Hewitt: Mythology for me has always been kind of a window into various cultures, providing metaphors for how those cultures see their physical and spiritual world. What if people from those cultures left their place of origin? How would their assorted mythologies and by extension, their gods, be affected? This is the central question to American Gods and is the main reason it was of interest to me. I listened to it as an audiobook, which contained an interview of its author, Neil Gaiman. He talks about how at the time of writing, he had been living in the US for a while but still felt sort of like an outsider and he liked it that way. As you listen/read through the novel you can tell this is how he wants you to view the gods of the various cultures referenced within. As a "road novel," Gaiman also wants you to understand how America feels to someone from a much smaller but older country. This is best evidenced by a quote of his (I do believe he is paraphrasing someone else) in the interview, "in England, 100 miles is a long way, in America, 100 years is a long time." The mixture of distance and time has its place in the book as well, and it is used well to add more depth to assorted gods.
On to the coming Starz network show. I am excited, for several reasons. First of which being that Bryan Fuller is running the show. My first contact with him came from several episodes he wrote for the series Heroes (RIP Season 1). He also ran Hannibal, and while the show was unfortunately canceled it had a solid story. And the visuals from a cinematography standpoint could only be described as sumptuous. To add to that, the casting is absolutely pitch-perfect. As far as my most eagerly awaited new shows of 2017 are concerned, this one is right up there with Marvel's The Defenders.
Brittney: I've read American Gods once, twelve years ago, when I had just recently discovered Neil Gaiman and was in the process of getting my greedy, sixteen-year-old hands on every word he had ever, up to that point, written. I remember that it was the first book that I kept overdue from the library, and I remember a sunny March afternoon I spent reading it, stretched out on a quilt in the front yard of my childhood home. I remember feeling pleased with myself when I could correctly identify the deities as they cropped up in the plot, and I remember the feeling of satisfied recognition when I read the description of Rock City's black-lit, subterranean hellscape. However, that was twelve years ago. Many books have come into and left my life in the meantime, and many, many details have been lost to me. So the imminent release of the miniseries is both a source of excitement and a not-so-gentle prod to reread the book and fast. I'm planning to do so soon, and I'm excited to see both how American Gods the show compares to the source material, and how American Gods the book compares to my first discovery of it.
Jessica: I originally read America Gods about 7 years ago. At that point in time, I was trying to find my place in this world. I was asking questions without fear but hesitant of the judgments surrounding them. Comfort and safety were what I was longing for and I found them in this book. Neil Gaiman was about to change my life. From that point on, he would be one of the most treasured names on my bookshelf. He had written a book that would hold my favorite quote of all time, make me ask questions about life, culture, my beliefs, and help me find peace.
Now, fast forward to present day. At the beginning of 2017, I listened to an audio version of the book (I highly recommend the 10th anniversary edition). This time the mythology was not just intriguing but I understood its importance to the story as well and my own beliefs. It made me examine myself with a painful scrutiny that shook me to the core. And I love the book for that reason. American Gods has left a mark on my soul twice now. So, while I am hesitant (most of the time) about this screen adaptation, I can't help but feel pure excitement for this show. For me it wasn't just a story but a revelation. I have no doubt that this story will, once again, leave me transformed.