American Gods will soon descend upon us through the power of HBO. Kind of fitting when you think about it; the God of Media must have smiled at this deal.
According to Neil Gaiman's updates, he's working on the pilot and the first two seasons will focus on the beginning few chapters of the book. It is here that we meet Shadow Moon and a number of old and new Gods who will have their parts to play in the grand scheme. Needless to say, it'll be interesting to see how the novel will translate to television, especially with the novel's author being heavily involved. There's more than enough material, especially with Gaiman also working on the book's sequel, and by all reports the work going into the series will no doubt pay off.
American Gods was first published in 2001 and is still a timely story about the old vs. the new, tradition vs. technology. It explores the relationships between people and the power they have over the course of history; the power that history, belief in Gods and tradition have over people; and how those connections change over time as people change.
The novel primarily follows Shadow, an ex-con who returns home to find that the woman he loves has died violently while having an affair with his best friend. Soon after, he meets Mr. Wednesday, a “businessman” who needs Shadow to do his work in the world. We soon learn (if it wasn't already obvious) that Wednesday is the Norse God Odin in an American guise, and that what he requires from Shadow is a lot more than running a few shady errands.
Shadow is a subdued but commanding figure, and it's interesting to follow the mystical (and sometimes gruesome) events and view the Gods through his eyes. He sees them with their very human flaws, but also with their grace, and as he learns more about the characters around him, he seems to learn more about himself, what he's capable of, and what he believed he was or wasn't willing to do vs. what he actually does.
All in all, it will be fascinating to see how the six seasons of American Gods will unfold. Will some of the Gods that make brief appearances be featured a little more throughout (such as Anansi, “Aunt Nancy”, the West African God of stories, wisdom and trickery – also a central character in another popular Gaiman novel, Anansi Boys)? Only time will tell.
Nancy O. Greene started writing at the age of nine. Her short story collection, Portraits in the Dark, received a brief mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007. Other works have appeared or will appear in ChiZine; Lovecraft eZine; Cemetery Dance; Tales of Blood and Roses; Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror; Shroud Publishing's The Terror at Miskatonic Falls; Dark Recesses; Flames Rising; Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!; and others. She has a BA in Cinema (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a Fellow of Film Independent's Project:Involve.