Mark Reads ‘American Gods': Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of American Gods, HOLY SHIT THIS GOT SO REAL INCREDIBLY QUICKLY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read American Gods.

CHAPTER TWELVE

Holy shit. HOLY SHIT.

A lot has just happened in this book A whole lot. This is the longest chapter so far, and I actually wrote around a thousand words for this post and it was so disheveled and all over the place that I’m starting over. That’s a good thing, by the way. I have basically been shocked into incoherency. All of the information that Gaiman has given me so far is finally coming together, and then he decides to drop like a thousand head-explosion bombs on me and then OH BY THE WAY THE WAR STARTED LOL. He is cackling right now, isn’t he? He has no idea this blog exists, but he has a deep-seeded knowledge of whenever someone reaches this chapter, and he just cackles quietly to himself. That is just part of Neil Gaiman’s life, isn’t it?

This will also hopefully give you some insight into how I’m able to write these reviews so frequently and quickly, as I am going to split this up as I do my notes. Whenever I’m reading a book for Mark Reads (and generally I do the same during Mark Watches, though for some particularly gripping episodes, I don’t write a note for like…forty minutes straight), I write down important things I want to discuss or reflect upon in my review. Sometimes I write things down by hand, sometimes it’s in TextEdit on my computer. Either way, they’re generally these ridiculous little phrases or sentences that I know will trigger the exact thought I had in that moment. I tend to use ~Parallel Love~ whenever characters, behaviors, plots, etc., are paralleled with each other because there are few techniques I love more in fiction. If I’m reading something and get inspired to write one of those “alternate” reviews I haven’t done in a while, I might jot that idea down and then take note of everything that supports it.

(As a side note: It really has been quite some time since I’ve done those alternate reviews, and I do miss this. But I always told myself I would never force myself to come up with alternate narratives just for the sake of it. But I also realized that for nearly everything after The Hunger Games, I haven’t picked a book or a series that is…well, funny. Like I’m sorry, I’m not going to poke fun at the Holocaust or the end of all universes at the hands of God. And while I certainly think that having a sense of humor going in to this really helps, it’s never quite manifested itself like it did during Twilight or Harry Potter. That being said, I think it is going to be remarkably easy to pull them off–and quite often–during The Lord of the Rings. I anxiously await those days.)

I knew this review could turn out to be a disaster when I realized I was skipping around and trying to fill in the gaps for all the notes I took. I generally write reviews chronologically unless I have some fantastic idea/point that I want to execute before I forget it. Most of those super long/story time reviews were written out of order. But today’s post? Frankly, it was a hot mess. I was trying to link things together, remember past plot points without Googling them because

and we all know SPOILERS are the death of me. So, in lieu of a possibly sloppy vomit of words, let’s re-create my notes instead, shall we?

AMERICA IS OBSESSED WITH RECENT HISTORY

When I talk with my friends who don’t live in the United States, every so often I am reminded of how new my country is compared to those around the world. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that the culture of this place routinely highlights nostalgia for things that, in the grand scope of world history, really aren’t that old. Wednesday’s commentary about Mount Rushmore got me thinking about this. Now I know those presidents are important to our history, but this line struck me:

“Once they were carved, permission was granted, and now the people drive out in their multitudes to see something in the flesh that they’ve already seen on a thousand postcards.”

I mean RIGHT. I’m not a particularly tourist-y traveler and a lot of popular tourist traps hold no appeal to me. I don’t think I ever want to see those stone faces unless I can re-enact South By Southwest LOL WHAT IS THAT MOVIE I mean North by Northwest and I realize that by saying that, that technically makes no sense but I DON’T CARE I FUCKING LOVE THAT MOVIE.

Oh, America. My love/hate relationship with you will never end. We’re like the most dramatic OTP ever, aren’t we? Oh god, that is not an invitation to write fic about me. OR IS IT.

BRAIN IS ON SAME WAVELENGTH AS SHADOW

He brings up the fact that people have disappeared from Lakeside. SEE? SEE??? I TOLD YOU. Something is up! Right, I have no idea, but it is something.

I THINK DWAYNE JOHNSON IS HOT

No, I really wrote that. I was reminded of a comment someone left last week when I suddenly realized Shadow might be black or biracial or mixed. So Neil Gaiman really imagines Shadow as Dwayne Johnson? That is brilliant and I don’t care if you judge me for thinking that man is a hunk. I used that word. I did. What are you going to do about it?

IS THE WINNEBAGO THE TARDIS

Yeah, so…American Gods has been kind of slow. Again, I’m totally okay with that! Everything I read doesn’t need to be the fastest, most intense plot of all time. And then Wednesday realizes that they’re being trapped in a roadblock, so he draws “rune-like scratchings” on the dashboard, orders Shadow to drive very specific speeds, and then make a sharp right turn off the road and then:

For a moment he thought he had been correct, that the camper was going to tip, and then the world through the windshield dissolved and shimmered, like the reflection in a clear pool when the wind brushes the surface, and the Dakotas stretched and shifted.

The clouds and the mist and the snow and the day were gone.

Now there were stars overhead, hanging like frozen spears of light, stabbing the night sky.

