“I have invented the thing we are traveling in, which I call Professor Steg’s Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier.”
“I call it a balloon,” I said.
“Professor Steg’s Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier is the original name,” he said.
This is an illustrated book for children and a really funny and wacky at that. I love how Neil completely turns around the ‘kid-goes-on-an-adventure-and-adults-don’t-believe-him’ trope and has the Dad be the one with the crazy adventure story that his skeptical kids don’t believe. It’s great and it shows that imagination doesn’t die in youth.
It’s a fun to read story and something hilarious to read to your kids, if you have any, or to younger siblings. Or, in my case, just to myself. Neil Gaiman’s wit and imagination can never be denied.
It’s hard to pick just one favorite writer. I have a lot of them. Among them are Vladimir Nabokov, Haruki Murakami, Jane Austen, Patrick Ness, Margaret Atwood and many many more. But I have to say, Neil Gaiman pretty consistently tops the list of my favorite writers and this is because as much as I love his writing (and I do), I also admire him as a writer and as a person. I admire him as a writer because of his versatility and ability to write pretty much anything. Graphic novels, short stories, Children’s books, YA novels, Adult novels, screenplays. He’s tackled nearly all forms of writing and has been successful in all of them. That not only takes an incredible amount of talent but also a lot of hard work, and his success has been decades in the making. I admire him as a person because I’ve been a longtime follower of his blog and social media, I’ve seen him speak in person on two separate occasions and while I’ve never personally met him or spoken to him, I feel like I know more about him than I do about most of my favorite authors because of these things. I saw him speak in the Philippines in 2007 and earlier this year in San Jose. One thing that is consistent about Neil in his public appearances, interviews, and blog posts is that even though he is an extremely successful writer (I think he can literally get anything he writes published at this point, even his grocery list) and his career spans, I think, 30 years now, Neil is still a writer who talks about the writing process like a writer. What I mean is that he talks about writing like it’s work and it’s hard and it’s something that he struggles with, just as all writers struggle. He doesn’t give off a pompous ‘I’m better than you’ air. This is why it’s always extremely encouraging and inspirational to read or hear him talk about the writing process. Something else that I really admire Neil for is that in 2007 he helped found and judge the Philippine Graphic Fiction Awards. This was a contest for Philippine speculative fiction writers and graphic novel artists. The contest pieces were compiled and published in two volumes: short stories and graphic fiction, copies of which Neil signed. I loved that Neil recognized the talent of Filipino writers and artists enough to devote a significant amount of his time and money to sponsor a contest and event like this. It also encouraged and inspired Filipino writers and artists to explore the genre of speculative fiction more. Neil Gaiman is the type of author and person who nurtures and encourages other writers, whether they are already successful or just beginning. I admire that quality of his just as much as I admire his talent.