I was a kid who loved the old Star Trek reruns (Kirk/Spock/McCoy versions). I’d get home from school and one of the independent TV stations ran ST from 4 to 5p. It got to the point where my dad voiced his frustration that I was watching “the same damned shows over and over.”
It’s true. Eventually I could mouth the dialogue right along with the characters. Weird kid.
One of the episodes I remember was called “Who Mourns for Adonais?” The crew lands on a planet and encounters one of the old Earth gods from mythology. Turns out Apollo was real, but fled when people stopped believing in gods. Kind of a big, pouting God-Baby. (Of course, it had to sting when Captain Kirk cried out, “If you want to play god and call yourself Apollo, that’s your business, but you’re no god to us, mister!”)
The only thing worse than the acting might’ve been the costume selection. Oh well, 1960s television. What can you do?
Years later, that episode jumped to mind when I read Neil Gaiman’s clever American Gods. Same basic principle. Old gods are battling society’s new gods, fearful that we piddly humans are losing interest. And gods cease to be gods when they have no one to worship them.
Some humans get caught up in the fracas. Or, in the case of Shadow Moon (silly name, but fun character), they are knee-deep in the dust-up.
Neil Gaiman has earned his huge, doting fan base for good reason. He invents fascinating story ideas and the guy can flat-out write circles around most wordsmiths. American Gods mixes mythology (which I love) with a travelogue of America and a potent dash of humor.
As Gaiman states in his biography: “I make things up and write them down.”
The rest of us are lucky he does.
Pick up American Gods at your nearest Tattered Cover Book Store. Mention Dom’s Book Club and they’ll look at you like you’ve lost your mind. Then they’ll give you 10% off this particular title.