Thursday, March 26, 2009

Curious Cat Question

I've gotten a couple of reviews of one of the stories in Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 4 (edited by the eponymous Dean and Nikki Alfar) and I'm wondering: when did Neil Gaiman become an adjective?

I ask this question because both reviewers-- on two different times and locations-- described the same story as "very Neil Gaiman". Is it because the concept of writing about the personification of an idea, archetypes, etc.? If so, when did such a concept become a solid lock for Gaiman?

Not that I'm targeting Gaiman but the idea that when people think such-and-such an idea, it's attributable to such-and-such a writer. Granted it's a type of short-hand for people who don't want to explain in the course of a conversation. Still, it's a bit surprising; I, for one, don't hear people say when they read a vampire story or watch a vampire movie, it's all "very Stephenie Myer" or even "Anne Rice".

Though now that I think about it, when one said "boy wizard" before, one immediately thought of J.K. Rowling. Or am I wrong?

What do you think?


cat with the fiddle said...

there are some trigger themes which bring to mind big precedents, neil gaiman in your example, and we can't brush off the association because it's all really a matter of interpretation. if the interpreter has been subjected to neil gaiman or anne rice then there's no stopping them from pulling out a name to describe your work. rather than thinking of appropriate adjectives. besides, many times there aren't appropriate adjectives to capture a piece of work.

by any chance, bc, have you read the book Varjak Paw by SF Said?

Ryan said...

good point. i guess it is just that they are popular writers and their work has a certain feel to it. so when something is reminiscent of it, they use it to describe it. sort of like when people pitch new movies to hollywood, they kind of go "looney tunes" meets "escape from L.A." (or some other standard action thriller) ("shoot em up", clive owen)

this is Adam David said...

bilang isa sa dalawa na nagsabi nun (unless hindi ako yung isa sa dalawang yun), kaya ko sinabi na Gaimany yung akda ay dahil dinala ako ng akda sa lugar kung saan ako dinadala dati ni Gaiman nung interesting pa siya sa akin (at ang comment ko nun ay nagustuhan ko yung akda at pinaalala niya sa akin kung bakit ko minahal si Gaiman 14 years ago [pero subsequently nireject matapos marealise after four years na mukhang hanggang dun na lang talaga si Gaiman]) at kasama dun yung personification (SANDMAN, pero especially GOOD OMENS) AT ang attempt niya para sa PARABLE level ng storytelling, which is basically kung ano ang overwhelming tone ng akda ni Gaiman. puwede ko namang sabihing "parabley" yung akda, pero kasi Gamain-specific ang tono ng parable na yun, kaya "Gaimany" ang description an ginamit ko.

banzai cat said...

fiddler cat: too true. still, it does become strange hearing these same comments, as if there's a review zeitgeist working around the world. it's not like there's a whole slew of word that one can use instead of 'Neil Gaiman'.

haven't read Varjak Paw but this was heavily recommended to me by someone. :-)

ryan: hah! i think you pegged it right there, the hollywood-pitch-type review. though i suppose it's irresistable using it.

adam: hehe did you use that description also? i can't remember. still, no you weren't the one i was referring to. hmmm, "parabley?" i didn't get that vibe from the story. for that matter, i actually didn't get a 'gaimany' vibe either. but that's just me. :-)

JP said...

Hasn't Jane Yolen being doing the same thing as long or longer? What about Angela Carter's folklore-influenced stories?

banzai cat said...

true that. i suppose that's one of the effects of the internetz, the faster spread of grandiose qualifiers.