WHAT THE HOLY FUCK JUST HAPPENED? Did they just….NO SERIOUSLY WHAT IS HAPPENING. How can he do that? Are they in another world? Another location? ANOTHER UNIVERSE?? WEDNESDAY I THINK IT IS UNFAIR YOU WERE HIDING THESE POWERS.

WEDNESDAY YOU TOLD HIM NOT TO

Okay, while this was immensely satisfying to have acknowledged out loud in the book, I still laughed: Wednesday finally asks why Shadow never seems surprised by the weird shit that Wednesday puts him through. Which is a valid question, I think! But dude, you told him not to ask questions. So he’s just doing as he’s told? Okay, I’m being facetious.

And then he said, realizing the truth as the words came out of his mouth, “Anyway, nothing’s really surprised me since Laura.”

“Since she came back from the dead?”

“Since I learned she was screwing Robbie. That one hurt. Everything else just sits on the surface. Where are we going now?”

Okay, I have never been married and I was only with my first boyfriend for six months, but I found out he cheated on me after he dumped me. And good god, this is exactly how it feels. It’s a really hard sensation to bury in your heart. You constantly deny it and refuse to believe that someone could hurt you like that. Everything does sit on top of that. It almost takes over your every waking thought for a while before you accept it.

Yeah, sorry to get super serious there for a moment, but that’s what this book does to me! I can laugh at one line and then suddenly feel like I got a brick to the face the next one.

IS THIS THE FORBIDDEN FOREST

There’s a giant mechanical spider at the bottom of the hill where Shadow and Wednesday stand. What the fuck is going on?

WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING!!!

Shadow loses his footing and slides down the hill and when his hand touches a human thighbone (!!!!!!), he TRANSFERS TO ONE OF THE BAD GUYS. And he doesn’t become him, so much as he gains the ability to observe him through that man’s head. Oh, and he’s Mister Town. So he’s a god named Mister Town. I don’t even know how to process this.

Even stranger, the mind jump is so seamless that Shadow isn’t fully aware of what’s happening and one of his stray thoughts creeps into Mister Town’s mind: There was something very familiar about Mr. World’s voice. So…we’ve met Mister World. Who is he? The man from Las Vegas, maybe?

The entire conversation is a huge insight into what’s going on, even if it’s mostly ambiguous conversation, but this part was pretty blatant to me:

“It’s a pissing contest. I’ve proposed that we have it out here. The techies want it in Austin, or maybe San Jose, the players want it in Hollywood, the intangibles want it on Wall Street. Everybody wants it in their own back yard. Nobody’s going to give.”

AHHHHH HE’S TALKING ABOUT THE WAR. This is so fascinating to me! And we also get slang terms for the different groups of modern gods. The techies. The players. The intangibles! Ugh, this book is SO FUN TO READ.

BEHIND THE SCENES

This. Is. The. COOLEST. It’s like…shit, okay, I would spoil things if I tried to give examples. But it’s a moment in this book where everything has to change, where I am introduced to such a massive piece of this alternate world’s backbone that I remain simply in awe of what’s crafted here. There is a backstage for the gods. A BACKSTAGE. What is the spider? What are the bones? WHO CARES THERE IS A BACKSTAGE FOR THE GODS. Oh my god I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS.

“What was that spider thing?”

“A pattern manifestation. A search engine.”

Oh, I’m sorry, this is just so ridiculously spectacular. I DON’T GET THIS AND IT DOESN’T BOTHER ME AT ALL.

AS;DLKFJASDF JOHNNY APPLESEED ARE YOU KIDDING ME

He’s real. He’s in this book. I cannot fucking believe this. I love how casual this is, and I love how with each new god revealed, Gaiman is basically saying, “Oh, you have no idea what the scope of this thing is.” Every myth and legend and god is here and it’s a treat to see how Gaiman decides to use them. I mean PAUL BUNYAN. Oh god, Paul Bunyan is empty calories. And Wisakedjak is here, too. How much research would one person have to do to pull this off so well???

WINNEBAGOS ARE GODS

“Are you going to fetch your Ho Chunk?”

“My what?”

Ho Chunk. It’s what the Winnebago call themselves.”

OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS. All of this is just accepted nomenclature at this point, and no one makes a big deal out of any of it.

[Edit: It’s been pointed out to me that Winnebagos are NOT gods. Thanks, everyone! I UNDERSTAND NOTHING. They’re still the TARDIS, though.]

THIS IS AWKWARD

There is a bizarre subtext/dynamic to the scene in the rec hall with Harry Bluejay. Why is there so much tension when Chapman tells Bluejay he’s suppose to give his car to Shadow and Wednesday? I get the feeling this whole town is full of gods.  Was there another meaning to this scene?

NO IT IS THE TARDIS, I SWEAR

“So we set out January the what, twentieth, twenty-first? I wasn’t keep track of the dates, but it was the third week of January. We were three days on the road, all told. So how is it the fourteenth of February?”

“Because we walked for almost a month,” said Wednesday. “In the Badlands. Backstage.”

HOW. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING. So time backstage progresses faster than time in the real world? I AM BEWILDERED.

ADORABLE

Chad Mulligan is kind of adorable, isn’t he? I love that he tries to pretend he’s not talking about Marguerite when he asks Shadow what he should do about someone he likes who make him like it back. It’s one of the few moments that Mulligan feels like an awkward teenager. I hope things work out for him.

