the original story. In terms of novels, he is working on a fictionalized account of the life and times of the Jack Benny radio show. For fans who are wishing for sequels to older work, the wait continues. Gaiman said “…there are sequels I would love to write and then I go ooh shiny.“Gaiman’s appearance was definitely the highlight of my experience at BEA this year. I had no idea what to expect because I have never heard him speak before. His talk was a wonderful mix of serious literary lecture and easy going storytelling. If you ever have a chance to see him in person, go. You will not regret it.
Neil Gaiman’s panel was one of the biggest of Book Expo America 2013. Originally posted June 4, 2013.