One of the things that interests me about Gaiman is that he's a Chesterton buff. Coraline has an epigraph from Chesterton and Neverwhere- which is the other thing of his I've read- is full of echoes of Chesterton- in particular of the Napoleon of Notting Hill. As someone once said of someone else, Chesterton is damn good to steal from. He was this big, prodigal talent- a lazy genius- who threw out ideas all the time and never worked them through- who never did any research and never really finished anything. Read a novel, story, poem or essay of his and it feels like you're reading a first draft- which is almost certainly what it is. Also he's been forgotten, so you can steal from him without people realising you're stealing. Borges was another Chesterton buff. He did carefully what Chesterton did carelessly.
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