A dark fantasy.

In 2010 I found myself living in Sydney having relocated there for work. Despite our best efforts, we ended up in Bondi. A cliche for most Kiwis, though we had put some time into surveying the region and just fell in love with the East coast. At the time we could only afford one car, so I ended up buying myself a motorbike. Nothing too flash, a Suzuki Intruder 250. It was all black and chrome, something like the Fonz might have ridden on the set of Happy Days.
I went through a kind of metamorphosis. I found myself dressed in black tearing into the city in the morning, though what I really liked, was riding home on a Winter’s night. I’d glide under the trees by Centennial Park, through Bondi Junction and down the hill toward Bondi Beach beneath a full moon. Its light cast a pale bridge across a distant dark-blue horizon that moved gently with the night’s currents. It was like I had morphed into one of my favourite super hero’s. Batman of course. Albeit without the extra fat tyres, the cape and the crime fighting, though the feeling was there.
I’ve read comics since I was a kid. Far from being a fanatic, I dipped in and out of the things I discovered. Judge Dredd and the future facing Megacity One was where it all started for me. I still like to think that the Dark Knight stole his tyres. Superman, Spiderman and Batman all held top billing, though the Beyonder and Daredevil became household favourites. I don’t think I’d ever really heard of the Sandman. Though I got excited when I discovered there was a Graphic festival in town. Neil Gaiman who I didn’t really know, was headlining at the Sydney Opera House.
I snapped up tickets, met the man and got a signed copy of The Sandman Volume One on impulse. And what an eye opener the event was. He sold out the venue. Okay, two and half thousand souls isn’t exactly world beating, though his gig was a live reading, a world premier of a kids fable. A fantasy by the name of The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains.
The story itself was amazing. Neil read it for an hour and a half without missing a beat. He’d gotten his friend Eddie Campbell to illustrate it. Huge images were projected behind him. He had also gotten a three-piece Australian string quartet called Fourplay, to create a live score and perform it live while he read. It was the convergence of all things. The interactive story brought to life way before the internet or smart books had even really attempted it.
I’ve since read the Sandman. It is indeed a dark fantasy. For whatever reason I hadn’t read much by Neil, which is why I was thrilled to find American Gods in a bargain bin at the local school fair. I’d heard nothing about it, though knew the calibre of writing I could expect. And its lived up to it. Crazy, imagination packed into just about anything his main character Shadow, stumbles across. There is no straight path with this one. It’s unpredictable with killer characters. A thin crust that exists between what almost feels like reality, sitting gently on top of exactly the opposite beneath. Amazon have since snapped it up as a TV series, which came out in the States last year. I’d suggest you read it first.
I’m chasing publishers for my second book. I’ll let you know if I hear any news. In the meantime, I’ll be starting a third. Hope to show you something soon.