Neil Gaiman

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The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.

Neil Gaiman (born 10 November 1960) is an English author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, and comics.

See also:
The Sandman
The Books of Magic
American Gods
Good Omens
(co-written with Terry Pratchett)


  • I wish I had an origin story for you. When I was four, I was bitten by a radioactive myth.
    • -on how did his interest in mythology start, interview with Bookslut, October 2006
  • You can tell when a Hollywood historical film was made by looking at the eye makeup of their leading ladies, and you can tell the date of an old science fiction novel by every word on the page. Nothing dates harder and faster and more strangely than the future.
    • "Of Time, and Gully Foyle", Foreword to The Stars My Destination
  • The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it's about and why you're doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising ("but of course that's why he was doing that, and that means that...") and it's magic and wonderful and strange.
    • Neil Gaiman's Journal - October 15, 2007
  • Why do I have this imagination? It's the only one I've got!
    • San Diego Comicon 2007
  • Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.
    • "The Sandman"
  • It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.
    • "The Sandman"
  • Life — and I don't suppose I'm the first to make this comparison — is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.
    • "Death Talks About Life"
  • Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life... You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' or 'how very perceptive' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.
You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.
  • Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I'd fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, 'So this is how it feels,' and I would tie it up in pretty words. I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else. My son died. And I was hurt, but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss. My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled. For I knew I could take my broken heart and place it on the stage of The Globe, and make the pit cry tears of their own.
    • "The Tempest," issue #75 of The Sandman (1996), collected in The Wake; The speaker is William Shakespeare, looking back over his career as he finishes writing The Tempest as one of two plays commissioned by Morpheus (aka Dream, aka The Sandman).
  • We are small but we are many, we are many we are small; we were here before you rose, we will be here when you fall.
    • Coraline (2002)
  • "So computers are tools of the devil?" thought Newt. He had no problem believing it. Computers had to be the tools of somebody, and all he knew for certain was that it definitely wasn't him.
    • Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens
  • Fuck, I won a Hugo!
    • Final gobsmacked line of his acceptance speech on winning a Hugo award for his novel American Gods (September 2002)
  • The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.
  • Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
  • You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.
  • I'm not sure it's entirely a good thing... I've always loved the gutter.
    • Radio interview, Studio 360 show 640, originally broadcast 2005-10-01
    • in response to a question about the increasing critical acceptance of fantasy writing
  • American Gods is about 200,000 words long, and I'm sure there are words that are simply in there 'cause I like them. I know I couldn't justify each and every one of them.
    • Inteview from
    • In response to a question about whether he writes differently for different audiences.

Signal to Noise (1992)

  • In Hollywood the man who cleans your pool is an actor. The man who sells you your copy of Variety is an actor. I don't think there's a real person left in the place.
  • We live in a world in which the only utopian visions arrive in commercial breaks: magical visions of an impossibly hospitable world, peopled by bright-eyed attractive men, women, children... Where nobody dies... In my worlds people died. And I thought that was honest. I thought I was being honest.
  • The world is always ending, for someone.
  • I don't believe in Apocalypses. I believe in Apocatastases. I think it may be the title for The Film. It's a bitch to pronounce, and no-one knows what it means, but otherwise it's a great title.
  • Apocatastasis. What it means:
    1) Restoration, re-establishment, renovation
    2) Return to a previous condition
    3) (Astronomy) Return to the same apparent position, completion of a period of revolution.
    Think about it.
  • We are always living in the final days. What have you got? A hundred years or much, much less until the end of your world.

Stardust (1999)

These are just two samples, for more from this work see Stardust
  • "The little folk dare anything", said his friend. "And they talk a lot of nonsense. But they talks an awful lot of sense, as well. You listen to 'em at your peril, and you ignore 'em at your peril, too."
  • When I was very young, somebody — maybe it was a squirrel, they talk so much, or a magpie, or maybe a fishie — told me that Pan owned all this forest. Well, not owned owned. Not like he would sell the forest to someone else, or put a wall all around it ... It's not hard to own something. Or everything. You just have to know that it's yours, and then be willing to let it go.

American Gods (2001)

These are just a few samples, for more quotations from this work see American Gods
  • Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.
    • Ch. 3
  • All we have to believe with is our senses, the tools we use to perceive the world: our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted. And even if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.
    • Ch. 6
  • There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.
    • "Mr. Wednesday" to Shadow, in Ch. 9

Anansi Boys (2005)

These are just a few samples, for more from this work see Anansi Boys
  • There was reality and there was reality; and some things were more real than others.
    • Ch. 9
  • It was England in the autumn; the sun was, by definition, something that only happened when it wasn't cloudy or raining.
    • Ch. 9
  • "You're no help," he told the lime. This was unfair. It was only a lime; there was nothing special about it at all. It was doing the best it could.
    • Ch. 12
  • ... the beast made the noise of a cat being shampooed, a lonely wail of horror and outrage, of shame and defeat.
    • Ch. 13

Fragile Things (2006)

  • I think... I would rather recollect a life misspent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt
  • I had to go to the store, I had decided, to bring back some apples - and I went past the store that sold apples and I kept driving, and driving. I was going south, and west, because if I went north or east I would run out of world too soon.
    • From Bitter Grounds

The Graveyard Book (2008)

  • People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.
    • Ch. 7


  • What most people don't know about love, sex, and relations with other human beings would fill a book. Strangers in Paradise is that book. I have long suspected that what people did in private was much funnier than it ever was erotic. Terry Moore obviously thinks so too. Strangers in Paradise is a delightful new comic, and Terry Moore is a fun writer and a fine cartoonist.
  • Give a man a fish, and he's creating art. But teach him to fish, and soon you'll have a pool full of exploding koi.
  • I wanted to put a reference to masturbation in one of the scripts for the Sandman. It was immediately cut by the editor. He told me, "There's no masturbation in the DC Universe." To which my reaction was, "Well that explains a lot about the DC Universe."
  • Writers may be solitary but they also tend to flock together: they like being solitary together.

Quotes about Gaiman

Tori Amos

Singer Tori Amos makes regular references to Gaiman in her song lyrics; She was a fan of his, and they became friends, before she herself gained fame and acclaim. He reciprocates by creating characters based on her in his books, crediting her as the source of some of Delirium's lines.
  • If you need me, Neil and me will be hanging out with the Dream King. Neil says 'hi', by the way...
  • But will you find me if Neil makes me a tree?
    • "Horses"
  • Seems I keep getting this story twisted. So where's Neil when you need him?
    • "Space Dog"
  • Get me Neil on the line. No, I can't hold. Have him read 'Snow, Glass, Apples' where nothing is what it seems.
    • "Carbon"
  • Where are the Velvets?
    • "Hotel" in reference to the life-essence vampires of Neverwhere

External links

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