BOOK REVIEW: Marvel 1602 is just boring fanfiction

This was a DNF for me. I read it because a co-worker mentioned it for a project he was doing. I didn’t realize Neil Gaiman had written it when we were talking about it.

I don’t really respect Neil Gaiman’s work,  but I just wanted to confirm my own biases against him. I feel like he tends to steal his characters in a lazy way to get his story across, like he does with myth while ignoring the actual mythology behind the characters–this is exactly what he does with the Marvel ones. It’s appropriative in a way that makes me angry. I’m still working out why. Probably because he gets literary recognition for it while fanfiction writers don’t.

I didn’t find the story that interesting, so I just stopped. I’ve never read a Gaiman story that was ever actually satisfying. His concepts are usually more interesting than the work itself. And it doesn’t mean a whole book needs to be written about it.

Other reviews I agree with:

I can’t tell you what I hated most: Neil Gaiman’s insistence on being precious to the point of absurdity…the contrived meta-story about time travel, or the convoluted historical tie-ins that didn’t even make any sense, let alone enhance the story (dinosaurs, Neil? Really?).


This book feels a bit painting-by-numbers to me, or as if it was done by Gaiman as an intellectual exercise rather than because he had a story he wanted to tell. It never really takes off or becaomes particularly exciting or interesting, and unusually for Gaiman, I can’t think of one quotable line of dialogue from this book. Dull, dull, dull.


Never quite got past the “this is just a dumb gimmick” stage for me. Like so many Gaiman projects, its strength lies in little striking moments but the overall story arc is pretty unsatisfying.

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