Saturday, April 27, 2013

Neil Gaiman: The Early Years Black Orchid Part 2 Gangsters and Scientists - Hannah Means-Shannon

"In the introduction to the first collected edition of Black Orchid, Neil Gaiman wrote, “I know that some people regard this writing as escapist fiction, but I think that tales of myth and horror are probably the easiest and most effective way to talk about the real world. They are like the lies that tell the truth about our lives” (qtd. in Schweitzer 77). In a much later interview, he commented on these thoughts further, adding, “Real life is a great big messy thing. The fantastic gets through the sort of protective cordon one has around one’s head. One can go in and change the way people think about things”(qtd. in Schweitzer 77). Black Orchid was not Gaiman’s first foray into the realms of “myth and horror”, but it was a world that allowed for a sudden expansion of these elements to the point that they seemed to leap into the foreground as dominant forces in his work. For the sake of argument, let’s look at “myth” and “horror” as two poles of influence in Black Orchid, both drawn together under the wider definition of “fantasy”. The quality of “fantasy”, as Gaiman said, is what enables both to catch the reader off guard and reach a deeper layer of their consciousness." 4 out of 5