~recruiting omg~

I think it will be fun to come back to this section when I finish this book so I can try and guess who all the gods are that Shadow sees while he continues to travel with Wednesday. It was clear to me that Gaiman was trying to increase the pace of the novel at this point; he cycles through meetings with many gods in just a few paragraphs. I highly doubt that Gaiman doesn’t know exactly who all these gods are, but, again, I’m avoiding Google so that I don’t spoil myself. It also seems that Wednesday is pretty much hit or miss when it comes to recruiting gods. I started worrying that he wasn’t going to find enough gods to put up a good fight against the modern gods. How was this going to affect the war?

Laura

I think out of everything before this, Laura’s scene with Shadow in the cemetery is my favorite of hers so far. It’s alternately touching and horrifically depressing. Again, I must commend Gaiman for giving her agency, for making her her own person even though she is dead. She is just as much lost and hurt as Shadow is about this entire journey, even if they only seem to cross path periodically. But what this is really about leans more towards closure, and it sort of scared me that this happened before the book was done.

I expected a conversation about this to happen near the end, but Laura brings up a character trait of Shadow’s that had been driving the action: he does not seem to feel much at all, or he at least does not show it. She says he is not alive, which doesn’t mean that he is dead. She goes on to describe that Shadow, while he loved Laura fiercely, lacked vibrancy. He was always simply there, and it’s one of the main reasons she eventually ended up cheating on her husband while he was in prison.

It’s not an excuse so much as a reason. This is why it happened, and what I’ve seen of Shadow makes it hard for me to deny this.

It’s honestly a viciously depressing scene to me because they both clearly love and miss each other, but they simply cannot be together. I’m haunted by the image of her pulling away from his embrace only to sit at a picnic table to watch him leave.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN

And then the bomb drops and I don’t know how to feel anymore. Very matter-of-factly, Gaiman tells us that the war began before anyone on Wednesday’s side even knew it.

A falling girder in Manhattan closed a street for two days. It killed two pedestrians, an Arabic taxi-driver and the tax-driver’s passenger.

oh. my. god. The ifrit. He is dead. he is dead. I’m going to imagine that Salim was not in that taxicab.

Gaiman cycles through them. A trucker in Denver, who I do not recognize. A troll in Phoenix. Nine gods in Montana. A driver in Idaho. Destruction. Vandalism. The war has begun and no one even knows it yet.

The worst of them all is the Queen of Sheba, who comes to find out that the war has started in her own way. We know her as Bilquis. In Hollywood, off Sunset Blvd, she gets a possible customer, except it’s the worst one imaginable. (A bit of a side note: I know that it might be in-character or representative of the language used in that part of Los Angeles, but the use of misogynist language is a bit much for me. I mean, yes, people really do talk like that in Hollywood, so at least it is accurate, but just sayin’. It doesn’t distract me too much from the story, thankfully.) I mean as soon as I read this:

“I can pay for anything I want,” says the john. She leans into the car and looks around. There’s nobody else in there, just the john, a puffy-faced kid who doesn’t even look old enough to drink. Nobody else, so she gets in.

AH, CHRIST. DON’T DO THAT. It’s the technology god from earlier and THIS CANNOT END WELL. And it truly doesn’t, because the god wastes no time calling her my her real name. He also says something that actually might be the first real reason why the new gods want to eliminate the old ones:

“There’s only so much belief to go around. They’re reaching the end of what they can give us. The credibility gap.”

Well, shit. So now the new gods are losing their source of belief as well? How so?

We don’t find out much more, because Bilquis manages to leap out of the limo onto a hillside road above Hollywood. (I’m imagining it as Mulholland Drive.) Yet as she tries to scramble up the hillside to escape the car, she slips and falls and is ran over by the limousine. THREE TIMES.

When, finally, it drives away, down the hill, all it leaves behind on the road is the smeared red meat of roadkill, barely recognizable as human, and soon even that will be washed away by the rain.

GODDAMN IT, GAIMAN. WHY. WHY MUST YOU DO THIS.

SAMANTHA

SAMANTHA IS MARGUERITE’S NIECE SISTER. HOW THE FUCK. HOW A;ASKLDFJ A;KJ A;SLKDFJ ;SLK;J A;DLFKJ

JACKSONVILLE

I don’t know why it hit me so hard, but the final interlude of chapter twelve belongs to Laura. She is getting a job at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, and the owner refers to her prospective hours as the “zombie shift” and I basically want to cry into my pillow forever.

What the hell has this book become. sweet christ.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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86 Responses to Mark Reads ‘American Gods': Chapter 12

  1. cait0716 says:

    I feel like I can barely comment on this chapter without spoilers. It's like Gaiman has spent the first half of his book setting up all of his pieces and now he's finally starting to move them. The war has begun.

    The sheer number of gods that get introduced in this chapter is the main reason I'm excited that they're making a television series. There are too many for a book, but there's a whole lot of room to stretch out and play on a television series. And I wonder how much they'll have to update the new gods to reflect the shifts in our culture in the past ten years. I mean, we've gone from dial-up internet to smartphones in the time since this book was written.

