Gaiman and Ishiguro in Conversation

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer have been guest editors of this weeks’s New Statesman. Lots of good stuff to read, but top of the pile for me is this conversation between Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro, on literature and genre.


Some time in the Nineties I felt a change of climate in the mainstream literary world. There was a younger generation of writers emerging who I really respected: David Mitchell was one of them. Or my friend Alex Garland, who’s 15 or 16 years younger than me, who became famous for The Beach—he was showing me the screenplays he was writing, one of which was 28 Days Later, which became the renowned zombie movie, and then he wrote Sunshine, about a manned expedition to the sun. Alex told me about graphic novels. He said I had to read Alan Moore and Frank Miller and all these people. So from the Nineties onwards, I sensed that there was a whole generation of people emerging who had a very different attitude to sci-fi, and that there was a new force of energy and inspiration because of that. I may have had the crusty prejudices of somebody of my generation but I felt liberated by these younger writers. Now I feel fairly free to use almost anything. People in the sci-fi community were very nice about Never Let Me Go. And by and large I’ve rather enjoyed my inadvertent trespassing into the fantasy genre, too, although I wasn’t even thinking about The Buried Giant as a fantasy—I just wanted to have ogres in there!

Also noteworthy in the issue: Gaiman’s Credo. Worth spending a Sunday thumbing the virtual pages.