From Sandman to Dr. Who, These Are Neil Gaiman's 13 Best Works

Neil Gaiman discusses his career as a comic book author, novelist, screenwriter, and voice actor at MAC.EXPAND
Neil Gaiman discusses his career as a comic book author, novelist, screenwriter, and voice actor at MAC.
Beowulf Sheehan

To the joy of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans worldwide, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has come to TV. The novel, about a war between the old gods of Europe who had immigrated to America, and the gods of modern society, cemented Gaiman’s place as a literary rock star and won a shelf-full of awards in 2002.

On Sunday, April 30, the novel comes to premium cable as Starz’s new TV series debuts. Ricky Whittle (The 100) stars as Shadow Moon, an ex-con who is recruited by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Deadwood’s Ian MacShane) to assist in the war between the old and new gods. Turns out Wednesday is a version of the one-eyed Norse god Odin, and along with other dieties, including Mr. Nancy (Anansi) and Mr. Jackal (Anubis). They face such modern creations as Media (Gillian Anderson) and Mr. World (Crispin Glover).

If you love the debut and want to explore more from this magical, multi-talented writer, here is a baker’s dozen of his best works (including, of course, American Gods).

Gaiman's latest book features retelling of classic Norse tales of Odin, Thor, and the trickster Loki.
Gaiman's latest book features retelling of classic Norse tales of Odin, Thor, and the trickster Loki.
Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company

Odd & the Frost Giants (2008)
Gaiman’s most recent work is Norse Mythology, which shouldn’t be surprising to longtime readers. His love of Odin, Loki, and Thor shines throughout much of his work, dating back to Sandman. Nowhere is it more evident than in this sweet little tale about Odd, a crippled orphan who befriends the bewitched Norse gods and eventually receives great gifts from them. Originally a limited edition written for World Book Day, it was  released to wider audiences.

"The Doctor’s Wife" (2011)
Gaiman has also dabbled in TV scriptwriting, working on Babylon 5 in the ‘90s. In 2011 Gaiman fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams and wrote an episode of Doctor Who. The beloved episode, which features the Doctor’s TARDIS manifesting as the woman Idris, is hailed as one of the finest of the Matt Smith era and won Gaiman a Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation, short form.

Fragile Things collects numerous Gaiman short stories and poems, including the Lovecraftian Sherlock Holmes riff, "A Study in Emerald."EXPAND
Fragile Things collects numerous Gaiman short stories and poems, including the Lovecraftian Sherlock Holmes riff, "A Study in Emerald."
Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

“A Study in Emerald” (2003)
Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu are both territory that Gaiman has mined elsewhere, but this short story, featured in the Shadows Over Baker Street anthology, as well as Gaiman’s own Fragile Things collection, is a wonderful mashup. The story of a detective investigating the murder of a member of the royal family, told from the point of view of the detective’s friend and housemate may seem familiar. Until you find out what the royal family really are, and who the detective really is. “A Study in Emerald” also won a Hugo Award for best short story in 2004.

The strange children's story Coraline was made into a movie by director Henry Selick.EXPAND
The strange children's story Coraline was made into a movie by director Henry Selick.
Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Coraline (2002)
Gaiman wrote this twisted children’s story, which was later made into a stop-animation film by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas), for his daughter. Coraline is a lonely girl whose family moves to a mysterious house with some strange neighbors. When her parents disappear, she journeys through a magical door in her room into a strange alternate universe, where her “other mother” has imprisoned her parents, and where everyone has buttons sewn over their eyes. Like many of his other works, Coraline won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2003 for best novella.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
Gaiman’s most recent novel can barely be called such, but it is as confounding and disturbing as his longer works. Ocean has a similar tone to Coraline, dealing with children having supernatural experiences, albeit with a decidedly adult voice. In this case it is an unnamed narrator, who has returned to his childhood home for a funeral. While there he visits the house of a childhood friend, and recounts a strange encounter with a magical being that used the narrator to enter our world. Gaiman wrote the novel for his wife, the musician Amanda Palmer, and would have likely won another Hugo Award had he not turned down the nomination, saying he had enough of them already.

Gaiman's Neverwhere,adapted from a television series he developed for the BBC.EXPAND
Gaiman's Neverwhere,adapted from a television series he developed for the BBC.
Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Neverwhere (1996)
This popular novel from 1996 started as a BBC TV production conceived by Gaiman and British comic Lenny Henry. It follows the adventures of Richard Mayhew, an everyday businessman who stops to help a mysterious girl while he is walking home on evening. That girl, named Door, is a denizen of “London Below,” a parallel world populated by mythic beasts and swashbuckling swordsman. Door is being hunted by a mysterious power that's attempting to take over London Below. Gaiman recently intimated that his next novel will be a sequel to Neverwhere.

Read on for more of Gaiman's best.



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