    Hz…Punq qrsvavgryl jnfa'g gnyxvat nobhg Znethrevgr. Ubyl njxjneq jura gung erirny pbzrf va gur arkg puncgre

    • clodia_risa says:

      V xabj, V xabj. V zrna, Punq zragvbarq gung fur jnf jvqbjrq, evtug? Nygubhtu, tvira gur angher bs Punq’f cerivbhf pehfu ba Znethrevgr (naq gur vasyhrapr ba uvf fhqqra pehfu ba Nhqerl), vg’f n ovg haqrefgnaqnoyr.

      Fgvyy, ubyl njxjneq.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      * njxjneq- ghegyr *

    • monkeybutter says:

      yby, ybbx ng lbhe yvsr, ybbx ng lbhe pubvprf Punq.

  2. Vikinhaw says:

    After the scene where they go backstage, in my head, the Winnebago became a DeLorean. I'm sorry, but for a while afterword I kept seeing Wednesday as Christopher Lloyd.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      ….

      PERFECT.

    • clodia_risa says:

      That would be an interesting casting choice for Wednesday. It’s so again his popular persona, and he’s not got the usual look for Odin. I kinda want to see it.

      Also! I didn’t know that Sam Lloyd (Ted from Scrubs) was his nephew until wikipedia told me so! That is so cool!

    • saphling says:

      If you believe Wednesday is Christopher Lloyd hard enough, that might be enough to make it true. ^_^

  3. Meenalives says:

    I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure the cab driver was Salim. The ifrit traded identities with him and took his ticket home. I've always wondered if the ifrit did that on purpose, setting Salim up to die in his place, since all the gods seem to have had some idea that the war was coming.

    • cait0716 says:

      I was under the same impression that Salim was the cab driver. But I hadn't thought the ifrit might be setting him up on purpose. That's a depressing thought. Poor Salim.

      • SorrowsSolace says:

        Gah! I had always thought it that in a small way the ifrit was granting Salim a wish as much as possible. The idea Meenalives had actually makes a horrid amount of sense (weren't ifrit described as capricious, well jerks in myth?), and yeah having him be set up is awful.

        • cait0716 says:

          It definitely plays into Salim's initial fear. His first assumption was that the ifrit was going to kill him. It looks like he might have been right.

    • Zoli says:

      I also thought that it was probably Salim who died. Salim wanted a new life, and the ifrit wanted to get far, far away from the coming war, so they switched. Which means it was Salim driving the taxi, and the ifrit is somewhere else. :/

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I thought that, too. And that along with the sunglasses made me think that Salim had somehow become an ifrit in his place, but I'm still wavering on that. The first part of Salim's story is still touching, but when the girder comes along, it becomes pretty twisted.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Ah, holy shit, you're right. I totally got their places mixed up.

      omg salim :( :( :(

  4. trva says:

    Isn't it North by Northwest?

  5. clodia_risa says:

    The Winnebago are not gods, they’re Native Americans. Ho-Chunk, so wikipedia tells me, is the tribe’s preferred name now. They did used to use the name Winnebago.

    Qb lbh guvax ur’f tbvat gb svther bhg jub Ze. Jbeyq vf? V zrna, nal bs vg? Zl thrff vf ab. V pregnvayl qvq vg. (Nygubhtu ur’f qrsvavgryl fzryyvat fbzrguvat jvgu gur xvqf va Ynxrfvqr. Vg’f va gur gehax!)

    Vg’f sha frrvat ubj bsgra Ybxv vf ersreraprq va gur obbx (nf uvf cevfba anzr, bs pbhefr). Funqbj frrzf gb gryy n fgbel nobhg uvz bapr rirel puncgre be gjb.

    • Meenalives says:

      Yeah, Wisakedjak was making a joke about how white people appropriate native names for completely inappropriate things (like vans) and get even the names wrong.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      V'z abg fher….V guvax vg zvtug or gbb yngr. V jbexrq bhg Ybj Xrl= Ybxv, naq V svtherq gung ur jnf jbexvat jvgu Bqva, fvapr nyy gur zragvbaf bs pbaf naq cnegaref. V nyfb svtherq gurer jnf fbzr fbeg bs gevpx tbvat ba, orpnhfr gung'f jung Ybxv qbrf. V qvqa'g jbex bhg gur raq-tnzr, naq gung Ze. Jbeyq jnf uvz nyfb, gubhtu.

      • clodia_risa says:

        V pbzzraq lbh ba orvat nggragvir naq gubhtugshy! V erpnyy svthevat guvatf bhg rknpgyl jura V jnf fhccbfrq gb va gur obbx.

        Cerqvpgvba 1) Znex’f zvaq jvyy or oybja ol gur Ybj Xrl erirny.
        Cerqvpgvba 2) Ur jvyy fhfcrpg fbzrguvat nobhg Yvrfzvgu gur frpbaq gung ur vf erirnyrq.
        Cerqvpgvba 3) Ur jvyy svther bhg gung Ybxv vf Jrqarfqnl’f cerivbhf cnegare, ohg jvyy fhfcrpg gung gurl’ir unq n snyyvat bhg.
        Cerqvpgvba 4) Ur jvyy svther bhg Ze. Jbeyq’f vqragvgl orsber gur bssvpvny erirny, ohg bayl fubegyl orsber.
        Cerqvpgvba 5) Ur jvyy abg svther bhg gur raqtnzr.

        Cynpr lbhe orgf, crbcyr, be ynl lbhe nygreangr gurbevrf!

