Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Publication date||June 19, 2001|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Anansi Boys, "The Monarch of the Glen"|
American Gods is a novel by Neil Gaiman. Neil Richard Gaiman (ˈgeɪmən (born November 10, 1960) is an English author of Science fiction and Fantasy short stories and The United States of America —commonly referred to as the English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States Fantasy literature is Fantasy in written form Historically speaking the majority of fantasy works have been literature A novel (from Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new" "news" or "short story Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of Literature or Information &ndash the activity of making information available for public view HarperCollins is a Publishing company owned by News Corporation. The year 2001 in literature involved some significant events and new books A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) is a Book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with Cloth Paperback, softback, or softcover describe and refer to a Book by the nature of its binding. Anansi Boys is a Novel by Neil Gaiman. It is a companion to Gaiman's earlier novel American Gods. A novel (from Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new" "news" or "short story Neil Richard Gaiman (ˈgeɪmən (born November 10, 1960) is an English author of Science fiction and Fantasy short stories and The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on a mysterious and taciturn protagonist, Shadow. Americana refers to artifacts of the Culture of the United States, the history and folklore resultant from its Westward expansion. Fantasy is a Genre that uses magic and other Supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting The word mythology (from the Greek grc μυθολογία mythología, meaning "a story-telling a legendary lore" The Protagonist or main character is the central figure of a story. It is Gaiman's fourth prose novel, being preceded by Good Omens (a collaboration with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere, and Stardust. Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter Witch (1990 is a Fantasy Novel written in collaboration between Terry Pratchett Terence David John Pratchett, OBE (born 28 April 1948 is an English fantasy, Science fiction, and children's author. Neverwhere is the companion Novelization by Neil Gaiman of the television serial Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman Stardust (1998 is the first solo prose novel by Neil Gaiman. It is usually published as a novel with illustrations by Charles Vess. Several of the themes touched upon in the book were previously glimpsed in The Sandman graphic novels, for which Gaiman may be best known. The Sandman is a Comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published in the United States by the DC Comics imprint Vertigo A
The book was published in 2001 by Headline in the United Kingdom and by William Morrow in the United States. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The United States of America —commonly referred to as the
A signed and numbered limited edition has been released by Hill House Publishers. It is 12,000 words longer than the mass market editions and represent Neil Gaiman's preferred edition. This is the version now in print from Headline in the UK.
Gaiman's subsequent novel Anansi Boys was actually conceived before American Gods, and shares a character, Mr. Anansi Boys is a Novel by Neil Gaiman. It is a companion to Gaiman's earlier novel American Gods. Nancy. It is not a sequel but is a part of the same fictional world. The novella, "Monarch of the Glen" (from the Legends II anthology, later collected in Fragile Things), continues Shadow's journeys. Fragile Things Short Fictions and Wonders is a collection of Short stories and Poetry by English author Neil Gaiman. This latter story also features the characters of Mr. Alice and Mr. Smith, a pair of dubious men who also appeared in a Gaiman short story called "Keepsakes and Treasures", suggesting that this tale is a part of the American Gods universe as well.
On February 28, 2008, Gaiman announced on his journal that for one month, the complete text of American Gods would be available to the public on his publisher's website. 
