Just a generation ago, the author could remain something of a mysterious figure, glimpsed fleetingly in the book’s jacket photo and maybe probed for their backstory in a rare interview to be pored over by curious fans.
Now as authors flood social media with the minutiae of their daily lives, the possibility of a mega-selling author remaining a literary enigma seems all but extinguished.
Neil Gaiman represents an intriguing outlier to this development though, retaining an air of mystery and unknowability that befits his fantastical writing even as he regularly interacts with his millions of social media followers and spreads his creative tentacles into a myriad of projects.
This latest short story collection even sees him blurring the lines between his social media presence and his fiction, riffing on tweets written by fans in the fragmentary A Calendar of Tales.
It’s yet another extension of a body of work that is at once exhaustingly diverse and rigorously coherent. Whether creating comic books, dark fairytales or a Dr Who story, as he does here, Gaiman’s work is always distinctly his.