      • knut_knut says:

        Yby jura V erernq guvf puncgre lrfgreqnl sbe fbzr ernfba V gubhtug Ze. Jbeyq jnf Jrqarfqnl naq gura tbg ernyyl pbashfrq jura Jrqarfqnl zrg hc jvgu uvz. Nsgre nyy guvf gvzr, fgvyy ubbqjvaxrq ol Tnvzna.

        V ernyyl yvxr jura Znex’f zvaq vf oybja (vf gung zrna? Vg’f whfg ernyyl ragregnvavat!), fb V ubcr ur ernyvmrf guvatf jura ur’f fhccbfrq gb! Jub xabjf, gubhtu, vg cebonoyl urycf gung ur’f ernqvat ol puncgre fb ur vfa’g sylvat guebhtu gur obbx, zvffvat vzcbegnag pyhrf.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Ab, ohg V'z bxnl jvgu uvz abg svthevat vg bhg hagvy gur raq, orpnhfr gung'f jura V svtherq vg bhg. Gung zbzrag jura lbh qebc gur obbx naq fnl "nnuuuuuu, jung'f jebat jvgu zr?!" vf n terng bar.

  6. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Parallel Love would make an awesome band name, I've got to say.

    Everything's starting now. But literally, every single thing I want to say is spoilery, and since I do not want to face the wrath of Mark and River, I'm just going to laugh evilly to myself, like some twisted super villain.

    • clodia_risa says:

      This.

      And seriously, if Neil Gaiman cackled every time he blew someone’s mind, then he would be cackling all the time. He wouldn’t be able to get anything else done.

      • Appachu says:

        I just have this mental picture of Gaiman walking around cackling to himself all day and getting weird looks from people and not giving a wet slap about it.

        My brain, ladies and gentlemen.

      • Shiroikami says:

        Don't be silly, of course he'd be able to get other things done. That's why they invented multitasking! :D

        Also, I'm fairly certain the cackling/maniacal laughter generated every time he blows someone's mind only serves to fuel his mad-genius in other endeavors. I mean, just look at the other stuff he's written!! The man is a genius with words.

    • Patrick721 says:

      Parallel Love sounds like the name of a song I'd find on the Jet Set Radio soundtrack. And then I realize I'm thinking about THE CONCEPT OF LOVE!

      brb listening to awesome

    • John Small Berries says:

      "But literally, every single thing I want to say is spoilery, and since I do not want to face the wrath of Mark and River, I'm just going to laugh evilly to myself, like some twisted super villain."

      That's what ROT13 is for. If you use Firefox, you can install the LeetKey add-on to easily convert back and forth. Just highlight the text to be encrypted or decrypted, right-click and select LeetKey – Text Transformers – ROT13. (Or any of several similar add-ons.)

      That way you can discuss the spoilery bits with those of us who won't be spoiled by them. And you can still laugh evilly while doing so!

  7. Lola says:

    Actually Marguerite and Samantha are sisters

  8. monkeybutter says:

    I just remembered something I had a question about and I'm not sure if it's explained later, so rot13: "Jr ner jevgvat gur shgher va yrggref bs sver" vf ernyyl ivivq, ohg vf vg ersreevat gb nalguvat va cnegvphyne?

    • clodia_risa says:

      V qba’g guvax fb. V guvax gung gurer’f fbzr nffbpvngvba jvgu gur Uroerj nycunorg, naq Tbbtyr pbasvezf gung va bar fgbel, gur yrggre jrer jevggra jvgu n synzvat cra, jvryqrq ol Tbq. V guvax va fbzr gryyvatf bs gur Gra Pbzznaqzragf, gur jbeqf jrer vafpevorq ol sver? Be vf gung whfg gur zbivr irefvba?

      V guvax vg pbhyq fvzcyl or n fgevxvat ivfhny vzntr. V guvax gung vg pbhyq nyfb or ersrerapvat gurfr fgbevrf, naq ubj gur hfr bs gur synzvat yrggref/jbeqf erfuncrq gur jbeyq. Npghnyyl, vs V unq gb cynpr n org, V’q tb sbe gur frpbaq evtug abj.

      Ohg V guvax vg’f fhccbfrq gb or n fhogyr ersrerapr.

      • monkeybutter says:

        For some reason, I'm not getting notifications for your comments and it's annoying me because they're always good.

        V ubarfgyl unir ab vqrn. Va zl zvaq, vg'f n obyg bs yvtugavat, unun. Naq lrnu, V jnf erzvaqrq bs gur jevgvat ba gur jnyy va Qnavry, ohg qvqa'g guvax gung jnf svrel. Vg'f fhccbfrq gb or bzvabhf naq n fvta bs hcurniny naq gur raq, evtug? Fb vg pbhyq jbex. Vs gurer jnf fbzrguvat va Abefr zlgubybtl, gubhtu, gung jnf fcrpvsvpnyyl nobhg svrel jevgvat, gung'q znxr rira zber frafr.

        • clodia_risa says:

          [blushes] Thank you.

          By the way, how does one get notifications turned on?

