I love Neil Gaiman. I have read most of his novels and plan to branch out into his comics at some point. I have listened to him on audiobook, and even to a discussion of his at the American Library Association (ALA) last year. He is impressive for a plethora of reasons, some of which I will list now.
Neil Gaiman is a wonderful author. He has the ability to write prose that engages and brings a reader into a story in a completely unconventional way. He even takes ideas that would seem ludicrous coming out of my mouth and manipulates them into something compelling and wonderful. He has written stories about a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard (The Graveyard Book). It is interesting, beautiful and suspenseful.
He can create an entire universe all within our world that is as fantastical and imaginative as anything I can imagine, while still telling a unique and wonderful story. In American Gods, he creates a world just like ours, but Gods are brought with the people who worship them, and as long as they are remembered and worshiped by someone, then they remain intact. Gods age with lack of sacrifice. There are even different iterations of the same Gods on different continents. While this idea would seem incredibly far fetched from my pen/keyboard, from him it makes complete sense and becomes something wonderful.
He is an activist. When I saw him talk at the ALA convention, the panel he was in discussed graphic novels. It was focused on how graphic novels can undergo a frightening kind of censorship. He was passionate, well informed, and had a long history of involvement with graphic novel advocacy, because that’s where he got his start. He began with graphic novels in the 1980s and created a cultural icon for many people. He has branched into essays, short stories, novels, and even film from there.
He is responsible for some of my favorite books, including Stardust which is one of his Hugo award winning books. They even had to change the rules of the Hugo awards to accommodate the overwhelming support that his fans give him.
This is somewhat of a tangent, and completely out of his control, but I also love his voice. He does many of his own audio book readings himself and has the most appealing voice. He has a British accent, as he grew up there. He somehow manages to be completely likable from how he speaks. I find it delightful.
That is my miniature love letter to Neil Gaiman. Now go read his books. Go do it.