The book follows the adventures of ex-convict Shadow Moon, who is released from prison a few days early due to the death of his wife, Laura, in a car accident that also kills his best friend. Because his best friend, who was to give Shadow a job, has died, Shadow is hired by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday to act as an escort and bodyguard, and travels across America visiting Wednesday's colleagues and acquaintances. Wednesday is the fourth Day of the week in most western countries Gradually, it is revealed that Wednesday is an incarnation of Odin the All-Father (the word "Wednesday" is derived from "Odin's (Woden's) day"). Incarnation which literally means embodied in flesh, refers to the conception and birth of a sentient creature (generally a human who is the Odin (ˈoʊdɪn from Old Norse Óðinn) is considered the chief god in Norse paganism. Wednesday is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods of ancient mythology, whose powers have waned as their believers have decreased in number, to participate in an epic battle against the New American Gods, manifestations of modern life and technology (e. The word mythology (from the Greek grc μυθολογία mythología, meaning "a story-telling a legendary lore" g. , the internet, media, & modern means of transport). The Internet is a global system of interconnected Computer networks "Popular press" redirects here note that the University of Wisconsin Press publishes under the imprint "The Popular Press"
Mythological characters prominently featured in the book include Odin, Loki, Czernobog, the Zorya, the Norns, Anansi, Eostre, Kali, Thoth, Anubis, Horus, and Bast. Odin (ˈoʊdɪn from Old Norse Óðinn) is considered the chief god in Norse paganism. In Cryptography, LOKI89 and LOKI91 are Block ciphers designed as possible replacements for the Data Encryption Standard (DES Chernobog (also spelled Crnobog, Czernobóg, Černobog or Zernebog from the Russian Чернобог, each name meaning "black In Slavic mythology, the Zorya (alternately Zarya, Zvezda, Zwezda, Zory) are the three (sometimes two guardian Goddesses The Norns ( Old Norse: norn, plural nornir) are a kind of Dísir, numerous female beings who rule the fates of the various races of Norse Anansi is one of the most important characters of West African lore ags Ēostre is the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess attested by the eighth-century Benedictine monk Bede 's De temporum ratione Kali redirects here See Kali (disambiguation for other uses Not to be confused with Kali (demon, the personification of Kali Yuga For other meanings of "Thoth" or of "Djehuti" and similar see Thoth (disambiguation. Anubis is the Greek name for a Jackal -headed god associated with Mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. In Egyptian mythology, Bast (also spelled Ubasti, and later Bastet) is an ancient Solar and War Goddess, worshipped at In addition to the numerous figures from real-world myths, a few characters from The Sandman and its spinoffs make brief cameos in the book. The Sandman is a Comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published in the United States by the DC Comics imprint Vertigo Other mythological characters featured in the novel are not divine, but are legendary or folk heroes, such as Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman (September 26 1774 – February 18 1845 was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apples to large parts of Ohio Shadow himself is implied to be Balder, which is confirmed in the follow-up novella, "Monarch of the Glen". The story also features, in its most erotic chapter, a succubus-like re-invention of the Queen of Sheba, who while posing as a prostitute literally swallows a man through her sexual organs. A succubus (plural succubi) is a Demon who takes the form of a beautiful woman to seduce men especially monks in Dreams to have Sexual intercourse The Queen of Sheba (ንግሥተ ሳባ, 'מלכת שבא, ملكة سبأ) was the woman who ruled the ancient kingdom of Sheba and is referred to in Habeshan "Bilquis", as she is called here, is later killed by one of the New Gods. Sexuality as a rule plays a prominent part in the plot and subplots; Mr. Generally speaking human sexuality is how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings Wednesday courts several young women on the journey across America, while Shadow is successfully seduced by a humanoid version of Bast. An exception to the association with sexuality is the Midnight Star of the Zorya, who gives Shadow the Moon but does not require a kiss in return.
When the New Gods murder Wednesday – thus galvanizing the Old Gods into action – Shadow obeys Wednesday's order by holding his vigil. This is accomplished by re-enacting the act performed by Odin of hanging from a "World Tree" while pierced by a spear. The World Tree is a Motif present in several religions and mythologies particularly Indo-European religions The world tree is represented as a colossal Shadow eventually dies and visits the land of the dead, where he is guided by Thoth and judged by Anubis. For other meanings of "Thoth" or of "Djehuti" and similar see Thoth (disambiguation. Anubis is the Greek name for a Jackal -headed god associated with Mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. Eostre later brings him back to life, obeying orders that she does not fully understand. During the period between life and death, Shadow learns that he is Wednesday's son, conceived as part of the deity's plans.