          V’yy nqzvg, zl xabjyrqtr bs Abefr zlgubybtl vf funxl. Zl oevrs erfrnepu (ernq: Tbbtyr) fubjf zr gung va Abefr zlgubybtl, gur jbeyq jnf perngrq jvgu gur vagrenpgvbaf bs sver naq vpr. Nyfb, gur svany fgntr bs Entanebx vf nyy orvat pbafhzrq va qryvorengr sver. Rnegu jvyy or erobea nsgre guvf, fb vg vf abg hggre qrfgehpgvba.

          Gurersber, vg vf boivbhf gung sver va Abefr zlgubybtl vf bar bs gur gjb zbfg cbjreshy ryrzragf. Shegure, tvira vgf hfr va obgu gur perngvba naq ncbpnylcgvp zlgubybtl, vg frrzf gb unir n cbjre va funcvat jung vf gb pbzr.

          Sver vf n cbjreshy ryrzrag va rirel zlgubybtl, ubjrire, naq vgf vagebqhpgvba vf hfhnyyl n fvta bs punatvat gvzrf – frr Cebzrgurhf.

          V guvax jr zvtug or bireguvaxvat guvf fyvtugyl. Ubjrire, bireguvaxvat vf njrfbzr. V pbhyq rnfvyl frr n cncre orvat jevggra ba gur gbcvp.

          • monkeybutter says:

            Hehe, overthinking is de rigueur 'round these parts.

            If you want to get notifications, I think you have to be signed up for IntenseDebate. It'll also let you delete your comments and edit them before anyone else responds. I don't know if people who use their twitter accounts or just plain wordpress get notifications, but they might. And for some reason, Mark's sites don't let you log into ID when you're on a mobile device.

  9. arctic_hare says:

    Your notes are the best, Mark. <3 I love your thought processes and it's great to get this glimpse at how you do your reviews.

    Ah, America's obsession with recent history. To be perfectly frank, it's why I've never felt that much of a connection to my own country: it's just not old enough for me. Ancient history always fascinated me as a kid, the ~mysteries of the ancients~ still does, so a country that's only a couple hundred years old or so is like "… so? What's the big deal?" There are other reasons too, but this review/chapter hit on that aspect of my lukewarm feelings for America.

    I'm going to take a stab at the first of those mysterious gods Shadow and Wednesday visited. Keep in mind I have no fucking clue since I don't remember and haven't looked it up, but it sounds right to me. Still going to rot13 it just in case somebody doesn't want to know what my guess is. Crefbanyyl, V znl or jebat, ohg V guvax vg'f Zrqhfn. Jba'g yrg gurz frr ure snpr, gur sbbq va gur sevqtr vf jung lbh srrq fanxrf… lrnu. V'yy ybbx vg hc nsgre gur obbx'f qbar gb frr vs V'z evtug be abg.

    Poor Salim. :( Yay Sam! :) But she knows Shadow, OMG WILL SHE BLOW HIS COVER? o.0 TUNE IN TOMORROW, SAME MARK TIME, SAME MARK CHANNEL.

    • knut_knut says:

      V nterr, V qrsvavgryl guvax vg'f Zrqhfn naq gung znxrf zr FHCRE VAPERQVOYL UNCCL!!!! <3 <3 <3

    • notemily says:

      Your ROT-13'd part makes a lot of sense and I like it!

      Also:

      [youtube J6hijsqO8H0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6hijsqO8H0 youtube]

    • Robin says:

      There have been civilizations in America since at least 12,000 BCE. It is not a country that is only a couple of hundred years old. It is a country that was conquered a couple of hundred years ago. To not consider these two histories one and the same is as ridiculous as disregarding all British history before the Norman conquest and stems from one place in public conception: racism.

      • t09yavorsaur says:

        I don't think it is fair to call that racism. Before America was "discovered" the history was remembered through oral tradition and stories so it is hard to learn more about it. Unlike the other side of the ocean which has histories and written records going back for thousands of years, the Americans didn't really keep track of their civilisation as a whole so all that we really know is pure speculation based on archaeology and legends. It isn't racism, the information just isn't there to be learned.

        • Robin says:

          Way to prove my point so precisely. It's civilizations. With an ess. Hundreds of nations with hundreds of cultures and languages. My skin actually crawled to read your assessment that the current ignorance among white Americans is that the First Nations didn't "keep track of their civilisation." The information is there to be learned, to anyone willing to step outside their privileged view of a civilization is, and much more information was there before European Americans erased it through systematic physical and cultural genocide.

          • t09yavorsaur says:

            I also called them Americans as a whole, which does not grammatically require pluralisation. I understand that there were many different groups but I also know that I don't know enough to refer to any of them properly so I refered to them by the name of the land they lived on (with the only name I know it by) as I would for Russians or Brazilians or Ancient Mesopotamians.

            I also did not say that there wasn't a good reason for the lack of information, just that it was a fact. My point before was that they did "keep track" just not in a hardcopy.

            I respect your interpretation of my post and I am learning to accept this intent/magic conundrum but I do not feel I deserve the label of "not stepping outside my privilege". I did not originally post as the lazy white American that I know that I sometimes am, but tried instead to post as a historical enthusiast who has taken classes that cover this area.

