I found my way to Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’ via a circuitous route. My wife read a review of ‘Good Omens’ – which Gaiman wrote in collaboration with Terry Pratchett – it sounded interesting, so I grabbed a copy, read it and liked it.
Not too long after that we put the film adaptation of ‘Stardust’ on the Netflix queue. We both like it a lot, so I promised myself that the next time there was an opening in the reading list I’d pick up a copy of the book.
I took a trip to ye olde book barn and headed over to the ‘sci-fi/fantasy’ aisle to look for the Neil Gaiman section. Gaiman has been very prolific, writing novels, graphic novels (the acclaimed ‘Sandman’ series) and even childrens books. When I saw Gaiman’s name on the shelf I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were still stocking copies of the movie tie-in paperback of ‘Stardust’. It was sitting directly adjacent to the “quality paperback” version of the book, which was almost twice as expensive as the corny looking book with the pictures of Robert DeNiro and Michele Pfeiffer on the cover.
Naturally, I grabbed the cheap copy.
I’m always a little cautious when it comes to reading a book when I’ve already seen a film adaptation. Though most of these films manage to corrupt the books horribly, occasionally you run across one (like the novel ‘Last Orders’) where the film was a scrupulously faithful adaptation and the book hold no surprises whatsoever.
Happily this was not the case with ‘Stardust’. The film was a substantial departure from the book, with some characters/events amplified (substantially), others cut from whole cloth and others diminished.
The novel ‘Stardust’ contained a lot more story than the film (a good thing) and in the end I found that I had enjoyed the book a lot as well as having a newfound respect for the film adaptation, in which the spirit of the book was kept intact and deviations from the novel didn’t dishonor the original material.
‘Stardust’ was a quick read, and managed to be a ‘fantasy’ novel that was almost entirely devoid of the kind of clichés that usually cause me to roll my eyes.
Now reading – non-pleasure reading…