At the climax of the story, Shadow reveals that America is bad "growing ground" for Gods—that the power of gods eventually wanes as long as they spend time in America. Wednesday's attempt to rally the gods is proved to be a deception, in that the deaths of gods on both sides of the war would restore some of Odin's powers. The leader of the New Gods is revealed to be Loki, who was secretly working with Odin to create the "sacrifice of gods". In Cryptography, LOKI89 and LOKI91 are Block ciphers designed as possible replacements for the Data Encryption Standard (DES Odin would feed on the Gods' deaths, while Loki would feed on the chaos of the battle to empower himself. Shadow's information stops the battle in its tracks.
Shortly after the battle, Shadow follows a clue given him by Ganesh to discover that a man called Hinzelmann, who had sometime been Shadow's neighbor, is a kobold using secret murders to empower himself and prevent the town of Lakeside from succumbing to the economic decay that has claimed many similar towns. Ganesha ( Sanskrit: sa गणेश Gaṇeśa) also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh and also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, and Pillaiyar The kobold is a sprite of German folklore. Although usually invisible a kobold can materialise in the form of an animal fire a human being and a mundane Shadow confronts Hinzelmann, who is then shot by a local police man whose father Hinzelmann had previously killed to keep his secret. The presence of Hinzelmann as a kobold refers to the book's premise that dwarves, elves, leprechauns, and other spirits are derived from earlier myths of gods, and that whoever brings a story to a land brings the characters with it. Shadow later sees his friend and supporter, the apparently bisexual Samantha/Sam Black Crow, walking on a street with a companion, but does not speak to her.
Following this, Shadow visits Iceland, where he meets the original Odin, of whom Wednesday is an incarnation. Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland ( ( Ísland or Lýðveldið Ísland ( He accuses Odin of Wednesday's actions, whereupon Odin replies that "He [Wednesday] was me, but I'm not him". Shadow gives Odin Wednesday's glass eye, which Odin places in a leather bag as a keepsake.
Various real-life towns and tourist attractions, including the House on the Rock (and its 'world's largest carousel') and Rock City, are featured through the course of the book. The House on the Rock is a complex of architecturally unique rooms streets gardens and shops designed by Alex Jordan Jr The Carousel at House on the Rock, located in Spring Green Wisconsin, is reported to be the the world's largest Rock City is a Roadside attraction near Chattanooga Tennessee on Lookout Mountain in Lookout Gaiman states in an introduction that he has obscured the precise location of some actual locales.
According to Gaiman, American Gods is not based on Diana Wynne Jones's Eight Days of Luke, "although they bear an odd relationship, like second cousins once removed or something". Diana Wynne Jones (born London 16 August 1934 is a British writer principally of Fantasy novels for children and adults as well as a small Eight Days of Luke is a children's fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones published in 1975. When working on the structure of a story linking gods and days of the week, he realised that this idea had already been used in Eight Days of Luke. He abandoned the story, but later used the idea when writing American Gods to depict Wednesday and Shadow meeting on the god's namesake day. 
While Gaiman was writing American Gods, his publishers set up a promotional web site featuring a weblog in which Gaiman described the day-to-day process of writing, revising, publishing, and promoting the novel. A blog (a contraction of the term " Web log " is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary descriptions of After the novel was published, the web site evolved into a more general Official Neil Gaiman Web Site, and as of 2008 Gaiman still regularly adds to the weblog, describing the day-to-day process of being Neil Gaiman and writing, revising, publishing, or promoting his current project.
