Neil Gaiman Travels to Iceland to Show 'American Gods' Inspiration

Sunday, 05 March 2017 - 4:17PM
American Gods
Sunday, 05 March 2017 - 4:17PM
Neil Gaiman Travels to Iceland to Show 'American Gods' Inspiration
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YouTube/American Gods
While the premiere of American Gods may only be a couple weeks from now, the book was first published back in 2001. And according to author Neil Gaiman, the idea came to him over 20 years ago at a tourist center in Iceland.

In a short clip (only two and a half minutes), Gaiman returned to the city of Reykjavik, Iceland where he first found the initial spark that'd become one of the most popular fantasy novels of the 21st century. He explains how he travels often because he feels obligated to do so as a writer, who needs to see how the world works before describing it.

Anyhow, that one day led to him wandering around a quiet little neighborhood in Iceland, on a Sunday when everything's closed. In a tourist center, he came across a small diorama of the first vikings who landed on Newfoundland, and had the following epiphany:
Opening quote
"Looking at this 19 years ago and thinking, 'all of this people who came across, I bet they brought their gods with them.' And then I thought, 'but when they left, did they leave their gods behind?' And suddenly, in my head, I had a novel. It was a whole book. And I even had a working title. I thought, 'I'll call it American Gods, until I come up with something better.' But I never did."
Closing quote

Here's the full video, posted onto the official American Gods YouTube channel:

It actually makes sense that American Gods, despite being set in America and being mostly about Americans (both people and supernatural deities), was not inspired by something American. Gaiman goes on to explain that the book is about immigrants and immigration, which he compares to his own immigration to America back in the 1990s.  

There's a good chance Gaiman and Starz may release more of that in documentary form, sense American Gods is such a dense novel, and the Norse gods landing in the new world is only a starting point. But the television show is coming up soon, airing on Starz after an initial premiere at this year's SXSW. Like the book, the show will follow Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) as he becomes a bodyguard for the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), who opens up a world of godlike beings trying to scrape by around America. 

American Gods will begin April 30, 2017 on Starz.

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