      • arctic_hare says:

        What to9yavorsaur said is basically what I meant: that any history before the country we now call the United States of America (which is the specific country that I meant, the conquering nation itself is not that old, and really, the way it was formed, by conquering indigenous peoples, is my other big issue with it that prevents me from being able to feel patriotic) isn't really recorded. Believe me, I WANT to know all that came before it, but it's just not available to me the same way that other histories are. That said, intent is not magic, and I apologize for not stating it better.

  10. Mary Sue says:

    Dwayne Johnson is the hottest thing since hot came to Hottown.

    And I say that as someone who is on the whole attracted to fem rather than butch.

    But homgz. Dwayne Johnson. Yes. Please. Thank you.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ME

    • clodia_risa says:

      As a straight woman who typically likes the weedier guys, he is totally hot. I think it’s his charisma, which is unreal.

      Also, Shadow is now Dwayne Johnson in my head now. 100% okay with this, BTW.

  11. sploo says:

    "We don’t find out much more, because Bilquis manages to leap out of the limo onto a hillside road above Hollywood. (I’m imagining it as Mulholland Drive.)"

    I was ON MULHOLLAND DRIVE in the Hollywood Hills when I heard this section in the audiobook version. It was raining in LA. Creepy.

    Poor Bilquis.

  12. stefb says:

    When HoChunk is mentioned, all I can think about is the casino in Baraboo, WI and the fact that I've both won and lost money there and have probably developed lung cancer because the little old ladies SMOKE LIKE THE CIGARETTES ARE GIVING THEM EXTRA OXYGEN OR SOMETHING (~irony~). The love for gambling (not excessively, thankfully) seems to run in of all the females on my mother's side of the family. True story–every time my grandparents are in town my grandma's sister calls them immediately to ask them when they are taking her to the casino (she has never driven in her 81 years cause her jerkass husband wouldn't teach her, among other things).

    On topic (sorta), I picture Dwayne Johnson as Shadow.

  13. FuTeffla says:

    I always pictured Vin Diesel as Shadow when I first read the book, and now I can't replace him with Dwayne Johnson :(

    • feveredbunnyink says:

      At least your mental image of him is more accurate than mine. I had just started playing the newer Sonic games when I read this book myself, so I kept picturing Shadow as a three-foot-tall black and red hedgehog through the entire book and it's been impossible to picture him as anything else.

  14. pennylane27 says:

    So I'm pretty sure my brain has imploded or something from sheer information overload. I can't seem to process everything, although reading the review has helped me somehow. I need to read this again. There are so many things I don't even know how to interpret. This book will be the death of me.

    Going to clear my head with Mark Reads Eclipse now.

  15. Noybusiness says:

    Ooh, now you're getting into chapters I haven't read yet!

  16. Shiroikami says:

    *rot13'd on the off chance that my thoughts could be considered spoilers… even though I don't think they are*

    "Fb ur’f n tbq anzrq Zvfgre Gbja."

    *V'z ernyyl abg fb fher guna nal bs gur "Zvfgre" punenpgref ner -tbqf- cre fr. Orpnhfr, abg nyy bs gur zlgubybtvpny punenpgref vagebqhprq unir orra tbqf. Wbuaal Nccyrfrrq? Abg n tbq. Fnzr tbrf sbe gur cvkvrf naq fb ba. Ohg gurl pyrneyl rkvfg va gur fnzr snfuvba nf gur tbqf qb, guebhtu oryvrs. V guvax gung gur "Zvfgref" ner zber yvxr gur vqrn bs n snpryrff tbireazrag ntrapl. Lbh xabj, gur zra va gur fhvgf jub ner ernqvat lbhe rznvyf naq yvfgravat gb lbhe cubar pnyyf naq nyy gung. Gur barf jub ner fbeg bs n pebff orgjrra gur SOV, gur PVN naq gur AFN gung bayl ernyyl rkvfg va zbivrf.

    Also:

    "Fb…jr’ir zrg Zvfgre Jbeyq. Jub vf ur?"

    UNUN! LRF! LRF LBH UNIR!! Jryy, npghnyyl, ab. Funqbj'f zrg uvz, ohg ng guvf cbvag, jr, gur ernqref, npghnyyl unira'g. Ur fubjf hc va gur arkg puncgre gubhtu, fb vg'f bxnl. Vg'f Ybj-Xrl (Ybxv) naq ur znxrf zl qnl. Nyjnlf. Rirel fvatyr gvzr. Orpnhfr ur'f njrfbzr.

    Furthermore:

    V pna'g jnvg hagvy vg trgf gb gur cbvag jurer lbh ernyvmr gung guvf unf nyy orra bar ovt pba, naq gung Funqbj jnfa'g Jrqarfqnl'f frpbaq zna… ur jnf bar bs gur znexf.

    Tnvzna jevgrf n OEVYYVNAG pba. Gur zna vf n travhf. Ur fubhyq jevgr na rcvfbqr bs Yrirentr, orpnhfr frevbhfyl? Abobql jbhyq rire frr uvf raqvat pbzvat. Gurl'q or nyy yvxr "bu, V gbgnyyl haqrefg-JUNG WHFG UNCCRARQ?!?!".

    That is all.

  17. notemily says:

    The thing about the hummingbirds dying of malnutrition really gets to me. DAMMIT NEIL, STOP TORTURING SMALL ANIMALS IN THIS BOOK.