The book won the 2002 Hugo, Nebula, SFX Magazine Award and Bram Stoker awards, all for Best Novel, and likewise received nomination for the 2002 BSFA Award, World Fantasy Award, International Horror Guild Award and Mythopoeic Award. Winners of the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy Novel, along with all the nominees are presented here Winners of the Nebula Award for Best Novel, awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. SFX is a British Magazine devoted to Science fiction and Fantasy subjects especially media-related topics but not containing fiction The Bram Stoker Award is a recognition presented by the Horror Writers Association (HWA for "superior achievement" in horror writing. The British Science Fiction Association (BSFA annually presents four awards (though numbers have differed in previous years based on a vote of BSFA members and recently also members of The World Fantasy Awards are annual international awards given to authors and artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of Fantasy. The International Horror Guild Award is a recognition presented by the International Horror Guild (IHG to recognize the achievements of those who create in the field of The Mythopoeic Awards for literature and literary studies are given by the Mythopoeic Society to authors of outstanding works in the fields of myth fantasy and the scholarly  It won the 2004 Geffen Award. The Geffen Award is an annual award given by the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy since 1999 and presented at the Annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention
In the acknowledgements of American Gods, Gaiman offers interested readers information on acquiring a tape or cd of the music of The House on the Rock. The Thunderbird is a Legendary creature in North American indigenous peoples' history and culture A troll is a fearsome member of a race of creatures from Norse mythology. Iram of the Pillars ( Arabic: إرَم ذات العماد) also called Aram Iram Irum Irem Erum Ubar Wyrd is a concept in Old English and Old Norse culture roughly corresponding to fate or Karma. Gamla Uppsala ("Old Uppsala" is a parish and a village outside Uppsala in Sweden. In Norse mythology, Valaskjálf ("the Shelf of the Slain" is one of Odin 's Halls a great dwelling built and roofed with pure silver In Norse mythology the valkyries ( Old Norse Valkyrja "Choosers of the Slain" are Dísir, minor female deities Fairies in Slavic mythology come in several forms and their names are spelled differently based on the specific language For other meanings see Vishnu (disambiguation. Vishnu ( IAST viṣṇu Devanagari विष्णु (honorific Dahomey mythology|Yoruba mythology Vodun or Vudun (vodṹ — that is with a nasal u on a high tone) (so The White Bull is a Fable written by Voltaire. The story takes place in Ancient Egypt where Princess Amasidia meets a white bull Wisakedjak ( Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīhsakecāhkw in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Wōden is a god in Anglo-Saxon paganism, together with Norse Odin representing a development of a Proto-Germanic god * Wōdanaz In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil ( Old Norse Yggdrasill, ˈyɡˌdrasilː the extra -l is a Nominative case marker is the World Yemaja is an Orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religion. In Norse mythology, Ymir, also named Aurgelmir ( Old Norse gravel-yeller) among the giants themselves was the founder of the race of In Vodou, and especially in Haiti, Azaka-Tonnerre (also Azaca or Azacca) is in the same "family" of Loa as Azaka Medeh - zombie is a reanimated human corpse Stories of zombies originated in the Afro-Caribbean spiritual belief system of Vodou, which told of the people being controlled In Slavic mythology, the Zorya (alternately Zarya, Zvezda, Zwezda, Zory) are the three (sometimes two guardian Goddesses Estonian (; ˈeːsti ˈkeːl is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1 Polish ( język polski, polszczyzna) is the Official language of Poland. Romanian or Daco-Romanian ( dated: Rumanian or Roumanian; self designation limba română, ˈlimba roˈmɨnə is a Romance Italian ( or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by about 63 million people as a First language, primarily in Italy. Portuguese ( or língua portuguesa) is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia (Spain and northern Portugal. Czech (ˈʧɛk čeština ˈʧɛʃcɪna in Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers it is the majority language in the Finnish ( or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (92% As of 2006) and by ethnic Finns outside Hungarian ( magyar nyelv) is a Uralic language (more specifically a Ugric language) unrelated to most other languages in Europe. Croatian language ( hrvatski jezik) is a South Slavic language which is used primarily in Croatia, by Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina in neighbouring Serbian (sr-Cyrl српски језик sr-Latn ''srpski jezik'' is a South Slavic language, Russian ( transliteration:,) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages Lithuanian ( lietuvių kalba) is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognised as one of the official languages of the European Union. Turkish ( tr Türkçe IPA) is a language spoken by over 63 million people worldwide making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. Swedish ( is a North Germanic language spoken by more than nine million people predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along the Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly Write to: The House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI 53588 USA, or call (608) 935-3639.