Neil Gaiman, the view from the cheap seats
In this book Neil Gaiman talked about fantasy and imagination. What he learned from his trip to China is very interesting regarding this subject.
Neil Gaiman is a writer of fiction, especially for young readers, and he went to a world-wide meeting for fiction writers held in China. He knew that over the years China didn't even allow fairy tales and fiction in their schools so he was surprised that this event had invited him to China for this event.
He asked an official of the event what had happened and why the interest now in fantasy and fiction. He was told that top Chinese officials had toured all the big companies that they did outsourcing work with in the United States and they asked those they met "what they read". They all said science fiction was a top choice, and fantasy and fiction went along with this. They were looking for why these plants excelled in creativity. It seemed clear from their findings that creativity was sparked by imagination. Fiction and fantasy were added to the school curriculum in the Chinese schools.
The author ponders the truth of fiction and the power of the stories. The book is a collection of speeches, articles, introductions and essays. His first chapter sets the tone with his focus on "Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming". He said in the introduction that he liked fiction because he wanted to "tell the truth without ever needing to worry about the facts."
Some favorite Neil Gaiman Quotes
"You can no more read the same book again than you can step into the same river.”
“Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.”
“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
If you already know Neil Gaiman's work this book is a real treat. If you are new to him this well be a great introduction.
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