Adventures in the Dream Trade: Rare Neil Gaiman

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Neil Gaiman Adventures in the Dream TradeAdventures in the Dream Trade by Neil Gaiman

When I first saw Adventures in the Dream Trade, I was genuinely surprised because I never knew it existed. I found it in a specialty bookstore, and was going for a relatively high selling price. Still, thinking that it was a rare Neil Gaiman book, I shelled out the cash for it and I did find out it really was a rare Neil Gaiman book due to its small print-run. And anyone who’s read it will know why.

Adventures in the Dream Trade collects various introductions and essays by Gaiman, a few poems, songs, really short fiction (the equivalent tern would be fast-food fiction), and several months worth of blog entries tackling the publication of American Gods. Why do I mention this? Because it shows you who should buy this book. Adventures in the Dream Trade doesn’t really have a huge, encompassing story for most people to read, and the snippets of fiction that it has, as good as it is, isn’t worth the price I paid for. There are two kinds of people who should read it, much less buy it. First are those die-hard Gaiman fans, who must know everything about him and read everything he writes. It’ll be a cheaper investment to buy this book rather than purchase, say, every comic or book he’s written an introduction for. The second type of person who could wade through the thing would be people genuinely interested in the book publishing process. Gaiman’s blog entries provide an insightful look at the industry, post-submission of the manuscript for American Gods. We find out the nitty-gritty of editing, translating, reviewing, and touring. Oh, and Gaiman really loves Sushi a lot.

The first part, which is perhaps the second chunkiest part of the book, contains lots of introductions and essays by Gaiman. Going through the first half of them can be tiring, because most of them can be summed up as 90% (or 99%) of comics is trash, and guess what percentage this one belongs to? Of course you might be tempted to get the comics/books yourselves after reading the intro, but that’s your prerogative. It gets better in the second half as it’s more insight into Gaiman and the kind of fiction he likes rather than blatant plugging of a title.

The poetry part is a short segment and it’s simple. It’s not really long. Then we come to the songs he wrote for the Flash Girls, except he’s no Weis & Hickman, so we don’t really know the tune or beat the song is sung to. But you’re a die-hard Gaiman fan, so you won’t mind.

Then the real meat of the book are his blog entries, minus the pictures he posted on the website. Now penny-pinchers might argue why pay for something that’s on the web and free? Because reading in print is different and it’s easier to have them there all ready to read, instead of waiting for your browser to load each and every page. And as I mentioned above, it’s insightful for those who want to know about the publishing industry, or Gaiman in general.

The last part contains a few, rare, short stories. They’ve been published before, but good luck looking for those original publications. And they’re three pages long at most, so don’t hold your breath. Still, Gaiman’s writing is still good working with such conditions.

Obviously, the book rules out mass-market consumption because of the subject it tackles (then again, there were a few thousand Neil Gaiman fans bothered to show up during his visit here, so reprinting it for the Philippines might not be a bad idea). Still, would-be-writers planning to start a career as a novelist might want to pick up the book, as well as the rabid Gaiman fanatic.

Adventures in the Dream Trade — (2002) Publisher: A collection of short stories, essays, poems, song lyrics, and a weblog from the time that his novel American Gods was going to press.

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CHARLES TAN, one of our guest reviewers, is the owner of the blogs Bibliophile Stalker and Comic Quest. He also edits Philippine Speculative Fiction. You can read his fiction in that publication and in The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories. Charles has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Comics Village.

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