    As opposed to my novel-length comment on last chapter, I don't really have much to say about this one. You think shit is real now, Mark? You are not prepared.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Me too. I love hummingbirds, they're so cute. :( I hate the thought of anyone doing that to them.

  18. Nicki says:

    I'd just like to point out that Chad the sheriff's second cousin is a widow, he says as much to Shadow. As far as we are told Marguerite is divorced, not widowed. Chad is talking about someone else.

  19. nyogu says:

    SEE ISN'T IT GREAT AND PERFECT AND MINDBLOWING MUAHAHA LET THE FUN BEGIN.

  20. http://superpunch.blogspot.com/2011/10/art-inspir

    Some great artwork that Neil Gaiman linked to from his own blog. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VCmroRQT-Lo/Tor4HjshB0I

    (Hope the image works – I'm a bit of a noob at posting anything other than a straight comment. Apologies if it doesn't.)

  21. threepistols says:

    Hearing who everyone pictures for Shadow (Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel) made me realize I always pictured Shadow as Neil Gaiman.

    That picture of him that was on the back of my copy of American Gods? Yeah.

    Yeah, I don't know why either.

  22. Stacy Chambers says:

    Does Neil Gaiman really imagine Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Shadow? If that's true, it's gratifying to hear, because that's who I imagined as Shadow all the way through this book the first time I read it (I've read it four times). : )

  23. Derek says:

    ++America is obsessed with recent history.++

    Well, duh. All our own history is recent. When I was in England in the early 90's, the tourguide at a Cathedral mentioned how it was recently refurbished in the 40s. Most of my town didn't exist in the 40s, and they call it recent.

  24. clodia_risa says:

    Was it really that subversive? I know he was extremely religious. However, as I understand, cider was drunk by absolutely everyone. And while it was alcoholic, it wasn’t exactly like giving vodka to a baby. So no, I don’t think you’re pulling the “cider was less harmful” thing out of your ass.

    Also, I believe he got very rich off of it. He was very good at picking where the next frontier would be. I don’t think he used much of that money, though.

    Michael Pollan has a very interesting book called “The Botany of Desire” where he discusses apples, and Johnny Appleseed, in great detail. I recommend it. (It’s where I learned most everything about the real Johnny Appleseed.)

  25. John Small Berries says:

    "Apples are produced through grafting, not scattering seeds because with the latter method, you don't know what you're going to get."

    Surely you would get the same kind of apple as the one which originally contained the seeds, no?

  26. notemily says:

    I remember when they named Parker's foster-dad on Leverage Archie Leach and I was like I SEE WHAT YOU DID THAR.

    Apparently Winnebago means "people of the smelly water." Yup.

    Johnny Appleseed did have issues with cultivars, yes. He preferred wild apples. I didn't know that about cider and classism though.

  27. monkeybutter says:

    His story became subversive when the temperance movement became powerful, and the whole cider part of his story was glossed over. He became a cartoon with a burlap sack full of apples. And the whole poverty and simplicity thing that he preached made people think that he was a weirdo, which I guess could be subversive in itself.

    Yeah, his nurseries were valuable, but he wasn't good with money and didn't really care about it. I think his heirs did well for themselves.

    I should. Everything I know about him through anecdotes in history and bio classes probably comes from Pollan, to be honest. Guns, Germs, and Steel was similarly drilled into my head, and it was a good read when I finally picked it up.

  28. monkeybutter says:

    Not necessarily. Apples are (apparently really) heterozygous, so each chromosome in a pair can differ wildly, and fruit from the offspring tree won't always taste like those from the parent tree. This is also what helps create new cultivars; they can come about by chance or deliberately. But if you want to guarantee you'll get a certain apple cultivar (and I believe this is true for most fruit trees), reproduction is done through grafting.

  29. monkeybutter says:

    Haha, did you mean to respond to arctic_hare?

  30. monkeybutter says:

    yby V'z fbeel orpnhfr fur gnyxf nobhg Zrqhfn va ure pbzzrag orybj. My brain is not working!

  31. Hehe it's been a long week for me too!

    V..qba'g xabj vs lbh jngpu Qbpgbe Jub, ohg va gur ynfg rcvfbqr fbzrguvat jnf zragvbarq nobhg jevgvat fbzrguvat va sver va gur Zrqhfn Pnfpnqr.

    I..don't know if it even needed to be rot13'd. And I'm working from memory from a comment I made elsewhere. I think we need a cup of tea.

  32. monkeybutter says:

    Yeah, I'll let Friday take the blame.

    Wait, was that in the last episode? I don't remember hearing it explicitly, but it was in "The Fires of Pompeii." I'm not sure this has to be rot13'd either because I don't think my initial comment was a spoiler after all, but I'll do it just to be safe.

    Gur Qbpgbe'f anzr "oheaf va gur fgnef, va gur Pnfpnqr bs Zrqhfn urefrys" vf nyfb ernyyl, ernyyl cbrgvp, naq va gur ynfg rcvfbqr, vg jnf uvagrq gung gur nafjre gb Qbpgbe Jub? jnf fbzr havirefr-funggrevat, greevslvat guvat, fb znlor lbh'er bagb fbzrguvat! Gur Qbpgbe'f anzr vf gur jevgvat ba gur jnyy!

  33. THAT'S IT.

    GAIMAN! MOFFAT! DAVIES! *shakes fist*

Comments are closed.